CJKX-FM, KX96, Ajax

Durham Radio Inc.

CJKX-FM199595.95,110Durham Radio Inc.
CJKX-FM199490.93,440Durham Radio Inc.
CHOO-AM1979139010,000C.C.I. purchased by Golden West
CHOO-AM1973139010,000Community Communications Inc.
CHOO-AM1967139010,000Radio CHOO 1390 Inc.


William Jones was granted a licence by the Board of Broadcast Governors on February 8. The original shareholders in Radio CHOO 1390 Ltd. were William Jones, Walter Staskow, Donald Meek, J. Bart Gibb, Lt. Gen. G.G. Simonds, Transonic Ltd. (William Jones).

CHOO began broadcasting on November 21. The studios and offices were located in an industrial park at 97 McMaster Avenue. The transmitter was at Richardson Point, along Lake Ontario. CHOO operated with a power of 10,000 watts (full-time, same directional pattern day and night), using five vertical masts with an overall height above grade level of 185 feet. The CHOO call letters stood for Country Heart Of Ontario. 


CHOO was operating 24 hours a day.

Ajax named a street after CHOO in recognition of its contribution to the growth of the area and its many facets of community service. 


On November 19, approval was given for the transfer of 11,199 common and 11 preferred shares in Radio CHOO 1390 Ltd. from Transonic Ltd. (2000 common and 11 preferred) and Triarch Corp. Ltd. (9,199 common) to Refresco Ltd. 

CHOO was the only area radio station to give shift workers a major newscast at three in the morning. CHOO presented approximately 160 minutes of news per day. Major newscasts were on the hour with headlines on the half hour. The station had a permanent news staff of three and had five stringers.

Tom Roe was in the news department.


On February 11, permission was granted for the transfer of shares in Radio CHOO-1390 Ltd. from Granada TV and Canadian Developments Ltd. to Telerent Europe SA, from Telerent to Dr. O.J. Firestone, from Bermuda Broadcasting Co. Ltd. to Walter Staskow, from Triarch Corp. Ltd. to Refresco Ltd., from Dr. O. J. Firestone to Victor Melville Seabrook (1 share, to qualify him as director, with beneficial ownwership of that share retained by Firestone). Radio CHOO-1390 Ltd. was a company that did not comply with foreign ownership regulations. The new ownership structure brought CHOO in line with those regulations.


Barrie Broadcasting Co. Ltd.’s application to purchase Radio CHOO-1390 Ltd. was turned down on August 14.


On March 9, CHOO’s licence was renewed for only one year. The licensee was expected to resolve certain financing, technical and management problems by the next renewal date.

On July 18, Community Communications Inc. was authorized to purchase CHOO from Radio CHOO 1390 Ltd. Community was headed by Justin H. McCarthy. Other shareholders included Dennis Whitaker , William H. Hatch, and George E. Mara.

CHOO changed its format to 60% soft rock and 40% country. 


On-air: Paul Scott (program director & announcer), Neil Sutherland (music director & announcer), Bill Johnson (announcer), John McAleese (announcer), Dave Schulze (announcer), Brian Fysh (news director), Bill Morrison (sports director), Gord Taschuck (news).


Southern Manitoba Broadcasting Co. Ltd. purchased 100% of Community Communications Inc. from Justin H. McCarthy, Dennis Whitaker, William M. Hatch and George E. Mara. Southern Manitoba Broadcasting was owned by Elmer Hildebrand who operated Manitoba stations CFAM Altona, CJRB Boissevain and CHSM Steinbach. At the CRTC hearing on the sale of CHOO, a request was also made to make changes to the station’s daytime antenna pattern.


Some on-air names at CHOO: Bob Wood, Tom Edge, Gord Williams, and Donna Apps (news).


On December 21, CHOO began broadcasting from upgraded transmitter facilities at the existing antenna site. The updated site included a new Continental 10,000 watt transmitter. Two new towers were added to the existing five-tower array, adjusting the pattern to meet Department of Communications requirements. A new STL was installed to offset escalating prices on phone loops to the transmitter site from the studios. The project was directed by Jack Hoeppner of Golden West Broadcasters.


CHOO applied to the CRTC to make changes to its daytime pattern.

Lorna Braid was CHOO’s manager. Some three years earlier, she was moved from the accounting department to her management post by owner Elmer Hildebrand. This year she also added the role of retail sales manager to her duties.


Bob Burr became sports director at CHOO. 


On-air names: John Nugent (middays), Bob Wallace, Brian Ackney, Mike Lever, and Gord Taschuck (news).

CHOO added in-house radar to provide an accurate picture of developing weather patterns within a radius of 100 kilometres.


Dave Hughes became station manager and sales manager at CHOO. He had been an account executive at CJCL in Toronto. 


Dave Hughes was named station and sales manager at CHOO. With the station between 1978 and 1984, he was most recently an account executive at Toronto’s CJCL.


CHOO was selected Country Music Station of the Year in Canada for 1990. The award was announced at the annual convention and awards show of the Canadian Country Music Association. The award came just as CHOO was prepared to move into new facilities. The station had been a finalist for the award for the past two years.

On October 20 at 12:30 a.m., CHOO began broadcasting from new studios located in Broadcast Square, 339 Westney Road (Suite 201) in Ajax. Jack Hoeppner, director of engineering for Golden West Media, pushed the button that made the switch. The old facility was in “machine shop” premises in the ammunitions warehouse district of Ajax. The new set-up, owned by Hatem Swais, was in a new commercial complex, just off highway 401. A mix of new equipment (including an 
Araskis 1200 series stereo console in master control) and equipment from the old facility were used at Broadcast Square. 


Grant Hoeppner left CHOO’s engineering department for a new Golden West office in Winnipeg. Wassim Saikali was now doing CHOO’s technical work. He came to Canada in March from Lebanon, learned English fast, then started working part-time for CHOO before taking over the engineering department.


Golden West named Jim Webb as general manager for the Ontario region, based at CHOO.

Some on-air names: Steve Kassay, Ron Marshall, John Nugent and Cam Tilbury.


On June 29, the CRTC approved the sale of CHOO by Golden West Media Consultants Ltd. (Elmer Hildebrand) to Durham Radio Inc. (Robert Marshall and Douglas Kirk). The also approved the conversion of CHOO to the FM band. It would continue to offer a country music format on a frequency of 95.9 MHz with an effective radiated power of 3,440 watts. Antenna height would be 100 metres (EHAAT). The transmitter site would be located near Claremont. Durham Radio indicated that replacing the existing facilities with a new FM station was necessary in order to overcome technical problems which, in the past, have contributed to the erosion of its audience, thereby creating financial hardship. The greater range and improved quality of the FM signal and enhanced locally-oriented programming were expected to reverse current market erosion. Furthermore, Durham expected to expand the potential audience of the station through repatriation of listeners from out of market country music stations and from younger listeners moving from the AM to FM band.

CJKX-FM began test broadcasts in October and officially signed on the air November 1 at 7:00 a.m. “KX96” continued CHOO’s country music format.

On November 28, the CRTC approved a power increase for CJKX from 3,440 to 5,110 watts. 


Some KX96 on-air names: Jerry Archer & Mary-Ellen Keays (mornings), Pete Walker (middays), Steve Kassay (afternoons – also program director), and Tim Lawrence (evenings). 


Adam Robinson became news director at KX96. He had been with Power 88 in Newmarket.


Adam Robinson was News Director. Steve Kassay was Operations Manager. 

KX96 was now broadcasting on the internet with Real Audio.


Adam Robinson left KX96 to become operations manager at the Evanov stations (Brampton, Newmarket and Orangeville).

Former Global-TV anchor/reporter Loretta Sullivan was now news director at KX96. 


Durham Radio Inc. receied approval on April 23 to acquire Oshawa stations CKDO-AM and CKGE-FM from Corus Entertainment Inc.


On March 29, the CRTC approved an application to amend the licence for CJKX-FM Ajax, in order to operate an FM transmitter in Toronto. The new transmitter would be a synchronous repeater of CJKX-FM; that is, it would operate at 95.9 MHz, the same frequency used by CJKX-FM’s main transmitter. The proposed transmitter would be located in downtown Toronto. Average effective radiated power would be 85 watts. The licensee submitted that, while CJKX-FM’s audience was primarily located in Durham Region, which included Ajax and Oshawa, and secondarily in east Toronto and York Region, many of its listeners commuted to downtown Toronto for work or went there regularly for personal business, professional services and entertainment. The licensee claimed that these listeners were unable to receive a good quality signal from CJKX-FM in downtown Toronto because of interference caused by the concentration of Toronto FM radio stations transmitting from the CN Tower and First Canadian Place. In addition, the licensee expressed concern that approval of an application by Trumar Communications Inc., which was before the Commission, to increase the average ERP of CFMX-FM-1 Toronto would cause additional interference to CJKX-FM in downtown Toronto. The licensee maintained that the proposed transmitter would not extend CJKX-FM’s signal beyond its currently authorized contours. In this regard, the licensee noted that CJKX-FM’s licensed 0.5 mV/m contour fell approximately eight to ten kilometres west of downtown Toronto. The licensee further pointed out that, since the transmitter would operate at the same frequency as was currently used by CJKX-FM, approval of this application would not represent the use of additional scarce analog frequency spectrum in the Toronto radio market. Given the unique circumstances of the case, the Commission was persuaded that the proposed synchronous transmitter would improve CJKX-FM’s signal quality in downtown Toronto without having an undue negative impact on existing Toronto radio stations. 

CJKX-FM-2 Toronto went on the air.

On December 21, Durham Radio Inc. received approval to increase the average effective radiated power for CJKX-FM-2 Toronto from 85 watts to to 122 watts (maximum ERP remains at 220 watts). 


On August 19, the CRTC denied the application by Durham Radio Inc. to modify the authorized contours of its transmitter CJKX-FM-2 Toronto. Durham had proposed to change the authorized contours of CJKX-FM-2 by decreasing the average effective radiated power from 122 to 31 watts (maximum ERP from 220 watts at 16 degrees to 175 watts at 0 degrees). All other technical parameters would have remained unchanged. The proposed changes would result in an increase in the potential listenership within the 3 mV/m contour of the transmitter from 131,776 to 500,921 persons and within its 0.5 mV/m contour from 773,107 to 1,901,557 persons. Durham stated that the reason for the application was to provide the country music format to listeners in the Greater Toronto Area. Durham argued that CJKX-FM supported and promoted Canadian country music and, by extending the coverage to a greater proportion of the GTA population, Canadian country artists would receive greater exposure. Durham further submitted that, because the proposed technical change would be small, there would be no interference to other stations that serve the GTA. It is the Commission’s general practice to approve technical amendments only in instances in which the licensee has demonstrated that the amendment is needed to correct a technical issue in order to improve service to the licensed market or because of a clear economic need. In the current application, Durham had not cited technical issues or economic need to support its application. 


Al Kingdon, former director of sales and marketing at JAZZ91 FM Toronto, was now with Durham Radio in a sales capacity. 

Ron Combden, former Regional Engineering Manager for the GTA/Kitchener clusters of Rogers Radio, was the new Technical Manager at Durham Radio. He left Rogers in February of 2011.


Longtime Prince Edward Island broadcaster Bill MacEwen passed away on February 1 at the age of 74. Bill was a devoted old-time country music historian and co-authored a biography on Hank Williams. He began his part-time radio career in 1971 at 1390 CHOO in Ajax, with his ‘Country Collection’ program. Bill returned to P.E.I. in 1975 and several years later, J.P. Gaudet, host of CFCY’s ‘Saturday Night Hoedown’ in Charlottetown, offered him a guest spot, which lasted five years. When the station went all-country in 1984, Bill started his ‘Forerunners’ program, which was later re-named ‘County Roots’.

Bob Saye, formerly of JRfm 93.7 Vancouver, joined KX-96 Oshawa/Toronto as afternoon drive host. He started in March, succeeding Music Director Pete Walker who moved to middays.


Eric George Collisson (Eric Anderson on-air) died at age 69. He worked on-air and was the engineer at CHOO in late ‘70s and early ‘80s.


In August, the CRTC turned down Durham Radio’s application to improve coverage of KX96 in western Toronto. The station had applied to expand its service into the west side of Toronto and east side of Mississauga, but the Commission ruled the primary markets KX96 was licensed to serve were Ajax and Oshawa. Durham had proposed to increase ERP for CJKX-FM-2 from 122 to 194 watts (220 to 800 watts Max.).


James Scott Curran (65) passed away on May 7. He spent the last 10 years as a marketing consultant and account executive with KX96, 94.9 The Rock and CKDO.

Late in the year, CJKX began testing in HD, offering KX96 on HD channel 1, Wave.fm’s smooth jazz on HD2 and CKDO-AM on HD3.


In August, CJKX received ISEDC permission to operate in HD with 25 watts ERP from CJKX-FM-2 Toronto.

The story continues elsewhere…
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