More than just a radio station, JAZZ.FM91 is Canada’s only broadcaster and registered not-for-profit charitable arts organization dedicated to enriching the cultural, educational and community experience of their audience.
Providing youth programs and partnering with educational institutions, JAZZ.FM91 gives opportunities for thousands of promising young students and emerging artists to gain experience in music and broadcasting through workshops, internships, scholarships, and jazz-related content and programs. Jazzology, the Jazz 4 Kids concert series, the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band and The Canadian Jazz Archive Online are some of the JAZZ.FM91 programs and resources available to youth interested in expanding their knowledge of jazz.
The station began life more than 60 years ago as CJRT-FM, Ryerson’s university radio station, broadcasting an eclectic mix of educational programming, classics and jazz. Then in 1996, it was transformed when the Ontario Government reduced its annual operating stipend from $1,300,000 to zero, leaving the radio station to find its niche in one of North America’s most crowded radio marketplaces.
In the years since then, JAZZ.FM91 has executed a very different and expanded mission, which is to enrich the cultural, educational and community experience of our listening audience.
Adhering to that mission, the station has found a favoured place in the minds of a country that, because of its diversity and musical sophistication, has embraced the concept of an all-jazz format within a non-profit, educational context. The view of jazz as a small part of the world of music is outdated; in the past few years, as music recording sales have declined, the sale of jazz and blues recordings has grown by 45%. Jazz may be growing more mainstream, but also Canada’s mainstream is expanding its taste through jazz. Another indicator of the hold that jazz has: our website is one of the most visited jazz sites in the world and our iPhone app has been downloaded by over half a million jazz fans around the world.
A Growing Audience
Today, JAZZ.FM91 has annual revenues of $4 million and operates on a break-even basis. JAZZ.FM91 is supported through advertising revenue (the CRTC allows the station to broadcast 4 minutes of advertising each hour; this compares with up to 14 minutes per hour for commercial stations); sponsors, individual donations (thousands of listeners donate to support JAZZ.FM91’s programs) and donations from corporations, businesses and foundations.
Every week, almost half a million listeners tune in to JAZZ.FM91’s offerings which, like the station itself, are much more than jazz. For example, JAZZ.FM91 offers the BBC news from London; educational radio documentaries on everyone from Leonard Bernstein to Artie Shaw; specialty programming hosted by JAZZ.FM91’s on-air hosts; Live-to-Air broadcasts, concerts and documentary series and interviews.
Little wonder that, year after year, Bureau of Broadcast Measurement ratings for JAZZ.FM91’s audience is shown to be growing steadily. That audience is not only on the rise; it’s different from most radio audiences: 64% are more likely than the average radio listener to have completed their post graduate degree. 48% are more likely to earn a personal yearly income of $100,000 to $149,999 – providing them with high discretionary income for luxury items. (Source: BBM Toronto Central adults 35 to 54.)
The variety and depth of the station’s programming make JAZZ.FM91 by far the most popular and innovative jazz station in Canada. JAZZ.FM91 is the only station broadcasting real jazz 24-7 in Canada.