CJRL-FM , The Lake, Kenora

Acadia Broadcasting Ltd.

CJRL-FM200789.540,000Acadia Broadcasting Limited
CJRL-FM200489.5PowerFawcett Broadcasting Ltd
CJRL-AM195012201,000Norweto Corp.
CJRL-AM194312201,000James Richardson & Sons
CJRL-AM19381220100R.W. Starratt


Kenora Broadcasting Co. received approval to operate a 100 watt station on 1420 kHz. R. W. Starratt, air transport operator, was a director of the company. The call letters would be CKCA. 

CKCA began broadcasting on April 1.


G. F. Bourke resigned as CKCA’s manager. He was succeeded by George A. Titus, formerly commercial manager at CJRC Winnipeg. Clinton V. Godwin, former program director at CJGX Yorkton and former announcer at CKX Brandon, was appointed CKCA’s commercial manager. Billie McLellan, announcer, was put in charge of studio operations.


Gerald F. Bourke returned to CKCA as manager, succeeding George A. Titus. 


Under the Havana Treaty, CKCA moved from 1420 to 1450 kHz (Class IV) on March 29. Power was 250 watts day and 100 watts at night.

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. 


Gerald F. Bourke was CKCA’s manager.


CKCA installed teletypes of the Press News radio news circuit.

On September 1, Kenora Broadcasting Co. Ltd. took ownership of CKCA and changed the call letters to CJRL. On the same date, the station increased power to 1,000 watts on the new frequency of 1220 kHz. The official opening under new management was November 5. That was the date Howard G. Clark (formerly of CKX Brandon) became station manager. The opening ceremonies included the dedication of the new transmitter. Kenora Broadcasting Co. Ltd. was owned by James Richardson & Sons of Winnipeg.


Announcers Ted Savage and Clyde Hamilton left for CKRC Winnipeg.



Ed Borland left CJRL for CKFI (Fort Frances) air staff. Bob Cooke was program director. 

Slogan: Covering North Western Ontario.


CJRL moved to new and completely modern quarters in the Brydon Block, having grown out of its Kenricia Hotel home where it had been located since going on the air as CKCA. The new operation included two studios, control room, transcription room, news room, and offices.

Gerry Tonkin was appointed manager of CJRL, succeeding the late Howard Clark who drowned while swimming on August 2. Clark had been manager for two years. Tonkin was formerly manager of CFAR Flin Flon and CKFI Fort Frances, and was on the staff of CKBI Prince Albert. He had also been manager of the Toronto office of Northern Broadcasting & Publishing Co.

George McLean joined the staff of CJRL from the air force.

CJRL moved to new and completely modern quarters in the Brydon Block. The station had operated out of the Kenrica Hotel since it opened in 1939. The new facility includes two studios, control room, transcription room, newsroom, private and general offices. 

Martin Platz joined CJRL’s air-staff. He had been in the air force, was a POW and is new to radio. A.L. Garside was managing director of CJGX Yorkton, SK and of CJRL. 

Gerry Tonkin was appointed CJRL’s manager, succeeding the late Howard Clark. Tonkin had worked at CFAR Flin Flon, CKBI Prince Albert, CKFI Fort Frances and at Northern Broadcasting & Publishing Ltd. Howard Clark drowned on August 2. He was 30. Clark had managed CJRL for two years and had been with CKX Brandon before that.

Announcer Greg Anderson was transferred from CJGX Yorkton to CJRL.


CJRL was operating on 1220 kHz with a power of 1,000 watts day and night, and was a CBC Dominion affiliate. The station was owned by James Richardson & Sons. CJRL’s studios and offices were at the Brydon Block on Main Street, and the transmitter was in Jaffray Township. 

CJRL erected a new 202 foot tower in an effort to defeat signal problems caused by the highly mineralized Lake of The Woods area. First reports after the tower became operational had CJRL beaming into Red Lake for the first time ever.

Bill Hewitt (Foster’s son) was spending his summers away from Upper Canada College, working at CJRL. 


George McLean was acting manager. Les Garside resigned as managing director of CJGX Yorkton to start a representation business. He had also been appointed supervisor of CJRL Kenora, owned by James Richardson & Sons Ltd. Later in the year, in addition to his CJRL supervising duties, Garside was named exclusive representative in Winnipeg for the station.


John McManus left CJRL to join the announce staff of CJOB Winnipeg. George McLean was manager and Tom Lavers was commercial manager.


Slogan: CJRL Covers Kenora-Keewatin-Lake of the Woods District – Northwestern Ontario – effectively…exclusively.

Irv Stein left CJRL for CJOB in Winnipeg.

Norwesto Corp. of Kenora agreed to purchase CJRL. Norwesto was headed by Carl Johnson and the company recently set up a wide radio-telephone network in Northwestern Ontario. The new owners took over on December 1 but the purchase still required CBC approval. Since 1943, CJRL had been owned by James Richardson & Sons, Winnipeg grain dealers. An application was made to the CBC Board of Governors a short time later – to transfer CJRL from Kenora Broadcasting Co. Ltd. to C.W. Johnson, head of Noresto Corp. The transfer of ownership was approved. 


Jim Thom was program director. Former manager George McLean was now doing news at CKRC in Winnipeg.


Carl W. Johnson received approval to sell Lake of the Woods Broadcasting Co. Ltd. The purchaser was not mentioned but was likely L. E. Moffat (who would sell the station in 1957 to Stuart King).


Stuart King (publisher of the Kenora Daily Miner) purchased Lake of the Woods Broadcasting Ltd. CJRL had been owned by L. E. Moffat 69.9%, D. M. Moffat 20.0%, J. T. Brett 10.0% and E. A. Laursen 0.1%.

L. E. Moffat was president of the company. Bill Whittingham was CJRL’s manager. 


Stuart King, president of CJRL announced plans to provide television service to Kenora if town council granted permission for the station to use the present town power lines. Tentative commitments for TV equipment had been placed by CJRL. 


CKDR went on the air in Dryden as a satellite of CJRL.


On March 9, Donald Austin Fawcett, Eloise Pearl Fawcett and Gordon Alexander McTaggart were granted permission to acquire Lake of the Woods Broadcasting Ltd. (CJRL and CKDR Dryden). They took ownership in April.

On April 8, CJRL was authorized to move studios and offices from the Northern Miner News Building, 336 Second Street South to the Holiday Inn, 470 First Street South.


On May 12, Lake of the Woods Broadcasting Ltd. was given permission to move studios and offices from 336 Second St. S. to 128 Main St. S. The move to 470 First St. S. was cancelled.


CJRL, CKDR and CFOB received approval to rebroadcast the overnight show from CJOB-FM in Winnipeg.


On May 28, Lake of the Woods Broadcasting received approval to disaffiliate from the CBC. Network service was now available from the CBC’s own transmitter – CBQX-FM. 


Scott Fawcett was named station manager at CJRL. He began his career at CFOB Fort Frances and then worked at CKND-TV Winnipeg, CJOB Winnipeg and CFFR Calgary.


On September 26, the network licence was renewed, allowing CKIS-FM Winnipeg to be broadcast from midnight to 6 a.m., over CKDR Dryden, CFOB Fort Frances, CJRL Kenora, CFAK Atikokan, CKEF Ear Falls, CKHD Hudson, CKIG Ignace, CKRE Red Lake and CKSI Sioux Lookout. 


On July 9, approval was given for CJRL to increase daytime power from 1,000 to 5,000 watts. Night power remained at 1,000 watts. The increase was needed to improve service in Kenora, Keewatin and Jaffray-Melick. 


In the spring CJRL increased daytime power from 1,000 watts to 5,000 watts, non-directional. Night power remained 1,000 watts, non-directional. With the higher power, CJRL continued to use the existing single tower. A Nautel ND-5 solid state transmitter replaced the 20 year old tube type 1,000 watt unit. The power increase was applied for to improve CJRL’s coverage area which had been gradually eroding over the years due to increased man-made interference.


Fawcett Broadcasting’s Sunset Country Radio announced some management changes early in the year. Gordon McBride retired as station manager of CFOB Fort Frances. Replacing the 40 year broadcast veteran was Scott Fawcett, who left his post as manager of CJRL Kenora to become CFOB’s general manager and vice president of sales. Hugh Syrja, manager of CFDR Dryden took over as station manager of CJRL and Bruce Walchuck was promoted to manager of CFDR. All were long-time employees of the company.


Donald Fawcett passed away on April 26. His wife (Eloise) assumed the role of president of Fawcett Broadcasting.


On November 15 at 9:00 a.m., 1220 CJRL made the move to the FM dial as “89.5 MIX-FM”. The format remained Hot AC – hits of the 80’s, 90’s and today.

On November 19, CJRL was given approval to reduce effective radiated power from 40,000 to 31,200 watts. This was the result from a change to the antenna system.


The transfer of the ownership and effective control of Fawcett Broadcasting Limited to Northwoods Broadcasting Limited was approved. Northwoods is  a corporation owned and controlled by Mr. John E. Irving (Acadia Broadcasting Ltd.). Acadia took ownership of the Fawcett stations on May 2.


On October 23, Northwoods Broadcasting Limited received CRTC approval to acquire the assets of CFOB-FM Fort Frances, CJRL-FM Kenora, CKDR-FM Dryden, CKDR-2-FM Sioux Lookout and its transmitters CKDR-1 Ignace, CKDR-3 Hudson and CKDR-6 Atikokan as well as CKDR-5-FM Red Lake and its transmitter CKDR-4 Ear Falls, Ontario, from Fawcett Broadcasting Limited. Fawcett is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northwoods. This transaction will be completed through the wind-up of the assets of Fawcett into Northwoods. The Commission notes that this transaction will not change the effective control of the undertakings, which will continue to be exercised by John E. Irving. The Commission notes that, to date, CKDR-5-FM Red Lake and its transmitter CKDR-4-FM Ear Falls are not yet implemented.


Eloise (Lois) Fawcett died at age 78. 

Brent Preston, formerly general manager at MIX FM (CJRL), was promoted to GM at the company’s CJUK-FM/CKTG-FM Thunder Bay. Preston remained group sales manager for the Northwoods properties. In the Spring of 2007, he succeeded Hugh Syrja as general manager/general sales manager at MIX FM. 


On November 30, the CRTC renewed CJRL’s licence to August 31, 2017.

Mark Duggan was the new Station Manager at 89.5 Mix FM. He was a local exec but from outside the industry. For the last 17 years, Duggan was GM at a Best Western hotel.

Mix FM announced that it would move from its long-time address to new facilities at one of Kenora’s busiest intersections. Announcers would be able to see what’s going on outside and passersby could make reciprocal observations. Acadia Broadcasting Vice President Jim MacMullin said CJRL needed equipment upgrades and that it made sense to install them in a new space. The move was expected to be complete by year-end. The new address was 301 1st Avenue South.


CJRL-FM changed branding from “Mix FM” to “The Lake”. The format remained Adult Contemporary.

Mark Duggan, Station Manager at 89.5 Mix FM was no longer with the station. He was hired in March, 2010 from his GM position at a local hotel.


The CRTC approved the change in the effective control of Acadia Broadcasting Limited from John E. Irving to a joint control exercised by John K.F. Irving and Anne C.I. Oxley, following the death of John E. Irving in 2010. Acadia was the licensee of radio stations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario, following the amalgamation of Northwoods Broadcasting Limited with its mother company Acadia on February 3, 2012. 

Darell Plummer returned to 89.5 the Lake as Station Manager, succeeding Mark Duggan. Plummer had worked at CJRL from 1989 to 2002 as an on-air personality. After 10 years, he joined the sales department. In 2002, he left the industry to work as a Regional Manager for Superior Propane.


George McLean died in March at the age of 92. He started his broadcast career at CJRL in 1946. McLean later moved on to CKRC Winnipeg, CKOK Penticton and then CBC Television in 1956. Eventually he became the regular back-up host on the network’s national newscasts (including The National), and retired in 1986.


CJRL celebrated 80 years of broadcasting on April 1. The station marked the anniversary with an All 80’s Music Weekend, March 31- April 1, with community members, former announcers and employees providing on-air birthday greetings.

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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