Growing up in Toronto in the early 80’s there was only one radio station that mattered – CFNY. It was ‘alternative’ before the term even existed, spinning the best and most bleeding-edge New Wave, Pop, Rock, and other music of the day, much of it from the UK. I first heard many of the biggest 80’s hits on CFNY that have since become synonymous with the era, often within days of being released. The station was important enough that the band Rush even wrote a song about it, based on the station’s motto “The spirit of radio”.
To me, what made it truly great was the sheer variety of what it played and its willingness to take chances on local and lesser known songs that the DJ’s personally liked. In fact, the station used to have a policy that it would never play the same song more than once in a 24-hour period, which is something practically unheard-of in the repetitive playlist world of radio we live in today.
Back in the days of cassette tapes, I can still remember staying home on Saturday nights to listen to (and occasionally record) the latest tunes from DJ’s like Chris Sheppard for hours at a time. I don’t recall exactly where I got this keychain but it reminds me of that once-great station that Toronto has never seen the likes of since.