CHAT-FM, CHAT 94.5, Medicine Hat
|Jim Pattison Industries Ltd.
|Jim Pattison Industries Ltd.
|Monarch Broadcasting Ltd.
In the late 1930s, industrialist and entrepreneur J. H. “Hop” Yuill applied for a radio station license for Medicine Hat, but World War II caused the application to be shelved. He reapplied in 1945 and a licence was granted. It was announced in October that the new station would soon open, using the “CHAT” call sign.
R.J. (Bob) Buss left CKCK Regina where he had been commercial manager. He joined CHAT which was now scheduled to launch in the spring of 1946.
In the spring, work on the studio building was well underway and CHAT 1270, with 1,000 watts, was now expected to be on the air in July. The 4,800 square foot floor space would include three studios. CHAT was owned by the Monarch Broadcasting Co. and the station’s slogan was “Buy Alberta and get Saskatchewan free!”
Bob Buss reported in October that CHAT was expected to take to the air full-time on November 1. He would manage the station. J.M. Ellis was chief engineer. Bartley Brown was program director. CHAT would be a CBC Dominion supplementary station. Later in the month, a main-line passenger train was approaching Dunmore, just east of Medicine Hat. The engineer noticed two red lights, which to him, indicated danger. The train stopped. In time, the engineer realized that he was viewing the lights of the new CHAT towers.
CHAT signed on the air November 1, operating on a frequency of 1270 kHz with power of 1,000 watts. The transmitter was located at Roytal. The 4,800 square foot studio building was at 520 First Street in Medicine Hat. CHAT was on the air daily from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Yuill’s company was called Monarch Broadcasting Co. Ltd. The unique call sign, “CHAT” was considered to be one of the best as it was synonymous with the business. It also represented the community of licence – Medicine HAT. The station’s slogan at the start: Buy Alberta and get Saskatchewan free!
R. J. “Bob” Buss was the first General Manager. He had been commercial manager at CKCK in Regina. There were nine people on staff at the start of operations. Buss, along with Production Manager Bart Brown trainined locals Jim Macleod, Pete La Valley and Orv Kope who covered all shifts from 6:00 am to midnight seven days a week for 18 months until two more on air personalities and one news person were added.
CHAT was part of the CBC’s Dominion network which brought many programs to the area from both Canada and American sources such as Duffy’s Tavern, Amos & Andy and Fibber McGee and Molly. Transcribed programs on 16 inch discs and one hour segments were also part of the program fare – shows such as Box 13, Boston Blackie, and the MGM Theatre of the Air were heard in Southern Alberta and Southwestern Saskatchewan.
The CBC board approved the transfer of one share of Monarch Broadcasting.
Slogans: One Thousand Persuasive Watts. / A campaign without CHAT means no coverage in Medicine Hat.
CHAT was added as a supplementary CBC Dominion station.
Jim McLeod left CHAT to become an announcer at the soon to open CKY Winnipeg.
Slogan: There’s nowhere to go in Medicine Hat except to stay at home and listen to CHAT.
Slogan: The Western radio picture is not complete without our 1000 persuasive watts! (Nearest station 110 miles distant – next nearest station 200 miles distant).
Eddie Ferenz was a sportscaster. Michael Lynch was a newscaster.
CHAT 1270 operated with a power of 1,000 watts full-time (single directional pattern) and was a CBC Dominon affiliate. Ownership of Monarch Broadcasting Co. Ltd.: J. H. Yuill 99.0%, Mrs. M. E. Yuill 0.5% and R. J. Buss 0.5%. Harlan Yuill was president of the company while Robert J. Buss was manager. Orville Kope was assistant manager and production director.
Ad: The answer is NO! We’re not running a juke-box station…our weekly schedule includes…42 major newscasts, 27 half hour syndicated shows, 26 half hour network shows, 26 quarter hour syndicated shows, 51 weather forecasts, 21 sportscasts… and a host of other carefully planned sources of entertainment and information. 100,000 satisfied ears approve of what we do with our 1000 persuasive watts! CHAT Medicine Hat.
CHAT-TV signed on the air.
Orv Kope became General Manager of botth CHAT Radio and Telvision.
The Dominion and Trans-Canada networks consolidated into a single CBC Radio network. CHAT remained affiliated with the newly combined network.
By this time CHAT 1270 had a power of 10,000 watts day and and night.
Stan Weller was news director.
Approval was given for the transfer of 200 shares of capital stock in Monarch Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (CHAT-AM-TV & CHAT-TV-1 Pivot)
Approval was given for the transfer of 4.9% of Monarch Broadcasting Co. Ltd. by H. H. Yuill to W. H. Yuill and O. Kope.
In September, with the co-operation of the CBC, CHAT asked for and received permission to go to 10,000 watts and also to purchase an additional transmitter to carry the complete programming of the CBC. By using the same phasing gear and tower array, both stations operated from the same transmitter site which allowed CHAT to become an independent operation. This was the first time this process was successfully operable in Western Canada.
CHAT was fortunate in having a great deal of musical talent in the early days. At one time they even had their own staff orchestra which performed on the air. In those days a small soft drink company manufactured a product called “Stubby”. Staff personal wrote, produced and performed a jingle utilizing 5 singing voices which was purchased by the company and played on many radios stations throughout Western Canada.
Over the years CHAT has gone through many program formats and is currently very successful with a “New Country” format that has been the recipient of many awards, under the guidance of General Manager Dwaine Deitrich.
CHAT’s application for a new FM station (105.3 MHz with 100,000 watts) was turned down. Owner, Monarch Broadcasting told the CRTC that the city could not support more than one new station at this time and it would not want the FM licence if a new AM station were approved. The commission did award an AM licence – to Medicine Hat Broadcasting Ltd. (CJCY 1390 signed on the air later in the year).
Kevin Friesen was now news director at CHAT.
Two Monarch chief engineers marked 30 years with the company…Joel Simmons of CHAT-FM and Bob Werre of CHAT-TV.
Monarch Broadcasting was named 1995 Business of the Year by the Medicine Hat Chamber of Commerce, while president Bill Yuill was among five in Alberta who received the Pinnacle Award, which recognizes Entrepreneurial success in the face of economic adversity.
Matt Dillon joined Country 1270’s on-air team.
CHAT management pointed out that country superstar Terri Clark, a native of Medicine Hat, was an avid CHAT listener.
CHAT was now known as “New Country 1270”.
CHAT celebrated its 50th anniversary in November and sister station CHAT-TV produced a half hour special to mark the event.
In December, the CRTC approved the purchase of the radio and television holdings of Monarch Broadcasting Lt. In Alberta and British Columbia, including CHAT-AM Medicine Hat, by Jim Pattison Industries Ltd.
On June 10, CHAT was given approval to convert to the FM band. The new station would operate on 94.5 MHz with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts. The station would continue to offer the existing country music format. Antenna height would be 175.8 metres and would be co-located with co-owned CFMY-FM and CHAT-TV.
CHAT made the move from 1270 AM to 94.5 FM on January 9. The country format remained.
Orv Kope died on May 4th.
Dwaine Dietrich retired in July, and Dave Sherwood took over as general manager of CHAT-FM-TV, and CFMY-FM in September.
On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CHAT-FM until March 31, 2012.
After seven years at CHAT-TV/CHAT-FM/MY96 FM, News Director Rhonda Carlson left to join husband Will Desjardins, an associate coach with the Dallas Stars of the NHL.
Regan Tate became News Director at CHAT Radio-TV/MY96 FM Medicine Hat November 14, moving from her Assignment Editor duties at Global Regina. Jen Grier joined MY96 from the sister Pattison operation in Prince George, and Matt Boiselle was new at MY96. He’d been with Edge 102.1 Toronto.
On March 20, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CHAT-FM to August 31, 2012.
Kristen Gilchrist moved from Golden West Broadcasting High River to join CHAT 94.5/MY96 as producer.
CHAT-FM had its licence administratively renewed by the CRTC on August 28 – to December 31, 2012.
Tim Weinberger became General Sales Manager at CHAT-FM/CFMY-FM/ CHAT-TV in mid-July. He had been General Manager/GSM at Newcap’s K-Rock 100.5 Fort McMurray, and succeeded Ed Lundberg who retired at the end of September. Weinberger’s background included CKRD Red Deer, CFRN TV Edmonton and ITV Edmonton.
On December 21, the CRTC renewed CHAT-FM’s licence to August 31, 2019.
In July, Jim Duce celebrated 45 years on air at CHAT. He joined 1270 CHAT in 1973 and had been one-half of the morning show since 1974.
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.