CHUP-FM, Soft Rock 97.7, Calgary

Rawlco Radio Inc.

CHUP-FM201197.7100,000Rawlco Radio Ltd.
CIGY-FM200897.7100,000Rawlco Radio Ltd.


On August 2, Rawlco Radio Ltd. received approval to operate a new English-language, commercial specialty FM radio station in Calgary. Rawlco is a corporation ultimately controlled by Mr. Gordon Rawlinson, and owns 13 radio stations serving Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, North Battleford and Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, and Edmonton, Alberta. Rawlco proposed to operate the new station on a frequency of 100.3 MHz with an average effective radiated power of 19,000 watts. The proposed station would operate in the Specialty format with a minimum of 30% of all musical selections aired during each broadcast week drawn from content subcategory 32 (Folk and folk-oriented). The format would be designed to appeal to listeners between 35 and 64 years of age, with a core audience of those between 45 and 64.


On August 13, CAB-K Broadcasting Ltd. received approval to change the frequency of CKLJ-FM Olds from 97.7 MHz to 96.5 MHz while Rawlco Radio Ltd. was authorized to change the frequency of its proposed Calgary station from 100.3 MHz to 97.7 MHz and increase average effective radiated power from 19,000 watts to an ERP of 100,000 watts, and increase the antenna height and to relocate the transmitter.


After testing on the air since mid-February, CIGY “97.7 Calgary FM” signed on the air at 10:00 a.m., March 6. The station had a unique music format (Country-Hot Adult Contemporary mix) and played amazing multi-platinum selling artists such as: Bon Jovi, Jack Johnson, Keith Urban, Daughtry, John Mellencamp, Shania Twain, Tom Petty, The Dixie Chicks, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Garth Brooks, Bryan Adams, Faith Hill, Matchbox Twenty, Rascal Flatts and Sheryl Crow. Studios and offices for CIGY-FM were located at Suite 110, 6807 Railway Street S. E.

In September CIGY changed its name from “Calgary FM” to “The New 97.7”.


In August CIGY 97.7 became “Mix 97.7”. It had been known as “The New 97.7”. 

Kath Thompson was now Program Director/Music Director at MIX 97.7, a promotion from her position as Assistant PD. Her background included CBC, CHEZ 106 Ottawa, The Bear Ottawa (now Virgin) and Sound Source Networks (now Orbyt Media).


CIGY-FM changed its format from Country/Hot Adult Contemporary to Hot AC/Classic Hits. It kept the Mix 97.7 branding.


up! 97.7 (Classic Hits, CHUP-FM), the former Mix 97.7 (Adult Contemporary, CIGY-FM), which launched in May, was now playing what the station described as “upbeat songs”. The format change saw the departure of morning show co-hosts Sue Deyell and Beesley. In their place was Tripp Anthony (aka West), who had been doing weekends, and PD Kath Thompson who did morning news. Ara Andonian, from Sun FM Kelowna was doing mid-days, Ken Wood, from sister station C95 Saskatoon was doing drive and Grant Buchanan returned to Calgary from My FM Medicine Hat to do weekends. Rawlco Radio developed the up! brand in Edmonton and said it “wanted Calgarians to have the same opportunity to feel good every time they turn on the radio”.

Kent Newson, Vice President and General Manager at up! 97.7 added Program Director duties to his role. Former PD Kath Thompson left the station. Other changes at up! 97.7 included a new morning show with Leslie Stein and Kevin Becker, former PD and afternoon driver at Rock 97.7 Grande Prairie. 


Susan Knight was now with up! 97.7, doing weekday afternoons (4 to 9 p.m.). She had been with SUN FM Kelowna. 


Ashley McCartney left up! 97.7 where she was the sales, marketing and promotions assistant, to become promotions coordinator at X92.9 Calgary.

When renewing CHUP’s licence on August 23 (to August 31, 2020), the CRTC approved Rawlco Radio’s request that the station no longer operate within the specialty format. Rawlco submitted that the proposed licence amendment was necessary for the viability of CHUP, which had suffered significant financial losses since it launched in 2008.


On September 4, UP 97.7 flipped format to Soft Rock. The station had a “feel good” Classic Hits format. CHUP was now known as Soft Rock 97.7. Rawlco said the ID was a better description of the music being played. It evolved to gold-based softer pop covering the ‘60s to 2015 with a target audience skewing slightly toward females.

The story continues elsewhere…
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