CKHJ-AM, Pure Country 103.5, Fredericton

Bell Media Inc.

CKHJ-AM2013126010,000Bell Media
CKHJ-AM2002126010,000Astral Media Inc.
CIHI-AM1977126010,000Telemedia Communications Inc.


James W. Ross was granted a licence for a new AM station at Fredericton. It would broadcast on a frequency of 1400 kHz and have a daytime power of 10,000 watts and 1,000 watts at night. Two competing applications for FM stations were denied.


James Ross applied to change the facilities for his proposed CIHI, scheduled to launch in August. He wanted to change the frequency from 1400 kHz to 1260 kHz, increase the night-time power to 10,000 watts so that it would be 10 kW full-time, and use a different transmitter site. These changes were approved by the CRTC.

CIHI began operations on August 19, and had an Adult Contemporary format.
Fredericton’s second private station was owned by Radio One Ltd. (Jim Ross and Geoff Rivett).

Studios were in the Radio One Building at 364 Argyle Street. Owner Jim Ross was also a real estate developer and had acquired the Argyle Street property. It was a 3-storey building in the older section of the city and had been a turn of the century boot and shoe factory. Ross saved it from demolition by completely renovating it, preserving remarkably well, the architecture of the earlier era.

CIHI’s transmitter site was located about five miles north of the city and had direct line of site for the STL (provided the saw mill next to the towers kept its saw dust pile down). The site was located on a piece of land bordered by the Nashwaaksis stream. CIHI used CCA transmitters – 10,000 watt main and 1,000 watt standby.


Radio One Ltd., owner of CIHI, launched CKHJ-FM on July 15. To make room for the new station the 364 Argyle facility was renovated. AM master control had the following equipment: the McCurdy woodwork and pedestal package with 8816 console, Technics CB6 speakers, ITC 3C cart, 2 Revox PR99s, SP10 MKII turntables with S220 tone arms, RS-M263 Technics cassette deck, Heathkit weather computer, VHF radio and AKG C414EB microphone. The AM and FM production control rooms: 8808 consoles, McCurdy pedestals and woodwork, SP10 MKII turntables and S220 tone arms, RS M263 Technics cassettes, SB6 Technics speakers, PR99 Revox reel to reels and ITC Pr and P cart units (mono in AM stereo in FM). Richard Cleveland was director of engineering.

Dan Stark was production director. Norm Foster was CIHI’s morning man. He went on to become one of Canada’s best known playwrights. 


Wayne Dion, CIHI’s program director between 1977 and 1980, returned this year as the station’s operations manager. Pat Donelon left as general manager to form his own business.


Wayne Macdonald was appointed program director.


John Bulger left CIHI to join the CKCW Moncton news department.


Wayne Dion was operations manager. Kathy Hicks left CIHI news for CHTN Charlottetown. Rob Zso left for CUE 101 Smiths Falls, Eric Stafford left for Rock 103 in Moncton and newsman Kevin Bissett moved to CFBC Saint John. Shawna McKinnon joined for mid-days from CFAN Newcastle.

Studios and offices were relocated from 364 Argyle St. to the old Fredericton Medical Centre at 206 Rockwood Avenue and new towers were erected. CIHI began broadcasting in stereo on February 1, 1988.


On April 29, Radio One Ltd. was given approval to add low power transmitters for CIHI at New Maryland (95.1 MHz – 50 watts) and Oromocto (103.5 MHz – 50 watts). 


CIHI began simulcasting certain parts of its broadcast day (midday, evening and overnight during the week and most of the weekend) on CJCJ-AM Woodstock. Total time amounted to 118 hours per week.


On March 31, Radio One took (CIHI) over the operations (not ownership) of CFNB-AM (owned by Radio Atlantic). CFNB moved its administrative offices to Radio One’s location, at 206 Rockwood Avenue later in the year.


On September 17, Telemedia Communications Inc. was given approval to purchase Radio One Ltd. and Radio Atlantic (CIBX) Ltd. (owner of the former CFNB-AM, now CIBX-FM).


CIHI became CKHJ. Sister station CKHJ-FM became CFXY. 


Randy McKeen was news director for CFXY-CKHJ-CFXY-CIBX.


On April 19, Astral Media Inc. was given approval to purchase Telemedia Radio Atlantic Inc., owner of CFXY-FM, CIBX-FM and CKHJ Fredericton. 


On November 14 the CRTC gave oldies formatted CKJH permission to broadcast a lower level of Canadian popular music. 


On January 26, the CRTC approved a change in the authorized contours of CKHJ-2-FM Oromocto. Effective radiated power would increase from 50 watts to 250 watts. Effective antenna height would decrease from 27 metres to 23.5 metres. The class of channel would change from 278LP to 278A1. Astral Media Radio Atlantic Inc., owner of CKHJ, said the changes were necessary due to audience fragmentation caused by increased interference from out-of-market stations. The changes would also allow the licensee to improve the quality of its signal. 


Ryan Zimmerman became operations manager at Astral Fredericton. He had been with Astral Regina. Astral Fredericton’s Group brand manager, Tom Blizzard, was no longer with the operation. He was a 34-year veteran at the Astral stations in New Brunswick.

Hugh Morrisson returned to Astral Atlantic Fredericton October 3 as head of technical services after a decade at MBS Saint John. He succeeded Dick Cleveland who retired October 20. 


On August 8, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CKHJ Fredericton, and its transmitters CKHJ-1-FM New Maryland and CKHJ-2-FM Oromocto, until 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 CKHJ-FM.


On March 31, Ian Steeves retired from FOX FM, Capital FM, Country KHJ after 39 years in the sales department. He was an original staff member when CIHI 1260 (now Country KHJ) signed on in 1977.


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. CKHJ changed from KHJ to Pure Country 103.5.

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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