The other day I was listening to Toronto Centre on liveatc.net. Someone chimed on looking for Toronto Radio. The controller corrected him by saying that he’s on Centre frequency.
I wasn’t able to catch the pilots response, but what the controller said next made me chuckle:
“Do you want to talk to a centre controller or do you want to talk to the radio? The radio people give you weather and stuff and the centre people keep you away from other airplanes”.
Here, listen to the clip yourself.
So technically what is the difference?
*something* Radio is how you’d call up a Flight Service Station. For example in and around southern ontario you could call up “London Radio” and ask for information such as the weather conditions and forecasts. You can also use them to file a flight plan, or amend your flight plan. One of the more important things you should do with a FSS is to broadcast position reports. These are important incase you go missing, the FSS knows where to start the search and rescue.
*something* Centre is how you’d call up a centre controller. For example, if you want to fly around Toronto you could call up “Toronto Centre”. One of their main jobs is to provide separation between aircraft. In the case of Torontos class C airspace, they provide separation between VFR and IFR traffic.
More detailed information can be found in the AIM RAC 1.1.