CBU is a Canadian non-commercial public radio station, in Vancouver, British Columbia. It carries the programming of the CBC Radio One network. The station broadcasts on 690 AM (a clear channel frequency) and on 88.1 FM as CBU-2-FM. CBU's newscasts and local shows are also heard on a chain of CBC stations around the Lower Mainland.

Broadcast areaBritish Columbia South Coast
Frequency690 kHz (AM)
BrandingCBC Radio One
OwnerCanadian Broadcasting Corporation
First air date
1925; 99 years ago (1925)
Former call signs
CNRV (1925–1933)
CRCV (1933–1936)
CBR (1936–1951)
Former frequencies
1100 kHz (1925–1941)
1130 kHz (1941–1952)
Call sign meaning
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation VancoUver
Technical information
Power25,000 watts
Transmitter coordinates
49°08′19″N 123°11′56″W / 49.138744°N 123.198774°W / 49.138744; -123.198774 (CBU 690 Vancouver)
Repeater(s)88.1 CBU-2-FM (Vancouver)
WebcastListen Live

CBU's studios and offices are in the CBC Regional Broadcast Centre at 700 Hamilton Street in Downtown Vancouver. The AM transmitter is in the Steveston section of Richmond and the FM transmitter is on Mount Seymour.

CBU's AM transmitter power is 25,000 watts, using a directional antenna.[1] The FM station has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 36,900 watts (97,600 watts maximum), broadcasting from a tower at 605.8 metres (1,988 ft) in height above average terrain (HAAT), also using a directional antenna.[2]





The station was launched in 1925; 99 years ago (1925). The original call sign was CNRV, using the slogan "The Voice of the Pacific." It broadcast on 1100 AM and was owned by the Canadian National Railway radio network.[3] CNRV was acquired by the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission in 1933, becoming CRCV. In 1936, the CBC was created, taking over the CRBC's operations, and CRCV became CBR. The transmitter was located on No. 4 Road in Richmond. This site was in use from 1938 to 1976.[4]

The station moved to 1130 in 1941 after the enactment of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA). In 1947, an FM simulcast was launched on 105.7 MHz. Distinct programming on the FM station was aired for the first time in 1964 when it joined the "CBC FM Network."



The frequency was moved to 690 AM in 1952 when the call sign was changed to its current CBU. In 1967, a new transmitter was erected in Steveston, on the shoreline along the Strait of Georgia. The station began broadcasting at 50,000 watts, the highest power authorized by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), allowing it to be heard throughout the Metro Vancouver Regional District and around the British Columbia Coast.

Among Radio One stations on the AM dial around Canada, CBU covers the largest area of population, since Montreal and Toronto are served by FM stations. CBM Montreal moved to CBME-FM in 1998, and CBL Toronto moved to CBLA-FM in 1999.

FM simulcast


In early 2008, the CRTC approved CBU's application for a new simulcast of its programming on the FM band.[5] On October 10, 2008, CBU began testing its FM simulcast on 88.1 FM as CBU-2-FM with an effective radiated power of 19,500 watts, and it officially signed on soon after. Around the same time, the CBC also applied to broadcast on separate transmitters into Nanaimo, as well as the Sunshine Coast, with the intent to shut down the AM transmitter on 690 kHz if approved. The CRTC denied these other two transmitters due to the lack of available frequencies in the region.

In 2011, the CBC applied to the CRTC to increase the coverage area of CBU-2-FM's transmitter. The CBC proposed increasing the height of the antenna and raising the ERP to 36,900 watts (97,600 watts maximum). The ability to increase the signal coverage area was made possible when CHEK-DT in Victoria moved from VHF TV channel 6 to 49, as part of the over-the-air digital television transition. (TV channel 6 is heard on the FM band at 87.75, which puts it close on the dial to 88.1, the frequency for CBU-2-FM.) This CBC transmitter application was approved September 13, 2012.[6]

Fire damages AM transmitter


In November 2018, CBU reduced its AM transmitter power from 50,000 to 25,000 watts. A fire at the Steveston transmitting facilities destroyed part of the station’s equipment in 2017. It was decided repairs to restore the full 50,000 watts would have been too costly.

CBU-2-FM transmits using HD Radio technology on 88.1 MHz. As of April 2022, this signal provides simulcasts of CBU-FM on digital subchannel HD2 and CBCV-FM on subchannel HD3.[7]

Shortwave relay


In 1941, CBR established a shortwave relay for remote areas of British Columbia using the call sign CBRX and operating on a frequency of 6.16 MHz (in the 49m band) with a power of 150 watts. The call sign changed to CBUX in 1952 when the AM station became CBU.[8]

In 1965, the call sign changed to CKZU, recognizing that the ITU prefix CB was not assigned to Canada, but to Chile. The station was given permission to increase its power to 1,000 watts in 1986. The transmitter was adjacent to CBU's AM transmitter.[8] The 2017 fire that destroyed part of the AM transmitter also damaged the shortwave broadcasting equipment.

In February 2017, the CBC announced that CKZU was unlikely to return to shortwave. The CBC stated that the transmitter was in a state of disrepair with no replacement parts available due to aging equipment. Purchasing a new transmitter would be too costly due to the minimal number of listeners who tune into the facility.[9][10]

Local programming


CBU's local programs are The Early Edition, hosted by Stephen Quinn, in the morning; and On the Coast, hosted by Gloria Macarenko, in the afternoon.

CBU also originates the lunch-hour show BC Today, hosted by Michelle Eliot and simulcast over CBUT-DT,[11] as well as the weekend programs North By Northwest, hosted by Margaret Gallagher, in the morning; and Hot Air on Saturday afternoons. These shows (except for The Early Edition and On the Coast) are broadcast province-wide to Radio One's stations in Victoria, Kelowna, Kamloops, Prince Rupert and Prince George, as well as their respective rebroadcasters.


Rebroadcasters of CBU
City of license Identifier Frequency Power Class RECNet CRTC Decision Notes
Abbotsford CBU-1-FM 88.5 FM
Moved from 101.7 on August 10, 2011
7400 watts B1 Query 2007-348 2010-298 49°3′8″N 122°14′58″W / 49.05222°N 122.24944°W / 49.05222; -122.24944 (CBU-1-FM 88.5 Abbotsford)
Chilliwack CBYF-FM 91.7 FM 500 watts A Query 49°6′35″N 121°50′52″W / 49.10972°N 121.84778°W / 49.10972; -121.84778 (CBYF-FM 91.7 Chilliwack)
Harrison Hot Springs CBYH-FM 96.7 FM 90 watts A1 Query 49°17′37″N 121°46′40″W / 49.29361°N 121.77778°W / 49.29361; -121.77778 (CBYH-FM 96.7 Harrison Hot Springs)
Hope CBUE-FM 101.7 FM 105 watts A1 Query 49°23′14″N 121°25′21″W / 49.38722°N 121.42250°W / 49.38722; -121.42250 (CBUE-FM 101.7 Hope)
Pemberton CBU-3-FM 91.5 FM 262 watts A Query 50°19′39″N 122°49′20″W / 50.32750°N 122.82222°W / 50.32750; -122.82222 (CBU-3-FM 91.5 Pemberton)
Squamish CBRU-FM 98.3 FM
Originally 1350 AM, then 1260, then 1270
3,000 watts A Query 84-282 2006-275 2002-432 49°46′24″N 123°7′44″W / 49.77333°N 123.12889°W / 49.77333; -123.12889 (CBRU-FM 98.3 Squamish)
Whistler CBYW-FM 100.1 FM 500 watts A Query 50°4′45″N 123°1′4″W / 50.07917°N 123.01778°W / 50.07917; -123.01778 (CBYW-FM 100.1 Whistler)

CBU's signal on 690 AM also can be heard in Nanaimo and Gibsons.

Current on-air staff

  • Amy Bell, weekday morning traffic reporter
  • Michelle Eliot, host of weekday noon-hour program BC Today
  • tbd, host of Saturday afternoon music program Hot Air
  • Gloria Macarenko, host of weekday afternoon program On the Coast
  • Margaret Gallagher, host of weekend morning program North By Northwest
  • Stephen Quinn, host of weekday morning program The Early Edition
  • Robert Zimmerman, morning news editor

Former CBU personalities

  • Rick Cluff, former host of The Early Edition
  • Anne Petrie, former host of CBU radio program 3's Company


  1. ^ Government of Canada, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) (February 7, 2018). "CBU Vancouver – Technical changes". crtc.gc.ca. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  2. ^ FCCdata.org/CBU-2-FM
  3. ^ "CBU-AM History of Canadian Broadcasting". Canadian Communications Foundation. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  4. ^ "Radio Canada Building". City of Richmond. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  5. ^ "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2008-252". CRTC. September 5, 2008. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  6. ^ "Broadcasting decision CRTC 2012-494". CRTC. September 13, 2012. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  7. ^ "Northwest Broadcasters - Since 1997 - News you can trust for over-the-air radio & TV stations in coastal WA and southwest BC". www.nwbroadcasters.com. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  8. ^ a b "CKZU-SW | History of Canadian Broadcasting".
  9. ^ Dave Zantow (23 February 2017). "CKZU unlikely to return to shortwave". The Swling Post. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  10. ^ "No more CBU on shortwave". Radiowest.ca. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  11. ^ https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/community/watch-bc-today-now-1.6873575,
  • Official website
  • CBU-AM at The History of Canadian Broadcasting by the Canadian Communications Foundation
  • CBU in the REC Canadian station database
  • CBU-2-FM in the REC Canadian station database
  • Bureau of Broadcast Management; PPM Top-line Radio Statistics, Vancouver CTRL