Henri Audet, who a decade later would found Cogeco Inc, first entered broadcasting when he joined the CBC, where he held increasingly responsible positions over the next ten years.
In June, Henri Audet left the CBC, became President and Managing Director of Television St. Maurice Inc., and was awarded a licence by the CBC (then the body empowered to deal with applications for private broadcasting licences) to operate a television station in Trois Rivieres. The station was a private affiliate of the CBC French service, SRC, and its call letters were CKTM-TV. Later, Television St. Maurice Inc. would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Henri’s newly-created Cogeco Inc., which would eventually become a major holder of broadcasting and cable properties in Quebec.
Cogeco Cable Inc. was formed, and started on the road that would make Cogeco owners of the second largest group of cable holdings in Ontario and Quebec before the end of the century.
On August 3rd, the CRTC awarded Henri Audet’s Television St. Francois Inc. (another Cogeco group subsidiary) a licence for a new television station in Sherbrooke, Quebec, that would replace CHLT-TV as the private CBC affiliate in the market. Henri became Chairman and CEO of Cogeco Inc.
The new Sherbrooke station began broadcasting on September 19th, with call letters CKSH-TV. To a significant degree the station was a satellite of CKTM-TV Trois Rivieres.
After having worked for four years as an Engineering Project Manager for Bell Canada in the Montréal area, and then spending some time at CF Cable TV (formerly Cable T.V. Inc.) as Assistant to the Vice-President, Development, Louis Audet was named as director of national sales for CKTM-TV and CKSH-TV.
Louis Audet was named as a Director of Cogeco Inc.
On May 13th, Cogeco Inc., in partnership with Moffat Communications Ltd., appeared before the CRTC as one of two applicants for a new French language television network to operate in the Province of Quebec. They lost out to Réseau Quatre-Saisons Inc. It would be twelve years later that Cogeco would obtain part ownership of TQS.
Television St. Maurice Inc launched another television station in Trois Rivieres, CKTM-TV, this one an affiliate of the new Television Quatre Saisons network (TVS).
Cogeco purchased Stéréo Laval Inc. from Placements Roland Saucier Inc, gaining ownership and control of radio station CFGL-FM Laval, and CJMF.FM Quebec City from a group of owners headed by Michel Noel.
Through their purchase of effective control of Radio Cote-Nord Inc, Cogeco added three new Quebec radio stations to their growing line-up: CHLC-AM and CKDO-FM Baie-Comeau and CFRP-AM Forestville.
Then Radio St-Hyacinthe (1978) Ltée was sold by Michel Chapdelaine, André Lagacé, Roger Duceppe and Richard Loiselle to Cogeco Inc. The purchase involved stations CKBS-AM and CFEI-FM in St-Hyacinthe.
On April 10, the CRTC revoked the licence for CKBS-AM at Cogeco’s request, due to a poor financial situation. Cogeco Inc. said it had been unsuccessful in efforts to revive the AM station and would continue to serve the community through CFEI-FM. Cogeco also received approval to close CKDO-FM at Baie-Comeau. The CRTC expressed concern that the closures came less than three years after the stations had been purchased by Cogeco.
Henri Audet’s various companies were merged into Cogeco Radio-Television Inc. Louis Audet became a Director of Cogeco Cable Inc.
Henri Audet named his son Louis as Chief Executive Officer of Cogeco Inc. and Cogeco Cable Inc, while remaining Chairman of both Boards.
Henri Audet gave up his chairmanship of the Boards of Cogeco Inc and Cogeco Cable Inc. in favour of Louis, but remained Chairman Emeritus of each company, and continued to hold a 72% voting holding in Cogeco Inc.
After several years of financial problems, control of the TQS network was transferred to a consortium that included Cogeco, Quebecor Inc., Cancom and a group of TQS affiliates. Cogeco would own 19.99% of TQS.
The consortium acquired ownership of television stations CFAP-TV Québec, CFJP-TV Montréal and CJPC-TV Rimouski and of the television network Télévision Quatre Saisons.
Cogeco Radio-Télévision inc. acquired CKRS-TV Jonquiere (and CKRS-TV-1 Saint-Fulgence) and CFRS-TV from Radio Saguenay ltée.
CKRS-TV became CKTV-TV on March 26. Repeater CKRS-TV-1 became CKTV-TV-1.
Cogeco Radio Télévision Inc. sold 40% of CKTV-TV, CFRS-TV and several other stations to Bell Globemedia Inc. subsidiary CTV Inc. These stations would now operate under the TQS Inc. name.
On July 5, the CRTC approved the acquisition of Group Vidéotron Ltée by Quebecor inc., through its subsidiary Quebecor Média inc., but the acquisition was conditional on Quebecor selling off TQS to a third party.
On December 7, the CRTC approved the transfer of TQS to a company held by Cogeco inc. (60%) and Bell Globemedia inc. (40%). At the same time, the CRTC approved the transfer to TQS of the assets of the TV stations affiliated with the TQS network, and the transfer to the French language network of the CBC, Societé Radio-Canada, the assets of the SRC affiliates that were owned by Cogeco (namely, CFKM-TV and CKTM-TV Trois-Rivières, CFKS-TV and CKSH-TV Sherbrooke, CFRS-TV and CKTV-TV Chicoutimi/Jonquière and the transmitter CKTV-TV-1 Saint-Fulgence).
On July 16th, the CRTC awarded to Cogeco a licence for a new Quebec FM station in Chaudiere/Apalaches. The new station’s call letters would be CJEC-FM and the station would be part of Cogeco’s growing Rhythm Network.
On July 2nd, Cogeco was awarded a licence for a new French-language FM station in Sherbrooke, to operate on 93.7 MHz. There would be a rebroadcaster in Magog, on 98.1 MHz. The stations would join the Rhythm network. The call letters would be CFGE-FM.
Cogeco also had an application approved for a new Trois Rivieres station, to be identified as CJEB-FM, on 100.1 MHz.
CJEC-FM Chaudiere began testing in August, and went on the air before the year-end.
CFGE-FM Sherbrooke went on the air on July 16th and CJEB-FM Trois Rivieres in September.
On December 5th, at the age of 88, Henri Audet stepped down from the Board of Cogeco Cable Inc., and shortly afterward he also retired from the Board of Cogeco Inc.
On March 11, the Superior Court of Quebec approved a buyout proposal for TQS made by Remstar Corporation, a Montreal company involved in the production and distribution of Québec and foreign films. Remstar’s proposal was the one that had been accepted by Cogeco and Bell-Globemedia shareholders, from amongst the three proposals that had been received from potential buyers.
On March 20, the CRTC authorized the temporary transfer of the management of TQS to Remstar Corporation, until September 20, 2008. Remstar was a company controlled by Julien and Maxime Rémillard.
On May 22, TQS creditors approved the plan put forward by Remstar. This arrangement was then approved by the Superior Court of Québec on June 4.
On June 26, the CRTC approved the sale of TQS to Remstar, but required the continuation of some news broadcasts on all the stations in the network, in Montreal, Quebec City, Saguenay, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières.
On June 26, the CRTC also approved the application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to acquire the assets of CKSH-TV Sherbrooke, CKTM-TV Trois-Rivières and CKTV-TV Saguenay and its transmitter CKTV-TV-1 Saint-Fulgence, from TQS Inc.
On April 30th, Corus Entertainment Inc. announced that they had reached an agreement with Cogeco Inc. for Cogeco to purchase the Corus Quebec radio stations: CKOI-FM, CKAC-AM, CHMP-FM and CFQR-FM Montreal , CFOM-FM102.9 and CFEL-FM Quebec City, CJRC-FM Gatineau , CIME-FM St-Jérôme, CHLT-FM and CKOY-FM Sherbrooke, and CHLN-FM Trois Rivieres.
On November 4th, Rogers Communications Inc. raised its stake in Montreal-based Cogeco Cable Inc. and its parent Cogeco Inc. by paying out C$75 million. As a result, Rogers then held nearly 40 percent of the voting shares in its cable television rival, but Rogers strongly denied any plans to take control of Cogeco & its cable arm.
On December 17, the CRTC approved the transfer of various commercial radio programming undertakings from Corus Entertainment Inc. to Cogeco Inc. The Commission received an application by Corus Entertainment Inc., on behalf of its wholly owned subsidiaries 591991 B.C. Ltd. and Metromedia CMR Broadcasting Inc., to transfer their shares and effective control from Corus to Cogeco inc. or one of its wholly owned subsidiaries.
591991 B.C. was the licensee of the French-language commercial radio programming undertakings CFOM-FM Lévis, CFEL-FM Lévis/Québec City, CHLT-FM and CKOY-FM Sherbrooke, CKAC Montréal, CJRC-FM Gatineau and CHLN-FM Trois-Rivières. Metromedia was the licensee of the French-language commercial radio programming undertakings CKOI-FM Montréal, CHMP-FM Longueuil, CIME-FM Saint-Jérôme and its transmitters CIME-FM-1 Val-Morin and CIME-FM-2 Mont-Tremblant, and CFQR-FM Montréal, an English-language commercial radio programming undertaking.
Following the proposed transaction, effective control of 591991 B.C. and Metromedia would be exercised by Cogeco. As part of the deal, Cogeco committed to divesting itself of two stations in the Québec radio market, namely CJEC-FM and CFEL-FM.
On the same date, December 17th, the Commission approved the application by Cogeco, on behalf of corporations to be incorporated, for the transfer of the shares and effective control of BC Newco1, licensee of CFEL-FM Lévis/Québec, BC Newco2, licensee of CKOY-FM Sherbrooke and Diffusion Newco, licensee of CJEC-FM Québec, all of which were owned by Cogeco, to a trustee for a period of 12 months from the date of the decision. Fernand Belisle was named as the Trustee.
On February 1st, CKOY-FM Sherbrooke moved from 104.5 to 107.7 MHz, becoming CJTS-FM. Cogeco would still sell off the 104.5 facility as required by the CRTC: however, it was no longer CKOY-FM but became CJTS-FM, with the “Souvenirs Garantis” (French) oldies format that had been on CHLT-FM (107.7). The 107.7 former CHLT-FM frequency would stay with Cogeco but it was now CKOY-FM, carrying a relay of CKOI-FM.
On November 30th, Cogeco announced the sale of CJEC-FM and CFEL-FM Quebec City to Leclerc Communication Inc. The sale of CJEC-FM and CFEL-FM came as the result of Cogeco Diffusion’s commitment to the CRTC on the acquisition of the Québec radio stations of Corus Entertainment Inc., to divest itself of certain stations in order to comply with the common ownership policy in the Québec City and Sherbrooke markets. At the time, Cogeco Diffusion stated its commitment to selling stations CJEC-FM and CFEL-FM Québec City, and CJTS-FM Sherbrooke.
On December 6th 2011, Cogeco Diffusion announced the closing of Sherbrooke radio station CJTS-FM, effective at noon that day. No offer for CJTS-FM Sherbrooke that met the criteria set forth with the trustee and approved by the CRTC had been filed within the prescribed timeframe.
In April, CKYK Alma received approval to decrease average ERP from 23,810 to 19,588 watts.
In June, the CRTC approved a decrease in ERP for CKOI Verdun from 307,000 to 147,000 watts. Antenna height would be raised and the transmitter would be relocated.
In August, CFOM Levis changed format from Classic Hits to Hot AC. The branding remained MFM 102.9.
In January the CRTC approved a decrease in ERP for CHOA-FM-1 Amos-Val d’Or, from 100,000 to 67,075 watts (maximum ERP would remain 100,000 watts). The transmitter would be relocated to the existing CHGO site. CHGO Val d’Or received approval to decrease ERP from 100,000 to 75,000 watts (average and maximum ERP).
In August, CHOA Rouyn-Noranda rebranded from Rythme FM to Wow FM (Wow 96.5).
On May 15, 2018, the Boards of Directors of Cogeco Inc. and of Cogeco Communications Inc announced that they had accepted Louis Audet’s recommendation to appoint Philippe Jetté to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of both public companies effective September 1st, 2018.
Philippe Jetté, an electrical engineer by training, had had a distinguished career with two large Canadian communications enterprises and led his own consultancy firm before joining Cogeco as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology and Strategy Officer in 2011, where he garnered a deep understanding of all the facets of Cogeco’s businesses. In 2015, Philippe Jetté agreed to take on the responsibility of President of Cogeco Peer 1.
Jan Peeters, currently Chairman of the Board of both companies, would become Lead Director, effective September 1st, 2018.
Louis Audet, President and Chief Executive Officer of both companies for the previous 25 years, would become Executive Chairman of the Board of both companies, effective September 1st, 2018.
Cogeco’s four Montreal-area FM (CKBE 92.5, CKOI 96.9, CHMP 98.5 and CFGL 105.7) antennas were consolidated on a single Mount Royal tower in November.
In March, Cogeco announced temporary layoffs to comply with a Quebec order to close businesses deemed non-essential during the COVID-19 crisis, and to grapple with declining in advertising revenue. Cogeco laid off 130, almost a quarter of the company’s staff. The layoffs were mostly contained to off-air positions. Programming on Rhythme FM in Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières was replaced by network shows out of Montreal, with the exception of local news.
On August 24 at 5:30 a.m., a simulcast of Hot Adult Contemporary CIME Saint Jerome replaced local programming on CJLA Lachute and rebroadcaster CHPR Hawkesbury. CFOM Quebec City changed format from Hot AC to Soft AC. The station kept the M102.9 branding and was now affiliated with Cogeco’s Rythme Soft AC network.
In October, Cogeco’s controlling shareholders turned down a revised $11 billion takeover offer from Rogers Communications Inc. and Altice USA. Cogeco said it received a second unsolicited offer, despite its unequivocal rebuff of an earlier $10.3 billion offer in September. Cogeco said the revised non-binding proposal was reviewed by Gestion Audem Inc., a company controlled by the members of the Audet family, which held a controlling interest in both Cogeco and Cogeco Communications, indicating it does not intend to sell its shares and would not support the revised proposal.
Paul Beaudry became Cogeco’s new VP, Regulatory Affairs following the retirement of Nathalie Dorval, who had held the role since 2013. For the past three years, Beaudry had been with Telus.
At the end of the year, Michel Lorrain left his position as president of Cogeco Media to pursue personal interests. Lorrain had been with Cogeco since 2007 and in his current role since 2018.
In December, the CRTC gave Cogeco 90 days to file an application to change the status of CHPR-FM Hawkesbury from a single station market undertaking to a rebroadcaster. This was because CHPR was now simulcasting CJLA-FM Lachute.
Caroline Paquet took the helm of Cogeco Media and its 23 radio stations on July 5. Paquet stepped into the President’s role vacated by Michel Lorrain in December. Lorrain had been with Co-geco since 2007 and President since 2018. Paquet had been VP of Marketing and Content at Que-becor’s Vidéotron.
Cogeco Inc. Radio Stations
(Click on the call letters to view individual station histories)
|CFOM-AM||1340||Québec City, QC|
|CJGO-FM||103.9||La Sarre, QC|