CIUT 89.5 FM is Toronto’s preeminent, listener-supported, presenter of leading-edge music and spoken-word programming since 1966. Firmly rooted in the University of Toronto community, CIUT’s programming reaches and represents the community at large and encompasses a wide panorama of styles and expressions. CIUT entertains and informs listeners from Barrie to Buffalo, Kitchener to Cobourg, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Based on our mission statement, we provide an alternative to mainstream media, provide community access to the airwaves, and offer programming that reflects the diverse elements of the communities we serve.
We draw on the wide-ranging talents and global interests of students, faculty and community members, and provide opportunities for volunteers to learn about and participate in radio-related activities.
Above all, CIUT 89.5 FM exists to serve its listeners. We seek to stimulate, educate, entertain and challenge our audiences, and to meet listener needs that are not currently addressed by other broadcast media.
CIUT 89.5 FM has been a registered charity since October 2005.
CIUT’s roots go back more than 40 years to 1965, when a group of students founded University of Toronto Radio as a voice for the University of Toronto community. Broadcasting was initially limited to closed circuit lines in campus residences and cafeterias, but several years and technical leaps later, the renamed Radio Varsity could be also be heard in the wider community on cable, and through selected programming broadcast on CJRT FM and CHUM FM.
Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s the radio station continued to gain momentum (and changed names!) as Input Radio then UTR then CJUT which grappled with the quest for the FM license that would dramatically increase the station’s broadcast range. The first application to the CRTC for FM status was put forward in 1976 but did not win approval. In 1986 a second team of campus and community radio keeners made another application for a spot of the FM dial, pitching the CRTC on the station’s unique role in representing news, arts and culture ignored by commercial radio. On January 15, 1987, the collective efforts of two decades’ worth of passionate radiophiles finally paid off, as CIUT FM hit the airwaves with its alternative message at 15,000 watts of radio power.
The next two decades read at times like a weather chart, with highs (mostly programming) and lows (mostly administrative) reflecting both the vibrancy and chaos of a growing organization fuelled as much by passion as by experience. Fortunately for CIUT’s listeners, whatever turmoil may have been unfolding behind the scenes at any given time, the station’s volunteer show hosts and producers continued to create innovative, high-calibre programming unlike any other on the FM dial.
The advent of web-based broadcasting and our position on Bell Fibe TV (channel 970), and Rogers Digital TV (channel 946) has connected CIUT with an international audience. Yet we remain steadfastly tied to our local roots, promoting an eclectic range of Toronto-based cultural activities. A long period of organizational stability has enabled CIUT to expand beyond our regularly scheduled programming. We’ve increased our forays into the community, broadcasting live from a diverse array of festivals and cultural events, and recording lectures by renowned thinkers in a variety of fields. On the home front, our studios (the former house on 91 St. George St. and our new home) at Hart House play host to many exclusive live performances by local, national and international artists.
Four decades have brought a lot of changes, but the basic principles behind University of Toronto Radio have remained constant. The station remains a forum for exposing non-commercial music and culture, ground breaking research and scholarship at the University of Toronto, and the views you don’t hear on mainstream media. All of this is brought to the airwaves by students and community volunteers whose passion echoes that of CIUT’s founders over forty years ago.