CHSP-FM, Real Country 97.7 , St. Paul

Stingray Group Inc.

CHSP-FM201897.750,000Stingray Group Inc.
CHSP-FM201197.750,000NewCap Inc.
CHLW-AM2002131010,000NewCap Inc.
CHLW-AM1999131010,000Telemedia (West) Inc
CHLW-AM1998131010,000Okanagan Skeena Group
CHLW-AM1989131010,000Nor-Net Communications Ltd.
CHLW-AM1988131010,000Parkland Radio Ltd.
CHLW-AM1980s131010,000L. W. Broadcasting Ltd.
CIOK-AM1975131010,000L. W. Broadcasting Ltd.


On December 24, Roger R. Charest, on behalf of a company to be incorporated (would be known as Radio 1310 Ltd.) received a licence for a new AM station at St. Paul, operating on 1310 kHz with power of 10,000 watts (directional at night). The new station would also operate studios at Bonnyville. A competing application by Wilfrid L. Horton was denied. Horton had also applied for a licence at St. Paul in 1972


CIOK 1310 signed on the air. It was owned by Roger Charest and Stu Morton’s
O.K. Radio Group, owner of CJOK Fort McMurray. CIOK would offer at least 44 hours of local programming a week and also produce programs in French, Cree and Ukrainian.

O.K. Radio also launched CFOK in Westlock this year.


The CRTC issued short-term licence renewals for CFOK and CIOK. The Commission called for progress reports within six months on the establishment of studio facilities at Barrhead and Bonnyville. The licensees had promised to open such facilities within the first year of operation of the two stations, both of which have been on the air since 1975.

On July 27, the CRTC approved the transfer of 50% of Charest Communications Ltd. from Roger Charest to Humford Developments Ltd., resulting in the indirect transfer of the 75% of Radio 1310 Ltd. held by Charest. A further transfer of 25% of Radio 1310 Ltd. from the present shareholders to Charest Communications was also approved. As a result, John M. Humphrey and Gordon H. Gifford, co-owners of Humford and existing shareholders (25% each) in Charest, acquired full beneficial ownership of Charest Communications and Radio 1310 Ltd. 


On September 26, O.K. Radio Ltd. (formerly Radio 1310 Ltd.) was authorized to operate a new AM station at Grande Centre to rebroadcast the programs of CIOK St. Paul. The Grande Centre transmitter would operate on 1340 kHz with a power of 250 watts.

CIOK-1 Grande Centre began broadcasting December 1.


Humford Developments Ltd. acquired a 90% interest in O.K. Radio Group Ltd. Stu Morton held the remaining 10%.


CIOK was authorized to originate programming from the Westlock studios on a part-time basis.
Roger Charest and Stu Morton purchased O.K. Radio Group Ltd. (50% each). Humford Developments Ltd. had held a 90% interest. Charest founded CJOK Fort McMurray in 1973 and Morton was the station’s original manager. The new ownership interest brought Charest’s CKER-AM Edmonton under the O.K. umbrella.

Following OK Radio Group’s reorganization, Stu Morton, formerly a partner with Roger Charest, became president. Ron Clark, formerly of Edmonton’s CKER, became CIOK’s station manager. Larry Howell was named chief engineer for CIOK. He had been at Vancouver’s CKWX.


On April 20, approval was granted for the sale of OK Radio Group Ltd. by Humford Developments Ltd. and R. Stuart Morton to CKER Radio Ltd. OK owned CJOK, CFOK, CIOK and CIOK-1. Also approved: the conversion of 100% of the issued common shares of CKER Radio Ltd. to non-voting preferred shares for existing shareholders; the issuance of an additional 100 preferred shares to R. Stuart Morton; the issuance of 100 new common voting shares of CKER to Roger Charest (51), R. Stuart Morton (41), Frank Charest (3), Don Rollans (2), Ronald Clark (1), Larry Snelgrove (1) and Linda Charest (1). Control of CKER Radio Ltd. would remain with Roger Charest. CKER Radio Ltd. would have indirect control of CFOK a country station serving the rural area north and west of Edmonton, while maintaining direct control of CKER Edmonton.

On the same date, L.W. Broadcasting Ltd. was authorized to purchase CIOK and CIOK-1 from OK Radio Group Ltd. L.W. owned CILW Wainwright and was controlled by J. L. Blundell and D. W. Williams who also owned stations in Saskatchewan.

As a result of the sale, CIOK and CIOK-1 became CHLW and CHLW-1.


Rob Huisman was named news director. He replaced Sue Stevenson who left for CKGY in Red Deer.


When CILW Wainwright had its licence renewed September 24, it was noted that it originated 30 hours of programming per week and that the remainder of its schedule was received from CHLW St. Paul.

Brian Willis was now at CHLW.


On January 22, Parkland Radio Ltd. received approval to acquire CHLW St. Paul, CHLW-1 Grand Centre and CILW Wainwright from L.W. Broadcasting Ltd. Parkland was controlled indirectly by Neil McKinnon and family of Dawson Creek, B.C. Parkland already owned CJOI Wetaskiwin and, through other companies, McKinnon also had interests in six small AM radio stations in Alberta and B.C. L.W. was controlled indirectly by James Blundell and Dennis Williams through Triad Communications Inc., with each holding 100 common shares representing, in total, 100% of the vote. Triad, in turn, held 91.4% of Dace Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of CJYM Rosetown and CFYM Kindersley, SK. Parkland proposed to establish a studio in Grand Centre by the second full year of operation. CHLW-1 now rebroadcast programming from St. Paul, and the applicant indicated that within two years, it would provide at least 18 hours per week of locally-originated programming from the Grand Centre studio. Parkland would also determine the feasibility of improving the signal of CILW Wainwright, which has experienced reception difficulties in Provost to the south and Vermilion to the north, and was subject to interference from Edmonton radio signals, particularly at night. Since CILW’s licence renewal in 1987, the Commission noted that the licensee had increased the amount of local programming on the station from 30 to 50 hours. Parkland assured the Commission that it would maintain the 50 hours as a weekly minimum. The remainder of the station’s programming was rebroadcast from CHLW St. Paul.

Len Novak became managing director, overseeing the operations of CFOK, CKNL/CFNL, CHLW, CILW, CKWA and CJOI. He had been CFOK’s general manager.


On July 19, Nor-Net Communications Ltd. (formerly 332540 British Columbia Ltd.) received approval to acquire CHLW St. Paul, CHLW-1 Grand Centre and CILW Wainwright from Parkland Radio Ltd. This represented an intercorporate transaction and its primary purpose was to simplify the corporate structure. Until now, Parkland was indirectly controlled by Neil McKinnon (52.7%) through 318206 British Columbia Ltd. This transaction would result in a situation of no clear-cut control where Nor-Net was owned 50% by Marco Holdings Ltd. (Neil McKinnon), 25% by Len Novak and 25% by Gene Daniels. Following this transaction Parkland would be formally dissolved.


On May 16, CHLW-1 was authorized to broadcast 20 hours per week of local programming originating from Grand Centre. Until this time, CHLW-1 was a full-time rebroadcaster of CHLW.


On February 22, approval was given for the transfer of effective control of Nor-Net Communications Ltd., licensee of CFOK Westlock, CKWA Slave Lake, CKBA Athabasca, CHLW St. Paul and its rebroadcaster CHLW-1 Grand Centre, CILW Wainwright, CKVH High Prairie, CKNL Fort St. John and CFNL Fort Nelson, through the transfer of all of the issued and outstanding shares of 362278 British Columbia Ltd., a company which owned 25% of Nor-Net, from Mr. Eugene Daniel to Marco Holdings Ltd. This intra-corporate transaction would result in an existing shareholder buying out another minority shareholder and thereby gaining effective control of the licensee company. Until now, Marco held 50% of Nor-Net. As a result of this transaction, the share structure would remain unchanged; however, Marco would effectively control Nor-Net by holding 75% of the voting shares, 50% directly and 25% indirectly through 362278 British Columbia Ltd.

On August 26, CILW Wainwright was authorized to change its program source from CHLW St. Paul to CFOK Westlock. It was also noted that CHLW-1 Grand Centre would increase the amount of local programming it broadcast, from 20 hours to 26 hours each week.


When CHLW had its licence renewed on October 10, it was also authorized to receive programs from CKDQ Drumheller in addition to local programming.


On November 18, Okanagan Skeena Group Ltd. received approval to acquire Nornet Broadcasting Ltd. (including CHLW).


On October 7, approval was given for Okanagan Skeena Group Ltd. to effect an intra-corporate reorganization. OKS would transfer the assets of its television and radio stations in British Columbia and Alberta to 3537412 Canada Ltd., one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries.

On October 18, approval was granted for the transfer of ownership and control of Okanagan Skeena Group Ltd. through the transfer of all of its issued and outstanding shares to Telemedia Radio Inc. a wholly-owned subsidiary of Telemedia Communications Inc. Initially, Okanagan had applied for the transfer of its shares to TCI Acquisition Corporation. However, on August 31, by letter of authority, the CRTC approved the merger of Okanagan with TCI. The resulting company kept Okanagan’s name. Also, Telemedia advised the Commission that, effective September 1, 3581713 Canada Inc. amalgamated with Telemedia Radio. As a result of these mergers, Telemedia Radio was now the company that acquired the shares of Okanagan.


On April 19, the CRTC approved the sale of a number of radio and television stations in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia by Telemedia Radio Inc. and Telemedia Radio (West) Inc. to Standard Radio Inc. Standard was then allowed to sell certain of these stations to Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. and 3937844 Canada Inc. (subsidary of Newcap Inc.). Newcap acquired 15 Alberta radio stations and related transmitters (Newcap 76.34%, Standard 23.66%). CHLW was one of the 15 stations that would now be owned by Newcap.


On April 21, the CRTC announced it had approved an application by Newcap Inc. to convert CHLW to the FM band. The new station would broadcast on a frequency of 97.7 MHz and have an average effective radiated power of 16,000 watts. The station would keep CHLW’s country music format targeting adults between the ages of 25 and 64.


On November 3, the CRTC approved the application by Newcap Inc. relating to CHLW-FM St. Paul to relocate the transmitter site and change the authorized contours by increasing the average effective radiated power from 16,000 to 22,000 watts (maximum ERP from 36,000 to 50,000 watts) and by decreasing the effective height of antenna above average terrain from 122.6 to 80.3 metres. The Commission noted that the population served within the 3 mV/m and 0.5 mV/m contours would decrease from 9,447 to 9,324 (1.3%) and from 27,098 to 22,126 (18.34%), respectively.

On November 30, the CRTC renewed CHLW’s licence until August 31, 2017.


Real Country 97 7 The Spur is officially went on the air December 30 at 10:00 a.m. CHSP-FM was playing New Country and the best country from the 90’s and 2000’s. “We’ll still continue to be an information source for St. Paul and area providing coverage of local news, agricultural news, sports, weather, and promoting local community initiatives,” said program director Jeff Murray. “It’s an exciting time for Newcap Radio, but we’re even more excited for the communities we serve to be able to provide them a product they can all be proud of,” said Newcap Alberta East GM Chad Tabish. With the move to 97.7 FM, CHLW-AM 1310 left the air immediately, without utilizing the authorized 90 day simulcast period.


The CRTC approved an amendment to the technical parameters of CHLW-FM, to relocate its antenna. In Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2010-814 of November 3, 2010, Newcap received approval to locate CHLW-FM on a tower owned by Telus, and Industry Canada authorized construction of the facility with their Letter of Authority November 17, 2010. The tower later became unavailable. With the change of antenna site, maximum effective radiated power would decrease from 50,000 to 45,000 watts and average ERP would increase from 22,000 to 45,000 watts. Antenna height would decrease from 80 (directional) to 50.8 (non-directional) metres. (Note that the CRTC still referred to CHSP as CHLW in this decision)


New Program Director at ZED98.9 was Jeff Murray, promoted from PD at Newcap’s seven station network (95.9 Lloyd FM, 93.7 Wayne FM, KEY 83 Wainwright, 101.1 KOOL FM Bonnyville, 97.7 The Spur St Paul, 103.5 Big Dog Lac La Biche and 95.3 FM K-Rock Cold Lake) in northeast Alberta. He began in Red Deer the first week of April.


Newcap rebranded eight of its Alberta country music stations to the Real Country Network. CKGY Red Deer was the flagship. CHSP rebranded from The Spur to Real Country 97.7. All stations would still air local programming but off-peak shows would be centralized from Red Deer. Seven on-air jobs were lost as a result of the change.


On October 23, the CRTC approved an application by Newfoundland Capital Corporation Limited, on behalf of Newcap Inc. and its licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, for authorization to effect a change in the ownership and effective control of various radio and television broadcasting undertakings in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, so that effective control of the undertakings would be exercised by Eric Boyko (Stingray Digital Group Inc.). Stingray took ownership of the stations just a few days later.


In January, Stingray began syndicating the Real Country 95.5 Red Deer morning show across its Real Country and boom-branded radio stations in rural Alberta, leading to the elimination of 14 on-air positions. Real Country 97.7 was among the stations to add the show.

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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