CKER-FM, The Sound, Edmonton

Rogers Media

CKER-FM2006101.9100,000Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
CKER-FM1996101.9100,000OK Radio Group Ltd.
CKER-FM1995101.9100,000CKER Radio Ltd.


Roger Charest applied for a multilingual FM station at Edmonton – 105.9 MHz with effective radiated power of 65,000 watts. The application was turned down as the CRTC was not satisfied that the proposal would meet this need adequately. The door was left open though for a multilingual FM station at Edmonton.


Roger R. Charest, on behalf of a company to be incorporated (would be CKER Radio Ltd.), was granted a licence for an AM multilingual station in Edmonton. It would broadcast on a frequency of 1480 kHz and have a full-time power of 10,000 watts (different day and night patterns). A competing application by Ernest Mykyte (1480 kHz with 50,000 watts) was denied. The target date for the new station was April of 1981. The station would have an advisory council to represent the various ethnic groups in the area

Less than four months after getting the green light from the CRTC, CKER 1480 signed on the air on November 1. Studios and offices were in a 2,300 square foot space at 4443-99 Street on the south side of Edmonton. The studios featured Ramko consoles, Ferrograph and Sony recorders, Technics turntables and Sennheiser microphones. The antenna towers and CCA transmitter were located three miles south of the city limits. The “ER” in the call letters stood for Edmonton Radio.

CKER was the first multilingual station in Alberta. The station featured a cosmopolitan format during the day. Late afternoons, evenings and weekends were made up almost exclusively of third language programs, with an emphasis on German, Ukrainian, Italian, East Indian and Chinese.

Roger Charest had owned the OK Radio group (CJOK Fort McMurray, CFOK Westlock, and CIOK St. Paul), but relinquished control of those stations to concentrate on CKER. Charest even hosted a program (Eye Opener) between 6:00 and 9:00 a.m., on CKER.


Ron Clark left CKER to become station manager at CIOK in St. Paul.


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, approval was granted for the sale of CIOK and CIOK-1 to LW Broadcasting Ltd.


CKER increased its ethnic programming from 40% to 60%. The station’s signal was now uplinked on Anik D1 and could be carried by any cable system without application (provided there was no local ethnic station). Cable systems in Calgary, Fort McMurray and Lethbridge were already among those distributing CKER via cable.


On August 15, CKER was authorized to convert to the FM band, operating on 101.9 MHz with an effective radiated power of 64,000 watts.  

CKER made the move from 1480 AM to 101.9 FM later in the year. 


Frank George Arthur Makepeace, 93, passed away. He entered the radio business in 1928, worked at Sunwapta Broadcasting for 30 years, retired, then helped to build CHQT. He was with that station for eight years. Makepeace then moved on to build the first studio for CJOK in Fort MacMurray. At age 73, he was asked to build another station – CKER! He was 80 years old when he decided to retire for real.


On February 3, O.K. Radio Group Ltd. was given approval to increase CKER’s effective radiated power from 64,000 to 100,000 watts, increase antenna height from 144 to 272 metres, and relocate the transmitter. CKER proposed to develop a new transmitter site in Parkland County, approximately 17 kilometres west of the center of Edmonton.


CKER’s sister station CHDI-FM 102.9 began broadcasting in April.


On January 18, the CRTC approved an application by O.K. Radio Group Ltd. requesting that the licence for CKER-FM be amended by changing the frequency from 101.9 MHz (channel 270C) to 101.7 MHz (channel 269C). The applicant stated that the proposed frequency change was required in order to alleviate interference caused to the signals of other radio stations in parts of Edmonton. All other technical parameters would remain unchanged. The Commission noted that technical matters, such as the potential for frequency interference, were within the jurisdiction of the Department of Industry. In this regard, the Department advised the Commission that, when CKER-FM began broadcasting at its current site, interference to the signal of CISN-FM Edmonton was found to occur in several parts of Edmonton, and that this interference was eliminated once the applicant commenced broadcasting on the adjacent channel 269C. The Department added that CKER-FM had been operating with interim authority on this new channel since May 2005, and that the Department was satisfied with the results. With regard to the use of channel 269B in Lloydminster, the Department noted that, while some small areas of mutual interference were predicted, the applicant had met the criteria for protection of an unused allotment and that the extent of the interference was considered acceptable. The Commission examined the issues associated with the operation of CKER-FM on 101.7 MHz (channel 269C) and was satisfied that the applicant’s use of these new technical parameters was appropriate in the circumstances. 

At this time, studios and offices for CKER and CHDI were located at 6005 Gateway Boulevard.

On November 29, Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. received approval to acquire the Alberta stations owned by O.K. Radio Group Ltd. The stations were CHDI-FM and CKER-FM Edmonton, CJOK-FM and CKYX-FM Fort McMurray (and CJOK-FM-1 Tar Island), and CFGP-FM Grande Prairie (with CFGP-FM-1 Peace 
River and CFGP-FM-2 Tumbler Ridge). Rogers was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rogers Media Inc., which, in turn, was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rogers Communications Inc., a corporation ultimately controlled by Edward S. Rogers. O.K. was controlled by Roger Charest.


CKER-FM changed its format from Multilingual/Religion to Multilingual/World Music.


Early on the morning of December 2nd, Ted Rogers, founder and former Chief Executive of Rogers Communications, owners of CKER-FM, died at his home in Toronto, after having suffered from congestive heart failure for some time.


Al Ford was appointed Operations Manager for the Rogers Radio Edmonton properties. He remained Program Director at SONiC 1029.


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


On March 20, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CKER-FM to August 31, 2012. On August 28, the licence was administratively renewed to March 31, 2013.

Jim Blundell succeeded Kevin McKanna and is the Acting General Manager of the 13 Rogers Radio stations in Alberta. Blundell had been the Vice President & GM at CTV Vancouver Island, C-FAX and KooL FM Victoria and left Bell Media in September of last year. Blundell’s background included being the Market Manager for the CHUM radio stations in Brockville, Kingston and Peterborough. In 2007, he was promoted to VP/GM of then Star-FM London and, in 2009, he was promoted again to take the lead at CHUM’s (now Bell Media’s) Victoria properties. 


On March 26, the CRTC renewed the licence of CKER-FM to August 31, 2019. The Commission approved the licensee’s request to reduce the number of ethnic groups that CKER-FM was required to serve through its programming as well as the number of languages in which that programming must be broadcast. The station had been serving 19 ethnic groups in the following 19 languages: Arabic, Cantonese, Croatian, Dutch, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Serbian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog and Ukrainian. Under the model underlying the proposed amendment, CKER-FM would no longer serve the Croatian, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Portuguese, Serbian and Somali ethnic communities.


At the start of the year, City tv (CKEM-DT) and Omni tv (CJEO-DT) were in the process of moving in with CKER and CHDI (Rogers Radio) at 5915 Gateway Blvd. The lease at 10212 Jasper Avenue (where the TV stations were located) was up and it was decided to put the radio and TV stations under one roof.

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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