CFCD-AM, Nanaimo

Arthur “Sparks” Holstead

CFCD-AM1927n/a50Arthur “Sparks” Holstead
CFCD-AM1923n/a50Arthur “Sparks” Holstead


CFCD Nanaimo on the second floor of the Sparks Company, an Automotive & Electrical firm owned by “Sparks” Halstead and partner Bill Hanlon.  The needs of their customers for batteries to run that new invention “Radio” peaked their interest in this new fad, and on a trip to Seattle, “Sparks” brought back a 10 watt transmitter package, applied for a license, and put the station on the air in 1923.  There was no fixed schedule and no advertising, except for a credit to the music store where they borrowed gramophone records. Stanley Goard, a new auto-electric employee would go upstairs after the days business and experiment with programming for as long as his mind and body could bear it.  If neither he nor “Sparks” were available, there would be no broadcast that evening.  Later in 1923 power was increased to 50 watts. There being no money allocated to the station for programming or salaries, they lost interest and finally in 1927 closed it down.


“Sparks” decided to open a branch of the auto-electric business in Vancouver where there was great potential for the battery business due to the many radio stations on the air there.  Goard was brought over to assist. One of their battery customers was the head of the Liberal party in Vancouver.  The party offered to pay for the relocation of the transmitter, in exchange for the broadcasting of their meetings and rallies to ensure their election.  The new station was set up in the Belmont Hotel, which had a basement cabaret with nightly music and a grand piano on the mezzanine floor which gave them instant programming..  However, the move from Nanaimo was done without authorization and the station was ordered off the air.

But the power of radio was evident even in those early days, and enough listeners complained that the Department of Marine and Fisheries granted a new license, providing a new station call sign was used.  CKWX was chosen for its distinctive sound.  Later, in 1927, the station moved to the Sparks Company location with a 100 watt transmitter.

See  CKWX.

SOURCE:  Book – “Imagine Please” by D. J. Duffy – B. C. Archives -see 

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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