CFAR-AM, 102.9 fm CFAR, Flin Flon

Arctic Radio Ltd.

CFAR-AM197959010,000/1,000Arctic Radio Ltd.
CFAR-AM19475801,000Arctic Radio Ltd.
CFAR-AM19441239250Arctic Radio Ltd.
CFAR-AM194114001,000Arctic Radio Ltd.
CFAR-AM19371370100Arctic Radio Ltd.


CFAR signed on the air on November 14. It operated with a power of 100 watts on a frequency of 1370 kHz.


Reg Durie joined CFAR as an operator. Larry Thorsteinson was an announcer.


Under the Havana Treaty, CFAR moved from 1370 to 1400 kHz (Class IV). Power was 100 watts.

Tom Argue started his radio career at CFAR.


G.E. (Gerry) Tonkin became CFAR’s manager. He had been with Northern Broadcasting & Publishing in Toronto. Later in the year, he left for CKBI’s (Prince Albert) sales department.

Ruth Delaine and Marjorie Cunningham joined CFAR as announcers. They had been with the Manitoba Telephone Co.

Roy Wright became CFAR’s manager, replacing Gerry Tonkin. Wright had been with CKMO in Vancouver.

CFAR added the British United Press news service. In addition to news, CFAR used the feature, “Daily News Magazine of the Air”.

CFAR was one of Canada’s two most northerly stations.


An ad of the day: CFAR Flin Flon – serves Northern Manitoba. 


CFAR’s frequency was changed to 1230 kHz from 1400 kHz. Power increased to 250 watts.

R.J. Tate, CFAR’s chief engineer for the past four years, left for CFJC Kamloops as of April 1. G.B. Quinney became CFAR’s manager following the departure of Roy A. Wright. Quinney had been production manager at CKRM in Regina. Roy Wright left CFAR as manager to return to CKMO in Vancouver. 


CBC Trans-Canada Supplementary stations: CKCV, CKOC, CKLW, CJIC, CKCK, CFAR, CFGP, CKLN Nelson.

R.J. Tate was back as CFAR’s chief engineer. G.B. Quinney was manager. 

Gordon Woodward joined the CFAR staff from CKRC Winnipeg where he had been studio engineer.


CFAR moved from 1230 to 590 kHz on November 10. The change was promoted in other media, in Flin Flon, Sheridan, The Pas and throughout the new coverage area.


CFAR applied to increase power to 1,000 watts. Approval was granted in December.


An agreement was signed between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Arctic Radio Corporation. It was said to be the first such agreement in Canada, and provided for substantial pay increases, retroactive to October 1, 1947, for station employees…and a maximum 44 hours a week of work time.

Doug McBride joined CFAR as program director and sales co-ordinator. He had been with CJGX Yorkton and CKOV Kelowna. 

CFAR increased power from 250 to 1,000 watts at a special ceremony on November 27. The new transmitter was located at Cliff Lake, three miles northeast of town. The changeover proceedings were handled by manager Gerry Quinney and announcer Don Willis. Congratulatory messages were heard from Premier D.L. Campbell; Ronald Moore, MP for Churchill; Deputy Mayor R.W. Dadson; Frank Bickle; Mayor of the Pas; James Allard, general manager of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters; and Michael Barkway, Canadian representative for the BBC.


Thanks to Ken Wright, here’s a list of some of the folks that worked at CFAR during this period: Sam Brown (announcer), Bob Macdonald (announcer), Tommy Nelson (production manager), Bev Nicholl (receptionist, women’s show), Betty Ramsay (continuity writer and women’s program), Ev Smallwood (promotion manager and announcer), John Thiele (announcer), George Vale, Jimmy Wardle (part-time sportscaster), Gordon “Woody’ Woodward (engineer), Ken Wright (announcer), Gerry Quinney and “Buck” Whitney. 


Gerry Quinney left CFAR as manager to join the new CJSH-FM in Hamilton, where he would be assistant manager. He was succeeded at CFAR by C.H. Witney, former promotion manager at CHAB Moose Jaw.


Robert K. MacDonald left CFAR for Regina’s CKCK.


CFAR was noted as being owned by Arctic Radio Corp. Ltd. (J. C. Mundie 99.8%, E. N. Wright 0.1% and C. J. MacLeod 0.1%). CFAR was a CBC Trans-Canada affiliate.

C. H. “Buck” Witney was president of the company and CFAR’s manager. He met with the CBC this year to see about the possibility of his opening a private television station in Flin Flon. The CBC’s response was not encouraging. He told the board that CFAR had been making plans for a TV station for three years.


The Dominion and Trans-Canada networks consolidated into a single CBC Radio network. Following the consolidation, CFAR remained a CBC affiliate.


R. F. Mullaney was president of Arctic Radio Corp. Ltd. G. Henning was CFAR’s manager.

CFAR received approval for a power increase.


The Voice of Northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan for 30 years. 


On December 14, the sale of Arctic Radio Corp. Ltd. to E.A. Rawlinson, F.F. Rawlinson and Gordon S. Rawlinson was approved.


On April 28, CFAR was authorized to move its studios and offices from 75 Callinan Street to 316 Green Street. 

Ken Kobelka was at CFAR.


On February 28, Arctic Radio was awarded a new AM for The Pas. The new station would initially provide about 15 hours of local programming, including one hour in Cree.


On February 27, E.A. Rawlinson was granted approval to sell Arctic Radio Corp. Ltd. (CFAR and CJAR) to Gordon Rawlinson.


Arctic Radio Corp. acquired CHTM in Thompson.


By this time, CFAR 590 was operating with 10,000 watts day and 1,000 watts night.


On July 26,  Doug O’Brien, on behalf of a company to be incorporated (would be known as Arctic Radio (1982) Ltd.) was given permission to purchase CFAR, CJAR and CHTM from the existing  shareholders (Arctic Radio Co. Ltd.). O’Brien took ownership on September 1. At the same time, Arctic was given approval to purchase CKOM in Saskatoon but it’s not certain the transaction was carried out. O’Brien took ownership of the Arctic stations on September 1.


CFAR disaffiliated from the CBC Radio Network. The CBC had been operating its own transmitter – CBWF-FM in the region since June of 1982.


When CFAR had its licence renewed, it was noted that it broadcast 122 hours and 37 minutes per week of locally-produced programming. The station also broadcast 2 hours per week of Cree-language programs.  83 hours and 30 minutes per week of CFAR programming is rebroadcast over CJAR.


On July 28, the CRTC renewed CFAR’s broadcasting licence from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2010. The short term renewal was to allow the Commission to assess, at an earlier date, the licensee’s compliance with the Radio Regulations, 1986, particularly with respect to the broadcast of Canadian category 2 musical selections, and with its conditions of licence, particularly with respect to the broadcast of Cree-language programming. 


On August 20, the CRTC renewed the broadcasting licence for CFAR Flin Flon from 1 September 2010 to 31 August 2017.


On March 12, the CRTC approved the application by Arctic Radio (1982) Limited for a licence to operate a new English-language FM radio programming undertaking in Flin Flon, Manitoba, to replace its AM station CFAR. Arctic Radio was a corporation controlled by Doug O’Brien. The new station would operate at 102.9 MHz (channel 275A1) with an effective radiated power of 191 watts (non-directional antenna with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 55.1 metres). 

The applicant requested permission to maintain its AM transmitter in order to rebroadcast the new FM station’s programming. Arctic Radio indicated that while the conversion to the FM band would allow the station to better serve listeners within Flin Flon, there remained a vast area of northern Manitoba that relied on its AM frequency. The Commission noted that the AM transmitter would continue to operate according to its existing parameters of 590 kHz (class B) with a day-time transmitter power of 10,000 watts and a night-time transmitter power of 1,000 watts. The applicant proposed to maintain CFAR’s Adult Contemporary music format, which targeted listeners between the ages of 25 and 54. In each broadcast week, the new station would broadcast 120 hours of local programming, with the remaining 6 hours being devoted to syndicated programming, mainly on weekends. Moreover, it would broadcast, in each broadcast week, at least 4 hours of spoken word programming as well as 13 hours and 30 minutes of news and information programming. The spoken word programming would include birthday, anniversary and funeral announcements; a twice-daily buy and sell program; as well as 1 hour and 15 minutes of native-language programming. The licence would expire August 31, 2019.

On November 8, the CRTC approved the application by Arctic Radio (1982) Limited to change the technical parameters of CFAR-FM by increasing the average effective radiated power from 191 to 600 watts (non-directional).


Arctic Radio completed the move of its three AM stations to nested FM frequencies. CHTM 610 Thompson and CJAR 1240 The Pas moved to 102.9 in early summer. CFAR 590 Flin Flon had made the flip to 102.9 last December. 


Doug O’Brien died at the age of 80. He moved from CJME Regina to CFAR in 1972 to become GM. Later, he purchased the station. Over time, the O’Brien family would buy CJAR The Pas and CHTM Thompson and form the Arctic Radio Network. His son, Tom, became the owner of the three stations in 2000.


Andy Stewart signed off for the last time from CFAR, where the final episode of his weekly show Meet the Legion aired on June 17. Stewart, 86, started in radio at CKUA Edmonton, and then moved to Grande Prairie in 1955. He took a short break from broadcasting to join the RCAF, later making stops at stations in Wingham, Weyburn, and Lloydminster, before landing at CFAR in 1970. He spent 27 years at CFAR before retiring in 1997.

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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