CKTB-AM, Newstalk 610 CKTB, St. Catharines

Bell Media Inc.

CKTB-AM201361010,000/5,000Bell Media
CKTB-AM200761010,000/5,000Astral Media Inc
CKTB-AM200261010,000/5,000Standard Radio Inc.
CKTB-AM199761010,000/5,000Affinity Radio Group Inc.
CKTB-AM198561010,000/5,000Standard purchased by Slaight Communications
CKTB-AM198061010,000/5,000Standard Broadcasting Corp. Ltd.
CKTB-AM196461010,0005,000Niagara District Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
CKTB-AM19596105,000Niagara District Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
CKTB-AM19506201,000Niagara District Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
CKTB-AM194615501,000Niagara District Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
CKTB-AM19441230100Niagara District Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
CKTB-AM19411230129Edward T. Sandell
CKTB-AM19331200100Edward T. Sandell
CKTB-AM1930112050Edward T. Sandell


Edward T. Sandell, owner of the Taylor & Bate Brewery, brought radio to the city of St. Catharines on October 11 when he began feeding a daily half hour program to CKOC Hamilton. CKTB had a small remote studio on the second floor of the Welland House Hotel at the corner of King and Ontario Streets in St. Catharines. At this time, CKOC (and CKTB – a phantom station) was operating with 50 watts of power at 1120 kHz on the dial. The “TB” in the calls: Taylor & Bate. Other possible call letter meanings – using all four letters: Cool Keg of Taylor & Bate and Canadians Know Their Beer. 

The first voice heard opening CKTB was W. B. Rollason, vice president of the company.

In time, the studios moved from the Welland House Hotel to Yates Street.


CKOC (and CKTB) moved to 630 kHz with 500 watts of power.


On April 16, CKOC (and CKTB) moved from 630 to 1010 kHz.

On November 7 at 9:00 p.m., CKTB ceased to be a phantom station of CKOC. It had been granted a regular broadcasting licence and its very own frequency – 1230 kHz with 100 watts of power. CKTB operated from a new 244 foot tower located on Lakeshore Road, near Port Dalhousie. This was one of the first vertical radio towers to be used in Canada. Capitalizing upon its unique silver vertical tower, CKTB began using the slogan “CKTB – the station of the Silver Spire”. Taylor & Bate launched a new brand of beer – “Silver Spire”. 

Alan Savage joined CKTB from CKCR Kitchener where he had been announcer-operator. Bill Allen joined the staff of CKTB in the fall. 


Alan Savage left for CKLW in Windsor. 


CKTB became an affiliate of the new CBC network (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.).


In September, CKTB’s studios moved to the Oak Hill Mansion at 12 Yates Street at the corner of St. Paul. Oak Hill was a 19th century mansion, originally the home of the Honourable William Hamilton Merritt.

CKTB was operating on 1200 kHz with 100 watts of power. 

Ralph Hurcombe, formerly of CHML and CKTB, joined the announcing staff of CFCO Chatham. CKTB claimed to have the youngest news commentator on the air – 19-year-old Norman Marhsall of Welland, who hosted the daily broadcast, Behind the News. 


On February 2, CKTB installed the 24-hour Transradio teletype news service was supplemented by an extensive local news bureau.

John Northgrave joined the announcing staff. He had been with CJKL Kirkland Lake and CHML Hamilton. At CKTB he would be an announcer and continuity writer.


Lt. Gordon McLain, former engineer of CKTB, CKPR Fort William and CFCA Toronto, was now with the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals at Camp Borden.


Under the Havana Treaty CKTB moved from 1200 to 1230 kHz (Class IV) on March 29. Power was 100 watts. 

CKTB was given permission to increase power to 1,000 watts for April 15. It would also move from to 1550 from 1230 kHz. A directional antenna was being installed and an RCA transmitter was ordered.

J. B. Mitchell was promoted from program director to station manager, succeeding Paul Frost who resigned to become manager of a Sudbury theatre.

CKTB was operating with 1,000 watts full time on clear channel 1550 kHz, as of December 9. Power had been 100 watts. A new RCA K1 transmitter was now in use. The new operation came into effect on the eve of president E.T. Sandell’s 72 birthday. CKTB was a CBC affiliate and the new signal covered the Niagara Peninsula and Southern Ontario, rich in industry and prosperous farming. The Lakeshore Road transmitter site was still in use.

To meet growing demands for network time during the evenings, largely due to the war, the CBC set up a second network for commercial sponsorship. The network’s first sponsor (on an experimental basis) was the Gillette Safety Razor Co. The Mutual Broadcasting System originated boxing events for 26 Canadian stations through the CBC, plus the MBS affiliate – CKLW Windsor. The second network had 23 Canadian stations with alternative stations in Montreal to meet local conditions there. The new network would operate only after 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Over the past year, private stations had been anxious to have such a network – outside of CBC control. However, under the Radio Act, the CBC had full control over all networks in the country. It was felt that a full second network with full day and night programming was not feasible or economically possible at this time. CBC-owned stations affiliated with the new network: CBK Watrous, CBA Sackville and CBY Toronto. Privately-owned stations affiliated with the new network were: CJOR Vancouver, CHWK Chilliwack, CFCN Calgary, CFRN Edmonton, CJRM Regina, CJGX Yorkton, CJRC Winnipeg, CKCA Kenora, CJIC Sault Ste Marie, CKOC Hamilton, CKTB St. Catherines, CFPL London, CFCO Chatham, CKLW Windsor, CKCR Kitchener, CKCO Ottawa, CFCF or CHLP Montreal, CHLT Sherbrooke, CKNB Campbellton, and CJLS Yarmouth. 


Station manager Bernard (Bun) Mitchell died suddenly. He joined CKTB as an announcer from CKGW (Toronto) in 1934, became program director, and in February of 1941, was appointed station manager. 

Major James Annand was named manager of CKTB. He had manageed CFRC Kingston for the past six years. 


CKTB’s founder E.T. “Ed” Sandell passed away at his home in St. Catharines on August 15. He was in his 74th year. Sandell spent 18 years with the Toronto police force and then purchased the Taylor & Bate Brewery in March, 1927. Through that company, he started CKTB. Sandell was also a former director of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. 


CKTB was purchased from the Estate of E.T. Sandell by the Niagara District Broadcasting Co., under the presidency of Captain W.B.C. Burgoyne, who was now overseas with RCA. His daughter Mary was also involved with the company. During W.B.C.’s absence the station would be run by Major H.B. Burgoyne, managing editor of the St. Catharines Standard. The purchase took place on October 4.


CBC Dominion Supplementary Stations: CKCV, CKTB, CHML, CKLW, CKPC, CKCR, CKNX, CJCS, CFOS.

John Knox and John Gould were added to the CKTB air staff. Both had served with the RCAF. Knox had been associated with CKGB, CKRN and CHML. Miss M. Hallett was manager. Cec McKnight returned to the CKTB announce staff after service with the Canadian Army.


Cliff Wingrove was appointed manager of CKTB. He had been with National Broadcast Sales and Northern Broadcasting and Publishing in Toronto.


Rex Stimers was doing sports at CKTB. Cec McKnight was farm editor.

CKTB applied for a change of frequency from 1550 to 620 kHz (DA-1). Power would remain 1,000 watts.


CKTB was informed that it would forced to vacate its Class 2 clear channel of 1550 kHz so that the CBC could use that frequency for its new station in Windsor. 

CKTB had 32 news correspondents. Elda Flintoft was women’s commentator. Cec McKnight was farm editor. Norm Marshall was named news editor, succeeding Charles Compton, who moved to the Chamber of Commerce. Announcer John Morrison took over Marshall’s news post. 

W. Burgoyne was manager and C. Wingrove was commercial manager.


On February 21, CKTB moved from 1550 to 620 kHz. Power remained 1,000 watts. A new $90,000 transmitter was used at a new antenna site on River Road in Port Robinson. CKTB 620 used four towers for a single day and night directional pattern. Related slogan: Now CKTB (is) at the choice ‘620’ spot on the dial. Another slogan: Your Niagara District Station. The station’s signal strength was tripled with the move to 620.

Bill Wheeler was program director. Tommy Morrison did sports.

Major H.B. Burgoyne passed away. He was 65. 


Mary Burgoyne became managing director of Niagara District Broadcasting Co. Ltd.


It was around this time that DJ John Size left CKTB to spin the discs at CHNO in Sudbury.


Cliff Wingrove was CKTB’s manager. He was also president of the Central Canada Broadcasters Association.


Cliff Wingrove resigned as manager of CKTB to become assistant manager at London’s CFPL-AM. CKTB vice president Mary Burgoyne would continue at the helm of the station. Wingrove had been with CKTB since 1948.


Roy Bonisteel was farm director.


The Canada Labour Relations Board ordered a vote by CKTB employees where NABET had applied for certification.


NABET was rejected as the proposed bargaining agent for CKTB employees. 


CKTB 620 had a power of 1,000 watts (single directional pattern) and was affiliated with the CBC Dominion netowrk. Ownership of Niagara District Broadcasting Co. Ltd.: W. B. C. Burgoyne 54.30%, Mary C. Burgoyne 18.30%, Susette Anne Reid 15.00%, Harriet L. Burgoyne 0.10%, Dorothy Burgoyne 0.10%, Estate of H. B. Burgoyne 12.20%.

W. B. C. Burgoyne was president of the company. Mary C. Burgoyne was manager of CKTB. Jack Dawson was program and production manager. Roy Bonisteel was farm and promotions director. 


The CBC Board of Governors approved an increase in power for CKTB – from 1,000 to 5,000 watts and a change of frequency – from 620 to 610 kHz. The move was necessary due to interference from a Syracuse station on 620 kHz. The CBC Board praised CKTB on its live programming, but asked for a breakdown in the amount of paid church services, and reason for the lack of school broadcasts. Mary Burgoyne replied that of four hours logged for church services, one hour was commercial, and that the collegiate program was cancelled by the schools and not CKTB. 

Ad slogan: Did you know that…80% of all the peaches grown in Canada are grown in the Niagara Fruit Belt? Yes, it’s a peach of a market, served by CKTB St. Catharines. 


On April 9, CKTB moved from 620 to 610 kHz. Power increased from 1,000 to 5,000 watts (fulltime), using the same directional pattern for day and night operation (but different from the pattern being used on 620). The same transmitter site was used, but there were now five towers. On 620 CKTB had experienced an intolerable amount of co-channel interference from a station in Syracuse, N.Y. 


Ad: CKTB St. Catharines AM & FM – The Niagara District Station – NOW 5000 Watts – 610 on the Dial. Completely blanketing the Richest Market in Ontario. Appreciated in more homes than ever before.

CKTB received permission to increase power from 5,000 to 10,000 watts. Related ads: CKTB St. Catharines – soon 10,000 watts – now blanketing the richest market in Ontario. / CKTB – St. Catharines – programming to the whole family – soon to be 10,000 watts Day (5,000 – night). Giving even better signal and less interference for our complete coverage of the Niagara Peninsula – Canada’s Richest Market. / CKTB St. Catharines AM & FM – The Niagara District Station – NOW 5000 Watts – 610 on the Dial. Completely blanketing the Richest Market in Ontario. Appreciated in more homes than ever before.


In objecting to CKEY’s application to move its transmitter to the Toronto Islands and to change frequency from 580 to 590 kHz (and increase power), CKTB told the Department of Transport that it aired a number of programs directed at Toronto audiences. Programs included foreign language shows (German, Italian, Ukrainian and Polish), and classical music. CKTB was concerned that CKEY’s proposed move would make the St. Catharines signal unlistenable in the Toronto area. 


On April 1, CKTB’s power increased to 10,000 watts day and 5,000 watts night (same directional pattern, day and night). The same site and towers at Port Robinson were used. 


CKTB began broadcasting 24 hours a day. William B. C. Burgoyne was president of the company. Mary C. Burgoyne was manager of CKTB. William V. Stoekel was commercial and promotions manager. Jack Dawson was program and production manager. Ernie Courtney was morning man. News director was Jay Glover.


Retail sales manager Larry Lamb left for the RTVR rep firm.


Jean Stanway was promotion manager. Chief engineer Bill Allen retired after 35 years with the station. Station engineer Larry Holleran succeeded Allen as chief engineer.


Doug Hobbs joined CKTB from CKSL London. Broadcast News was the main source of news for radio stations in Canada but only a handful at this time were subscribing to BN’s voice (audio) service. CKTB was one of those stations.


Mary Burgoyne became president of the company.


In the summer, CKTB installed a diesel generator and standby transmitter at the antenna site. Frank Proctor joined for AM Drive after 8 years at CFGM Richmond Hill. John Stall hosted afternoon drive.




Niagara District Broadcasting Co. Ltd. received approval to merge with sister company St. Catharines Standard Ltd. On October 14, Mary C. Burgoyne, Susette A. Reid and Dorothy F. Burgoyne agreed to sell Niagara District Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (CKTB-AM/CJQR-FM) to Standard Broadcasting’s CFRB Limited. Evelyn Macko left the news department for CFTR in Toronto. John Stall (PM Drive) left for CFRB Toronto.


The sale of CKTB and CJQR to Standard Broadcasting was completed early in the year. . Standard undertook to upgrade facilities, particularly for CKTB, production and news, and add a mobile stereo studio. News staff would be increased by three full-time, as well as freelance personnel. John Stahl left CKTB for CFRB in Toronto.


Chief engineer Warren Parker reported he had taken delivery of new studio equipment and was building a new CKTB master control room in a large studio, to be used while the old one was rebuilt. Christmas marked the 50th consecutive year that CKTB broadcast Midnight Mass, and the station believed it was a record for Canadian broadcasting. The broadcast began in 1933 when owner Edward T. Sandell donated the time in memory of his wife who had died that year. The broadcast had only had two commentators over all of those years: Edward Boyne from 1933 to 1964, and John Morrison from 1965 to the present. The broadcast originated from St. Catharine’s Church, which in 1958 became the cathedral for the Diocese of St. Catharines.


During CKTB’s licence renewal hearing, the station noted it would spend $22,000 within the next year to renovate the newsroom. This was in addition to technical improvements already completed.


After 18 years at CJRN, popular talk host John Michael and his producer, Darryl Whitehead, moved to CKTB.


Newsman Tedd Colbear left CKTB for CHML. Mike Page was promoted from promotion director to program director at CKTB/ CJQR. Heather Hall added promotions to her sales responsibilities. Cairine Coulis-Brown was promoted from copywriter to creative services director.


Slaight Communications (J. Allan Slaight) purchased Standard Broadcasting from Argus Corp. (Montague & Conrad Black).


CJQR-FM became CHTZ-FM. CFRB Limited (CKTB and CHTZ-FM) and CJAD Inc. merged to form Standard Radio Inc.


After about 3 years at CKTB, talk host John Michael left to return to CJRN Niagara Falls.


Former CKTB/CHTZ general manager Pat Kiely was now GM at CFDR/Rock 104 in Dartmouth. Gene Stevens became general manager of CKTB/CHTZ-FM. Bill Ouchterloney hosted the morning show. Peter Jordan did the mid-day show. David Forester was heard in AM drive later in the year.


Mary Burgoyne, chairman of the board of the St. Catharines Standard and former president of CKTB and CHTZ, died at the age of 69. She served in World War II as a Red Cross ambulance driver. Burgoyne was elected director of Niagara District Broadcasting Co. Ltd. on her return to St. Catharines. She became managing director in 1951 and president in 1970. Burgoyne was president and publisher of the St. Catharines Standard Ltd., owner of the Standard, the Cobourg Star and the Port Hope Guide, from 1970 to 1977 and was active in the corporation as chairman until her death. Ray Plourde was appointed production director for CKTB and CHTZ.


A big band dance with the Spitfire band on October 11 marked 60 years since the Taylor & Bate Brewery put CKTB on the air. Manager Greg Slaight said CKTB was finding that programming for the mature audience was paying off. Since February of 1989, Super Seniors Network (Sundays 8 a.m. to noon) had increased quarter hour averages. He said it was proving to be as popular with the 35-54 audience as with the 55+. That program was followed by an hour of old time radio comedy, Make Believe Ballroom (1-3 p.m.), and Golden Memories (3-6 p.m.) hosted by John Gilbert. Super Seniors Network hosts Don and Meegan Hildebrand had also added a Saturday afternoon show to the line-up. John Michael hosted the mid-day talk show. Doug Hobbs left for CJRN Niagara Falls.


CKTB installed a new solid state digital transmitter. The Super Seniors Radio Network, on CKTB for six years, was hoping to go national via satellite by the fall. The program was hosted by Don and Meegan Hildebrand.


CKTB applied to the CRTC for permission to increase the amount of ethnic programming it aired. The application was turned down and was opposed by ethnic broadcasters in the Toronto area. CKTB had expected to earn 75% of its ethnic revenues in that area.


Affinity Radio Group agreed to acquire CKSL London from Telemedia. A new player, Affinity already had an agreement to buy CKTB from Standard Radio and was reportedly wanting to purchase CHAM Hamilton from Golden West, with the aim of launching a network of AM talk stations. On June 25, the sale of CKTB from Standard Radio Inc. to Affinity Radio Group Inc. (James O’Brien) was approved. Standard kept CHTZ-FM.


Tom Christie became general sales manager. He had been with the Okanagan Skeena Group in Terrace, B.C. News director Al Van Alstine retired after 40 years in broadcasting, 30 of them at CKTB. Con Stevenson, whose news career had included CKOC Hamilton and, most recently, 680 News in Toronto, became Van Alstine’s successor.


Veteran Ontario journalist John Morrison died in hospital in St. Catharines at 69. He’d retired from the St. Catharines Standard in 1990 after 20 years service. His print career followed 25 years at CKTB.


Affinity Radio Group Inc., owner of CHTZ-FM and CKTB, purchased CHRE-FM in St. Catharines.


Telemedia Radio Group Inc. purchased CKTB, CHTZ-FM and CHRE-FM from Radio Group Inc. (Affinity). On May 15, 17 people at CKTB-CHTZ-CHRE, including CKTB on-air hosts Doug Hobbs (evening – had earlier returned to CKTB) and Randy Taylor (afternoon drive), and Jim Martin (news) were laid off.


Con Stevenson left CKTB news. He was replaced by Mark LaPointe from CFOS in Owen Sound. 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. Rob McConnell (weekends) left. On February 16, John Hardy (3-6pm) left. Madelyn Hamilton was program director.


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.


Mid-day talk show host John Michael retired September 5.


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 CKTB-AM, CHRE-FM, and CHTZ-FM.


Sarah Cummings was appointed the program director for Astral’s new FM station in Ottawa. Sarah would head to Ottawa in November to take on this exciting new project. During November she would be in-between the markets – going from Ottawa back to St. Catharines to wind up her role as the PD of 105.7 EZ Rock and Newstalk 610 CKTB. In announcing Sarah’s departure, general manager Madelyn Hamilton announced Sarah’s replacement and the replacement for the recently departed HTZ-FM PD Bruce Gilbert. Moving into the HTZ-FM programming chair was Mike Tyler. Taking on the responsibility of programming of CHRE and CKTB was Gina Lorentz. Currently she is programming 101.7 CKNX-FM in Wingham. Both Mike and Gina would start in their new roles November 23rd. Michelle Armstrong was promoted to Retail Sales Manager at Astral Media Radio Niagara.


Former CKTB salesman Fred Ursel passed away at 76. Tim Parent, formerly of CJAD, moved within Astral to become News Director/Assistant Brand Director at Newstalk 610 CKTB. Parent, who succeeded Bonnie Hislop, began in September. Hislop, was off on maternity leave, and would return to CKTB in a new role.


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 CKTB until March 31, 2012. NewsTalk 610 CKTB announces The Motts would be heard weekends on CKTB as of November 5. Their program would air Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday mornings at 10:00. This was a return to Niagara radio for Paul & Carol Mott. The Motts continued their Monday to Friday gig at CHES-FM Erin. They did a midday talk show at CFRB Toronto for 16 years before Astral let them go.


NewsTalk 610 CKTB announced the return of OHL Niagara IceDogs live play-by-play beginning in September. The broadcast team of Ted Lehman and Chuck Lafleur would continue to handle the play-by-play on 610 CKTB, while sister stations 105.7 EZ Rock and 97.7 HTZ FM would be the Ice Dogs promotional partners. On March 20, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CKTB to August 31, 2012. 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. On July 10, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CKTB to March 31, 2013. Stu Holloway passed away at age 69. In 1967, he began a career in broadcasting at a number of stations in Southern Ontario, including CFTG Galt, CKTB and CHSC St. Catharines, CJOY Guelph and CBC Toronto. He became well known for his voicing of the famous phrase, “It’s worth the drive to Acton” (Olde Hide House). For 32 years he was the narrator of the CNE Air Show in Toronto.


On February 6, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence of CKTB to August 31, 2013. As of February 17, Niagara Regional Councillors Peter Kormos and Andy Petrowski joined NewsTalk 610 CKTB as hosts of The Region, a one-hour, in depth discussion and debate of the major issues facing Niagara’s 12 municipalities and the region as a whole. NewsTalk 610 CKTB announced that the Humble & Fred Show would be heard weeknights on Niagara’s only NewsTalk Station beginning February 19. “Humble” Howard Glassman and Fred Patterson would expand their show’s reach into the Niagara Region, joining the CKTB line-up Monday to Friday from 10pm till Midnight. 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 CKTB.


Wayne MacLure passed away December 25 at the age of 81. Except for two years at CFCO in Chatham, MacLure’s career was almost entirely in the Niagara Peninsula. He worked at CJRN Niagara Falls, and in St. Catharines at CKTB and CHRE-FM. He retired in 2000.

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.

Contact this station