CKXA-FM, Pure Country 101, Brandon

Bell Media Inc.

CKXA-FM2013101.1100,000Bell Media
CKXA-FM2007101.1100,000Astral Media Inc.
CKXA-FM2002101.1100,000Standard Radio Inc.
CKXA-FM1999101.11000,000Craig Broadcast Systems Inc
CKX-AM1961115010,000/5,000Craig Broadcasting Systems Inc.
CKX-AM195611505,000Craig Broadcasting Ltd.
CKX-AM194811201,000J.B.Craig Group
CKX-AM19281120500Manitoba Telephone System


CKX went on the air December 1st, owned and operated by the Manitoba Telephone System. Studios and transmitter towers were located on the old City Hall grounds at 8th and Princess Avenue. An old 500 watt transmitter from sister station CKY was used.


Studios moved to a location above the P.A. Kennedy Music Store on Rosser Avenue.


CKX put a new 100 watt transmitter on the air.


A new 1,000 watt transmitter on 1120 kHz was installed just outside Brandon. The station went to full-day program schedule. 


Clinton Godwin moved from engineering to announcing at CKX. Humphrey Davies moved to engineering. D. R. P. Coats was public relations chief for CKX and CKY. 


Clinton V. Godwin left CKX for CJGX Yorkton where he became program director.


Wilfred Carpenter, announcer and program director, left for CKY Winnipeg. Eric Davies, formerly announcer at CKY, was appointed program director at CKX. 

As of September 1, Taylor Pearson & Carson Ltd. (Harold Carson, president) took over management and operation of CJRC and CJRM. At the same time, TP&C ended its management and commercial operation of CKY and CKX, a relationship that had been in place for the past four years.


A new two-studio building was built just south of the original small one-studio stucco building.

Under the Havana Treaty, CKX moved from 1210 to 1150 kHz (Class III-A) on March 29. Power was 1,000 watts.

Cpt. Claude Snider, former engineer-in-charge of CKX was serving with the Royal Canadian Artillery. Norman Micklewright joined the CKX announcing staff from CJKL in Kirkland Lake.


Howard Clark left CKX to manage CJRL in Kenora. 


W.F. (Bill) Seller was manager of CKX. George Arnot left CKX as commercial manager to work for Stovin & Wright in Toronto. 


Baseball’s World Series aired on CKX as part of Gillette’s “Cavalcade of Sports”.

CKX announcers included Ron Deacon, Ken Milton (joined in August), Dwayne Johns (on active service with the RCAF), and Bob Churcher (returned from active service with the navy).

Programs included: Breakfast Club, Soldier’s Wife, The Music Box, Northern Electric Show, Bob Hope, Ellery Queen, Rudy Vallee, The People Ask, Pinto Pete, Concert Hall of the Air, National Barn Dance, and Radio Readers’ Digest.


W. Grigg was commercial manager. Gord Garrison left CKX for Kitchener’s CKCR.


CKX’s application for a power increase to 5,000 watts was deferred by the broadcast regulator.       

In the spring it was reported that Ottawa may expropriate CKX Brandon and CKY Winnipeg in the near future. It was assumed that if the stations were turned over to the CBC, CKY would boost its power to 50,000 watts, using one of three high power transmitters the CBC was known to have purchased. The Winnipeg Free Press reported that Ottawa would announce a policy to make the CBC the sole governmental agency for radio broadcasts. This would not mean putting local private stations out of business, but did mean refusal of future licences to provincial government stations. 

CKX’s application for a power increase to 5,000 watts was deferred.


Programs on CKX included: Wayne King, Fred Allen, Superman, Northern Electric Hour, CKX Concert Hall, Bob Hope, Jack Carson, Sons of the Pioneers, Duffy’s Tavern, Bing Crosby, Dick Haymes, Boston Blackie, Alan Young, King Cole Trio, Mart Kenny’s Orchestra, and Junior Hockey.

Humphrey Davies was continuity editor. Ron Deacon resigned as chief announcer at CKX. He was succeeded by George Kent, formerly of CKY Winnipeg. Cliff Gardner, John Donaldson and Lee Donnelly were new announcers at CKX. Claude Snider left CKX as equipment supervisor. W.F. Seller was manager and W. Grigg was commercial manager. Claude Snider had to give up his duties as equipment supervisor due to poor health. Announcer Ron Deacon left to become a travelling salesman. Cliff Gardiner joined the CKX announce staff. George Kent, John Donaldson and Eric Davies (program director) were CKX announcers. Operators: Harold Donogh, Garth Franklin, Derek Nelson and Roy Maguire. Gordon Ballantyne was acting equipment supervisor. 

Premier Stuart Garson announced late in the year that the Manitoba government would go out of the broadcasting business by disposing of CKY and CKX. The CBC proposed to either purchase CKY or construct a new 50,000 watt Winnipeg station in 1948, so the province was ready to dispose of its stations (operated through the Manitoba Telephone System). The province already had a purchase agreement (for CKY) in place with the CBC but was also interested in seeing if it could get a better price from other interested parties.


The Hon. W. Morton, Manitoba Minister of Telephones announced the sale of CKY for $200,000 and CKX for $65,000. As expected, CKY would be purchased by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. CKX would go to Western Manitoba Broadcasters Ltd., a syndicate headed by J.B. Craig, in association with Dr. H.O. McDiarmid, Alexander Boyd, Edmund, Fotheringham, Harold Smith, James Rust and M.W. Kerr. Under the deal, the existing staff members would remain withe their respective stations under the new owners.

The CBC recommended for approval, the transfer of CKX from Manitoba Telephone System to Western Manitoba Broadcasters Ltd.

Ad: New management, programs, policy, reps. “The buckle of the Wheat Belt”

Western Manitoba Broadcasters took over management of CKX on April 1. John B. Craig was managing director. Ernest D. Holland was commercial manager. The station was using the Press News service and Thesaurus and World libraries. The daytime schedule was revamped but the station would continue to use CBC Dominion programming at night. 


Jim Keilback did sports on CKX.

CKX became a member of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.

Slogan: Western Manitoba’s Community Station.

E. Holland was commercial manager.


CKX recived permission to use a 1,000 watt emergency transmitter.


Archie Olson was in the promotion department.

Slogan: The Key station of the Keystone Province is CKX Brandon. 


Doug Lee was an announcer and assistant production manager.

The CBC approved the transfer of ten common shares in Western Manitoba Broadcasters ltd.


The CBC Board approved the recapitalization of Western Manitoba Broadcasters Ltd. from 10,000 common to 10,000 common and 90,000 preferred shares and the transfer of 375 common shares.

Gord Garrison left CKX to manage CKLB in Oshawa. 


Humphrey Davies was chief engineer.

CKX-TV was licensed.

D.A. “Doug” Lee was appointed CKX-TV program director. He had been with CKX-AM for six years – morning drive announcer for five, special events producer, and was promoted to assistant production manager in April of 1952.


CKX Television began broadcasting. 

Ernie Holland was commercial manager.


CKX was an affiliate of the CBC network. Ownership of Western Manitoba Broadcasters Limited: J. B. Craig 35.6%, E. Fotheringham 6.3%, J. C. P. Mitchell 0.2%, R. O. McDiarmid 0.6%, J. E. Elviss 0.4%, Margaret A. McDiarmid 6.3%, Estate of J. L. Rust 5.8%, Mrs. Jean C. Smith 5.8%, Finance and Management Ltd. (A. E. Boyd) 13.1%, Corporate Management & Services Ltd. (N. W. Kerr) 13.6%, D. Sprague 5.1%, J. A. McNaughton 1.7% and 32 other shareholders 5.5%. John B. Craig was president of the company and manager of CKX.

In May, CKX received CBC approval to increase its power from 1,000 watts day and night (non-directional) to 5,000 watts day and 1,000 watts night. A new Gates BC-5P 5,000 watt transmitter was ordered from Canadian Marconi and by the end of the year, CKX was broadcasting at the increased power from a new transmitter site located three miles west of Brandon. 


Ads: Now 5,000 watts! Serving Western Manitoba and Eastern Saskatchewan from “The Wheat City”. / Dual coverage is complete coverage in Brandon and Western Canada’s rich farming area! CKX TV & Radio. / 300,000 listeners get 5,000 watts of the best – Radio CKX 1150 kc. Brandon, Manitoba. 

Marvin M. Freeman was appointed promotion director for CKX Radio & Television. Frank Bird was radio production manager. Doug Johnson was farm director. 


Peter Parker was MC of the Party Line program. Jim Struthers was news director. Henry Stothard was sports director. John Wallace did news. Jack Tennant, Bob Carle and Ken Johnson also worked at CKX. Eric Davies was assistant manager. 

CKX received approval to increase power from 5,000 to 10,000 watts. 

Ads: To get results … buy CKX Radio – 10,000 watts – CKX Television – channel 5. / CKX Radio Brandon Manitoba – 10,000 watts – transmitter by commercial products division, Canadian Marconi Co. / CKX Super Sound says – “Repetition is Reputation!” In Brandon City CKX Radio has 90% of the audience!

John Gilbert was an on-air personality at CKX.


Power increased to 10,000 watts day and 1,000 night.


The Dominion and Trans-Canada networks consolidated into a single CBC Radio network. CKX remained affiliated with the CBC after the consolidation.


CKX-FM signed on the air. 


President J.B. Craig announced the appointment of A. Stuart Craig as vice president and managing director of the company, effective January 1. He had been operations manager. 

Vince M. Dodd was named program director for CKX Radio and TV. He would continue to host “Rise and Shine” on CKX-AM-FM.


On July 8, Western Manitoba Broadcasters Ltd. was given approval to increase CKX’s power from 10,000 watts day and 1,000 watts night (non-directional at night) to 10,000 watts day and night (directional at night). 


Cliff Birnie was at CKX. 


CKX was given permission to increase daytime power to 50,000 watts. Night-time power would remain at 10,000 watts.


The 50,000 watt power increase went into effect. 


On July 21, CKX was allowed to disaffiliate from the CBC Radio Network. The CBC had been providing service to the region with its own transmitter (CBWV-FM) since June 13, 1977. 


On February 15, the CRTC renewed the licence for CKX until September 30, 1989.


A. Stuart Craig received the 1984 business citizen of the year award from the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce.


Murray Redman became program director at CKX.


Bob Neeve became news director for CKX Radio and Television.


The corporate name changed from Western Manitoba Broadcasters to Craig Broadcast Systems Inc.


On September 17, CKX 1150 was given approval to move to the FM band, operating on 101.1 MHz with effecitve radiated power of 100,000 watts. The station moved to the FM band before the end of the year. Because the existing FM was CKX-FM, the new FM (formerly CKX-AM) became CKXA-FM.

Stuart Craig died October 30.


The corporate name changed from Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. to  Craig Music & Entertainment Inc. (becoming a publicly-traded company).


On February 1, Standard Radio Inc. was given approval to purchase CKXA-FM and CKX-FM Brandon, CKMM-FM Winnipeg and CFQX-FM Selkirk from Craig Music & Entertainment Inc.


“Hot 101” abondoned its contemporary hits / hot adult contemporary format on January 24 and re-launched as “Continuous Country, 101.1 The Farm”.


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 CKX-FM, CKMM-FM Winnipeg and CFQX-FM Selkirk.    


On May 31, the CRTC renewed the broadcasting licence for CKXA-FM Brandon from 1 June 2010 to 31 August 2013. This short-term renewal would enable the Commission to review at an earlier date the licensee’s compliance with its conditions of licence, including that relating to its contributions to Canadian content development. 

The former home of CKX-TV became an administrative office for Sunrise Credit Union. The company bought the property at 2940 Victoria Avenue in May. KX96 and 101.1 The Farm, owned by Astral Media Radio, remained building tenants.

Jim Rendall died at the age of 58. The former radio host began his career at CHOW Welland in the early 1970s, moved to CKX Brandon and, in the late ‘70s, to CKOM Saskatoon. Later, he joined CFQC Saskatoon. 


Former CKX program director and announcer Ron Thompson died at age 68. He also did the weather on CKX-TV for 37 years.


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 CKXA-FM.


In May, Bell Media rolled out a rebrand (Pure Country) of 12 of its country stations. The stations offered local morning and afternoon drive shows with evening and weekend programming being syndicated. No jobs were lost as part of the changes, as former evening and weekend announcers were assigned new duties. CKXA changed from The Farm to Pure Country 101.

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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