Senior Editor and Researcher
If you’re looking for the best radio stations for music in Canada, you’re in the right place. Canada is home to a massive community of avid radio fans.
Even in a world where podcasts and online streaming are growing increasingly common, around 88 percent of Canadians say they listen to the radio monthly.
In 2021 alone, more than 960 radio stations were registered across Canada, of which around 716 were commercial stations known for broadcasting talk shows, news segments, music, and more.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, most listeners prefer to tune into FM radio channels, and the largest cities in the country boast the highest listening figures.
In Toronto, for instance, 5.87 million people listen to the radio daily.
Today, we will help you narrow down which stations to add to your playlist if you want a phenomenal musical experience.
The 12 Best Radio Stations for Music in Canada
Before we begin our list, it’s worth noting that the “best” stations for listening to music in Canada will likely vary depending on your preferences.
Like stations in other parts of the world, Canadian radio broadcasters often focus on a specific niche or location with their music.
To help you make the right choice, we will highlight various channels, covering everything from pop to funk, R&B, and rock.
1. CBC Radio 2
Part of the CBC Music family, CBC Radio 2 is a Canadian FM radio station operated by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
In the past, it primarily focused on jazz and classical music. However, during the 2000s, the station started exploring new “adult music” genres.
In 2009, Radio 2 alone averaged around 2.1 million listeners weekly, and it remains one of Canada’s largest and most popular networks today.
Website: CBC Music
Based in Toronto, CHUM-FM is a music station owned by Bell Media, which follows the hot adult contemporary format.
The station broadcasts on 104.5 Mhz and also has an online stream available for those listening to the radio through the web.
Constantly ranked as one of the most popular radio stations in Toronto, CHUM-FM plays a vast range of different songs, from top-trending pop songs to rock and R&B music.
Until 2009, this channel was considered Canada’s most listened-to and influential station before rival station CHFI-FM took over.
Website: CHUM FM
Another commercial radio station based in Toronto, CHFI-FM, is owned and operated by the Rogers Sports & Media brand.
It typically broadcasts an adult contemporary format, though it often switches to seasonal music around the festive season.
First launching in 1957, CHFI-FM has emerged as one of the most listened-to music channels on the Canadian airwaves.
The channel plays pop, rock, jazz, and R&B music, with various programs throughout the day. You can listen to CHFI online or on 98.1 MHz (FM).
Known to many as “102.1 The Edge”, the CFNY-FM radio station broadcasts at 102.1 MHz across the Greater Toronto area.
This is an excellent channel worth checking out if you’re interested in alternative rock music. It plays all of the latest indie tracks and rock classics.
CFNY is owned by Chorus Entertainment and has operated since 1960, starting life as a rebroadcast of an AM station.
Interestingly, CFNY-FM is an international station with a signal strong enough to capture the attention of regions throughout North America and Canada.
5. Virgin Radio
With locations across Canada and various other countries, Virgin Radio is one of the best channels worth checking out if you’re into music.
Currently, 12 Virgin Radio broadcasts are available across major Canadian cities and regions, from Toronto to Montreal.
Typically, these stations broadcast a variety of different styles of music, including top trending hits, pop, rock, and R&B music.
Many Virgin radio channels are among the most-listened-to stations in the Canadian market, thanks to their overall accessibility.
Website: Virgin Radio
Otherwise known as “Energy 106”, CHWE-FM broadcasts on 106.1 MHz focusing on the Winnipeg market.
The channel uses a top 40 music format, making it a great place for listeners to stay up to date with the most popular emerging songs and artists.
Initially, the station focused on a dance-leaning playlist before eventually switching to the CHR/Top 40 format to reach a wider audience.
Today, listeners can also tune into the latest hits from the channel by checking out its live online broadcast.
Unlike most of the best radio stations for music in Canada, CKUA Radio is a Canadian donor-funded community station.
Located in Alberta, the station was originally the first public broadcaster in Canada and has been sharing music with listeners since 1927.
The CKUA-FM station is located on 94.9 MHz in Edmonton, but the station also operates 15 rebroadcasters to serve other listeners throughout the country.
The channel plays a variety of music genres, including classical, world music, and jazz.
In Regina, Saskatchewan, CJTR-FM is a community radio station with playlists covering various music genres, from rock to electronic.
Alongside some excellent musical sessions, the station also broadcasts comedy and talk shows.
Owned by Radius Communications, the station is primarily run by volunteers and is supported by local fundraisers and sponsors.
It also serves in part as an unofficial campus radio station for the University of Regina, with various hosts from the college campus.
CKIS-FM, or “KISS 92.5,” is another top-ranked Canadian radio station, broadcasting at 92.5 MHz in Toronto.
Owned by the Rogers Sports & Media company, the station typically broadcasts in a Top 40/CHR format.
Founded in 1993, CKIS-FM has benefitted from increasing popularity over the years, thanks to its excellent music collection and great presenters.
When KISS first started, it played a stretch of 10,000 songs without any commercial or DJ interruption whatsoever.
Now, the channel’s playlist consists primarily of pop, hip-hop, and R&B music, with a few occasional rock artists thrown in.
In Toronto, CHBM-FM, or “Boom 97.3,” is a station that primarily broadcasts according to a classic hits format.
The station’s playlist often consists of popular songs from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, though most songs tend to come from the 1980s. Occasionally, select songs also feature from the 2000s.
Boom 97.3 was first launched in 1987, with an easy listening format, before it eventually switched owners and pursued a new style of music.
Today, it’s one of the most popular stations to listen to tunes from across the decades.
Better known as Indie88, CIND-FM is a radio station from Toronto that broadcasts at 88.1 Mhz.
Focusing on an adult album format, Indie88 first launched in 2013, making it a relatively new addition to the airwaves. The Toronto station is a great option for soft rock and indie lovers.
Over the years, CIND-FM has helped various Canadian radio personalities find their footing in the industry. The original lineup included Brian Bailey, Matt Hart, Carlin Burton, and many other well-known presenters.
Another popular station broadcasting in the hot adult contemporary format, CKMB-FM, broadcasts at 107.5 MHz in Barrie, Ontario.
The station was initially launched in 2001 by the Central Ontario Broadcasting Corporation, the owners of another well-known station named CFJB.
Initially, CKMB-FM used the call-sign Star 107.5, but it rebranded in 2005 to “Kool FM” and began to focus on more current music over classical songs.
Website: Kool FM