CJSF-FM, Campus, Burnaby

Simon Fraser University

CJSF-FM200390.1450Simon Fraser University


In the early fall, students Brian Antonson (later Associate Dean, Broadcast and Media Communications at the British Columbia Institute of Technology), John Bishop and Rob Turner talked about the concept of starting a radio station on the university campus.  About 50 people attended a founding meeting and the Student Society donated about $300 to the project.  Some equipment was purchased from Country singer Evan Kemp and an old console which had belonged to Jack Cullen (of CKNW fame), along with an amplifier that needed fixing, a couple of speakers, turntables, and a microphone.  It was set up in a janitor’s closet in room TC315 at the western end of the mall, speaker cable was run across to the Rotunda and later that fall, music and news started under the call sign CKSF (for “Canadian Kilocycles, Simon Fraser”). Antonson was the station manager and program director, Patrick Reid (son of Cariboo Broadcasters owner Dennis Reid) was news director, and John Saikley was president of CAMRAD, the Campus Radio Society.  Numerous volunteers kept the station going during the school week, including Bill McCaffrey, who hosted “Willy’s Wax”, which included music of the 1950s and the latest songs by artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead and Iron Butterfly. The program continued until 1973.  Announcers used a softer, slower approach, as was the trend for early FM stations.

Beddows & McCaffrey at CJSF-FM
Paul Beddows (left) and Bill McCaffrey at the console 1970


Antonson left to attend the newly formed broadcast program at BCIT, but John Bishop and others carried on.  In September, Paul Beddows came on board and assisted Bishop with technical work over the next few years, including attempts to engineer carrier current – a system of sending the signal over power lines.  He also became program director. 


More equipment was acquired from CITR, the University of British Columbia station and McCaffrey became station manager and production coordinator.  Bishop recalled major highlights when Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster agreed to be interviewed, and the day the station received its first “underground” record set, a special release for radio stations only, a triple disc set consisting of “Music from Big Pink” by The Band, Quicksilver Messenger Service’s self-titled album, and Sailor by Steve Miller.  He also recalls clerical staff at the student society saying they could hear the station’s music on the phones whenever they put someone on hold.


Work was being done on establishing carrier current broadcasting on 650 kHz to Shell House, one of the student residences.  A group of students from the radio club at Centennial High School in neighbouring Coquitlam and others from the broadcast programme at the British Columbia Institute of Technology helped fill air shifts.


About at this time, the station started using the technically “illegal” call letters CSFU.


Registered under the Society Act of B.C., the Simon Fraser Campus Radio Society (SFCRS) was established.


The station obtained an AM broadcasting license from the CRTC to broadcast on campus to Shell and Louis Riel Houses through a carrier current system at 940 KHz.  Call letters changed back to CKSF.


The station was added to cable systems in the Lower Mainland area of B.C., greatly increasing the number of potential listeners.


In October, the radio society made its first application to the CRTC for an FM broadcasting license to replace the AM carrier current/cable FM license.  In the years between 1987 and the early nineties the station began efforts to establish itself as a more serious broadcaster on campus and in the community and to provide programming that differed from the format and practices of commercial radio.  It grew into its role as a campus/community broadcaster during that period.  


On February 23, station members attended a CRTC hearing in the Hotel Vancouver. The first attempt at obtaining an FM broadcasting license was denied shortly thereafter.  The application was for use of FM 100.1 with an effective radiated power of 10 watts.


Call letters were changed to CJSF.


In June, application was made for another FM license to broadcast on one of the few remaining frequencies available in the Lower Mainland.  The station continued to develop a closer connection with the campus and community and continued to work on improving and strengthening its music and spoken word programming.


At a public hearing commencing November 20, the CRTC heard the application proposing the use of 90.9 MHz for the operation of the new radio service.    


On June 5, the Commission approved the application in part, but rejected the use of the 90.9 frequency.  It commended the applicant on its efforts to develop new broadcasting talent through its acceptance of high school students in career placements.  The Commission also noted commitments to continue its promotion of local talent through its music and arts programming and through the opportunities provided station volunteers to become involved in program production.  It encouraged CJSF to submit plans for use of an alternative frequency.  By this time, radio engineers were getting very creative at fitting stations into an extremely crowded FM band in southwestern B.C. 


On May 7 the CRTC approved use of 90.9 MHz by the CBC for its French Language La Chaîne culturelle in Vancouver.  Several technical conditions were attached to the approval, which would ultimately allow for the licensing of CJSF at 90.1 MHz with a power of 450 watts, with the transmitter located on campus at Burnaby Mountain.


On-air testing began February 6, with the official launch at 7 p.m. February 14, after about two weeks of delays due to technical problems and wet weather. 2007
On May 22 the CRTC renewed the licence for Simon Fraser Campus Radio Society’s CJSF-FM.


On May 22 the CRTC renewed the licence for Simon Fraser Campus Radio Society’s CJSF-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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