CKKO-FM, K96.3, Kelowna

Stingray Group Inc.

CKKO-FM201896.310,000Stingray Group Inc.
CKKO-FM201296.310,000Newcap Inc.
CKKO-FM200896.310,000Sun Valley Cablevision Ltd.


On March 13 the CRTC approved an application by Sun Country Cablevision Ltd., spearheaded by director, radio pioneer and former Kelowna mayor Walter Gray, for a licence to operate a new FM station to serve the city. It was operate at 96.3 MHz with a Classic Rock music format targeting an audience from 25 to 54 years of age. It was one of two FM station approvals out of eleven applications. Initially, power output was authorized to be 7,100 watts average, but was later revised by Industry Canada to 10,000 watts average (31,000 watts peak) from a directional antenna co-located with several other Kelowna FM stations.

In early June a website was launched and transmitter testing began. By summer, 4,700 sq. ft. studio and offices were secured as part of the purchase of the former 11,000 sq. ft. Victory Life Fellowship building at 1601 Bertram Street. Dallas Gray was named general manager/general sales manager and Garry Barker as program director and promotions manager.

“K963 Kelowna’s Classic Rock” officially signed on at 8 a.m. November 4 with an introduction emphasizing the station’s local ownership, followed by “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive. On-air personalities included morning hosts Kevin McGowan and Chris Cleaver, Joel Jeffrey middays, Darlene Check p.m. drive and Rob Balsdon evenings.


On February 26, the CRTC approved an application by Sun Country Radio Ltd. to acquire the assets CKKO-FM from Sun Country Cablevision Ltd. Sun Country Radio is a corporation controlled by its board of directors. The same directors sit on both Sun Country Radio and Sun Country Cablevision’s boards of directors. Sun Country Cablevision will continue to hold the licence to operate the cable broadcasting distribution undertaking serving Salmon Arm. Sun Country Radio indicated that the acquisition of assets was undertaken solely for the corporate restructuring purposes of separating the radio undertaking from Sun Country Cablevision’s other assets and assisting the existing shareholders with income tax and estate planning. CKKO-FM Kelowna would continue to be controlled by its board of directors.


Newcap purchased two Okanagan Valley stations: K96.3 (CKKO FM) Kelowna and Giant FM (CIGV FM) Penticton (along with CIGV’s two repeaters). Giant FM was launched October 18, 1981 by Ralph and Jean Robinson’s Great Valleys Radio Ltd. K96.3 won its licence in March, 2008 when the CRTC approved an application by Walter Gray’s Sun Country Cablevision. It signed on the air November 4 of that year. Dallas Gray would remain as general manager/general sales manager under the new ownership.


On February 20, the CRTC approved the application by Newcap Inc. for authority to acquire from Sun Country Radio Ltd. the assets of CKKO-FM. Newcap was a corporation controlled by Mr. Harold R. Steele.

In late February, Newcap Radio completed the purchase of two radio stations in the Okanagan Valley; K963 Kelowna’s Classic Rock and Penticton’s CIGV, Great Valley radio. Dallas Gray was general manager.


On July 12, the CRTC denied the application by Newcap Inc. to change the authorized contours of CKKO-FM by relocating its transmitter to a site on top of Okanagan Mountain and by changing its transmitter class from B to C and its average effective radiated power from 10,000 to 6,300 watts (directional antenna with a decrease in maximum ERP from 31,000 to 14,100 watts and an increase in the effective height of the antenna above average terrain from 130.8 to 793 metres). 


On August 1, Q103.1 changed format from Hot Adult Contemporary to Contemporary Hits as “Kelowna’s Hottest Hits”.

On October 1, the CRTC denied CKKO-FM’s application to relocate its transmitter, change ERP from 31,000 to 14,100 watts and increase antenna height.


Chris Cleaver retired in February after 40 years in broadcasting. He was chief engineer at CKKO and previously worked for CKIQ Iqaluit, CJOV Bathurst, CHBC-TV and CIRK.


On October 23, the CRTC approved an application by Newfoundland Capital Corporation Limited, on behalf of Newcap Inc. and its licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, for authorization to effect a change in the ownership and effective control of various radio and television broadcasting undertakings in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, so that effective control of the undertakings would be exercised by Eric Boyko (Stingray Digital Group Inc.). Stingray took ownership of the stations just a few days later.

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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