Year Born: 1920Year Died: 1997Year of Induction: 1992
Pioneer – Member of CAB Hall of Fame
Yerxa, Hal (1920-1997)
Hal Yerxa’s broadcasting career began in Regina in 1937 when he was hired as an announcer by CJRM (later CKRM), then owned by James Richardson and Sons Limited. The lure of Toronto as a network production centre took him east a few years later and to a job with the CBC, until he was called to the colours and service with the Regina Rifles Regiment. On his return to civilian life, he joined the announcing staff of CKCK Regina, moving later to CJCA where he became popular with his ‘Uncle Hal and Jo-Jo the Parrot’ children’s program, and also took over the desk of News Director of the Edmonton station. In the latter role, Hal was on location broadcasting “live” when the Leduc #1 oil well was brought in.
In the late 40’s, Hal was involved with the group that started-up CKRD Red Deer, and from there went to CKNW New Westminster where he did a morning dj show.
In 1953, he returned to Alberta with a licence for a 250-watt station for Camrose, which went on the air a year later with the call sign CFCW. In October 1960, CFCW became Canada’s first full-time country music station, and with the added strength given by 1,000 watts. Then, came an increase to 10,000 watts and a move on the dial to 790. In the fall of 1973, CKCW became a 50,000-watt station. Through the years, CFCW has featured successful country music personalities such as Hiram Bixby, Curley Gurlock and Bev Munro.
In 1979, Hal founded a new FM station in Edmonton – CKRA-FM. In 1984, he started another, in Kamloops, BC – CHRK-FM. In 1989, two years after being inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Half-Century Club, Hal retired. Hal Yerxa passed away on April 12, 1997.
In 1992, Hal Yerxa was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame.
Written by J. Lyman Potts – December, 1996