CKCH-FM, New Country 103.5, Sydney

Stingray Group Inc.

CKCH-FM2018103.526,500Stingray Group Inc.
CKCH-FM2012103.526,500Newcap Inc.
CKCH-FM2008103.526,500Barry Maxwell Martin


On July 6, the CRTC approved the application by Barry Maxwell Martin, on behalf of a company to be incorporated, for a broadcasting licence to operate new FM radio programming undertakings to serve Sydney. Martin is a resident of Sydney. He submitted that the proposed station would be an integral part of the Sydney community because it would be locally owned and operated. He proposed to operate the new station on a frequency of 103.5 MHz with an effective radiated power of 26,500 watts. It would offer a Rock music format targeted to the 25 to 54 demographic with a median age of 40. In each broadcast week, Martin’s proposed station would broadcast a minimum of 123 hours of local programming. It would offer 113 hours of live-to-air programming weekly. There was one commercial licensee serving the Sydney radio market, namely Maritime Broadcasting. CKPE-FM offered an Adult Contemporary format that generally appealed primarily to females aged between 35 and 54. CJCB offered a Country format that usually captured a loyal audience of adults in the 25 to 54 demographic. CHER offered a Classics Hits format, which served those between the ages of 25 and 54. CHER had been authorized to convert to the FM band. In addition to the Martin application, the CRTC also approved an application by Newcap Inc. Applications by Andrew Newman and HFX Broadcasting were turned down.


The new station began its required test period on May 15 by playing TV theme songs. CKCH-FM 103.5 (Today’s Best Country – 103.5 FM – The Eagle) signed on the air June 20 at 8:00 a.m. Studios and offices were at 5 Dethridge Drive (Suite 3), Sydney River. The on-air line-up featured Smitty in the Morning, Jay Bedford (10-2), Alex Morrison (2-6), Scott Roberts, and Allan MacKay. Elizabeth Patterson was part of the morning show. Barry Martin was general manager and Jay Bedford was music director.


Dwayne Sawchyn was promoted to Regional Sales Manager, Newcap Maritimes (six markets with 10 stations in NS, NB and PEI), and was based in Halifax. He had been Retail Sales Supervisor at CFRQ-FM/CKUL-FM Darmouth/Halifax.


Ian Smith left The Early Show at 1035 The Eagle (CKCH). He had been with the station since it launched in June of 2008. Jay Bedford moved in to the vacant chair to join Jay McNeil and Nikki Sullivan. Eagles play by play announcer Kyle Moore would fill in at afternoon drive until hockey season.


The CRTC approved the change to the ownership and effective control of 3221809 Nova Scotia Ltd. from a control exercised by Barry Maxwell Martin to a control exercised by Harold Steel (Newcap Inc.). 3221809 was licensee of CKCH-FM. It was announced that Dan Gallant, General Manager/General Sales Manager at 92.3 Fred FM would move within Newcap to launch the company’s new Miramichi station. Succeeding Gallant in Fredericton would be Dave Newbury, moving from his GM position at The Giant Sydney. Succeeding Newbury as GM at The Giant and just-acquired 103.5 The Eagle – GSM Rob Redshaw.


On February 5, the CRTC approved an application by Newcap Inc. for authority to acquire from 3221809 Nova Scotia Ltd. as part of a corporate reorganization, the assets of CKCH-FM.


Early in the year, CKCH changed branding from The Eagle to New Country 103.5.


In August, Jay Bedford (68), music director, PD and morning show host at New Country 103.5, marked 50 years in radio. His first radio job was at CKJL St. Jerome. He later worked at CJFX Antigonish, and stations in Alberta and Ontario, before moving to Cape Breton in 1971.

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.

The story continues elsewhere…
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