CFBT-FM, Virgin Radio, Vancouver
|The Beat Broadcasting Corporation
On September 15, the CRTC announced that a public hearing would be held commencing November 20 at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown to consider eleven applications for FM stations in Vancouver for the last available full-power frequency of 94.5 MHz.
On June 5 The CRTC approved application by Focus Entertainment Group for a new station to operate in Vancouver on FM 94.5 with an average effective radiated power of 46,000 watts from a site on Mount Seymour. The station would be known as “The Beat” and offer a format of Urban Music, similar to stations recently licensed in Calgary and Toronto. The licence stipulated the station would contribute $2.8 million to Canadian talent development over a period of seven years.
On August 3 the CRTC approved application to transfer control of Focus Entertainment Group Inc. (by Messrs. Andrew J. Henni, John F. Rota and Tony Rota Jr.) to 411855 British Columbia Ltd. (Cowan Properties Ltd.).
In early October Focus Entertainment Executive VP/GM Gary Milne announced that staffing for “The Beat” had started and that broadcasting would start in the spring of 2002. In November, the official call letters of CFBT-FM were assigned, in keeping with the station’s slogan.
On February 1 the CRTC approved application to move the transmitter site less than .02 km from the original site on Mount Seymour near Vancouver. A few days later CFBT-FM announced many of its new on-air staff and ran a contest on its website to name the first five songs to be played at the official launch scheduled for 6 p.m. March 4. On February 15 at approximately 10:10 a.m., the new transmitter was turned on to begin testing. On February 22 the station held a pre-official launch VIP party at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver.Although the station’s website had been running a time counter pointing at a 6 p.m. March 4 official startup, a “soft opening” approach was taken where new announcers and programs were added progressively and without fanfare over a period of several weeks. The Beat’s new studio was located at the Plaza of Nations in downtown Vancouver. In early June, CHUM Limited’s CHQM-FM began transmitting from a new 300-foot tower located a short distance from the old one on Mount Seymour. CFBT-FM and the rebroadcaster of Victoria’s CIVI-TV also relocated to the same tower.
On June 17 the CRTC approved in part, application by Focus Entertainment Group to defer certain required expenditures to Canadian talent development (CDT) as proposed in its original application, due to start-up costs and first year cash needs being considerably higher than expected, and that it was a small independent operator without the advantages of shared resources. The Commission responded by requiring the licensee to make certain immediate payments and to make “catch-up” payments by the end of the fourth year of its seven-year term. In early September The Beat added Top 40 music to the mix of its Urban format and began to identify as “Vancouver’s Hit Music Station”, thereby decreasing the amount of hip-hop on the station’s playlist.
On February 26 CHUM Limited announced that it has agreed to purchase the radio assets of CFBT-FM, subject to regulatory approval by the CRTC. CHUM president Paul Ski was quoted as stating, “With the acquisition of Vancouver’s No. 1 hit music station, CHUM will be able to offer listeners and advertisers a compelling variety of services.” When approved, CHUM’s Vancouver holdings would be increased to four stations. On April 25 the CRTC approved a change in the effective control of The Beat Broadcasting Corporation (previously Focus Entertainment Group Inc.), licensee of CFBT-FM through the transfer, for estate planning and tax purposes, of the indirect control of The Beat from Mrs. Barnie Louise Cowan to the three trustees of The William and Barnie Cowan (2004) Joint Partner Trust.
On October 12 the CRTC approved application by CTV Limited (CHUM Limited prior to July 31) to acquire the assets of CFBT-FM 94.5 Vancouver from The Beat Broadcasting Corporation. The stated value of the transaction was $45 million.
Cody Mackay, formerly a broadcast technician at CHUM Radio Vancouver, joined Astral Media Radio Vancouver as Director of Engineering.
Kid Carson’s The Beat 94.5 morning show did not violate any broadcast codes during a segment that included “outrageous statements about women” by author Dick Masterson. His book and website were entitled Men Are Better than Women. A listener complained to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council that the content was discriminatory.
On March 7, the CRTC approved an application by BCE Inc. on behalf of CTVglobemedia Inc., for authority to change the effective control of CTVgm’s licensed broadcasting subsidiaries to BCE. The Commission concluded that the transaction would be beneficial to the Canadian broadcasting system by ensuring the long-term stability of a significant Canadian television network and advancing the Commission’s objective of providing relevant high-quality Canadian programming to Canadians through conventional and new media distribution channels. BCE was a public corporation and controlled by its board of directors. Before this approval, BCE held 15% of the voting interest in the capital of CTVgm. The other shareholders were 1565117 Ontario Limited (a corporation ultimately controlled by Mr. David Kenneth R. Thomson) (40% of the voting interest), Ontario Teacher’s Plan Board (25% of the voting interest) and Torstar Corporation (20% of the voting interest). Under the transaction agreement dated September 10, 2010, BCE would acquire the remaining 85% of the voting interest in the capital of CTVgm and would therefore exercise effective control.
On March 15, CTV Inc., CTV Corp., CTV Limited and CTVglobemedia Inc. amalgamated to continue as CTV Inc.
BCE Inc. announced on April 1 that it had completed its acquisition of CTV and that it had launched Bell Media (replacing CTVglobemedia), a new business unit that would make CTV programs and other Bell content available on smartphones and computers as well as traditional television. “Our acquisition of Canada’s No. 1 media company leverages our strategic investments in broadband networks and services and enables our promise to deliver the content Canadians want most across every screen – smartphone, tablet, computer and TV,” chief executive George Cope said in a statement. In addition to CTV and its television stations, Bell Media now also operated 29 specialty channels, 33 radio stations, Dome Productions, a mobile broadcast facilities provider, and dozens of high-traffic news, sports and entertainment websites, including the Sympatico.ca portal.
Jaxon Hawks left The Beat (CFBT) and weekend host & traffic reporter Emilie Clarke left for Sun FM Penticton.
The CRTC approved a change to the ownership of Bell Media Inc., from BCE Inc. to Bell Canada. This transaction would not affect effective control of Bell Media Inc. and of its licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, which continued to be exercised by BCE Inc. Bell Media Inc. held, directly and through its licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, various radio and television programming undertakings as well as specialty and pay-per-view television services.
On August 22, the CRTC approved the applications by BCE Inc., on behalf of Bell Media Inc. and 7550413 Canada Inc., carrying on business as Bell Media British Columbia Radio Partnership, for authority to acquire, as part of a corporate reorganization, CFTE, CKST, CFBT-FM and CHQM-FM Vancouver, and CFAX and CHBE-FM Victoria. Bell Media, the managing partner holding 99.99% of the voting interest in the general partnership, is wholly owned by Bell Canada and controlled by BCE. 7550413, the other partner holding the remaining 0.01% of the voting interest in the general partnership, is wholly owned by Bell Media and is also controlled by BCE. BCE submitted that the purpose of this corporate reorganization was to realize tax efficiencies. The Commission noted that this transaction would not affect the effective control of the undertakings which would continue to be exercised by BCE.
Bell Media created four new regional VP positions for radio and local television. They would report to Chris Gordon, president, radio & local TV, Bell Media. James Stuart, VP/GM at Bell Media Radio Vancouver (CFBT-FM/CFTE/CHQM-FM/CKST) would be responsible for British Columbia. Local GMs at radio and TV stations would now report to Stuart.
The Beat 94.5 launched a new morning show April 30. The show, a compilation of the station’s on-air talent, is called Beat Mornings with Holly (Conway), Jonny (Staub), Nira (Arora) and Amy (Beeman). Remo filled the afternoon drive slot, Chris Palliser moved to middays; and Denai Johnson took over the evening show.
It was announced in November that the Bell Media Vancouver radio stations would move downtown to 969 Robson Street, Suite 500.
On March 5, CFBT changed from THE BEAT to VIRGIN RADIO.
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.