CFBR-FM, 100.3 The Bear, Edmonton

Bell Media Inc.

CFBR-FM2013100.3100,000Bell Media
CFBR-FM2007100.3100,000Astral Media Inc.
CFBR-FM1992100.3100,000Standard Broadcasting Corp.
CJKE-FM1989100.3100,000Electrohome Ltd.
CKXM-FM1988100.3100,000Sunwapta purchased by Electrohome (C.A.P.)
CKXM-FM1979100.3100,000Sunwapta Broadcasting Ltd.
CFRN-FM1975100.364,000Sunwapta Broadcasting Ltd.
CFRN-FM1964100.35,000Sunwapta Broadcasting Ltd.
CFRN-FM1951100.3250Sunwapta Broadcasting Ltd.


An FM licence was recommended for approval by the CBC in December.


Sunwapta Broadcasting Ltd established CFRN-FM. The station broadcast on a frequency of 100.3 MHz and had a power of 250 watts. CFRN-FM simulcast the programming of CFRN-AM, which had been on the air since 1934. Sunwapta Broadcasting was owned by Dr. G.R.A. Rice. (The station may have operated experimentally since 1947-48)


CFRN Television signed on the air.


Ownership of Sunwapta Broadcasting Co. Ltd.: G. R. A. Rice 99.8%, Mrs. J. C. Rice 0.1% and D. Atkinson 0.1%. CFRN-AM-FM was a CBC Dominion affiliate. Power at this time on 100.3 MHz was 279 watts.


CFRN-FM received BBG approval to increase effective radiated power from 279 to 810 watts and to change the antenna site.


The Dominion and Trans-Canada networks consolidated into a single CBC Radio network. With the CBC owning CBX in Edmonton, it was no longer necessary for CFRN-AM-FM to remain as an affiliate.


The CFRN studios and offices moved on March 15 from the CPR Building at 10012 Jasper Avenue, to Broadcast House at 18520 Stoney Plain Road.

CFRN-FM received permission to begin offering programming that was separate from CFRN-AM. It would also now broadcast in stereo.

Effective radiated power increased to 100,000 watts from 16,200 watts. 


CFRN-FM offered 42 hours per week of programming separate from CFRN-AM.


Slogans: Edmonton’s only stereo station. / Western Canada’s pioneer FM station.


On December 18, CFRN-FM was given approval to increase effective radiated power from 16,200 watts to 64,000 watts, switch from a non-directional to a directional antenna, and operate from a new transmitter site.


The technical changes approved last December went into effect.


Bruce Alloway became vice president of Sunwapta Broadcasting. He had been station manager of the company’s CFRN-TV.


CFRN-FM started the year by changing its call sign to CKXM-FM to give the station a separate identity from CFRN-AM. The “XM” in the call letters: eXcellent Music. The format was Easy Listening/Middle of the Road.


Bruce Alloway became vice president and general manager of the CFRN stations, including CKXM-FM. David Nevett was named manager of CKXM.

George Duffield retired as general manager of CKXM after 39 years.


George Churchill was named manager of CFRN/CKXM.

On January 11, the CRTC renewed CKXM’s licence until September 30, 1985.


The format changed from Easy Listening/Middle of the Road to Middle of the Road as the station received permission to play more vocal music.


CFRN-AM-TV/CKXM-FM news director Art Kennard became vice-chairman of the national editorial committee at Broadcast News.


Bruce D. Alloway, president of Sunwapta Broadcasting, announced the appointment of Stan Knaga as manager of engineering. Knaga had been with the company since 1977 as assistant director of engineering. He succeeds E.W. (Ted) Wadson upon his retirement from the company on June 1.

On April 8, the CRTC approved the sale of CKXM-FM, CFRN-AM and CFRN-TV by Sunwapta Broadcasting Ltd. to CAP Communications Ltd. of Kitchener, ON. Sunwapta was controlled by Dr. G.R.A. Rice, who has had a distinguished history in Canada’s broadcasting industry. He was involved in Edmonton broadcasting since 1922, placing him amongst the earliest pioneers in Canadian broadcasting. Both Sunwapta and Dr. Rice have won a number of awards over the past 54 years, including several Gold Ribbon awards from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. Under Dr. Rice’s leadership, Sunwapta established a reputation of public service and involvement in the local community. CAP was the licensee of CKKW, CFCA-FM CKCO-TV Kitchener, and was indirectly effectively controlled by Mr. J.A. Pollock. Dr. Rice retired when Sunwapta was sold but would continue to serve as honorary chairman.

W.D. McGregor, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Sunwapta Broadcasting, announced the appointment of Bruce E. Cowie as president and chief operating officer of Sunwapta. Cowie had been with CKCK-TV in Regina where he had been president. He was also president of Harvard Communications. Cowie was a director of the CTV Television Network; past president of both the Saskatchewan and Western Association of Broadcasters; and founding chairman of Can Pro. He was the WAB Broadcaster of the Year in 1981. Cowie succeeded Bruce D. Alloway who was retiring after 33 years with Sunwapta. He became president of the company earlier this year. 

Manager George Churchill left the CFRN stations to start Churchill Marketing.

Bruce Cowie took over as president and chief operating officer of Sunwapta Broadcasting as of July 1. He had been running CKCK-TV in Regina. Current Sunwapta president Bruce Alloway went into retirement in Victoria.


CKXM-FM became CJKE-FM (Key 100.3 FM).
L.G. (Gord) Williams was appointed general sales manager of CJKE and CFRN.

Bruce Hogle was appointed general manager of Sunwapta’s radio division as well as a member of the executive committee and station manager of CFRN-AM.


Large scale renovations of the Sunwapta Broadcast Centre begun two years ago were completed at a cost of about $9 million. Electrohome chairman John Pollock was on hand for the grand opening on June 1. The staff of 250 had worked in 5,000 square metres on three floors. That was expanded to 7,400 square metres on three floors. The original building was started over 30 years ago and just kept growing. First it was a TV studio and a few offices, then more offices, another studio, then radio control rooms, more offices, FM control rooms, new equipment connected to old, and building additions and subdivisions… Over time an Edmonton landmark emerged – a huge log cabin style building housing TV and AM. FM had outgrown the main building in 1971 and was relocated to an outbuilding that was over 50 years old. While the recent project was underway, FM control and studios were moved to the lobby of the Convention Centre in downtown Edmonton. It stayed there until January. AM and AM-FM production kept their basement locations. All that really remains of the old building is the foundation and the central core of two TV studios.


George Churchill, former manager of CFRN, died in January at age 57.


Dr. G.R.A. Rice died in Edmonton on February 25 after a short illness. He was 92. In addition to helping build CJCA-AM, and then his own Edmonton radio and television stations (CFRN), Rice served as president of the Western Association of Broadcasters, and was chosen Broadcaster of the Half Century by the WAB in 1984. He also served a term as chairman of the CAB. In 1984 he was selected to the CAB’s Canadian Broadcasting Hall of Fame and received RTNDA Canada’s President’s Award for his contributions to the industry.

On June 19, Standard Radio Inc, a division of Standard Broadcasting Corp., received CRTC permission to acquire CJKE-FM and CFRN-AM from Sunwapta Broadcasting Ltd., a division of Electrohome Ltd. (formerly operating as CAP Communications) 

CJKE-FM became CFBR-FM “The Bear”, based on Standard’s CKQB-FM in Ottawa.


Cub Carson was overnight host at The Bear.


CFRN/CFBR-FM promotions manager Vicky Belfiore left for CFTR/CHFI Toronto. She was replaced by Jeff Montgomery from CHIQ Winnipeg.

Greg Diamond was program director.


Carl Stark, a top salesman at CFBR/CFRN, celebrated 25 years with the stations.


Bob Steele joined The Bear’s breakfast show on August 13. He had been with Calgary’s CJAY-FM.

Long-time Edmonton sportscaster and morning co-host Cubb Carson, left The Bear.


On December 21, CFBR was authorized to increase average effective radiated power from 64,000 watts to an ERP of 100,000 watts; increase antenna height from 144 metres to 200.3 metres, and relocate the transmitter.


On September 27, Astral Media Radio G.P. received CRTC approval to acquire the assets of the radio and TV undertakings owned by Standard Radio Ltd., subject to certain conditions. The purchase included CFBR-FM. CFRN-AM and CFMG-FM.


Rob Vavrek became program director.

Ryan Zimmerman, Operations Manager at Astral Media Radio Edmonton’s four stations and Program Director at one of them, 104.9 EZ Rock, was promoted to General Manager at Big Dog 92.7 Regina.

Beginning May 10, Astral Media Radio Edmonton began the process of putting a new programming team in place. Ross MacLeod, who had been Program Director at Rogers Radio Lethbridge, would be the PD for Team 1260. Tammy Cole, who had been Assistant PD at CHFI Toronto, became the EZ Rock PD on May 20, and Rob Vavrek moved from PD at EZ Rock to programming The Bear.

Joan Powers was named Digital Sales Manager for Astral Radio Edmonton. It was an internal promotion.

After three years with The Bounce, Broadcast Engineer Trevor Stuart moved across the street to Astral Radio Edmonton. He began October 13.

Jonathan Best moved from The Bear to become afternoon drive host/Music Director at Big Dog in Regina.


On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CFBR-FM until March 31, 2012.

Stewart Meyers was now vice president of Alberta operations and general manager of the Astral Calgary radio stations, succeeding Tom Peacock. The position in Calgary became effective September 1. Meyers moved from Corus Radio Toronto at the end of 2002 to become operations manager and program director at the then-Standard Radio Calgary. When Marty Forbes retired at the beginning of 2009, Meyers took over at Astral Edmonton as VP/GM. Meyers would manage both clusters for the time being.

Pat Cardinal moved to become General Manager at Astral Media Edmonton. Cardinal, who’d been the Operations Manager and Alberta Program Manager at Newcap and based in Edmonton, moved from Toronto in May, 2008, to become Ops Manager for Newcap’s Edmonton Radio Group. In 2010, he became Program Director for Newcap Alberta’s 31 radio stations while retaining his Ops Manager duties. He began at Astral Edmonton on September 12.


On March 20, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CFBR-FM to August 31, 2012.

Ross MacLeod left The Team 1260 to be the new brand director at CJAY 92 and Classic Country 1060 Calgary. Succeeding him in Edmonton was Rob Vavrek who added Team 1260 programming duties to his brand director role at The Bear.

On July 10, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CFBR-FM to March 31, 2013. 


On February 6, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence of CFBR-FM to August 31, 2013.

Scott McCord left The Bear for 106.9 The Bear in Ottawa. In Edmonton he’d been doing afternoons for the last three years, and was with the station for six years before his drive gig doing creative, overnights and evenings. 

On June 27, 2013, after a previous such application had been denied in 2012, the CRTC approved an application by Astral Media Inc. to sell its pay and specialty television channels, conventional television stations and radio stations to BCE Inc., including CFBR-FM.

Bob Hunter, after 44 years in broadcasting, retired as director of engineering at Bell Media Radio Edmonton.


Pat Cardinal passed away April 19 at the age of 54. Pat started in radio in 1979 at CJRL Kenora. He then moved to CFRW Winnipeg. After that, he worked in Vancouver, Hamilton, Edmonton and Toronto. In 2012, Cardinal was named general manager of Bell Media’s (then Astral) 100.3 The Bear, 104.9 VIRGIN RADIO and TSN 1260. In May of this year, Cardinal was posthumously inducted into the Broadcast Hall of Fame during Canadian Music Week.

The story continues elsewhere…
Effective September 1st 2019, we will only be adding new material to these station histories in exceptional circumstances. Our intent to chronicle the early days of these radio and television stations has been achieved, and many new sources and technologies, from the CRTC website to Wikipedia, and others, are now regularly providing new information in these areas.

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