Canada All News Radio Ltd. / Left the Air
|CKO-FM||CKO-FM||99.1||10,000||Canada All News Radio Ltd. / Left the Air|
|CKO-FM||1977||99.1||10,000||Canada All News Radio Ltd.|
On July 12, David Ruskin on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated (Canada All News Radio Ltd.) was given permission to operate a network of all-news FM stations. The awarding of eleven licences to a single owner by the CRTC was a very unusual move. Ruskin had applied for the following: Vancouver (96.1 MHz, 50,100 watts), Calgary (103.1 MHz, 74,000 watts), Edmonton (105.9 MHz, 64,000 watts), Regina (94.5 MHz, 100,000 watts), Winnipeg (96.7 MHz, 100,000 watts), London (93.5 MHz, 100,000 watts), Toronto (99.1 MHz, 100,000 watts), Ottawa (106.1 MHz, 100,000 watts), Montreal (98.5 MHz, 100,000 watts), Saint John (99.7 MHz, 100,000 watts), Halifax (103.5 MHz, 100,000 watts ), St. John’s (101.9 MHz, 100,000 watts). The applicant was told to seek alternate frequencies for London, Ottawa and Halifax. The Saint John frequency would have to be cleared with the Department of Communications to avoid interference with CFBC-FM. A transmitter would not be allowed for Montreal because of the CRTC’s concerns about the balance of English and French language stations in the city and because FM frequencies were scarce. The Commission suggested the company seek to affiliate with, or acquire an existing English station in Montreal. The transmitters would offer all-news programming on a 24/7 national basis. Ruskin planned to launch the stations in three stages: Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto-London-Winnipeg then west of Winnipeg and then east of Montreal. The CRTC said no to this plan and required an even development across the country with full implementation by the fall of 1979. If the all news format didn’t work, the company was to surrender the licences rather than apply for a format change. A competing application by Shoreacres Broadcasting, owner of CKEY 590 in Toronto, was denied. MacLean Hunter, owner of Shoreacres, had wanted an all news station in Toronto for a long time. CFGM Broadcasting Ltd. also wanted 99.1 MHz for a new station. Its application was approved but an alternate frequency had to be found. All other competing applications were turned down. The company was originally going to be called Canadian News Radio. David Ruskin was president of the company, and had worked for the CBC, CJOH-TV in Ottawa and Toronto’s CITY-TV. Others involved in the company were engineering consultant Israel Switzer and lawyer Jerry Grafstein (both also involved with CITY-TV). Agra Industries financed the company and was a major shareholder (45%). B. B. Torchinsky would by the company’s chairman. The Toronto transmitter would not operate from the CN Tower. The company felt it was too expensive and that money could be better spent on programming. The company also originally planned to contract with NBC’s News & Information Service, an all news network provided by the American broadcaster. However, NIS would fold before CKO went on the air.
CKO-FM-1 Ottawa received approval to use a frequency of 106.9 MHz and effective radiated power of 100,000 watts, with antenna height of 931 feet. The frequency originally applied for – 106.1 MHz – went to CHEZ-FM. CKO-FM-3 London was authorized to use the frequency of 97.5 MHz. The original 93.5 MHz frequency was assigned to the CBC for CBCL-FM. CKO-FM-1 Ottawa and CKO-FM-2 Toronto signed on the air on Canada Day – July 1. Ottawa studios were at 69 Sparks Street. Master control was located here for both network and local production. The transmitter was at Camp Fortune, Quebec. CKO shared a Shively antenna with CHEZ-FM and both stations used CSI transmitters located in the Radio-Quebec transmitter building. Toronto studios were at 65 Adelaide Street East, near Church Street. The transmitter was located atop the 73-storey First Canadian Place (Bank of Montreal Building) at King and Bay Streets. Antenna height was 860 feet. Initially CKO Toronto would operate with 10,000 watts ERP, circularly polarized, using a 50 foot tower. Authorized power of 100,000 watts would be operational in the next year, using a 175 foot tower. Two AEL 15,000 watt transmitters each feed half of a vertically-split antenna – with each half capable of independent operation Program lines were leased from CN/CP Telecommunications, including a two way link between Ottawa and Toronto. Origination facilities were monaural with a stereo synthesizer at each transmitter. Bob Irvine (former general manager of CJJD Hamilton) was in charge of time sales for CKO. Anne Arsenault (formerly with CTV) handled promotion & publicity. News consultant Frank George organized the news area. Don Foley was national news director (Ottawa) and Terry McInnes was Toronto news director. Canada All-News Radio Ltd. received approval to purchase CFOX-AM Pointe Claire-Montreal and to change the programming format to all-news. The station was acquired from Allan Slaight’s IWC Communications Ltd. and would operate under the Canada All-News Radio (Quebec) Ltd. banner. CFOX broadcast at 1470 kHz and had a daytime power of 10,000 watts and night-time power of 5,000 watts. The station’s three towers were located at Chateauguay. Studios and offices were in Pointe Claire, at 203 Hymus Boulevard. On the day the CRTC approved the sale, CKO also received approval to increase power on 1470 kHz to 50,000 watts day and night – to be implemented in 1980. CKO 1470 replaced CFOX on September 19. The old CFOX studios were renovated for all-news operations CKO-FM-3 London opened on October 21 and operated on a frequency of 97.5 MHz with 50,000 watts of effective radiated power, from a 497 foot tower and CCA transmitter located at Byron. Studios were at 380 Ridout Street North. CKO-FM-5 Calgary started operations on November 7. It operated on a frequency of 103.1 MHz with effective radiated power of 100,000 watts. Antenna height was 480 feet. Studios and offices were located at 332 17th Avenue South West. CKO-FM-4 Vancouver signed on the air November 21. The frequency was 96.1 MHz, and effective radiated power was 100,000 watts. Antenna height was 2,260 feet with the tower located on Grouse Mountain. Studios and offices were at 2780 East Broadway. Timetable for other CKO transmitters: Edmonton expected on-air in February, 1978 (105.9 MHz, 100,000 watts), Regina – March ’78 (94.5 MHz, 100,000 watts), Winnipeg – April ‘78 (99.1 MHz, 100,000 watts), Halifax – Fall ’78 (frequency and power to be determined), Saint John – Fall ‘78 (99.7 MHz, 100,000 watts) and St. John’s – Fall ‘78 (101.9 MHz, 100,000 watts).
On March 1, CKO-FM-6 opened in Edmonton on 105.9 MHz with effective radiated power of 64,000 watts, from a 200 foot tower, and studios at 12316 Jasper Avenue. The CKO London bureau closed due to lack of ad revenues. CKO-FM-6 Edmonton was authorized to move from 105.9 MHz to 101.9 MHz and to increase effective radiated power from 64,000 watts to 100,000 watts, using a new antenna site. It was hoped that construction of the 50,000 watt antenna site for CKO-AM Montreal would get underway in early summer.
CKO Toronto increased effective radiated power to 100,000 watts (directional). The antenna remained atop First Canadian Place. The CRTC has ruled that live sports coverage was compatible with the all-news format of CKO. The decision followed a complaint lodged by CKFH, which CKO outbid for Toronto Maple Leaf hockey games. CKO also carried NFL football and harness racing. With regard to operations at London, where CKO was now feeding a reduced amount of local interest programming from Toronto, the CRTC reminded the licensee that service was to be fully implemented by the fall of 1979. Approval was given for CKO to use 103.5 MHz at Halifax. The CBC advised it no longer required this frequency – the one originally sought for CKO-FM-9. Steve Ray joined CKO from CKGB Timmins (known there as Michael Armstrong) as a news anchor.
CKO-FM lost the rights to Toronto Maple Leaf hockey. The broadcasts returned to CKFH after a two year absence. The Ottawa studios moved to 150 Wellington Street. CKO-FM-2 Toronto received approval to increase effective radiated power to 47,300 watts. The station had been operating at only 10,000 watts, although it was authorized to use 100,000 watts. Bob Komsic left CKO for Phil Ross’ newsroom at CHFI-FM. Bill Sheppard left CKFH where he was news director, to become news director and program director at CKO Toronto.
Dr. Charles Allard’s Allarco Broadcasting Ltd. applied to the CRTC for permission to acquire the 12 station CKO network. The application also called for the addition of music to the CKO format – a conflict with the original licence. The purchase was turned down. Regarding the proposal to add up to 20% popular music to the all-news format, the commission said this represented a substantial departure from the original all-news concept. As a result of the sale failure, CKO axed 40% of its staff and turned all of its stations into rebroadcasters of CKO Toronto. The news emphasis changed from local to regional. Steve Harris, formerly with the CRTC and most recently a vice president with Telemedia Ontario, was named v. p. and general manager of CKO. The CRTC held a hearing to consider whether the CKO licenses should be renewed or not. Because a number of the FM stations that were to be on the air by the fall of 1978 were still silent, the CRTC required CKO to show cause why the licenses should be renewed. The commission found the stations were now controlled by Research Foods (1976) Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Agra Industries Ltd. Agra initially had a 45% interest in Canada All-News Radio Ltd. The CRTC said the changes in ownership and control had occurred without prior commission approval. The network was strongly encouraged to get the remaining stations on the air. The licensee said it hoped to build the remaining stations at a rate of one a year over the next five years. CKO claimed it had lost nearly $14 million since being licensed in 1976. Ben Torchinsky, chairman of parent company Agra Industries, blamed inexperienced staff for the network’s crippled state which drove Agra to try to sell the network to Allarco Broadcasting of Edmonton last year. Taylor (Hap) Parnaby left CKEY and News Radio to become president at CKO. He also brought along Ian Brownlee and Howard English. Not long after taking over, Parnaby stated he believed the all-news format could work and that the net was beginning to turn around. He hoped to fulfill the original plan to add stations in Halifax, Winnipeg, Regina, Saint John and St. John’s. The following on-air people joined CKO: Al Michaels, Glen Stone (from CJCL Toronto), and Georgie Binks (from CJBK London). Bill Sheppard left to teach at Loyalist College in Belleville. He returned to CKO later in the year. Steve Harris became VP and GM.
John Gilbert joined CKO from CKEY.
The Toronto studios moved to the Carlton Inn at 30 Carlton Street (mezzanine level) in April. The new facilities included six studios and three control rooms. CKO’s Calgary moved to 5925 Third Street. The Montreal studios moved to 2085 Union Street. The Vancouver antenna was moved to Mount Seymour – co-sited with CHAN-TV and CJAZ-FM. CKO added its first non-owned and operated affiliate: CKRW Whitehorse, Yukon. CKO Halifax was ready to go on the air but was still working out an arrangement to use the CBC transmission tower. CKO was now being heard in a growing number of northern and remove communities across the country thanks to the Cancom satellite radio package. Tayler (Hap) Parnaby was president of CKO. Howard English was executive editor, programming. Jim Frolich was vice president of sales and marketing. Gary Greenway was in charge of national sales while Frank Gardner headed Toronto sales. Dave Lafave was operations manager. Ian Brownlee was news director. J. Michael Phillips was now at CKO Toronto. He had been with CJCL. Former Ontario NDP leader Stephen Lewis was also now at CKO. Stan Larke was now doing a gardening feature for the station. Phil Godin moved from CKEY to CKO. Randy Moore left CKO. Bill Shepperd moved from CKO Vancouver to CKO Edmonton. News anchor Steve Ray closed out his broadcasting career at CKO.
Georgie Binks (Newswatch & Bookshelf features) left for CBL 740. CKO’s first west coast reporter, Laurie Graham, died of a heart attack at age 30. Veteran broadcaster Phil Stone began hosting the weekly program, Meet Your Neighbour, on CKO. The show promoted understanding of different cultures through interviews with knowledgeable personalities.
Lynn Gordon dropped her consumer reports on CKO to become entertainment editor. John Gilbert’s Toronto talk show was now being heard on CKO stations in Ottawa, London and Montreal. Robert Holiday, formerly vice president of news at Rogers Radio and general manager of CJCL, joined CKO’s Toronto headquarters.
On February 13, the CRTC approved the application by Telemedia Communications Inc. for a licence for an English-language radio network that included CKO-FM-3 London, for the purpose of broadcasting the hockey games of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1983-84 season of the National Hockey League. The Commission reminded the licensees of the FM radio stations affiliated with this network that no more than 50% of the station’s foreground programming should consist of play-by-play coverage of sporting events. With regard to the proposed affiliation with CKO-FM-3, the Commission reminded the licensee of the restrictions imposed by Decision CRTC 82-189 on the number of play-by-play sports events to be broadcast on this station. Anchor Pamela Kern left (moved to Montreal), Heather Williams departed for CHEZ-FM in Ottawa, J. Michael Phillips returned to CKO as a news editor. David Onley was doing space and technology reports on CKO. Michael Magee (aka Fred C. Dobbs) joined CKO’s morning show to do a daily 8:15 feature. Dave LeFave was to be in charge of CKO Halifax when it signed on. Bernie McNamee left CKO to become a reporter at CFTO. Bert Dailley became sports director for CKO Calgary Stan Stewart of Beutel-Goodman, the investment firm that owned 51% of CKO, was now CEO. Tayler ‘Hap’ Parnaby remained CKO’s president. Bob Holiday was manager of editorial services. John Gilbert was manager of program services. Elwood Glover retired from his free-lance work with CKO (and Burlington’s CING-FM).
CKO named Jim Welcher to head its national sales office in Montreal. John McGillivray was sports editor. Ian Brownlea left CKO-FM. Lynne Gordon (entertainment editor) took a six month leave of absence to write her autobiography. She would continue on CFTO’s “Toronto Today” though. Glen Stone (Phil’s son) was promoted to overnight managing editor. Suzanne Kelly left CKO’s Parliamentary bureau to do PR for the United Steelworkers. David Onley (ex of CKO) was now doing weather at CITY-TV. CKO Halifax (8th station) opened. Daryl Hubley was in charge.
CKO-FM-7 opened in Halifax on January 1, on 103.5 MHz with 100,000 watts of effective radiated power. Studios were in the Cogswell Tower, 2000 Barrington Street. It was the first Atlantic outlet for the eight-station national radio news network. The Montreal studios moved to 550 Sherbrooke Street West. Ken Cox joined from CFRB 1010. David Onley left for CITY-TV. Murray Smith left for CFRB. Tayler Parnaby relinquished the title of president at CKO. He was now editor in chief, assisted by Bob Holliday. Stan Stewart who joined CKO in 1984 as CEO was now president. John Gilbert was program director. Murray Smith left for CFRB to become entertainment editor. Bob Bales did reports on advertising for CKO.
Travel expert Walter Kanitz died at his Toronto home on February 7. He was 75. He came to Canada in the 1940’s from Austria and began his broadcasting career with CBC Montreal. He later worked at CHUM and CFRB, and then did a travel show on CKO-FM for a number of years. CKO was given a short-term licence renewal to March 31, 1988. The CRTC called for effective action to increase local production at each station. It also re-iterated that CKO must remain a news and information service, with spoken-word content only, and sports play-by-play was restricted to an average of 10.5 hours weekly on each station. CKO president Stan Stewart pointed out that CKO’s programming costs were 2-3 times that of other stations. He said the network’s mandate was primarily a national one, with local programming subordinate. CKO appointments: Peter Jackman to executive vice president, Robin Glenny to vice president of sales & marketing for Toronto-London, Paul Dodson to general manager for Ottawa-Montreal, Gordon Butler to promotion manager, Pamela Kern to Eastern Canada and Montreal bureau chief, Bob McMillan to managing editor, and Jim Morris to Toronto news director. Ken Cassavoy joined “Good Morning Toronto” as co-host and executive producer. Bob Quinn was appointed producer of CKO’s new network morning show originating from renovated studios in Montreal. CKO science editor Glen Stone was named news director for CKO Ottawa. Stu Brandy was general manager of CKO’s eastern region, headquartered in Montreal. Pamela Kern was program director for the eastern region. Susan Fory and Frank Switzer joined the CKO Ottawa news staff. Ken Cox became CKO’s Quebec correspondent. He had been with CFRB. CKO appointments: Peter Jackman, former vice president for western Canada, to executive vice president. Robin Glenny, director of sales and marketing to vice president. Paul Dodson, London sales manager, to Ottawa general manager. Announcer Gordon Butler became promotion manager. At CKO Calgary, Jane Arnall became manager, Robert Aboott was named program director, Gary Freeman became news director and Doug Gossen was now sports director. Bruce Barker was at CKO.
Kathryn Clement joined CKO news from CHWO Oakville. Bob McLean joined the CKO Toronto morning team. Robin Glenny, with CKO for about four years, moved from vice president of sales and marketing to vice president, manager of the new network/national sales division. After about two years with CKO, Bob Paterson was named Toronto general sales manager.
On March 19, CKO’s application to convert its Montreal station from AM to FM (95.1 MHz) was denied. The corporate name changed from Western Caissons Ltd. to CKO Radio Partnership (no change in ownership). Susan Flory left CKO. Gerry Hughes was promoted to general manager of CKO Vancouver. He had been sales manager. Kim Blue became general manager of CKO’s Alberta operations. CKO acquired Newsradio from Maclean Hunter’s Key Radio Ltd. The news audio service, based at CKEY Toronto, was established 18 years ago. Key Radio president Steve Harris said despite Newsradio’s successful track record (from 70 to 120 subscribers in the past year), it remained impractical for Key to operate a full-scale national news service. The all-news concept in Canada was developed by Tayler Parnaby, who co-founded Newsradio. He joined CKO (from CKEY) after the proposal for a national radio news network was licensed (excluding CKEY’s plan for a local all-news station). CKO discontinued the Canadian Press wire service, and there was now a possibility that it would develop the country’s third broadcast wire service (after Broadcast News and Standard Broadcast Wire). Sources would include many of the Newsradio subscriber stations, in addition to the 12 bureaus which CKO would operate in major cities across Canada. Toronto stations CKO-FM and CKEY (AM) proposed to swap frequencies. CKO would be paid $4 million to move to 590 kHz, allowing CKEY to move to 99.1 MHz on the FM band. The deal would give CKO the money it needed to start operations in Regina, Winnipeg, Saint John and St. John’s. Harvey Kirck joined CKO as afternoon news anchor. Glen Stone became Ottawa bureau chief for CKO. He had been co-anchor with Dennis Woolings of the National News Hour. CKO had plans to expand and renovate its Ottawa facilities. Jim Connell was CKO network program director.
Kim Blue was appointed president and general manager of Newsradio, replacing taylor Parnaby. Blue had been general manager of CKO Inc., Alberta. Peter Jackman was appointed president and chief general manager of CKO Inc. Robert Keegan became senior vice-president, finance and administration. John McCann was named director of sales. Robin Glenny became national sales co-ordinator. On April 25, the CRTC turned down proposals by CKO Radio Partnership and Key Radio Ltd. that would have seen CKO-FM-2 and CKEY-AM (both Toronto) swap dial positions. CKO’s all news format would have moved to 590 kHz and CKEY’s adult contemporary format would have moved to 99.1 MHz. In addition to getting the 590 AM frequency, CKEY owner Maclean-Hunter would also have given CKO $4 million. It made sense to make better use of the two channels by moving the music format of CKEY to FM and the CKO news format to AM. The Commission was not impressed that CKO would use the money to build four stations for which it had licenses. The CRTC also said that the format that CKEY had was not substantially different from what was already available on Toronto FM. Bob Rice was named travel editor at CKO. He would host The Travelling Show, a weekly half hour, as well as the daily Travel Check, heard three times a day, Monday through Friday. Rice was well known for his helicopter traffic reports on CKEY. He has written on travel and was host and producer of the TV show, “Destinations”. Peter Jackman was named executive vice-president and general manager – the senior executive in charge of day-to-day operations. Tayler Parnaby became president of Newsradio. Jim Connell became the CKO network’s program director. Robert Keegan was named vice-president of finance and administration. John Anderson moved back to Toronto to host the CKO Radio Network’s 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Eastern) program on the full network. The six-year CKO veteran had hosted a national show from Vancouver for the past year. He was replaced in Vancouver by Bob Morris, a west coast talk-show host and consultant. The nationally-heard Newshour was moved to 6:00 p.m. Eastern and Glen Stone was transferred from Montreal to Toronto to co-host the hour-long program with Denis Wollings. Stone would also become CKO’s science editor. Peter McCarthy was appointed general sales manager of CKO Montreal. Ted Tevan joined the network as host of a coast-to-coast phone-in talk show. Arnis Peterson was appointed business editor and Glen Gingerich became sports editor (both at the network level). Marianne Summers was named co-host of Good Morning Toronto, joining Denis Woolings on the 5:00 to 9:00 a.m. program. Frank Allinson (news) left for CHAY-FM in Barrie, Pat Burns (talk show) joined from CJOR Vancouver, Glen Gingerige (sports) joined from CKFM-FM Toronto, Arnis Peterson (business) joined from CHAY Barrie, Mike Roberts joined from Windsor’s CKLW, talk show host Ted Tevan joined and then left, Peter Varley (talk) left, Maryanne Summers (news) joined from CKFM Toronto. CKO’s Jamie Wayne is the son of comedian Johnny Wayne. At this time, Denis Woolings and Maryanne Summers handled morning drive (5:00-9:00) and John Anderson did afternoon drive (2:00-6:00). The schedule contained a large amount of talk show content. Agra Industries announced it was selling CKO but still keeping it in the family. Agra reached an agreement in principle to sell its 99% stake in the network to Cybermedix Inc. Agra owned about 52% of Cybermedix’s stock (63% voting stake). Both companies were headed by B.B. (Ben) Torchinsky. Cybermedix president Stanley Stewart was also CEO of CKO. CKO had suffered heavy losses in its 11 years of operation, with some estimates putting the losses at as much as $30 million. Newsman Mike Roberts joined CKO Toronto as a national news voice. He had been with Windsor’s CKLW. Geoffrey Conway died at age 54. He was the chairman, founder and amjor shareholder of CUC Ltd. Frank Allinson and Arnis Peterson left CKO for Barrie’s CHAY-FM. Peter Jackman became president and chief general manager of CKO. John McCann was appointed director of sales. Robin Glenny was named national sales co-ordinator. Robert Keegan became a senior vice president. Bob McMillan left CKO for England. Erin Davis left for CJEZ-FM. Bob Rice was hosting “The Travelling Show” on CKO. Peter McCarthy was appointed general sales manager for CKO Montreal. Malcolm Bernard left CKO Montreal as a news anchor, to work for Broadcast News in Toronto. Don Foley, at one time CKO’s executive news editor, died at the age of 48. Former Newsradio general manager Kim Blue was transferred to CKO Alberta. Glen Gingerich joined CKO from CKFM. Arnis Peterson, who was business editor at CKEY and business commentator for Newsradio, became business editor for CKO. Phon-in host Peter Varley resigned. Brenda Spielman took over as Alberta bureau chief. Jim Connell became Montreal bureau chief for CKO and Quebec regional manager for Newsradio.
Beverley A. Martin was appointed national sales manager for the network.
The CRTC approved the transfer of Agra’s 99% stake in CKO to Cablenet Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cybermedix. On April 26, CKO-FM-7 Winnipeg was given approval to decrease effective radiated power from 180,000 to 14,000 watts for an interim period until the permanent transmitting facilities at Starbuck were operational. CKO-FM-7 Winnipeg opened on 99.1 MHz. Effective radiated power was 14,000 watts. On June 20, CKO-AM Montreal was given approval to change frequency from 1470 to 650 kHz and decrease power from 50,000 watts to 10,000 day and 2,500 at night. This change was never implemented. Kathy Coulombe and Jim Connell were named co-hosts and Malanie Reffes, producer of Good Morning Canada, which was now originating from Montreal. Greg Hanbuch was appointed sales manager for CKO London. Paul Dodson was appointed general manager, central region (Toronto-London). The eight-station CKO network was put on the block as a result of the decision by Agra Industries to put Cybermedix up for sale. Cybermedix’s principle asset was cable systems in Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. Perennial money-loser CKO and interests in clinical medical labs made up the rest of the Cybermedix holdings. Agra controlled about 53.3% of the 12.3 million Cybermedix shares outstanding. John McFadyen was appointed to the newly created post of general manager, news and programming. Frank Switzer was named news director for Newsradio. Karen Bodirsky was appointed news director for the CKO Network. On August 30, CKO had its licenses renewed. At the renewal hearing, the company committed to have its Regina transmitter on the air by August 21, 1989, and the St. John’s and Saint John transmitters on the air by August 21, 1990. The CRTC also approved a temporary transmission site to be utilized at Winnipeg until the CBC (with whom CKO would co-locate) resolved technical problems related to its proposed Starbuck transmitter site. The CRTC, clearly anticipating a change of ownership, said in its decision that any application related to ownership and control of CKO should clearly address the implementation of the coast-to-coast radio network. All eleven stations were originally to have been operational by the fall of 1979. The CRTC approved the application by CKO-FM-8 Regina by relocating the transmitter site to a location approximately 45 kilometres northwest of the currently authorized site and by changing the frequency from 94.5 MHz to 100.7 MHz. Cogeco Inc. announced that it struck a deal to acquire Cybermedix Inc., owner of a number of cable systems, the CKO radio network, and medical testing labratories in Canada and the U.S. The move came after Agra Industries Ltd. agreed to sell its 53.3% holding in Cybermedix. Cogeco would sell of the medical labs but keep the ten CKO-FM stations and the cable TV operations in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. On September 8, Agra Industries agreed to sell CKO’s parent, Cablenet (owned by Cybermedix) to Cogeco Inc. of Montreal. The deal needed CRTC approval. CKO closed its network and stations during the noon newscast (Eastern time) on November 10. This followed losses estimated at $55 million. Management said the sudden move was because there was little hope of stemming the red ink. President Stan Stewart said CKO had lost $1.5 million alone in the two months prior to the closing. There was little warning the end was coming. Stewart was telling employees that CKO was closing its doors and would return its licenses because it had run out of time and money. While the announcement was being made, the network went off the air. Some 225 journalists, technicians, sales staff, copywriters, clerical/ secretarial staff were left jobless. The end came just two months after Cogeco Inc. bought Cybermedix, CKO’s parent company, from Agra Industries. The cable operations (Cablenet) were the core operations sought by Cogeco. Cogeco would not be allowed to run CKO until the CRTC approved the sale. Agra made the decision to close CKO, not Cogeco. Even though CKO closed, the Newsradio news service remained operational until later in the month. It was hoped a buyer could be found for the service. Newsradio provided voice and written news for about 100 radio stations and 80 other clients across the country. The CKO transmitters at St. John’s, Saint John, and Regina never got on the air. All CKO frequencies have since been replaced by other stations. Among the voices on CKO in its last year of its life: Anchors: Norm Byat, Kathy Colombe, Bob Comsick, Jim Connell, Ken Day, George Franks, Phil Godin, Betty Harrison, Robert Holiday, Richard Hustwick, Bob MacLean, John McFadyen, Al Michaels, Shawn Murray, Helen Pierce, Allan Richards, Mike Robbins, David Schatzky, Glen Stone, Marianne Summers, Denis Woollings. Reporters: Rod Pasic, Wayne Wood. Sports: Barry Aldrich, Squire Barnes, Glen Gingerige. Traffic: Jane Browne, Anita Kartalija, Karen Horsman. Others: Pat Burns (talk), John Bradshaw (gardening), Arnis Peterson (business), Sheila Kieran (entertainment), Harvey Kirck (features). Notes: John McFadyen joined from CFRB, David Schatszky joined from CBL. Sheila Kieran was new to the staff. Peter Jackman joined CKCO-TV in Kitchener as station manager and general sales manager. He had been with CKO since 1985 as general manager; Vancouver, vice president; Western Region, executive vice president; and finally president and general manager since February 1988 in Toronto.
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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.