Latest NewsEvanov introduces Hot Country 88.5 to GTA

Evanov introduces Hot Country 88.5 to GTA

Evanov Communications has rebranded Lite 88.5 (CKDX-FM) Newmarket, ON as Hot Country 88.5, a new country radio station serving the Greater Toronto Area.

Making the flip at 9 a.m. Friday morning, Evanov cited the exploding popularity of country music, particularly with a new generation of younger listeners.

“After assessing the market and its various needs we determined that there was a large unfulfilled demand for a local country music station in this part of the GTA,” said Paul Evanov, President and CEO of Evanov Communications, in a company announcement. “We believe the time is right to provide GTA country music listeners and advertisers with a much-needed country station and Hot Country 88.5 will do just that.”

Hot Country 88.5 joins Evanov’s other Country format stations in Ontario, Hot Country 93.9 Brantford (CFWC-FM), Hot Country 107.7 (CKHK-FM) Hawkesbury, and Hot Country 92.5 (CHRC-FM) Clarence/Rockland.

Playing hits from artists like Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Lainey Wilson, Morgan Wallen, Luke Bryan, Dallas Smith, Jelly Roll, and Kane Brown, all four stations will share a simulcast morning show, Hot Country Mornings with Tracy Lynn.

Nashville-based country DJ Katie Neal’s syndicated Katie & Company is being heard in middays, Cruise in afternoon drive (who is also heard across the Hot Country brand), Academy of Country Music Award-winning syndicated duo Rob + Holly weekday evenings, and Casey Clarke’s Country Countdown Show on weekends. Hot Country 88.5 will also feature local news, weather and traffic.

The format flip marks the second rebrand for the station since October 2021, when Evanov introduced the Lite 88.5 branding, replacing The Jewel Adult Standards/Adult Contemporary format the station had carried since 2007.

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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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