CHYK-FM, French, Timmins

LE5 Communications Inc.

CHYK-FM2008104.13.500KE5 Communications Inc.
CHYK-FM1999104.13,500Haliburton Broadcasting Group
CKOY-AM199062010,000Pelmorex Radio Inc.
CKOY-AM198062010,000Mid-Canada Communiations
CFCL-AM196062010,000J. Conrad Lavigne
CFCL-AM19515801,000J. Conrad Lavigne


J. Conrad Lavigne applied for a French-language AM station at Timmins, operating on 580 kHz with a power of 1,000 watts – directional antenna. The CBC Board of Governors approved the application and the station would now be bilingual. The Board said a condition of licence would be that the station offer 80% of program and announcement time in French. 


J. Conrad Lavigne Enterprises Ltd. opened CFCL on December 23. It was the first French language radio station in Ontario. CFCL operated on a frequency of 580 kHz with a day and night power of 1,000 watts (single directional pattern). CFCL was a CBC French language  affiliate. The “CL” in the call sign: Conrad Lavigne. 

On the same date Lavigne launched CFLH-AM in Hearst.

CFCL became a member of the C.A.B.


CFCL officially signed on the air on January 13 with a four hour program of local talent aired from the Palace Theatre before a large group of civic, religious and government dignitaries.


Licenced as a mostly French language station, CFCL was now broadcasting in seven languages. Giuseppe Pindilla was responsible for The Italian Hour on Sunday afternoons and also an hour of drama and music on Monday evenings. Zeno Hierasimovich handled the Ukranian Hour. The German program was under the guidance of Mrs. Elizabeth Mosberger. George Koral handled the Polish program with the assistance of Roman Staffansky, one of CFCL’s regular announcers. Old country records were heard on The Slovak Program, hosted by John Komar. 


J. Conrad Lavigne received approval to operate a television station at Timmins. Both CFCL and the new TV outlet would operate under the name of Lavigne Enterprises Ltd. The radio station had operated under the name of “J. Conrad Lavigne”.

Rene Barrette was manager at CFCL.


J. Conrad Lavigne opened CFCL-TV in Timmins.


On February 2, Lavigne opened CFLK-AM in Kapuskasing.

Ownership of J. Conrad Lavigne Enterprises Ltd.: J. Conrad Lavigne 91.46%, Mrs. Marie J. Lavigne 19.9% and A. M. Blain 0.1%.

J. Conrad Lavigne was president of the company and Albert Aube was CFCL’s manager. Roch Demers was chief engineer while Doug Martin was chief operator. 


Ad slogan: Get on the target in French Northern Ontario. Get on the target with CFCL Timmins. 

Ted Meunier was sales manager at CFCL-AM. 


CFCL moved from 580 kHz to 620 kHz. Power increased from 1,000 watts to 10,000 watts. A few years later, the 580 frequency would be used in Kapuskasing by CKAP. 

Ads: CFCL – Radio Timmins – now 10,000 watts. Ontario’s most powerful French voice. / Now! It can be done. Cover the entire Gold Belt with one station. Mighty 10,000 watts. CFCL Radio Timmins. / Covering the entire Gold Belt from Timmins – CFCL Radio – 10,000 watts – 620 kcs. / CFCL-Radio Timmins completely covers Northern Ontario and Northwestern Quebec with Greater Sales Impact than any other medium.

Harry Charbonneau was advertising manager. Vern Paul and Gus Mallette were in the sales department. Rene Barrette was general manager. 

CFCL’s Yvon Ducharme played Omer Meloche – king of the bush – strong like the bulls – 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays – the station’s most popular program.

CFCL reached 46,000 French listeners.

Ad: CFCL-Radio, Timmins – 10,000 watts – J. Conrad Lavigne, President – Rene Barrette, General Manager. 


J. Conrad Lavigne was president of the company. Reme Barrette was CFCL’s general manager and Pierre Stein was station and sales manager. Douglas Martin was chief operator and Rudy Fauteux was chief engineer.


Jim Prince was news director.


Pierre Stein was station and commercial manager. 


“Big Red” Gilles Payant joined CFCL as news director. In 1961, he appeared in the Walt Disney movie “Big Red”. 


On July 28, J. Conrad Lavigne Ltd. was denied a change of frequency for CFCL, from 620 to 850 kHz with an increase in night-time power from 5,000 to 10,000 watts. Daytime power would have remained 10,000 watts. The station would have switched from different day and night patterns to directional at night only. The partner application to use the 620 kHz frequency at Sudbury with 10,000 watts day and 5,000 watts night (single directional pattern) was also denied.


J. Conrad Lavigne Ltd. again attempted to change CFCL’s frequency and launch a new station in Sudbury. The applications were yet again denied. As proposed, CFCL would have moved from 620 to 850 kHz and operate with 10,000 watts day and night. The Sudbury outlet would have used CFCL’s 620 kHz frequency with 10,000 watts day and 5,000 watts night. An alternate application had Lavigne applying for 630 kHz with 10,000 watts. That application was denied, as was the one from CKAP Kapuskasing which had proposed a rebroadcast station in Timmins on 1450 kHz with 10,000 watts day and 5,000 watts at night. Both Lavigne and Cambrian Broadcasting were also denied licences for a new AM station (730 kHz with 10,000 watts) at North Bay.


Lavigne sold his broadcast holdings to Mid-Canada Communications.


CFCL disaffiliated from the Radio-Canada AM network. CBC French-language programming was now provided to Timmins by CBON-FM-25 on 97.1 MHz.


Mid-Canada Radio Inc. (including CFCL) was purchased by Pelmorex Broadcasting Inc. from Northern Cable Holdings Limited.


CFCL became CKOY. 


CKOY’s rebroadcaster at Kapuskasing – CHYK – planned to go local between 7 and 10 a.m., Monday thru Friday.


On April 7, the CRTC approved the applications by Pelmorex Radio Inc. for authority to acquire the assets of CKNR Elliot Lake and its transmitter CJNR Blind River, CKNS Espanola, CHYK and CKAP Kapuskasing, CHUR North Bay, CHVR Pembroke, CHVR-1 Renfrew and its transmitter CHVR-2 Arnprior, CJQM Sault Ste. Marie, CHNO, CHYC and CJMX-FM Sudbury, CKOY Timmins and its transmitter CHOH Hearst, and CJWA Wawa, from Pelmorex Broadcasting Inc., and for broadcasting licences to continue the operation of these undertakings. In approving these applications, the Commission took into account the fact that Pelmorex Radio Inc. was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pelmorex Inc. which was controlled by Pelmorex Management Inc. and that the transaction thus represented an intra-corporate reorganization without any change occurring in the control, programming or management of the licensee. 

On September 29, CHOH Hearst (now a rebroadcaster of CKOY) was granted a conversion from AM to FM. The new station would operate on 92.9 MHz with an effective radiated power of 140 watts. 


On October 9, Pelmorex was given permission to make CHYK Kapuskasing (1230 kHz, 1,000 watts day and 600 watts night) a full-time rebroadcaster of CKOY. CHYK was unable to continue local operation due to losses resulting from a weak economy and competition from a community FM station. This was completed before the end of the year.


Pelmorex announced the sale of its AM stations to Christopher Grossman’s Haliburton Broadcasting and the FM stations to Telemedia Communications. Grossman would acquire AM’s at Sudbury (CHNO and CHYC), CKOY-AM Timmins, CKAP Kapuskasing, as well as Timmins repeater stations CHYK Kapuskasing and CHOH of Hearst. Grossman planned to flip the Sudbury and Timmins stations to FM. Telemedia would buy CHVR-FM Pembroke, CJQM-FM Sault Ste. Marie, CJMX-FM Sudbury and CHUR-FM North Bay. Pelmorex decided it wanted to get out of the radio business to focus on its multimedia weather-related information services and was still looking for a purchaser for its radio network.


Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. purchased several stations from Pelmorex, including CKOY Timmins and its transmitters CHOH-FM Hearst and CHYK Kapuskasing. CKOY became CHYK, CHOH became CHYK-1 and CHYK became CHYK-2.

Haliburton was given approval to convert CKOY from 620 kHz with 10,000 watts to 104.1 MHz with an effective radiated power of 3,500 watts. 


CHYK’s (CFCL) founder J. Conrad Lavigne passed away in April. He was 86.

On November 18, CHYK was given approval to convert CHYK-2 Kapuskasing to the FM band, operating on 93.7 MHz with an effective radiated power of 3,400 watts. Antenna height would be 83 metres.


The Ontario Heritage Foundation and the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre unveiled a plaque to commemorate CFCL (now CHYK) – Ontario’s first French-language radio station. 


On October 31, the CRTC approved the application by LE5 Communications Inc. to acquire CHYK-FM Timmins (and its transmitters CHYX-FM Kapuskasing and CHYK-FM-3 Hearst) and CHYC-FM Sudbury, from The Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. LE5 was a corporation owned and controlled by Mr. Paul Lefebvre.


In March CHYK 104.1 (and CHYK-3 92.9 Hearst and CHYX 93.7 Kapuskasing) changed format from Adult Contemporary to Contemporary Hits, known as Le Loup FM (The Wolf). 


On March 2, the CRTC approved the application by Le5 Communications Inc. to change the authorized contours of CHYK-FM-3 Hearst, a transmitter of CHYK-FM Timmins, by changing the antenna radiation pattern from directional to non-directional, increasing the average effective radiated power from 140 to 172 watts (maximum ERP from 140 to 221 watts), decreasing the effective height of antenna above average terrain from 56.6 to 43 metres and relocating the antenna site. The applicant indicated that these changes were necessary to find a permanent site for the antenna of the transmitter. The Commission noted that the licensee appeared to be in non-compliance with section 9(2) of the Radio Regulations, 1986 relating to the filing of annual reports for the 2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 broadcast years. The Commission also noted that the licensee had not had the opportunity to comment on this apparent non-compliance in the context of this application. Accordingly, as the licence for CHYK-FM and its transmitter CHYK-FM-3 would expire on August 31, 2012, the Commission would address this issue in the context of the renewal of the licence. 

Rob Wills, who was promoted to General Manager of the Haliburton North properties in Ontario last year, was no longer with the company. His responsibilities covered The Moose stations at Kapuskasing, Cochrane, Iroquois Falls and his base, Timmins. There was no successor.


It was announced that CHYK would close its transmitters CHYK-FM-3 in Hearst and CHYX-FM Kapuskasing. 


On May 8, Le 5 Communications voluntarily surrendered the licenses for CHYK-3 92.9 in Hearst and CHYX 93.7 in Kapuskasing. Both transmitters had been silent for some time. Le 5 said the costs of upgrading and maintaining the transmission equipment was too financially onerous to justify their existence.

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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