CKAY-FM, 91.7 Coast FM, Gibsons

Vista Broadcast Group Inc.

CKAY-FM201291.7600Vista Radio Ltd.
CKAY-FM200691.7600Westwave Broadcasting Inc.


On April 20 the CRTC approved application by Westwave Broadcasting Inc. to operate a commercial FM station in Sechelt, to also serve the nearby communities of Langdale, Gibsons, Roberts Creek and Pender Harbour.  The new station was to operate a “pop adult” music format which would consist predominately of music from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, and offer 126 hours of local programming each week, with 5 hours and 55 minutes devoted to local news.  The applicant originally proposed to operate at 93.1 MHz, but subsequently filed an amendment, proposing instead the use of 91.7 MHz with an average effective radiated power of 600 watts (2100 watts peak).  The assignment was changed due to requested use of the frequency by Island Radio Ltd. in Port Alberni and by the CBC for improvement of its Radio One signal in Vancouver.


The official city of licence was assigned as Gibsons, and CKAY-FM began testing March 20, beaming the signal northeast across Georgia Strait from transmitter facilities on Mount Benson, west of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  The coverage included the Lower Sunshine Coast, Central Vancouver Island and parts of the Lower Mainland.  Official sign-on took place at 12:01 p.m. on May 20 with an introduction and acknowledgements by President and GM Bob Morris, a longtime Vancouver broadcaster and manager of the Professional Film Studies Program at Capilano College in North Vancouver.  The first song played was “At the Beginning With You” by Cyndi Greco.  The announced on-air lineup included veteran Vancouver host Jim Fraser in a.m. drive, voice-over specialist Ray Collins (a.k.a. Bill Edwards in Toronto) in afternoons and Vancouver sportscaster Scott Russell in sales/sports. Westwave acquired the CKAY call sign, which radio pioneer Dick Drew had used for years at his AM station in Duncan, B.C. before it switched to FM on August 1, 2000.


On May 18 the CRTC denied application by Westwave to start a new station in Powell River with a proposed Pop Adult music format.  The new station was to be locally produced, with its own newsroom facilities, but would share news gathering and reporting with CKAY.  The Commission considered that there were insufficient radio advertising revenues available to support a second station in the Powell River market. 

Westwave subsequently applied for a rebroadcast transmitter in Powell River with a commitment not to solicit or accept any advertising outside CKAY-FM’s central market.  It stated that denial of its application would severely compromise its ability to provide quality and effective service.  However, on October 17 the Commission also denied this application, stating that the additional transmitter could result in some negative impact to Powell River’s existing station CHQB.  It noted that CKAY-FM had only been in operation for two years and that new stations do not generally reach maturity until the third or fourth year of operation, expecting Westwave to make every effort to implement its original business plan to serve the community of Sechelt. 


CKAY changed its format from Adult Contemporary to Classic Hits – just for the summer.

John Waterman left 91.7 The Coast to become News Director at CKBW and CJHK in Bridgewater.


Angie Nemeth died at age 43, after drowning at the entrance to Sechelt Inlet. The Coast Office Manager, a member of the Coast Guard auxiliary, died during a routine search and rescue training exercise. 

Trevor Harvey, the former General Manager/General Sales Manager at Vista’s SUN FM Duncan, moved to become the company’s Senior Account Executive based in Nanaimo. Since Vista acquired a minority stake in CKAY-FM Sechelt, Harvey was focusing efforts in that direction. 

In the fall, CKAY changed format from Hot Adult Contemporary/Classic Hits to Classic Hits/Oldies.

When Vista took over ownership, the 7-year old station began identifying itself as 91.7 Coast FM. Former co-owner Bob Morris stayed on as General Manager at the Classic Hits station while Pete Montana stepped into the Program Director/ morning host positions. Matt Morris, who had been doing mornings, moved to afternoons.

The CRTC approved a change to the ownership and effective control of Westwave Broadcasting Inc. through the transfer of all of the shares in the capital of Westwave to Vista Radio Ltd., a corporation controlled by Westerkirk Capital Inc. Westwave was licensee of CKAY-FM.

The story continues elsewhere…
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