CJZN-FM, The Zone, Victoria

Jim Pattison Broadcast Group

CJZN-FM200691.33,500Jim Pattison Broadcast Group
CJZN-FM200191.33,500O.K. Radio Group Ltd.
CKXM-FM200091.33,500O K Radio Group Ltd.
CKXM-AM1995120050,000O.K. Radio Group Ltd.
CKDA-AM1987120050,000Capital Broadcasting System Ltd. (Camroux acquired 25%)
CKDA-AM1986120050,000Capital Broadcasting System Ltd.
CKDA-AM1971122050,000Capital Broadcasting System Ltd (David Armstrong)
CKDA-AM1968122025,000Capital Broadcasting System Ltd. (David Armstrong)
CKDA-AM1957122010,000Capital Broadcasting System Ltd. (David Armstrong)
CKDA-AM195512805,000Capital Broadcasting System Ltd. (David Armstrong)
CKDA-AM19501340250Capital Broadcasting System Ltd. (David Armstrong)
CJZN-FMre-broadcaster at Sooke


David M. Armstrong applied for a new AM station at Victoria: 250 watts on 1570 kHz. The application was recommended for denial by the CBC Board in December. The application was opposed by CJVI and the CBC said the area could not support two stations.


Armstrong tried his luck again – this time for 1230 kHz with 250 watts of power. Again, the CBC Board of Governors denied his application.


The CBC recommended for approval an application by David M. Armstrong for a new AM station at Victoria, operating on 1340 kHz with power of 250 watts. Armstrong had been manager at Bill Rea’s CKNW in New Westminster. Owner David Armstrong would serve as general manager of CKDA.

Dave Hill joined the soon-to-open CKDA as sales manager. He had been with CJOR Vancouver for seven years. Gordon Reid was named assistant manager. Ross McIntyre would be chief engineer.

CKDA hoped to be on the air in January, 1950. The station would be fully General Electric equipped and studios and offices would be in the Hotel Douglas. 


After three years and four tries, David M. Armstrong’s Capital Broadcasting System Ltd. started Victoria’s second radio station  CKDA on January 18. Operating on 1340 kHz, CKDA had a full-time power of 250 watts (non-directional). The “DA” in the call letters: David Armstrong. 

Management: David M. Armstrong (managing director) was on the original staff of CFCT Victoria. He later worked for CKBI Prince Albert, CKMO Vancouver and CKNW New Westminster. Gordon M. Reid (assistant manager) had worked for CFRN and CKNW. David G. Hill (sales manager) had worked for CFRN and then CJOR (Vancouver). C. Edward Farey (program director) started at CFCT, moved on to CFAR Flin Flon and then Winnipeg’s CKRC and CJOB. Des McDermot (news editor) worked in the Vancouver market at CKMO, CKWX and CKNW. Rod D. Walter (continuity editor) worked in the past for CKOV Kelowna, CHLO St. Thomas and CFPL London.

Slogan: Victoria’s New Radio Voice.

CKDA had block programming with news on the hour, every hour.

Hal Yerxa was now on staff and John Skelton was an engineer.



CKDA applied to change frequency from 1340 to 730 kHz and to increase power from 250 to 1,000 watts. The CBC board pointed out that under an existing agreement with Mexico, the only Canadian station allowed to use the 730 kHz frequency was CKAC in Montreal. The CKDA application was deferred until this frequency was clarified for assignment in Canada. It was later denied. CKDA filed the same proposal again but the board turned it down.

CKDA and sponsor Woodward’s Stores, got into trouble with the phone company in November. The two completely blocked most of the city’s exchanges when they conducted a test of the “Telopinion” program. They claimed that 8:15 p.m. was a poor time for the show as most people would be watching TV. In tying up the phone lines the way they did, they were proven wrong.

Gordon Reid was assistant manager. Dave Hill was production manager. Ed Farey was program director.


David Armstrong applied for and received British Columbia’s first FM licence. CKDA-FM went on the air later in the year. CKDA-FM originally acted as a link to the CKDA-AM transmitter on Chatham Island, in Oak Bay . 

The CBC approved the change of licensee name from David M. Armstrong to Capital Broadcasting System. 

Phil Baldwin was appointed promotion manager of CKDA. He had been with CKNW. Baldwin started out at CKMO in 1938 and moved to ‘NW in 1947. Program director Ed Farey left for CKNW to administer that station’s Orphan Fund and to host two daily programs.

CKDA increased power to 5,000 watts and changed frequency to 1280 kHz. This happened just one day after CJVI increased its power to the same level. There were three new 200′ towers – built on an island – a speck of land surrounded by salt water for greater effectiveness and wider coverage. David Armstrong asked the Songhee (native) chief about using part of the land for the transmitter and towers. He got the ok as long as their sheep farm was re-located and the graveyard was left undisturbed.


Gordon Reid was appointed station manager and David Hill (former production manager) moved into Reid’s old post as assistant manager. Phil Baldwin was promotion manager.

CKDA moved to 1280 kHz and increased power to 5,000 watts.

The final move in the recent 5,000 watt installation was completed. A specially constructed cable was laid between the studios and the Chatham Island transmitter site. This came into operation at the end of January.

Keith MacKenzie was sports director. Doug McFarland hosted the morning show.


Armstrong acquired British Columbia’s first low-powered television station – CHEK – Victoria. 

T.J. O’Neill moved from the sales department to become program director.

David G. Hill, assistant manager of CKDA, became manager, and Allan Klenman, sales manager of CKNW for the previous six years, became local sales manager of CKDA.


CKDA moved to 1220 from 1280 kHz and increased power from 5,000 to 10,000 watts. 


Andy Stephen was named CKDA operations manager. He had been with the station several years and was news editor. He would also continue in that capacity.

Ad slogan: Radio CKDA Victoria – truly Victoria’s most listened to station.


Andy Stephen hosted CKDA’s Roving Reporter prgram. He was also news director at sister station, CHEK-TV. Richard L. McDaniel, manager of CKDA, became manager of CHEK-TV. The appointment was made by David M. Armstrong, president and general manager.


CKDA-FM became CFMS-FM. 


In October, CKDA was given approval to increase power to 25,000 watts full-time (single directional pattern) from 10,000 watts (single directional pattern). 


Even though the increase to 25,000 watts was not yet in place, CKDA applied for a further increase to 50,000 watts. The application was denied.


Again, CKDA applied for an increase in power to 50,000 watts. The application was denied on May 28. 

CKDA went ahead with the original plan for 25,000 watts and it became operational later in the year.

Dave Hill died April 24 at 56. He joined the station in 1949 and served as manager from 1954-59. Prior to his death he was sales manager with Golden Sound Music Service, a division of Capital Broadcasting. He also served as press gallery reporter for CKDA this year, at the B.C. Legislature. 


CKDA was affiliated with CHUM Limited’s new Canadian Contemporary News System.

C. Edward Farey was appointed vice president of programming. He was one of the founding members of CKDA and had worked in the past at CJOB Winnipeg, CKNW New Westminster and CFUN Vancouver.


On July 22, CKDA 1220 was authorized to increase power from 25,000 to 50,000 watts. A single directional pattern was used in both cases. 50,000 watt operation began later in the year, using five towers located on Chatham Island.


The purchase of CKDA/CFMS by CHQT Broadcasting Ltd. of Edmonton was denied by the CRTC. The Commission criticized the proposal for its lack of local ownership or participation. 


Walter Cowden became manager of operations for CKDA and CFMS-FM. He had been program director.


Gerald Laing became director of operations for CKDA/CFMS. He had been with CKPG in Prince George. 

CKDA applied to change frequency from 1220 kHz to 1200 kHz. The change was approved later in the year. The new frequency became available thanks to the Rio Agreement.

David M. Armstrong, who established CKDA in 1950, died on April 22. He was 65. Armstrong was president of Capital Broadcasting Systems, which operated both CKDA and CFMS-FM.

Mary Jo Molzan became promotions manager for CKDA/CFMS. She had been with CKGY in Red Deer.

CKDA/CFMS appointments: Sheridan Armstrong, president; Gowan Guest, secretary; and Gerald Laing, general manager. Margaret Armstrong, former vice president; and Ruby Masters, former secretary, resigned as directors of Capital Broadcasting System Ltd.


Eryn Brooks joined the CKDA news department from Winnipeg’s CKY.

Gerald Laing was named general manager. Scott Armstrong became news director. Clive Kitchener became news supervisor.


On July 1, CKDA moved from 1220 kHz to 1200 kHz. Power remained 50,000 watts day and night. A three tower directional (DA-1) array was used, along with a Continental 317C 50 kW transmitter. The technical facilities were located on Chatham Island, about three and a half miles east of Victoria. Hydro was provided to the uninhabited island by undersea cable. The transmitter site also had a diesel standby. Chief engineer at this time was Fred Cole. 

A bid by Wayne Stafford to gain control of CKDA/CFMS ran into strong opposition from some of the employees. Their arguments were backed by George Jones, a close friend of the late owner, David Armstrong, who said that Armstrong intended that his family inherit Capital Broadcasting and had no wish to see Stafford buy it. Armstrong’s widow, Sheridan, also opposed the application. Gerald Lang, a former general manager of the stations supported the sale, saying continued operation by Mrs. Armstrong would be disastrous. 

Paul Gugliari became CKDA’s program director. He had been music director at CKFM Toronto.

J. Robert Wood became interim manager. Dean Roberts became program director.


Chuck Camroux purchased 25% of Capital Broadcasting System Ltd. Mrs. Sheridan Armstrong held 75%. 

Gerald A. Laing left CKDA/CFMS-FM where he had been general manager to become VP and GM at Westwood One Canada.


Terry Griffiths was program director.

CKDA and CFMS had long since outgrown their basement space on downtown Douglas Street and now also occupied some offices on the floor above.


On August 21, the CRTC approved a two-stage intra-corporate re-organization of Capital Broadcasting, owner of CKDA and CFMS. In the end, Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. would own CFMS-FM while O.K. Radio Group Ltd. would own CKDA-AM. Rogers already owned CJVI-AM while O.K. owned CKKQ-FM. 

These sales were completed September 1. Shortly after the sale of CKDA, the station left the air. It returned October 10, as CKXM with a country music format. CKXM began operating from brand new transmitting facilities at the existing site on Chatham Island. The station was also operating from new studios and offices in the Wang Building on Carey Road – home to new sister station CKKQ.


In July, CKXM began broadcasting in stereo. 


CKXM announced some line-up changes: Scott James moved from producing the Wayne Pederson morning show to hosting the 10-2 program. Tara Wilson joined Peter Schaad as afternoon news anchor. Todd Hunter took over the duties of assistant music director/community relations staffer. 


OK Radio Group applied to the CRTC to flip CKXM to FM. If approved, OK would get the last FM frequency available on southern Vancouver Island. However, Mel Cooper was also seeking an FM sister for his CFAX 1070. 

Andy Carlson became CKXM program director. He had been music director/swing announcer at CKTA/CHLB-FM Lethbridge. 


OK Radio Group’s Victoria stations, 100.3 The Q, and CKXM finished construction of new studios. Some neighbours in the commercial/residential neighbourhood claim they were surprised to see the antenna tower, apparently not realizing that was part of having a radio station next door. OK owner Stu Morton was quoted as saying there should be no surprises, since the city granted a permit for the tower last fall. He said he’d be willing to paint the tower if it would make his new neighbours happy. 

CKXM and CKKQ moved in May to the top floor, 2750 Quadra Street. 

On October 28, CKXM was given approval to convert to the FM dial, operating on 91.3 MHz with an effective radiated power of 1,766 watts. The existing country format would be kept. 


On March 20, CKXM was granted authority to operate a rebroadcast transmitter at Sooke, operating on 97.1 MHz with an effective radiated power of 38 watts.

At 4:00 p.m. on the same date, CKXM made the move to FM as “The New X91.3”.

The old CKXM 1200 AM frequency went silent on May 17.


On June 21 at 12 noon, CKXM-FM changed from country to modern rock as “The Zone@91.3 FM.” 

To match the new name, the call letters changed on July 5 to CJZN-FM. 

Al Ford became program and music director at The Zone.


On March 19, CJZN was granted approval to operate a transitional digital radio undertaking. The transmitter would be located at Malahat Ridge and employ the EUREKA-147 digital audio broadcasting system. The station proposed to operate the transmitter using DRU frequency 1,472.000 MHz (DRB channel 12) with an  effective isotropic radiated power of 2,000 watts.


On April 13, the CRTC extended the deadline to begin operation of its previously approved digital radio operation to August 31, 2006.  OK Radio had requested an extension to March 19, 2007 citing the uncertainty of the status of digital broadcasting in Canada, but the Commission noted that the date proposed would extend beyond the expiry of the licence in question.

On May 9, the Edmonton-based OK Radio Group announced the sale of its two Victoria stations, CKKQ-FM and CJZN-FM to Vancouver-based Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. COO of OK Radio, Stu Morton was quoted as saying, “The management, programming and character of the stations will continue. [Pattison] stations run much the same way we do.”  On November 24, the CRTC approved the ownership change, along with the respective transmitters in nearby Sooke, with the applicants specifying the value of the transaction at $15.75 million.  The Commission also noted the purchase included the not-yet-launched transitional digital radio undertakings associated with the stations.  


Sara Parker, Program Director at The Zone @ 91-3 left for Harvard Broadcasting Edmonton as PD, in July.

Brian Blackburn was no longer General Sales Manager at the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group radio stations in Victoria. In the interim, Bruce Davis, VP of Sales for JPBG and General Manager of the Kelowna radio properties, stepped into the role and was in Victoria a few days each week. 

Mike Jean was promoted to Retail Sales Manager at The Q/The Zone. He had been a Senior Marketing Consultant.


Andy Stephen died at 84. The TV news pioneer was CHEK-TV’s first anchor. He began his broadcast career at CFRA Ottawa after the end of the Second World War. In 1953, he moved to CKDA. When the station’s owner, Dave Armstrong, set up CHEK-TV in 1956, Stephen added TV news to his duties. He did CKDA news in the morning and CHEK-TV news in the evening, plus reporting from the B.C. legislature and hosting the Capital Comment public affairs show for 20 years. 

Brian Lord died at 77. He had been a CFUN Good Guy, and was in the radio business for almost 47 years. He worked at CFCR-TV Kamloops, KMEN San Bernardino, KLIV San Jose, CJJC Langley, CKDA Victoria, CKWX Vancouver, CHRX/The Bridge Vancouver and Metro Broadcasting Hong Kong. Lord retired in 2001 and moved to the Philippines with his new wife.

Jerry Landa died at age 78. Landa was one of the CFUN Good Guys of the early ’60s. He also worked at CKDA Victoria, CKLG, CJOR and CKWX Vancouver, and CHUB Nanaimo into the ’80s before retiring. 

Milton York died at 66. His broadcast career included stops at Vancouver’s CJOR, CKWX and CKO; Victoria’s CKDA and CHEK-TV, and CJJC Langley. 

Sheridan Anne Armstrong passed away at age 69. She was the wife of former CKDA-AM/CFMS-FM owner and founder David Armstrong. She assumed ownership of the stations when he died in 1985. The stations were sold to the OK Radio Group and later to the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group.


Barry Fontayne (Ron Quail) died at age 76. He had a 44-year broadcast career, first as an announcer and then in sales and sales management at CKDA, CFMS-FM, CFAX and The Ocean/Jack FM.

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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