CKDX-FM, Jewel 88.5, Newmarket

Evanov Communications

CKDX-FM200188.511.300Evanov Radio Goup
CKDX-FM199688.511,300CKDX Ltd.
CKDX-FM199699.5500Dufferin Communications Inc.
CKDX-FM199488.5700Emmerson Broadcasting Inc.
CKDX-AM1992148010,000Emmerson Broadcasting Inc.
CKAN-AM1990148010,000Emmerson Broadcasting Inc.
CKAN-AM1984148010,000CKAN 1984 Ltd.
CKAN-AM1980148010,000CKAN Radio Ltd.


On August 2, Bradley R. Walker on behalf of a company to be incorporated received approval for a new AM station at Newmarket. It would broadcast on a frequency of 1480 kHz with day and night power of 10,000 watts. Ralph T. Snelgrove, owner of CKBB-AM Barrie would be chairman of the new company. The new station – to be known as CKAN – planned considerable open-line programming, as well as a weekly half hour of local musical talent. The station was to provide a distinctly local service to Newmarket and York Region. Target date for CKAN to sign on: September 1, 1979.

A competing application by DML Broadcasting Ltd. for 1480 kHz with 10,000 watts at Markham was denied. The CRTC said DML had sound programming proposals but the Newmarket area was in greater need of local radio service. The CRTC took an unusual move by re-opening the bidding for a new station at Newmarket…to DML Broadcasting. DML had intervened in the application by Walker last November. On February 1, the commission announced that DML, backed by the Roman family of Denison Mines Ltd., would be allowed 15 days in which to give notice of intent to file an application.

Two applications for similar facilities at Newmarket had been rejected by the CRTC in 1975. Those applications were by DML and a group headed by Al Bestall. Both were denied on the grounds that neither demonstrated a need for additional radio service in the area.


The proposed station required a very critical directional antenna system and finalization of the array was a chief factor in delaying CKAN’s start-up past the proposed September 1 deadline. The transmitter and antenna array were located on a 10.5 acre site at Oak Ridges (south of Aurora). This site would allow the station to beam north towards Aurora, Newmarket and Bradford. LeBlanc & Royle constructed the six towers and the transmitter was a Harris MW-10. Different antenna patterns would be used for day and night operation.


CKAN 1480 began operations on February 28 at 6:00 a.m. Studios and offices were located in the Newmarket Plaza at 138 Davis Drive. Ron Knight, formerly with CFGM Richmond Hill, was CKAN’s general manager. John Evans, chief engineer for CKBB Barrie and CKCB Collingwood, also looked after technical matters for CKAN. The program format was Middle of the Road. There were 20 staff members.

Production and on-air control room equipment included McCurdy 8650 consoles, Studer and Revox tape machines, Technics turntables and ITC cart machines.

Roy Green joined CKAN as news editor. He had been with Newmarket Cable. 


Gen Plouffe was now managing the station, Dean Burton became operations manager and the program director was Rob Sage.


On September 13, the sale of CKAN Radio Ltd. to North Country Broadcasting Corp. (controlled by Rene Brandon) was approved.

Barb Martin was doing middays and Ray Austin was in PM Drive. Al Kingdon joined the station from CJCL Toronto as program director. Rob Brown joined the station in January and left in March for CKBB in Barrie.


Gene Plouffe left CKAN to form his own company.


Gene Constaine joined CKAN from CKRY-FM in Calgary.

Al Kingdon was program director.


On January 11, the purchase of CKAN from CKAN Radio Ltd. by CKAN 1984 Ltd. was approved. General Manager Ted Randal was one of the new shareholders.


CKAN switched from a country format to contemporary hits.

Mike McMan was doing mornings and Al Kingdon was in afternoon drive. Other announcers included Wayne Craig, Mike Naburs, Don Marshall and Chris (Punch) Andrews. The news team included David Spragge, Doug Thorn and Tom McColgan (sports). Program director Al Kingdon left for CFGM.


Don Marshall was now doing mornings and Kenny Caughlin was in the afternoon drive shift. Janice McKay joined the news department from CHUC in Cobourg. Ron Waksman left CKAN for CFGM news in Richmond Hill.


On February 29, approval was given for the following share acquisitions of CKAN 1984 Limited: 10.1% by Barbara Weller; and 40% by Heritage Communications Group Ltd.; the acquisition of 45% of Heritage by Magna International Inc.; and the subsequent acquisition of a further 40% of CKAN by Heritage. As a result of these transactions, Heritage, with 80% of the common voting shares, has effective control of the licensee. Heritage is held 45% by C.A. Connors and Associates Ltd. (Connors is President and GM of CKAN), 45% by Magna and 10% by MLM Communications. The balance of the licensees’ shares is held by Dr. Malcolm Yasny (9.9%) and Ms. Barbara Weller (10.1%). There is, accordingly, ultimately no clear cut control of the licensee.

CKAN began broadcasting 24 hours a day. They had operated from 6 a.m. until midnight.

Steve Jackson was named general manager of CKAN. He had worked for CHUM Group Radio and Standard Broadcasting.
CKAN had its licence renewed to August 31, 1991 on the condition it alter its day-time antenna pattern to solve an interference problem affecting CHOW 1470 in Welland. The CRTC also expressed concern that CKAN adhere to the 30% Canadian content requirement.


On January 3, the CRTC approved the application for authority to transfer effective control of CKAN 1984 Limited, licensee of CKAN Newmarket, to Emmerson Broadcasting Inc. by way of the following share transfers: 100 common shares (10%) of CKAN’s parent company, Heritage Communications Group Ltd., from 695257 Ontario Inc. to Magna International Inc., which already held 450 common shares (45%); 450 common shares (45%) of Heritage from C.A. Connors & Associates Ltd. to Magna which would then hold 100% of Heritage; and 80 common shares (80%) of CKAN held by Heritage to Emmerson. The Commission noted that these share transfers had to be completed in their entirety and that as a result of this transaction, Peter Emmerson, who wholly owned Emmerson, would effectively control the licensee. As part of the share purchase agreement, CKAN would repay an outstanding bank line of credit guaranteed by Heritage and Magna. The Commission assessed the various projects and initiatives put forward by Emmerson as being benefits associated with the application. In general, and with the exception of the investments associated with the addition of a community service van and a Community Service Director and the undertaking to broadcast all of the Newmarket Saints’ hockey games, the Commission was satisfied that the benefits package was significant and unequivocal. CKAN Radio Limited, owner of the transmitter site rented by CKAN, filed an intervention referring to possible problems related to the renewal of CKAN’s lease. The Commission noted the applicant’s reply thereto and considered that this disagreement was not within the Commission’s jurisdiction. Dr. Malcolm Yasny and Mrs. Barbara Weller, who owned 9.9% and 10.1% of CKAN, respectively, opposed this application stating, amongst other concerns, that the proposed transaction would result in a weak financial structure and that the proposed new programming initiatives were not adequately detailed and were too costly. 


CKAN left the air at 12:25 p.m. on March 17, because of financial problems. General manager Frank Rogers said the station was unable to renew the lease on the Yonge Street transmitter site when the landlord boosted the rent five-fold. CKAN appointed an interim receiver-manager, and Rogers said he was looking for small investors to get the station back on the air on a more solid footing.

The station was able to return to the air on May 14, after resolving the dispute with the landlord of the transmitter site property. The station started out playing only music. Over time, announcers returned to the air. Part-owner Frank Rogers stated, “We’re building a new radio station.”

CKAN became CKDX on December 14. The station also adopted the “Good Time Oldies” format, filling the gap left by CJCL Toronto when it went all sports. CKDX was now using Standard Broadcast News.


On July 27, the conversion of CKDX to the FM band was approved. The new station would operate on frequency 88.5 MHz with effective radiated power of 700 watts. The licensee stated that the conversion was necessary in view of the station’s financial difficulties and the problems that it was experiencing in securing a lease for the site of the CKDX transmitter. 

In August, CKDX moved to 88.5 FM, calling itself “The Phoenix”. CKDX-AM left the air immediately.


On January 9, the sale of CKDX by CKAN 1984 Ltd. to Gary Turnbull was approved.

In November, CKDX was given permission to decrease power from 700 to 500 watts and to increase antenna height. 


CKDX was known briefly as “The X”, then on February 21 at 8:00 a.m., it became “Power 88.5” with a dance format. 

Randy Brill became program director at CKDX-FM. He had been with CIDC-FM in Orangeville.


On April 2, the sale of CKDX-FM was approved. Effective control of 1093641 Ontario Ltd., through the transfer of all of the securities held by Gary Turnbull, was now held by 1234870 Ontario Ltd., a company owned and controlled by Anthony Panza. 

Adam Robinson left Power 88 to become news director at CJKX in Ajax. Tarzan Dan (Freeman) joined CKDX to host the morning show.


In February, CKDX Power 88.5 threatened legal action against CISS-FM in Toronto which had changed its name to Power 92 (two “power” stations in the same area). The Toronto station reverted to its former CISS-FM name.

CKDX-FM “The Kat” flipped formats from Dance to New Country on July 19. 

Tarzan Dan left CKDX where he had been morning man.

Randy Brill was no longer program and music director at CKDX-FM.

On October 26, CKDX was given approval to increase power from 500 to 11,300 watts.

Dave Moffat was morning man. Tom Malone was in PM Drive and Scott Chapman did evenings. Other announcers included Brian Hayward, Chris Evans and Scott Fox. The news team included Mike Stinson, Sandy Salerno and John Bartlett. Punch Andrews took over morning drive just before the July 19 switch to Country.


On June 1 at 12 noon, CKDX “The Kat” with a new country format, became “Dancing Oldies 88.5”.

On December 21, approval came for the sale of CKDX by Anthony Panza to CKDX Radio Ltd., a company to be incorporated. The new company would issue 30% of its shares to the vendors and 70% of the voting shares to CKMW Radio Limited (William Evanov). 


Evanov Radio Group took ownership of CKDX in the spring.

Adam Robinson became operations manager for CKDX, CIAO and CIDC-FM. He had been with CJKX-FM in Ajax.


In January, “Foxy 88.5” flipped from Hits of the 70s, 80s and 90s to the best music ever recorded, featuring artists like Frank Sinatra, Air Supply and Marc Anthony.


In the spring, CKDX-FM changed its name from “Foxy 88.5” to “The Jewel” while keeping the adult standards format. 


On September 8, the CRTC renewed the licence for CKDX-FM Newmarket, from 1 December 2010 to 31 August 2017. The Commission noted that it had received an intervention by Matiz Communications Inc. in opposition to CKDX Radio Limited’s licence renewal application. The intervention referred to an ongoing dispute regarding shares in 1093641 Ontario Ltd., a minority shareholder in the licensee, and stated that as a result of this ongoing dispute, the Commission should decline to renew CKDX’s licence until the dispute was resolved or renew the licence on a short-term basis. Evanov Communications Inc., the majority shareholder in the licensee, replied to the intervention by submitting that this matter should be resolved in civil courts rather than by the Commission and that a delay in renewal or a short-term renewal would not be in the public interest. The Commission considered that this dispute should be resolved by the civil courts and did not have any bearing on the effective control of the licensee by Evanov Communications Inc.

Chris Edelman was promoted to general sales manager of Z103.5 (CIDC-FM)/The Jewel 88.5 (CKDX). He began his broadcasting career with the Evanov Radio Group as an Account Executive at CIDC-FM. 

Douglas Johnston died at age 60. He was the Afternoon Drive Host at 88.5 The Jewel. Before joining the Evanov Radio Group, he had a long career at such stops as Silk FM Kelowna and CKPC Brantford. Johnston had been with ERG for about a decade.


Linda Martelli joined the station as mid-day host. She had held on-air positions in many markets, including Toronto, Hamilton, Brantford, Niagara and Waterloo regions.

The story continues elsewhere…
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