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BEST OF OTTAWA: Radio Stations

BEST OF OTTAWA: Radio Stations

With 20-years writing about Ottawa life we think we have
a pretty good idea of the best of what this city has to offer.
In this new weekly summer series we’ll share it with you.
From our top picks of hotels, live music venues, local brews,
bands and more, check, share and discuss
#OLMBest every Monday!

Majic 100 (100.3 FM)

Ottawa’s best variety radio station also gives you one of the best morning alarming clocks. The duo of Stuntman Stu and Angie Poirier are the perfect pair to kick your day off in the right direction with Nancy Slater ready to take you through your drive back home.

LiVE 88.5 (FM)

The city’s alternative rock station is the country’s first (and so far only) carbon neutral radio station. Eco-rock on! They also sponsor the yearly Big Money Shot, a contest helping to promote local musicians with past winners including OLM Best alumni Hollerado, Amanda Rheume and Amos the Transparent.

Hot 89.9

You want hits? They got ‘em with a station cranking out the biggest top tunes all day long. Their morning Hot Tub with hosts Mauler, Rush, Jennie and Josie remains the #1 rated morning show in town. Other shows include The Non-stop 5 O’clock Traffic Jam and The Saturday Night HOT Mix but the station’s pride may just be the nationally syndicated Canadian Hit 30 Countdown.

CKCU-FM (93.1)

Broadcasting from Carleton U, and one of the country’s oldest community-based campus radio stations, CKCU first took the airwaves in November of 1975. With over 100 different shows a week, it remains one of the most prolific stations in the city. The Mighty 93 continues to bring on volunteer hosts and fosters creative input from the community on what goes into their programming.

580 CFRA

Founded by Frank Ryan back in 1947, CFRA used to be the place to turn the dial to if you wanted to hear pop and Top-40 hits. Nowadays it is the city’s conservative news talk radio station. Popular shows include The Morning Rush with Bill Carroll, Ottawa Now with Evan Solomon and Beyond the News with Brian Lilley.

CHIN Ottawa (97.9 FM)

Coming at you daily from their ByWard Market studios, CHIN 97.9 FM is your multilingual (and multicultural) stop with programming in over 20 different languages. The first third language radio service in the Capital began broadcasting in 2003 and quickly became the place to hear music from all over the planet be it Celtic, Asian, Caribbean and more!


106.9 has gone through many changes over the years. Once 54 Lite Rock, they dropping the light, then dropping the rock for The Bear and kicking the bear back to the woods in place of Virgin Radio, the station was again rebranded in 2014 as a Top 40 hits station. Station hosts Mr. D, Dayna B and Tony Stark keep the grooves going all day long.

The Jewel 98.5

Playing today’s lite hits and yesterday’s favorites, The Jewel is the place where you can find Celine Dion mingling with Rod Stewart while Michael Bublé and Diana Krall crone in the corner. Codi and Nida bring you Ottawa’s first all girl morning show while Brian Sylvester keeps you up to date on the day’s top news stories.

Country 101.1

No doubt, Ottawa is a country music town and Country 101.1 keeps the masses satiated with just the right mix of daily twang. Blending the old and the new, shows include Country Classics with Nan, the Canadian Country Countdown and The Wake Up Call with Wendy Boomer and Matt Dips. Yee ha!

Chez 106.1

Ottawa’s beloved  award-winning music promoter Harvey Glatt brought Chez to the air in 1977 when those who tuned in heard Stevie Wonder singing “Isn’t She Lovely”. It took ten years but it became the number one station in town besting rival CFRA in 1987. Celebrating 40 years on the air this year, Chez remains Ottawa’s world class rock station!

Comments (103)

*Please take note that upon submitting your comment the team at OLM will need to verify it before it shows up below.

Bruce Hamilton September 13, 2017 10:38 am

Mr. Gagne, it would be interesting to see the criteria you applied when making this radio station list. It would appear that ONLY the Corporate (Rogers, Bell, Astra) players were eligible.....OK you put CKCU (Go Ravens!) to say no we didn't and you are probably alumni. I agree with Jim Giff 101.7 REBEL should have been included. I too am the target market for chez, and such, but it is refreshing to have a station that hearkens back to when CHEZ was an independent station and played what it wanted and the listeners wanted. Each DJ had a flavour. You did not need to look at a clock to know who was on. You could tell by the music. REBEL is kinda bringing that back. It would be interesting to see your response to all these comments and your response to my questions as well. To refresh you: 1) what was the criteria for inclusion? 2) was it only OLM sponsors that get included (with the exception being CKCU as they have the most journalist alumni) 3) do you think you may have made a mistake leaving REBEL off the list?

Terry September 13, 2017 10:11 am

I heard about this article from a friend and was shocked that Rebel was not listed. I came here to say that Rebel 101.7 should absolutely be on this list as it is the best Rock station in town.

Melissa September 12, 2017 9:51 pm

Agreed. Need to revisit and add Rebel. An amazing station that definitely needs to be acknowledged.

darryl kornicky September 12, 2017 12:04 pm

@JR, I actually did share the link to the article on Rebels Facebook page. I read it over the weekend as I was searching for Ottawa news. The passion renewed towards Ottawa Radio and the time they spent to even bother replying was completely their choice. No carrot dangled. They are just as passionate when telling their friends and co-workers that this station exists. I'm grateful they stood up for the oversight. Ottawa Life's article and additional content just got into the hands of some that may not have otherwise been aware. As far as I can see, we're the only station to even acknowledge it. Rock On ~ kornicky

JR September 12, 2017 7:22 am

92 comments 92 of them ... ALL ABOUT REBEL ... other good stations were missed from the list too. Either the entire city is pissed that Rebel was missed from this list, or someone at Rebel did an email campaign to get all their employees to post something.