CJRP-FM , Saint John

James Houssen

CJRP-FM2014103.549.6James Houssen
CJRP-FM2009103.549.6TFG Communucations Inc.
CJEF-FM2006103.549.6TFG Communucations Inc.
CFHA-FM2003103.549.6TFG Communications Inc.


On February 14, Tom Gamblin (on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated) was awarded a licence for a new low-power FM station at Saint John. It would broadcast on a frequency of 103.5 MHz with an effective radiated power of 49.6 watts. In approving the application, the CRTC took into consideration that the applicant proposed to operate in a spoken word comedy format that is currently not offered by any existing Saint John stations, and that the applicant’s revenue projections were modest. Furthermore, the low-power signal of the proposed station would cover only the downtown core of Saint John, and would therefore not have a significant impact on the existing stations in the market. 
CFHA-FM “Comedy Radio 103.5” signed on the air. 

The corporate name would be TFG Communications Inc. 

On September 3, TFG Communications Inc. was given approval to relocate CFHA’s transmitter site to a location approximately 3 kilometres south of the existing site, and increase antenna height from 35 metres to 61 metres. TFG indicated that the existing transmitter location created interference problems with CFMH-FM (University of New Brunswick) in Saint John.


On December 19, CFHA was given permission to increase antenna height and to relocate the transmitter. The change was required due to renovations at the existing transmitter site.


The sale of TFG Communications Inc. by Thomas F. Gamblin to  Geoffrey Rivett was approved.

On May 15, CFHA “Comedy Radio 103.5” became CJEF “103.5 The Pirate”. The new format targetted a 12-24 year old audience with a diverse mix of both New Rock, and Urban music (“youth contemporary”). 


103.5 CJEF changed from Alternative Rock/Comedy (Pirate Radio) to Classic Rock/Comedy (Saint John Radio) (includes CJEF-1).

In November the CRTC approved the change of effective control of TFG Communications Inc. through the transfer of all issued shares from Geoffrey Rivett to Ryanne Holdings Inc., a corporation owned and controlled by Robert Pritchard. TFG was the licensee of CJEF-FM Saint John and CJEF-FM-1 Rothesay.


In April, CJEF 103.5 became CJRP and CJEF-1 Rothesay became CJRP-1.


On June 29, the CRTC renewed the broadcasting licence for the English-language specialty radio station CJRP-FM Saint John and its transmitter CJRP-FM-1 Rothesay, from 1 July 2010 to 31 August 2013. This short-term licence renewal would enable the Commission to review, at an earlier date, the licensee’s compliance with the Radio Regulations, 1986 and its conditions of licence. In Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2009-786, the Commission stated that the licensee may have failed to comply with section 9(2) of the Radio Regulations, 1986, which relates to the provision of annual returns, for the broadcast years 2006 through 2008. The Commission also stated that the licensee may have failed to comply with its condition of licence relating to contributions to Canadian talent development for the same broadcast years. Since the publication of Broadcasting Public Notice 2009-786, the Commission had determined that the licensee could be in non-compliance with its condition of licence relating to contributions to Canadian content development for 2009. 

On August 20, the CRTC approved the application by Pritchard Broadcasting Inc. for authority to acquire from TFG Communications Inc., as part of a corporate reorganization, the assets of CJRP-FM Saint John and its transmitter CJRP-FM-1 Rothesay. TFG Communications was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Byanne Holdings Inc., which in turn was owned and controlled by Robert Pritchard. The applicant stated that the reason for this corporate reorganization was the desire that the station and its growing success be linked with Pritchard’s name rather than with earlier ownership. The transaction would be effected by transferring the assets and the undertaking to Pritchard Broadcasting, a corporation wholly owned and controlled by Robert Pritchard. Following completion of the transaction, Pritchard Broadcasting would become the licensee of CJRP-FM and its transmitter CJRP-FM-1. This corporate reorganization would not affect the control of this undertaking, which would continue to be exercised by Robert Pritchard.

The on-air staff had Bob Pritchard and Kim Cookson hosting the morning show and Mark Henwood on afternoon drive. Mark Lee hosted a daily interview show called Grater Saint John Today (later replaced by John Campbell and Bob McVicker). Gram Brown and Bob Pritchard manned the news desk.


In January, the BBM ratings agency announced that they were re-defining the boundaries of the Saint John market which effectively cut the rated audience of the station in half, removing it as a competitive player. In response, Bob Pritchard reached out to the CRTC to increase the power of the station to 3,950 watts and change the frequency to 96.3 MHz. Despite following specific directions from the Commission, the application was denied (October 6) for what was later identified as submitting the wrong forms. In seeking an administrative redress of the decision, the CRTC advised Pritchard to resubmit the primary form from one requesting a power increase to different form requesting a new radio station license, which was done. This was process was later rejected by the CRTC as an incomplete application because the Commission deemed that the technical brief submitted with the initial application had exspired. In response, Pritchard asked the Federal Court of Appeal to review the decision on the basis that the CRTC was using undocumented rules and/or processes in applying the Broadcasting Act to LPFM radio stations in a manner not consistent with how it was being applied to other classes of radio licences. The goal was have the role of LPFM radio stations defined in terms of the broadcasting act, and to force the CRTC to document how LPFM radio stations should/could/behave within the terms of the Broadcasting Act. The Federal Court declined to hear the Appeal on the basis that the allotted time to appeal a CRTC decision had expired. 


On April 21, CJRP-FM Legends 103 was taken off the air for technical reasons and subsequently sold to Jim Houssen, the owner of a Christian station in Moncton, and re-branded “Where Country Meets the Cross”.

On December 5, the CRTC held a non-appearing hearing for the application by Houssen to purchase the asserts of CJRP and change the format to one of religious music without a talk commitment.


On February 3, the CRTC approved an application by James Houssen (OBCI) for authority to acquire from Pritchard Broadcasting Inc. the assets of CJRP-FM Saint John and its transmitter CJRP-FM-1 Rothesay. The Commission also approved the applicant’s request to amend the licence in order to remove the spoken word requirement and replace it with a requirement to broadcast Christian music.

CJRP became known as CKO-2 Christian Country (this was not a change of call letters).


Mark Lee passed away November 19 at the age of 68. He most recently did a talk show on CJRP, but had also worked at WDRW in Augusta, GA (for entertainer James Brown), CFBC-AM-FM and CIOK. 

The story continues elsewhere…
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