CFMG-FM, Virgin Radio 104.9, Edmonton

Bell Media Inc.

CFMG-FM2013104.9100,000Bell Media
CFMG-FM2007104.9100,000Astral Media Inc.
CFMG-FM2002104.9100,000Standard Radio Inc.
CFMG-FM1996104.7100,000Telemedia Communications Inc.
CFMG-FM1994104.7100,000Balsa Broadcasting Corp.
CFMG-AM1993120050,000Balsa Broadcasting Corp. (Fabmar Investments Ltd.)
CFMG-AM1989120050,000Balsa Broadcasting Corp.
CFMG-AM1988107010,000Balsa Broadcasting Corp. (Western World-Saskatoon Telecable)
CKST-AM1985107010,000Balsa Broadcasting Corp. (Ron East, Central Int. Cble.)
CKST-AM1985107010,000Balsa (East, Central Interior, Saskatoon Telecable).
CKST-AM1980107010,000St. Albert Broadcasting Ltd. (purchased by QCTVLtd.)
CKST-AM1978107010,000St. Albert Broadcasting Ltd.


St. Albert Broadcasting Ltd. had its application for a new station turned down. The company had proposed to operate on 1070 kHz with full-time power of 10,000 watts.


St. Albert Broadcasting Ltd. received approval on April 13 to operate a new AM station. It would broadcast on a frequency of 1070 kHz with a day and night power of 10,000 watts. The applicant planned to provide a distinct alternative program service to St. Albert with programming directed primarily at meeting the needs and interests of the community. It proposed to offer local information and cultural services not presently available.

On December 4, CKST received approval to operate from a different transmitter site.

CKST 1070 began broadcasting on December 23. The “ST” in the call sign represented St. Albert.


The CRTC called a special hearing to deal with an application by OK Radio Group Ltd. to purchase CKST. OK later withdrew the application and the hearing was cancelled. CKST had faced financial and other difficulties right from the start.


The purchase of 60% control of St. Albert Broadcasting Ltd. (CKST) by Edmonton cable company QCTV Ltd. was approved by the CRTC on November 12.


Ed Polanski, president of CKST and QCTV Ltd. urged the CRTC to allow cable systems to carry AM signals. He argued that many AM stations, including financially troubled CKST, were more in need of cable distribution than were FM stations.


It was announced that CKST would be sold by QCTV to a company headed by Ron East of Prince George, B.C. (if approved by the CRTC). It was said at the time that CKST had lost several million dollars in its five year history. Ed Polanski attributed the station’s difficulties to the large number of stations competing in the Edmonton market, coupled with a slow economic recovery.


Despite the considerable financial investment in CKST made by QCTV, the station remained unsuccessful, mainly due to the strong competition offered by stations in nearby Edmonton.

On May 21, Ronald A. East, representing a company to be incorporated (Balsa Broadcasting L.P.) was granted approval to acquire CKST from St. Albert Broadcasting Ltd. The applicant would be incorporated as a limited partnership, with Balsa Broadcasting Corp. Ltd. as the general partner, and a number of limited partners whose financial investment in the limited partnership would be 
proportionate to their shareholdings in Balsa. Control of the applicant would reside with Central Interior Cablevision Ltd. by virtue of the terms of the proposed partnership agreement and its ownership of 51.7% of the voting shares of Balsa. Central Interior and its principals held interests in a number of broadcasting stations and cable systems in British Columbia. The second largest 
shareholder of Balsa (33.3%) would be Saskatoon Telecable Ltd., a company active in radio broadcasting in Saskatoon as well as in the cable industry in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Balsa intentended to broaden its shareholder base through the addition of key staff as shareholders, so that none of the applicant’s limited partners and no single shareholder in Balsa would hold more than a 49% interest in CKST.

Under the new ownership, CKST would operate consistently in an adult gold music format (‘Great Gold’). Much of the music would be purchased from a syndicated taped music service (Randal English Enterprises).

On August 30, approval was granted for the transfer effective control of Balsa Broadcasting L.P., through the transfer of 23 1/3% of Balsa Broadcasting (Canada) Ltd. (the general partner) from Central Interior Cablevision Ltd. (the majority shareholder with 51.7% of the common voting shares) to Alberta Broadcasting Corp. Ltd. As a result of this transaction, the ownership structure of the general partner would now consist of Central Interior Cablevision Ltd. (28.33%), Saskatoon Telecable Ltd. (33.33%), Alberta Broadcasting Corp. Ltd. (23.33%), R&H East Holdings Ltd. (5.0%), Caro Jemica Holdings Ltd. (5.0%), and Mr. George Baldwin (5.0%). As a result, Central Interior would reduce its controlling interest in the licensee by virtue of the fact that the equities of 
the partners in the limited partnership were in the same proportions as their shareholdings in the general partner. 

Doug Shillington was general manager of the re-organized CKST-AM.


On November 25, the CRTC approved the transfer effective control of Saskatoon Telecable Ltdto 581631 Saskatchewan Ltd., a company owned and controlled by Mr. Clinton Forster, an existing shareholder of the licensee company. Saskatoon Telecable held 33% of Balsa Broadcasting L.P., licensee of CKST.


On August 5, Balsa Broadcasting Corp. was authorized to purchase CKST from Balsa Broadcasting Limited Partnership. The partnership had consisted of one general partner and seven limited partners, many of whom had other broadcast interests in Western Canada. Their interests in the partnership were in direct proportion to their financial investment in CKST; the partner with the largest interest was Saskatoon Telecable Ltd. with 33%. The purchaser, Balsa, was a corporation controlled by Western World Communications Ltd. which, in turn, was a wholly-owned subsidiary of STL, a company controlled by Mr. Clint Forster of Saskatoon. Mr. Forster had long been active in broadcasting; his holdings included the indirect ownership of cable television undertakings 14 Saskatchewan communities, as well as of radio station CJWW Saskatoon and 80% of City and Country Radio Ltd., licensee of CJUP Langley, B.C.

At the ownership hearing, Mr. Forster noted that CKST continued in operation only because of the willingness and capacity of the different partners to absorb the station’s financial losses. He also emphasized that in order to make the service more attractive to listeners, the partners had made various capital improvements and had increased programming expenses to levels well in excess of the original commitments made at the time the partnership acquired ownership of CKST in 1985. As a result, CKST had progressed from an almost wholly automated station to its current status as a fully-staffed undertaking employing some 25 people.

On the same date, CKST was given approval to change frequency from 1070 kHz to 1200 kHz and to increase power from 10,000 watts to 25,000 watts day and night.

Kirk Elliot became CKST’s program director. He had been with CHEC in Lethbridge.

CKST changed its call letters to CHMG.


Clint Forster sold his cable holdings (Saskatoon Telecable Ltd.) to Shaw Cablesystems Ltd. STL owned 99% of Western World Communications Ltd., licensee of CJWW Saskatoon and CKST Langley, and 100% of Balsa Broadcasting Corp. (CHMG). Prior to the transfer of control of STL to Shaw, the shares of Western World held by STL would be transferred to a new holding company…owned in the same manner that STL had: Clint C. Forster (70%), Carole Forster (15%) and the Clint Forster Family Trust (15%).


On May 9, Western World Communications Corp. received permission to acquire CJCA-AM and CIRK-FM in Edmonton, from Maclean-Hunter Ltd. Because Western owned 100% of CHMG-FM in the same market,the company was told to sell the St. Albert station within six months of the date of closing of the CJCA-CIRK transaction.


On July 22, Balsa Broadcasting Corp. received approval to move CHMG to the FM band, operating on a frequency of 104.7 MHz. Effective radiated power would be 100,000 watts. There would be no major programming changes for the new FM station. It would continue to program an “Oldies” or “Classic Gold” music format. Balsa asked for the move to FM because CHMG has had heavy financial losses since its inception. The company also said the AM signal had been inadequate in the downtown core area of Edmonton, and the addition of ‘Oldies’ on FM would add diversity to that band in Edmonton.

CHMG 1200 AM made the move to 104.7 FM in August.


CHMG-FM was now known as CFMG-FM.

The station promoted its new FM frequency with “105 Days of Summer”. A number of promotions and events were held for FM 105 throughout the summer, including during Klondike Days and the Heritage Festival.


On August 2, the sale of CFMG-FM from Balsa Broadcasting Corp. to Telemedia Communications Inc. was approved.


Clay Hennig became retail sales manager at EZ Rock Edmonton on May 1.

Leah Anderson was the new promotion manager at CFMG.


Telemedia Communications Inc. received permission to transfer its radio operations to Telemedia Radio Inc. on July 29.


On December 14, Telemedia Radio Inc. received approval to transfer the assets of CFMG-FM St. Albert to Telemedia Radio (West) Inc. This transfer was part of a corporate reorganization. Telemedia Radio (West) Inc., Princeton Broadcasting Ltd. and Copper Island Broadcasting Ltd. would amalgamate under the name of Telemedia Radio (West) Inc. and Telemedia Radio Inc. would transfer CFMG-FM to the new entity.


News director Al Kellington and assistant news director Shawn York left Telemedia Radio (West) in Edmonton after the company re-organized the Alberta News Network.

Charlee Redman was let go from EZ Rock 104.9’s morning show of Charley & Charlee. Charley West’s new co-hosts were Duncan Paterson and Robin Allen.


Standard Radio Inc. (Standard Broadcasting) purchased Telemedia’s Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia stations and then sold some of them to NewCap Inc. and Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. Standard retained CFMG-FM. Telemedia’s Alberta and British Columbia stations had opeated under the corporate name of Telemedia Radio (West) Inc. The CRTC approved the sale on April 19.


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 CFMG-FM, CFBR-FM and CFRN-AM.


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.


CFMG changed its branding in February from “EZ Rock” to “Virgin Radio”. The format went from Adult Contemporary to Contemporary Hits. Pepper and Dylan returned to the station’s morning show.

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

104-9 Virgin Radio (CFMG) teamed up with the charismatic host of American Idol and celebrity insider, Ryan Seacrest to bring Edmonton an entertainment driven, interactive show with Hollywood’s hottest stars and music’s biggest hit makers. On-Air with Ryan Seacrest was heard on 104-9 Virgin Radio weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Seacrest was the host & executive producer of the syndicated show airing on over 150 stations in North America, with affiliates worldwide.

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 CFMG-FM to August 31, 2012. On July 10, the licence was administratively renewed to March 31, 2013.


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

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 CFMG-FM.

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


Virgin Radio’s morning show was a casualty of cuts, with Chelsea Bird and Ian MacKinnon being let go in November.

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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