CKMM-FM, Virgin Radio, Winnipeg
|Astral Media Inc
|Standard Radio Inc.
|Craig Broadcast Systems Inc.
|Western World Communications Limited Partnership
|Armadale Communications Ltd.
On March 13, Armadale Communications Ltd. was awarded a licence for a new FM station at Winnipeg, broadcasting on 103.1 MHz with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts. Armadale was the owner of CKRC 630 in the city. Armadale’s CKWG-FM would be adult oriented with a balance of news and information, entertainment and good music. A competing application by CKND-TV owner CanWest Broadcasting Ltd. (102.3 MHz, 100 kW) was denied. The CRTC said Winnipeg could not support another station but it would call for further applications after assessing CKWG’s impact on the market.
CKWG-FM on began broadcasting on February 14. The “WG” in the call sign: WinnipeG.
Bill Gorrie succeeded Gary Miles as general manager of CKRC and CKWG-FM.
George Youngman was named general sales manager for CKWG / CKRC. Richard W. Jackiw became marketing manager for the two stations.
Late in the year, CKWG became CHZZ-FM.
CHZZ-FM had its licence renewed for only two and a half years because of previous problems with foreground programming. The CRTC turned down the station’s request to eliminate its commitment to traditional and special interest music, but approved a reduction in enrichment material to eight hours a week from 12 hours and 29 minutes.
It was announced that Western World Communications would purchase CHZZ-FM / CKRC-AM and CKIT-FM / CKCK-AM from Michael Sifton’s Armadale Communications of Markham, Ontario. Sifton said Armadale planned to retain CKOC-AM / CKLH-FM in Hamilton but would focus more strongly on newspaper publishing.
On January 22, Clint C. Forster’s Western World Communications Ltd. received CRTC approval to acquire Winnipeg’s CHZZ-FM / CKRC and Regina’s CKIT-FM / CKCK from Michael Sifton’s Armadale Communications Ltd. Western World, based in Saskatoon, was licensee of CJWW Saskatoon, SK and CKST Langley, BC, and owned 100% of Balsa Broadcasting Corp., licensee of CHMG St. Albert, AB. CKCK and CKRC were two of the oldest radio stations in Western Canada.
CHZZ-FM became CKLU-FM in September.
Western World Limited Partnership acquired CKCK and CKIT-FM Regina, and CKRC and CKLU-FM Winnipeg from Western World Communications Corp.
CKLU-FM and CKRC-AM moved to new studios and offices on the 17th floor of a high rise building at 155 Carlton Street. This was just three blocks away from the old facility in the historic Winnipeg Free Press Building. CKRC-AM had operated from that building for over fifty years. The new FM and AM control rooms featured Soundcraft SAC-200 boards. The production studio had a new Soundcraft 6000 stereo board. A Tascam 8-track recorder and Denon CD player were also added to the production room. The newsroom was equipped with Nakamichi cassette decks and IBM 386 computers. The move went smoothly as CKRC lost no air time and CKLU lost one second at the most.
Some of the management at this point in time: Bill Gorrie (general manager), Bryan Zilkey (general sales manager), Daryl Braun (news director), Ken Porteous (senior producer) and Ray Patterson (chief engineer).
Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. received permission to purchase an interest in CKLU and to manage the station.
CKLU-FM became CKMM-FM.
On August 25, the sale of CKMM to Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. from Western World Communications Limited Partnership was approved. In turn, Western World purchased CFQX in suburban Selkirk from Craig.
Matthew McBride joined CKMM as Operations Manager in August. He had been Assistant Program Director at Z95 (CKZZ) Vancouver.
Craig Broadcast Systems won CRTC approval to acquire CFQX-FM Selkirk from Western World Communications. This gave Craig two FM stations in Winnipeg (CKMM being the other).
Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. became Craig Music & Entertainment Inc.
On February 1, Craig Music & Entertainment Inc. was given approval to sell CKMM-FM Winnipeg, CFQX-FM Selkirk, CKXA-FM and CKX-FM Brandon to Standard Radio Inc.
CKMM and CFQX moved studios and offices to the former Great West Life Assurance Building, 177 Lombard Avenue (3rd floor).
On June 21, CKMM was authorized to decrease effective radiated power from 100,000 watts to 70,000 watts average (100,000 watts maximum) and to increase antenna height from 110 to 206.1 metres, and relocate the transmitter to the Rogers Broadcasting tower located near Starbuck.
On September 27, Astral Media Radio G.P. received CRTC approval to acquire the assets of the radio and TV undertakings owned by Standard Radio Ltd., subject to certain conditions. The purchase included CKMM-FM and CFOX-FM (Selkirk).
Darilyn Magnusson was promoted to Retail Sales Supervisor at Astral Media Radio’s CKMM-FM/CFQX-FM. The former Account Manager had been with the stations for six years.
Paul Timm was appointed Digital Sales Manager for Astral Radio Winnipeg. While Timm was new to the broadcasting industry, he had held numerous positions in the digital space.
On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CKMM-FM until March 31, 2012.
On March 20, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CKMM-FM to August 31, 2012. On July 10, the licence was administratively renewed to March 31, 2013.
CKMM change its branding from Hot 103 to Virgin Radio (format remained CHR).
On September 1, VIRGIN Radio arrived in Winnipeg with the all-new #1 hit music station 103.1 Virgin Radio. The station promised the biggest promotions, the best personalities – including star host Ryan Seacrest, Canadian DJs Angry Kids and Ace Burpee the host of Winnipeg’s # 1 morning show. The station went commercial free all through the Labour Day weekend. “Following London’s successful switch to Virgin on August 17th, Astral is proud to bring a strong brand to clients in Winnipeg. We want to offer our advertisers more opportunities to reach their clientele” commented Mario Cecchini, Senior Vice-President of Sales and Marketing for Astral Radio. “Credit has to go to Ace Burpee who started the ball rolling this summer. Ace is a Richard Branson fan and knew that the values of the Virgin Radio brand matched the values that are also important to Winnipeg. We’re all very excited, a Virgin Radio station in Winnipeg puts us on the Virgin worldwide map, allowing us to bring even more exciting artists, contests and fun to music fans in Winnipeg. We’re incredibly pumped” commented Sharon Taylor, Vice-President and General Manager. 103.1 Virgin Radio Winnipeg became the newest member of the Virgin Radio family, taking its place alongside: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, and London.
On February 6, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence of CKMM-FM to August 31, 2013.
On June 27, 2013, after a previous such application had been denied in 2012, the CRTC approved an application by Astral Media Inc. to sell its pay and specialty television channels, conventional television stations and radio stations to BCE Inc., including CKMM-FM.
FAB 94.3 moved from the Bell Media building to join its new sister station, QX104, on Lombard Street in downtown Winnipeg – held in trust after the sale of Astral to BCE and now owned by the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. Virgin Radio Winnipeg, which had been located with QX104, joined new Bell Media sister stations BOB FM and TSN 1290 on Pembina Highway.
Troy Scott became Program Director of CKMM and Production Manager for Bell Media Radio Manitoba in September. He had been PD of CJNW (HOT 107) and CKEA (95.7 CRUZ FM) in Edmonton.
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.