CIRK-FM, Rock K 97, Edmonton

Stingray Group Inc.

CIRK-FM201897.3100,000Stingray Group Inc.
CIRK-FM200197.3100,000NewCap Inc
CIRK-FM199597.3100,000Craig Broadcast System Inc.
CIRK-FM199197.3100,000Western World Communications Corp.
CIRK-FM198997.3100,000Maclean-Hunter buys Selkirk
CIRK-FM197597.3100,000Edmonton Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
CJCA-FM195999.5250Edmonton Broadcasting Co. (Selkirk Holdings)
CJCA-FM195399.5250Edmonton Broadcasting (Southam 60%/T.P. 40%)
CJCA-FM194999.5250Edmonton Journal


CJCA launched experimental FM station VE9AI in June.


The CBC recommended for approval, the application by Southam Co. Ltd. (Edmonton Journal, CJCA), for an FM licence.


CJCA-FM was established by the Edmonton Journal. It operated on a frequency of 99.5 MHz with a power of 250 watts. The FM simulcast the programming of CJCA-AM. Both stations were under the management of All-Canada Mutually Operated Stations (Taylor, Pearson & Carson).


The Journal (Southam Newspapers) sold Taylor-Pearson-Carson a 40% interest in CJCA-AM/FM and set-up a new company – Edmonton Broadcasting Company Limited.


CJCA-FM was a CBC Trans-Canada affiliate. Ownership of Edmonton Broadcasting Co. Ltd.: The Southam Co. Ltd. 60%, Taylor and Pearson Broadcasting Co. Ltd. 40%, W. A. MacDonald, H. E. Pearson and T. G. Brown. Power at this time on 99.5 FM was 400 watts .


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 CJCA-AM-FM to remain as an affiliate.

CJCA-FM began programming in stereo separate from CJCA-AM.


CJCA 99.5 had a power of 400 watts. It offered programming independent from CJCA-AM from 5:50 p.m. to midnight on weekdays, 5:50 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Saturdays, and 5:00 p.m. to midnight Sundays.


On December 31, approval was granted for the transfer of 40% of Edmonton Broadcasting Co. Ltd. from Southam Press Ltd. to Selkirk Holdings Ltd. This change was designed to eliminate the direct ownership of Southam in broadcasting operations in cities where it owned daily newspapers. Payment for the shares was in the form of non-voting (Class A) equity shares in Selkirk. As a result, publicly traded Southam would now own about 44.6% of the Class A equity shares of Selkirk.


On July 24, Edmonton Broadcasting Co. Ltd. was given approval to move the CJCA-AM-FM studios and offices from 10123 – 104th Street to 10230 – 108th Street. The move to the stations’ own building took place later in the year.


On December 18, Edmonton Broadcasting Co. Ltd. was authorized to change CJCA-FM’s frequency from 99.5 to 97.3 MHz, to increase effective radiated power from 414 watts (omnidirectional) to 64,000 watts (directional), and to use a new transmitter site.


The technical changes approved in 1974 went into effect at the same time CJCA-FM changed its call sign to CIRK-FM.


In the spring, CIRK-FM became known as “K-97”. Program Director was Neil Edwards.


In March, station owner Selkirk Broadcasting sent a letter to the CRTC, complaining that CKRA-FM (“K-96”) was duplicating much of CIRK-FM’s Progressive music format. Following an October hearing in Edmonton, a December 15 CRTC Public Notice stated that CKRA was in non-compliance with its Promise of Performance, which was based on the Contemporary Middle of the Road format in the station’s license. To comply, CKRA-FM become 96-K-Lite “Light Rock and Less Talk”.


On July 21, approval was granted for the transfer of 200 Class B voting shares of Selkirk Communications Ltd. from Southam Inc. to John T. Ferguson, and subsequently, the transfer of these shares from Mr. Ferguson, together with 200 Class B shares from each of seven other individual shareholders, to the Canada Trust Co., pursuant to a voting trust agreement. Southam held 20% of the voting shares and approximately 28% of the non-voting shares of Selkirk Communications. Selkirk owned the following broadcast companies: Selkirk
Broadcasting Ltd., Lethbridge Television Ltd., Calgary Television Ltd., and Niagara Television Ltd.


On January 11, the CRTC renewed CIRK-FM’s licence until September 30, 1985.


On January 8, the CRTC approved the application to amend the licence for CIRK-FM by increasing the transmitter power from 64,000 watts to 100,000 watts and by changing the transmitter to a location approximately 20 kilometers north-west of the present site. A new tower would be built and it would carry a 12-bay FM panel antenna along with diverse STL and communications hardware. It would be designed to permit future addition of VHF and UHF TV installations. The tower was in the 200 metre range and was expected to be completed by late summer. These changes in the facilities should enhance the station’s coverage in Edmonton, particularly in the southeast area of the city where signal reception problems had been experienced.

The CRTC put Selkirk Communications on notice over the operation of CIRK-FM. The Commission had earlier conducted investigations into complaints that the station was broadcasting a level of hits well in excess of the allowed 50% and that the station’s playlist was well below the minimum allowed. The station also had problems with its logger tape equipment. An analysis following a public hearing found the music broadcast by CIRK was in compliance and that the logger tapes for the week in question were in good order. As a result, the CRTC planned no further action at this time. It told Selkirk it would closely monitor the performance of CIRK.


Terry Strain, former president of Edmonton Broadcasting Co. (CIRK-CJCA) was appointed a member of the board and acting chairman of the Alberta Liquor Control Board.


CIRK and CJCA came under the ownership of Maclean-Hunter when it purchased Selkirk Communications Ltd. Later in the year Maclean-Hunter failed in its bid to sell the Edmonton stations to Western Broadcasting of Vancouver.


Rogers Broadcasting had been negotiating with Maclean-Hunter to purchase CIRK-FM and CJCA-AM. The plans were dropped because Rogers feared the deal could complicate its attempt to break into the long-distance telephone market.

Neil Edwards was now assistant general manager of CIRK/CJCA as well as PD of CIRK “K-97”. Janice Burke was controller and administrative manager for both stations.


On May 9, the CRTC approved the applications by Western World Communications Corp. for authority to acquire the assets of CIRK-FM and CJCA Edmonton from NEWCO CJCA Limited. The licence for CJCA would expire August 31, 1995, which would enable the Commission to consider the renewal of this licence at the same time as that of other AM stations in the region. In the case of CIRK-FM, the licence would expire August 31, 1992; this date would allow the Commission to consider the licence renewal of CIRK-FM at the same time as that of other FM stations following implementation of the new policy and regulations for FM radio. The vendor was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Maclean-Hunter Limited. MHL acquired effective ownership and control of the two Edmonton stations in 1989 as part of a much larger transaction involving its purchase of the extensive broadcast holdings of Selkirk Communications Limited. It had then been MHL’s intention to transfer ownership of CJCA and CIRK-FM to Westcom Radio Group Ltd. The applications pertaining to that subsequent transfer, however, were denied by the Commission. As a consequence of another decision issued on September 28, 1989, MHL became the indirect shareholder of Moffat – MH Limited, the licensee of two other Edmonton radio stations (CHED and CKNG-FM). In light of the fact that it had not been MHL’s intention to retain ownership of CJCA or CIRK-FM, and taking into account its holdings in the other two Edmonton stations as well as in the Edmonton Sun, the Commission directed MHL to submit applications within six months for the transfer of CJCA and CIRK-FM to a third party. The present applications were in response to the Commission’s direction. Western World, the purchaser, was indirectly controlled by Clint Forster of Saskatoon. Western World was currently the licensee of six radio stations, including joint AM/FM operations in Winnipeg and Regina, and stand-alone AM stations serving Saskatoon and Langley. Western World also owned 100% of Balsa Broadcasting Corp., the licensee of CHMG St. Albert.


On August 25, the CRTC approved the transfer of CKMM-FM Winnipeg and CKIT-FM Regina, and through the sale of shares, effective control of CIRK-FM from Western World Communications Limited Partnership to Craig Broadcast Systems Inc of Brandon. 

Dean Sinclair was gone as Program Director at CIRK…replaced by Barry Horne.


On August 29, K-97 became K-Rock, updating the Classic Rock format with ’90s music. Program Director was Kevin Grexton and General Manager was Matthew McBride. 

Sharon Mallon left CIRK-FM. She had been news director and operations manager.


An Operations Agreement came into place at Craig Broadcast Systems’ K-Rock Edmonton and Newcap Broadcasting’s CFCW/CKRA-FM Edmonton. Craig would relocate to the CFCW/MIX 96 facility at about the beginning of June. 

Thanks to the management merger, Todd James moved over to mid-days on Mix 96. Terry Evans got additional duties as assistant program director at K-Rock.

The first casualty of the Mix 96/K-Rock management merger was Seanna Collins…co-host to Terry Evans on the K-Rock morning show. Manager Al Anderson said the move was to save money. Al was the same manager that fired Seanna from the Mix 96 morning show a year earlier.

Following the merger with Mix 96, Kevin Grexton left K-Rock as program director. Announcer Terry Evans added program director duties. Steve Jones was director of programming for both Mix 96 and K-Rock.

Mix 96/K-Rock 97.3/CFCW production manager Jason Bobier left in December. He was replaced by Marc Libioron from CHED/Power 92. 


On February 17, Newcap Inc. was given approval to purchase CIRK-FM.

Terry Evans became K-Rock’s morning host, moving up from afternoon drive. He replaced Bruce Kenyon who had been let go.


Steve Jones, program director at CIRK and CKRA, was appointed director of programming for Newcap Broadcasting’s 30 stations. He would continue on as PD for the two Edmonton stations.

Brad Dryden left K-Rock for CKQB-FM in Ottawa where he would be morning show host.


On June 29, Newcap Alberta revealed its brand new 26,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art broadcast facility prominently situated within the West Edmonton Mall. The move brought together, under one roof, 790 CFCW, 96X, K-Rock and the Cat Country network studios, as well as the operations of Newcap Alberta. The two former headquarters of these stations were modest facilities, located off-the-beaten-track.


On January 6, the CRTC approved the application by Newcap Inc. to change the authorized contours of CIRK-FM, by increasing the antenna height and by relocating the transmitter. The Commission noted that there would be no significant change to the authorized contours.


On July 7 at 8:00 a.m., CIRK-FM returned to the “K-97” (“Edmonton’s classic rock, K-97”) name. Program director was James “Gruff” Gushnowski. On-air line-up: Terry Evans and Phil Aubrey (5:30-9). Melissa Wright (9-2). Rob Berg (2-7), Mike Diesel (7- midnight). Weekends: Brother Brett and Jeff Walker. 


Ross Hawse, General Sales Manager at Newcap Radio Edmonton, joined Rawlco Radio Edmonton on November 30.


Dave Warawa was now general sales manager at Newcap Edmonton. He had been retail sales manager. Kelly Walter, formerly of Magic 99.9 Edmonton, was now Newcap retail sales manager.


Pat Cardinal became Program Manager of Newcap Alberta’s 31 radio stations. Cardinal, who retained his Operations Manager duties at the Edmonton cluster, saw his added role include being a programming and promotional resource to the Newcap Alberta Hub Managers and PD’s. He’s been with Newcap Edmonton for two years.

New Music Director at JACK Calgary was Jeff Walker, former MD/Swing Announcer at K-97 Edmonton.

On November 30, the CRTC renewed CIRK’s licence until August 31, 2014. This short-term renewal would enable the Commission to review, at an earlier date, the licensee’s compliance with the Radio Regulations, 1986.


Pat Cardinal moved to become General Manager at Astral Media Edmonton. Cardinal, who had 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.

CJAY 92 Calgary’s new Promotions & Marketing Director was Jason Almeida. His last stop was K-97 Edmonton.

Brent Shelton returned to K97 Edmonton November 14 as Promotion Director. He’d been with the Newcap station in the mid 2000s then moved to Sonic Edmonton.


Brent Shelton was named assistant program director at K97. He had been with the station since last fall.

Retail Sales Manager Kelly Walter was promoted to General Sales Manager at Newcap’s Edmonton Radio Group. Stepping in to his RSM role at Capital FM and K97 was Doug McCulloch, promoted from Senior Account Manager. Leo Pilon continued as RSM for CFCW, CAM and W1440.


Bryn Griffiths, after 30 years on-air, most recently at The Fan 960 Calgary, joined K97 /Capital FM Edmonton as an account manager.

It was announced that Sharon Taylor, General Manager at QX 104/FAB 94.3 Winnipeg, would be moving to take on the GM position at the Newcap Edmonton stations (CFCW-AM-FM, CIRK, CKRA) as of December 2.


In August, Newcap Radio did some restructuring at its Edmonton stations. The casualties included GSM Kelly Walters, Capital FM afternoon drive host Shane Michaels and K-97 midday host Melissa Wright.

Rob Berg, long-time announcer at K-97 retired after 30 years with the station. Berg started in radio in 1982, working at stations in Westlock and Wetaskiwin before joining K-97 in 1988. He did his last show on September 28.

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.

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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