|Broadcast area||National Capital Region|
|Slogan||Real Rock Radio|
|First air date||June 7, 2010|
|Power||1,793 Watts Average ERP|
5,500 Watts Peak ERP
|HAAT||98 metres (322 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||CI DawG|
|Former frequencies||101.9 MHz (2010-2016)|
|Owner||Torres Media Ottawa, Inc.|
CIDG-FM is an FM radio station licensed to Ottawa, Ontario, serving the National Capital Region. CIDG-FM is owned and operated by Torres Media Ottawa, Inc. CIDG's studios are located on Ridgewood Avenue, while its transmitter is located on top of an apartment tower on Montreal Road East in Gloucester.
The station's licence was approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on August 26, 2008. The station began testing its signal on 101.9 FM on June 1, 2010 and launched the morning of June 7, 2010. The station originally broadcast a blues and blues-rock-oriented format branded as Dawg-FM; on August 26, 2016, after receiving approval to move to 101.7 FM and remove a mandate to broadcast specialty music, the station re-launched with a mainstream rock format.
CRTC Commissioner Michel Morin took the unusual step of issuing a dissenting opinion towards the approval of CIDG's licence, in which he stated that Corus Entertainment's competing proposal for a new talk radio station served a greater need in the market. In his dissent, Morin called attention to the fact that very few other radio stations in North America offer a primarily blues-based format, suggesting that there may not be sufficient audience demand to support the station in the long term. On November 21, 2008, federal Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages James Moore issued a statement calling on the CRTC to review its approval of both CIDG and Astral Media's new classic hits station CJOT-FM. Moore asked the commission to assess whether the francophone population of the Ottawa-Gatineau area was sufficiently well-served by existing French radio services, and to consider licensing one or more of the French language applications -- which included a Christian music station, a community radio station and a campus radio station for the Université du Québec en Outaouais -- in addition to or instead of the approved stations.
In the resulting round of hearings, Torres proposed that a new francophone station could be licensed on 94.5 FM, although such a station would be second-adjacent to Astral's CIMF-FM.Industry Canada subsequently aired a testing signal on 94.5 in May 2009 to determine whether the signal could be used without affecting CIMF. The test found that the signal could be used without causing significant interference to CIMF, and Astral consequently gave its consent to the use of the frequency as long as the company retained its licence for CJOT. On April 8, 2010, CIDG-FM received approval to decreasing the average effective radiated power from 1,300 watts to 934 watts, by increasing the maximum ERP from 3,000 watts to 4,500 watts (effective height of antenna above average terrain of 98 metres), and by relocating the antenna.
CIDG faced difficulties in growing an audience due to the quality of its signal, which was restricted in power in order to protect stations in Cornwall and Kingston on the same frequency, as well as listeners being alienated by the hybrid blues/blues-rock format it originally broadcast. Despite these shortcomings, the station did receive praise for helping promote Canadian blues artists.
On April 10, 2015, Torres Media Ottawa and Pontiac Community Radio--owner of CHIP-FM 101.7 in Fort-Coulonge, Quebec, filed requests with the CRTC for CIDG and CHIP to swap frequencies, resulting in CIDG-FM moving to 101.7 and CHIP-FM moving to 101.9. Torres stated that the move would allow CIDG to increase its power to 19,500 watts, giving it a signal and coverage comparable to other commercial radio stations in the Ottawa-Gatineau market. As a condition of the swap, Torres stated that it would provide Pontiac Community Radio with monetary compensation, which would be used by CHIP to hire additional staff and help advertise the station. The CRTC approved the applications on December 22, 2015. On August 23, 2016, the CRTC approved Torres' application to change CIDG's authorized contours. On July 18, 2016 as part of a licence renewal, the CRTC removed CIDG's obligation to broadcast special interest music, citing that allowing CIDG to broadcast a mainstream format would allow the station to become more competitive and economically viable.
Alongside the planned change in frequency, also announced that it would re-launch as a mainstream rock station known as Rebel 101.7. Co-owner Ed Torres felt that the station was experiencing difficulty in competing against other station in the market due to its blues-oriented format, stating that "It's been a challenge holding an audience because it seems to go between the blues and rock. "We've tried to tweak the format in both directions to see if we can get some traction in one format or another. But the nature of the way the licence was structured was that we had to play both." Torres stated that Rebel would have a playlist that "[spans] a number of decades"; the station's format change was also meant to fill a void left by CKQB-FM's switch from rock to top 40 in March 2014. Former CKKL-FM and CKQB personalities Darryl Kornicky and Jason "J-Man" Petrunik also joined the station. The former Dawg-FM format was moved to an internet radio station, which will focus primarily on blues material as opposed to the mixture of blues and blues-rock.
The change in format occurred on August 26, 2016, although CIDG did not immediately move to its new frequency due to technical issues delaying the switch. CIDG-FM moved from 101.9 MHz to 101.7 MHz on August 30, 2016 at approximately 1:30pm EDT.
Our techs are on their way.... we think... The freq change is being delayed.... That said.... Rebel 101.7 ON-AIR NOW!!