CJCB-AM, Country Favorites, Sydney

Maritime Broadcasting System Ltd.

CJCB-AM2019127010,000 / 1,350Maritime Broadcasting System Ltd.
CJCB-AM1997127010,000Maritime Broadcasting System Ltd.
CJCB-AM1990127010,000Celtic Broadcasting Ltd. (Fundy Cable Ltd.)
CJCB-AM1971127010,000Celtic Investments Ltd. (Nathanson Family)
CJCB-AM194612705,000/1,000Eastern Broadcasters Ltd.
CJCB-AM194112701,000Eastern Broadcasters Ltd. (Nathanson Family)
CJCB-AM193412401,000Nate Nathanson
CJCB-AM1928880500Nate Nathanson


J.A. Nathaniel "Nate" Nathanson

Nate Nathanson

Nathaniel Nathanson wanted to sell more records, phonographs and radios at his book and music store in Sydney. He stocked a good selection of radios and sales were good despite limited reception of signals. On a good night you could pick up three or four U.S. stations, but only after dark and only when reception conditions were right. Nate, as his friends called Nathanson, felt radio sales would be much better if Sydney had its own radio station. So Nate bought a ship’s radio and had it altered to work on land. Radio Station CJCB officially went on the air February 14. It was on the air for one or two hours at lunch time and three hours in the evening. Power was only 50 watts. The “CB” in the call sign represented Cape Breton. CJCB made a frequency change to 890 kHz.


On February 8th, a night clerk of a Sydney hotel was murdered, and CJCB was asked by the police to broadcast a description of the occupant of the hotel room where the murder occurred. On the following day, a man applied for work at a lumber camp at nearby Point Edward. He noticed they had a radio and wondered why it was not in use. He said he knew something about radio and offered to fix it. He got it working and one of the first things they heard was the description of the wanted man. One of the men listening slipped away and called Sydney police who arrived, captured the man who was later convicted and executed.


CJCB built a new transmitter house at South Bar and installed a 1,000 watt transmitter. On December 25th, the station began broadcasting on 1240 kHz.


On September 5, Mrs. Beryl Markham, the first woman to fly the Atlantic from East to West heading for New York was very low on fuel due to strong westerly head winds, came in low over the beach and landed in a bog at Bauline, near Sydney, nose into the ground. CJCB was on the scene and broadcast an interview with her that was carried world wide.


CJCB began broadcasting on shortwave on the 49 metre band with 1000 watts via CJCX.


Disaster struck at the Princess Colliery in December of 1938, when a “manrake rope” broke and dozens of miners were dumped in a heap at the bottom of the shaft. Twenty-one men were killed and many injured. Up to the minute news of survivors was heard over CJCB and a couple of evenings later the station launched an appeal for funds to help victims of the disaster and in just a few hours till very late that night, $ 14,000. was raised, a fortune in those depression days. Local programs that held listeners’ attention were “The Coronation Cruise”, “Casino” and “The Cotter’s Saturday Night” the latter being heard across Canada. CJCB became a United Press subscriber.


Under the Havana Treaty, CJCB moved from 1240 to 1270 kHz (Class III-A) on March 29. Power was 1,000 watts.




On December 15, CJCB increased daytime power to 5,000 watts. Night power was still 1,000 watts. Corporate name listed as Eastern Broadcasters Ltd., 318 Charlotte St., Transmitter: South Bar Rd., Cape Breton.


CJCB was granted a 250 watt FM licence.


CJCB was given permission to use an emergency transmitter. The CBC opened its own station in Sydney. CBI became the Trans-Canada station and CJCB switched to the CBC Dominion network.


Don MacIssac joined CJCB’s news department. Approval was given for the transfer of control of Eastern Broadcasters Ltd. from N. Nathanson to J. Marven Nathanson and Norris L. Nathanson.


CJCB filed an application for the operation of a television station and it was approved by the CBC Board of Governors. Guy Royal joined CJCB as an announcer in July.


CJCB Television was launched in October.


Don McIssac did sports. Ed Smith was a newscaster. Bill Davis was the morning host. Guy Royal left for CKCW Moncton.


N. Nathanson was president of the company and Norris L. Nathanson was CJCB’s manager. CJCB-FM was opened.


The Board of Broadcast Governors approved the formation of the Atlantic Broadcasting System with affiliates CKCW Moncton, CFNB Fredericton, CFCY Charlottetown, CHNS Halifax, CFBC Saint John and CJCB Sydney.


The Trans-Canada and Dominion networks merged into a single CBC radio service. With CBI already serving the area, CJCB was no longer required to provide CBC programming.


CJCB 1270 increased power to 10,000 watts full-time (directional at night) using two towers.


Nate Nathanson, the founder of CJCB-AM-FM and TV passed away on February 28. His sons Marven and Norris took control of the company. Donald Brown started his broadcasting career at CJCB.


Don McIsaac was news director.


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


On April 29, Cape Breton Broadcasters Ltd. was authorized to change its name to Celtic Investments Ltd. with no change in ownership. This came with the sale of CJCB-TV to CJCH Limited (CHUM Ltd.).


CJCB received permission to delete the operation of its shortwave transmitter CJCX.


CJCB marked its 55th birthday by going AM Stereo.


Dave Wilson became news director at CJCB, replacing Russ White who was now working as a reporter and anchor.


Paul Knott left CJCB to host the evening show at CIGO Port Hawkesbury.


Dave Wilson was news director.


CJCB celebrated 60 years on the air in February. The station had come a long way in all of those years. CJCB was now broadcasting in stereo and operating with a power of 10,000 watts. Stereo-equipped studios, a satellite dish to bring in news and other programming, and computers to improve efficiency were only part of a continuing program to keep CJCB and its 50 staff members up to date. The Nathanson sons were still involved in the business. Marven was vice-president of operations of the Atlantic Television System, present owners of CJCB-TV, and president of Celtic Investments, owners of CJCB and CKPE-FM. Norris was vice-president of Celtic and general manager of the radio stations.


On September 19, the CRTC approved the transfer of effective control of Celtic Investments Ltd., owner of CJCB and CKPE-FM, to Fundy II Ltd. (Wm. C. Stanley, owner of CFBC & CJYC Saint John), for $5,750,000.


T.C. “Robbie” Robertson died July 11 at the age of 88. He joined CJCB when it went on the air in 1929, and except for a four year stint at CJFX Antigonish, remained with CJCB until 1991. In 1987, he was named Broadcaster of the Year by the AAB.


Donnie Brown was Vice President and General Manager of CJCB-CKPE-FM.


After months of rumours, Fundy Cable announced (March 3) it would concentrate on cable. The company reached an agreement in principle to sell CJCB/CKPE-FM (Sydney) to Maritime Broadcasting (which had a minority interest in CHER) and CFBC/CJYC-FM (Saint John) to Newcap.


The deal for Maritime Broadcasting to purchase CJCB/CKPE-FM Sydney and CFBC/C98 FM Saint John from Fundy Communications closed May 1. Maritime’s Merv Russell said the environmental issue at Sydney had been satisfied to all parties. Fundy would retain ownership of the building housing the two radio stations at Sydney. Donnie Brown would stay in his general manager’s position at Sydney and George Ferguson would retain his GM’s role at the stations in Saint John. On April 30, Maritime had just closed on its deal to purchase of Neil MacMullen’s Annapolis Valley Radio. Following the purchase by MBS, CJCB/CKPE saw eight layoffs in late June: four from news, three from programming, and one from accounting. Included from the programming side: music director/swing announcer George Gregory. Losses on the news side included 23-year veteran Dave Wilson, who was news director and morning talker, and sports director Dave LeBlanc. Program directors Donnie Graham (CJCB) and Fred Denny (CKPE), no longer PDs, now reported to CHER Sydney morning man Dan Barton, who was now also now operations manager at CJCB/CKPE-FM. The stations would also undergo format changes with CJCB to become all-country while CKPE-FM would adopt light rock. News and sportscasts were also being reduced. The format changes took place in June. The Nova Scotia House of Assembly gave approval to a resolution condemning the layoffs at CJCB/CKPE-FM. The House protested the CRTC’s failure to regulate broadcasting in a way that protected jobs and ensured service to communities in Nova Scotia. The resolution cited similar job cuts at other Maritime Broadcasting stations, saying the commission allowed MBS to continue to accumulate radio licences despite its record of laying off employees and reducing service to the community.


Don Sharpe left CJCB-CKPE-FM at the end of June because his mid-day shift became automated.


Sean Russell, general manager at CHER, added operations manager duties for CJCB and K94 to his responsibilities. He succeeded Dan Barton who had moved on to Telemedia’s stations in Truro.


CJCB’s long-running series Celtic Serenade, hosted since its inception by Donnie Campbell, marked its 35th anniversary.


Peter Cotter died at age 61. He had a news career in Maritimes radio (CIGO Port Hawkesbury, CFCY Charlottetown, CJCB and CHER Sydney) that spanned the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. He’d spent the last 15 years with the Cape Breton Post.


On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CJCB until March 31, 2012.


On March 20, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CJCB to August 31, 2012. On August 28, the licence was administratively renewed to December 31, 2012. On December 19, the CRTC renewed the licence for CJCB to August 31, 2019.


Dave Wilson, who was News Director and morning talk show host at CJCB Sydney before running for, and winning, a seat in the Nova Scotia legislature, and who served four months in jail for expenses fraud that fed his gambling addiction, was now working at The Coast 89.7 Glace Bay in the riding he used to represent. Wilson said he was doing a three-month term at the station as part of a government program that integrated older workers back into the workforce.


Norris Nathanson (84) passed away December 9. He was GM and co-owner of CJCB and CKPE, along with his brother Marvin, until the stations were sold to Fundy Broadcasting in 1990. The brothers took over the stations from their father, Nate, who started CJCB in 1929 in an effort to sell more radios at his Sydney book and music store.

Donnie Campbell moved his show Celtic Serenade, which he hosted on CJCB for more than 40 years, to CKOA-FM Glace BayS. His last CJCB show aired on December 25. 


On May 28, the CRTC gave CJCB permission to reduce night time power from 10,000 to 1,350 watts. Day power would remain 10,000 watts. CJCB had been operating at 1,350 watts at night for several years following an antenna system failure. No listener complaints were received about poor reception so it was decided to make the power reduction permanent to keep operational costs at a minimum.

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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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