CHCM-AM, VOCM, Marystown

Stingray Group Inc.

CHCM-AM201874010,000Stingray Group Inc.
CHCM-AM200074010,000Newcap Inc.
CHCM-AM196274010Colonial Broadcasting System


The Colonial Broadcasting System Limited opened CHCM Marystown on May 23 as a semi-satellite of VOCM in St. John’s. CHCM operated on a frequency of 560 kHz and had a daytime power of 1,000 watts and night-time power of 500 watts. The station was developed to serve Marystown and the Burin Peninusula…a part of the province identified as a potential growth area. The studios, offices and transmitter were located in one building – a residential-type bungalow which fitted in with the suburban surroundings. 


CHCM subscribed to the Standard Broadcast News service. SBN received direct feeds from NBC New York by broadband.


CHCM received permission to increase power to 10,000 watts full-time. The increase went into effect later in the year from a new transmitting plant located six miles from Marystown.


CHCM was authorized to decrease night-time power to 5,000 watts. Daytime power would remain at 10,000 watts.


CHVO Carbonear signed on in October. In addition to receiving some programming from VOCM St. John’s, CHCM now also simulcast some of the CHVO schedule.


Colonial Broadcasting System Ltd. was now also operating under the name Radio Newfoundland Ltd.

The application by Colonial to swap the frequencies of CHVO Carbonear and CHCM Marystown was denied. The CRTC ruled the application failed to demonstrate that a switch from 850 kHz to 560 kHz for CHVO would give adequate service to off-shore oil rigs, as claimed. It did feel that CHVO would provide a better signal to St. John’s, but the station was licensed to serve the Conception Bay area only. CHCM’s proposed move from 560 kHz to 850 kHz, with a nighttime power boost to 10,000 watts, was dependent on approval of the CHVO proposal.


The CHVO-CHCM frequency swap was applied for again. It was also turned down again. The CRTC said the proposal would give Colonial three strong signals in St. John’s and suggested CHVO look at an FM rebroadcaster as a way of improving its coverage area.


The CHCM building was expanded. The new facility was built around the existing operation. The station now operated from two floors. The second floor housed all on-air operations…master control room, production control room, two announce studios, newsroom, music library and announcer’s office. First floor was home to reception, manager’s office, sales, program director, engineering, test centre, emergency generator, storage and washrooms. All equipment was stereo although the station was not transmitting in stereo. Equipment included McCurdy control boards and turntables, Revox tape machines, and Fidelipac cart decks.


The CRTC turned down an application by Radio Newfoundland Ltd. to change the frequency of CHCM from 560 to 740 kHz and to increase night-time power from 5,000 to 10,000 watts. An accompanying application to change the frequency of CHVO Carbonear from 850 to 560 kHz and increase full-time power from 5,000 to 10,000 watts was also turned down. 


On June 1, the CRTC approved the application to amend the licence for CHCM by changing the frequency from 560 kHz to 740 kHz, and by increasing the night-time transmitter power from 5,000 watts to 10,000 watts. The Commission noted that the licensee also proposed to operate the CHCM transmitter from the site previously used by the former CBNM (740) Marystown, using technical facilities purchased from the CBC. The licensee indicated that these amendments would result in improved service to southern Newfoundland. Also approved today by the CRTC, VOCM’s application to change the frequency for CHVO Spaniard’s Bay/ Harbour Grace from 850 kHz to 560 kHz. The licensee had indicated that the CHVO application was contingent upon approval of the CHCM application.


On February 16, the CRTC approved the applications to amend the licences for CHCM Marystown and CKGA Gander by changing their program source to local programming and programs received from VOCM St. John’s. CKGA was now broadcasting 49 hours of local programming per week with the remainder of its schedule originating from VOCM.

By this time CHCM was broadcasting 62 hours and 50 minutes of local programming per week with the remainder of its schedule coming from VOCM St. John’s. 


NewCap announced plans to buy all VOCM Radio Newfoundland stations (VOCM-AM/Magic 97 St. John’s, CKVO Clarenville, CHVO Carbonear, CHCM Marystown, CKGA Gander, CKCM Grand Falls/Windsor and CKIM Baie Verte). The deal would bring the VOCM stations together with Newcap’s CJYQ group in the province. 


Newcap Broadcasting Ltd. purchased CHCM and the other VOCM stations. 


Russ Murphy was general manager. Gary Myles was program director. Fred Dodge was morning man. 


In January, Gary Mosher was laid off due to the introduction of computer automation. Part-timer Stephen Hollett would cover off weather and news on weekend shifts. In May, Fred Dodge left the station. Stephen Hollett stepped up to cover the evening shift as Gary Myles became the morning man July. Ginger Walsh was hired as a new announcer for the evening shift.


In November, Greg Smith was hired to replace Ginger Walsh as the Evening shift announcer.


On May 28, the CRTC renewed the licence of CHCM until August 31, 2016.


In September, CHCM dropped all local programming to simulcast VOCM St. John’s 100%. Steele Communications cited the economic conditions in the province and changing consumer media habits for the realignment. Six jobs were lost in station closures across the province.


On May 15, the historic CHCM building was demolished. In 2016, programming for Marystown, Grand Falls and Stephenville had been consolidated out of St. John’s with the simulcast of VOCM.


On October 23, the CRTC approved an application by Newfoundland Capital Corporation Limited, on behalf of Newcap Inc. and its licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, for authorization to effect a change in the ownership and effective control of various radio and television broadcasting undertakings in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, so that effective control of the undertakings would be exercised by Eric Boyko (Stingray Digital Group Inc.). Stingray took ownership of the stations just a few days later.


On July 4, the CRTC approved CHCM’s conversion to the FM band, operating on 88.3 MHz with an ERP of 59,300 watts and EHAAT of 186.1 metres (non-directional). 20 hours of local programming would be broadcast per week with the remainder coming from VOCM 590 in St, John’s.

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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