CKNW-AM, Global News Radio 980 CKNW, New Westminster/Vancouver
|Corus Entertainment Inc.
|WIC Radio Ltd.
|International Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
|International Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (Ballard / Griffiths / Southam)
|International Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
|International Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
|International Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (Bill Rea)
On April 1, CKNW was licensed to operate at 250 watts, on 1230 KHz. The transmitter would be on Lulu Island. The station was owned by William Rea Jr. CKNW would use a Northern Electric 200 watt transmitter.
Staff appointments: Ross McIntyre (formerly of CKWX) as chief engineer – put CKNW together, David M. Armstrong (formerly of CKBI) as commercial manager, and Bill Fox (formerly of CKOV) would be program director. CKNW would use the following services: World Broadcasting System library and British United Press wire service.
Among the original staff hired a month before CKNW went on the air in September, was Ferdy Baglo who worked with Bill Rea at CKMO, operating his Ranger’s Cabin and The Roundup as well as serving as librarian. Bill named him Music Director, putting him in charge of the library and responsible for choosing music for a number of programs.
On August 15, CKNW began daily broadcasts from the Hotel Windsor Building, New Westminster. The station was scheduled to officially open on September 1.
The station officially signed on September 1, playing both live and recorded Country and Western music. Morning host was sixteen-year-old Jim Cox; chief announcer Bill Duncan with Dave Armstrong and Ross MacIntyre. From the outset, the station ran hourly newscasts from 6 a.m. to midnight, unique in its day.
On September 18, Bill Rea hosted the first broadcast of “The Roving Mike”. Starting off as a morning show remote, Fridays and Saturdays, Bill Rea would interview passersby. It would finally culminate with over 15,000 total broadcasts.
Donald Wilson joined CKNW as announcer & commentator. He had worked in the past at CBM Montreal and CJOR Vancouver.
Bill Rea and CKNW established the CKNW Orphans’ Fund to raise money for orphaned children at The Loyal Protestant Home. $1,200 was raised the first year.
Omar Blondahl left CKNW for CKMO’s announce staff. Patsy Smethurst was appointed traffic manager.
The B.C. government certified the Radio Stations Employees Union (Local 23757) as sole bargaining agent between management and employees of CJOR, CKWX, CKMO and CKNW. The union was affiliated with the AFL.
Bud Rogers and McIntosh McDonald joined CKNW’s production department following active service. Both had been with CJCA in Edmonton. Al Reush joined CKNW production from CJCA.
On January 3, Hal Davis joined CKNW as Copy Chief to begin over fifty years with the company.
On September 1, future GM and Roving Mike personality, Bill Hughes, came to CKNW. “Bill Hughes with the News” became a familiar voice. Hughues had been with CKWX and was hired at CKNW as “special” newscaster.
Ken Hutchison joined the CKNW announce staff. Alan McNab was CKNW’s continuity editor. Euice Hoffman joined CKNW from CJCJ Calgary’s continuity department. Eunice Hoffman joined CKNW’s continuity department after stints with CJCJ Calgary and CFRN Edmonton.
David M. Armstrong was appointed assistant manager of CKNW. He had been commercial manager since 1944. He started his career at CFCT (CJVI) VIctoria around 1939, as technician and announcer. He then went to CKBI Prince Albert as program director and then did a two year stint as salesman at Vancouver’s CKMO.
Gladys Hansen joined CKNW to take over continuity editing from Dot Tupper. Allan MacNab was appointed production manager. He had been staff pianist and continuity writer. Warren Johnstone was the announcer on “Breakfast Time”. Ferdie Baglo and Bon Fox produced the new CKNW staff paper, ChucKles and NeWs (the CKNW calls are in the title). Sports commentator Leo Nicholson was on the air twice a week with a new season of lacrosse game coverage. Larry McCance was an announcer at CKNW. Hal Davis and Warren Johnstone were heard on-air at CKNW. Marg Duncan, with CKNW since its inception, left the station to move to London, England. Ed Dahlin was on-air at CKNW. Just out of the navy, former newspaperman Stan Moncreiff joined CKNW as the new editor. Former CKNW scripter Allen McNab was appointed production manager.
Dorothy Tupper was continuity editor. Anne Papay was traffic director. Night news editor Stan Moncreiff was appointed chief news editor at CKNW. Chuck Rudd joined CKNW from the army. He had worked in the past at CKMO. Ross McIntyre was CKNW’s chief engineer. Announcer Bill Hughes joined CKNW from CKWX. Gordon Reid, formerly assistant manager at CFRN Edmonton, joined the CKNW staff. Ken Hutchinson also joined CKNW. Ruth Asson joined CKNW’s office staff from CKWX.
CKNW commenced 24 hour a day operation in January. The all night program was an extension of “Long Distance Request” which had aired between midnight and one a.m.
David Armstrong was assistant manager at CKNW. Philip Baldwin was the station’s musical director.
In October Bill Rea hired Joe Chesney, who soon filled the morning position before moving to rival CJOR in the early 1950s. Chesney founded country music station CJJC Langley B.C. in 1962 and was inducted into the B.C. Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. During his career he continuously promoted country music and worked with several musicians who turned out to be country legends, including Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton. He also booked shows and acted as MC for Loretta Lynn when she was on tour.
Michael Giraud, CKNW assistant news editor, left to become news editor at CJAV Port Alberni. Announcer Vic Fergie left for CKNW. Susan Wilder joined the continuity staff. Bill Ward hosted the “Doghouse” broadcast. Gordon Reid was production manager. Warren Johnstone was in the news department. Hugh Wallace and John Jackson left CKMO’s continuity department for similar jobs with CKNW. Hal Davis returned to CKNW after taking a course in Toronto. He was now continuity editor.
Vernon Wileman joined CKNW as assistant engineer from CKWX. Charles J. Rudd left CKNW. He was appointed manager of CJAV Port Alberni, effective October 1. Joe Chesney joined CKNW’s announce staff from CJAV in Port Alberni. Margaret Rea (Bill’s sister) joined the CKNW continuity department. She had been manager of CJAV. Owner Bill Rea was also an announcer on CKNW.
Phil Baldwin joined CKNW as musical director. He had been with CKMO.
Bill Cox was morning show host. Stan Jones joined the CKNW announce staff from CKEY in Toronto. Bill Collins was an engineer. Don Winchester did sports.
CKNW received CBC approval to operate an FM station in Vancouver.
CKNW applied for permission to operate on 930 kHz with 1,000 watts (directional) of power. The station also filed an application with the CBC for approval to operate a rebroadcast transmitter at Matsqui – 1230 kHz with 250 watts of power. Vancouver’s other private stations – CJOR and CKMO – opposed these CKNW applications. They said CKNW’s coverage in Vancouver was good and felt the station’s power boost would improve its night-time signal still more. CKNW was granted its original licence because it wanted to serve the Fraser Valley, and supposedly had no interest in Vancouver, according to the other stations. The CBC Board of Governors denied both CKNW applications.
As flooding threatened the region, CKNW jacked its transmitter eight feet off the ground so the station could stay on the air during the crisis.
CKNW received approval to move to 1320 kHz and use 1,000 watts of power. An applicant for a new station at Nanaimo also wanted to use 1320 kHz but CKNW won out in the end.
CKNW moved to 1320 kHz on January 1.
New Westminster MP Tom Reid was slated to do the honours at the ceremony to increase CKNW’s power to 1,000 watts. Engineers were installing new equipment in the all-steel, 20 by 36 foot quosnet building.
CKNW now had a staff of 36. Bill Fox (Fox Breakfastime) was promoted to day program director at CKNW.
In February, MP Tom Reid did a one platter DJ stint to increase CKNW’s power to 1,000 watts. For now, the station would only operate at 500 watts at night. The station had moved to 1320 kHz on January 1. Chief engineer Bill Collins was in charge of installation work. Ad Slogan: 5th Year As Canada’s top 250 Watter – Now 1,000 Watts.
Probably the longest single station pickup recorded in Canada was made in April when CKNW carried a play-by-play account of the Pacific Coast Hockey League playoffs in San Diego. Sports commentator Jim Cox handled the commentary. Owner-manager Bill Rea, on vacation in California, took over the between period interviews and commentary.
McIntosh “Tosh” MacDonald returned to CKNW after a time in British radio. He would be in NW’s commercial department.
Bill Rea distributed dividend cheques to his staff, based on a percentage of the profits (profit-sharing).
The CBC authorized CKNW 1320 to operate with a full-time power of 1,000 watts – directional at night.
Bill Rea purchased the Alexandra Ballroom to host old-time, cowboy music and dancing.
Jack Cullen brought over the ever-popular “Owl Prowl” program from rival CKMO. He regularly hosted the “1320 Club” at 3:10pm and the Owl Prowl from 10:05pm to midnight. On December 19, the station moved into the Swanrite Building at 227 Columbia Street, New Westminster.
Slogan: Night and Day – 1000 watts – First in Vancouver and New Westminster.
When manager David M. Armstrong got a licence for an AM station in Victoria, he left CKNW to get a start on his new project. CKNW owner Bill Rea returned to managing his own station.
The CKNW staff and management at the end of 1949: Gordon Babineau (continuity), Ferdy Baglo (music director), Phil Baldwin (merchandise director), Roy Chapman (account executive), Joe Chesney (transmitter), Bill Collins (chief engineer), Jim Cox (sports & special events), Jack Cullen (Owl Prowl), Hal Davis (production manager), Anita Dery (receptionist), Bill Duncan (chief announcer), Mike Ferbey (Rhythm Pals), Vic Fergie (announcer), Bill Fox (announcer), Lew Fox (all-night record man), Bruce Gifford (transcriptions), Sheila Hassell (office manager & secretary), Bill Hughes (day news editor), Jack Jensen (Rhythm Pals), Warren Johnstone (account executive), Al Klenman (account executive), Jim Maxwell (night news editor), Betty McConkey (orphan’s Christmans fund), Des McDermot (announcer), Hal McInnes (transmitter), Jimmy Morris (artist), Arnold Nelson (librarian), Anne Papay (traffic diretor), Aubrey Price (continuity), Clare Purvis (transmitter), Bill Rea (owner-manager), Margaret Rea (continuity), Rosalie Slater (accountant), Marc Wald (Rhythm Pals), Hugh Wallace (continuity), Vern Wileman (studio engineer).
Mayor Charles Thompson was on hand to officially open CKNW’s new Vancouver studios in the Alexandria Ballroom. CJOR had used this space before moving in 1932 to the Grosvenor Hotel. On the same evening, New Westminster mayor Lewis Sangster officially opened CKNW’s new main studios. He also congratulated the station for increasing its night-time power from 250 watts to 1,000 watts. CKNW was now operating with 1,000 watts full-time.
Don Macleod joined CKNW as commercial manager. He had been with CHUM Toronto. Phil Baldwin, for the past year head of merchandising, was appointed director of national advertising. Jimmy Morris was the station’s folk singer.
Erm Fiorillo joined CKNW in November as office and credit manager.
Slogan: Top Dog on the Coast!
Former CHUM manager Rolly Ford was now an account executive at CKNW. Dick Smith left CKNW for the sales staff of CKWX. Phil Baldwin was appointed assistant manager of CKNW, supervising merchandising and promotion departments and handling manager Bill Rea’s “Roundup” when Rea was out of town. Jim Scott joined the station to handle national sales. Local sales manager Roy Chapman was appointed manager of the Vancouver office of National Broadcast Sales. Later in the year he left for Penticton to become manager and part owner of CKOK.
CKNW and CKMO began airing early morning broadcasts by city traffic police to inform drivers of traffic problems. The broadcasts aired at 7:35 a.m. on CKNW and 8:05 a.m. on CKMO. Reports of specific traffic or winter conditions were broadcast to headquarters by cruiser cars shortly before broadcast times and then relayed to the two radio stations.
Ferdy Baglo left CKNW to study for the Lutheran ministry.
Bill Rea was officially tagged as “Chief Ni-ka Wawa” (the man who talks) by the Squamish tribe of North Vancouver.
Fin Anthony joined CKNW as an account executive. His mother, Nina Anthony, worked at CKWX. Harry Bowley also joined the CKNW staff. Sheila Hassell, who over the past year assisted Jim Scott in his new post as national advertising manager, returned to her regular position as publicity director. Warren Barker started his broadcasting career at CKNW in 1952.
Erm Fiorello declined the role of sales manager, and left the station for three years.
Bill Rea filed a technical brief with the Department of Transport in February. He was seeking to change CKNW’s frequency from 1320 to 1130 kHz – the channel vacated by the CBC’s CBR (now CBU) in January. The department and the CBC Board were also being asked to consider an increase in power – from 1,000 to 10,000 watts – on the new frequency. If approved, Rea expected to change frequency immediately and to construct a new transmitter on Lulu Island before the end of the year.
The CBC approved the application for recapitalization of International Broadcasting Co. Ltd. from 10,000 common shares to 10,000 common shares and 200,000 preferred shares and the issuance of 81,600 preferred shares.
Federal approval was given for the transfer of 1 common share and the issuance of 24,786 preferred shares and the redemption of 62,900 preferred shares in International Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
Fin Anthony left the sales department.
Slogan: Top station both in Vancouver and New Westminster.
CKNW sought CBC approval for a rebroadcast transmitter at Cloverdale, about 15 miles from New Westminster, operating on 1230 kHz with power of 250 watts. The CBC turned the application down on the grounds that only unusual circumstances warranted issuing such a license, and the proposed station would extend rather than improve the parent station’s coverage.
On May 9, a fire ripped through the Swanrite Building, destroying much of the studio and equipment. The entire staff and operations were moved to Bill Rea’s Vancouver “Danceland” Dance Hall on Alexandra Street.
In November, Jimmy Pattison signed a contract with CKNW to broadcast the B.C. Lions Friday evening games.
On November 5, power was increased to 5000 watts and the station began using the slogan “B.C.’s Most Listened To Station”.
Warren Barker became News Director, a post he held for over three decades during which he introduced many new features.
A terrible fire ravaged the Swan-Rite building on May 9, burning CKNW out. The station returned to operations from the transmitter site a little over an hour later.
Syd Lancaster was an announcer. Bill Duncan was control engineer. Stan Buchanan was promotion director. Mel Cooper was merchandising director.
Patt McDonald was named general manager following the temporary retirement of president Bill Rea due to ill health. Bill Hughes was named station manager.
CKNW received permission to increase power from 1,000 to 5,000 watts. The station hoped to make the change on August 15 – CKNW’s 10th anniversary.
Phil Baldwin left CKNW to become promotion manager at CKDA Victoria. Ed Farey joined CKNW from CKDA where he had been program director. At CKNW, he would administer the station’s orphan fund and to host two daily programs.
Pat MacDonald resigned as manager and was replaced by Bill Hughes for now.
Ad: More power to you from CKNW! Top dog on Canada’s West Coast – 5,000 Watts!
The station introduced its first mobile studio dubbed the “Crystal Palace”.
After a very successful decade as morning host on rival CKWX, Bob Hutton was hired to take over the same time slot on CKNW. The move was a good one for ‘NW, as he took a vast majority of his listeners with him. He was known for numerous zany antics at a time when morning shows were beginning to gain listeners. Hutton continued in the position until 1973, when he moved to part time remote broadcasts, retiring to Ontario in 1975.
On March 21, Bill Rea announced the CBC Board of Governors would consider his plan to transfer the licence for CKNW to the Southam Co. Ltd. Rea had been living in California since he collapsed last May. The CBC turned down the application because Southam controlled stations in Calgary and Edmonton. There were concerns about concentration of ownership.
In June, Erm Fiorillo returned to CKNW, this time as comptroller, office and credit manager. He also became a director of the CKNW Orphans’ Fund, with which he was to stay associated until 1992.
Ad: The top dog on the west coast…CKNW. 5000 explosive watts. 1320 (Kc). By every survey – B.C.’s most listened to station. Top dog in programming, audience, promotion, merchandising…and SALES.
The CBC would not allow Bill Rea to advertise his CKNW radio over CBUT-TV. The corporation said it (CKNW) was not the type of advertising acceptable for the CBC. Rae called it “bureaucratic discrimination”.
In February, after a bout with medical problems, Bill Rea sold CKNW to accountant Frank Griffiths and the Ballard family, who later would form Western International Communications (WIC). Bill Rea and family moved to California. Bill Hughes became General Manager. George Garrett joined CKNW on February 1. Erm Fiorillo became Director of Finance.
Tony Antonias was copy chief.
CKNW applied to change frequency from 1320 to 980 kHz. This was approved by the CBC Board of Governors on the grounds that the change in frequency would be utilized toward increasing community service in the area to the south of the station. CHWK Chilliwack also applied for the 980 frequency and an applicant for a new station at Burnaby also proposed using 980 kHz. These applications were turned down.
Sales manager Clay Hawkins died April 17 at age 39.
On November 17, the station moved to AM 980 and “98” became the trademark.
According to Elliott-Haynes CKNW reached a total of 301,188 adult listeners every day.
Dan Mikel joined CKNW’s promotion-merchandising department.
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 CKNW, CKWX and CKLG were among those interested in applying for a TV licence.
On February 22 power increased to 10,000 Watts.
Metropolitan TV Ltd. was among the applicants for a second television station in Vancouver. Metropolitan was a group headed by Frank Griffiths, president of CKNW-AM. In the end, Vantel Broadcasting Co. Ltd. was awarded the licence.
CKNW received permission to increase power.
Account executive Peter Kosick left CKNW to become vide president and general manager of CKLG. Terry Bate also left CKNW for CKLG. Bill Hughes, CKNW manager, announced the appointments of Glen Garvin as promotion manager and Phil Oakes as national sales rep. Both appointments were effective July 1.
On October 12 and 13, CKNW claimed to be the only station north of the California border to remain on the air overnight, after Typhoon Frieda raced up the west coast of North America. Chief Engineer Jack Gordon had prepared an emergency broadcast system allowing it to serve as a coordination and information centre. All-night fill-in announcer Gerry Gawne anchored the program. Gawne later moved on to be Program Director and then Station Manager of KING Radio in Seattle from 1964-75.
Jack Webster was hired from the competition as Talk Show Host and on April 19th did his famous broadcast from the British Columbia Penitentiary, negotiating freedom for prison guard Patrick Dennis, acting as negotiator on behalf of prison inmates. This brought many new listeners to the station.
CKNW began airing helicopter broadcasts just days after CKLG started doing the same thing. CKLG’s first day was April 12.
On March 26, Chief Engineer Jack Gordon, completed a 50,000-watt transmitter site on 10 acres of farmland at 176th Street and 88th Avenue in neighbouring Surrey.
179,000 shares of Western Broadcasting Co. were sold. 85,000 were sold by Frank Griffiths to United Accumulated Mutual Fund. It was uncertain who purchased the other 94,000 shares.
CKNW received approval to move studios and offices from 227 Columbia Street to 8th Avenue & McBride Boulevard.
Mel Cooper was sales manager of CKNW and vice president of sales for Western Broadcasting Co.
W.J. (Bill) Hughes was station manager. Phil Oakes, on the national sales staff for several years, was named national sales manager. John Fox was appointed retail sales manager. He had been with the Radio Sales Bureau in Toronto. Oakes and Fox would report directly to Mel Cooper, general sales manager. Jim Cox, former senior sales staffer left for Western Broadcast Sales. Music director H.G. (Len) Hopkins left for BMI Canada. He had been with CKNW for 13 years.
On January 15, CKNW moved into a former Safeway grocery store building at 815 McBride Boulevard in New Westminster. With 15,000 square feet of studio and office space, it was now prepared for the launch of new sister station CFMI-FM.
CKNW subscribed to the Standard Broadcast News service. SBN received direct feeds from NBC New York by broadband.
B.C. Entrepreneur Jimmy Pattison, owner of rival CJOR, bought Jack Webster away from CKNW with an offer of $110,000 per year.
Jim Robson joined the station as the voice of the Canucks hockey team doing the play-by-play.
Ed Murphy joined CKNW from CKWX.
Brian “Frosty” Forst, who came to the station from CFUN in 1964, took over the reins as morning host from Bob Hutton. Frosty’s morning drive show was a powerhouse in Vancouver radio and he continued in the position until retirement in 2005.
On February 28, staff was informed that CKNW had more listeners than any other station west of Toronto. Hal Davis, having moved up the ranks from Copy Chief, to Production Manager, to Program Manager was appointed General Manager.
On September 16, the station’s first permanent remote broadcast facility was brought on line. “The Investigators” studio at the Holiday Inn at Coal Harbor, Vancouver, became a signature piece.
When CKNW had its licence renewed, the station was told by the CRTC that open-line programs should be of high standard, affording reasonable, balanced opportunity for the airing of different views.
Ronald S. Bremner became CKNW’s general sales manager. By now, Erm Fiorillo had added Assistant General Manager to his responsibilities.
On April 15, CKNW founder Bill Rea died in Santa Barbara, California at the age of 74. On October 3, the station began broadcasting in AM Stereo. Though Erm Fiorillo had by now retired, he would continue working at CKNW on a part time basis for another nine years.
On June 18, the Western Information Network was launched. Through satellite broadcasts from the Anik E Satellite, programming became heard throughout British Columbia. The station opened a news bureau in Victoria. On June 26, Bill Hughes made it into the Guinness Book of World Records by hosting the 12,000th broadcast of the “Roving Mike”.
In March, CKNW opened its doors to a studio at the 1986 Expo site in Vancouver.
Dave Hodge became CKNW’s sports director. He would continue on with Hockey Night in Canada (Saturdays on CBC-TV).
On January 8, the CRTC approved the application by Westcom Radio Group Ltd. for an English-language radio network licence for the purpose of broadcasting the “Gary Bannerman Program”, a public affairs open-line show, from 9:05 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Monday through Friday.
Bill Good Jr. joined CKNW from CBUT-TV where he had been anchorman for 11 years.
Hal Davis retired.
During the nineties, the station moved from a mix of news, live sports, talk-shows and middle-of-the-road music, which had been the mainstay since the sixties, to full time “News/Talk/Sports” by the end of the decade.
Western International Network introduced a new digitized satellite transmission service to carry ready to air programs and data to 71 sations in British Columbia and Alberta. The six channel system increased the number of audio signals that could be simultaneously transmitted, providing WIN-linked stations with a greater range of programs. The system has a single uplink located at CKNW and is beamed to the ANik C2 satellite. It replaces the two channel C-band satellite system that had been in operation since 1984. The WIN network produces and transmits about 95 hours a week of live programming.
Dave Rutherford was appointed vice president and assistant general manager of CKNW and CFMI. He would also continue on as program director of CKNW.
Longtime CKNW sportscaster and commentator Al Davidson died August 9. He was 66. Davidson had been a mainstay at NW for 30 years.
Erm Fiorillo finally ‘officially’ retired.
In November, news veteran Warren Barker, having retired in 1991, was presented with the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to journalism in British Columbia.
CKNW became the radio voice of the NBA’s Vancouver Grizzlies.
Rafe Mair was on-air at CKNW. Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell filled-in on-air for two weeks at CKNW.
Frank Griffiths and Harold Roozen resigned as co-chairmen and as members of the executive committee at WIC Western International Communications. Edmund King, deputy chairman of Wood Gundy Inc., was the new chairman.
On January 15, CKNW moved to the Pacific Center, 700 West Georgia, Vancouver. The new facilities included 30,000 square feet of workspace, five studios and 13 control rooms. General Manager Rod Gunn hosted the official grand opening, with the ribbon cutting performed by Emily Griffiths. Her husband, Frank had purchased CKNW from Bill Rea 40 years earlier.
CKNW was now streaming live on the internet.
Emily Griffiths, president of Western Broadcasting and controlling shareholder of WIC, retired on the third anniversary of her husband Frank’s death. She said she had always intended to leave at age 75. Mrs. Griffiths remained with the company as chairman emeritus. She was succeeded on the board of directors by Edmondo Giacomelli.CKNW eliminated the last of its music programming.
Rick Honey did his final afternoon drive show on CKNW on May 30, ending 24 years at the station.
Al Anaka was now general sales manager of CKNW/CFMI-FM. John Iacobucci was no longer vice president and director of sales. Anaka had been with CHQR/CKIK-FM in Calgary.
Warren Barker again received recognition from his peers when he was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame for his many inovations during his thirty yeasr as New Director at CKNW.
Legendary broadcaster Hal Davis died in Vancouver November 1 at 74. He began broadcasting in Edmonton in 1941, but spent most of his career at CKNW, where he started in 1947 and read the news at 8 a.m. for 35 years. His career at CKNW included stints as program director and general manager and host of a Sunday evening music show. He retired in 1989, and was inducted into the CAB’s Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1996.
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.
CKNW general manager Rod Gunn announced his retirement.
CKNW veteran reporter George Garrett (64) retired January 29 after 43 years in the business.
Talk Radio pioneer Jack Webster died of heart failure at 80. Webster was one of Canada’s best-known and highest-paid broadcasters, and pioneered open-line talk radio at CKNW.
Peter Classon succeeded Thomas Peddie as CEO of WIC Western International Communications. Classon had served on WIC’s Board of directors but was probably best known as the former president and CEO of the BC Lions football club.
CKNW/CFMI-FM chopped 17 full-time positions. Nine were on-air, including Jack Cullen who spent more than 50 years on CKNW. Gossip columnist Joy Metcalfe and talk show host Fanny Keifer were also out. Several on-air news and sports staff were also cut. WIC Radio President Doug Rutherford said the move had to be made for economic reasons. The cuts were the latest in a series of staff and program reductions at WIC stations.
After sale of the station was announced two years earlier, and after considerable restructuring, on July 6, the CRTC approved application by Corus Entertainment Inc. to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of WIC Premium Corporation, owner of CKNW and sister station CFMI-FM.
Radio pioneer, early CKNW morning host and founder of CJJC Langley, Joe Chesney died in that city November 10 at ag 82.
The B.C. Association of Broadcasters named morning show host Frosty Forst Broadcast Performer of the Year.
As a feature of sixty years on air, CKNW aired the “Jack Benny Program” at 12:05 a.m. on April 23rd. The show originally ran live from Vancouver on the same day in 1944. On May 14th the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters (BCAB) named mid-morning talk show host Bill Good “Broadcaster of the Year” for 2003.
In a decision made March 26 but released July 19, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruled that CKNW violated the Radio-Television News Directors Association Code of (Journalistic) Ethics by simulcasting a feed from sister station CINW Montreal that revealed the location of students barricaded in Dawson College during a gunman’s rampage on September 13, 2006. In the incident, a student was killed and 19 others injured. A listener complained to the CRTC, which forwarded the complaint to the CBSC. Even though CKNW is at the opposite end of the country, the CBSC noted that it was possible the gunman might have been in contact with an accomplice anywhere in the world. The station was required to read the decision twice on-air. Station manager J.J. Johnson was quoted as saying, “It was a complicated decision that we really don’t necessarily agree with, but we’ll accept it…” While CKNW was sanctioned, the CBSC did not apply the same ruling to CINW, since no complaint was received about that station.
On August 28, the CRTC renewed the transitional digital radio licence of CKNW-DR-2.
Ken Hutcheson died at age 85. Before he moved north in 1946 and became an owner of CJAV Port Alberni, he was an Announcer at CKNW.
CKNW Promotions Director Jamie Hunt took early retirement on February 1. Hunt had been with CKNW for over 30 years, beginning his career as the Eye in the Sky pilot. That’s where he met his wife, Traffic Reporter Cathy Robertson. Hunt was the BCAB’s 2007 Broadcaster of the Year.
Doug Court passed away on March 5. He had spent 30 years at CKNW as an engineer. He started his radio career there. Court was part of the engineering team responsible for relocating the entire station after fire destroyed its original studios on Columbia Street. Over the years they took CKNW from a 5,000 watt community station to the 50,000 watt market leader. Court was part of the team that launched CFMI-FM. He officially retired in 1981 but continued to work at CKNW/CFMI part-time.
Jennifer Pelat, a five-year employee at CKNW, was promoted from Producer to Promotions Director.
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.
After 43 years, Tom Jeffries hung up the headphones at CKNW Vancouver. He retired in late summer.
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 November 23, the CRTC renewed the licence for CKNW to 31 August 2014. This short-term renewal would enable the Commission to review the licensee’s compliance with the Radio Regulations, 1986 at an earlier date.
Robert Park Malcolm died at age 69. He had been with CFUN and CKNW, and had anchored the late news at BCTV for over 19 years.
Bob Colling died at age 84. The veteran radio Newsman began at CHWK Chilliwack in 1948. His career included stops at CHLO St. Thomas, CKNW New Westminster, CKMO and CKWX Vancouver and then 25 years with Broadcast News in Edmonton. He retired in 1991.
CKNW host Christy Clark joined the B.C. Liberal Party leadership race. She was already considered to be the front-runner in the race to succeed Premier Gordon Campbell.
CKNW promotions director Jamie Hunt took early retirement effective February 1. Hunt had been with CKNW for over 30 years.
On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CKNW-DR-2 to April 30, 2012.
Home improvement expert Shell Busey joined the team at AM 650 Radio. Known best for providing sound home improvement tips and useful home fixer-up advice, Shell’s new radio drive-time talk show “Shell Busey’s HouseSmart” would air on Mondays from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Shell had been with CKNW for more than 20 years before leaving to spend more time with family, especially during the weekends.
Former Vancouver TV Anchor Simi Sara took over middays at CKNW August 22, succeeding Christy Clark who became premier of B.C.
Gary Bannerman died at age 64. He was a long-time CKNW talk show host during the years spanning 1972-1988. He was in court more than 100 times defending his often controversial commentaries, and won all the cases.
Don Kalmokoff died at age 79. The former CKNW Chief Engineer invented the Aristocart in the early 1970’s to provide stereo cartridge players for FM stations. His creativity became the industry standard well into the 1990s. Kalmokoff began his broadcast career as an announcer at CJAT Trail.
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 CKNW-DR-2 until August 31, 2012.
Dave Abbott died at age 74. He began his radio career at CJOR and CKNW and then CJVI. In 1965, he moved to CBC where he stayed for the next 20 years.
CKNW General Sales Manager John Saboe, who joined the station in early 2008 from his GM position at Spence Diamonds in Vancouver, was no longer with the station. He was also a former on-air personality who worked at CKLG and CKNW.
John Iacobucci died at age 70. Up until the time he took retirement, he was Vice President of Sales at CKNW.
Brad Phillips, who left Astral Vancouver in September, began at Corus Vancouver as General Manager on November 5.
Hal Rodd died at age 91. He began his radio career in Hollywood as a sound technician on radio’s Ozzie & Harriett Show. After moving back to Canada, he worked in the Vancouver newsrooms of CKMO, CJOR, CKNW and CFUN, where he was also News Director.
It was announced that sports talker Dan Russell, who’d been doing his show on Vancouver stations for 29 years, would not have his contract renewed after it expired August 31.
On August 7, the CRTC denied the application by Corus Premium Television Ltd. to amend the broadcasting licence for CKNW by adding a nested FM rebroadcasting transmitter in Vancouver. The proposed transmitter would have operated at 99.7 MHz (channel 259A) with an average effective radiated power of 1,940 watts (maximum ERP of 6,000 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 75.4 metres).
The Commission considered that the applicant’s proposal did not represent an appropriate solution to interference issues in downtown Vancouver given that the technical parameters were greater than what was necessary for that purpose. Use of the proposed frequency for a rebroadcasting transmitter would also have prohibited its use for a radio station that originated programming. Further, the addition of a nested FM transmitter under the proposed technical parameters would result in Corus having a third FM presence in the Vancouver market, contrary to the Commission’s common ownership policy. The Commission considered that an exception to the common ownership policy was not warranted.
CKNW was now available on HD Radio, using the second HD channel of CFMI-FM (HD). CFMI was on HD channel 1.
Jack (Israel) Braverman died at age 88 in July. He worked first at CJOR and then CKNW.
Bob Robertson (71) passed away in March. He worked at CKXL Calgary, CKDA Victoria and CFAX Victoria before joining the Frosty Forst morning show at CKNW in the mid-1980s. He and wife Linda Cullen created the CBC Radio series Double Exposure.
Neil Macrae (65) died on March 30. He started out in radio at CJVI Victoria, moving on to CHWK Chilliwack and then CKWX and CJOR Vancouver. Macrae joined CKNW in 1983 as sportscaster on the Frosty Forst morning show. He remained at CKNW until 2012 then moved over to CFMI-FM. His sports commentary on that station was cancelled in 2013.
Rafe Mair (85) passed away October 9. He was best known for his time as a talk show host at CKNW but started out in radio at the old CJOR-AM. His CKNW show ended in 2003 and he moved on to be morning host at CKBD (the old CJOR). In 2005, he became a regular guest on Omni TV’s The Standard. Before radio, Mair was a lawyer and politician. In later years he was a columnist for the online magazine The Tyee. Rafe Mair was also an inductee of the C.A.B. Hall of Fame.
In November, CKNW was rebranded as Global News Radio 980 CKNW.
Neil O’Brien (47) died December 5. He was known as the trusted voice of traffic reporting in the Lower Mainland for over 20 years. Through his career, he worked at CIMA-AM and CKZZ-FM, CKKS-FM, CKWX-AM, Skywords Traffic, and Canadian Traffic Network (heard on CKNW, CHMJ-AM, CHLG-FM, and CISL 650).
Kenny Harris, 90, died on December 10. After working in the record industry, he joined ZBM Bermuda in the early 1960’s. He then worked in Calgary radio and joined CKNW in 1977, working there until the early 1980’s.
On January 22, Corus Radio launched a new overnight talk show, The Shift with Drex. The four-hour show aired on CKNW Vancouver, CHQR Calgary, CHED Edmonton, CJOB Winnipeg, CFMJ Toronto, CHML Hamilton, and CFPL London. The four hour show was based at CKNW.
John Ashbridge (71), passed away on June 5. “Ash” got his start in radio when he began hanging around CJVI Victoria and became an unpaid operator. He was hired part-time in 1962 and then moved over to CFAX while he finished high school. In 1964, he was hired in the news department at CJOR Vancouver and then CKNW a year later. With the exception of three years as news director at CJCI Prince George and an 18-month stint working in radio in Australia, Ashbridge was an on-air staple at CKNW up until his retirement in 2005.
Pat MacPherson, 89, died on August 28. MacPherson was the traffic manager at CKNW from 1968 until her retirement in 1994.
Jon McComb celebrated 35 years with CKNW on December 1. McComb joined CKNW in 1983 after starting his career at age 17 in Tucson, AZ. For the last five years, he’s been helming the morning show with co-host Niki Reitmayer.
Jim Taylor, 82, died on January 7. Taylor served as a commentator for CKWX-AM and CBC TV Vancouver in the 1980s and later was a regular contributor on the Frosty Forst morning show on CKNW-AM Vancouver.
John Mair, 67, died on March 4. Mair was a long-time engineer at CKNW, starting in 1970. He was one of the last people in the New Westminster McBride Plaza studios when the switch was flipped to the new downtown Vancouver location in 1996.
John Plul died on July 8 at the age of 79. Plul served as the promotions manager for CKNW for 25 years. He also served in the provincial government of W.A.C. Bennett as Deputy Tourism Minister under Grace McCarthy.
CKNW aired a 75th Anniversary broadcast on August 15, live on location from New Westminster where the station first went to air August 15, 1944. CKNW was Vancouver’s first country music station and was the first in the region to air hourly newscasts. It was also the first station in B.C. to broadcast 24 hours a day, starting in 1947.
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.