Maritime Broadcasting System Ltd.


The radio broadcasting station CHNS Halifax was founded in 1925 by Major William C. Borrett and fellow members of the Halifax Radio Listeners’ Club, Cecil Landry, Lionel Shatford and John Redmond. The group launched its first broadcast from the Carleton Hotel on 12 May 1926, with technical support from the Northern Electric Co. In the same year, the station came under the ownership of Halifax Herald Ltd.


CHNS opened a short wave station to rebroadcast its programming to remote communities. Its original call-sign was VE9HX, but later became CHNX.


In 1936 ownership of CHNS was transferred to the Maritime Broadcasting Co. William Borrett served as CHNS managing director from 1926 until his retirement in 1951. The station produced news, education, and entertainment programs.


The CHNS transmitter tower fell on December 6th in a heavy windstorm. It was snapped off 100 feet from the ground. The transmitter site was at Melville Cove, about fifteen miles outside Halifax.


CHNS installed a new 250 foot tower, known as the Blaw-Knox tower, located at Bedford, about ten miles outside Halifax. The top light on the tower was 404 feet above sea level.


CHNS also acted as the Halifax outlet for CBC network until the CBC established its own station in Halifax in 1940. In November of the same year, CHNS moved its studios from the Lord Nelson Hotel to its own building, Broadcasting House on Tobin Street.


CHNS launched CHNS-FM to simulcast the programming of CHNS-AM.


Ownership of The Maritime Broadcasting Co. Ltd.: Nova Scotia Agencies Ltd. 99.3%, A. W. Robb 0.1%, W. C. Borrett 0.1%, G. M. Daley 0.1%, D. A. Morrison 0.1%, G. W. Dennis 0.1%, L. F. Daley 0.1%, Estate of Hon W. H. Dennis 0.1%. Ownership of Nova Scotia Agencies Ltd.: A. W. Robb 0.1%, D. A. Morrison 0.1%, G. M. Daley 0.1%, G. W. Dennis 0.1%, A. D. Weldon 0.1% and Estate of Hon. W. H. Dennis 95.5%.

Graham W. Dennis was president of the company and Gerald J. Redmond was manager of CHNS.


The CBC Trans-Canada and Dominion Networks were consolidated into a single radio service. Following the merger, network service continued on the CBC’s CBH station, while CHNS became independent.


J. Irving Zucker and Jack Schoone formed Eastern Broadcasting System and acquired their first station – CKNB. On April 23, the CRTC approved the transfer of 1,124 shares (control) of Restigouche Broadcasting Co. Ltd. from Paul Ahier to Jack Schoone, on condition the station provide sufficient public service programming for the French-speaking audience in the area.


In June Mike Duffy left CHNS. He would later become a nationally known newsman with the CTV network, and eventually would be made a Senator.


CHNS-FM became CHFX-FM on February 9.

On July 17, approval was granted for the transfer of shares of Maritime Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (CHNS, CHNX, CHFX) – 538 common shares from present shareholders to L.F.D. Investments Ltd. (50.2%), Douglas A. Grant (12.4%), Weldon Douglas Coleman (12.5%), and George Charles Piercey (24.9%) with Lawrence F. Daley and Austin E. Hayes each holding one qualifying share beneficially owned by L.F.D. Investments.


On November 17, President Jack W. Schoone, on behalf of three companies to be incorporated, was given approval to reorganize the Eastern Broadcasting Co. group of stations – CFCY Charlottetown, CKCW and CFQM-FM Moncton, CJCW Sussex and CFAN Newcastle. The Charlottetown, Moncton and Sussex stations had operated under the name, Island Radio Broadcasting Ltd. CFAN was transferred from Eastern to CFAN Broadcasting Co. Ltd.


On August 31, approval was given for the sale of 90% of Maritime Broadcasting Co. Ltd. by L. F. D. Investments Ltd., Newton Holdings Ltd., The West Gore Investments Co. Ltd. and Premium Holdings Ltd. to Maclean-Hunter Ltd. M-H undertook to increase news staff and public affairs programming, to establish a Halifax bureau for Newsradio, and to operate CHFX-FM separately full-time, instead of simulcasting from midnight to 6:00 a.m.


In April, Maclean-Hunter, through its subsidiary Key Radio Ltd., acquired the remaining 10% interest in Maritime Broadcasting not already held.


On December 3rd, following a Public Hearing in Saint John on September 9th, the CRTC approved applications for authority to transfer effective control of Eastern Broadcasting Co. Ltd. through the transfer of 90% of its issued voting shares from Mr. Jack Schoone (40%) and Mr. Irving Zucker (50%) to Maritime Broadcasting Company Limited. Maritime Broadcasting thereby acquired the controlling interest that Eastern held in CKCW and CFQM-FM Moncton, CJCW Sussex, CFAN Newcastle, CKNB Campbellton, CFCY and CHLQ-FM Charlottetown, through their respective owners, CFQM-FM Broadcasting Limited, CJCW Broadcasting Limited, CFAN Broadcasting Company Limited, Restigouche Broadcasting Company Limited, CFCY Broadcasting Limited, CHLQ-FM Broadcasting Limited, Moncton, Sussex, Newcastle and Campbellton, New Brunswick; and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

On the same day, December 3, Mervyn Russell’s application for an independent FM station at Saint John was approved. The station would operate on the frequency 100.5 MHz, with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts. Eastern Broadcasting Co. Ltd. would hold effective control of the company to be incorporated as the principal shareholder with 70% of the issued voting shares, and Mervyn Russell would hold the remaining 30%. A competing application by CHSJ was denied. The first new radio station in Saint John in over 21 years, CIOK-FM would offer a Beautiful Music MOR / Soft Rock format for the 25-44 age group.

On December 29, CKNB Broadcasting Ltd. received approval to acquire Restigouche Broadcasting Co. Ltd. The transfer involved no change of effective control. Both Restigouche and the purchaser continued to be effectively controlled by Eastern Broadcasting Co. Ltd. The transaction was related to the transfer of control of Eastern to Maritime Broadcasting Co. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Maclean Hunter Ltd., which had recently been approved by the CRTC.


Approval was granted July 16 for Rogers Broadcasting Ltd to sell CHYR & CHYR-7 Leamington, along with CKJD and CJFI-FM Sarnia, to Blue Water Broadcasting Ltd. , which was 67% owned by Eastern Broadcasting, 24% by Don Chamberlain and 9% by Gerald Kennedy). Eastern was 90% owned by Maritime Broadcasting.


Jack Schoone was president of Maritime Broadcasting while Merv Russell was executive vice president. Some CHNS staffers: George MacLeod (sales manager), Nancy Hitchie promotions), Kurt Arsenault (chief engineer), Gary Barker (program director), Jerry Lawrence (morning drive announcer), Morrissey Dunn (mid-day announcer), and Mike Allard (afternoon drive announcer). Newsroom staff included Jim Crichton (news director), Mike Brown, Daryl Good, Clive Schaefer (with CHNS since 1949) and Tom Silver.

Maclean-Hunter merged its companies Maritime Broadcasting Co. Ltd. and Eastern Broadcasting Co. Ltd. into Maritime Broadcasting System Limited.


MBS announced the following appointments in the summer: Jim MacMullin from sales manager of CKNB to general manager of CJCW; Greg Sullivan from sales manager of CJCW to general sales manager of CKDH; Dan Roman from PD of CHNS to operations manager of CKCW/CFQM; Gary Crowell from manager of CJCW to VP & GM of CKDH; Sandy Gillis from manager of CKCW/CFQM to group VP of CJCW, CKDH, CFQM and CKCW.


CHYR Leamington was given permission on February 11 to flip from AM to FM. The unique two-channel AM station would move to 96.7 MHz and have an effective radiated power of 19,320 watts.


The CRTC permitted Maritime and Newcap to enter into a Local Marketing Agreement (LMA) involving CFCY and CHLQ-FM and Newcap’s CHTN. Both broadcasters were experiencing financial hardship in a difficult Charlottetown market, and considered that their economic viability would be better protected through the sharing of their facilities and administrative and sales resources. Maritime acted as manager and the LMA stipulated that each licensee would be responsible for making, supervising and controlling decisions related to programming, particularly news. The two companies entered the LMA in August. CHTN sold its studio building and moved in with CFCY/CHLQ-FM.

On December 19, the CRTC approved the transfer of effective control of Maritime Broadcasting System Ltd. (including CFCY and CHLQ), through the transfer of all the issued and outstanding Class M common shares and Class S common shares of Maritime from Key Radio Limited to a numbered company (2337017 Nova Scotia Ltd.) made up of an investor group that included Maritime Broadcasting President Mervyn Russell, along with Robert Pace and J. Gerald Godsoe. This transaction also comprised all or part of the remaining minority shares which Key Radio Limited acquired prior to the closing date of the transaction. This followed the purchase of Maclean Hunter Ltd. (Maritime’s parent) by Rogers Communications Ltd.

Also approved was the spin-off sale of Bluewater Broadcasting Ltd. (CHYR-FM Leamington, along with CFCO Chatham and CKTY-CFGX Sarnia) by Rogers to Blackburn Radio Inc.


Fundy Communications announced it would concentrate on cable. The company reached an agreement in principle to sell CFBC/CJYC-FM (Saint John) to Newcap and CJCB/CKPE-FM (Sydney) to Maritime Broadcasting.

On November 18, Maritime Broadcasting System Ltd. was given approval to acquire CFBC and CJYC-FM from Fundy Cable Ltd. and then sell the stations to Newcap Inc. Maritime also acquired CJCB/CKPE Sydney, which it retained.


The deal to purchase CJCB/CKPE-FM Sydney and CFBC/C98 FM Saint John from Fundy Communications closed May 1.

Maritime Broadcasting closed its deal for the purchase of Neil MacMullen’s Annapolis Valley Radio on April 30, and on May 1 acquired Fundy Broadcasting’s CJCB/CKPE-FM Sydney and CFBC/C98-FM Saint John.

In June, CFBC/C98-FM Sydney moved into new quarters, sharing the 226 Union Street address with CIOK-FM. CFBC/C98 were still being operated under the guidance of a trustee but Maritime Broadcasting had reapplied to buy the stations and that application was posted by the CRTC for a non-appearing hearing August 11. Meantime, 11 CFBC/CJYC employees — including news director/talk show host Gary MacDonald – were laid off. David Doyle, the trustee, said it was “obvious there’d have to be a restructuring if these radio stations were to become viable”. General manager George Ferguson was also among those laid off.

On September 29, Maritime Broadcasting System Ltd. was authorized to acquire CFBC and CJYC from Fundy Communications Ltd. following Newcap’s decision not to purchase the stations.


On July 14th, the CRTC approved the sale of Kentville-based Annapolis Valley Radio Ltd (AVR) to Maritime Broadcasting System Limited. AVR operated CFAB Windsor, CKEN and CKWM-FM Kentville, CKAD Middleton, CKDY Digby and CKDY-FM-1 Weymouth.

The Commission also approved applications by Annapolis to transfer effective control of its parent company, Braemount Holdings Limited (Braemount), to Maritime Broadcasting. At that time, Maritime Broadcasting intended to amalgamate Braemount and Annapolis with Maritime Broadcasting, with the resulting entity continuing as Maritime Broadcasting. Subsequently, Maritime Broadcasting determined that it was administratively preferable to transfer the assets from Annapolis and Braemount to Maritime Broadcasting and to dissolve Annapolis and Braemount.


On August 24, Denis Losier’s application for a French FM station at Moncton was approved. The station would operate on 99.9 MHz with an effective radiated power of 9,500 watts. Denis Losier would hold 51% of the common shares of the licensee company to be incorporated. The remaining 49% of common shares would be held by Maritime Broadcasting System Ltd. The new station, which would have the call letters CHOY-FM, would share the premises and administrative services of Maritime Broadcasting in Moncton.


CHOY-FM Moncton signed on the air.

On April 27th 2001, the CRTC approved an application by Maritime for authority to effect a change in the effective control of CHOY-FM Limitée, licensee of radio programming undertaking CHOY-FM, serving Moncton, New Brunswick, through the transfer of 49 common shares (49%) from 2423698 Nova Scotia Limited to Maritime Broadcasting System Limited.

In May, CHNS Halifax marked 75 years on the air with a two-day celebration on May 11th and 12th. In September the station’s short wave rebroadcaster CHNX went off the air after 70 years of service; MBS chose not to put any further funding into the short wave operation.

On August 10th, the CRTC approved an application for authority to transfer the effective ownership and control of Bras d’Or Broadcasting Limited (Bras d’Or), licensee of CHER Sydney, to Maritime Broadcasting System Limited. MBS had already acquired 40% of the issued shares of Bras d’Or in 1997. As proposed in this application, MBS would purchase an additional 55% of the shares of Bras d’Or, thereby bringing its holdings in that company to 95%.

On August 10, the CRTC also approved the transfer of the effective ownership and control of the Gulf Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (Paul Schurman and family), and with it control of CFRW-FM Summerside PEI, to Maritime. MBS would purchase a minimum of 512 common shares of Gulf, representing approximately 92.9% of the company’s authorized capital. MBS owned CFCY-AM and CHLQ-FM in Charlottetown, and also operated CHTN in that city under the terms of a Local Management Agreement with the station’s owner, NewCap Inc.


On July 2, CKEN Kentville was given approval to convert to the FM band. The new station would offer a country music format and operate on 94.9 MHz with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts.


On January 10, CKEN moved to Fm, taking over sister station CKWM’s 97.7 MHz frequency from 1490 AM. CKWM took the 94.9 frequency that CKEN had applied for, becoming “Magic 94-9”.


On December 19, the transfer of effective control of CHOY-FM Limitée Moncton from Radio Diffusion Acadie Inc. to Maritime Broadcasting System Limited was approved. CHOY-FM became a wholly owned subsidiary of MBS.


Willard A. Bishop, founder of CKEN-CKWM (Annapolis Valley Broadcasting), passed away January 15 at age 78.


On April 12th, Maritime Broadcasting received CRTC approval to convert CHNS Halifax to the FM band, after 60 years on AM, and the move was made on July 29th.

On November 27, Maritime Broadcasting received approval to convert CFAB Windsor, N.S. to the FM band. The station had proposed to operate on 92.9 MHz with average effective radiated power of 47,100 watts. The planned expansion of Highway 101 necessitated the dismantling of CFAB’s AM transmitter site. Maritime considered continuing the operation of CFAB on the AM band but concluded the conversion to FM would ensure the station’s future viability. Because Maritime owned two stations in nearby Kentville, the CRTC had overlap concerns and requested CFAB seek alternate technical parameters.


On December 12th, the CRTC denied the application by Maritime Broadcasting System Limited to operate its new English-language FM radio programming undertaking in Windsor, Nova Scotia, at 92.9 MHz (channel 225C1) with an average effective radiated power of 23,800 watts.

In announcing this decision, the Commission noted that the close proximity of the Kentville and Windsor communities and the Halifax radio market created a challenge for MBS in designing technical parameters to properly serve Windsor while remaining in compliance with the Common ownership policy. MBS’s proposed technical parameters, however, were not in compliance with the Common ownership policy in terms of its 3 mV/m signal overlap with its two Kentville FM stations and of its BBM Bureau of Measurement market overlap with its two Halifax FM stations. The Commission noted that although the intervention focused primarily on a change in ERP as a potential technical solution, such a change represented only one potential option for resolving this issue.


On November 20th, the CRTC approved an application by Maritime Broadcasting System Limited (Maritime) for an extension, until 27 November 2009, of the time limit for MBS to convert CFAB to FM in Windsor, Nova Scotia. The Commission directed Maritime, as a condition of approval, to file within 60 days of the date of the present decision, a report detailing its action plan for commencing operation of the new FM station, including an application for a frequency and technical parameters that would be acceptable to the Commission and the Department of Industry.


On May 6th the CRTC approved an extension to 24 April 2012 of the time limit to convert the English-language commercial FM radio programming undertaking CKDH Amherst, Nova Scotia from the AM to the FM band.

On June 17th, the CRTC approved an application by Maritime Broadcasting System Limited to change the technical parameters of CKDH-FM Amherst by increasing the average effective radiated power (ERP) from 18,700 to 23,000 watts (maximum ERP from 40,000 to 50,000 watts), by decreasing the effective height of antenna above average terrain from 32 to 16 meters and by relocating its transmitter. . MBS stated that the relocation of its transmitter was necessary because hydro poles serving the transmitter were brought down as a result of a recent storm. The licensee therefore proposed to move its antenna and transmitter to the station’s building, which also houses the emergency generator, thereby ensuring uninterrupted radio service to the residents of Amherst.

On September 23rd with no new proposal forthcoming for CFAB Windsor to convert to FM, the Commission renewed the broadcasting licence for CFAB from September 1st 2011 to March 31st 2012


In February, MBS Radio laid off all of the air staff at CIOK, CJYC and CFBC. The stations were now being voice-tracked from out of market. The stations were unionized in 2012 and this resulted in a nearly 2-year lockout by management.


On May 28, the CRTC gave CJCB Sydney permission to reduce night time power from 10,000 to 1,350 watts. Day power would remain 10,000 watts.


On January 6, CKPE Sydney changed its branding from The Cape 94.9 to 94.9 The Wave.

In the spring, the CRTC approved a temporary FM transmitter for CKDY Digby. The station was knocked off the air after the theft of copper and equipment from its transmission site. CKDY would operate a 50 watt transmitter at 99.7 MHz.

MBS experienced a handful of employee layoffs across its station group during the spring Covid-19 pandemic.


Jack Schoone, 82, died on April 5. In 1959, Schoone joined Irving Zucker’s Kitchener stations as a controller and then became manager of CKCR-AM-FM. He then took on responsibility for CHIQ Hamilton, and arranged the sale of the three stations. In 1969, Schoone purchased CKNB Campbell-ton, marking the birth of Eastern Broadcasting. The company expanded with the addition of CFCY Charlottetown and CKCW Moncton, and in each market added an FM station. Eastern acquired the Roy Thomson group of stations in northern Ontario (Northern Broadcasting) and later the Countryside group in southern Ontario. Telemedia eventually purchased the Ontario operations, while MacLean Hunter’s Maritime Broadcasting acquired Eastern’s Atlantic stations. Schoone retired in 1988, but in 1993 returned to broadcasting under the Radiocorp banner with the purchase of CKOC-AM/CKLH-FM in Hamilton, as well as CJBK-AM-CJBX-FM in London. Telemedia acquired the stations in 2000. Schoone was inducted into the CAB Hall of Fame in 2003

Maritime Broadcasting System Ltd. Radio Stations

(Click on the call letters to view individual station histories)

CFAB-AM1450Windsor, NS
CFAN-FM99.3Miramichi, NB
CFBC-AM930Saint John, NB
CFCY-FM95.1Charlottetown, PE
CFQM-FM103.9Moncton, NB
CHER-FM98.3Sydney, NS
CHFX-FM101.9Halifax, NS
CHLQ-FM93.1Charlottetown, PE
CHNS-FM89.9Halifax, NS
CHNX-SW6110Halifax, NS
CIOK-FM100.5Saint John, NB
CJCB-AM1270Sydney, NS
CJCW-AM590Sussex, NB
CJRW-FM102.1Summerside, PE
CJYC-FM89.9Saint John, NB
CKAD-AM1350Middleton, NS
CKCW-FM94.5Moncton, NB
CKDH-FM101.7Amherst, NS
CKDY-AM1420Digby, NS
CKEN-FM97.1Kentville, NS
CKNB-AM950Campbellton, NB
CKPE-FM94.9Sydney, NS
CKWM-FM94.9Kentville, NS