CHTM-AM, Thompson

Arctic Radio Ltd.

CHTM-AM19826101,000Arctic Radio Ltd.
CHTM-AM19646101,000Mystery Lake Broadcasting Ltd.


Mystery Lake Broadcasting Ltd. opened CHTM on March 29. The station operated on a frequency of 610 kHz with a power of 1,000 watts. CHTM was an independent station with no network affiliation. The “TM” in the call sign: Thompson, Manitoba.


On January 27, CHTM was given approval to move its studios  and offices from the Thompson Shopping Plaza to the Strand Building.

On November 26, approval was granted for a transfer of 50% of Mystery Lake Broadcasting Ltd. from A.M. Cham and Mrs. J. Cham to E.R. Robertson, G.A. Shepard and E.A. Walton.


Arctic Radio Corp., owner of CFAR Flin Flon and CJAR The Pas, was given permission to acquire CHTM.

Arctic Radio undertook to apply for an FM station at Thompson which would provide full CBC AM network service. Until established, CHTM would carry CBC programming 34 hours weekly.


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.


It is noted that CHTM airs four hours per week of Cree language programming.


When CHTM had its licence renewed, it was noted as broadcasting 123 hours and 7 minutes per week of locally-produced programming. 


On August 13 the CRTC renewed CHTM’s licence to August 31, 2008. The Commission examined the station’s logger tapes and found them to be incomplete. An analysis of CHTM’s programming revealed that only 33% of all category 2 selections broadcast were Canadian musical selections. As a result of these infractions, the station received a shorter than normal renewal.


Alysha Williams was the new program director at CJ 1240. It’s an intra-company move from her position as music director at sister station 610 CHTM Thompson.


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 Thompson, to replace its AM station CHTM. 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 190 watts (non-directional antenna with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 95.8 metres). 

The applicant requested permission to maintain its AM transmitter in order to rebroadcast the new FM station’s programming. Arctic indicated that while the conversion to the FM band would allow the station to better serve listeners within Thompson, 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 610 kHz (class B) with a day and night-time transmitter power of 1,000 watts. The applicant proposed to maintain CHTM’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 and programming captured from other stations belonging to Arctic Radio. 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.


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.

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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