CJMR-AM, Multicultural – The Voice of the City, Mississauga

CHWO Radio Ltd.

CJMR-AM1990132020,000CHWO Radio Ltd.
CJMR-AM1974119010,000CHWO Radio Ltd.


On November 27, Jean Elizabeth Caine on behalf of a company to be incorporated, received a licence for a new AM radio station at Mississauga. The Caine family had owned CHWO radio in nearby Oakville since they put it on the air in 1956. The newly created Mississauga was becoming the country’s fastest growing city and the Caine’s felt the city deserved its own voice.


Ground was broken at the CHWO transmitter site in January. CJMR 1190 would be diplexed into the existing CHWO antenna system. A new AM10000D CCA transmitter was ordered…identical to the one in use by CHWO. During the technical work, CHWO lost very little air time.

CHWO Radio Ltd. launched CJMR at 10:30 a.m. on June 17. Studios were in the CHWO Building at 490 Wyecroft Road in Oakville. The transmitting facilities were co-sited with CHWO, on part of the southeast half of Lot 22, Concession 2, south of Dundas Highway in Trafalgar Township. CJMR broadcast during daytime hours only – on 1190 kHz with 10,000 watts (directional) of power. CJMR used four of the six towers. The “MR” in the call letters: Mississauga Radio. 


Carol Taylor was heard on CJMR.


Changes were happening in a big way around the CJMR-CHWO 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.


CJMR-CHWO 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 (directional). CHWO would have different day and night directional antenna patterns.

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.


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

Randy Gordon (afternoons) and Dermot Williams were heard on CJMR.


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


CJMR received permission to increase the amount of ethnic programming it broadcast, to 17%.

On March 20, the CRTC denied an application by CJMR 1190 Radio Limited for a licence to carry on an English-language FM radio broadcasting transmitting undertaking at Mississauga, operating on the frequency 96.3 MHz (channel 242 A) with an effective radiated power of 3,000 watts. The applicant was the licensee of AM station CJMR in Mississauga. It proposed a Group I FM station, featuring predominantly instrumental music. At the hearing, the applicant submitted that its proposed FM station was needed to support and complement CJMR which, due to technical constraints, was only able to operate as a day-time station. The applicant argued that this limitation reduced the station’s ability to compete effectively, and expressed the view that Mississauga residents would benefit from a full-time radio service directed to their needs and interests. In the Commission’s view, the program budget and staff resources proposed by the applicant appeared to be inadequate to deliver a truly attractive, competitive listening choice to the large and sophisticated Mississauga population. Moreover, the applicant failed to commit sufficient funds to promote the proposed station. The Commission questioned whether the proposed service represented optimum use of the frequency 96.3 MHz. In reaching its decision, the Commission also took note of the fact that the technical parameters of the proposed station would have produced a signal readily receivable across most of Metropolitan Toronto. Notwithstanding the applicant’s assurances that it wished to maintain in its programming a primary focus and orientation on Mississauga, based on discussion at the hearing, the Commission was not convinced of the strength of the applicant’s commitment in this regard. Furthermore, at the hearing, the applicant confirmed that it had not searched for a low power frequency to serve Mississauga. In light of all of the foregoing, the Commission was not satisfied that approval of the application was in the public interest. 

Brian Peroff was heard on CJMR. 


Andy Stokes left CJMR as assistant program director to become program director at Cornwall’s CFLG-FM. Andy is the newphew of CJMR owner Michael Caine. CJMR/CHWO copy chief Kai Parker retired. 


Mik St. Clair was hosting CJMR’s morning show.


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

On September 18, CJMR 1190 Radio Ltd. was given permission to change frequency from 1190 kHz to 1320 kHz, and to increase power from 10,000 watts daytime only, to 20,000 watts day and night. Different antenna patterns would be used for day and night operation. The 1320 frequency had been used by Richmond Hill’s CFGM which was now broadcasting on 640 kHz.

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

Brian DeBare was heard on CJMR.


On January 3, CJMR began testing on 1320 kHz and officially signed-on the new frequency on January 9. The same transmitter site was used for 1320 kHz, but the relocation of several towers and the addition of a tower shared with CHWO was required. Alex Velleman, retired engineer for CJMR and CHWO helped with the antenna project. 

CJMR had its licence renewed for five years. The station was also given permission to increase the amount of ethnic programming it provides – from 14 hours and 20 minutes per week to 21 hours and 42 minutes. The CRTC also approved CJMR’s request to increase the number of cultural groups which its programs are directed, from a minimum of four to five and the number of different languages it will broadcast programming in from six to seven.


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.


Harry McDonald was Vice President of Sales Marketing for CJMR and CHWO.


On January 18, the CRTC approved the addition of a digital broadcasting transmitter for CJMR, operating on 1,466.768 MHz with an effective isotropic radiated power of 5,084 watts.


On February 5, CJMR adopted a full-time multilingual format. Sister station CHWO Oakville had earlier moved from 1250 kHz to 740 kHz. At 6:00 a.m. this day, the 1250 frequency adopted a Christian music format as CJYE. Before today’s change, CJMR had a mix of multilingual and Christian programming.


In the summer, CJMR began broadcasting its digital signal. 


CHWO 740 was sold to Moses Znaimer and the call letters were changed to CFZM. The Caine family retained CJYE Oakville and CJMR Mississauga.


On August 28, the CRTC renewed the transitional digital radio licence of CJMR-DR-2.


On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CJMR-DR-2 to April 30, 2012.

Harry McDonald died at age 71. The 25-year veteran of Whiteoaks Communications 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 April 23, the CRTC administratively renewed the broadcasting licence for digital radio programming undertaking CJMR-DR-2 until August 31, 2012.


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 December 16, the CRTC approved the applications by Trafalgar Broadcasting Limited to change the authorized contours of CJMR and CJYE by modifying the stations’ facilities from a night and day pattern operation to a single pattern operation. As a result, CJMR’s daytime transmitter power would decrease from 20,000 to 10,000 watts, and both stations would broadcast at 10,000 watts in a single-pattern transmission operation. The two applications were non-severable given that the stations shared the same transmission site. Trafalgar indicated that the loss of daytime coverage for CJMR would be offset by improved night-time coverage, which would be more consistent with its daytime service. It added that the changes would remove both stations’ need for electromechanical pattern switching, thereby greatly improving the reliability of their services and minimizing maintenance costs. 


In November, the CRTC approved the change of effective control of Trafalgar Broadcasting Limited (CJMR/CJYE) from the late Jean Elizabeth Caine to her son Michael Caine.

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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