CKDH-FM, 101.7 CKDH FM, Amherst

Maritime Broadcasting System Ltd.

CKDH-FM2011101.723,000Maritime Broadcasting System Ltd.
CKDH-AM19899001,000Maritime Broadcasting System Ltd.
CKDH-AM195714001,000Amherst Broadcasting Co.


Amherst Broadcasting Co. received approval from the CBC and the Department of Transport to operate a new AM station at Amherst. It would broadcast with a power of 250 watts on a frequency of 1400 kHz. CKDH signed on the air on October 25. It was an independent station with no network affiliation.


The CBC Board of Governors recommended for approval a revision of authorized share distribution effecting a change of control to Messrs. J.A. Langille, W.R. Nelson and T.A. Giles by Amherst Broadcasting Co. Ltd. The Board said it intended to watch for improvements in programming which would relate reasonably to the assurance given by the applicant. Richard (Dick) Boudreau was an announcer. Joan Watson was at CKDH.


Power increased to 1,000 watts from 250 watts and the station was now operating on a frequency of 900 kHz. At this time CKDH was not only the top station in Amherst but it was also the most listened to station in Moncton, N.B., 45 miles away!


CKDH was acquired April 1 by Tantramar Broadcasting Ltd. J. A. Manning was president. He also owned CKCL at Truro. Tom Toner was manager. Mike Duffy was news director. CKDH was authorized to add standby transmitter.


Fred W. Arenburg was appointed general manager. He had been with CHNS-AM-FM Halifax for the past 8 years.


CKDH expanded from its original four or five rooms to take up half of the seconf floor of the Casey Building – it’s original home.


On June 20, the application by J. A. Manning to sell Tantramar Broadcasting Ltd. to a company represented by Mervyn C. Russell was denied. The purchasing company was controlled by Jack Schoone and J. Irving Zucker and the application was denied because this company already had a strong presence in the region.


J. A. Manning was given approval on March 14 to sell Tantramar Broadcasting Ltd. to Bathurst Broadcasting Co. Ltd.


On March 26, Bathurst Broadcasting Co. Ltd. was given permission to sell Tantramar Broadcasting Ltd. to W. Geoffrey de Gannes & Fred W. Arenburg.


CKDH marked its 30th anniversary on October 25. Mid-day announcer and music director Dave March moved to CBD St. John. Ron Bickle took over the mid-day slot. Roger Lorette moved to the afternoon drive position. Morning man Ian MacPhee remained as program director. Bickle and Lorette served as co-music directors and Bickle retained his promotions director position. Roger White and Tim Cormier took over other full-time on-air positions and Al Rutherford was doing some swing announcing.


Fred Arenburg and Geoff des Gannes reached a deal to sell CKDH to Maritime Broadcsting (Maclean-Hunter). Arenburg was also the station’s morning man at this time.


On March 1, the CRTC approved the sale of Tantramar Broadcasting Ltd. by Fred Arenburg and Geoff de Gannes Ltd. to Maritime Broadcasting Co., a subsidiary of Maclean Hunter Ltd. The new owner proposed to increase station operation to 24-hours, and to replace the transmitter, rebuild the tower and improve the ground system. The studios would also be renovated and studio equipment would be upgraded. The purchase was completed on May 1. Within weeks of the purchase major changes were being made to update the facilities and programming. CKDH was still operating from the same building that it first went on the air from in 1957, and 80% of local tuning was now to stations from outside the market. On July 17, CKDH signed on the air with greatly streamlined programming and a combined Adult Contemporary / Contemporary Hits sound. The old format was a mix of Country and Easy Listening. In mid-August, a Nautel 1 kw transmitter took over from the old Collins transmitter that had been in service since 1957. A new 185 foot tower was installed to replace the station’s oldest one, put up in 1957. The ground system was still in good shape after being replaced about five years earlier. The improved signal was now reaching a large portion of northern Nova Scotia, along with southeastern New Brunswick and western Prince Edward Island. While the transmitter site was being done, work was also underway at the studios. Phase one was the construction of new sales offices which would first be used as a temporary on-air studio and newsroom. It went on the air November 28. While the old MCR and newsroom were gutted, work continued on the business offices. Ron Bickle was program director.


Construction work at the studios and offices continued in January and was pretty much completed in February. A new Ward-Beck R1400 console was put in place and other new equipment was installed in the studios. Response to CKDH’s new sound was gratifying, with a 40% increase in total hours tuned from the Fall of 1989 to the Spring of 1990.


Following the purchase of Maclean-Hunter Ltd. by Rogers Communications Inc., Maritime Broadcasting was sold to an investor group, including Maritime’s President, Mervyn Russell, along with Robert Pace and J. Gerald Godsoe.


On April 24, the CRTC approved Maritime Broadcasting’s application to convert CKDH to the FM band. The new station would broadcast on a frequency of 101.7 MHz and have an average effective radiated power of 18,700 watts. The new operation would maintain CKDH’s Adult Contemporary format targeting adults between the ages of 35 and 54, with a particular focus on women. About 100 hours per broadcast week would be devoted to local programming.


On June 17, the CRTC approved the application by Maritime Broadcasting System Limited to change the technical parameters of CKDH-FM by increasing the average effective radiated power from 18,700 to 23,000 watts (maximum ERP from 40,000 to 50,000 watts), by decreasing the effective height of antenna above average terrain from 32 to 16 meters and by relocating its transmitter. MBS stated that the relocation of its transmitter was necessary because hydro poles serving the transmitter were brought down as a result of a recent storm. The licensee therefore proposed to move its antenna and transmitter to the station’s building, which also housed the emergency generator, thereby ensuring uninterrupted radio service to the residents of Amherst.  CKDH-FM 101.7 began broadcasting. In time, it would replace CKDH 900. With the move to FM, the format changed slightly from Adult Contemporary to Hot Adult Contemporary. CKDH 900 left the air November 17. It was now on FM only.


Roger White, who had been with CKDH since 1986 and worked his way up to General Manager/General Sales Manager, left June 28 to become GM/GSM at 99.9 myFM Gananoque. In August, CKDH changed to a Country music format from Hot Adult Contemporary.

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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