The Vista Group, headquartered in Calgary was conceived by Margot Micallet, Paul Mann/Tividar, Brian Edwards and Terry Coles, who were interested in bringing radio stations up to date, particularly in smaller markets. They formed their company “Vista” and started searching for logical existing stations. They started in British Columbia.
In late July, it was announced that they had purchased CFCP Radio Ltd., owners of CFCP-FM Courtenay, CFWB-AM Campbell River, CFNI-AM Port Hardy, CFPW-FM Powell River and CJSU Duncan, owned by Dick Drew, all on Vancouver Island, and an application had been sent to the CRTC. In early August it was announced that an application for 9 more stations in Northern BC had also been sent to the CRTC – they were Cariboo Central Interior Radio Inc., owners of CKBX 100 Mile House, CFLD Burns Lake, CJCI-FM and CIRX-FM Prince George, CKCQ-FM Quesnel, CFBV Smithers, CIVH Vanderhoof, CKWL and CFFM-FM Williams Lake and numerous re-broadcast stations in northern B.C.
A few days later it was announced that Boundary Broadcasting Ltd., owner of CKGF-2-FM Greenwood and its two transmitters at Christina Lake & Rock Creek, and Valley Broadcasters Ltd., owner of CKQR-FM Castlegar and its transmitters CHRT-FM Trail and CHNV-FM Nelson had been purchased by the Calgary group.
On September 1, the CRTC announced approval of the sales to 1126144 Alberta Ltd., a company affiliated with Vista Broadcast Group Inc.
On November 15, Vista Radio Ltd. received approval to operate a new Classic Rock FM radio station in Grande Prairie. Competing applications by 1097282 Alberta, Newcap, O.K. Radio, Sun Country, Pattison, Crude and Standard were denied. The new station would broadcast over 104.7 MHz with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts. The Classic Rock format would appeal to listeners 35 to 44 years of age.
Vista Broadcast Group Inc. received approval to purchase CJCD Radio Yellowknife Ltd. from the Dent family.
On March 14, the CRTC approved in part an application by Vista Radio Ltd. for a new FM station to serve Kelowna with a Classic Hits format. CJUI-FM would opperate on 103.9 MHz with an average ERP of 5,200 watts directional (10,000 watts maximum).
In November, the CRTC approved the application by Vista Radio Ltd. to acquire CFNA-FM Bonnyville and CKLM-FM Lloydminster, Alberta from 912038 Alberta Ltd., a corporation controlled in equal parts by Anita and Stewart Dent.
It was announced in April that Vista President Terry Coles would move into retirement at the end of 2012 and immediately into a consulting role with the company. His successor would be CEO Margot Micallef who would handle the dual roles of President/CEO. Bryan Edwards moves to Senior VP of Business Development. Vista Kelowna General Manager/General Sales Manager Ross Hawse would become the Director Western Operations. Gary Russell, Vista’s Director of Systems and GM of Vista Prince George, would integrate Haliburton and Vista in Ontario as the Director of Integration and Operations, Vista East.
Co-Founder/Executive VP Paul Mann would add Senior VP of Sales and Training and Development to his duties. Assisting him would be Tracey Gard, the GM/GSM of the Cariboo Group of Vista stations, as Director Vista Sales, West and based in Courtenay. The former finance executive at Corus and Telemedia, Chris Lecomte joined Vista as Senior VP/CFO, based in Toronto.
On July 10th, 2012, the CRTC announced that it would hold a hearing commencing on 10 September 10th 2012 at 9:00 a.m. at the Palais de congrès de Montréal, 1001 place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, Montréal, Quebec, to consider, inter alia, an application by Vista Radio Ltd., for authority to acquire the assets of all of the Ontario radio broadcasting undertakings owned by Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc.
The applicant was also requesting new broadcasting licences to continue the operations of the undertakings under the same terms and conditions as those that were in effect under the then current licences.
In making the announcement, the Commission noted that an application for a change of effective control had been approved in a Decision Letter on 5 July 2012. Following the closing of the transaction, Vista Radio would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Westerkirk Capital Inc. (Westerkirk), a corporation wholly owned by SEB Investments Corp. which in turn would be owned by Thomson Investments Limited (85% voting interest) and Brydson Group Inc. (15% voting interest). Vista Radio would then be controlled by Westerkirk and the Thomson family.
The Commission also noted that, for some of its stations, the current licensee appeared to be in non-compliance with section 15 of the Radio Regulations, 1986 as well as its conditions of licence.
On October 19th, the CRTC announced that it had approved the application by Vista Radio Ltd. for authority to acquire from Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. (Haliburton) the assets of Haliburton’s Ontario AM and FM radio stations located in Bancroft, Barry’s Bay, Bolton, Bracebridge, Caledon, Cochrane, Elliot Lake, Espanola, Fort Erie, Haldimand, Haliburton, Hearst, Huntsville, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Kemptville, Niagara Falls, North Bay, Parry Sound, Prescott, St. Catharines, Stratford, Sturgeon Falls and Timmins.
On May 1st it was announced that Vista Radio cofounder and president Margo Micallef had resigned from the company. Gary Miles, a director, would act as president on an interim basis pending the naming of a permanent replacement. Ms. Micallef said she would stay on as a director of Vista, and would remain a shareholder in the company.
In July it was announced that Geoff Poulton would be the new President of Vista Radio. Poulton had been VP/GM B.C. Radio for almost four and a half years with responsibility for overseeing Rogers’s eight stations in B.C.
On August 9th 2013, the CRTC approved an application by Vista for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language commercial FM radio station in Creston, British Columbia.
On March 3rd 2014, the CRTC approved an application by Vista Radio Ltd. for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language commercial FM radio programming undertaking in Grand Forks, British Columbia with rebroadcasting transmitters in Greenwood, Rock Creek and Christina Lake. The new station would operate at 102.3 MHz (channel 272A) with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 589 watts (maximum ERP of 1,043 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of -353 metres). In making their application, Vista explained that their station CKGF-FM Greenwood was unable to provide adequate service to Grand Forks due to its impeded signal. The applicant therefore proposed to originate programming in Grand Forks that would be rebroadcast on the licensee’s existing transmitters in Greenwood, Rock Creek and Christina Lake. Vista therefore requested that the Commission revoke the licence for CKGF-FM Greenwood upon implementation of the new station in Grand Forks, with the transmitter then being used to rebroadcast the programming of the new station.
In July, CIQC Campbell River rebranded from The River to 2Day FM.
CFRI Free FM Grande Prairie changed format and its ID to 2dayFM with an Adult CHR format.
Vista’s new station in Creston, B.C., officially launched as CKCV-FM on August 7th, 2015, on 94.1, with studios located at 1230 Canyon Street in Creston.
Vista Radio received CRTC approval on August 10 to move CJCS Stratford from AM to FM, operating on 107.1 MHz with average ERP of 900 watts.
On July 8th it was announced that the CRTC had approved an application by Durham Radio Inc. for authority to acquire from Vista Radio Ltd. the assets of the English-language commercial radio station CKJN-FM Haldimand County, Ontario, and for a broadcasting licence to continue the operation of the station.
On July 15, CFLZ Fort Erie rebranded from 2day FM to Juice FM with a Variety Hits format. With the change, CFLZ was no longer simulcasting CJED-FM Niagara Falls, which kept the 2day FM branding.
Fire destroyed Moose FM’s brand new Sturgeon Falls studio this summer. With the help of firefighters, morning host Steph Larouche and engineer Chuck Haskins recovered equipment from the burning building. Moose FM (CFSF) was back on the air within five hours from a temporary set up at the transmitter site.
Early in the year, CKBD Lethbridge changed format from Alternative Rock to Modern Adult Contemporary, keeping “The Bridge” branding.
On March 1, the Radioplayer streaming app launched in Canada and featured more than 400 Canadian radio stations, including Vista Radio stations.
On April 28, the CRTC denied Vista’s application to amend and delete conditions of licence relating to the specialty (Christian music) format of CJLT-FM (Lethbridge) so that it could operate the station within a distinctive “new-to-the-market” Indie/Alternative music format. The Commission felt these changes would not mitigate the undue financial impact on the incumbent market stations.
CJCS Stratford rebranded as 107.1 Juice FM on August 3.
On October 11, the CRTC approved the sale of CJUI-FM by Vista Radio Ltd. to Avenue Radio Ltd.
On January 15, the CRTC approved the application by Byrnes Communications Inc. for authority to acquire from Vista Radio Ltd. the assets of the English-language commercial radio stations CJED-FM Niagara Falls and CFLZ-FM Fort Erie.
In July, Vista had its application for a new FM station in Lloydminster turned down by the CRTC. The commission felt that the area could not support a new station at this time due to a downturn in the local economy.
In August, CIRX-FM-1 Vanderhoof became local-based Valley Country. The station had been CIVH-AM which had moved to FM, and it had simulcast the Mainstream Rock programming of The Goat, CIRX-FM in Prince George.
In December, Vista announced it would buy Clear Sky Radio’s remaining stations in Alberta and British Columbia.
In January, Vista acquired the following stations from Clear Sky Radio: CJOC-FM and CKBD-FM Lethbridge, and CFSM-FM Cranbrook (and its transmitters).
In March, the CRTC denied Vista’s application for a new FM station in Timmins.
In June, CJOC Lethbridge was rebranded as 94.1 Juice FM with a Classic Hits/Variety Hits format, while CKBD was rebranded as 2day FM with a Hot AC/CHR format.
In the summer, CFSM Cranbrook rebranded from AC-Oldies as Summit 107 to more of a CHR-Classic Hits approach as 2day FM.
In September, Vista released four of its senior executives, including company president Geoff Poulton, who had headed the company since 2013. Others let go included Murray Brookshaw, Vice-president of Content; Christine Swain, Human Resources Manager; and Ddin Morbi, VP of Revenue & Operations. Bryan Edwards, one of Vista’s founders, took on the role of acting company president.
On November 1, CFCP-FM Courtenay returned to its pre-2014 branding as 98.9 Jet FM. For the past five years, it had been known as 98.9 The Goat – World Class Rock.
In February, CHNV-FM Nelson rebranded as 103.5 The Bridge – Nelson’s Vibe. The station had been known as The Bridge between 2010 and 2014. In May of 2014, CHNV abandoned the Adult Album Alternative format and flipped to Variety Hits as 103.5 Juice FM, Nelson’s Biggest Variety.
98.9 Jet FM Courtenay rebranded to ‘98.9 Dr. Bonnie Henry FM, the Comox Valley’s Best Doc’ on June 19 for one day only, in honour of the B.C provincial health officer. Henry, who marked her 100th COVID-19 briefing that week, achieved celebrity status in the province and was also lauded in the New York Times for helping keep B.C.’s case numbers at bay. A week later, Today FM Campbell River and 89.7 Juice FM Duncan also adopted the name for one day.
In the summer, the CRTC rejected Vista’s application for new radio station in Grande Prairie, finding that economic conditions there would not support a new radio station. The northern Alberta city was already served by five commercial stations.
Vista dropped the JUICE FM branding in Lethbridge at 94.1 returning the station to its heritage call letters of CJOC (Classic Hits 94.1 CJOC).
In October, Vista made some leadership changes. Scott Armstrong was now serving in the newly-created role of Director of Operations for Alberta/NWT. With the retirement of Peter Deys, GM in Lethbridge, he also took on those duties. Peter Hobbs, Regional Manager for Ontario Mid-North, added the Ontario North group to his portfolio.
Vista Broadcast Group Inc. Radio Stations
(Click on the call letters to view individual station histories)
|CFFM-FM||97.5||Williams Lake, BC|
|CFIF-FM||101.1||Iroquois Falls, ON|
|CFLD-AM||760||Burns Lake, BC|
|CFLZ-FM||101.1||Niagara Falls/Fort Erie, ON|
|CFNI-AM||1240||Port Hardy, BC|
|CFPW-FM||95.7||Powell River, BC|
|CFRI-FM||104.7||Grande Prairie, AB|
|CFSF-FM||99.3||Sturgeon Falls, ON|
|CFXN-FM||106.3||North Bay, ON|
|CIQC-FM||99.7||Campbell River, BC|
|CIRX-FM||94.3||Prince George, BC|
|CJCI-FM||97.3||Prince George, BC|
|CJED-FM||105.1||Niagara Falls, ON|
|CJLT-FM||93.7||Medicine Hat, AB|
|CKBX-AM||840||100 Mile House, BC|
|CKGF-FM||102.3||Greenwood/Grand Forks, BC|
|CKLP-FM||103.3||Parry Sound, ON|
|CKNR-FM||94.1||Elliot Lake, ON|
|CKWL-AM||100.3||Williams Lake, BC|