CFBK-FM, Moose FM, Huntsville

Vista Broadcast Group Inc.

CFBK-FM2012105.55,000Vista Radio Ltd.
CFBK-FM2007105.55,000Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc.
CFBK-FM1994105.55.000Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Ltd. (Byers)
CFBK-FM1987105.55,000Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Ltd.
CFBK-AM19796301,000Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Ltd. (Duchesne)
CFBK-AM19776301,000Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Ltd.
CKAR-AM19766301,000Eastern (Schoone) buys Countryside
CKAR-AM19616301,000Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Ltd.
CKAR-AM19585901,000Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Ltd.


Lloyd G. Olan applied for an AM licence at Huntsville. He proposed to use 1340 kHz with a power of 250 watts. 


Lloyd Olan applied for permission to change the frequency and increase the power for his proposed CKAR-AM. The station would now use 590 kHz rather than 1340 kHz and power would be 1,000 watts rather than 250 watts. CKAR was licensed last year but never got on the air because its equipment manufacturers advised that 250 watts would not service more than a 20 mile daytime / 5 mile night time radius around Huntsville. This was the reason for the change of frequency and power increase. The changes would allow CKAR to serve the Huntsville-Bracebridge-Parry Sound region. Gordon Smith of CFOR Orillia opposed the application because he said his station already served the Bracebridge-Parry Sound area. Hal Cooke of CKEY Toronto also opposed the application because the move to 590 would knock out the possibility of a night time power increase for CKEY, operating on 580 kHz. The Huntsville technical changes were approved by the CBC Board of Governors.

The owners of the proposed new Huntsville station hired Robert J. “Bob” Dean from South Dakota to build and manage the station. He had built and operated seven radio stations in the United States. At one time he was offered a seat on the Federal Communications Commission, the American broadcast regulator. He turned the offer down when he was told he would have to sell his stations (he had two at the time) at a big loss. Dean devised and put into operation the “courtesy car” program. The Huntsville station planned to send such cars out through the lakes that dotted the region. The car operators were to conduct water craft courses with lessons going out over the air. It was because of this use of cars that the station would be known as CKAR (C-KAR to the locals – see-car). The area had a population of 60,000 but between May and November another 48,000 moved north to their cottages. The total “floating” population at season’s height was around 150,000.

Before the station went on the air most of the staff and management had been hired. Bob Dean was general manager of CKAR. Lloyd Olan was sales manager. He also served as company president and was a Huntsville appliance dealer. Norris Mackenzie of G.N. Mackenzie Ltd. was vice president. Frank McIlroy was commercial manager. Nadine Mosbough was music director and would handle women’s news. Jim Bishop (head of Huntsville arena) was sports director. CKAR had six announcers – all Ryerson Institute of Technology graduates – Robert Sher, Louis Gwartz, Gary Undershultz, Donald Wilcox (program director), Bruce Fortnum and Ted Darling. Copywriter Karen Hazard was also from Ryerson. In addition to Dean, Olan and Mackenzie, other company directors were – Alan D. Rogers (Toronto barrister) and Douglas M. Haig (of Barber, Mapp & Mapp, Toronto chartered accountants).

Ad: CKAR – We’re on the air with our – “Muskoka Monopoly” June 14. Has 3 courtesy cars equipped with shortwave transmitters for on-the-spot broadcasting anywhere in the area. Have you ever seen a tourist carrying a TV set? But they ALL have Radios! / Ad slogan: CKAR Muskoka-Parry Sound – 590 kcs – 1000 watts – The station always on the go.

Prime Minister Diefenbaker’s wife Olive was among the 250 guests on hand for the opening of CKAR on June 14. Mrs. Diefenbaker pressed the button that officially launched the station. This was a return to Huntsville for the PM’s wife. She used to teach school in the town. Mrs. Diefenbaker said, “I hope you will find in your new Radio Station one new way of communicating to others the unique nature of this country”. Freelance announcer Herb May was master of ceremonies at the opening. After Mrs. Diefenbaker’s remarks, congratulatory messages were delivered by Huntsville Mayor Donald Lough; Donald Aitkens, M.P. for Muskoka-Parry Sound, and the mayors of Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Parry Sound. A trio led by Lou Snider provided a musical interlude. That was followed by the introduction of C-KAR’s president, L.G. Olan, and station manager Bob Dean.

CKAR was owned and operated by Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Ltd. On 590 kHz, it operated with 1,000 watts full-time, using a single directional pattern. The transmitter site was located along the Muskoka River, southeast of Huntsville. Studios were in downtown Huntsville.

Satellite station CKAR-1 in Parry Sound also went on the air this year.

Bud Riley joined the CKAR on-air staff from CFOR Orillia. Other staffers/staff updates: Katherine Dean was production director. Lou Leslie was news director. Karen Hazzard was women’s director and copy director. Doug Tipper was farm director. Dick Sienko was promotion director. Carolyn Jones was traffic manager. Murray Shields was chief operator and chief engineer.


Bud Riley left for CHOW Welland.


CKAR was a CBC affiliate and remained so after the Trans-Canada and Dominion networks consolidated into a single network.


CKAR’s application for a satellite station at Gravenhurst was denied. This was the second time they applied and were turned down.

G. Norris MacKenzie was President of Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Ltd. and Garth Thomas was Manager of CFBK. Thomas was also Sports Director and would continue to hold that title for many years to come. At this time, he was also program and production manager. Douglas Lennex was chief announcer. George Young was news director.


CKAR’s application for a satellite station at Gravenhurst was denied. This was the second time they had applied and were turned down.

G. Norris MacKenzie was President of Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Ltd. and Garth Thomas was Manager of CFBK. Thomas was also Sports Director and would continue to hold that title for many years to come.


Countryside stations slogan: Home town radio – specializing in home town reporting, home town entertaining, home town interest, home town buying.


On June 12, CKAR was authorized to move studios and offices to 15 Main Street East.


Eastern Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (85%) and Gordon V. Marratto (15%) received approval to acquire CKOX Woodstock (100%), CJCS Stratford (100%), CFOR Orillia (100%), CKAR Huntsville and Parry Sound (87.9%) and CKMP Midland (51%) from Countryside Holdings Ltd. and T. G. Ferris. Eastern owned stations in the Maritimes and had a major interest in the Northern Broadcasting group in northern Ontario. Eastern Broadcasting Co. Ltd. was owned by Jack W. Schoone, J. Irving Zucker, and Gerald W. Kennedy. The CRTC noted that the new owners were to improve the technical quality and overall performance of the stations, appointing at least one local director for each. The stations would continue to operate under the Countryside banner. CKAR and CKAR-1 had operated under the Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Co. Ltd. name and would continue to do so.


On March 14, CKAR became CFBK. They had proposed to change call letters to CHUN but went with CFBK instead. CKAR-1 Parry Sound became CFBQ.


On August 28, approval was granted for the transfer of 99.3% of the common and 97.6% of the preferred shares of Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Ltd. by Countryside Holdings Ltd. (unit of Eastern Broadcasting) to Joseph F. Duchesne (on behalf of a company to be incorporated, which would continue to be known as Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Ltd.). Joe Duchesne took ownership of CFBK and CFBQ on September 17. He was president and general manager, and also became CFBK’s morning man.


Joe Duchesne was morning host at CFBK (6-9). He was followed from 9:00 to 1:00 by music director Scott Warnock. Steve Ward was on the air between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Program director Bill Donovan was on the air between 4 and 7 p.m. Tim Westin did the evening show (7-midnight) and was followed by Chris Williams. Chris Williams was really Bill Dulmage, who joined the announce staff in May. Other on-air names were Heather Thompson (news director), Morris Giroux (news), and Garth Thomas (sports).  Charlie Tryon was chief engineer.

CFBK installed a new McMartin 1 kw AM transmitter.


Bill Thorn joined in January to do Sunday mornings. Scott Warnock (music director) and Heather Thompson (news director) left. Roger Nixon became news director and Chris Williams became music director.

Some other names from the 1980-82 years: Bonnie Morrison (news), John Enright (news – of CFRB fame), Larry Hendrick (middays), Kevin Conroy (joined from CFTR where he was a board op and returned to that position after his time at CFBK), Tim Westin left for CKCK Regina. In time, Chris Williams moved to middays. Craig Martin came from CFBQ to do afternoons. CFBK was simulcast on CFBQ (evenings, overnights and parts of the weekend). 


New to CFBK: Lee Habinksi (from CKO-FM), Tom McColgan (Humber graduate), Paul Romanuk (Toronto free-lancer) and Brent Caupens (from CKOT Tillsonburg).


An application by Joseph F. Duchesne, owner of Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Ltd. for an FM licence at Bracebridge was denied on February 25. Duchesne proposed to initially rebroadcast CFBK, but by year five the new FM would provide 100% local programming.

CFBK’s sister station CFBQ in Parry Sound was sold by Joe Duchesne to Robert Bowland. CFBQ converted to FM and became CKLP.


On March 2, CFBK was authorized to move to the FM band, in order to overcome severe technical problems encountered on AM. It was proposed to operate the new station on a frequency of 97.7 MHz, with an effective radiated power of 5,000 watts. CFBK was told to consult with the Department of Communications in finding a more suitable frequency. CFBK-FM would have a Group 1, pop/rock (softer) format.

A few days later, the CRTC approved a joint application by Telemedia Communications Inc. and Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Limited for an FM station to serve Bracebridge. The new station would originate 49.5 hours a week of local programming and rebroadcast CFBK at other times.

CFBK-FM began broadcasting on 105.5 MHz with an effective radiated power of 5,000 watts in September.

CFBK-AM-630 left the air on December 31 at 12:00 a.m.

Kevin Morgan was news director.


South Muskoka Broadcasting Ltd., owned jointly by Telemedia Communications Inc., and Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Ltd., opened CFBG-FM in Bracebridge as a semi-satellite of CFBK-FM. 

Kevin Morgan left CFBK as news director to work at CFCH news in North Bay.


On July 9, approval was given to increase local programming on CFBG from 72 to 126 hours per week. As a result, the station would no longer receive programming from CFBK.


Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting received approval to rebroadcast CFBK programming over CFBG Bracebridge between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday thru Frdiay and 1 p.m. to midnight on weekends. 


On February 10, CFBG Bracebridge was authorized to reduce local programming from 80 to 42 hours a week. Non-local programming would originate with CFBK.

On December 1, CFBK was given approval to disaffiliate from the CBC radio network as soon as the CBC’s own transmitter was on the air in Huntsville.


On September 13, Pamika Broadcasting Ltd. (Joe Duchesne and family) was given approval to sell Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Ltd. to Ian B. Byers.


On November 7, the CRTC approved the sale of Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Ltd. (CFBK-FM) from Ian Byers to Christopher Grossman’s Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc.


On February 4 at 6:00 a.m., CFBK-FM was rebranded “Moose FM”. It had been known as 105.5 More FM. The new sound targeted adults 25-54 with a 60/40 female skew and featured an adult contemporary format with a classic twist. Studios and offices remained at 2-15 Main Street East. 


On June 1, the CRTC approved the application by Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Ltd. to increase CFBK-FM’s effective radiated power from 5,000 watts to 43,400 watts and to decrease the effective height of the antenna above average terrain to 147 metres. The changes would improve the signal to the west into the Almaguin Highlands in order to enhance service to a cluster of 27 very small communities. The changes would also greatly improve the reception and signal in areas that had limited or impeded signal due to very challenging terrain in the service area.


A launch party in Huntsville was held to open The New FM 105.5., Haliburton Broadcasting Group owners Christopher Grossman and Kimberley Ward, the station, formerly known as Moose FM 105.5. The 44,000 watt signal increase was approved by the CRTC and the station could now be heard south of Orillia west to Parry Sound, east to the Bancroft area and as far north as Sundridge. It would also serve Almaguin Highlands. The New FM 105.5 would feature the best adult contemporary music from the 70’s through to the present. 


On October 19, the CRTC approved the application by Vista Radio Ltd. for authority to acquire from Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. the assets of Haliburton’s AM and FM radio stations and their transmitters located in Bancroft, Barry’s Bay, Bolton, Bracebridge, Caledon, Cochrane, Elliot Lake, Espanola, Fort Erie, Haldimand, Haliburton, Hearst, Huntsville, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Kemptville, Niagara Falls, North Bay, Parry Sound, Prescott, St. Catharines, Stratford, Sturgeon Falls and Timmins. Vista was a corporation controlled by Westerkirk Capital Inc., in turn controlled by Thompson Investments Limited. CFBK-FM was among the stations acquired by Vista.


On May 9, CFBK rebranded as 105.5 Moose FM Huntsville’s World Class Rock.

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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