CFLZ-FM, 101.1 More FM, Niagara Falls/Fort Erie

Byrnes Communications Inc.

CFLZ-FM2018101.119,700Byrnes Communications Inc.
CFLZ-FM2012101.119,700Vista Radio Ltd.
CFLZ-FM2011101.119,700Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc.
CKEY-FM2011101.119,700Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc.
CKEY-FM2005101.119,700Northguard Capital Corp.
CKEY-FM1996101.119,700Keith Dancy’s Fort Communications Inc.
CKEY-FM1991101.18,670Keith Dancy’s Fort Communications Inc.
CJFT-FM1991101.18,670Keith Dancy’s Fort Communications Inc.
CJFT-AM1986530250Keith Dancy’s Fort Communications Inc.


On February 26, the CRTC approved the application by Keith Dancy, on behalf of a company to be incorporated, for a licence for an English-language AM station at Fort Erie on the frequency 530 kHz, with a transmitter power of 250 watts, to broadcast programming originating part-time from its studios in Fort Erie and part-time from CJRN Niagara Falls which was also owned by Dancy. The Commission issued a licence expiring September 30, 1988. This term would enable the Commission to consider the renewal of this licence at the same time as that of CJRN. The Commission noted that this AM station would provide a first local service to the residents of Fort Erie. Although a number of Canadian and U.S. signals were available over-the-air, Fort Erie was the largest community in the Niagara Peninsula not served by a local radio station. It also lacked a local daily newspaper and cable service. The Commission considered that the results of a survey on broadcasting attitudes submitted by the applicant and the supportive interventions filed by the Town of Fort Erie and The Greater Fort Erie Chamber of Commerce demonstrated a need and clear desire for a local radio station. In assessing this application, the Commission noted that the licensee operated CJRN from a transmitter located near Fort Erie and was satisfied that the co-siting of the proposed station represented one of the most economical means of providing radio service to Fort Erie. Although there would be some overlap of the service contours of CJRN and the proposed station, the resulting duplication of service would only occur during the early years of the new operation. Once the licensee established a fully independent local service, as he hoped to do during the first term of licence, the situation would no longer exist. This new commercial AM station would share its Class C frequency with a traveller’s advisory service recently licensed to Transport Canada at the Pearson International Airport in Toronto. Consequently, it was expected that the new Fort Erie signal would be subjected to considerable co-channel interference outside the Niagara Peninsula, particularly in the Toronto area. Given this frequency-sharing arrangement with the advisory service, the international power limit on 530 kHz and the technical constraints imposed by adjacent channel assignments in Windsor (CBEF), Ontario and Buffalo, New York (WGR), the Commission noted that it was unlikely that the proposed station would develop into a high power regional service. At the hearing, the licensee emphasized its plans “to establish immediately, in prime time morning, noon hour and dinner hour listening periods, as strong communication empathy with the residents of Fort Erie, and to provide a voice for Fort that reflects the community”. Initially, more than 50 hours of programming per week would originate from the Fort Erie studios with the remainder to be derived from CJRN. During periods of simulcasting, the licensee would utilize a second studio transmitter link as a means of providing separate commercial messages or public service announcements to the two markets. Dancy also indicated that the talk show originating from CJRN, which would be broadcast on the new station, would continue to have one phone line dedicated to Fort Erie. The licensee intended “as rapidly as economically feasible, to expand on a block-programming basis so as to provide a listening focus that will be distinctively Fort Erie”. In view of the frequency-sharing arrangement and other technical constraints affecting the operation of the proposed station and taking into account the licensee’s commitment to a strong local service, the Commission considered that approval of this application was in the public interest. The Commission noted that the Department of Communications would not be in a position to grant technical certification until such time as international co-ordination procedures with the U.S.A. were successfully completed. 

Equipment for CJFT was supplied by AVR Communications and included audio consoles, Broadcast Electronics 3-deck machines, Audi-Cord double deck and single deck machines, Belar modulation monitors and RF amps, CRL AM stereo processing equipment, Scala antennas, etc.

CJFT would use a simple directional pattern pointed north to protect Buffalo’s WGR at 550 kHz, a frequency it has used since it went on the air in 1922. When WGR’s manager first heard about CJFT, he feared it would interfere with his signal, so sought help from the Federal Communications Commission and WGR’s parent company, Taft Broadcasting.

Installation of CJFT’s transmitting facilities began in June, under the direction of technical director Bill MacDougall. Tuning of the filters began June 23. After two night shifts, they were able to complete the 530 kHz adjustments during the day, while CJRN broadcast on 710 kHz. On June 30, CJFT was able to make final tests and adjustments. A DOC inspector arrived that date, as did representatives of Taft Broadcasting. They carefully inspected the installation, and spot checked signal levels near the border. In the end, they were satisfied that there were no interference problems for WGR. An international incident was avoided.

Fort Communications Inc., opened CJFT 530 on Canada Day – July 1, at 5:30 p.m. Studios and offices were located at 1239 Garrison Road in Fort Erie. CJFT shared CJRN’s transmitter site on Kraft Road, just outside of Fort Erie, and used two of ‘RN’s twelve towers. The “FT” in the calls: Fort Erie.

CJFT was the first local radio service for Fort Erie (population 24,500), just across the Niagara River from Buffalo. The area had always been inundated by U.S. media. The station was scoring some firsts for the peninsula – it’s Contemporary Hits (CHR) music format, and the soon to be added C-QUAM AM stereo. CJFT was also the first commercial station in North America to use 530 kHz. 

Announcers included Bob Dancy (mornings), Scott MacBride (mid-days – 10:00 to 2:30), Al Chonka (afternoon drive) and Bill Trumper (evenings). Chonka signed CJFT on the air. MacBride had been with sister station 710 CJRN.


Scott MacBride left CJFT.


John Gilbert was now doing a talk show on CJFT. The show was designed to provoke conversation by Canadians and Americans.


Bob Kobernuss (mornings) joined from WECK-AM Cheektowaga-Buffalo.


On November 5, the CRTC approved the application by Fort Communications to move CJFT from 530 kHz on the AM band to 101.1 MHz on the FM band. FM effective radiated power would be 8,670 watts. A competing application by Welland’s CHOW for an FM station was denied.


Early in the year, CJFT moved to 101.1 FM. The station’s antenna and transmitter were located at the CJRN site.

In the spring, CJFT-FM moved its studios to the CJRN building in Niagara Falls. The CJFT studios were at 1239 Garrison Road in Fort Erie. The move to Niagara Falls was to be temporary as the station was hoping to move the studios to the transmitter site on Kraft Road in Fort Erie. It was decided in the end, to simply keep the CJFT studios in the CJRN building.

CJFT 530 was simulcasting 101.1 FM (now CKEY-FM) in September, and was expected to be deleted on October 1. CKEY had a “nostalgia” format. 

Announcers included Bob Kobernuss (mornings), Dave Scott and Don Andrews. 


CJRN received approval to continue programming CKEY-FM from Niagara Falls. Plans to build new studios in Fort Erie were cancelled.


On August 26 at 12 noon, CKEY-FM adopted a “new” music format and the name “The Planet”. The station had been using an Adult Standards format.


In 1993, CKEY received experimental authority from Industry Canada for tests from the Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls, with the view to move the entire transmitter operations  there. Tests took place in the early half of ‘93. Improvement in the signal were noted but it was going to be to expensive to proceed with. CKEY then got experimental authority for a synchonous transmitter from a site located below the escarpment. This experiment began in March of ’95. 

Scruff Connors joined to host mornings (5:30 to 10:00). 

The Planet’s Program Director Kerry Gray was now devoting full time to his evening show and external activities. As a result, Jeremy Spoken became Program and Music Director. Spoken had been known as Jeremy Price at The River (CIDR-FM) in Windsor.


CKEY-FM had applied to the CRTC for approval to reduce its Canadian content level from 30% to 20%. The request was denied. 

On August 21, the CRTC approved the application to increase the effective radiated power for CKEY-FM from 8,670 watts to 19,700 watts. The station was also given the green light for the addition of a synchronous repeat transmitter at St. Catharines, operating on 101.1 MHz with an effective radiated power of 150 watts. (557 watts average power radiated at the transmitting antenna beam tilt angle). This transmitter had been operating on an experimental basis for some time.


In November, CKEY-FM entered a local marketing agreement with CHSC 1220 St. Catharines. CKEY’s American sales operations were handled by Mercury Broadcasting, owner of Buffalo’s WEDG-FM and WGRF-FM.

CKEY “The Planet” dropped its modern rock format and became “The River” with an adult contemporary format on November 14.


Keith Jules Dancy, owner of CJRN, CKEY-FM and CFLZ-FM died of cancer on May 6. He was 71.

On July 3, a change of ownership of CJRN, CKEY-FM and CFLZ-FM  to the Niagara Broadcasting Corporation was approved. The company would now be owned by several members of the Dancy family.


On September 6, at 6 a.m., CKEY-FM “The River” officially moved to 105.1 MHz, the former home of CFLZ – the tourist information station – and kept the CFLZ-FM call letters. The adult contemporary format was retained.

Urban (dance/contemporary hits). formated “Wild 101.1” officially launched on CKEY’s 105.1 frequency. It kept the CKEY-FM calls.

Tourist information station CFLZ 105.1 officially moved to CJRN 710 and the CJRN calls were retained on 710.


On December 19, the CRTC approved the transfer of ownership and control of CJRN 710 Inc. (CJRN Niagara Falls, CKEY-FM Fort Erie and CKEY-FM-1 St. Catharines) from Niagara Broadcasting Corp. (controlled by David Dancy) to Northguard Capital Corp. (owned and controlled by Andrew Ferri). This approval also covered the transfer to Northguard of 788813 Ontario Inc. (CFLZ-FM Niagara Falls), once it became a wholly owned subsidiary of CJRN 710 Inc. Northguard would then amalgamate both entities to continue the operation of the undertakings under the name of CJRN 710 Inc.

These applications had already been approved by the CRTC by letter on February 1, 2001, but the authority was never acted upon. It should be noted that although Mr. Ferri would now control all three stations, David Dancy would retain a minority interest and continue in active management of the stations.


In the spring, CKEY-FM dropped its CHR-Rhythmic/Mainstream Top 40 format as “Wild 101” for a CHR format (Today’s Hit Music) as “The New Z 101”.


On May 1 the CRTC approved the application by Niagara Radio Group Inc. for authority to acquire (corporate reorganization) from CJRN 710 Inc., the assets of CKEY-FM Fort Erie, CKEY-FM-1 St. Catharines and CFLZ-FM Niagara Falls. Niagara Radio was wholly-owned and controlled by Niagara Media Group Inc., a corporation controlled by Northguard Capital Corp. which in turn was controlled by Andrew Ferri. 


On June 8, the CRTC approved the application by Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. for authority to acquire from Niagara Radio Group Inc. the assets of CFLZ-FM Niagara Falls and CKEY-FM Fort Erie and its transmitter CKEY-FM-1 St. Catharines. The Commission directed Haliburton to fulfill the shortfalls in CFLZ-FM’s and CKEY-FM’s Canadian content and talent development contributions for previous broadcast years up to and including the 2009-2010 broadcast year by 31 August 2011. Haliburton was controlled by Christopher Grossman through his ownership and control of Beaumaris Group Inc., Haliburton’s controlling shareholder. In accordance with revised approach to non-compliance by radio stations, Broadcasting Information Bulletin CRTC 2011-347, 26 May 2011, the Commission considered that a short-term licence period for CFLZ-FM and CKEY-FM would be appropriate. This short-term licence period would enable the Commission to review the licensee’s compliance with the Regulations and its conditions of licence. Accordingly, the licences will expire August 31, 2015, which coincided with the expiry date of the existing licences.

On August 24 at 5:00 p.m., Top 40 Z101 (CKEY-FM) relaunched as The NEW Z101 “Your Hit Radio Station.” New air talent, including Chris Barnatt (mornings – from CFLZ-FM), Taylor Kaye (middays), Corey Mottley (afternoons) and Jammin Todd (evenings). On August 29, Kim Rossi joined for morning news on both CKEY and CFLZ and to co-host the morning show on CFLZ. Ross Davies was VP of operations for HBG Radio. Michael Haberer was sales manager for the New Z101 and Ed-FM (CFLZ).

Late in the year CKEY-FM became CFLZ-FM. The CFLZ call letters had been used by its sister station at 105.1 MHz – now CJED-FM.


On October 19, the CRTC approved the application by Vista Radio Ltd. for authority to acquire from Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. the assets of Haliburton’s AM and FM radio stations and their transmitters located in Bancroft, Barry’s Bay, Bolton, Bracebridge, Caledon, Cochrane, Elliot Lake, Espanola, Fort Erie, Haldimand, Haliburton, Hearst, Huntsville, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Kemptville, Niagara Falls, North Bay, Parry Sound, Prescott, St. Catharines, Stratford, Sturgeon Falls and Timmins. Vista was a corporation controlled by Westerkirk Capital Inc., in turn controlled by Thompson Investments Limited. CFLZ-FM (and CKEY-FM-1 St. Catharines) was among the stations acquired by Vista.

Rob White, the Program Director at 105.1 ED-FM/Z101, was no longer with the stations. White’s time with the operation went back to 1992 when the late Keith Dancy owned CJRN-AM 710, a stand-alone. He was also the morning show host, did the noon-hour show and handled a weekend shift.

Vista Radio announced that Drew Keith was joining the company as Program Director/Operations Manager of the Niagara Falls operations. This move would allow Wendy Gray, as Vice President of News and Digital Content for Vista East, to focus her energy on the East as a whole and aid with the transition of Vista East and West while still being General Manager of Niagara and Caledonia. Drew’s career started in Toronto at 97.3 FM and after spending three years at EZ Rock, he moved over to CHFI where he spent 11 years. as Music Director and 3 years as Music Director for the Toronto market overseeing CHFI and Kiss 92. In 2004, Drew became Director of Programming for the Haliburton Broadcasting Group where he spent three years helping build the “Moose FM” brand across the HBG network. For the past 8.5 years he had been working in Hamilton as the Program Director/Operations Manager for CHAM, CKOC, and CKLH. Over these years he had also been a Board Member of Factor, and served as National Program Director for the AC format at Astral.


At 12:00 p.m., CJED 105.1 began simulcasting CHR formatted sister station CFLZ 101.1 (Z101) with both flipping to CHR (“Hit Music Now”) as “2DayFM”.

2dayFM was off the air late in the year after someone cut a coaxial cable to its 101.1 frequency at the transmitter site. Police said it appeared the person responsible wanted to steal copper. Since 2dayFM’s signal operated on two frequencies, listeners were tweeted to tune in to 105.1 instead.


The license for the CFLZ repeater at St. Catharines was revoked in May. Vista said the transmitter had been shut down last September.

In December, the CRTC denied Vista Radio’s application for a suspension of a condition of CFLZ’s licence that would allow the station to solicit and accept local advertising. The suspension requested was to be through to the end of its licence term. The Commission noted that Vista converted CFLZ-FM to a full-time rebroadcasting transmitter for 2dayFM (CJED) without getting prior approval. With no local programming originating with CFLZ, the CRTC denied the request for local Fort Erie advertising. The Commission ordered local programming be resumed on CFLZ-FM by December 18. Vista must also apply, by January 26, to convert CFLZ to a rebroadcaster of CJED. The station would still not be allowed to solicit nor accept local Fort Erie advertising.


On July 15 at 6:00 a.m., CFLZ rebranded from 2day FM to Juice FM with a Variety Hits format. With the change, CFLZ was no longer simulcasting CJED-FM Niagara Falls, which kept the 2day FM branding.


On January 15, the CRTC approved the application by Byrnes Communications Inc. for authority to acquire from Vista Radio Ltd. the assets of the English-language commercial radio stations CJED-FM Niagara Falls and CFLZ-FM Fort Erie.

On March 1, Byrnes Communications Inc. launched and Adult Hits format playing the best songs from the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s and branded as More FM.

The story continues elsewhere…
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