CIMX-FM (88.7 FM) — branded 89X — is a commercial active-leaning alternative rock radio station based in Windsor, Ontario. 89X serves both Essex County, Ontario and Metro Detroit; its 100,000-watt signal reaches most of southwestern Ontario, southeastern Michigan, the Toledo metro area and the western Lake Erie shoreline of Ohio.
CIMX-FM also broadcasts a soft rock music program continuously on its 92 kHz SCMO subcarrier. The program is not intended for public reception, but rather provides background music for businesses, similar to Muzak.
What is now CIMX had its first stint as a progressive/alternative rock station long before the birth of 89X. The station signed on July 10, 1967, as CKWW-FM, with an MOR/easy listening format. CKWW-FM added evening progressive rock programming in the fall of 1970. The following April, the station changed its calls to CJOM and the progressive format went full-time. "Om FM" (pronounced "Ohm FM") distinguished itself from its Detroit competitors WRIF, WWWW and WABX by emphasizing Canadian talent.
By 1976, the album rock sounds of Om FM had faded away and the station was again programming MOR music. However, in 1982, under the ownership of Geoff Stirling's company, Stirling Communications International (which also owned CKGM radio in Montreal and CHOZ-FM in St. John's, among other properties), the station made an abrupt switch to a CHR/Top 40 format. In the late 1980s, the station went by the moniker "Laser Rock," a reference to becoming one of the first, if not the first, radio stations in the Detroit area to program music solely from compact discs.
CJOM ran afoul of the CRTC in the summer of 1983 for its format change to contemporary hits. Then as now, all radio station format changes in Canada must be approved by the CRTC. CJOM had been approved for a "contemporary MOR" (a.k.a. adult contemporary) format, but analyses of the station's programming in May 1983 showed that almost all of the music being played was rock-oriented, that the station was playing 78% "hit" music rather than the allowed <50%, and that the station was not meeting its licence commitments for "foreground", "mosaic", spoken word, or news programming. Stirling maintained that the station was "experimenting" with its programming and that such a format was necessary in order to make the station competitive with Detroit-based broadcasters. Stirling and the CRTC finally reached a compromise in August 1985 whereas CJOM was granted an "experimental" licence which would enable the station to play more harder-edged rock and pop music with higher repetition, although a proposal to reduce the station's Canadian Content quotient to 5% from 15% was denied. Under this experimental licence, CJOM remained a CHR-formatted radio station for most of the rest of the decade. Most rock songs played were Top-40 based like "Animal" by Def Leppard and "Everybody Wants You" by Billy Squier. The station also included many Canadian pop songs by artists like Platinum Blonde, Haywire, and Gino Vannelli. CJOM would occasionally include several songs by one artist in a "star set" during the day. On Sunday evenings, CJOM would broadcast an "album countdown" in which the station would play several songs from same album in the countdown. In 1987, CJOM upgraded their transmitting power to 100,000 watts from the transmitting tower in McGregor. Before this, the station's signal did not extend much further than the Detroit/Windsor area. During these years, however, the station had little to no ratings impact in the Detroit market.
The station location changed a few times in the years; originally located in the Macabee's Building next to the Wandalyn Viscount Hotel on Ouellette Avenue between Erie Street and Giles Boulevard. In late 1982, the station moved to the Bob Pedler Building, along with her sister station CKWW, located on Cabana Road East near Howard Avenue in the southern part of Windsor. Eventually, the station relocated to the former "Big 8" CKLW building, at the corner of Ouellette Avenue and Tecumseh Road West when CHUM Limited purchased the station.
The Mix To 89X
CJOM became CIMX in 1990. CIMX was first known as "The Mix" with an adult contemporary format, but DJ Greg St. James began playing modern rock on his evening show (8:00 pm to midnight) beginning in September 1990, and on May 13, 1991, the modern rock format went full-time and "89X" was born. The first song on "89X" was "Stop!" by Jane's Addiction. CIMX immediately took away many listeners from other youth-oriented stations in Detroit, particularly top 40 96.3 WHYT and 99.5 The Fox, and may have been at least partially responsible for WHYT's decision to switch to an alternative format a few years later.
CIMX had been owned by Canada's CHUM Limited since the late 1980s, but was sold along with the rest of CHUM's radio stations to CTVglobemedia in 2007. Its sister station CIDR-FM adopted an adult album alternative format again in 2006, thus forcing CIMX to add more active rock songs to the playlist and go up against WRIF.
89X receives little interference from lower-powered stations broadcasting near its frequency. The station can be heard clearly as far north as Caro, Michigan, as far west as Greenville, Michigan, and as far south as North Baltimore, Ohio on a typical car radio. It can be regularly heard across Lake Erie at Sandusky, Ohio, and southeast to the greater Norwalk, Ohio area, where it is the only station available featuring an exclusively modern rock format. CIMX also gets respectable ratings in Toledo.
The station is broadcast live across the internet on their website. They also podcast their morning show, Cal & Co., along with their rock interviews.
In the February 29, 2012 issue of Real Detroit Weekly, 89X was rated the best radio station in Detroit. Real Detroit Weekly also crowned 89X's own Jay Hudson the best DJ in Detroit for the fourth consecutive year in a row.
In addition to the various annual shows, the station holds many acoustic "Live-X" events when bands come to town. The acoustic renditions have even been used by many of the bands, including Soundgarden's re-release of King Animal, "King Animal Plus," when the band performed their song "Halfway There."
Annual 89X Sponsored Shows
89X celebrated its first birthday in May 1992 by holding two X-Fest shows. Peter Murphy, the Nymphs, Senseless Things were a few of the bands that played X-Fest. Then in 1993, 89X held a birthday show at Chene Park featuring the Tragically Hip. The next year, 1994, 89X started throwing annual "Birthday Bash" shows. The Birthday Bash in 1994 was held at the Phoenix Plaza Amphitheater during the World Cup competitions in Pontiac. The Afghan Whigs, Beck, and the Odds were some of the bands that played.