CHER-FM, Max FM 98.3, Sydney
Maritime Broadcasting System Ltd.
Maritime Broadcasting System Ltd.
Radio Cape Breton Ltd.
Robert J. McGuigan received a licence for a 10,000 watt AM station at Sydney, operating on a frequency of 950 kHz. CHER 950 began broadcasting later in the year.
CHER subscribed to the Rogers Radio News Network which began operations in April. RRNN was affiliated with ABC in New York.
On March 25, Sinclair Broadcasting Management Ltd. (Gord Sinclair) and RoyNat Ltd. were denied approval to purchase shares of CHER Broadcasting Ltd.
Because of circumstances that are unclear, it appears CHER may have been off the air as on November 30, the CRTC approved an application by Sandy Campbell for a new AM station at Sydney on 950 kHz with power of 10,000 watts. The application by W. A. Winton to acquire CHER Broadcasters Ltd. was denied. An application by J. Arthur Manning for a new AM station at Sydney was also denied.
Approval was given for the transfer of 1,000 common shares of CHER from Highlander Press to G. S. Marsh & D. MacDonald.
CHER was given a short term licence renewal of 18 months. The station was told to improve its news service and upgrade its technical facilities which were deficient due to a lack of maintenance.
CHER 950 returned to the air on December 21.
Peter Cotter became CHER's news director, succeeding Joe Currie (who remained with the station). CHER now had a new AMPFET transmitter to replace the original (27 year old) General Electric unit.
CHER's licence was renewed for only three years to allow the CRTC to assess the station's overall performance, particularly the adherence to provision of logger tapes and to the amount of local and regional news that had been broadcast by the station. CHER told the commission that under new management, the station had increased its news staff and its commitment to provision of local news programming.
CHER was given a new lease on life following approval of an application giving Dr. Stewart March (60%) and his wife, Florence Marsh (40%), ownership of the station. This was the result of the sale of shares held by Duncan A. MacDonald in Radio Cape Breton Ltd. to Mr. & Mrs. Marsh. Dr. Marsh had held a 50% interest under the old ownership structure. CHER now had a new manager and staff and, under the new ownership, planned to spend $45,000 for improvements to its control room and production studio over five years.
Eric Morrison (formerly of CHNS Halifax) was appointed vice-president and general manager, and Scott Boyd was named program director.
CHER was given approval to change its daytime radiation pattern from directional to non-directional. A judge ordered CHER to pay Pat Connolly more than $25,000. His verbal two year contract to do play-by-play hockey ended after one season (1988-89) when the station decided not to renew the rights to the games. The judge said CHER had to pay Connolly for year two plus six per cent interest.
CHER went into receivership after experiencing significant financial difficulties since 1990. Peat Marwick Thorne, Inc. was appointed Receiver and Manager / Trustee on July 13. The receiver said seven parties had expressed an interest in buying the bankrupt CHER and that October 5 was the closing date for firm offers.
Celtic Broadcasting Limited (CJCB-CKPE) applied to purchase the station but this was denied. Celtic proposal to convert CHER to the FM band was also denied.
Bras d'Or Broadcasting Ltd. was given approval to acquire CHER, in receivership since Radio Cape Breton Ltd. went into bankruptcy. Peat Marwick Thorne, Inc. was the receiver.
CHER morning man Dan Barton was now also operations manager for CJCB/CKPE-FM.
Dan Barton, CHER operations manager and morning man, resigned to become program director at Truro's CKCL/Mix 100.9. Sean Russell, general manager at CHER, added operations manager duties for CJCB/K94 (Sydney) to his responsibilities. He succeeded Dan Barton. Maritime Broadcasting System purchased Oldies 950 CHER from Bras d’Or Broadcasting Ltd. MBS already owned 40% of the company.
CHER became known as Classic Hits MAX 950, playing the biggest songs of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
On August 11, Maritime Broadcasting was authorized to convert CHER to the FM Band, operating on 98.3 MHz with effective radiated power of 100,000 watts. Once on FM, CHER would continue to offer a Classic Hits format.
CHER-FM began testing in May. The station officially launched June 11 at 12:00 p.m. as “MAX FM 98.3”.
Peter Cotter died at age 61. He had a news career in Maritimes radio (CIGO Port Hawkesbury, CFCY Charlottetown, CJCB and CHER Sydney) that spanned the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. He'd spent the last 15 years with the Cape Breton Post.
On August 8, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CHER-FM until August 31, 2013.