CIXL-FM , Giant FM 91.7, Welland

Stingray Group Inc.

CIXL-FM200591.727,420R. B. Communications (David Holgate)
CHOW-FM199991.727,420R.B. Communications
CHOW-AM1994147010,000R.B. Communications
CHOW-AM1981147010,000Wellport Broadcasting Ltd.
CHOW-AM1978147010,000/2,500Wellport Broadcasting Ltd.
CHOW-AM196014701,000/500Wellport Broadcasting Ltd.
CHOW-AM19571470500 dayWellport Broadcasting Ltd.


A new AM radio station was approved for Welland, operating on a frequency of 1470 kHz with a power of 500 watts – daytime-only. It was expected to be on the air sometime in 1957.


Wellport Broadcasting hoped to open its station around May 15, using 1470 kHz with power of 500 watts. The company was headed by President Gordon Burnett, manager of Radio Guardian in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. His two associates were Bob Redmond, former sales manager of CHEX radio in Peterborough, and Doug Manning, former CHEX-TV sales manager. The station was to be equipped by RCA, and completely designed and built by N. J. Pappas & Associates of Montreal. Redmond said programming would be “both snappy and bright” but would not cater to “rock & roll”. There would be no network affiliation. 

CHOW 1470 signed on the air June 4. CHOW used two towers from a transmitter site located in Humberstone Township, Welland County.

Later in the year, CHOW received permission to add night-time service with a power of 500 watts (directional). 


Ad slogan: Now! Radio Station C-“How” Welland-Port Colborne Ontario – selling the Niagara Peninsula. 

Dave Wright was program director.


Bud Riley joined to do the morning show. He had been at CKAR Huntsville.

CHOW received permission to operate day and night and to increase power from 500 to 1,000 watts. It had been operating as a daytime-only station. The power increase took place later in the year. CHOW used different directional patterns for day and night operations. The station was now using four towers from the existing transmitter site.


Bud Riley (mornings) left CHOW.


Bud Riley returned to host the morning show. 


Peter Borbely joined CHOW to host the evening rock show from 7-midnight.


Bud Riley (mornings and program director) left for Niagara Falls.


On air people at this time: Jay Jackson, Mark Lade, Paul Godfrey, Pat Conley, and Brian Master. News staff: Jim Cassidy (news director, joined from CFCO Chatham), Frank Seranac, Rocco Ventresca, and Dave Schreiber (sports). Peter Borbely left CHOW.


CHOW’s studios and offices moved from 76 Division Street to Forkes Road in Welland.


On July 25, CHOW was authorized to operate a studio in Dunnville.


CHOW switched from a Middle of the Road format to Country.

Wellport received permission to increase CHOW’s power to 10,000 watts during the day and 2,500 watts at night.


CHOW increased power to 10,000 watts day and 2,500 watts night, using eleven towers.


On March 21, CHOW was licenced to increase night-time power from 2,500 watts to 10,000 watts.

The power increase was operational by the end of the year. New equipment included a McMartin BA 10K transmitter and Potomac phase monitor. McMartin’s Charlie Goodrich was on hand for the initial switch-on and was able to demonstrate modulation levels of well over 130%. CHOW’s chief engineer at this time was Larry Holleran. 


As of February 2, CHOW 1470 was operating at 10,000 watts day and night (different day and night directional patterns), eight towers.  


Joe Woodburn replaced Frank Sernak as news director.


CHOW began broadcasting in stereo, using the Motorola C-Quam system on September 1. 

Suzanne Rochon Burnett, vice president and PR director of Wellport Broadcasting, was appointed to TV Ontario’s board of directors.


The CRTC denied Wellport Broadcasting’s application for an FM station at Port Colborne. Instead, a licence was given to CJFT-AM (Fort Erie) so that it could move to the FM band.


Wellport Broadcasting applied for a new FM station at Port Colborne, using 104.9 MHz. The new station would take CHOW’s country and western format and CHOW would switch to dance music. The application was turned down.

On December 2 when morning man Jay Hart arrived for work he found the station had been broken in to. Stolen items included CD players, and CHOW was off the air for seven hours due to equipment damage. 


On December 13, the CRTC approved the sale of CHOW by Gordon Burnett to a numbered company, owned by Suzanne Rochon’s R.B. Communications. Rochon was Burnett’s wife. CHOW had been unprofitable for the past three years.


CHOW AM switch to FM as CHOW-FM at 91.7 mHz with an ERP of 27,420 watts in May.


 On-air staff included Doug Rollins, Bill Thomas, Brian Salmon and Troy McCallum.


R.B. Communications Inc. sold CHOW to David Holgate.


On January 29, CHOW (Spirit 91.7) dropped the country music format that it had offered for almost 30 years in favour of a classic rock format. The station was now known as 91-7 Giant FM and the call sign changed to CIXL.


The station’s former owner Suzanne Rochon Burnett passed away April 2. In 1994, she purchased CHOW-AM from her husband, turned it around and then converted it to the FM dial. Health problems forced her to sell the station in 2004.


CIXL changed format from Variety Hits to Classic Rock as Giant FM.


On October 19, the CRTC renewed the licence for CIXL-FM Welland from 1 December 2010 to 31 August 2014. This short-term licence renewal would enable the Commission to review the licensee’s compliance with the Radio Regulations, 1986 and its conditions of licence at an earlier date.

Jim Rendall died at the age of 58. The former radio host began his career at CHOW Welland in the early 1970s, moved to CKX Brandon and, in the late ‘70s, to CKOM Saskatoon. Later, he joined CFQC Saskatoon. 


Former CHTZ-FM program director and afternoon drive announcer, Mike Tyler joined the morning show (5:30 to 9:00 a.m.) with Brian Salmon and Pete Morena at Niagara’s Classic Rock, 91.7 GIANT-FM on November 21. Before HTZ, Tyler was with Jack FM Toronto, Y108 Hamilton, The Hawk London and CFNY Toronto.


After seven successful years doing afternoon drive in Niagara, Paul Wainwright ended his relationship with GIANT FM.


Former Giant FM announcer Paul Wainwright passed away at the age of 56.


Gordon Burnett died at age 95. He started out at CKFH Toronto as an announcer and moved on to the Roy Thomson chain of radio stations. He headed up a group that purchased CKMO 1410 Vancouver in the 1950’s. They changed the call letters to CFUN (now CFTE). Burnett launched CHOW-AM in 1957 (now CIXL-FM) and sold it to his wife, Suzanne Rochon-Burnett, when he retired in 1994. Gordon was an architect of the Canadian Country Music Association and served as its president (1981-83).


Ed Ylanen, 55, passed away on April 9. Ylanen worked at radio stations across the country, including CJVB Vancouver and CHIN Toronto. He ended his career with Giant FM and Country 89.

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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