CHMJ-AM, AM 730 – All Traffic All The Time, Vancouver
|Corus Entertainment Inc.
|Corus Radio Company
|Shaw Radio Ltd.
|Moffat Broadcasting Ltd.
|Moffat Broadcasting Ltd.
|Lion’s Gate Broadcasting Ltd.
An application was made by Gibson Brothers Ltd. for a 250 watt AM station at North Vancouver, operating on 1230 kHz. The proposal was denied by the CBC.
Gibson Brothers Ltd. again applied for 1230 kHz with 250 watts. The application was deferred.
Gibson Brothers Ltd. filed yet another application for an AM station at North Vancouver. Actually this was the same application deferred from last year, but the applicant was now seeking a different frequency (1070 kHz) and a higher power (1,000 watts). This time the CBC approved the proposal and it was unopposed by other stations. In fact, it was supported by two Vancouver stations.
Robert (Bob) Bowman was named to manage Vancouver’s new station, expected to go on the air around Christmas. Owned by the Lions Gate Broadcasting Co., the call sign has not yet been assigned, but was expected to be CKLG. Bowman had been manager of CFBC Saint John for the past five years. His appointment was effective July 15.
The transmitter site was to be at the foot of Mount Seymour. Target launch date: December 1.
On February 3, the Department of Transport gave the okay for CKLG to begin broadcasting on 1070 kHz with power of 500 watts. Due to interference to and from KNX (1070) Hollywood (Los Angeles), CKLG’s power was temporarily reduced from the authorized 1,000 watts. CKLG would still operate as a daytime-only station – 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. to give engineers a chance to work on the transmitter. Such work could not be done while the station was on the air. When the problems were resolved, CKLG would operate at full power, 19 hours a day. CKLG signed on the air later on this date. The transmitter was located at Blair Range in North Vancouver, up on a hill where grounding was poor, and so was the signal. The technical problems mentioned earlier, prevented the station from a planned debut in December of 1954. Original programming was “MOR, popular and classical” music with public opinion polls. The LG in the call letters: Lion’s Gate, a local landmark.
Four brothers in the lumber business founded the station, Clarke, Earson, Gordon and Jack Gibson, operating as Lions Gate Broadcasting Ltd. Bob Bowman was station manager, Rudy Hartman program producer and Jim Thom commercial producer. Original personalities included morning man Hal Francis along with announcers John Anthony and Alan Roughton. John Sharpe was news editor and footballer Al Pollard sports director. Chief engineer was Trevor Payne. Controversial talk show host Pat Burns made his radio debut at CKLG.
CKLG was accepted as a member of CARTB (CAB).
CKLG had three husband and wife teams on the air. Jim and Agnes Thom were on the air each morning with “What’s The Answer?” Al Pollard of the Vancouver Lions’ football club and CKLG sports editor and sportscaster was joined by his wife Pat for a two hour disc show aimed at youngsters (up to teens) each Saturday afternoon. Station manager Bob Bowman and his wife, Mike, did a two hour show called, My Favourite Dish. It aired at lunchtime each day.
CKLG switched frequency to a much clearer 730 kHz, due to problems reaching even southern portions of Vancouver after dark, when major interference was experienced from 50 kilowatt KNX AM 1070 in Los Angeles. Transmitter location was changed to Delta, south of the city, and power was increased to 10,000 watts (full-time, DA-1) utilizing three 300-foot towers. CKLG had applied for this change several times before it was finally granted. Several other stations also wanted the 730 frequency.
Frank Fleming was CKLG social events director.
On April 11, the first sod was turned on CKLG’s new transmitter site near Ladner, by 86 year old Mrs. W. F. Gibson, flanked by her four sons – Jack, Clark, Gordon and Earson …owners and operators of the station. This was the first step in the erection of CKLG’s new 10,000 watt RCA transmitter on 730 kc, scheduled to go on air in August.
Patrick Burns was CKLG news director. Horst Kochler hosted a variety of programs (16 and a half hours) every week on CKLG. When he joined the station three years ago, he hosted a half hour German music program.
Ad: CKLG – Soon 10,000 watts, 730 kcs. / CKLG Vancouver 10,000 watts – CHUB Nanaimo 10,000 watts – Twin Peaks of Power in B.C.
According to Elliott-Haynes CKLG reached a total of 53,755 adult listeners every day.
CKLG planned to be operating with 10,000 watts in the fall.
Studios and offices were at 143 East 11th Street in North Vancouver.
With the Board of Broadcast Governors replacing the CBC as regulator, many parties were awaiting the lifting of the TV ban…in Vancouver, two TV channels were available and CKLG, CKWX and CKNW were among those interested in applying for a TV licence.
Norm Grohmann, started at the station. He later became the very popular BCTV (CHAN-TV Vancouver) weather anchor during the seventies to nineties. Other personalities during the late 50s-early 60s included Monty McFarlane, fishing reports with Tom Sewell, and talk show hosts Jack Webster and Don Wilson.
Peter Kosick was appointed vice president and general manager of CKLG. He had been an account executive at CKNW. Terry Bate also joined CKLG from CKNW. He would be merchandising and promotion manager. News analyst and commentator Jack Webster joined CKLG to host three regular features: Webster’s World, Spotlight and City Mike. In addition to the programs, he would also be news director.
Moffat Communications Limited purchased the station from the Gibson Brothers.
A new 10,000-watt transmitter was installed, using four 305-foot towers. The station started playing more hit music in rotation with its regular programming.
Print Ad: CKLG Radio 73 – Vancouver’s Information Station.
Lewis R. Roskin, General Manager, confirmed that CKLG was the first station in Vancouver with helicopter broadcasts. The first flight was April 12, just days ahead of similar service from CKNW.
The unexpected death of Lloyd Moffat early in the year, left his son Randall with eight radio stations across Western Canada, which he began changing to Top 40 programming. In the spring he hired former midday WABC New York DJ, Sam Holman to set up the format for CKLG. Holman installed the WABC format with news every 15 minutes, a tight play list and PAMS jingles calling it “Lion Radio”. The DJs were called the “Top Cats”. The attempt was under-funded and un-researched. An evening talk show continued to be aired and some “middle-of-the-road” DJs still were under contract.
On Saturday August 22 the Beatles played at Empire Stadium. They were booked into Vancouver’s Georgia Hotel and CKLG obtained exclusive broadcast rights. That was used as the launch pad for a full-time contemporary hit station on August 24. Roy Hennessy was hired from Vancouver’s “quality music” station CHQM to do 6–9 p.m. and also got to interview the Beatles.
In July, Hennessy was in Los Angeles for the launch of KHJ as “Boss Radio”. He passed the information back to program director Frank Callaghan, who also flew to L.A. to check out the new sound. The following month, CKLG “Boss Radio” debuted. Within six weeks, it had scooped up many of the listeners from Top 40 rival CFUN.
“Real” Roy Hennessy, who was instrumental in launching the Boss Radio format, moved to morning drive.
CKLG began airing “a brand new sound in Canadian radio” on March 16, according to Don M.E. Hamilton, CKLG-AM-FM station manager. There would be a complete commitment to “The New Music”, giving the existing FM listener an alternative sound to other stations. The FM move was a further expansion to the AM station’s total policy of total youth involvement in the market (under 24 years of age). CKLG-AM took the top rock spot in Vancouver about a year ago. The New Music was described as not something merely to dance or listen to – it was an expression of a way of life … a combination of the surfing sound, Motown, new folk, the blues bands and the West Coast Sound. CKLG-FM would operate uninterrupted with two commercial breaks on the quarter hour with a maximum of 8 spots per hour. talk would be at an absolute minimum, with virtually nothing more than the title or artist being mentioned on the quarter hour breaks. BBG regulations required 20% of air time be devoted to the classics. For The New Music, there was only a limited audience available before 10:00 a.m. and this is where the station chose to play the classics.
Roy Hennessy was on-air. Allan Anaka was named general sales manager. He had been retail sales manager since 1964 and with Moffat Broadcasting since 1963.
Moffat Broadcasting Ltd. was awarded all Western Conference CFL broadcast rights for 1968 through 1970. Moffat owned CKY-AM-FM and CJAY-TV Winnipeg, CKXL-AM Calgary, CKLG-AM-FM Vancouver and part of CHED-AM Edmonton. The CFL Western Conference consisted of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Edmonton Eskimos, Calgary Stampeders and the British Columbia Lions.
About a year after the spring 1968 programming changes, Don Hamilton updated things, saying CKLG-AM-FM had a unique format aimed at the youth market and young adults. He said AM was probably the only station of its kind in Canada – fully involved in serving the dynamic and growing youth market (under 25). The format was very tightly disciplined. CKLG-AM first approached this type of market in 1964. Each hour (24 hours a day) CKLG-AM played a minimum of 16 pieces of music with a maximum of 12 minutes of advertising, blended with public service, interviews and community events. Hamilton said the station began using CHUM’s Ottawa news service (Contemporary News) in the spring of 1968. It was geared to a young audience. Even ads on the station were geared to the young. As to CKLG-FM, it pioneered the approach of “The New Music” in Canada, starting in mid-March of ’68. The programming policy generally revolved around three categories and allowed for a freedom for experimental approahces. The three general groups of music: electric (progressive rock groups), folk and a combination of soul and R&B. Heavy emphasis was placed on experimental jazz. The approach also allowed for music from East India, Japan, Spain and even classical. Programmed 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, CKLG-FM also broadcast in full stereo. Music was set up in 15 minute blocks. Selections were introduced quickly at the start and extroed at the end of the 15 minute block. Ads were limited to 8 per hour and news was 5 minutes, on the hour.
Myles Murchison was appointed director of public affairs for CKLG-AM and FM. This was a newly created position.
Moffat Broadcasting Ltd. became publicly traded Moffat Communications Ltd. Before this, Donna Hardstaff (nee Moffat) and Randall Moffat each held 50%. Under the new setup, Randall Moffat held 51.2% with the public offering being 38.8%.
Roy Hennessy was at CKLG.
On July 26, Moffat Communications Ltd. received approval to increase CKLG’s power from 10,000 to 50,000 watts (different day and night directional patterns). The increase took place before the end of the year. Four 305 foot towers were located at Delta.
Bill Sysak became vice president and general manager of CKLG/CFOX-FM. He had been at CHED Edmonton. Sysak replaced Vern Traill who was moved to CHED.
In March, CKLG began broadcasting in AM stereo using the Kahn system.
Stu McAllister was news director.
Program director Brad Phillips left for South Fraser Broadcasting’s new FM station.
Jim (J.J.) Johnston was appointed program director of CKLG. He would also remain PD of sister station CFOX-FM.
Jim (J.J.) Johnson, CKLG and CFOX-FM program director was appointed national PD for Moffat Radio.
On August 20, the CRTC approved the sale of CKLG and sister station CFOX-FM from Moffat Communications Ltd. to Shaw Radio Ltd. This was part of Moffat’s sale of its radio division. Transfer of CKLG/CFOX-FM to Shaw was completed September 1.
Talk programming was added in April and gradually increased from 10-15 minute interviews, four times a day to 24-hour talk by September 20. Twenty-nine years of continuous contemporary hit radio put CKLG in a virtual tie with CHUM-AM Toronto as the longest running CHR station in Canada.
Shaw Radio promoted Alden Diehl to industry relations and staff development manager at the company. He had been general manager of CKLG and CFOX-FM. Chris Pandoff moved from the general sales manager position to general manager of the two stations. Gordon Forbes, 16 eyars with CKLG/CFOX, moved from sales supervisor to general sales manager.
With ratings starting to falter, the station went back to full time hit music on February 22.
Long-time CKLG Program Director and morning host Dean Hill left for the CFMI-FM morning show.
On November 3, Vancouver joined Toronto as the second Canadian city to offer digital radio broadcasting. CBU-AM and FM, along with CBUF-FM, CHUM Limited’s CFUN and CHQM-FM and Fraser Valley Radio’s STAR-FM began regular Digital Radio broadcasting. All six signals were broadcast from two pods located at the CBC’s Mount Seymour transmission facilities. Rogers Broadcasting, Shaw Radio and Westcom Radio were planning to file applications for six more digital services in the city, to operate from the Rogers transmitter site, also on Mount Seymour.
Shaw communications spun off the radio division to a new entity called Corus Radio Company.
Alden Diehl, 68, died October 27. He had run CKLG and CFOX-FM for a number of years – until his retirement a few years back. Diehl had joined Moffat Vancouver from sister stations CKY / CITI-FM in Winnipeg. Before that, he had worked for CKLW Windsor and CFRA in Ottawa.
Just before midnight on January 31, the music ended on CKLG with the song “I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlan. Minutes later at midnight February 1, with no fanfare, “All News NW2 powered by CKNW” hit the airwaves. The official call became CJNW, after its Corus sister station in the Vancouver market. The new format was a news wheel, extremely close in concept to Rogers’ rival “News 1130” CKWX Vancouver, which had been programming 24 hour news since early 1996.
Daryl Burlingham (Daryl B) died February 25. Over the years he had worked at top stations including CKLG, CKY, CFUN, CKLW and CHUM.
On May 28 at 5 a.m., after only about 16 months, CJNW stopped its all news format. In its place was continuous recorded rock music with no commercials, except for live broadcasts of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which had started before the format change. Speculation was widespread as to whether the station would go back to its previous CHR/Hot Adult Contemporary format, turn to hits of the seventies or move on with some sort of talk programming.
On June 14, the station left the air for service and replacement of its aging transmitter and towers. It returned to the air July 19 with modern rock and no DJs.
On July 11 Corus Entertainment officially announced to the press that CJNW would launch on August 6 as MOJO Radio, talk radio for guys, as an offshoot of its Toronto MOJO radio format. It was to provide “a forum for men to discuss and debate issues that matter to them, from health and fitness to cars, careers, beers, business, women and sports”.
As scheduled, Vancouver MOJO Radio launched at 6 a.m. August 6. The call letters were changed to CHMJ to reflect the new slogan.
In early February CHMJ moved from “guy talk” to “sports talk”, leaning initially on programming syndicated from ESPN in the U.S., before moving toward more localized sports talk programming. The station started identifying itself as “MOJO Sports Radio” and became the second all sports station in the Vancouver market. By early August, long-term deals had been agreed to for broadcast rights to the NHL All-Star Game, Westwood One NHL Game of the Week, NHL Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Also inked through 2007 were golf play by play of the Masters, British Open, US Open and PGA Championship.
In late June the station announced a two-year agreement to broadcast Canada West football and basketball plus a two-hour magazine-style show focusing exclusively on university, amateur and high school athletics.
On May 30, after two years and four months with lackluster ratings as Vancouver’s second “sports talk” station, competing with the existing CKST “Team 1040”, CHMJ pulled the plug on the format. Beginning June 5 at 7:30 a.m., after six days of continuous promos, the station became “AM 730, Continuous Drive Time Traffic and the Best of Talk”. It announced that it would also broadcast play-by-play Vancouver Whitecaps, Giants and Seattle Seahawks games, as well as delayed talk shows from sister station CKNW. J.J. Johnston, general manager of Corus Radio Vancouver, said the new format would target motorists who commute on a daily basis and added that while the station did not expect to capture a large audience share, “it should, in time, have huge reach.
On October 10th the station expanded its “Continuous Drive Time Traffic” format to “Continuous All Day Traffic”, with continuous reports from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday.
On November 26, coinciding with one of the most severe snow storms on the west coast in several years, CHMJ moved from “Continuous All Day Traffic” to “All Traffic All the Time”. Exceptions to the 24/7 all-traffic format were Vancouver Giants hockey and Seattle Seahawks football play-by-play.
On August 28, the CRTC renewed the transitional digital radio licence of CHMJ-DR-2.
Lewis Roskin passed away December 27. He started his radio career as an announcer (at age 17) at CJOC in Lethbridge. That was in 1937. He went on to work at CFRN Edmonton, CJDC Dawson Creek, CFCN Calgary, CHED Edmonton and CKLG Vancouver. He then went on to co-found CHQT Edmonton where he was president and general manager until he sold the station years later.
On May 28, the CRTC renewed the licence of CHMJ until August 31, 2016.
Cole Alford, an 11-year broadcast veteran, left Corus Radio Vancouver to join Astral Radio Vancouver on May 4. He would be Business Manager at Astral.
There were a number of changes at Corus Entertainment related to its organization review to streamline decision-making and clarify roles and mandates. Among the changes: Reporting to Hal Blackadar, Executive Vice President and interim President of Corus Radio was Garry McKenzie, GM, Corus Radio Vancouver (was GM at Corus Radio Calgary)
On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CHMJ-DR-2 to April 30, 2012.
Jennifer Pelat moved from Corus Radio Vancouver to become program director of the Corus Peterborough cluster, effective September 15.
Lou Del Gobbo, the former General Manager of Corus Radio Vancouver, was now Vice President/CFO at the B.C. Cancer Foundation.
Former Corus Radio Vancouver general manager Garry McKenzie, was named regional general manager for Corus Radio Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg, effective April 2.
On April 23, the CRTC administratively renewed the broadcasting licence for digital radio programming undertaking CHMJ-DR-2 until August 31, 2012.
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.
It was announced that Brad Phillips, Vice President of B.C. operations for Astral Media, would be the new General Manager of the Corus Entertainment Vancouver radio cluster, succeeding Garry McKenzie who was now heading prairie radio operations for Corus and based in Calgary.
Don Hamilton passed away. He was the General Manager of CKLG/CKLG-FM (CFOX) in the 1960s and 1970s. His broadcast career began in 1951 at CFCH North Bay. Hamilton was also a President of the BCAB and of the CAB, and a co-Founder BC Knowledge Network.
Greg Heraldson Passed away In Janaury. The longtime Calgary programmer (with a stop at CKLG Vancouver) died just before his 63rd birthday. Heraldson had spent time at CKXL, CHQR and COUNTRY 105.
In July, CFMI-FM added a simulcast of CHMJ 730 to its HD transmission. CHMJ was available via CFMI-FM-HD3 with power of 3,162 watts.
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.