When Johnny Lombardi began his career as concert producer, supermarket owner, record store and record label company, he complimented his endeavours with Italian radio programming on English radio stations. In 1966, with the launching of his new multicultural CHIN Radio station, the next step was complimenting his radio programming and Italo-Canadian talent on television.
To that end, Johnny approached Global Television in the early 70s, and began a weekly Sunday Italian show broadcast live from the Global studios on Barber Greene Road. A very unique Italian variety show emerged from that. CHIN even shared the same studios that SCTV (Second City) used for their comedy shows. For many years, CHIN produced an hourly, then a two hour show. Demand for multicultural television began to grow, and CHIN branched out and produced a Portuguese Festival television show immediately preceding the Italian show. For a short time, CHIN television programming was also on CKVR Barrie.
Several years later, in the late 80s when Global could no longer accommodate time in their programming schedule, City welcomed CHIN Television shows to its broadcasting schedule. Festival Italiano di Johnny Lombardi on City is broadcast live from the CHIN building at 622 College Street each Sunday from11:30am to 1:30pm.
Included in CHIN-produced multicultural television programming are 6.5 additional hours of Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu, Polish, Portuguese and Italian programming broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays.
Festival Italiano goes live on location each year for many events throughout the year such as Taste of Little Italy and Casino Rama concerts. The live on location television shows are complete with concert star interviews and performances, entertainment by top Toronto musicians and singers, and hosted by CHIN personalities.