CKNL-FM, 101.5 FM The Bear, Fort St. John

Bell Media Inc.

CKNL-FM2013101.540,000Bell Media
CKNL-FM2007101.540,000Astral Media Inc.
CKNL-FM2004101.540,000Standard Radio Inc.
CKNL-AM20025601,00Standard Radio Inc.
CKNL-AM19905601,000Telemedia Radio (West) Inc.
CKNL-AM19625601,000Nor Net Broadcasting Ltd.


CKNL signed on the air on June 20, operating on 970 kHz with 1,000 watts day and 500 watts at night. The owner was Northern Lights Broadcasting Ltd.


Approval was granted for CKNL to move to 560 kHz with 1,000 watts day and 250 watts night.


CFNL Fort Nelson signed on the air as a semi-satellite of CKNL. 


On December 6, Northern Lights Broadcasting Ltd. was given permission to transfer 90.7% of the common shares and 74.5% of the preferred shares from John Skelly, Skelly Management Services Ltd. and Skelly Packing Co. to NL Holdings Ltd.


On July 27, Northern Lights Broadcasting Ltd. was authorized to transfer 50% of NL Holdings Ltd. (majority shareholder) from Cambridge Holdings Ltd. to Marco Holdings Ltd. and Eugene Daniel.


On May 30 the CRTC approved the change of effective control of Northern Lights Broadcasting Ltd. (CFNL Fort Nelson and CKNL Fort St. John) to Gee Dan Holdings Ltd.


By this time, CKNL was operating at 1,000 watts day and night (DA-1). 


CKNL manager Ken Garrett was drowned in a canoeing accident in May. He was 25. Ken was the son of CKNW’s George Garrett.

Andy Rondeau was CKNL’s news director.


Ray Telford was general manager of CKNL and CFNL (Fort Nelson). He took over from Brent Fitzpatrick who moved to CKGY Red Deer.

Len Novak became managing director, overseeing the operations of CFOK, CKNL/CFNL, CHLW, CILW, CKWA and CJOI. He had been CFOK’s general manager.

On February 18, Len Novak purchased several radio stations in Alberta and B.C., including CKNL and CFNL from Western Communicon Ventures Ltd. (Marco Holdings Ltd. 52.7% and Gee Dan Holdings Ltd. 47.3%). The new company would be known as Nornet Broadcasting Ltd.


Mark Tamagi became CKNL’s general manager.


On January 10, the District of Hudson’s Hope was granted a licence for an FM station to rebroadcast the programming of CKNL. The station would operate on 106.1 MHz with an effective radiated power of 10 watts. When the station signed on, it was known as CKHH-FM.


CFNL-AM Fort Nelson became CKRX-FM. 

Brian Hepp left CKNL as general manager. He was replaces on May 1 by Ray Telford who had been sales manager at CJVR Melfort, SK. Telford had worked at CKNL in the past.


November 18, Nornet Broadcasting Ltd. was purchased by Okanagan Skeena Group Limited.


On October 18, Telemedia Radio Inc. was given approval to purchase Okanagan Skeena Group Limited.


Brian Stephenson became operations manager for CKNL/CHRX-FM. He would also be responsible for CKRX-FM Fort Nelson and CJDC Dawson Creek. He had held the same post at CKVH in High Prairie.


On April 19, Standard Radio Inc. purchased the Ontario and Western operations of Telemedia Radio Inc. In turn, Standard sold a number of those stations to other companies. CKNL was among the stations retained by SRI.


On January 21, the CRTC approved application to convert CKNL to the FM band, operating at 101.5 MHz with an effective radiated power of 40,000 watts.  Authorization was given to simulcast the AM and FM stations for a period of six months.  The application was for a country music format, preserving the tradition of community service established by CKNL.  However, when the FM station launched at 4 p.m. Friday October 10, it became “The Bear” with a format change to classic rock/new rock.


On April 28, the CRTC approved revocation of the AM licence.


On September 27, Astral Media Radio G.P. received CRTC approval to acquire the assets of the radio and TV undertakings owned by Standard Radio Ltd., subject to certain conditions.  The purchase included CKNL-FM.


Andrew Hopkins, formerly of NL Broadcasting Kamloops, moved to the Peace Region as News Director at Astral Media Radio Fort St. John.


On May 31, the CRTC renewed the broadcasting licence for CKNL-FM Fort St. John from 1 June 2010 to 31 August 2013. This short-term renewal would enable the Commission to review at an earlier date the licensee’s compliance with its conditions of licence, including that relating to its contributions to Canadian content development.

Paul Hawkes died at age 64. He was well-known in the 1970s for his announcing work at CKNL before moving into sales. 

Engineer Rob McBride, after a year with WIRED 96.3FM, moved to Astral Fort St. John. He started October 25.


Roy McKenzie, the regional sales manager for Astral’s B.C. Interior stations, was no longer with the company. His position was eliminated. 


Jennifer Lee left afternoon drive at The Bear to become mid-day host at The River in Prince George. 

Janine Kraft, Brand Director at Astral Radio BC North, worked her last day there October 4. Kraft had been with the operation for the past 11 years, the last two as BD. She left for opportunities outside broadcasting. 


On June 27, 2013, after a previous such application had been denied in 2012, the CRTC approved an application by Astral Media Inc. to sell its pay and specialty television channels, conventional television stations and radio stations to BCE Inc., including CKNL-FM.

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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