Fitzroy Gordon, the founder and CEO of G98.7 (CKFG-FM) Toronto, who is credited with bringing radio reflective of the city’s Caribbean community to the airwaves, died Tuesday. He was 65.
Born in St. Andrew, Jamaica, Gordon arrived in Canada in 1979. His first foray into radio was on multicultural station CHIN where he started hosting a midnight to 6 a.m. call-in show that earned him the nickname “Dr. Love.” He also took turns as a cricket writer for the Toronto Sun and as a co-host on The Fan 590’s (CJCL-AM) World Sports Report.
He left CHIN in 1998 and started work to obtain a broadcast licence to serve Greater Toronto’s Caribbean and African communities. The proposed frequency, 98.7 FM, was met with opposition. Milestone Radio, the founder of urban station Flow 93.5 (CFXJ-FM), also had concerns about duplication.
After three weeks of testing in 2010, the CRTC finally gave Gordon’s Intercity Broadcasting Network approval to use the frequency over the objections of CBC, Rogers Media, Astral Media, Bell Media and Durham Radio.
On Nov. 28, 2011, G98.7 went live with the Jimmy Cliff hit “I Can See Clearly Now”, followed by a prayer by Gordon, before the show was handed over to hosts Mark Strong and Jemeni. The last two letters of the station’s call sign – CKFG – are a permanent tribute to its founder.
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said Fitzroy’s work “created a platform for art news and culture unique to the GTA.”
“The station G98.7 has become a foundation of the community, bringing us together and providing a unique voice to the people in our cities,” Brown said in a statement.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said Gordon’s death is a loss for the entire city.
“He was a caring citizen who constantly showed leadership in the black community, but also took a keen, active interest in the advancement of newcomers to Canada and of the City of Toronto as a whole,” Tory said. “Fitzroy Gordon was a towering figure in our city who brought people together. His was a life of great accomplishment and contribution to our city but a life cut way too short.”
My statement on the death of Fitzroy Gordon. pic.twitter.com/l5hqYXxdlm
— John Tory (@JohnTory) April 30, 2019
Fitzroy Gordon brought people together, gave them a voice, and worked to make Toronto an even better, more inclusive place – both on & off the air. He’ll be deeply missed, but his legacy & contributions to Canada will live on. https://t.co/sTHxwcbEnJ
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 1, 2019
Wow. This is the end of an era. Sending love to his family and loved ones. Rest in Peace Mr. Fitzroy Gordon 🙏🏾 https://t.co/jZxcT4akYb
— Amanda Parris (@amanda_parris) May 1, 2019
On my very first solo shift as a board opperator at the FAN 590, my producer, and one of the hosts were both sick. I was super nervous. Fitzroy put his hand on my shoulder saying “don’t worry man, it’s just live radio, we got this”. That’s the kind of calm, relaxed pro he was. https://t.co/pVptG8WLZc
— Momin Qureshi (@Momin680NEWS) May 1, 2019
So sorry to hear of the passing of Fitzroy Gordon. A wonderful man, he was so kind to me when I was starting out in this business, having me on his CHIN show late on Sunday nights. A member of the @FAN590 family. #RIPFitzy https://t.co/ZDtjV9eUzH
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) May 1, 2019
I am deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Fitzroy Gordon founder & CEO @G987FM. To say Mr. Gordon was a leader would be an understatement. He was a visionary. His contributions to our Black media, arts, culture and business communities will never be forgotten. #culture #onpoli pic.twitter.com/q3zLKEaVNa
— Dr. Jill Andrew (@JILLSLASTWORD) May 1, 2019
We are sad to report the passing of a Canadian media trailblazer, Mr. Fitzroy Gordon, founder of G98.7FM, Canada’s only Black and Caribbean owned and operated radio station. #fitzroygordon #g987 #medialegends #blackmedia pic.twitter.com/JW8KysB00N
— ByBlacks.com (@ByBlacks) April 30, 2019
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