CISN-FM, Cisn Country 103.9, Edmonton

CISN-FM1982103.9100,000CISN Radio Ltd.
CISN-FM1988103.9100,000Shaw Cablesystems Ltd.
CISN-FM1999103.9100,000Corus Entertainment Inc.


Former Edmonton radio announcer Robert McCord applied for a licence to operate a new FM station in the city. He had proposed a rock station with the CKIS-FM call letters. The application was denied.


Robert N. McCord tried for an Edmonton FM licence again and was granted approval on October 29. There was strong competition for a new FM signal with applications from CHQT-AM, Rogers Broadcasting, CFCN Communications, Redmond Broadcasting, Slaight Broadcasting and Moffat Communications. Two applications were approved – CFCN’s and McCord’s – both proposed a Country music format. McCord’s would target the 25 to 49 age group with a more traditional sound, while CFCN would offer a more rock-oriented Country sound, for young adults. McCord’s station would use the 103.9 MHz frequency and have an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts.


CISN Radio Ltd. opened CISN-FM on June 5. Bob McCord was president of the company and CISN’s general manager. Gerry Siemens (formerly of CIRK-FM) was program director. Manny Buzunis (formerly of Winnipeg radio) was news director. The call letters CISN: “Kissin”. CISN-FM used a Harris FM-25 transmitter. It operated from the 707 foot CKRA-FM tower which would also be home to the new CJAX-FM. The three signals were combined using a Kathrein combiner and 8-bay antenna.


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


On August 8, CISN received a network licence for the purpose of broadcasting the program “Alberta Tonight”, from midnight to 5:00 a.m. Monday through Friday and from midnight to 6:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The stations authorized to be affiliated to this network were CISN-FM Edmonton, the originating station, and CKGY Red Deer. “Alberta Tonight” consisted primarily of country and country-oriented music featuring hourly news and sports updates with weather information relevant to each market. The Commission noted the licensee’s commitment to identify the call letters of CISN-FM and CKGY at least 3 times every hour and to insert public service announcements relevant to Red Deer listeners during this broadcast.


Moffat Communications Ltd. had its application to purchase CISN turned down on May 1. Moffat owned CHED-AM in Edmonton. For the record, CISN Holdings Ltd. was the major shareholder of CISN Radio Ltd. with the minor shareholder being BGM Systems. Robert McCord indirectly controlled the licensee by virtue of his 51% control of CISN Holdings Ltd. McCord held the positions of President and General Manager of the licensee company.

Ruth Blakely succeeded Janice London as news director.


On May 27, the CRTC approved the sale of CISN by Robert McCord to Shaw Cablesystems Ltd. CISN Holdings Ltd., through its ownership of 84.2% of the voting shares, was the controlling shareholder of CISN Radio Ltd. and was controlled indirectly by Mr. Robert McCord. McCord, who will continue as President of CISN Radio Ltd., stated that in order for the station to reach even greater potential, major steps and expenditures were required. As an independent operator, he said his resources for continued growth and expansion were limited. Through the Shaw organization, CISN could reach that higher plateau in its service to the Edmonton community and to the Canadian broadcasting system.

Shaw, the purchaser, was an Edmonton-based company with extensive cable television holdings across Canada, including a cable undertaking serving part of Edmonton. There was no clear cut control of this publicly-traded company. However, members of the Shaw family residing in Edmonton and Woodridge, Ontario owned 59.5% of the issued and outstanding voting shares, and James Shaw of Edmonton was the company’s President. Shaw’s broadcasting activities focused exclusively on cable television until 1987 when it acquired a number of Alberta radio stations.


Dave Shannon joined CISN after five years in Regina at Z99 and CKCK-AM.


Shaw Radio purchased CHQT-AM from CHQT Broadcasting Ltd. and moved its operations to CISN’s studios.


Corus Entertainment Inc. was formed September 1 from the media assets of Shaw Communications Inc. Corus became a separate and distinct, publicly traded corporation. The Shaw family continued to hold the majority of voting shares in Corus.


On December 9, CISN was given approval to move to a new transmitter site and decrease antenna height.


After a 5 year break from radio, Shell Scotford Oil Refinery electrician Quinn Brady became the new swing announcer at CISN.

Long time 630 CHED Morning News host Gord Whitehead announced that he was retiring, effective, September 1. A 40 year radio veteran, and the only morning show host 630 CHED has had since introducing its news-talk format in 1993, Whitehead’s last on-air broadcast was heard on August 31. Taking over from Whitehead was Edmonton’s radio veteran Bruce Bowie who spent the last 21 years as host of CISN COUNTRY 103.9’s The Waking Crew. This marked Bowie’s return to the Edmonton radio station where he first hosted a music program in 1974. Filling the vacancy on the CISN COUNTRY morning show: longtime CISN afternoon host Chris Scheetz. Scheetz officially joined Sean Burke and Leslie Stein on August 30 at 5:30 a.m.

Tamara Konrad left Corus Edmonton as Operations Manager to become General Manager/General Sales Manager at CKEA-FM Edmonton.

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

Neil Cunningham, Director of Sales at Corus Radio Alberta and based in Edmonton, left that position for Spence Diamonds. Cunningham’s Corus position was not be filled. His duties were now shared amongst four sales management staff.


Corus Entertainment announced the appointment of Garry McKenzie as regional general manager for Corus Radio Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg, effective April 2. In his new role, Garry would provide leadership, strategic direction and vision to the three markets, bringing over 20 years of solid operating experience, a strong sales and marketing background and results-driven success to 10 radio stations. Most recently, Garry was general manager of Corus Radio Vancouver.

Doug Rutherford, after a combined 38 years with WIC/Shaw/Corus, left his vice president and general manager post with Corus Radio Alberta at the end of March. Rutherford was President/CEO of WIC in Vancouver from 1998 to 2000. In 2000, Shaw purchased the company and Rutherford was retained in the position of VP for the West and held that role when Shaw’s broadcast properties were moved under a Shaw-held new company, Corus.

Sean Burke was no longer morning host at CISN Country 103.9.


The new marketing manager at Corus Radio Edmonton (630 CHED/92-5 Fresh FM/CISN Country 103.9/iNews880) was Tammy DuChene-Bos, moving to broadcasting from financial services and the travel/tour industries. She began at Corus March 4.

The story continues elsewhere…
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