Private Radio Plays a Key Role

In the Government’s fiscal year 1924-25, 80 radio broadcast licenses had been issued, but only 44 transmitters were in operation. Most were virtually one-man operations that could provide only a few hours of programming per day. Some shared with a second transmitting station, the single frequency allocated to their city, and either or both leased their facilities to yet others who held “phantom” licenses (of which there were 12 in Canada). The sharing of frequencies and air-time by two or more licensees served to extend local programming in high-populated areas to the benefit of the public.

(See CHWC Regina in the “Radio Station Histories” section for an example of “time-sharing” using two transmitters)

These fledgling broadcasters were happy to rent their transmitters to the CNR to broadcast its network programs, and also to produce some local programs under CN sponsorship that would coincide (if possible) with CNR trains passing through their coverage area. In some cases, CN had to reach agreements with two stations in the same city. In later-year terms, the revenue was not “great”, but the stations were pleased to have programs that they could not afford to produce themselves. Many shared Sir Henry Thornton’s vision of networking as a harbinger of things to come.