CILK-FM, EZ Rock 101.5, Kelowna

Bell Media Inc.

CILK-FM201393.111,000Bell Media
CILK-FM200993.111,000Astral Media Inc.
CILK-FM2007101.511,000Astral Media Inc.
CILK-FM2006101.511,000Standard Radio Inc.
CILK-FM1993101.511,000SILK FM Boadcasting Ltd.
CILK-FM1985101.511,000SILK FM Broadcasting Ltd.


The CRTC denied application by Nick Frost for an FM station at Kelowna, partly on the grounds that it was not satisfied, based on the evidence before it at that time, that the Kelowna market could support an independent FM station.


Silk FM Broadcasting Ltd re-applied on October 30, 1984 and at a hearing in Vancouver, provided evidence to support the contention that there was sufficient demand and potential market in Kelowna for the introduction of a new FM service.  This time the application was successful and the CRTC granted the licence on December 21.


An early summer debut was planned for ‘SILK’ – the new beautiful music FM station in Kelowna. President and general manager Nick Frost said CILK-FM would operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have a staff of about 15 full-time employees. Operating with 11,000 watts (directional), CILK would share the tower of CHIM-FM on Okanagan Mountain. Downtown studios would include a large walk-in studio/reception area for access programming, and a satellite studio would serve the suburb of West Bank. It should be noted that Nick Frost had been an announcer at CKIQ-AM in its early days.

CILK-FM or SILK FM signed on the air at 10:00 a.m. on June 21. The station’s Adult Contemporary format was located at 101.5 MHz with an average effective radiated power of 11,000 watts. The transmitter had a northward-directed pattern from the 3,200 foot level of Okanagan Mountain, 7 kilometres south of Kelowna’s city centre. The first voice on the station was that of Cliff Owens as the morning announcer. 


On December 22, following a public hearing in Vancouver on October 25, the Commission approved the application from Shuswap Lakes Television Society for a licence at Magna Bay, 90 kilometres north of Kelowna, at 94.7 MHz, with a transmitter power of 6.3 watts to rebroadcast the programs of CILK-FM Kelowna.   Twin Cities Radio Ltd., licensee of CFJC and CIFM-FM Kamloops, opposed the application on the grounds that Kamloops was the major city in the area.  However, Shuswap convinced the Commission that residents in the area would prefer the easy listening format offered by CILK-FM to the rock or country music provided by Twin Cities. 

Douglas Johnston was program director.

Former CFRB newsman Eric Thorsen was doing news at SILK-FM. 


On November 28 SILK FM Broadcasting Ltd. applied to amend the broadcasting licence for CILK-FM Kelowna by reducing the level of instrumental musical selections from 50% to 35% of all musical selections played each week. 

Cliff Owens rejoined Silk-fm after moving back from California. 


On January 23 the CRTC approved the application to reduce the proportion of instrumental musical.


On May 7 SILK FM Broadcasting Ltd. applied to amend its broadcasting licence by relocating the transmitter site on Okanagan Mountain approximately 3 kilometers to the south and by decreasing the average effective radiated power from 11,000 to 10,300 watts. The applicant indicated these changes would improve service to the Central Okanagan area. On July 19 the CRTC approved the application, however the location and power changes were never implemented.


After attending an Internet session at the 1995 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in Las Vegas, station owner Nick Frost hired a single employee whose mandate was to start up an Internet Service Provider (ISP).  The work place, and all the associated equipment, was set up in the lobby of the radio station.  By the end of the first week of operation there were five brand new Internet subscribers.  Within five years the subscriber list was up to about 6000. 


Tamara Joel became news director at SILK-FM. She had been with CKBL-AM. Cindy Kindret was personnel manager. David Larsen was program director.


Silk-FM’s proposed application for a second FM station in that city, and subsequent response from Kelowna and area residents, showed what Silk president Nick Frost called, “excellent input.” Much of the response had been generated from an on-line questionnaire posted on a new Silk FM home page.

On November 6, SILK FM Broadcasting Ltd. applied to add a stereo re-broadcaster at Big White Mountain, a ski resort 45 kilometres southeast of Kelowna, operating on a frequency of 103.9 MHz with an effective radiated power of 30 watts.  CRTC approval was received on December 17.


The CILK-FM re-broadcaster at Big White Mountain, officially designated by Industry Canada as VF2329, came on the air in February.


On June 6, affiliate Internet Service Provider Silk Net was sold to Pacific Coast Net Inc. in Victoria to bring enhanced Internet services to customers in the Okanagan region.  On November 1, the station started “Kelowna’s Home Page” as a local community web portal.


On April 2 SILK FM Broadcasting Ltd. proposed to add an FM transmitter at Magna Bay, which in effect was taking over the licence held since 1988 by Shuswap Lakes Television Society.   On May 15 the CRTC approved the application and the licence became attached to the main CILK-FM licence.   Nick Frost has held majority (66%) ownership of the company since inception, with another 10 smaller local shareholders.  The station format, while having been adjusted over the years, has remained consistently Soft Adult Contemporary.


In August CILK-FM, along with other Kelowna stations sharing transmitter facilities was knocked off the air due to the massive Okanagan Mountain fire, which destroyed several residences in the city.  Most stations returned with limited power.  Full power wasn’t restored until January 2004.  


At the end of June CILK-FM moved from “Soft Rock” to “All 80’s” which lasted until Labour Day, when it adopted an “80’s, 90’s & Now” format.  On October 5 the CRTC announced that Silk FM Broadcasting had applied to add rebroadcast transmitters in the nearby Okanagan cities of Vernon and Penticton.


On February 28, the CRTC denied the applications by Silk FM Broadcasting Ltd. to amend the licence for CILK-FM Kelowna, in order to add FM transmitters at Penticton and Vernon. The Penticton transmitter would have operated at 101.7 MHz (channel 269B) with an average effective radiated power of 1,200 watts. The transmitter at Vernon would have been at 101.7 MHz (channel 269B) with an average effective radiated power of 240 watts. The applicant indicated that approval of its proposals would result in more choice for listeners in Penticton and Vernon. In addition, the applicant indicated that the proposed transmitters would provide service to persons who resided in Penticton and Vernon, but commuted daily to Kelowna for work. Silk FM also indicated that approval of its proposals would address problems with reception of CILK-FM due to mountainous terrain. Silk FM indicated that, at such time as the two markets were able to support additional commercial radio stations, it planned to “offer a locally-programmed, commercial service on the proposed repeaters”. The Commission was of the view that the applicant’s proposals would result in a significant increase to the coverage of CILK-FM, into the adjacent radio markets of Penticton and Vernon. The Commission noted in particular that, if the current applications were to be approved, the applicant indicated an interest in introducing local programming into the Penticton and Vernon markets in the future. The Commission therefore concurred with the concerns expressed by the interveners that the applicant’s proposals would result in Silk FM’s entry to the affected markets in a manner that would circumvent the normal competitive process.


In a press release on May 3, president Nick Frost announced sale of the station, stating, “It has been a difficult decision, but the future of Silk will be in good hands with the people of Standard Radio.”  On December 20, The CRTC approved application by Standard Radio Inc. for authority to acquire the assets OF CILK-FM Kelowna and its transmitters CILC-FM Magna Bay and VF2329 Big White Mountain, from Silk FM Broadcasting Ltd. under the same terms and conditions as those in effect under the current licence, listing the proposed value of the transaction at $9,250,000.  Standard indicated that it would likely alter the classic rock format of the station towards contemporary hits, targeting the over 35 demographic, thereby avoiding competition with other stations in the market.  It also noted that it would maintain CILK-FM’s existing news staff and coverage.


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 CILK-FM.   


VF2329 103.9 at Big White Ski Village became CILK-1.


On February 18, the CRTC approved the application by Astral Media Radio to amend the licence for CILK-FM in order to change the frequency of its transmitter VF2329 Big White Mountain from 103.9 MHz to 93.1 MHz and to change its authorized contours by increasing the effective antenna height above average terrain from 215 meters to 600.8 meters. 


On May 31, the CRTC renewed the broadcasting licence for CILK-FM Kelowna and its transmitters CILC-FM Magna Bay and CILK-FM-1 Big White Mountain 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. The Commission approved the licensee’s request to amend its broadcasting licence for CILK-FM Kelowna in order to delete the condition of licence relating to religious programming.

Peter Angle, the Sales Manager at NL Broadcasting’s three Kamloops radio stations (CHNL, CJKC and CKRV) moved to Astral Media Radio Kelowna (CHSU, CILK, CKFR) as General Sales Manager. Angle began his radio career at CKOV Kelowna 25 years earlier. He began with Astral on July 2.

Rob Leighton became Astral Radio’s new Digital Account Manager for the BC Interior, based in Kelowna. Leighton had been with Telus with an Internet/ interactive sales and development background. After 38 years Ron Wittenberg retired from broadcasting. He began at CKNW New Westminster, then migrated to the Okanagan some 30 years ago. Since then, he’d been with the Kelowna stations under numerous ownership changes.


On January 1 at 1:01 p.m., SILK FM was rebranded as 101-5 EZ Rock, delivering More Music Variety.

Roy McKenzie, the regional sales manager for Astral’s B.C. Interior stations, was no longer with the company. His position was eliminated. Dustin Collins returned to Astral Kelowna as assistant brand director of the Astral B.C. Interior stations. Collins, who moved to sister AM 1060 Calgary in 2005, had been the brand director/afternoon drive host at the Classic Country station. He began in Kelowna August 2.

Eight people were released by Astral in the B.C. Interior – three broadcast journalists and six in accounting, engineering and support. Among them were Astral Kelowna News Director Howard Alexander and Sun FM Vernon’s Kate Bouey (formerly with ABC London and BN Toronto). Regional News Director Betty Selin’s job was discontinued though she had an offer for employment within the company.


On February 3, 101.5 EZ Rock celebrated the ten year on-air anniversary of morning show team Andy & Tj.

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 CILK-FM.

It was announced that Ken Kilcullen, with the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group stations in Prince George since Sept/98, and GM/GSM for the last 11 years, would become the new GM for the Bell Media B.C. Interior stations as of January 6, 2014. Based in Kelowna, he would also have day-to-day responsibility for the three stations there, succeeding Don Shafer. 


Mark Jeffries retired in the fall after almost 40 years in radio, half of that at EZ Rock Kelowna. Jeffries also spent time at CKLG-FM Vancouver, and in Terrace.

The story continues elsewhere…
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