CFZM-AM, Zoomer Radio AM 740 96.7 FM, Toronto

Zoomermedia Ltd.

CFZM-AM201074050,000Zoomermedia Ltd.
CHWO-AM195612501,000CHWO Radio Ltd.
CHWO-AM195612501,000CHWO Radio Ltd.
CHWO-AM195612501,000CHWO Radio Ltd.
CHWO-AM195612501,000CHWO Radio Ltd.


Jean E. Caine
Jean Caine

Howard and Jean Caine’s dream to own a radio station began while working at CKOC Hamilton. He was a newscaster and she (then Jean Gillard), was the station’s women’s editor. The two eventually married. Jean’s radio experience actually went back to when she was nine years old, when she read the Lord’s Prayer on CHML. The couple planned to form a company consisting of radio advertising executives who lived in the Toronto suburban area. The proposal called for the use of 1250 kHz at Oakville. Power would be 1,000 watts day and 500 watts night, using a single directional pattern.

Howard C. Caine
Howard Caine

Howard C. Caine studied music, including voice-training, with the ultimate goal of going on the operatic stage. He moved in to broadcasting in November, 1937 with a temporary position at CKOC. The job included duty staff announcing, and continuing roles as an actor in two network broadcasts (Black Horse Tavern and What Price Loyalty) then being produced in Hamilton. Howard became permanent CKOC staffer in the summer of 1938…announcer, then chief announcer, continuity writer, and finally continuity-editor, in charge of a writing staff of five. He was chosen a number of times to broadcast on national and regional networks, various Victory Loan and Armed Services broadcasts. He left CKOC for the Royal Canadian Navy and was discharged in March of 1946. Immediately after that, he was employed by Jack Kent Cooke’s CKEY as assistant manager of Imperial Radio Productions. The job had him purchasing and selling transcribed radio programs and script services across Canada. The following year he moved to CKEY’s sales department. He then went to E.W. Reynolds & Co. to organize and administer the setting up of an enlarged radio department within their agency. After 14 months as their radio director, Caine moved to Vickers & Benson Ltd. as radio director of their Toronto office. Near the end of 1948, he moved on to work for Foster Hewitt, planning and organizing the new CKFH. On January 1, 1951, he officially joined Hewitt as manager of CKFH, and the station signed on the air at the end of February. Caine had been manager there ever since. This time with Hewitt gave Howard Caine the experience he needed to run his own station.

Howard Caine’s associates in the application for the new Oakville station were: Andrew Arthur McDermott – Sales manager at Radio & Television Sales Inc. He first got his interest in radio while editing western Canada’s first radio pages in the Regina Star. In co-operation with CHWC, which shared time with CKCK, he organized one of Canada’s first amateur programs. He also did daily newscasts. Andy later worked at newspapers in various parts of the country. He joined the RCAF in 1942. In late 1945, he was demobilized. McDermott then became general manager of Horance N. Stovin’s radio rep firm in 1946. Seven years later he took up his current post. Robin Christopher Armstrong was employed as a salesman for H.N. Stovin & Co., between 1947-49 and 1951-53. From 1949 to 1951 he was employed as radio director for the McConnell, Eastman & Co. Ltd. ad agency. For the past two years, he was Toronto manager of the TV division of Joseph A. Hardy & Co. Ltd. (Radio-TV reps). William T.C. Dowding – During WWII, he was with the Department of Transport as a radio range operator and a meteorological observer. He then trained as a pilot in the RCAF, being discharged in 1945. Dowding joined the RCA Victor Co.’s recording division in Toronto, as a recording and studio engineer. He then worked in the radio department of the J. Walter Thompson Advertising Agency. For the past 3 1/2 years he had been manager of the recording division of S.W. Caldwell Ltd. Dowding was now in the process of forming his own company. Ross W. Blaikie had no immediate experience in broadcasting, education or entertainment. He was head of the family firm, Hollydean Farms and Farm Market Ltd. Alan W. MacKay was owner of a considerable amount of land in Trafalgar Township, including the land to be purchased by the proposed company for the erection of the transmitter. MacKay was a prominent farmer and race horse breeder. Herbert C. Merry owned his own construction and building business. He was also Deputy Reeve of the Town of Oakville. Eleanor Merry was the wife of Herbert Merry. She was also niece of Dr. Brock Chisholm, and a descendant of the founder of Oakville, Col. “Whiteoak” Chisholm. Eleanor was also a school teacher.

The CBC Board of Governors issued CHWO Radio Ltd. a commercial radio licence on November 13. The station was scheduled to begin broadcasting November 16 but a vital part was broken and would not be able to be replaced for a few days. Thanks Caine’s friendship with Alan Waters, owner of CHUM in Toronto, a replacement part was found and CHWO went on the air November 17, at 12:50 p.m. The format was middle of the road (music by the likes of Perry Como and Glen Miller) with a community sound. There was also some ethnic programming.

Studios were on the second floor of a two storey building at 34A Colborne Street West. The transmitter and two towers were on part of the southeast half of Lot 22, Concession 2, south of Dundas Highway, Trafalgar Township. The “WO” in the call letters represented White Oaks. CHWO Radio Ltd. was owned by Howard C. Caine 59.5%, A.A. McDermott 11.9%, R.S. Blaike 6.0%, 5 other shareholders 22.6%.


Howard C. Caine was president of CHWO Radio Ltd. Jean Caine was women’s director. Cy Young was news director.

Jean Caine hosted three programs a day on CHWO. Garry Ferrier who would later work at Toronto’s 1050 CHUM, hosted a two hour sign-off time program called “Night Party”. It was the only show on the station that departed from CHWO’s “highbrow” musical norm. Ferrier played what he called “crazy music and off beat tapes”. CHWO’s chief announcer was Bob McLaughlin. Johnny Black, a paraplegic, broadcast his sportscasts on CHWO from his hospital room!


Cy Young was a news editor. 

Ad slogan: CHWO Radio – The White Oak Station – 1250 on the dial – the finest approach to High Fidelity sound. All day – every day – CHWO commands the attention of homes which have more, want more, listen more. 


Jim Junkin was on the air at CHWO. 

Ads – CHWO – The White Oaks Station – home to 243,000 listeners between Toronto and Hamilton. / CHWO – Radio – Canada’s First “Good Music” station. 1000 watts to serve the HEART of Canada’s Richest Market. 1250 from the CENTRE of the Dial. 


Ross Blaikie sold his interest in CHWO.


On January 14, CHWO’s address changed from 34A to 10A Colborne Street West. This was a revision of street numbers by the Town of Oakville.


Another street revision took place on January 6. CHWO’s address changed to 10A Lakeshore Road West.


On October 27, CHWO re-located to new studios and offices at 490 Wyecroft Road.


Howard C. Caine, president of CHWO Radio Ltd. announced the election of his wife Jean E. Caine to the company’s board of directors; and her appointment as station manager. On December 22, Howard Caine died of cancer at the age of 51. Son Michael who was raised on radio and had worked at other stations returned to help his mother run the station.


On November 4, CHWO was authorized to increase power from 1,000 watts day and 500 watts night to 10,000 watts day and 5,000 watts night (different day and night directional patterns) from the same transmitter site, utilizing six 165-foot towers.                          


CHWO’s antenna system was adapted to also serve new sister station – CJMR 1190 Mississauga. CJMR used four of the six towers for its daytime only operation. Between construction start in January and completion in June, CHWO lost very little air time. 

Donn Reynolds was heard Saturday’s from 6-9 a.m.


CHWO applied to the CRTC to make changes to its daytime pattern from the same site and using the same towers. 


Changes were happening in a big way around the CHWO-CJMR transmitter site. 
Glen Abbey was the first step in the formation of a new community of 30,000 planned for the Oakville area. The developer had bought virtually all of the land surrounding the transmitter site. When CHWO was established 22 years ago, the site was in open fields. By 1974 when CJMR was established, the price of land in the area had skyrocketed and it was decided to co-site the two stations. CHWO Radio Ltd. was very concerned about the re-radiation that would be caused by all of the new buildings, especially high rises. Costs of an alternative transmitter site would be prohibitive and there was virtually no undeveloped land available in a location that would provide the required coverage.


CHWO-CJMR did find a new transmitter site location and filed an application with the CRTC for the change. The regulator approved the change of site. It was one mile north of the existing transmitter site, near Palermo, on the north side of Highway 5, just east of Highway 25. Six towers would be used. CHWO would continue to operate with 10,000 watts during the day and 5,000 watts at night while CJMR would continue as a day-time only station at 10,000 watts. CHWO would have different day and night directional antenna patterns.

Terry Moorehead was afternoon drive announcer.

At 11:52 p.m. on Saturday, November 10, a CP freight train with tank car cargoes which included both propane and chlorine, derailed in Mississauga. The resulting explosion and fire threatened to spread deadly chlorine gas throughout the community of 270,000. Emergency measures forced the evacuation of some 223,000 people. CHWO aired the first report on the disaster at midnight and had the first reporter on the scene at 12:14 a.m. (November 11). Because CJMR was day-time only, it was not able to be on the air. The stations set up an emergency broadcast centre at Milton, twelve miles north of Oakville, just in case it became necessary to evacuate the main studio location. CHWO and CJMR kept residents updated all weekend. By Monday, many station personnel had been covering the story for 30 straight hours and many of them, themselves, were evacuated from their homes. By the end of the week, residents of Mississauga were returning home.


Chief engineer Alex Velleman was delighted at the progress being made at the new transmitter site and expected the move to be completed by June 15, well ahead of the July 1 target date. Development threatened to engulf the old twin transmitter site. The stations were able to reach a favourable settlement with the developer, who purchased the existing 12-acre site just north of the QEW at Oakville. The stations then purchased a new site, consisting of 25 acres north of Hwy 5. Its six 200′ towers were completed by LeBlanc & Royle in two months. The towers were 40′ higher than the ones at the old site and would provide exactly the same pattern with only minor variations in contours. The transmitter building would be 24′ x 36′ and would house two AM-10,000D CCA transmitters plus a new 10kw CCA standby.


CHWO celebrated its 25th anniversary on November 17. About 450 dignitaries filled the Grand Ballroom of the Oakville Holiday Inn to enjoy the party. A two hour live broadcast featured the music of Edward Harding and McLean, highlights of the last 25 years of community service of CHWO, and congratulatory messages from many VIP’s. The event also marked the involvement of the Caine family in broadcasting for a quarter of a century. The first words heard on CHWO in 1956 were those of station founder Howard Caine. Those words were replayed at the same time – 12:50 p.m., during the Silver Anniversary celebrations. Also heard today, Jean Caine, president and general manager; Pamela Stokes (Caine), who presented the Howard C. Caine Community Service Award; and Michael Caine, who introduced a third generation broadcaster – his 7 year old son Matthew, who did a station break at the conclusion of the program. Michael was the same age (7) when his parents started CHWO.


Bill Wallace was named director of national sales for CHWO and CJMR.

Dennis Snowdon was on the air at CHWO.


CHWO altered its ‘Memory Music’ format to become the country’s first ‘Hit Parade / Radio to Remember’ station. The nostalgia hit parade programming was provided in part by Randal English Enterprises.

Well-known hockey announcer Jim Tonkin died at age 50 on October 15. He had been with CHWO for 21 years, and had worked in the past for stations in Oshawa, Woodstock and Tillsonburg. Earlier this year, Tonkin was presented with a testimonial plaque by federal minister of Fitness and Amateur Sport, Otto Jelinek.

Former pro golfer Sandra Post was now doing two daily sports commentaries on CHWO and CJMR.


CHWO was authorized to increase the amount of ethnic programming it broadcast – to 36%.

CHWO marked 30 years on the air November 17 with a reception which included the presentation of the annual Howard Caine Community Service Award. The award was a local counterpart to the one presented each year at the Central Canada Broadcasters Association – both in memory of station founder Howard Caine. Canada’s ‘Pearly King and Queen’, entertainers Ken Stanley and Anita Scott, helped celebrate CHWO’s ‘pearl’ anniversary. 

Andy Stokes and Brian Selma were on the air at CHWO. 


Bill McCarroll (Bill Carroll) moved from CHWO to CILQ-FM Toronto news. Former CHWO newscasters Kathryn Clment and Donalee Williams were also doing news in Toronto now. Lundy Sanderson became CHWO’s news director. Lundy had been with Ottawa’s Algonquin College. CHWO/CJMR copy chief Kai Parker retired after 27 years of service. 


Dan Woods could be heard on CHWO.


Peter Dyck joined CHWO-CJMR as chief engineer in May. He had been a radar technician in the Canadian Armed Forces.

CHWO and CJMR moved to new studios and offices at The Broadcast Centre, 284 Church Street in Oakville.

Announcers included Barry Morden (mornings), Randy Henderson (afternoons), Norm Edwards and Dennis Snowdon.


CJMR moved from 1190 kHz to 1320 kHz. The existing CHWO-CJMR transmitter site was used, but the relocation of several towers and the addition of a tower shared by both stations was required. Alex Velleman, retired engineer for CHWO and CJMR helped with the antenna project.

CHWO increased power to 10,000 watts full-time, using two directional patterns from the existing transmitter site.


On March 1, CJMR took over most of CHWO’s ethnic programming and was now classed as an ethnic station. 60% of its schedule now catered to 11 cultural groups in 15 languages. CHWO was now a full-time 50+ radio station with an expanded Music to Remember format. Hockey and baseball games that had aired on CJMR were moved over to CHWO. 

As of March 6 Calling All Britons returned to the air, this time on CHWO. The program was now hosted by June Sonin and Ken Stanley, and it aired on Saturdays from 5 to 7 p.m. June was the widow of the program’s original host, Ray Sonin. Calling All Britons had aired for 33 years on CFRB 1010. Ken Stanley had been music director on CTV’s Pig & Whistle show.


CHWO – the only Toronto-Hamilton area station playing standards from the pre-rock era said it increased hours tuned in the BBM ratings by 41%. In Peel Region, the increase was nearly 75% and in Toronto, nearly 70%. In Oakville, average tuning was 16.7 hours per week.


Victor Tipple, 81, former sales manager of CHWO, died as the result of a traffic accident on September 24. He was one of CHWO’s original employees in 1956 and was with the station until he retired, 30 years later.


Barry Morden was mid-day host. Harry McDonald was vice president of sales marketing for CHWO and CJMR.


June Sonin died at the age of 68. She was the widow of Ray Sonin, who originated Calling All Britons on CFRB. In 1993, two years after Ray’s death, June brought Calling All Britons to CHWO and hosted the program. 


On January 18, CHWO was given approval for the addition of a digital broadcasting transmitter, operating on 1,466.768 MHz with an effective isotropic radiated power of 5,084 watts.

On June 16, CHWO Ontario Inc., on behalf of a limited partnership known as AM 740 Prime Time Radio (The Caine family, Ken Harrigan, George Patton, Terry Patterson and Peter Gilgan) was granted a change of frequency from 1250 to 740 kHz. The new Toronto station to be known as PrimeTime Radio would offer music and spoken word programming of particular relevance to listeners who were 50 years of age or older. Owner Michael Caine described the new station as “an oasis in the desert of rock and talk radio that currently exists in Toronto”, and the musical format as “a mix of M.O.R., easy listening, ’50s pop, big band, swing and nostalgia”.

As a result of the move to 740, CHWO’s 1250 frequency would continue to be owned by the Caine family and would become known as “Joy 1250” with a Christian music format. Sister station CJMR 1320 Mississauga would become a full-time multicultural station.
In December, CHWO “Prime Time Radio” began testing on 740 kHz with a power of 50,000 watts non-directional from the Hornby transmitter site owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. CBL 740 Toronto had used this facility and clear channel frequency until it moved to 99.1 MHz as CBLA-FM. The CBC’s French language CJBC continued to operate from the Hornby site. The new CHWO and CJBC shared the same tower.

CHWO had applied to use the call letters CFPT (PT for Prime Time) but the request was rejected. The station then decided to continue using the existing 1250 call letters, CHWO. 

On-the-air: Barry Morden (5:30-10), Bob McLean (10-2), Norm Edwards (2-7), Brian Peroff (evenings, with Bob Sprott on Tuesdays). Weekends: Earl Warren, Dennis Snowdon, Jim Paulson, Colin Hoar, Frank Benson, David Craig, Michael Englebert. News: Bob Sheppard, Paul Green, Bill Montgomery (traffic).


On January 8, CHWO “AM 740” made the official move from 1250 to 740 KHz at 7:40 a.m. After a few weeks of simulcasting with 740, the old 1250 frequency became CJYE “Joy 1250” with a religious format on February 5.

CHWO’s studios in Oakville, which continued to provide programming for CJMR and CHWO’s successor CJYE were revamped to also serve AM 740. 

On-the-air: Tom Fulton with Donna Priesi (5:30-9), Barry Morden (9-2), Norm Edwards (2-7), Jim Paulson (7-12, with Bob Sprott on Fridays), Music Through The Night (12-5:30). Weekends: Micheal Engelbert, George Jenescu, Earl Warren, Jim Paulson, Dennis Snowden, Art Drysdale, Brian Peroff, Bob Kerby, Richard Infantino, Frankie Benson, Colin Hoare. News: Bob Durant, Joe Snyder. Notes: Fulton joined from CFRB.

Program changes as of July 7 – Tom Fulton & Mary Feely (5:30-9), Barry Morden (9-2), Norm Edwards (2-7), Brian Peroff (Mon), Bob Sprott (Tue & Thu), Jim Paulson (Wed), Tom Fulton (Fri). Music Through The Night (12-5:30). Weekends: Art Drysdale, Pamela Blair, Tommy Ambrose, George Jonescu, Bob and Eva, Richard Infantino, Earl Warren, Denis Snowdon, Frankie Benson, Colin Hoare, Michael Englebert.


Earl Warren died October 19 at age 69. (His final show was October 6). 

Morning man Tom Fulton passed away December 9 at age 58. 

On December 10, the CRTC approved an application by AM 740 Primetime Radio Limited Partnership for a transitional digital radio undertaking to serve Toronto, using frequency 1454.56 MHz (DRB channel 2) with an effective isotropic radiated power of 5,084 watts. 


Bob Dearborn took over the morning show from the late Tom Fulton. However, he was let go at the end of the year.


On August 28, the CRTC approved the application by Primetime Radio Inc. to acquire from 1210361 Ontario Inc. (the general partner), and Whiteoaks Communications Group Ltd., Peter Gilgan, Ken Harrigan, Terri Patterson and George E. Patton (the limited partners) carrying on business as AM 740 Primetime Radio Limited Partnership (AM 740 LP) the assets of CHWO and CHWO-DR-2. The transaction proposed by Primetime Radio Inc. would not affect the control of CHWO, which would continue to be exercised by Whiteoaks Communications Group Limited, a corporation ultimately controlled by Jean E. Caine.


Moses Znaimer
Moses Znaimer

On March 31, the CRTC approved the sale of CHWO 
by Primetime Radio Inc. to MZ Media Inc. MZ 
(Moses Znaimer) also owned CFMZ-FM in the Toronto market.

With the purchase of CHWO from Primetime Radio, the station relocated to join new sister station Classical 96 (CFMZ-FM) at 550 Queen Street East (Suite 205) in Toronto. AM 740 continued to program all-time favourites from five decades – the ‘30s through the ‘70s. George Grant was president and CEO of MZ Media Inc., Radio. Gene Stevens was CHWO’s director of programming and operations. 

On July 22, CHWO became CFZM, to match new sister station CFMZ-FM (Classical 96.3). The station was still calling itself “AM 740”. CFZM would target “Zoomers” (boomers with a zest for life). The ZM in the new call sign could represent ZooMers, or Mr. Znaimer’s initials in reverse.

Programming changes began taking shape in August with the addition of programs such as “Goldhawk Fights Back”, hosted by Dale Goldhawk (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekedays). 


25-year Toronto news veteran Jane Brown was appointed morning news anchor for The New AM 740 and assistant news director for both The New AM 740 and The New Classical 96.3 FM. She made her on-air debut August 4.

On August 16, “The Consipracy Show” with Richard Syrett debuted on The New AM 740 Zoomer Radio – 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.


On March 30, the CRTC approved, subject to certain conditions, the applications by ZoomerMedia Limited, on behalf of itself and on behalf of Christian Channel Inc. and ONE: The Body, Mind and Spirit Channel Inc., for authority to effect a multi-step transaction involving the specialty television service VisionTV, the Category 1 specialty television service ONE: The Body, Mind and Spirit Channel and the television stations CHNU-TV Fraser Valley and CIIT-TV Winnipeg, as well as for a new broadcasting licence to continue the operation of VisionTV. Further, the Commission approved an application by MZ Media Inc. (CFZM, CFMZ-FM, CFMZ-DR-1 Toronto and CFMX-FM Cobourg) for authority to transfer all its issued and outstanding shares from Mr. Moses Znaimer to ZoomerMedia. ZoomerMedia is a public corporation effectively controlled by Mr. Moses Znaimer, who owns directly and indirectly, through his holding corporation Olympus Management Limited, 77.89% of the voting interest in ZoomerMedia. Following the transaction, Mr. Znaimer would own, directly and indirectly, a 66.28% voting interest in ZoomerMedia and continue to exercise effective control of the corporation.

Zoomer Media had begun making arrangements for its move to 64 Jefferson Avenue. The company purchased the building that had been housing Corus Entertainment’s broadcast facilities. Corus was moving to an expanded facility on the city’s lakeshore. Zoomer Media, owned by Moses Znaimer, would combine its Toronto radio stations (AM 740 and Classical 96), TV stations for which they recently received CRTC approval and its magazine operations. 


Gene Stevens, long-time program director and director of operations at AM 740 left the station on May 31. He’d been with the station for ten years. He would continue as a freelance host for specialty shows he produced.

Harry McDonald died at age 71. The 25-year veteran of Whiteoaks Communi-cations was with a tour group when he died. McDonald was given credit for taking CHWO Oakville into Toronto when, at his behest, the company went after the discarded CBC 740 frequency. He was Vice President/General Sales Manager of the two stations but described by CEO Michael Caine as “my right arm, my mentor, my brother”.


On August 17, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence of CFZM to August 31, 2013.


George Grant, President & CEO of MZ Media (The New Classical 96.3 FM Toronto, The New Classical 103.1 FM Cobourg, and The New AM 740 Toronto) stepped down August 15.


Jean Caine passed away at age 90 in January. She and husband Howard founded CHWO. When Howard died in 1967, Jean became President/GM. She and son Michael went on to found CJMR and then CJYE.


On April 27, the CRTC approved the application by MZ Media Inc. to operate a nested FM transmitter in downtown Toronto to rebroadcast the programming of CFZM Toronto. The transmitter would operate at 96.7 MHz (channel 244) with an average ERP of 22.4 watts (max. ERP of 82 watts with an EHAAT of 280.1 metres).

In August, CFZM-1-FM began testing at 96.7 MHz. It would simulcast CFZM 740 AM.


Bill Gable passed away September 18 at the age of 69. Over his career, Bill worked at CKLW-AM Windsor, KHJ Los Angeles, CFTR and CHFI Toronto, WLW Cincinnati and WOCL and WMMO Orlando, among others. He spent the final six years of a 46-year broadcasting career at Zoomer Radio as host of The Happy Gang morning show, and retired in 2014.

George Jonescu passed away November 16. His nearly 70-year broadcasting career was spent between stations in Montreal, Sault Ste. Marie, Barrie and Toronto. He was part of the original team that launched AM 740 in 2001. He wrapped up his career as the host of Big Band Sunday Night on Zoomer Radio, and his final show (which had been pre-recorded earlier) aired on November 18.

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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