CHRE-FM, EZ Rock, St. Catharines

Bell Media Inc.

CHRE-FM2013105.7100,000Bell Media
CHRE-FM2007105.7100,000Astral Media Inc
CHRE-FM2002105.7100,000Standard Radio Inc.
CHRE-FM1982105.7100,000Redmond Broadcasting Inc.
CHRE-FM1979105.750,000Radio Station CHSC Ltd. (Bob Redmond)
CHSC-FM1967105.750,000Radio Station CHSC Ltd. (Bob Redmond)


Robert Redmond’s Radio Station CHSC Ltd. launched CHSC-AM and FM on March 20. It was a most unusual move – being able to launch brand new AM and FM stations on the same day. CHSC-AM operated on a frequency of 1220 kHz, and had a power of 1,000 watts day and 500 watts at night. A single directional pattern was used for day and night operation. The six towers were located at a site on Lot 32, Thorold Township, Welland County – Collier Road, just north of Beaver Dam’s Road. The stations had a completely new building at 36 Queenston Street. There were separate AM and FM studios and control room blocks. The “SC” in the call sign: St. Catharines. William Stoeckel was general manager. John Tyrrell was named national sales manager.
Slogan: All Family Radio.


Even before CHSC opened, program director Francis Kirton said Bob Redmond determined the station would have an adult sound based on easy listening music, first rate news and mature voices. Little had changed in the programming over the past year but CHSC-AM now had a phone-in show – 1220 Hot Line – with Laura Sabia – 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. AM and FM offered separate programming during periods of heavy local interest – FM continued with music when AM was doing the talk show, news, sports, business, etc.

CHSC-AM-FM had two FM equipped stations wagons for covering outside news events.


Roland Brundle of CHSC’s engineering department, installed a semi-automation system of his own design. It utilizes five tape machines and cart reproducers. It was used as an announcer aid and most music was now on reel-to-reel.


CHSC-FM became CHRE-FM. Before the change, Bob Redmond asked for staff input on the change. Most voted for CHRE change because of the respect they had for Redmond. The R.E. in the call sign represented Redmond’s first and middle names. The change to CHRE-FM took place around October.


Robert Redmond named Mike Hanson and Jim Shields vice-presidents at CHSC/CHRE.


CHRE-FM increased effective radiated power to 100,000 watts. 


On January 11, the CRTC renewed CHRE-FM’s licence until September 30, 1985.

CHRE/CHSC’s news director was Frank Fanstone. Neal Kelly joined the news department.


The corporate name changed from Radio Station CHSC Limited to Redmond Communications Ltd.


Bob Redmond decided to sell CHSC-AM but would keep CHRE-FM. Redmond said he would continue his commitment to the community with CHRE-FM, and that the sale of CHSC would enable both stations to establish clear identities and reach their full potential. On March 31, the AM station and the building that housed both stations was sold to Doug Setterington. By agreement, CHRE was allowed to continue using the FM studios but separate offices had to be found for administration, marketing, creative, promotion, programming and accounting. They ended up five miles away from the studios. It was then announced that CHRE would relocate to CorBloc, a new office and retail complex in downtown St. Catharines.

Francis R. Kirton, recently retired music director of CHRE-FM, died May 21. He started his career at CKOC in Hamilton and over his career was music director or program director at CFOR Orillia, CKSL London, CFCA Kitchener, and CJAD / CJFM-FM in Montreal. 


On January 31, CHRE began broadcasting from new studios and offices at Cor Bloc, 80 King Street. CHSC-AM remained in the old facility at 36 Queenston Street. The new CHRE facility offered 6,200 square feet of space. The new computer system covering all aspects of the station’s operations could connect to the computers of co-owned CJEZ-FM in Toronto. With compact discs replacing records, the floor space required for the library was greatly reduced. Denon CD players were used throughout the station. Ward-Beck R1400 series consoles were used in the production and on-air studios. R600 series consoles were used in the news booth and voice track booth. CHRE also used Revox PR-99 reel-to-reel tape machines, along with ITC Delta cart machines.

Over the past several months CHRE had been given a new look and sound which resulted in a 40% increase in ratings in its age 25-54 demographic. The station gave high priority to regional news and information, with features such as “Niagara at Noon”.

David Himes was CHRE’s general manager. 


Erin Redmond, Bob’s daughter, became General Manager of CHRE. 


John Larocque, CHRE’s morning man for 25 years and new semi-retired, was named Citizen of the Year by the St. Catharines Chamber of Commerce.


On July 21, the sale of CHRE-FM from Redmond Broadcasting Inc. to Affinity Radio Group Inc. was approved. Affinity already owned CKTB and CHTZ-FM in St. Catharines.


On May 16 at 12 noon, CHRE began broadcasting from the CKTB-CHTZ building at 12 Yates Street.

Telemedia Radio Group Inc. purchased CHRE-FM, CHTZ-FM and CKTB from Radio Group Inc. (Affinity).


Telemedia Radio VP Braden Doerr, most recently vice president of the Ontario regional group, assumed responsibility for the Southern Ontario cluster (London, Hamilton and St. Catharines). Rick Doughty, VP of Telemedia Northern Ontario (Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie, Pembroke and Orillia) would continue in that assignment but also added responsibilities as a member of the executive committee of the Ontario division, reporting to Claude Beaudoin, Telemedia executive VP for Ontario region.

In the fall, CHRE-FM changed its name from “Light 105.7” to “EZ Rock 105.7”. The format remained adult contemporary.


On April 19, the purchase of several Telemedia radio and television stations by Standard Radio Inc. was approved. Standard in turn sold off some stations to other companies, but kept CKTB, CHRE-FM and CHTZ-FM St. Catharines.


Robert E. Redmond, founder of CHRE-FM passed away on May 7.


On September 27, Astral Media Radio G.P. received CRTC approval to acquire the assets of the radio and TV undertakings owned by Standard Radio Ltd., subject to certain conditions.  The purchase included CHRE-FM, CHTZ-FM and CKTB-AM.    


Sarah Cummings was appointed Program Director at Astral Media Radio’s new FM station in Ottawa. Cummings, of Astral Media Radio Niagara, divided her time in November between the two locations as she wound up her PD gig at 105.7 EZ Rock/ Newstalk 610 CKTB. Succeeding Cummings at the two St. Catharines stations was Gina Lorentz, the PD at CKNX-FM Wingham. Also at Astral Media Radio Niagara, Mike Tyler became PD at HTZ-FM. His background included stops at Jack FM Toronto, Y108 Hamilton, The Hawk London and 102.1 The Edge Toronto. Both Lorentz and Tyler began their new jobs on November 23.

Michelle Armstrong was promoted to Retail Sales Manager at Astral Media Radio Niagara. 


In September Wendy Wolfe joined HTZ FM and EZ Rock to handle weekend announce shifts.


In May, a general manager shuffle took place. Bob Harris moved to St. Catharines to oversee News Talk 610 CKTB, 105.7 EZ Rock and 97.7 HTZ FM while Madeline Hamilton moved to Hamilton to take over 102.9 k-lite, Today’s Country 820 CHAM and Oldies 1150 CKOC.

On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CHRE-FM until March 31, 2012.


On March 20, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CHRE-FM to August 31, 2012.

On July 10, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CHRE-FM to March 31, 2013.

Gina Lorentz, Brand Director at Astral Radio St. Catharines, was no longer with the cluster. She joined Astral at the end of 2009, moving from CKNX-FM Wingham where she had been Program Director/Morning Show co-host.

After 9 years of co-hosting EZ Mornings with Jack & Lori, Jack Peets started waking up a little later starting in August. Jack made the move from the early morning to mid-morning as the new host of the workday kick-off from 9am-noon. In addition, Jack was hosting a second early afternoon show on another Astral Radio station. Rick Hodge returned to Niagara as the co-host of the Morning Show alongside Lori Love. Rick spent over 20 years as one third of the popular CHUM FM Roger, Rick & Marilyn Show. Mark Munroe continued to host the early afternoon show from noon until 3 and Brett Ness took care of afternoon drive from 3-7 p.m., followed by John Tesh in the evenings.

Sarah Cummings, Operations Manager at Astral Media Radio Ottawa, returned to Southern Ontario May 7 as Brand Director at 105.7 EZ Rock St. Catharines and 102.9K-LiteFM Hamilton. Cummings moved to Ottawa from St. Catharines in 2009 to launch the new boom 99.7 (CJOT-FM). Succeeding Cummings in Ottawa for boom 99.7 was Brand Director Morgan Prue. Returning to the Ottawa/Gatineau area from New York, she began in her new position in April.


On February 6, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence of CHRE-FM to August 31, 2013.

Rob White, the former Program Director at 105.1 ED-FM / Z101 Niagara Falls, landed with Astral St. Catharines. For the time being, he was doing weekends at 105.7 EZ-ROCK.

On June 27, 2013, after a previous such application had been denied in 2012, the CRTC approved an application by Astral Media Inc. to sell its pay and specialty television channels, conventional television stations and radio stations to BCE Inc., including CHRE-FM.


Frank Fanstone died at the age of 65. He began his broadcast career at CHSC/CHRE-FM in 1970. When CHRE became co-owned with CKTB and CHTZ in 1998, Fanstone was news director for all three stations. He held that position until 2001.


On November 2, Rick Hodge retired after 45 years in the business. He was best known for his over 20 years as part of CHUM-FM Toronto’s Roger, Rick & Marilyn morning show.

The story continues elsewhere…
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