Bill Evanov is the Founder of Evanov Communications Inc., one of Canada’s fastest-growing independent broadcast companies. A true entrepreneur, Evanov went from owning 3 radio stations in Toronto to 11 across the country in a span of just six years and in an age where independent radio ownership has drastically declined due to the consolidation of large corporate multi-chain broadcasters, he has stood firm and bucked the trend. It is one thing to operate radio stations, it is another to be hugely successful in doing so, especially in major markets where competition from the large corporations is extreme..
Years ago, when a young Bill Evanov decided to get into radio, he knocked on the doors of CHUM, CFRB, CKEY, CKFH, CFGM, CHIC and CHFI; but was rejected by all due to lack of experience. As fortune would have it, Johnny Lombardi gave him an opportunity at CHIN Radio, a relatively unknown station at the time, and within 18 months Evanov became Vice President Sales.
Johnny Lombardi and Mel Lastman hosted the First Annual “Spaghetti Dig in Contest” of which Evanov became the Chief Organizer. He subsequently morphed this event into the highly successful CHIN International Picnic, which has remained a staple event in Toronto over the last 30 years and known the world over by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest event of its kind.
Among his many accomplishments, Evanov created several unique, non-cookie-cutter formats including The Evanov CHR/Dance format which delivers a variety of different genres of rhythmic music – Pop, Rock, Hip-hop, R&B and Dance; The Jewel’s “Lite Favourites” format blending soft, melodic music in a variety of genres from different eras; and in 2007 he launched CIRR-FM known as Proud FM, the world’s first of its kind, that programs to Toronto’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) population.
Evanov Radio Group is one of the only independent broadcasters left in the country’s largest markets. Bill Evanov was the founder of the famed Summer Rush Concert – the largest annual live concert produced by a radio broadcaster in Canada. For close to two decades Summer Rush acted as a platform for many local artists to perform to a sold-out crowd and has been produced in Halifax as well as Toronto.
Bill Evanov “walked the walk” every day in support of Canadian music. He opened the door for independent Canadian musical artists at ALL Evanov stations across the country which oftentimes resulted in them being the first to recognize and play fresh new Canadian talent.
Among some of the more notable successes who received first radio airplay on Evanov stations are Michael Bublé, Shawn Desman (Juno ’06 winner), Danny Fernandes (MMVA winner & Juno nominee), DJ Danny D (half million CDs sold & Juno nominee), Massari (MMVA winner & Juno nominee), The Sound Bluntz (’03 & ’04 Juno winner), Joee (Juno nominee), Addictiv (Juno nominee), Love Inc. (Juno winner), BKS’s “Rock Em Sock Em Techno” (550,000 copies sold). The stations provided extensive airplay, far exceeding other stations to promote Richard Abel, Amy Sky, Mark Jordan, Jann Arden, Holly Cole, Jesse Cook, Molly Johnson, k.d. lang, Chantal Chamberland, and Serena Ryder.
Evanov Radio Group strongly supports education with over a million dollars distributed through a series of scholarships and endowments. Some of the partner university and college institutions include Waterloo, Acadia, King’s, Dalhousie, Carlton, Guelph, Sherbrooke, Humber, Western and the University of Manitoba. The Company is also committed to the Aboriginal Media Fund that encourages, promotes and makes possible the development of aboriginal talent.
ECI radio holdings are both responsive and proactive in the communities they serve. For example, ECI was, the original and still is, the media partner of the Student Crime Stoppers Program, a partnership between the public, the police and the media.
With an enterprising spirit, he blazed trails and achieved a roster of firsts and milestones in independent radio. He defined dance music as a unique radio format when he re-launched CING FM as Energy 108 in 1990 and took it from 90,000 to over 800,000 weekly listeners (FALL 95 BBM) making it the most popular radio station among teens and young adults. He then recreated the format on CIDC FM and grew it into the #1 CHR station in the country with 853,000 listeners. (BBM S2’09)
ECI is the first broadcaster in Canadian history to elevate female employees to ownership status through new radio license acquisitions.
His “Move Like Lightning” and “Just Do It-Make it Happen” philosophy guided the company to stand strong in the stiffest competition and his extremely tenacious approach and street-fighter attitude have extended to the team he carefully assembled over the years.
Evanov Radio Station’s raise thousands of dollars every year for dozens of charity initiatives including “Boating for the Cure”, an event Bill personally spearheaded within the company to raise thousands of dollars every year for prostate and breast cancer.
Bill Evanov was an entrepreneur and a pioneer. His contributions to the Canadian broadcast industry were significant.