CFFM-FM, The Goat, Williams Lake

Vista Broadcast Group Inc.

CFFM-FM200597.5462Vista Broadcast Group Inc.
CFFM-FM199297.5462Jim Pattison Industries Ltd.
CFFM-FM197797.5462Cariboo Central Interior Radio Inc.


In October the CRTC approved application for CFFM-FM to operate at 97.5 MHz with a power of 462 watts at 125 metres above average terrain.


The original owners of the station licence were Dave Clark and Jack Pollard, owners of CFJC and CFJC-TV in Kamloops.  (Dave is the son of radio pioneer and CAB Hall of Fame member Ian Clark, who purchased CFJC Kamloops in 1945.)  CFFM-FM was sold to Jim Pattison Industries Ltd. prior to sign-on.  Super Country CFFM-FM signed on with a format of contemporary country music and extensive news and sports at 6 a.m. August 31 from studios located at 197 North Second Avenue in Williams Lake.  Two previous re-broadcast transmitters of CFJC Kamloops became CFFM-FM-1 100 Mile House (Mount Timothy) with 80 watts and CFFM-FM-2 Quesnel with 175 watts.  Gil McCall, long time Cariboo broadcaster and previous manager of CKCQ Quesnel and CJCI Prince George became station manager.


The main CFFM-FM studio in Williams Lake was destroyed by fire and the station operated out of its secondary studio in Quesnel for six months.  The CRTC approved application by Cariboo Central Interior Radio Inc. for authority to acquire the assets of CFFM-FM Williams Lake and its transmitters CFFM-FM-1 100 Mile House and CFFM-FM-2 Quesnel from Jim Pattison Industries Ltd.


Cariboo Central Interior Radio Inc. (CKCQ Quesnel, CKWL Williams Lake and CKBX 100 Mile House) agreed to purchase CFFM-FM and its rebroadcasters from Jim Pattison Industries. CFFM would change format from country to pop/rock/dance, with an overnight feed from Cariboo’s CIRX-FM Prince George. The AM stations would pick up the country format with an overnight feed from CJCI Prince George.


After two years of programming fairly heavy rock music, CFFM-FM moved to a lighter adult contemporary format, which became “The Max”.


Ian Clark died on August 5.


In early August it was announced that Cariboo Central Interior Radio Inc., owners of CKBX 100 Mile House, CFLD Burns Lake, CJCI-FM and CIRX-FM Prince George, CKCQ-FM Quesnel, CFBV Smithers, CIVH Vanderhoof, CKWL and CFFM-FM Williams Lake and numerous re-broadcast stations in northern B.C. had been purchased by a Calgary group, headed by Margot Micallef.  On September 1, The CRTC announced approval of the sale to 1126144 Alberta Ltd., a company affiliated with Vista Broadcast Group Inc.


On September 1, members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union representing announcers, news reporters, creative and clerical workers, went on strike to back wage and job security demands at Vista’s stations CKCQ-FM Quesnel, CKWL and CFFM-FM Williams Lake and CKBX 100 Mile House.  The stations remained on the air with programming fed from Prince George and local content provided by management personnel.  On October 5, the CEP announced that it had ratified a new contract, providing for wage increases totaling 8.25% over three years, plus improvements in layoff severance pay and guarantees concerning job security.  Staff members returned to their jobs at the stations on October 9. 


On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CFFM-FM-2 Quesnel and its transmitter CFFM-FM-1 100 Mile House until March 31, 2012.


On March 20, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CFFM-FM-2 Quesnel, British Columbia and its transmitter CFFM-FM-1 100 Mile House, to August 31, 2012.

It was announced that Vista President Terry Coles would move into retirement at the end of 2012 and immediately into a consulting role with the company. His successor would be CEO Margot Micallef who would handle the dual roles of President/CEO. Bryan Edwards moves to Senior VP of Business Development. Vista Kelowna General Manager/General Sales Manager Ross Hawse would become the Director Western Operations. Gary Russell, Vista’s Director of Systems and GM of Vista Prince George, would integrate Haliburton and Vista in Ontario as the Director of Integration and Operations, Vista East. Co-Founder/Executive VP Paul Mann would add Senior VP of Sales and Training and Development to his duties. Assisting him would be Tracey Gard, the GM/GSM of the Cariboo Group of Vista stations, as Director Vista Sales, West and based in Courtenay. The former finance executive at Corus and Telemedia, Chris Lecomte joined Vista as Senior VP/CFO, based in Toronto.

On August 28, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CFFM-FM-2 Quesnel and its transmitter CFFM-FM-1 100 Mile House until December 31, 2012.

The CRTC approved a change to the effective control of Vista Radio Ltd. from a control exercised by its board of directors to a control exercised by Westerkirk Capital Inc., a corporation controlled by Thomson Investments Limited. Vista Radio Ltd. was the licensee of radio programming undertakings located in British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

On December 21, the CRTC renewed the licence of CFFM-FM-2 Quesnel and its transmitter CFFM-FM-1 100 Mile House to August 31, 2018.


Pete Montana was promoted at Vista Radio to General Manager/Program Director of the five station Cariboo Group, based at Williams Lake. He had been PD/morning host at 91.7 Coast FM Sechelt/Nanaimo. Former Cariboo GM Gary Long left the business. 


The Rush rebranded as The Goat, targeting males 25-54 with Rock/Classic Rock (includes repeaters at Quesnel and 100 Mile House).


Gil McCall died July 29 at the age of 83. He was one of the original on-air personalities on CKCQ Quesnel, joining Cariboo Broadcasters in 1958. McCall was later promoted to PD and then station manager (1979). Gil went on to manage CJCI Prince George in 1982. Before he retired in the 1990’s, McCall’s last stop was CFFM-FM, where he was manager and announcer.

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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