CKMQ-FM , Q101.1, Merritt

Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.

CKMQ-FM2016101.1200Elizabeth Laird 100%
CKMQ-FM2009101.1200Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.
CJNL-AM199512301,000Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.
CJNL-AM197012301,000NL Broadcasting Ltd.


CHNL Kamloops and CJNL Merrit began operations on May 1. Owned by NL Broadcasting Ltd. and managed by President John Skelly, the two stations operated together for much of the time. Larry (Hap) Thiessen was Production Manager and Hal Murray was News Director. CJNL was a semi-satellite of CHNL with minimum local programming and operated with a power of 1000 watts at 1230 kHz.


On January 30, the CRTC approved the applications for authority to acquire the assets of CJNL Merritt from NL Broadcasting Limited, and for a broadcasting licence to continue the operation of this undertaking; and to transfer 40% of the shares of Merritt Broadcasting Ltd. to Mrs. Elizabeth Laird. The new licence would expire August 31, 1996.


On June 23, the station announced that it was extending its local origination to 12 hours per day.  A number of local dignitaries were in attendance to celebrate the occasion including B.C.-Yukon CRTC commissioner Cindy Grauer, CRTC Vancouver regional office director Marguerite Vogel and Merritt Mayor David Laird. 


On April 24 CJNL received approval to move to the FM band. The station would offer an Adult Contemporary format targeted to listeners between 25 and 65, with a particular focus on those aged 25 to 55. Merritt Broadcasting Ltd. committed to offer a minimum of 110 hours of local programming in each broadcast week. The new station would operate on a frequency of 101.1 MHz with an effective radiated power of 200 watts. While on the AM band, CJNL had carried programming from CHNL Kamloops. Once established on FM, CHNL would take over CJNL’s AM frequency of 1230 kHz (1,000 watts) and use it as a rebroadcast transmitter.

CKMQ-FM began on-air testing in the summer.

On August 31 at 1:01 p.m., CKMQ-FM 101.1 – Merritt’s Music Mix – signed on the air, replacing CJNL 1230 AM. The first song on the station was introduced by Bryan Adams himself. The song was “Here I Am”. CKMQ provides the first 24 hours per day, 7 days per week local radio service to Merritt and the Nicola Valley. Q101 FM gives listeners a broad mix of music mostly focused in the daytime hours on a mainstream adult contemporary sound. From 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., the Casey Clarke show is heard, featuring continuous country music, further associating with Merritt as “The Country Music Capital Of Canada”. After a 3 month simulcast of CKMQ on AM 1230, Q101 will be heard solely at 101.1 FM and AM 1230 will revert to a full time re-broadcast of CHNL, Kamloops, part of the Radio NL Network. Elizabeth Laird is manager and Jim Reynolds is operations manager.


Brian Wiebe left Q101 as program director and morning man for BCIT’s CFML in Burnaby. He had been with Q101 for nine years. Succeeding Wiebe at Q101 was Taylor Landry, the midday host/producer at FREE FM Grande Prairie. Al Clarke, News Director at Q101 Merritt, retired. Clarke was with the station for 39 years, hanging up his headset on March 30. Before that, he spent five years at CHQB Powell River. Ricardo Veneza succeeded Clarke.


Q-101 General Manager Elizabeth Laird received CRTC approval to acquire the station from NL Broadcasting, the majority shareholder. She’d held a 49% stake since 1995. The deal closed September 1.


On September 1, CKMQ became a completely independent operation due to the acquisition of CHNL by Newcap/Stingray.

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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