CKQR-FM, 99.3 FM The Goat, Castlegar

Vista Broadcast Group Inc.

CKQR-FM200599.3333Vista Broadcast Group Inc.
CKQR-FM199899.3333J. W. Gillespie Group
CKQR-AM196912301,000Valley Broadcasters Ltd.


Kokanee Broadcasting Ltd. (CKKC Nelson) applied for transmitters at Castlegar and Creston. In addition to local studios, each operation would also make use of studio facilities at Nelson. Kokanee received approval for the Creston operation but the Castlegar outlet was turned down because T.N. Tuck and associates had a similar proposal for the town which would offer full-time local service in contrast to the part-time local service that would have been offered by Kokanee. Conditional approval was given to Tuck on December 24 for a new AM station at Castlegar.


CKQR signed on the air on September 22.


By this time, CKQR was operating on 1230 kHz with 1,000 watts day and 250 watts night.


On December 5, Valley Broadcasters Ltd. was given approval to change CKQR’s frequency from 1230 to 760 kHz, increase day power from 1,000 to 20,000 watts and increase night power from 250 to 5,000 watts. 


Ken Gee became CKQR’s news director. Later in the year, Dave Hankinson was news director. 


The CRTC approved the sale of CKQR by Valley Broadcasting Ltd. (Gordon Brady, Serge Plotnikoff) to Boundary Broadcasting (J.W. Gillespie Equity Corp. 70% and Wilfred Warner 30%), licensee of CKGF in Grand Forks.


CKQR began simulcasting some of its programming (116 hours per week) on CKGF Grand Forks.
On December 16, CKQR was given approval to add an FM transmitter at Nelson, operating on 103.5 MHz, with an effective radiated power of 84 watts.


CHNV-FM (rebroadcaster of CKQR) signed on in Nelson.


Boundary Broadcasting Ltd. (CKGF Grand Forks) and Valley Broadcasters Ltd. (CKQR Castlegar) became fully owned by J.W. Gillespie Equities Corp. 


On March 10, approval was given to convert CKQR to the FM band using 99.3 MHz with an effective radiated power of 333 watts, with a transmitter at Trail on 104.1 MHz with ERP of 19.9 watts.


On February 3, the CRTC approved the application by Valley Broadcasters Ltd. for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language FM commercial radio programming undertaking in Nelson. The new station would operate at 103.5 MHz (channel 278A1) with an average effective radiated power of 104 watts, and would have a transmitter in Crawford Bay operating at 91.9 MHz (channel 220LP) with an ERP of 40 watts. The new station in Nelson would replace CHNV-FM, a transmitter of CKQR-FM Castlegar, also owned by Valley. The Commission also approves the applicant’s request to amend the broadcasting licence for the radio programming undertaking CKQR-FM by deleting the transmitter CHNV-FM Nelson. The applicant proposed that local programming and local advertising would be broadcast on the new undertaking, and confirmed that it would adhere to a condition of licence specifying that local advertising would not be solicited or accepted during any broadcast week unless at least one-third of all programming broadcast is locally-originated. Plans related to local programming included a weekday program block, community event interviews and local advertising. The applicant indicated that, other than local programming, all of the programming broadcast on the new station would continue to be received from CKQR-FM. The transmitter proposed for Crawford Bay would be new. The licence would expire 31 August 2011.As indicated above, the transmitter in Nelson was already in operation, and had already been certified by the Department of Industry.

In early August it was announced that Boundary Broadcasting Ltd., owner of CKGF-2-FM Greenwood and its two transmitters at Christina Lake & Rock Creek, and Valley Broadcasters Ltd., owner of CKQR-FM Castlegar and its transmitters CHRT-FM Trail and CHNV-FM Nelson 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. 


In April, reflecting the new ownership, the station and its transmitters, which for years had identified as “BK Radio” (for Boundary Kootenay) changed its identification to “Mountain FM”.  The format was billed as “Adult Rock” with hits from the seventies to current.


On October 21 the CRTC approved an application to change the authorized contours of CKQR’s rebroadcast station, CHNV-FM Nelson, by increasing the average effective radiated power from 84 watts to 1,100 watts (2400 watts maximum), increasing the effective antenna height above average terrain to 376 metres (from the existing minus 664 metres) and relocating the transmitter approximately 4 kilometres to the northwest, at the site of other Nelson stations. Vista stated that the quality of CHNV-FM’s signal was so poor that it didn’t even cover the highway, a vital part of life in Nelson. 


The new Program Director/morning host at Mountain FM was Justin “Drex” Wilcomes. He moved to Canada from working in Australian radio and succeeded Rudi Parachoniak who moved to The River Kamloops.


Announcer Kier White joined Mountain FM in the Kootenay Boundary fulltime on March 1. He Kier had been covering drive 2-6 & swing since October 2009.

At midnight on June 11, CHNV-FM (Nelson) ceased being a rebroadcaster of CKQR-FM and moved to it’s own programming. It was still branded as Mountain FM and continued to have a active rock format.

Jimmy Spencer joined the Drex & Johnson morning show on West Kootenay Classic Rock station Mountain FM on May 3. He had been with Astral Media in Montreal.

Gordon Allan Brady passed away. In 1969, he started CKQR, managing it through 1990 when it was sold. The station was now an Astral Media property.

Nicole Beetstra was the new General Manager/General Sales Manager at Astral Radio Trail, as of August. She had been with Vista Radio Castlegar.


On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CKQR-FM until March 31, 2012. (Includes transmitter CHRT-FM Trail)

Justin “Drex” Wilcomes, program director and on-air personality at Vista Broadcast Group’s Mountain FM Castlegar and 1035 The Bridge Nelson moved to sister station 103.9 The Juice Kelowna, also as PD. Wilcomes joined Vista in October, 2009, after having moved to Canada from Australia where he also worked in radio.


On March 20, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CKQR-FM to August 31, 2012. 

TJ Connors was the new PD at Mountain FM Castlegar and Senior PD for the Vista Group. He also did the morning show at Mountain FM. Connors moved from mornings at The Wolf Peterborough and, prior to that, was at BOB FM Lindsay.

Vista Radio welcomed four more people to the team. Darren McPeake joined Vista as the Kootenay Group Program Director and Mountain FM morning host effective August 1. Jennifer Thomson rejoined the Vista family as part of the creative team at 103.9 The Juice in Kelowna. She was previously with the company’s Kootenay Group as the Creative Director for Mountain FM and The Bridge. Tracy Hamilton joined Vista Radio in the role of General Manager/Sales Manager at CJSU 89.7 Sun FM in Duncan. Carmen Weld accepted the position of news anchor/reporter for 99.7 The River in Campbell River. She was a graduate of BCIT’s journalism program and recently did a stint at 89.7 Sun FM in Duncan. 

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 of CKQR-FM Castlegar and its transmitter CHRT-FM Trail to 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 CKQR-FM Castlegar and its transmitter CHRT-FM Trail to August 31, 2019.


Kevin Einarson, General Manager/General Sales Manager at Vista Radio Castlegar/Nelson, resigned. He would stay with the stations until a successor was found. 


CKQR Mountain FM and its repeaters in Trail and Grand Forks rebranded as Goat FM. It had programmed Mainstream/Classic Rock, and was now offering “world class rock and roll from the ‘60s to today”.

The story continues elsewhere…
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