CHQM-FM, 103.5 QMFM, Vancouver

Bell Media Inc.

CHQM-FM2011103.5100,000Bell Media
CHQM-FM1990103.5100,000CHUM Ltd.
CHQM-FM1969103.5100,000Q Broadcasting Ltd.
CHQM-FM1960103.5100,000Vancouver Broadcast Associates Ltd.


CHQM-FM 103.5 signed on the air on August 10. Like sister CHQM-AM, the station had an easy listening format. The station was owned by Vancouver Broadcast Associates Ltd. Jack Stark and Bill Bellman headed up the group. Bellman was a former CBC announcer and producer, and host of a program on CBUT-TV. Stark was an executive in mills and steel products and primarily funded the station. Bellman was president and managing director. When he applied to the Board of Broadcast Governors for licences he vowed to increase the number of sets in use in Vancouver by 25% – wooing non-listeners to the AM station with the FM sound. Studios and offices were at 1134 Burrard Street. CHQM-AM had been on the air since December 10, 1959. “The AM station with the FM sound” now had an FM counterpart. Both stations simulcasted during the 19 hour broadcast day.
The CHQM call sign: Canada’s Highest Quality Music. 

Dave Catton was at CHQM at this time.


CHQM-FM began broadcasting in stereo on November 4. The station pioneered FM multiplex stereo in the west.


In March, CHQM launched its background music service – Q Music (the “Q” for Quality). The service was offered on a side channel of the FM frequency. 

CHQM-AM and FM had a staff of 28. Terry Bate was national sales manager. 

CHQM-FM began airing segments of programming that was separate from the AM station. The separate FM programming concentrated on opera, theatre and adventures in stereo sound. 

The stations offered light and bright music in the early morning and serious music and the classics in the late evening. There were only two soft-sell commercials per quarter hour. Except for the 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. time period, CHQM music was programmed in uninterrupted 15 minute segments. Announcers were just friendly voices and not chit-chatting personalities. Editorial writer Ralph Daly prepared three editorials per day. News was aired every hour, on the hour, and originated from the Vancouver Sun newsroom. 

On September 1, CHQM-AM-FM began broadcasting 24 hours a day. 

In November, CHQM-FM broadcast its first “live” concert – a two hour program featuring the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Also in November, CHQM began publishing “Q” – a guide to entertainment and the arts in Vancouver. The stations also put out their first album of music – Candlelight & Wine – patterned on the station’s 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. program with the same name.


CHQM-FM was authorized to increase its effective radiated power from18,950 to 100,000 watts. 


W.E. (Bill) Bellman was president and manager. 

CHQM-FM placed its new tower into operation with power of 50 kW at a cost of around $250,000. Bill Bellman said the station would now provide much better coverage of Vancouver Island centres.

Vancouver Broadcasting Associates owned CHQM-AM and FM, with Bill Bellman holding 50% of the stock. He still had his original partners: A.B. and R.L. Cliff, J.E. Stark, Russ Kinnimount and Alan Tatum, who had the other 50% through Western Industrial Holdings.


Maurice Foisy was program director.


On August 23, the corporate name changed to Q Broadcasting Ltd. 

CHQM subscribed to the NewsRadio news service, started by Stephens & Towndrow in September of 1968. NewsRadio received news content from CBS in New York.


Q Broadcasting announced its new board of directors: William E. Bellman was president and CEO, James E. Stark was vice president of finance and secretary-treasurer, Maurice L. Foisy was vice president of programming for Vancouver, James G. Lamb was a director with A.E. Ames & Co. Ltd., Arnold B. Cliff was president of Wescorp Industries Ltd., Gowan T. Guest was a barrister and solicitor, and R. Hilliard Claire was secretary-treasurer with Northern Hardware & Furniture Co. Ltd.


John E. Stark became president as well as chairman of Q Broadcasting. He would manage the day-to-day operations, having assumed complete control. Co-founder Bill Bellman moved on to become a major shareholder in Vancouver’s CKVU-TV.


On January 11, the CRTC renewed CHQM-FM’s licence until September 30, 1985.


CHQM-FM was granted approval to decrease effective radiated power from 65,000 to 49,000 watts in connection with an increase of antenna height.

CHUM Ltd. announced plans to purchase CHQM-FM and the Q Music division from Q Broadcasting. CHUM had been trying for years to get and FM station in Vancouver. The company had unsuccessfully applied three times for an FM licence to complement CFUN-AM. Q Music would provide an entry into B.C. for the CHUM Satellite Business Music Network. The deal also included CHQM-AM.

On October 17, CHUM Limited of Toronto was given approval to purchase CHQM and CHQM-FM Vancouver from Q Broadcasting Ltd. Because a company could only own one AM and/or one FM station in the same market and in the same language, CHUM was directed to sell CHQM-AM to a third party as the company already owned CFUN-AM in the city. Q Broadcasting Ltd., was owned by John E. Stark and other shareholders long involved in the broadcasting industry in Vancouver and elsewhere in British Columbia. Mr. Stark and his partners decided to divest themselves of their broadcast holdings, essentially for estate planning purposes.


CHQM-FM dropped its mainly instrumental easy listening format and became an adult contemporary station.  


For the record, on December 14, the CRTC approved the sale of CHQM-AM by CHUM Ltd. to a company 80% owned by James Ho. This would end the common ownership of CHQM-AM and FM. 


CHQM-AM became CHMB under new ownership

In March, CHQM-FM moved into new studio facilities with CFUN-AM in the former Bendorf Vester Building on 2nd Avenue.


On November 3, CHQM was authorized to add digital radio transmitters on 1458.048 MHz (channel 2) with Effective Isotropic Radiated Power of 5,046 watts at Mount Seymour and 2,774 watts at Burnaby.


On January 19, CHQM was given permission to operate a transitional digital radio undertaking at Vancouver. The station would operate on 1459.792 MHz with an effective isotropic radiated power of 5,046 watts from Mount Seymour and 2,774 watts from Burnaby. 

On this date, 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.


Ross Langbell, vice president of research at CHQM/CFUN left to become general manager of RCS Canada as of March 1.

On October 30, Jack Stark (CHQM’s founders) passed away at the age of 83.

On November 26, CHQM was granted an increase in effective radiated power from 49,000 to 53,000 watts and the effective antenna height from 604 to 617.6 metres.


CHUM Ltd. purchased CKST 1040.


Allan Waters, the founder of CHUM Limited, owner of CHQM-FM, passed away at the age of 84, on December 3rd.


On July 12 it was announced that Bell Globemedia would pay C$1.7 billion for CHUM Ltd., in a deal that would see the company become part of the BCE-owned media conglomerate, subject to CRTC approval.  On August 31, the two companies announced that BGM had been successful in its offer to acquire approximately 6.7 million common shares and approximately 19.2 million non-voting Class B shares of CHUM.  The shares were to be placed in the hands of an independent trustee pursuant to a voting trust agreement approved by the CRTC.

On December 12th, it was announced that Bell Globemedia would henceforth be known as CTVglobemedia.


A CRTC hearing on the CTVglobemedia application to acquire the assets of CHUM Limited was held on April 30th 2007.  On June 8 the CRTC approved the acquisition of CHUM Ltd. by CTVglobemedia, on condition that CTV sell off its five City-TV stations, CITY-TV Toronto, CHMI-TV Portage La Prairie/Winnipeg, CKEM-TV Edmonton, CKAL-TV Calgary and CKVU-TV Vancouver.   Rogers Communications announced on June 25th that a deal had been reached for them to buy these stations from CTV, subject to CRTC approval. Among the CHUM assets acquired by CTVglobemedia in the deal were seven television stations, 21 specialty channels and some 33 radio stations, including CHQM-FM.   


On August 28, the CRTC renewed the transitional digital radio licence of CHQM-DR-1.

Cody Mackay, formerly a broadcast technician at CHUM Radio Vancouver, joined Astral Media Radio Vancouver as Director of Engineering.


Neal Foisy died at age 51. He was best known for his work as a Creative Writer at CHQM-FM and at CFAX-AM. Foisy’s father, Maurice, was once a General Manager at CHQM-AM-FM.


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. In addition to CTV and its television stations, Bell Media now also perated 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 portal.

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.


Dale Wolfe, afternoon drive host at 103.5 QM/FM for the last three years and doing swing and weekends before that for close to a decade, was no longer with the station. Succeeding him was Ray Grover, who moved from swing and weekends.

It was announced in November that the Bell Media Vancouver radio stations would move downtown to 969 Robson Street, Suite 500.


Campbell Francis Lane died in February at age 77. He began in the ‘60s as an announcer/ actor at CFTK-AM-TV Terrace. In the ‘70s, Lane was with CFPR Prince Rupert and then CBUT-TV Vancouver. In the ‘80s he was with CHQM-AM-FM doing news.


In May, CHQM received federal approval to operate in HD. CHQM-FM-HD would operate with an effective radiated power of 2,650 watts (5,000 watts maximum).

CHQM began broadcasting in HD. CHQM-FM-HD1 offered CHQM 103.5. CHQM-FM-HD2 was a simulcast of CKST 1040 while CHQM-FM-HD3 provided a simulcast of CFTE 1410.


Maurice Foisy, 86, died on May 10. He started his career at CKEN Kentville, NS in 1950. He went on to work at CFAB Windsor, NS, CJCH Halifax, CBC Sydney, NS, and then CBC Radio and TV in Halifax. Foisy then helped launch CHQM, where he served as VP of Programming and afternoon drive host for more than three decades up until 1993. He later landed at CKST in 1993, before retiring from broadcasting in 1995.

The story continues elsewhere…
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