CHQR-AM, Global News Radio 770 CHQR., Calgary

Corus Entertainment Inc.

CHQR-AM199977050,000Corus Entertainment Inc.
CHQR-AM198677050,000WIC Radio Ltd.
CHQR-AM197081010,000Western Broadcasting Co.
CHQR-AM196481010,000Bentley Broadcasting Ltd.


Bentley Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (Ted Soskin) started CHQR on November 17. The station broadcast on 810 kHz with a power of 10,000 watts day and night, using four 305 foot towers. Studios and offices were at 1030 4th Street S.W. The call letters stood for “Calgary Has Quality Radio”. The format was “Good Music, Limited Commercials – Quality Radio for Quality People”. 


W.J. (Bill) Pratt joined CHQR from the CBC. 


On May 28, Bentley Broadcasting’s application for a new FM station (94.5 MHz with ERP of 100 kW) was denied. 


CHQR joined the Standard Broadcast News service on October 1. 


On March 25, Bentley Broadcasting Co. Ltd. was given approval to sell CHQR to Western Broadcasting Co. Ltd. Former owner Ted Soskin was appointed to Western’s Board of Directors and continued to manage the station after the ownership transfer which took place on April 15.

In time, the Calgary station would operate under the corporate name, Radio QR Ltd.


On July 19, Radio QR Ltd. was granted a power increase for CHQR from 10,000 to 50,000 watts, using five 305 foot towers.


On October 22, the CRTC turned down an application that would have seen the transfer of effective control of Western Broadcasting Co. Ltd., owner of Radio QR Ltd., thru the transfer of 55.8% of the common shares of WBC from companies controlled individually or jointly by F. A. Griffiths, D. S. Owen and J. R. Peters – North Continent Communications Ltd. (26.3%), Doncaster Investments Ltd. (19.5%), Atlin Investments Ltd. (1.9%) and Peters Management Ltd. (0.3%) to J. Raymond Peters, on behalf of a company to be incorporated; and the entry into a voting trust agreement by the proposed shareholders of the company to be incorporated. This deal was tied in with a similar proposed transfer of Premier Cablevision Ltd. of which WBC held 26.1%.


On June 21, QR Radio Ltd. was given permission to acquire CHQR from Radio QR Ltd. There was no change in ownership. These companies were wholly owned by WIC Western International Communications Ltd. which was controlled by Frank A. Griffiths thru his ownership of Western Broadcasting Co. Ltd.


CHQR began broadcasting in stereo.


CHQR moved its studios and offices to Palliser Square 1900-125 9th Avenue S. E.


On January 25, the CRTC gave Westcom Radio Group Ltd. (formerly QR Radio Ltd.) approval to switch CHQR to 770 kHz with 50,000 watts full-time, and to move the antenna site five miles south-east of the present site. Six 90 degree towers would be used. CHQR wanted to improve its night-time signal and stated the rapid encroachment of urban growth south of Calgary on the existing transmitter site had exacerbated radiation problems in the city. The Province had also informed CHQR that it intended to expropriate a portion of the station’s existing transmitter site. A competing application by CHUM Ltd. for CIBQ Brooks was denied. 

Allan Anaka was named general sales manager and Greg Haraldson became program director. 

Ted Soskin died at age 59 on October 13. He was president of CHQR. His radio career started in 1941 with Vancouver’s CKMO (CFUN). He also worked for CKOV in Kelowna and CJIB Vernon. In 1950, he opened a Los Angeles office so he could interview personalities for Calgary’s CKXL. Soskin founded CHQR in 1964 and remained as president after its sale to Western Broadcasting Co. Ltd. in 1970. 


With the change of CKXL to CISS and the move from CHR to Soft Rock/AC, CHQR started mixing in a more mellow sound, including instrumentals and easy-listening pop.


Myke Thomas was named marketing director in November.

Angele Kokott was news director and Vern Koop was assistant news director.


CHQR became a full-service news and talk station. 


Westcom Radio Group Ltd. (WIC Western International Communications Ltd.) acquired Calgary FM station CKIK.


On July 2, CKIK-FM Ltd. received permission to acquire CHQR from Westcom Radio Group Ltd. CKIK-FM Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Westcom.


The corporate name changed to WIC Radio Ltd.

Ted Farr became operations manager of CHQR/CKIK-FM on May 1. He had held the same position at Winnipeg’s CJOB/CJKR.

Emily Griffiths, WIC Western International Communications’ controlling shareholder resigned her position on the board and was succeeded by Edmondo Giacomelli.

Al Anaka left CHQR/CKIK-FM as president, to become general sales manager at CKNW/CFMI-FM in Vancouver.


The Griffiths family holdings in WIC Western International Communications Ltd. were sold, subject to CRTC approval, to Shaw Communications Inc. and CanWest Global Communications Corp.


Following months of negotiation, agreements were filed with the CRTC on the split of WIC assets between CanWest Global, Corus Radio Company (formerly Shaw Radio), and Shaw Communications.


Following an April hearing in Vancouver, in July, the CRTC announced the approval of the purchase of WIC Radio by Corus Radio Company, which included CHQR Calgary. 


Ted Farr, operations manager for CHQR/CKIK-FM, left the company March 16.


The CRTC renewed CHQR’s licence on July 11. 


Natasha Rapchuk, News Director at Corus Radio Calgary, resigned after 10 years with the company. She moved to Toronto for family reasons. Her last day on the job at QR77 was  December 11. 


Stacey Walyuchow was the new National Account Manager at Corus Radio Calgary. Her previous experience was outside of broadcasting. David Rowe was the new sportscaster at CHQR. He moved from Fan 960. 

David Hankinson died at age 64, in a traffic accident on the Alaska Highway, west of Fort Nelson. Before leaving broadcasting in 1989, he’d worked for a number of Western Canadian stations including CBC Winnipeg, CHQR Calgary (News Director), CJOR Vancouver (Assistant News Director), CIOF/CKXY Vancouver (News Director), and CKRD Red Deer (News Director).


Laura Knop was CHQR’s new News Director. Knop, who had three decades of radio broadcast experience, moved to QR January 4 from her mid-day editor’s gig at 660 News. 

Gerry Pigeon, who’d been with Corus Radio Calgary the past nine years, the last six as Retail Sales Manager, moved August 3 to NL Broadcasting in Kamloops to become General Sales Manager for NL’s three stations there – CHNL, CKRV-FM and CJKC-FM. 

Joe McFarland, News Director at 102.1 FM The Lounge Medicine Hat since its launch in 2008, left at the end of July to join Corus Radio Calgary as a reporter.

There were a number of changes at Corus Entertainment related to its organization review to streamline decision-making and clarify roles and mandates. Among the changes: Reporting to Hal Blackadar, Executive Vice President and interim President of Corus Radio was Doug Rutherford, VP/GM, Corus Radio Alberta (now GM at Calgary). Garry McKenzie, GM of Corus Radio Calgary, now held the same post at Corus Radio Vancouver.

On November 17, the CRTC renewed CHQR’s licence to August 31, 2014. The short-term renewal would enable the Commission to review the licensee’s compliance with the Radio Regulations, 1986 at an earlier date.

Kathy Thompson joined the Vista Radio management team November 29 in the combined role of Jet FM Retail Sales Manager and as Vista’s Regional Sales Manager. She moved from Corus Calgary where she has been a Senior Account Manager for the past 12 years.


QR77 announced that it extended its multi-year agreement with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders to broadcast every game on CHQR for the next six years. QR77’s 20 year relationship with the Stampeders was steeped in more than 400 Stampeder broadcasts including four Grey Cup championship games. QR77’s Stampeders game coverage included the most seasoned football radio broadcast crew in the CFL featuring the voice of the club, play-by-play announcer Mark Stephen, and game colour commentator Greg Peterson. The football duo was the longest serving broadcast team in the league, commentating Stampeders games for the past 15 years. Jock Wilson and Dave Rowe rounded out CHQR’s game coverage with the best in pre and post football game analysis.

Gary Phillips died at age 68 after complications from a fall. The newscaster began his career in 1960 in Nova Scotia and eventually moved to Alberta where he became news director at CFAC. Later, he moved to CHQR, from which he retired in November of last year.

Niki Harris moved from the Corus Interactive department to Promotions Director at Corus Radio Calgary.


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. 

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.

On May 24, the CRTC found that the additional FM presence that would result from approval of the application to amend the licence for CHQR-AM by adding an FM transmitter in Calgary would undermine the Common Ownership Policy by adversely affecting competitive balance and diversity in this market. The Commission also found that the applicant had not provided sufficient justification to warrant the granting of its application on its own merits. Accordingly, the Commission denied the application.

The transmitter would have operated on frequency 106.9 MHz (channel 295A) with an effective radiated power of 1,000 watts (non-directional antenna with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 243.6 metres). The applicant stated that the proposed transmitter would provide a reliable high-quality signal on the FM band to listeners in downtown Calgary who were no longer able to obtain satisfactory reception of CHQR on the AM band. Corus already owned two FM stations in Calgary – CFGQ-FM (through CKIK-FM Limited, also licensee of CHQR) and CKRY-FM (through Corus Radio Company).

On the afternoon of July 11, Shaw Court, home to QR77, Country 105 and Q107, was evacuated due to an explosion and fire. The power had to be shut off and the stations were unable to broadcast. As of 5:00 p.m. the next day, QR77 was back on the air. The fire forced the relocation of the stations, at least temporarily. QR77, Q107 and Country 105, said General Manager Garry McKenzie, would likely be out of the Shaw building for about a year.

Following the fire that hit Shaw Court, Corus Calgary (CFGQ, CHQR, CKRY) announced it would temporarily move the stations to Eau Claire Market on November 5.


Greg Heraldson Passed away In Janaury. The longtime Calgary programmer (with a stop at CKLG Vancouver) died just before his 63rd birthday. Heraldson had spent time at CKXL, CHQR and COUNTRY 105.

CHQR did a soft launch with some new branding, moving to Newstalk 770 from the former QR77. Program Director John Vos said while there were new intro stings for news and other program segments, there were more programming elements to come, hence the soft approach for now.

During the devastating Southern Alberta floods in June, CHQR (77NewsTalk) could not send a signal from their Eu Claire studios, located right next to the Bow river. This was the second time within a year CHQR’s programming had been disrupted by unusual circumstances. Last July 21, saw the fire in the Shaw Building which brought the Calgary Corus cluster to their knees. On the first day of the flood, Dave Rutherford happened to be in Edmonton to not only broadcast his show live which was to be on the Edmonton station (CHED) only, but to partake in a ‘send off’ BBQ for the departure of the talk show host who would be leaving the station’s morning talk show at the end of July. NewsTalk77 had plans for another show on the Calgary station that morning, but as the sound of water rising from the Bow started quickly lapping at the doors of Calgary’s Corus Headquarters, engineers were prompted to feed CHED’s signal onto 770am, before evacuating the premises for higher ground. 


Gavin “Dr. Dan” Berry retired from QR77 February 21 after a 45-year career in broadcasting. He began at CKOM Saskatoon in August, 1968, moved to CKXL and then CHQR in 1986.


Dale McLeod passed away at age 52. She had been in radio sales for 25 years with Corus Radio Calgary.

Corus Entertainment’s three Calgary stations began broadcasting from the second floor of the new Corus Centre at 200, 3320 17th Avenue S.W. in the fall. Corus was using all of the 24,000-square-foot second floor, plus a reception area, meeting and board room and street-level studio.

Late in the year, the programming of CHQR became available in HD via the second HD channel of sister station CKRY-FM (CKRY-HD2).


David Valentine (52) died on November 26. He started his broadcasting career in 1987 as an announcer and operator at CHQR. In 1990, he moved into TV, working as a VTR operator at CKRD Red Deer. He went on to A Channel Edmonton in 1997 where he worked in operations until 2015.


Bruce Kenyon retired from News Talk 770 in the summer. He started his 40-year career in 1975 at CHEX-FM Peterborough. He later moved to CJCA-AM Edmonton and was part of the launch of K-97 (CIRK-FM). In the late 1980s, Kenyon had a brief stint doing mornings at CJFM-FM Montreal before returning to K-97. He made the move to CHQR in 2000, then took on mornings on CFGQ-FM and rejoined the News Talk 770 team in 2007. His replacement was Global News Hour’s Gord Gillies.

In November, CHQR was rebranded as Global News Radio 770 CHQR.


On January 22, Corus Radio launched a new overnight talk show, The Shift with Drex. The four-hour show aired on CKNW Vancouver, CHQR Calgary, CHED Edmonton, CJOB Winnipeg, CFMJ Toronto, CHML Hamilton, and CFPL London. The four hour show was based at CKNW.


Peter Watts, 68, died on January 18. Watts started out at CFRC and went on to positions at CKWS-TV CKLC, all in Kingston. He joined CBC Sports in Edmonton in 1977 and then moved to TSN’s SportsDesk as one of the original anchors, starting in 1984. In 1998, Watts landed at the Corus Radio network and 770 CHQR where he produced and hosted province-wide weekend morning show The Alberta Morning News, which also aired on 630 CHED Edmonton.

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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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