CJKR-FM, Power 97, Winnipeg

Corus Entertainment Inc.

CJKR-FM200097.5310,000Corus Entertainment Inc.
CJKR-FM199197.5310,000WIC Intrenational Inc.
CKIS-FM198497.5310,000WIC International Inc.
CHMM-FM197697.5310,000Western Broadcasting Ltd.
CJOB-FM196197.5310,000Frank Griffiths (Western Broadcasting)
CJOB-FM194897.5350Winnipeg Broadcast Associates Ltd.


An FM licence was recommended for approval by the CBC in December (for CJOB). 


The CBC recommended for approval, the transfer of CJOB from J.O. Blick and E.B. Osler to Blick Broadcasting Ltd., already controlled by Blick.

CJOB hoped to have the first FM station between Toronto and Vancouver on the air by May 1. Antenna height would be 110 feet, located atop the Lindsay Building, which housed CJOB. It would operate on 103.1 MHz and have a radius of about 32 miles.

FM ad: “100% of the listening audience – no other independent station in Western canada can make this claim!”

CJOB-FM was officially inaugurated on May 27. Mrs. J.O. (Betty) Blick christened the FM tower on the roof of the Lindsay Building with a champagne bottle. The FM would carry AM programs from 7 a.m. to midnight and would have a radius of about 35 miles. 


CJOB-FM 103.1 had a power of 250 watts and was an independent station with no network affiliation. Ownership of Blick Broadcasting Ltd.: J. O. Blick 52.1%, H. Monk 0.2%, E. B. Osler 1.1%, K. A. Powell 6.8%, P. D. Curry 4.3%, A. H. Watson 8.5%, 16 other shareholders 27.0%.


CJOB-FM adopted a classical music format. 


CJOB-FM received approval to move to 97.5 MHz and offer separate programming from CJOB-AM.


J. O. Blick sold CJOB-FM and AM to Radio O.B. Ltd., owned by Frank Griffiths, owner of CKNW in New Westminster, B.C.


CJOB-FM was authorized to offer separate programming from CJOB-AM. Programming changed from classical to country and western. The format also included some folk music and some ethnic programming.

The station was now broadcasting in stereo.

The CJOB-FM/AM studios and offices were moved to 930 Portage Avenue. 


Western Broadcasting Co. was formed as a public company. It controlled Radio O.B. Ltd. Frank A. Griffiths was President.

Rory MacLennan was general manager. 

The station was now operating with an effective radiated power of 310,000 watts on frequency 97.5 MHz. CJOB-FM offered 128 hours of programming each week that was separate from CJOB-AM’s programs.


Western Broadcasting Co. acquired from its principal shareholders all of the outstanding shares of Radio O. B. Ltd. 


CJOB-FM was Canada’s only Country & Western FM station. The station featured news on the hour and half hour, simulcast from CJOB-AM. Management hoped to have the station computerized (automated) by the end of October. Peter Grant was music director.


CJOB-FM was completely automated and was Canada’s first Country FM station. In the spring of 1948, CJOB was the first station in Canada with a licence to operate FM. In the fall of 1960, CJOB-FM was the first FM to offer separate programming (from AM) in Western Canada. In the fall of 1968 the station went to complete automation. Cliff Gardner was program director. Rory M. MacLennon was general manager. 


Radio O.B. Ltd. received approval to air the programming of CJOB-FM over Northern Ontario AM stations CJRL Kenora, CKDR Dryden and CFOB Fort Frances from 12:05 a.m. to 5:30 a.m.



On October 22, the CRTC turned down an application that would have seen the transfer of effective control of Western Broadcasting Co. Ltd., owner of Radio OB Ltd., thru the transfer of 55.8% of the common shares of WBC from companies controlled individually or jointly by F. A. Griffiths, D. S. Owen and J. R. Peters – North Continent Communications Ltd. (26.3%), Doncaster Investments Ltd. (19.5%), Atlin Investments Ltd. (1.9%) and Peters Management Ltd. (0.3%) to J. Raymond Peters, on behalf of a company to be incorporated; and the entry into a voting trust agreement by the proposed shareholders of the company to be incorporated. This deal was tied in with a similar proposed transfer of Premier Cablevision Ltd. of which WBC held 26.1%.


CHMM-FM received CRTC approval to change its format from Country to Adult Contemporary MOR. Two AM stations in the market had Country formats.


Peter Grant was named CHMM’s station manager.

On June 21, OB Radio Ltd. was given permission to acquire CJOB and CHMM from Radio OB Ltd. There was no change in ownership. These companies were wholly owned by WIC Western International Communications Ltd. which was controlled by Frank A. Griffiths thru his ownership of Western Broadcasting Co. Ltd.


On January 11, the CRTC renewed CJKR’s licence until September 30, 1985.

Station founder Jack Blick was named posthumously to the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame.

Major renovations were undertaken at the 930 Portage Avenue CHMM-CJOB broadcast facility.

CHMM-FM’s call sign changed to CKIS-FM in June. The station now had a contemporary music format. 


After 31 years at CJOB, Rory MacLennan retired and was succeeded as vice president and general manager by John Cochrane. Rory would continue as a director of CJOB and CKIS-FM.


Westcom Radio was put on notice by the CRTC over the operation of CKIS-FM. A Commission investigation into station programming identified four areas of potential non-compliance, the most serious being that the station was being operated in an unauthorized format. The CRTC also found CKIS was not meeting foreground programming requirements; was broadcasting more commercials than allowed; and was failing to meet at least one of its music commitments. The Commission told Westcom, should an analysis of CKIS-FM programming reveal the station is still not being operated in compliance, the licensee may be called to a public hearing in the spring to show cause why its licence should be renewed. 


J.E. (Ted) Smith, president and CEO of Westcom Radio Group, announced that John Cochrane had been elected president of CJOB / CKIS-FM. In addition to his new position, Cochrane was also general manager of both stations. He had been with CJOB since 1964. Cochrane was past president of both the Manitoba and Western Association of Broadcasters and at this time, was a director of the CAB.


Ralph E. Warrington became president and general manager of CKIS-FM and CJOB.

CKIS-FM had its licence renewed to August 31, 1994 after only a one-year renewal in 1989. The CRTC said the station was to maintain a 10-point plan to avoid the recurrence of previous problems in complying with its Promise of Performance. CKIS pledged to increase Canadian Content from 20% to 30%. Denied was the station’s proposal to change its soft rock format. A decrease in news content to 3 hours and 47 minutes a week from 5 hours and 25 minutes was approved. The CRTC noted that this was one of the highest commitments among Winnipeg FM stations.



Bob Fisher was named general sales manager of CJKR-FM / CJOB, replacing Neil Kembel. 


Scruff Connors was gone as morning man at CJKR Classic Rock 97.5. He was replaced by B.J. Burke and Hal Anderson. Burke had been with CJAY and Anderson had most recently been with CKY. 


Garth Buchko was named president & general manager of Power 97 and CJOB. He had been general sales manager and assumed the role of acting GM in the absence of Ralph Warrington, who was on long-term medical leave and unable to return.

Ted Farr left CJKR/CJOB as operations manager. On May 1, he took up that same position at Calgary’s CHQR/CKIK-FM.


OB Limited is a subsidiary of WIC Radio Ltd which is controlled by Western International Communications Limited, Vancouver, B.C.


CRTC approved the takeover of WIC Radio by Corus Entertainment Inc., including CJOB-AM and CJRK-FM in Winnipeg.


Corus took ownership of CJZZ-FM (Cool FM 99.1) on July 30 and the following day, that sation moved its studios and offices to the CJOB-CJKR facility at 930 Portage Avenue. 


Hal Anderson left the Power 97 morning show on August 4. He had been a co-host on the show since 1995. He was expected to take over the morning show at CJOB (AM) as of September 7. 

With the move of Hal Anderson to CJOB, Power 97 introduced a new morning show. (Dave) Wheeler in the Morning made its debut Labour Day on Power 97. For the last seven years, Dave had been co-host of the Wheeler and Hal morning show. After leaving Power 97 in 2006, Phil Aubrey returned earlier this year to host Power 97’s afternoon show, “The Power Drive”. He was now being called upon to bring his brash radio attitude to mornings. Rena Jae joined Power 97 from Lloydminster, AB. 

Matt Cundill was program director. 


Alexis LaForest was promoted at Corus Winnipeg to Promotions Manager, succeeding Lisa-Marie Buccini who left the industry.


Corus Radio Winnipeg announced that it would relocate its radio broadcast facility to 1440 Rapelje Avenue as part of a lease agreement between Corus Entertainment and Cadillac Fairview. The relocation to Polo Park was slated for January of 2011. CJOB 68, Power 97 and 99.1 Groove FM would become the anchor tenants of a massive, new, expansion on the site. Corus Radio Winnipeg would occupy the second floor of the three storey building, upsizing its radio, production and business operations to 17,500 square feet. The new facility was being built to accommodate the stations’ 85 full and part-time employees. General manager Garth Buchko said the stations had outgrown their 930 Portage Avenue facility. With the move, Corus Radio Winnipeg would upgraded to state-of-the-art, fully-digital on-air systems which would provide improved sound quality from the field and greater distribution and enhancement opportunities in the future. 

Citing budgetary reasons, Corus Winnipeg parted ways with Devon Zelmer, evening host for Power 97.


Just in time for Corus Radio Winnipeg’s move into its new home, Winnipeg city council approved the name change of Rapelje Avenue to Jack Blick Avenue, in honour of CJOB founder, J.O. Blick. Jack Blick was a Second World War veteran and founded the station on March 11, 1946. All of the original staff members were veterans returning from the war and seeking employment. Garth Buchko, General Manager of Corus Radio Winnipeg, gave special thanks to Mayor Katz and city councilors for recognizing a broadcast and business icon. Mayor Katz unveiled the name change on Monday, February 7, at 9:15 a.m. CST. 

On February 14, CJOB, Power 97 and 99.1 Groove FM, made the move to 200-1440 Jack Blick Avenue. The new facility boasted over 17,000 square feet of broadcast and office space. 1440 Jack Blick Avenue was the former home of CTV Winnipeg and was owned by Cadillac Fairview. The building was being completely refurbished and would soon announce additional tenants.

On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CJKR-FM until March 31, 2012.

Program Director Matt Cundill added responsibilities for Groove FM.


Corus Winnipeg manager Garth Buchko was named President/CEO of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers effective March 1. Buchko had an extensive background as a senior executive, most notably as general manager of CJOB, Power 97 and Groove FM for the past 16 years. 

Corus Entertainment announced the appointment of Garry McKenzie as regional general manager for Corus Radio Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg, effective April 2. In his new role, Garry would provide leadership, strategic direction and vision to the three markets, bringing over 20 years of solid operating experience, a strong sales and marketing background and results-driven success to 10 radio stations. Most recently, Garry was general manager of Corus Radio Vancouver. 

On March 20, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CJKR-FM to August 31, 2012. The licence was administratively renewed August 28 to December 31, 2012.

The Power 97 morning show of Phil Aubrey, Rena Jae and Dave Wheeler (Wheeler in the Morning with Philly and Rena) departed the station. They weren’t able to agree on a new contract with Corus deciding instead to leave. They left Power 97 on September 12 and ended up with 92 CITI on September 17.

On December 21, the CRTC renewed CJKR-FM’s licence to August 31, 2019.

Power 97 announced it would launch its new morning show featuring Cam Carson and TJ Connors, starting January 7, 2013. The show would mark a return home to Winnipeg for TJ Connors who had entertained radio audiences at Kelowna’s 103.9 The Juice as the station’s program director and morning show host. Prior to that, his creativity and passion for radio was heard at Peterborough’s THE WOLF 101.5 as morning show host for over two years.


Holly Bausman moved to afternoons at Power 97 while Chris “Shecky” Elwick was the new evening host and Music Director. 


CJKR-FM rebranded from Active Rock – Power 97, to 97.5 BIG FM, where “big hits and real Classic Rock lives” (Classic Rock-Classic Hits). 


On August 12, Power 97 returned to Winnipeg at CJKR-FM. The format was modern and mainstream rock. Since February of 2015, CJKR had been known as 97.5 BIG FM with a classic rock format.

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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