CFNI-AM, Coast AM, Port Hardy

Vista Broadcast Group Inc.

CFNI-AM200512401,000Vista Broadcast Group Inc.
CFNI-AM197912401,000CFNI 1240 Coast Radio


William G. Browne’s CFCP Radio Ltd. (CFCP Courtenay and CFWB Campbell River), opened CFNI 1240 on September 1. Power was 1,000 watts day and 250 watts at night.


On December 22, CFNI was given approval to open an FM rebroadcaster at Port Alice, operating on 100.3 MHz with an effective radiated power of 20 watts. 


The Port Alice transmitter signed on as CFPA-FM.


William George Browne passed away in April. He was 63. Known as Billy Browne, he was the founder of CFCP Courtenay, and also owned CFWB Campbell River, CFNI Port Hardy and CHQB Powell River. Browne was first heard on the radio 51 years earlier (age 12) – on CJOR Vancouver – as a guest on his father’s radio program. Billy carried on the morning show when he opened CFCP in 1959.

Norma E. Browne took over management of CFCP Radio Ltd. following the death of her husband. The CRTC approved the transfer of control on December 21.


CFNI reduced the hours of local programming from 12 daily to six (6 a.m. to noon). All other programming originated from CFCP Courtenay.


In late July, it was announced that CFCP Radio Ltd., owners of CFCP-FM Courtenay, CFWB-AM Campbell River, CFNI-AM Port Hardy and CHPQ-AM Powell River 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.


On the June 6-7 weekend CFNI, now identifying as “The Port”, officially opened a new studio at 7190A Market St., the main thoroughfare in Port Hardy. For decades CFNI had been operating in the same location in a crumbling studio on Beaver Harbour Road on the outskirts of town. The new studio came with fresh office space and a state of the art studio including new board and phone systems. To commemorate the event, staff and management hosted a client party on June 6 with “The Port 1240 Street Party” the following day. Headliner for the event was up and coming Canadian songstress Georgia Murray, who grew up on the North Island and has been a featured performer on the TV show “Boston Legal” in addition to performing national anthems in Madison Square Gardens for NHL hockey. 


On August 24, the CRTC renewed the licence for CFNI Port Hardy and its transmitter CFPA-FM Port Alice from 1 September 2010 to 31 August 2014. The short-term licence renewal would enable the Commission to review, at an earlier date, the licensee’s compliance with the Radio Regulations, 1986 and its conditions of licence.


Justin ( Drex ) Wilcomes left his role as program director and afternoon drive announcer at 103.9 The Juice in Kelowna, to take on the role of PD for Vista’s Coast Group (98.9 Jet FM Courtenay / Comox, 99.7 The River in Campbell River, 1240AM The Port in Port Hardy, and 95.7 Sun FM in Powell River). Drex also assumed the role of morning man for Jet FM in Courtenay. The new general manager of Vista’s Coast Group was Pete Montana, the Group program director. In the near term, he’d continue to hold down the PD gig as well as hosting the morning show on Jet FM (CFCP) Courtenay.

Pete Montana, who became General Manager of Vista’s Coast Group on Vancouver Island February 23, left to become GM of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. Montana was also the group Program Director and morning host at Jet FM (CFCP) Courtenay.

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. 

Brian Shayne (Donohue) was morning show host. Savannah Chambers in sales. Justin “Drex” Wilcomes was Program Director. Doug Zachodnik was General Manager/General Sales Manager. He had been with The Goat in Lloydminster. The morning show was live, the mid-day and afternoon shows were voice-tracked from Powell River and Campbell River, respectively. Studios and offices were at 7035A Market Street.

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.


Andrew “Rock Dawg” Davis was promoted to Program Director at Vista Radio’s Coast Group stations (98.9 Jet FM Courtenay, 99.7 The River Campbell River, 95.7 Sun FM Powell River and 1240 AM The Port Port Hardy). He continued doing afternoon drive. 

Morning host Brian Shayne (Donahue) left 1240 The Port to be midday announcer and promotions director at 104.7 Heart FM in Woodstock.


CFNI rebranded from THE PORT to COAST AM, moving from Adult Contemporary to Classic Hits.

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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