CKDO-AM, Durham’s Classic Hits, Oshawa

Durham Radio Inc.

CKDO-AM2006158010,000Durham Radio Inc.
CKDO-AM2003135010,000/5,000Durham Radio Inc.
CKDO-AM2000135010,000/5,000Corus Entertainment Inc.
CKDO-AM1992135010,000/5,000Power Broadcasting Inc.
CKAR-AM1991135010,000/5,000Power Broadcasting Inc.
CKLB-AM1979135010,000/5,000Grant Broadcasting Inc.
CKAR-AM1979135010,000/5,000Grant Broadcasting Inc.
CKLB-AM1960135010,000/5,000Lakeland Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
CKLB-AM19521240250Lakeland Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
CKLB-AM19501240100Lakeland Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
CKDO-AM19461240100T.W. Elliot


Not long after CKDO was licensed, the Oshawa Public Utilities Commission announced a desire to own and operate a radio station. There was a lack of public support and some members of the commission felt that a publicly owned radio station should be better handled by city council and not the PUC.

CKDO was expected to open on or about July 1 and on that date George Elliott (22) was expected to be the youngest station manager in Canada. He would take charge of the Oshawa Broadcasting Co. Ltd. Studios would be located in the Genosha Hotel and the transmitter would be delivered by RCA in May. CKDO planned to be on the air from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily and would be completely local with no network affiliation. The station would broadcast with a full-time power of 100 watts (non-directional) on a frequency of 1240 kHz. Elliott came to the business with some newspaper and industrial movie experience.

T. W. Elliott, a General Motors executive, opened CKDO on October 5. Studios and offices were located in the Genosha Hotel, 70 King Street East. The official opening for “The Voice of Ontario and Durham Counties” took place on October 26. Representatives of various groups and service clubs in Oshawa, headed by Mayor Frank McCallum, appeared on the inaugural broadcast. Staff at this time included: Ross Rolands (formerly with CKCW Moncton) as chief announcer, Donald Allman (announcer), James Marsh (announcer), Sidney Townsend (studio engineer) and George Blanchette (chief engineer).


Gord Sinclair was on staff at CKDO while his dad (Gordon) was working in nearby Toronto, at CFRB.


The Oshawa Broadcasting Co. Ltd. was re-organized and now operated with the following board: Walter A. Dales (president and managing director), Tom Elliott, Sr. (vice president) and Stanley E. Everson (treasurer). The transfer of stock still required regulatory approval. Following the re-organization, Ross Rowlands would be station manager. He had been on CKDO’s announce staff for some time. 

The CBC recommended for approval, the transfer of the Oshawa Broadcasting Co. Ltd. from T.W. Elliot to W.A. Dales, J.G. Johnston, T.R. Elliott, E.G. Everson and S.F. Everson.

In July, hundreds turned out for an open house at CKDO’s new home. The station had been operating from the Genosha Hotel, and was now broadcasting from a new facility at 16 Centre Street. Manager Ross Rowlands said the move was made to fill the need for more space occasioned by the station’s growth.

Bernie Barris was on-air at CKDO. Eddie Bond was commercial manager. 


At the end of the year, CKDO was sold for a reputed $35,000 to the Lakeland Broadcasting Co. Ltd. The calls were expected to change around January 1, 1950, to CKLB. President and general manager was Al Collins, former salesman at CHUM Toronto. Mike Hopkins, also formerly of CHUM, would be station manager. Both were directors of the new company, along with A.H. Dixon, a Toronto businessman. 

Ross Rowlands was manager and Eddie Bond was commercial manager.


Miss Canada (Margaret Lynn Munn) would officially open CKLB on January 2. Oshawa Mayor Starr was also on hand.

On-the-air: Mac Lipson (Morning in the Motor City), Bill Swinton and Ross Drew did sports, Gordon Garrison handled Oshawa Generals games, Gus Habberfield (Rainbow Ballroom), Bert McCollum (The Hillbilly Hit Parade), Bill Swinton (The All-Time Hit Parade and The CKLB Supper Club), Larry Solway and (Motor City Matinee). News was heard on the hour and presented by Mac Lipson, Michael Hopkins, Gus Habberfield and Jack Thompson. Other programs: the Whitby, Bowmanville and Port Perry Shows; Drama (Community Stage of the Air and Children’s Theatre).

Former manager Ross Rowlands wound up back in Moncton. He was now program director at CKCW.

Slogan: The biggest little radio station in the nation in central Canada’s richest market.


The CBC Board approved a power increase for CKLB…from 100 to 250 watts. The station would stay at 1240 on the dial.

John Sliz was a technician at CKLB.

CKLB was now operating with 250 watts of power.

Slogan: CKLB scores with another power play. Now 250 watts of power packed sales punch.

At the request of the applicant the CBC Board deferred ruling on the transfer of control in Lakeland Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (CKLB) from Al Collins to A.J. Dixon.


CKLB increased power from 100 to 250 watts. 

Slogan: You sell ’em when you tell ’em over CKLB.


Paul Summerville was sports director. Johnny Wacko was an announcer. Fred Russell was in sales.

Gord Garrison was now manager. He had been with CKX Brandon. 


Burt McCollom was news editor. 


Dick Smyth was early morning DJ. Bill Smith was in CKLB’s news department.

CKLB increased power to 5,000 watts in May or June. Ad on the topic: Now CKLB Oshawa extends a big 5000 watts welcome to more than 1,000,000 new friends – all potential customers for you. 


Gordon Garrison formed a group to purchase CKLB from A. H. Collins (98.6%), Mrs. F. I. Collins (0.7%) and R. J. Collins (0.7%). The corporate name changed slightly to The Lakeland Broadcasting Co. Ltd.

CKLB switched frequency from 1240 kHz to 1350 kHz with 5,000 watts (two directional patterns). The transmitter and four towers were located near Courtice, in Durham County. Studios and offices remained at 16 Centre Street.


CKLB was an independent station with no network affiliation.

CKLB-FM began broadcasting on September 12.

Alfred H. Collins was still listed as president of Lakeland Broadcasting Co. Ltd. Gordon G. Garrison was manager and commercial manager. William Marchand was chief operator while Ron Craig was chief engineer. 


Toronto lawyer Charles J. Henry (OBCI) applied to purchase Lakeland Broadcasting Co. Ltd., owner of CKLB-AM and FM. The application was deferred at Henry’s request. 

Bill McKissock did sports. Gord Garrison was station manager. Bill Marchand was chief engineer. Fred Oliver was program director. Reg McCausland and Vic Miller were at CKLB.

The CBC was to hear an application for the change of ownership of CKLB-AM-FM from Lakeland Broadcasting Co. Ltd. to Charles J. Henry, OBCI. The application was withdrawn by the present owners because Mr. Henry’s option to buy had expired. CKLB-AM also had an application before the CBC Board to increase power on 1350 kHz from 5,000 watts day and night (DA-2) to 10,000 watts day and 5,000 watts night (DA-2). The technical application was recommended for denial because the CBC felt the present power was adequate for the area which the station was intended to serve according to its original application. As to the proposed ownership change, present owner, A.H. Collins, was questioned by the CBC as to why the sale fell through. He said he had no intention of selling unless the price was right and he had not received a cash sum originally offered by Mr. Henry. A board member suggested that the power increase applied for by Collins would, if granted, make CKLB more valuable in a sale. Collins replied that he was prepared to give assurance he was not asking for a power boost to improve his sale position.

Gordon Garrison applied to run CKLB-AM-FM which he’d been doing for the past five years, but he now had an agreement to buy the stations from Al Collins. Gord came east in 1945 from his hometown of Brandon, and had worked at CKX there for two years. He then joined CKCR Kitchener, moved on to CFOR Orillia and then CKDO in 1948, as announcer-writer-operator. He added sales duties to his work load a short time later. Collins took over the stations from Walter Dales in 1950. At that time Garrison dropped everything but sales and was named sales manager in 1952. On July 1, 1953, Collins gave Garrison managership. If the sale was approved, CKLB-AM would continue to be local in its attempt to fight off the big Toronto stations. CKLB-FM would continue with its “music for the connoisseur.”


Around 1960, CKLB increased power to 10,000 watts day and 5,000 watts night on 1350 kHz. The same transmitter site was used but in addition to the four 125 foot towers, one 186 foot tower was added to the array. 

Ad: CKLB now 10,000 watts serving Central Ontario with doubled power on 1350 Kilocycles. CKLB Oshawa, Ontario. 

Dave Kirkland was an announcer and Barbara Pollock was women’s editor. Ken Cassavoy was an announcer. Reg McCausland was assistant engineer. Jack Walmsley was an announcer. Gordon Garrison named J.A.C. Lewis as general manager of CKLB. Lewis had been manager of CFAB/CKEN in Nova Scotia for the past 10 years.


Studios and offices were re-located to 360 King Street West.


Gordon G. Garrison was president of the company. Bill Henning was program director. Gary Price was chief announcer. Ross Gibson was news and farm director. Jim Bishop was sports director. William C. Marchand was chief engineer.


CKLB-FM became CKQS-FM on June 6.

Announcer line-up: Doug Crysdale (6-10 a.m.), Fred Kelly (10-2), Terry Mann (2-5), Bob Taylor (5-11) and John Donabie (11-6). The news department included Bob Durant, Mike Warmington, Ross Gibson (news director), Dick Trotter (sports director), Jim Bishop (sports). Barry Sarazin joined from CJET in Smiths falls to do middays. Terry Mann was program director. Doug Crysdale was killed in a summer boating accident. Bob Taylor left and was replaced in the 5-11 shift by John Donabie (this was the rock and roll shift – CKLB was pretty much easy listening the rest of the day). 

CKLB-FM became CKQS-FM on June 6.


John Donabie left for CKFH in Toronto. 

Slogan: CKLB / CKQS The twin voices of the Lakeland Broadcasting Company – KL Oshawa Radio – QS Quality Stereo FM Radio.


Al Kingdon joined for evenings from CKPT Peterborough. Don Beifer joined in June. Barry Sarazin (music director) moved from middays to afternoon drive. Ross Campbell did mornings (6-9:30). Doug Hobbs joined for AM Drive from CHOO in Ajax, and then left for CKSL London.


Don Biefer left for CJSS Cornwall in February.


Barry Sarazin (PM Drive, Music Director) left the air to become program director.


Al Kingdon left for CKFH Toronto.


Program director Barry Sarazin left.


CKLB and CKQS had plans to move to a new studio location. The existing King Street building was sold but Lakeland Broadcasting ended up owning it again! A new transmitter building was built for CKLB.


On December 27, George H. Grant on behalf of a company to be incorporated received federal approval to acquire CKLB-AM and CKQS-FM from Lakeland Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (Gord Garrison). The new owner was to improve substantially the quality of local community services on both stations.


On-the-air: Arnie Celsie (5-9), Michael Drake (10-3), Jeff Newfield (3-7), evenings and overnights were handled by Bob Wood, Dave Kirkland or Peter Tokar. Weekend announcers: Rick Muldoon, Phil Parks, and Hal Hill. News: Terry Steele, Joan Downie, and Jack Horahan. Sports: Jim Gilcrest, Bob Burr, and Bill Easter.

Grant Broadcasting Ltd. (George Grant) took ownership of CKLB and CKQS-FM.

In February, CKQS-FM became CKQT-FM.

On March 19, just after 9 a.m., CKLB with an adult contemporary format, became CKAR with a contemporary hits format. The “KAR” in the new call letters was for “car” – Oshawa is the “Motor City”, with General Motors being the largest employer.

On-the-air: Arnie Celsie was now on from 5 to 10 a.m. Jeff Newfield (aka Scruff Connors) left and was replaced by Kevin Nelson (Jay’s son) who joined from CHIC-CFNY Brampton. Hal Hill moved over to CKQT-FM


Long-time morning man Arnie Celsie was now gone. Terry Williams was hosting the morning show. Jacquie Donaldson was in the mid-day shift and Michael Drake was doing afternoons. Bob Wood handled evenings and Barb Brant was in the overnight shift. Mark Orton was now in the news department. Al Joynes did evenings later in the year. Kevin Nelson left for CKSL in London. Kevin Kelly joined for mid-days from CJJD Hamilton in April. He replaced Jacquie Donaldson who left for Calgary. Kevin was also music director. He actually did overnights for a few weeks before going to mid-days. Dan Freeman joined CKAR’s on-air staff.


Dave Snodgrass, chief engineer for CKAR and CKQT, moved to CKWW in Windsor. He was replaced by Kirk Stewart of CJJD in Hamilton.

Ross Carlin (Dr. Sunshine) was now morning man. Michael Drake was program director.


Larry Solway who worked in Oshawa radio before moving to CHUM years ago, was now back at CKAR, co-hosting the “On the Line” talk show with his co-star in theatrical performances, Nuala Fitzgerald.

Announcers included, Ross Carlin (mornings), Kevin Kelly (mid-days), Dan Wilmot (afternoons), Barb Brant (evenings). Michael Drake was PD. Kevin Kelly left for CFTJ Cambridge in March. Dan Freeman left CKAR. During his time in Oshawa he had hosted afternoon drive and evenings.


Jim Brady joined CKAR and then left.


Rod Hunter was now hosting the mid-day talk show. Eric Hollo was PM drive host. Carey Kerr was also heard on CKAR.


On-Air: Eric Hollo (AM Drive), Graham MacNeill (PM Drive), Lorne Simon, Matt Regan. News: Scott Robins, Martin Wagman, Lee Habinski, Steve Fall. 

CKAR switched from adult contemporary to a country format in the fall. The light country format came from Randal English Enterprises. 


Rick Wyman was at the station. 

The format changed in the fall, to adult contemporary from a mix of A/C and country. 

Lee Habinski was named news director at CKAR/CKQT-FM.


On February 12, the sale of CKAR by Grant Broadcasting Ltd. to CKAR-AM Radio Ltd.. (R. Daniel Pickett), was approved. Pickett was a marketing consultant with over 25 years of experience in the cable television and communications industries and had no other media holdings. George Grant would serve as a consultant to the new company. General Manager Scott Cameron was a director of the new company. For a variety of reasons, this transaction was never completed and Grant Broadcasting continued as owner of CKAR-AM. 


Bob Wallace (mid-days, assistant program director) joined from CHOO Ajax.


On September 27, the sale of CKAR and CKQT-FM by Grant Broadcasting Ltd. to Power Broadcasting Inc. was approved, despite the overlap of CKQT-FM’s signal by Power’s CFMP-FM in Peterborough.


On-Air: 6:00 Scott Cameron, 9:00 Glenn McLaren, 2:00 John Dunn, 7:00 Alex Davies, 12:00 Satellite. News: Mark Orton, Rick Dugard, Lee Habinski, Martin Wagman, Terry Macinelli, John Badham (Sports).


On March 30 at 6:00 a.m., CKAR switched back to its original call letters – CKDO. The program format changed from Adult Contemporary to “Good Time Oldies” – Top 40 music of the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s, with an emphasis on mid-to-late 60’s music. This time the “DO” in the calls stood for Durham-Oshawa (and Durham’s Oldies). The new format was chosen as a result of listener feedback since the past summer when the station (known during this period simply as “AM 1350”) became the country’s first listener-designed radio station. Listeners were invited to call in and suggest changes and improvements to the station. Besides the new format, other improvements were to include new antenna towers, new transmitter, digital studio equipment, and the use of CD’s and digital audio tape.

On-Air: 6:00 Steve Gregory, 10:00 John Dunn, 3:00 Andy Neill, 7:00 Alex Davies, 12:00 satellite. News: Mark Orton, Stephanie Mandziuk, Frances Helyar, Martin Wagman, Terry Mancinelli, Rick Dugard, Lee Habinski.

Steve Gregory left. He was replaced in AM Drive (5:30 to 10) by Terry Johnston. Terry joined in November from CKPC Brantford.


Marilyn Louw was named vice president of sales for CKDO / CKQT.

CKQT-FM became CKGE-FM in February. 

General manager Dave Lyman left CKDO / CKGE-FM in June. 

Lee Sterry was named vice president and general manager of CKDO and CKGE-FM. Wayne Ens was named sales manager.


On September 1, CKDO began picking up most of its programming from the Good Time Oldies network (Satellite Radio Network owned by Rogers and based in Vancouver). Local production was limited to the Monday through Friday morning snow, news, weather, advertising and promotion. The same changes went into effect at Power-owned CFFX Kingston and CKRU Peterborough.

Kevin Kipping, Gerry Steel, and Pete Kay were heard on weekends. 

On December 6, Don Allman passed away. He was the announcer that put the original CKDO on the air in 1946…with a program called “The Old Ranchhouse”. Don left for  CHEX Peterborough in 1948 (where he replaced Wally Crouter as morning man – Wally had moved on to CFRB), but returned to Oshawa around 1950. He worked at General Motors for 40 years and returned to the Oshawa airwaves in the mid-70s when he retired from GM. He continued his on-air work until 1992. 


Lee Sterry was Vice President at CKDO. Wayne Enns was General Sales Manager.


On June 1, CKDO began simulcasting the programming of sister station CKGE-FM.


Early in the year, CKDO was airing programming separate from CKGE-FM, although the format was similar to the FM station’s.

CKDO and CKGE moved to new studios and offices to Oshawa Airport’s new terminal building at 1200 Airport Boulevard.


CKDO was again doing some simulcasting with CKGE-FM. 


Peter Allen became general sales manager at CKDO/CKGE-FM. He had been general manager at CKCB-FM Collingwood.


On March 24, the sale of Power Broadcasting Inc. (including CKDO and CKGE) to Corus Entertainment Inc. by Power Corporation was approved. Corus took control of the stations on April 13.


On February 19, Corus created a six station Ontario talk network consisting of CHML 900 Hamilton, CFPL 980 London, CKDO 1350 Oshawa, CKRU 980 Peterborough, CFFX 960 Kingston and CJOY 1460 Guelph.

Bob Fisher was named general manager at CKDO / Energy 94.9. He had been with the Forvest stations in Saskatoon, and joined the Oshawa stations in mid-April.

On-Air: 5:30 Terry Johnston, 9:00 Roy Green (via CHML), 12:00 Ontario Today, 1:00 Wayne McLean (via CFPL), 4:00 Shawn Turner, 6:00 Satellite. News: Mark Orton, Kara Scanlan, Kelly Addison, Paul Pedro, Amy Trimble.

In the summer, CKDO returned to an all-oldies music format.


In February, the CKDO “AM 1350” morning show began simulcasting over sister station CHEX-TV channel 22, Oshawa.


On April 23, the sale of CKDO and CKGE-FM by Corus Entertainment Inc. to Durham Radio Inc. was approved. Durham owned CJKX-FM “KX96” in nearby Ajax. Durham took control of CKDO and CKGE in early June.

On September 1, CJKX Ajax joined CKDO and CKGE at 1200 Airport Blvd., Suite 207.


On August 20, CKDO was authorized to add an FM booster in Oshawa. CKDO proposed to operate the new transmitter on 107.7 MHz with an effective radiated power of 250 watts. That frequency was awarded to CKMB-FM Barrie in a  competing application. CKDO was asked to seek an alternate channel. It later turned out that 107.7 could not be used in Barrie so CKDO was given the go ahead to use it at Oshawa.


CKDO 1350’s new booster transmitter – CKDO-FM-1 (on 107.7 MHz) – began broadcasting on March 30. The FM booster was designed to fill gaps, especially at night, in the AM signal, particularly in Oshawa, Whitby and Ajax.

On November 15, CKDO was given approval to change its main frequency from 1350 to 1580 kHz and to increase power from 10,000 watts day and 5,000 watts night to a full-time power of 10,000 watts. The same transmitter site would be used and the number of towers would be reduced from five to two. On 1350, CKDO had different patterns for day and night operation. On 1580, the station would use the same pattern, day and night.


Just after the 10:00 a.m. news, August 13, CKDO left the 1350 frequency. The station returned to the air late that evening on its new 1580 frequency. The down time between 1350 and 1580 was spent setting up the transmitter for the new frequency. CKDO continued to operate on 107.7 FM in addition to the new, stronger 1580 kHz.


On February 23, Durham Radio Inc. was authorized to increase the effective radiated power of CKDO-FM-1 from 250 watts to an average ERP of 665 watts (maximum ERP of 2,000 watts). The increase would improve the reception of CKDO-FM-1, optimize the use of 107.7 MHz by counteracting co-channel interference from U.S. station WLKK-FM Weathersfield, N.Y., and continue the turnaround of CKDO from both a listener acceptance and a financial standpoint. 


Former CKDO-CKGE (Lakeland Broadcasting Co. Ltd.) owner Gord Garrison passed away.


Alfred Henry Collins died at age 97. He was a former owner of CKLB. At the time, Collins meant for the LB to stand for Lakeland Broadcasting. Before buying CKLB, Collins was a Sales Executive at CHUM Toronto.


Former CKAR personality Kevin Nelson (son of the late Jungle Jay Nelson) passed away December 13 at age 52.


Larry Solway passed away January 9 at age 83. He worked at the station at least twice in his broadcasting career – very early on and much later…towards the end of his “on-air” days.

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

Lindsey Young left CKDO to become Music Director and afternoon announcer at CFLY-FM Kingston.

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.


Former CKLB/CKAR morning man Arnie Celsie died on January 28 at the age of 66.

CKDO became available in HD late in the year when sister station KX96 began transmitting an HD signal. CKDO was available on 95.9’s HD3 channel.


George Grant, 76, died on September 17. Grant spent 50 years in the broadcast industry as a host, sales manager, programmer, and operations executive. He started in radio in 1964 at CKAR Huntsville and then did a stint at VOCM in St. John’s. He then joined Rogers Broadcasting and CHFI in a sales role, and acted as the station’s helicopter traffic reporter. Grant moved up to VP of Sales and GM. He also produced “On the Slopes” – a skiing show that aired on Citytv and a number of Ontario radio stations. In 1979, Grant acquired CKLB and CKQS-FM Oshawa and renamed them, CKAR and CKQT-FM. In 1990, he sold those stations to Power Broadcasting. George then took a break from broadcasting and moved into sports ownership, becoming a founding partner of the Ottawa Senators and co-owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. In 2004, Grant became the founding president and CEO of MZ Media, ZoomerMedia’s radio division where he helped orchestrate the purchase of The New Classical 96.3 Toronto. Grant retired in 2013, but continued to work on new projects, most recently in helping to launch APTN’s new radio stations in Ottawa and Toronto.

The story continues elsewhere…
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