Winnipeg Free Press / Closed down
Competing with Winnipeg Tribune to be the first newspaper with a radio station in Winnipeg, the Free Press went on the air April 2 with a test broadcast between 10:00 and 11:00 p.m. Using the call sign 4 A.H., that first broadcast featured phonograph records and talks by Dr. George F. Salton, J. R. Iwrin (manager of the Free Press radiophone department) and L. V. Salton, Free Press consulting engineer. George Salton was the father of engineer Lynn Salton, who put the station on the air.
On May 1, the Free Press was issued the very first commercial radio licence in Canada and was assigned the call sign CJGC.
By May 31, after being referred to by the competition as the “Carlton Street peanut whistle”, CJCG increased it power to 500 watts, very likely renting or borrowing Salton’s CKZC transmitter that he was only using spasmodically.
The two newspaper funded stations had developed daily noontime schedules featuring news, farm market reports and sports bulletins. Evening programs consisted of two hour vocal concerts mixed with phonograph records. On Sundays, both stations broadcast one or two hours of sacred music.
On July 28, CJCG put their own new transmitter on the air with 1,600 watts of power. The initial program featured well known singers, pianists and violinists. The Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry band under the direction of Captain T. W. James, played three numbers and Sergeant Everson played a coronet solo. The Free Press was flooded with congratulations from distant points on the strength and clarity or the modulation which was unequaled in the short history of radio in western Canada.
CJCG’s studios were in the Free Press building on Carlton Street and the two 75 foot towers were located on the building’s roof.
Both Winnipeg stations CJCG and CJCN were losing money and saw no “light at the end of the tunnel”. The publishers of the two newspapers that owned the stations met with the Commissioner of Telephones for the Province of Manitoba who had expressed the interest of Manitoba Telephone System of getting into broadcasting.
After much negotiating with the Federal authorities and changes to legislation the MTS came to an agreement with the current stations who would cease operations and support MTS in establishing a single radio station in Winnipeg.
CJCGs last broadcast was March 10.
Manitoba Telephone put CKY on the air on March 13.
CKY would later (1948) be acquired by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation with the call sign changing to CBW. A “new” CKY, privately owned by Lloyd Moffat, came on the air in 1949.
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.