Originally Posted by manny_santos
You could say 106.9 The X from Fanshawe College tries to fill that hole.
30 or more years ago, "The X" filled an enormous hole. Back then, most London radio was all pop/top 40 or news/talk and almost all on the AM band. The three FM stations were CBC-FM (now CBC 2), CFPL-FM (now FM96), and CIXX (6X). The first two played the FM staple of the day: classical/older adult easy listening (imagine Burt Kamphert's orchestra).
And then this curious little low-power college station came on to the scene (6X) as the third FM station. They played stuff that one typically at the time had to struggle to receive on their radio late on a clear summer night from Detroit (WLLZ (wheels-fm) including a young Howard Stern), or Cleveland (WMMS). What did they play? Hard rock & album rock, which in the day was the cutting edge scene (punk and new wave really hadn't made the scene yet). Suddenly, someone in London could tune into a local station that played what the 16-35 demographic wanted to hear - not Rodger Whittaker, Christopher Cross, or Anne Murray. Instead, 6X gave you Floyd, Zep, and the Stones (which today seems cliche, but then was like floodgates opening). One also got exposure to less well-known but highly respected artists such as King Crimson, Zappa, and Pat Metheny. One was never going to hear Beck, Bogart, & Appice's version of "Superstition" or the Faces "Stay With Me" on commercial radio in southern Ontario other than on 6X.
6X had a very popular show called "album of the day", where they would play an entire album, and follow up with intelligent discussion and analysis of the album. They had no commercials, but rather little "info breaks' where they would tell about the history of an artist or group in 60 seconds. The DJ's were cool because they weren't 40-something men from a prior time pretending to be something they were not. They were 18 to 22 year olds and were part of the scene. I recall a guy who had the 8pm-midnight slot. His catchphrase on a Friday night was "Friday night - party night!". The thing was that on Monday night it was "Monday night - party night!", etc. The party never stopped.
In the end, this little non-profit college station became one of the dominant radio stations in the city. It threatened the biggest station of the day: CJBK. 6X became so popular that a group of commercial stations lead by CJBK and CKSL filed a complaint with the CRTC, asking the commission to shut 6X down, as its growing listenership was so large that it was seriously harming the commercial stations' profitability due to their ratings being killed by 6X.
So, there was a hearing. It was actually broadcast, was contentious, and in the end 6X died that day. The CRTC didn't actually shut 6X down, but ruled that as an educational non-profit taxpayer-subsided station it had overstepped its broadcast license by actively competing with the commercial market (and beating it). Instead, the CRTC ruled that 6X would have to change its format to a mixed bag of formats so that it would not appeal to any one market, and thus would become uninteresting to all and be strictly a training tool for broadcast students.
The dream died that day. 6X was the closest thing I've seen here to being a British "pirate radio" station in this part of the world, and like those outfits saw a meteoric rise, and then rapid demise due to evisceration from corporate mediocrity. It was literally like one of those "rise and fall of" movies.