CKYX-FM, 97.9 Rock, Fort McMurray
|Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
|OK Radio Group Ltd.
On January 23, the CRTC approved the application for a broadcasting licence for an English-language FM radio station at Fort McMurray on the frequency 97.9 MHz, channel 250, with an effective radiated power of 2,790 watts. The licence would expire September 30, 1985. This term would enable the Commission to consider the renewal of the licence at the same time as that of other FM radio stations in the region. The new station would offer a “progressive” format, oriented to a young adult audience, blending rock and rock-oriented music with a significant amount of spoken-word information so as to provide a distinct alternative to the licensee’s existing AM radio service in Fort McMurray, CJOK. The licensee proposed to maintain a maximum weekly repeat factor of 18 for any particular musical selection, and a limit of less than 50% for music which qualified as hit material. The Commission also noted the applicant’s commitment to provide thirty minutes per week of commercial-free time for programming access by interested community groups, and it expected the applicant to promote the availability of this time on a regular basis.
On March 20, CKYX 97.9 signed on the air with 1,740 watts. The station had an Adult Contemporary music format.
Bruce Smith was promoted to news director from public affairs. Former news director Ken Livingston moved to Nova Scotia.
Sister station CJOK moved to the FM band.
CJOK/KYX 98 Program Director was Russell Thomas. Mike Hardy became PD for the stations as of June 7. He had been Retail Promotions Coordinator at CJOB/Power97 Winnipeg.
CJOK morning man Tim Day gave up that post to become program director for KYX98 and CJOK.
On March 17, CKYX was given approval to add a transmitter at Tar Island. The rebroadcaster had already been operational as CJOK-FM-1, a transmitter for sister station CJOK-FM in Fort McMurray. The transmitter operated on 95.7 MHz with effective radiated power of 44 watts and antenna height of 59 metres (Steepbank Tower). CJOK-FM-1 was originally built to serve the employees of Suncor Energy. It was the Suncor employees and management that requested the change in programming from CJOK-FM to CKYX-FM.
At this time, studios and offices for CKYX and CJOK were located at 9912 Franklin Avenue in Fort McMurray.
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.
CKYX-FM changed its name from KYX 98 to Rock 97.9. The format remained Active Rock.
Early on the morning of December 2nd, Ted Rogers, founder and former Chief Executive of Rogers Communications, owners of CKYX-FM, died at his home in Toronto, after having suffered from congestive heart failure for some time.
The new General Manager at Rogers Radio Victoria was Jim Schneider, transferring to Vancouver Island from Country 93.3 (CJOK)/Rock 97.9 (CKYX) Fort McMurray. He succeeded Kim Hesketh in leading The Ocean and Jack FM. Schneider succeeded Kelly Boyd at Rogers Fort McMurray (CJOK/KYX 98)where he had been Assistant GM/General Sales Manager. Coincidental to Schneider’s promotion were the departures of Gorde Edlund and Dawn Kaysoe. Edlund was Program Director at Jack FM while Kaysoe was PD at The Ocean.
Stephen Peck, who once was with Newcap Calgary, became General Manager/ General Sales Manager at CJOK/CKYX on March 15.
On November 30, the CRTC renewed the licence for CKYX-FM and its transmitter CJOK-FM-1 Tar Island to 31 August 2017.
It was announced that Amanda Young would join Rogers Fort McMurray as the Country 93.3 program director and the promo director for Country 93.3 and ROCK 97.9. Amanda had been with Rogers Calgary. Mark Nskar was promoted to the position of program director for ROCK 97.9. He would also continue as music director for ROCK 97.9 FM. Jerry Neville was named morning show host. His firs shift was October 24. Andrew Adoku was the new engineer at Country 93.3/Rock 97.9 Fort McMurray. New to the broadcasting industry, Adoku moved from Montreal where he worked in the electronics industry.
Greg Johnson became Program Director at 92.5 JOE FM on August 2. He had been PD at Country 93.3/Rock 97.9 Fort McMurray, leaving there July 15. Amanda Young moved to Country 93.3 FM as Program Director and as Promotion Director for Country 93.3 and ROCK 97.9. She had been with sister Rogers Calgary where she was Promotions Director. Mark Neskar was promoted to Program Director at ROCK 97.9. He continued as Music Director.
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.
Mark Nekar left CKYX-FM where he had been Program Director, to become PD at Rock 106 and 107.7 The River in Lethbridge.
Three appointments at ROCK 97.9: the interim Program Director was Amanda Young, the PD at sister Country 93.3, Tyler King was Assistant Program Director, along with his play-by-play duties and Chris Byrne was Music Director.
Program and Promotion Director Amanda Young left CJOK/CKYX to become Promotion Director and Assistant PD at BOB FM in London. She was to start her new job on July 1. After Amanda King left and Tyler King took over as PD of CKYX, John Knox became Program Director of CJOK and promotions director for both stations.
It was announced that Stephen Peck, GM/GSM at Rogers Radio Fort McMurray, would move to Ontario March 1 as the new GM/GSM at Rogers Radio Kingston. Nolan Haukeness left as morning show host of CKYX and was replaced by Cubb Carson in June. After Tyler King left in July, John Knox assumed the role of Director of Programming & Promotions for both stations with Chris Byrne as Music Director for CKYX and Mike Jones MD for CJOK.
In early May an out of control wildfire caused the evacuation of Fort McMurray’s 80,000 residents. Rogers-owned Country 93.3 and Rock 97.9 were forced to carry programming from out of market sister stations in the early going. Harvard stations Mix 103.7 and 100.5 Cruz FM were off the air for a time with staff providing updates on social media and out of market sister station programming. Rock 97.9 and Country 93.3 returned to the city in June, having been deemed by the Regional Municipality as an essential service. Since their evacuation May 4, the two stations had been airing programming from other Rogers stations – 660 News Calgary and then CFGP Grande Prairie on Rock 97.9 and Country 104.3 Sault Ste. Marie on Country 93.3. Broadcasting began from Rogers Fort McMurray May 30, with six hours of Country 93.3 simulcast on Rock 97.9 and then six hours of Rock 97.9 simulcast on Country 93.3. That was increased to 12 hours each on June 2.
In August, CKYX rebranded as 97.9 Rock. There was no change in the music format.
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.