CKOR-AM, EZ Rock, Penticton

Bell Media Inc.

CKOR-AM201380010,000/500Bell Media
CKOR-AM200780010,000/500Astral Media Inc.
CKOR-AM200280010,000/500Standard Radio Inc.
CKOR-AM199980010,000/500Telemedia Communications Inc.
CKOR-AM199180010,000/500Okanagan Skeena Broadcasters Ltd.
CKOK-AM199080010,000/500Okanagan Skeena Group Ltd
CKOK-AM198680010,000/500Davis Communications Ltd.
CKOK-AM197280010,000/500Fraser Valley Broadcasters Ltd.
CKOK-AM19578001,000/500CKOK Ltd. (Okanagan)
CKOK-AM1948800250Okanagan Broadcasters Ltd.
CKOK-AM19461450250Okanagan Broadcasters Ltd.


In November it was announced that CKOK was expected to go on the air soon. The station would broadcast on 1450 kHz using a Marconi 250 watt transmitter. In the early going, program service would be carried by landline from CKOV in Kelowana.

In December CKOV engineer Fred Webber was busy getting CKOK ready for operations. The station did begin operations this month and was owned by Okanagan Broadcasters Ltd. 


A formal reception marked the opening of new studios and offices for CKOV (Kelowna), operated by Okanagan Broadcasters Ltd. CKOV had first gone on the air 15 years earlier as amateur station 10AY. CKOV had what was likely the first satellite commercial station in Canadian radio with CKOK Penticton. CKOK opened as a repeater of CKOV and its purpose was to provide a signal in the Penticton area which had been isolated especially at night by the mountainous terrain. The only difference between the two stations was the call sign. That difference was handled with the flick of a switch from the Kelowna studios. 


In May, the CBC approved the conversion of CKOK from a satellite of CKOV Kelowna into an independent station. The licence was requested and approved in the name of CKOK Ltd., with control held by J. Reg Beattie, formerly with All-Canada Radio Facilities Ltd. and CHML Hamilton. 

CKOK applied to move from 1550 to 800 kHz. Power would remain 250 watts. The CBC recommended the application for approval. 

Harry O. Watts was manager and Jean G. Griffiths was commercial manager. 

CKOK moved to 800 kHz with a power of 250 watts.

In September, CKOK became a full-time local station. 


CKOK became a member of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.

Jim English was named chief engineer. Harry O. Watts was manager and Jean Griffiths was commercial manager.


CKOK 800 received approval to increase power from 250 watts day and night to 1,000 watts day and 500 watts at night. The changes took effect later in the year.

Approval was given for the transfer of control from J. Reg Beattie and others to Grenville J. Rowland and Maurice P. Finnerty.


The CBC approved the transfer of 136 shares in CKOK.


Announcer Alan Jordon left for CKWX Vancouver. Roy Chapman returned to his home town of Penticton, to become manager and part owner of CKOK. He had been local sales manager at CKNW New Westminster. He started his career in radio as an announcer at CFTP (CJVI) Victoria. Earlier this year, Chapman had been appointed manger of the Vancouver office of National Broadcast Sales. 


Roy Chapman was manager.


In 1953, the CBC deferred a decision on the transfer of 140 common shares and the issuance of 13 common and 489 preferred shares and the redemption of 40 preferred shares in CKOK Ltd. Early in 1954, this application was approved. Later in the year, the CBC approved the transfer of 3 common and 10 preferred shares, the issuance of 55 preferred shares and the redemption of 10 preferred shares in CKOK Ltd. 


A company was formed to construct a television station to serve the entire Okanagan Valley. Participants in the new company were radio stations CKOV Kelowna, CKOK Penticton and CJIB Vernon. Directors of the company were Charles Pitt and Richard Peters of CJIB, Jim Browne and Dennis Read of CKOV, and Maurice Finnerty and Roy Chapman of CKOK. 


By this time, CKOK was a CBC Dominion affiliate and was owned by CKOK Ltd. (largest shareholders were Maurice P. Finerty 34.5% and Roy G. Chapman 33.4%). 


Three Okanagan radio stations – CJIB, CKOV and CKOK, issued a combined rate card as of April 1. It was called co-operation without amalgamation. Ken Compton was appointed national sales manager for the group, effective April 1. 

Maurice Finnerty was president of CKOK. George Cameron was chief engineer. 

According to Elliott-Haynes CKOK reached a total of 26,140 adult listeners every day.

As of July 1, Ed Boyd was sales promotion co-ordinator of Okanagan Radio. For the past three and a half years he had been promotion manager for CKOV Kelowna.

CHBC-TV and Okanagan Radio offered a special stereo hour on December 7. People were asked to tune in their local radio station (CJIB, CKOV or CKOK) and tune their TV sets to either channel 2, 7 or 13 (depending on where they lived). Both sets were needed to hear stereo and the best effect could be obtained if the radio set was placed about eight feet to the right of the television set. The broadcast originated with the TV station and went out by phone lines to each of the radio stations.


Daytime power increased to 10,000 watts. Night power remained 500 watts. 

CKOK was off the air for 44 minutes on January 5 when a fire completely gutted the adjacent Central Building. CKOK manager Maurice P. Finnerty could tell that there was a danger of the west wall falling onto the roof of the McGregor Building, home to his station. He ordered his building evacuated. A console was loaded on to a truck and taken to the Skaha Lake transmitter site where station engineer George Cameron set up broadcasting facilities. About 50 spectators assisted station personnel in loading thousands of records, equipment and furniture into waiting trucks. Announcer Bjorn Bjornson remained at the smoke-filled studio and kept a running commentary during the fire and evacuation. He was one of the last to leave the station. Front office, news and continuity staff were able to move back into the building in the afternoon. Because a new cable had to be installed by Okanagan Telephone, normal broadcasting from the studios did not resume until January 7. Damage to the station and its equipment was negligible. 

Maurice P. Finnerty, president and managing director of CKOK and vice president of Okanagan Television Co., was elected president of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce.


CKOK-FM 97.1 signed on. 


Ralph Robinson was manager of CKOK-AM-FM.


On April 14, permission was granted for the transfer of Okanagan Radio Ltd. (CKOK-AM-FM, CKOO, CKGF and the proposed CKSP Summerland) from M. P. Finnerty, L. M. Finnerty, P. C. Finnerty and L. C. Wells to Fraser Valley Broadcasters Ltd. and D. C. Barkman.


On June 9, approval was granted for the transfer of Okanagan Radio Ltd. from Fraser Valley Broadcasters Ltd. and Dennis Barkman to Barkman, Kenneth Lewis Davis and Gerald William Pash.


Approval was granted for disaffiliation from the CBC network now that CBTP-FM (owned by the CBC) was on the air.


On January 11, the CRTC renewed CKOK-FM’s licence until September 30, 1985.


CKOK was given approval to move from 800 to 780 kHz and increase daytime power from 10,000 to 20,000 watts and nighttime power from 5,000 to 10,000 watts.


Davis Communications Ltd. took control of Okanagan Radio Ltd. when it increased its ownership from 50 to 52.5%. (Davis purchased a further 2.5% interest from Frederick W. Trainor). 


Bill Croft became CKOK/CJMG-FM news director, succeeding Fred Straw.


Okanagan Skeena Group Ltd. acquired control of Okanagan Radio Limited. OSG already held 40.7% of OKR. It acquired all the shares of Davis Communications Ltd., which held 52.6% of OKR.


In March CKOK changed call letters to CKOR.


Having never made the move to 780 kHz (with the associated power increase), CKOR was granted permission to remain on 800 kHz with a power 10,000 watts day and 500 watts night. A change of transmitter site was also approved. 


Michael Olstrom left CKOR/CJMG-FM as Program Director.


John Clark left CKOR as program director to take up the same post at CJCD Yellowknife. The new PD for CKOR and 97 Magic FM was Ross Hawse, formerly of CJCI Prince George. CKOR/CJMG news director Jon Ferebee left to return to Mix 105 in Vernon in March. CKOR morning drive announcer Evan West resigned. Hans Walter joined CKOR/CJMG-FM as news director. He had been with Broadcast News in Edmonton.


Okanagan Skeena Group Ltd. was purchased by Telemedia Radio Inc.


Standard Radio Inc. purchased the Ontario and Western properties of Telemedia. Some stations were then sold to other companies. The Okanagan Skeena stations were retained by SRI.


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 CKOR-AM.  


The new Broadcast Technician at Astral Media Radio Penticton was David Ford. He had been at sister station KBS Trail before making the move in May. Ford succeeded John Boles who went to another Astral station, Big Dog 92.7 Regina, as its Engineer.


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


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 CKOR.


Jeremy McGoran (35) passed away on June 9. He hosted afternoons on EZ Rock 1240 Osoyoos and EZ Rock 800 Penticton for a decade, up until last year, after going public with his struggle with anxiety and depression.

Cal George (96) died on July 23. He started his career at CHWK Chilliwack in 1942, and moved to CKWX Vancouver the same year, first as an operator and then announcer. George remained with WX until 1967, took a break and then headed to CKOK Penticton around 1970 to do mornings. He retired from CKOK in 1985.

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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