CIDR-FM is the callsign for a radio station, broadcasting at 93.9 FM in Windsor, Ontario. The station broadcasts an adult album alternative format using the brand name 93-9 The River. It is owned and operated by Bell Media. It is one of the few commercial adult album alternative stations in Canada and is the only one in Ontario, with the others located in British Columbia. It was also Canada's first AAA-formatted station at launch.
The station was originally launched by Western Ontario Broadcasting in 1949 as CKLW-FM, rebroadcasting the CBC Dominion Network programming of sister station CKLW. It dropped the CBC affiliation in 1950 with the sign-on of CBE AM 1550, and became the Metro Detroit outlet of the Mutual Broadcasting System.
The stations were subsequently acquired in 1956 by a consortium including the American company RKO; RKO subsequently acquired full ownership of the stations in 1963. Also that year, CKLW-FM began airing distinct programming from its AM sister station. It originally broadcast two hours of separate programming each evening from 7 to 9 p.m., and in 1967, this was expanded to six hours per night (from 6 p.m. to midnight).
CKJY-FM/94 Fox FM
In 1970, due to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's new rules on foreign ownership of Canadian media, RKO was forced to sell the stations to Baton Broadcasting. Under Baton's ownership, CKLW-FM had by 1973 completely separated programming from its successful Top 40 AM sister, airing a country music format with news and talk oriented toward the Windsor audience (as opposed to the AM, which chiefly targeted the American side). During the 1970s, CKLW-FM was known as "FM Nine Four." In January 1982, the station changed its callsign to CKJY-FM, airing a big band/adult standards/jazz format.
In 1984, with CKLW's top 40 format on its last legs due to the growing popularity of rock and pop music formats on the FM dial, management tried to move the AM's top 40 format to the FM dial with the new calls CFXX-FM and the name "94 Fox FM". The station's staff spent months preparing for the change, commissioning new jingles, advertising extensively via billboards and television, and practicing the format until they were sure it was ready. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, however, refused to approve more than four hours of rock programming a day - two in the morning and two in afternoon drive - and insisted that the station remain big-band the rest of the time, holding that Top 40 music belonged on AM and that FM was for "fine music" such as classical, jazz, big band and beautiful music. The experiment was, understandably, a failure. In 1985, Baton sold both CKLW and CFXX-FM to CUC Broadcasting, who moved the big-band "Music of Your Life" format to CKLW and instituted an easy listening format on the FM as CKEZ-FM.
Big 8 On FM/More 94
The calls changed back to CKLW-FM in May 1986, and the station instituted an oldies format meant to recapture the sound of the original CKLW(AM), with former "Big 8" jock Dave Shafer as program director and morning show host. The awakened CKLW-FM brought back the well-known Johnny Mann Singers-performed jingles for the "Big 8", along with many of the legendary personalities and "20/20 News" and a music rotation based on the "Big 8" playlists from the 1960s to the 1980s plus the older 1950s and early 1960s hits that the AM had played as "golden" titles. "Ladies and gentlemen, the good times are back!" proclaimed former "Big 8" jock "Big" Jim Edwards during the station IDs. Although the overall sound was faithful to the "Big 8"'s glory days, the station's ratings remained low.
CKLW-FM became CKMR-FM, "More 94", in 1988. The playlist was tightened significantly and the station became more tightly formatted.
I-94/The Legend/93-9 The River
After "More 94" failed to raise the station's ratings, CKMR-FM shifted in the fall of 1990 to an urban gold/classic soul format as "I-94"; then, after only roughly four months, CKMR-FM shifted to a Soft Adult Contemporary/Middle of the Road approach dubbed "The Motor City's Adult Music Station," which lasted roughly six months. Then, the CKLW-FM calls and the "Big 8"-inspired oldies format were once again restored around Labour Day of 1991, with the station branded as "93.9 The Legend". Once again, the station sounded faithful to the original CKLW, featuring stalwarts from the golden age of Detroit's Top 40 radio era such as Tom Shannon, Dave Prince, Dave Shafer and Lee Alan (host of the weekly feature Back in the '60s Again). Unfortunately, the change once again did nothing to raise the station's anemic ratings.
CHUM Limited acquired the station in early 1993, and initially kept the station oldies. In February 1994, the format was switched to an "Arrow"-style classic hits format dubbed "Rock & Roll Oldies" featuring mainly 1970s classic rock songs with a smattering of 1960s and 1980s material. On November 11, 1994, CKLW-FM flipped to adult album alternative as "93-9 The River - Quality Rock, Real Variety", with the new calls CIDR-FM. "The River" was never a ratings powerhouse but, with Ann Delisi (formerly of Detroit public-radio station WDET) at the helm and Jeff "Zippy" Crowe in the mornings, attracted a loyal listenership, which the station then proceeded to largely alienate by tweaking the format to "smooth rock" in 1999 and adding many classic rock titles to the playlist.
"Lite Rock" and The "River's" Return
On August 25, 2000, the station flipped to an adult contemporary format as Lite Rock 93-9 FM in an attempt to take on AC market leader WNIC. Ratings remained low, and eventually CIDR tweaked its format in a hot adult contemporary direction by 2001, when WMGC-FM entered the Detroit AC competition. By the mid-2000s, the station dropped the "Lite Rock" identity from its on-air imaging and became known as simply 93.9 FM, Today's Best Music. The station now competed chiefly with WDVD (the former WHYT) & Leamington, Ontario's CHYR-FM for the hot AC audience, but in this, it was still unsuccessful.
At 3:00 PM on September 1, 2006, 93.9 once again became "93.9 - The River." About three quarters of the way through the All American Rejects' "Move Along", the song was interrupted by the sound of rushing water, and a promo for the River was broadcast. It was also announced that they would be playing clips of over 7,000 songs, all weekend long, commercial free until Monday morning, when the songs would be "Super sized".
On September 4, 2006 at 8:00 AM, The River was officially relaunched by playing "Take Me to the River" by Talking Heads. This returned the adult alternative format back to the Detroit radio dial after public radio station WDET-FM dumped it in 2005 in favor of mainly NPR news and talk.
The station's main competitors are Greater Media classic rocker WCSX and Cumulus Media's hot AC WDVD. Another competitor in the Ann Arbor market is Cumulus' WQKL, which also airs a triple-A format. CIDR is co-owned with alternative rocker CIMX-FM, making it Detroit's second twin-stick operation for rock stations (the other twin-stick operations for rock stations would be Greater Media active rocker WRIF and classic rocker WCSX).
In March 2011, Martz Communications Group (through licensee Radio Power, Inc.) filed an application with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to relocate the frequency of its Detroit repeater, W284BQ, from 104.7 MHz to 93.9 MHz—if approved, the repeater will interfere with CIDR-FM in much of the Greater Detroit area, though the licensee contends that the transmitter will be directional, as to not interfere with CIDR-FM on the Canadian side of the border. However, Martz has since applied to move the translator to 93.5 FM, where it would not interfere with CIDR, and it is unlikely the translator will ever actually take to the air on 93.9. In November 2011, the 104.7 FM signal went silent after having broadcast a smooth jazz format (simulcasting WGPR-HD2) for several months, having been ordered off the air by the FCC due to interference with WIOT in Toledo, Ohio. Furthermore, on January 31, 2012, Martz ceased operations of its HD feeds on WGPR, and the translators, due to financial and signal difficulties.