CKAT-AM, Country 600, North Bay

Rogers Media

CKAT-AM200260010,000/5,000Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
CKAT-AM199660010,000/5,000Telemedia Communications Inc.
CFCH-AM198060010,000/5,000Telemedia Communications Inc
CFCH-AM197460010,000/5,000Northern Broadcasting purchased by Schoone
CFCH-AM196160010,000/5,000Northern Broadcasting Ltd.
CFCH-AM194112301,000Northern Broadcasting Ltd. (Roy Thomson)
CFCH-AM19416001,000Northern Broadcasting Ltd.
CFCH-AM1931930100Northern Supplies Ltd. (Roy Thomson)
CFCH-AM1930120050Roy Thomson
CFCH-AM192960025Roy Thomson
CFCH-AM192560025Abitibi Power & Paper Co.
CFCH-AM192240025Abitibi Power & Paper Co.


CFCH started out in Iriquois Falls on 400 metres with 250 watts power, owned by Abitibi Power & Paper Co.


CFCH moved to 600 kHz. Power remained 250 watts.


Roy Herbert Thomson
Roy Thomson

At this time, Roy Thomson was selling radio sets in North Bay. Because few signals were available in the region, Thomson decided he would like to start a station. He approached the federal government but no new licences were being issued. He was told the only licence available in the region was at nearby Iroquois Falls. Thomson approached Abitibi Power & paper for use of their unused radio licence. Thomson gave Abitibi one dollar to rent the licence for a year. If after that year Abitibi did not ask  Thomson for return of the licence, it would be his for good. Abitibi had used the station as a link to its lumber camps. When the company got a phone link, the radio station was no longer needed. 
Thomson moved the station from Iroquois Falls to North Bay. He was given two dressing rooms to use for studios, located at the back of North Bay’s Capitol Theatre.

He purchased a discarded 50 watt transmitter from the National Carbon Company and converted it to 100 watts. Jack Barnaby, a Toronto engineer, made the conversion and became Thomson’s first employee.


On March 3, CFCH began operating on 1200 kHz with 50 watts from studios and transmitter at the Capital Theatre Building on Main Street – the first commercial radio station in Northern Ontario). Before sign-on, local businessmen and guests attended a banquet at the Empire Hotel.

The opening broadcast from 8 to 9 p.m. featured musical entertainment by the Battery Boys and speeches from Mayor Robert Rowe and E. Bushnell, Manager of CKCN Toronto. The broadcast originated from the Empire Hotel. CFCH returned to the air at  11:15 p.m. with live musical entertainment from the Capitol Theatre stage. The broadcast concluded at 2 a.m., March 4.

CFCH began regular programming on March 4 at 12:00 p.m. and remained on the air until 11:00 p.m.

Thompson continued selling radios – but now to potential listeners – via CFCH. Advertising on his new station cost thirty-five cents per one hundred words.

CFCH later moved to 930 kHz.


Power increased to 100 watts.


Studios and offices moved from the back of the Capitol Theatre to a larger building on Main Street – above the A&P store. 


Roy Thomson combined his newspaper and radio interests into one company – Northern Broadcasting and Publishing Ltd. Jack Cooke, Northern Broadcasting’s sales manager for three years, was appointed general manager of the broadcasting division. 

Hal Cooke (new to radio) joined the announcing staff at CFCH. Sonya Barnett, continuity writer at CFCH, moved to CKGB.


Godon Keeble started his radio career at CFCH as an announcer. Tom Darling became CFCH’s manager. He had been commercial manager at CKVD Val d’Or. C. O. Pickrem, who started in radio six years ago at CKCR Kitchener, was named supervisor of CFCH. He had been associated with a number of stations in announcing and sales…CKPC, CJCS and CJKL.


Gordon Keeble left for CKGB Timmins.


Under the Havana Treaty, CFCH with 100 watts, moved from 930 to 1230 kHz (Class IV) on March 29.


CFCH returned to 600 kHz.

Ernie Courtney was named program director of CFCH. Warren Robinson joined the announce staff. Cliff Pickren was CFCH’s manager. Hal Cooke was commercial manager. Al Fitzgerald left CFCH to become program director at CKRN Rouyn.


Roy H. Thomson & Jack K. Cooke formed National Broadcast Sales to represent CKGB, CJKL, CFCH, CKRN, CKVD, CHAD, CHEX and CKWS.

Warren Robinson left CFCH for CBO Ottawa. 


Montrealer Joe Druker joined the CFCH announce staff.


Studios moved to a location at Fraser and First Streets. Power was increased to 1,000 watts), two 206 foot 1 (overall height) towers. : CBC Trans-Canada affiliate. Transmitter: West Ferris Township. Schedule 6:45 a.m. to 12:10 a.m. 

Jack Davidson, manager of CKWS, was appointed supervisor of stations operated by Northern Broadcasting & Publishing (CKGB, CJKL, CFCH, CHEX and CKWS). 


Ed Bouser joined the CFCH announce staff from the army. He had worked in the past for CKCW and CKOC.

Roy H. Thomson was president of Northern Broadcasting & Publishing Ltd. S.F. Chapman was secretary treasurer. Cliff Pickrem was CFCH’s manager, Phil Clayton was program director, and Keith Packer was commercial manager. Jack Davidson was supervisor of the Northern stations.


Walter Cook joined CFCH from the navy. 


James S. McGechaln joined CFCH’s announcing staff.

Stations of Northern Broadcasting & Publishing Co. of Timmins were granted licenses to operate FM stations. All would have a power of 250 watts: CHNB North Bay (CFCH-AM), CHKL Kirkland Lake (CJKL-AM), CKRT Timmins (CKGB-AM) and CKEX Peterborough (CHEX-AM). CHNB and CHKL would use RCA equipment. CKRT and CKEX would use GE equipment. 

CFCH-FM went on the air later in the year. It did not use the CHNB call letters mentioned earlier. 

CFCH took delivery of its new 1,000 watt RCA transmitter.

Power increased from 100 to 1,000 watts on 600 kHz on March 24. Installation of the new equipment was done by George McCurdy, chief engineer for Northern Broadcasting & Publishing, and by Jack Barnaby, CFCH’s chief engineer.

C. Pickrem was manager and K. Packer was commercial manager.

Northern Broadcasting Co. Ltd. received three FM licences – Timmins, North Bay and Kirkland Lake. The North Bay call sign was CHNB-FM. 


The FM station was now known as CFCH-FM.

Walter Rewegan joined the CFCH staff.


Ted Fielder was doing hockey play by play with Fred Sherratt. 


Approval was given for the transfer of 1,530 shares of Northern Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (CFCH, CJKL and CKGB) – with no change of control.


The recapitalization of Northern Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (CFCH, CJKL and CKGB) with 4,500 preferred and 100,000 common shares was approved by the CBC Board.


Jack Weatherwax left CFCH’s commercial department to return to CJKL Kirkland Lake as commercial manager. Gordon Burnett was now commercial manager.

The CBC approved the issuance of 1,000 preferred shares and the transfer of 642 35/50 preferred shares in Northern Broadcasting Co. Ltd.


Roy H. Thomson, president of Canadian Press and owner of CKGB, CJKL and CFCH, was elected president of the newly formed CP subsidiary, Broadcast News Ltd. The new company specialized in news for Canadian radio and TV stations.

Harvey C. Freeman was appointed station supervisor of Northern Broadcasting Co. Ltd. For the past 11 years he had been manager of CKGB Timmins. Succeeding him as CKGB’s manager was Jack Pollie, program director and recently promotion manager of CKWS Kingston. Pollie had started in radio in Ottawa and returned home to Kingston 8 years ago and had been associated with CKWS over the time. Northern’s general manager, Jack Davidson, would continue in that position along with his duties as executive assistant to the president of the Thomson Co. Ltd., which controlled by Roy Thomson’s publishing interests.

Approval was given for the change of licensee for CFCH from Northern Broadcasting Co. Ltd. to Northern Broadcasting Ltd., with no change of control.


Bruce Anderson joined CFCH from Sudbury’s CKSO. Keith Packer was manager.

The North Bay Nugget and CFCH formed a joint company to seek a television licence. 

The CBC Board of Governors approved the transfer of control of Roy Thomson’s northern Ontario stations as follows: CJKL from Kirkland Lake Broadcasting Ltd. to Mrs. Irma Jacqueline Elliott (Roy’s daughter); CFCH from Northern Broadcasting Ltd. to Mrs. Phyllis Audrey Campbell (Roy’s daughter); and CKGB from Timmins Broadcasting Ltd. to Kenneth Roy Thomson (Roy’s son). 

Slogans: If your sales need HELP in the North – try RADIO – it sells – CKGB Timmins, CJKL Kirkland Lake, CFCH North Bay. / Kapuskasing, Kirkland Lake, Timmins, Cochrane, Rouyn-Noranda, North Bay. Sell the NORTH with RADIO! CKGB Timmins, CJKL Kirkland Lake, CFCH North Bay. 


CFCH-FM left the air around this time.


CFCH 600 had a power of 1,000 watts (single directional pattern). Ownership of Northern Broadcasting Ltd.: Mrs. P. A. Campbell 91.45%, C. N. Thomson 8.31%, S. F. Chapman 0.22%, C. E. Campbell 0.01% and K. Packer 0.01%.

Mrs. P. A. Campbell was president of the company. Keith Packer was manager of CFCH. Bruce Anderson was sports director. Reg Finnemore was news director. Joe McCausland was chief engineer.

Slogan for CKGB-CJKL-CFCH: From Huntsville to Hearst…There are 307,000 people. CKGB Timmins, CJKL Kirkland Lake, CFCH North Bay, reaches ’em all!


Pete Handley joined the CFCH sports department. He had been with CKWS-AM-TV in Kingston. Jack Barnaby was at CFCH. 


CFCH increased power to10,000 watts day and 5,000 watts night (full-time), three 305 foot towers (overall height) were located 1/4 mile from Lake Nipissing. 

Bruce Anderson left CFCH to return to CKSO in Sudbury. By the time he left North Bay, he had been an announcer, promotions manager, sports director and news director.


Northern Broadcasting Co. Ltd. announced that it had reached agreement with Tel-Ad Co. Ltd. to acquire CKGN-TV, subject to BBG approval. Tel-Ad was made up of North Bay businessmen and was granted the TV licence by the CBC in 1955. Northern had operated CFCH-AM since 1931. The Board of Broadcast Governors approved the sale. Northern now owned CFCH-AM and CKGN-TV in North Bay. The radio and TV stations moved to combined facilities in Callander in the fall. CFCH maintained supplementary studios downtown at 581 Fraser Street.

Bruce Ruggles was on-air at CFCH. 


The Trans-Canada and Dominon networks of the CBC were consolidated into a single service. CFCH had been a Trans-Canada station. Following the merger, the station carried on as a CBC affiliate.


Mrs. P. A. Campbell was president of the company. Reg Carne was CFCH’s manager. Neville Botten was morning man. Don Delaplante was news director. Pete Handley was sports director.


In October, CFCH was given permission to change its daytime pattern. 


Don Lawrie was director of broadcast operations for Northern Broadcasting.


David Shulman was appointed promotion manager at CFCH-AM-TV. He had been with CKKW Kitchener. Shulman would be responsible for promotions CFCH-TV and Trinor Radio (CFCH, CKGB, CJKL and CJTT). Reg Carne was manager of Northern Broadcasting Ltd., and CFCH-AM-TV. 

Bob Wood was morning drive host. Reg Carne was manager. 


CJKL, CFCH and CKGB were known as Trinor Radio.

It was announced that the broadcast interests of Lord Roy Thomson and the late Senator Rupert Davies’ families would be sold to Bushnell TV Co. Ltd. of Ottawa (CJOH-TV). The plan was subject to CRTC approval. The sale would include CKWS-AM-FM-TV Kingston, CHEX-AM-FM-TV Peterborough, CFCH-AM-TV North Bay, CKGB-AM-FM Timmins and CJKL Kirkland Lake.


On July 6, the Thomson and Davies families were given permission to sell their stations to Bushnell Communications Ltd. of Ottawa. The sale included stations in Timmins, Peterborough, Kingston, and North Bay. The sale was conditional on the transfer of CFCH-AM-TV North Bay & Cablevue to another party. The sale to Bushnell was never completed.


On March 28, CFCH was authorized to move studios and offices from Burford Hill, Callander to 743 Main Street East., North Bay.

On December 28, the sale of Northern Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (including CFCH) by Lord Thomson to Jack Schoone, J. Irving Zucker and Robert Ancell  (Eastern Broadcasting) was approved. 


Michael Armstrong (Steve Ray) joined CFCH as news anchor and national reporter. He had been with CJIC-TV in Sault Ste. Marie.


Michael Armstrong left CFCH for CKGB Timmins.


On February 28, approval was given for the transfer of CJCS Ltd. (CJCS Stratford), Midland-Penetang Broadcasting Ltd. (CKMP Midland), and Orillia Broadcasting Ltd. (CFOR Orillia) by Ranger Communications Ltd., and for the transfer of CKGB/CFTI-FM (Timmins Broadcasting Ltd.) Timmins and CFCH/CKAT-FM (Northern Ontario Broadcasting Ltd.) North Bay by Northern Broadcast Management Ltd. (owned by Eastern Broadcasting), to 93238 Canada Inc. 93238 was indirectly controlled by Philippe de Gaspe Beaubien. He controlled Telemedia Communications. Other shareholders in 93238 Canada Inc. were Ralph Burford (20%) and Keith Campbell (15%). Five per-cent of the shares were issued to senior officers. Keith Campbell was president of the new company, which promised to upgrade news service on the stations and make use of a Telemedia mobile unit to record local talent. Ranger also sold CKDK Woodstock to Gordon V. Marratto.


Following the purchase by Telemedia of Foster Hewitt’s CKFH, and its renaming to CJCL, the Toronto station began feeding newscasts four times a day to the other Telemedia Ontario stations, while exchanging news with the company’s Quebec network.

With the addition of the Ontario stations, Telemedia claimed to be the world’s largest privately-owned broadcast group. President of the Ontario group of stations was John Van de Kamer. Leslie Sole was vice president of programming (Ontario), and Gary Hooper was in charge of engineering for Telemedia Ontario. 


On February 13, the CRTC approved the application by Telemedia Communications Inc. for a licence for an English-language radio network that included CFCH, for the purpose of broadcasting the hockey games of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1983-84 season of the National Hockey League. 


Clancy MacDonald was news director. 


Bob MacIntyre left CFCH to become news director at CKGB Timmins.


Kevin Morgan joined the CFCH news department. He had been news director at CFBK in Huntsville. Mary Stillar was general manager.


Jim Hamm was named program manager of CFCH and CKAT-FM.


The CRTC turned down Telemedia’s application to move CKAT-FM’s country format to CFCH, and have CKAT adopt a pop/soft rock format. The Commission said Telemedia had not provided a firm commitment to maintain the country format on CFCH and that North Bay already had a soft rock station.


Pelmorex and Telemedia entered into a management agreement for the operation of their stations in North Bay and Sudbury, effective September 1. In North Bay, Pelmorex’s CHUR moved in to the Telemedia broadcast facility (CFCH/CKAT-FM). In Sudbury, the programming staff at the five stations would now work at one facility while the administrative/support staff worked from another building. 

Former CFCH-CKAT General Manager George Ferguson was now running Fundy Broadcasting’s CFBC/CJYC in Saint John.


On March 11, CFCH moved from an adult contemporary/oldies format to news-talk. Operations manager Jim Hamm said with adult-contemporary competitor CHUR moving to the FM band, the talk format would provide a clear and unique alternative. Syndicated programs would include Lowell Green, Jane Hawtin and Dr. Laura. The existing staff would be retained.

The local marketing agreement with Pelmorex was dissolved in the spring and CHUR moved back to its old Oak Street facility.

On August 12, the station went from news-talk to country as CKAT (“Hot New Country AM 600 CKAT”). The format and call letters came from the sister FM station. CKAT-FM became CKFX. 


The corporate name changed from Telemedia Communications Inc. to Telemedia Radio Inc.

Telemedia purchased CHUR-FM in North Bay. The company now owned all three commercial stations in the city. 


Clancy MacDonald left CKAT, EZ Rock (CHUR), and The Fox FM (CKFX) in December. He had been news director and left to work for local MP Bob Wood. On November 15, he had just celebrated his 35th anniversary in North Bay radio.


Long-time CKAT morning man Peter McKeown became operations manager at Telemedia North Bay (CKAT, The Fox, and EZ Rock). Clint Thomas became assistant news director following the departure of news director Clancy MacDonald.

Telemedia Radio vice president Braden Doerr most recently VP 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) continued 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 the Ontario region.


On April 19, the purchase of several Telemedia radio and television stations by Standard Radio Inc. and then the spin-off of some of these properties to NewCap and Rogers, was approved. Among the stations purchased by Rogers Broadcasting Limited: CKAT-AM, CKFX-FM and CHUR-FM North Bay.


Early on the morning of December 2nd, Ted Rogers, founder and former Chief Executive of Rogers Communications, owners of CKAT-AM, died at his home in Toronto, after having suffered from congestive heart failure for some time. 


Peter Tensen (with Rogers North Bay since 2002) became promotions director. He succeeded Keven Oschefski who became morning co-host on EZ Rock 100.5. After 21 years at CKAT as morning show host, Dean Belanger resigned. He moved on to 103.5 KFM. Program director Andy Wilson at EZ Rock 100.5 FM added PD duties at AM 600 CKAT. He also now hosted CKAT mornings, moving from EZ Rock’s afternoon drive show. 


Larry Solway passed away January 9 at age 83. He worked at CFCH early in his career. 

Rick Doughty, Rogers Radio vice president and general manager for the company’s Northern Ontario stations (North Bay, Sault Ste Marie and Timmins), and GM at Rogers Sudbury, retired March 31. Doughty was with Telemedia and Rogers for a combined 22.5 years, 12 and a-half of them with Telemedia before it was purchased. He divided his time between, first, North Bay and then Sudbury.

Peter McKeown was named vice president & general manager Ontario North Radio & GM Sudbury Radio. He would oversee operations of Rogers Radio stations in the Northern Ontario. McKeown had been general manager for North Bay Radio (102 The Fox, 600 CKAT, and 100.5 EZ Rock). He assumed the responsibilities previously held by Rick Doughty, who retired. 

Rogers Ontario North announced that Holly Cangiano accepted the position of general manager/general sales manager for the North Bay radio group of stations – 102 FM The FOX, 100.5 EZ ROCK and AM 600 CKAT. Holly had 19 years of radio experience in this market, starting at CHUR. In 2002 Holly started her management career as a sales supervisor for EZROCK and CKAT and in 2008 began leading all three stations in the same role. 

On August 8, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CKAT until August 31, 2013.

Don Hamilton passed away. He was the General Manager of CKLG/CKLG-FM (CFOX) Vancouver in the 1960s and 1970s. His broadcast career began in 1951 at CFCH. Hamilton was also a President of the BCAB and of the CAB, and a co-Founder BC Knowledge Network.


On July 2 at 3:00 p.m., 600 CKAT changed its imaging to Country 600.


Peter McKeown became VP & General Manager for Rogers Radio Northern Ontario.

John “Country” Size passed away at age 87. The 62-year broadcast veteran most recently did a Bluegrass show on CKAT which he continued after his retirement in 1991 and up until 2005. Before that, he was the news director and an anchor at CKGNTV/CKNY-TV North Bay.

Rogers Radio North Bay took possession of a new broadcast facility (Ted Rogers Broadcast Centre) closer to downtown (273 Main Street East).


Peter Handley was inducted into the North Bay Musicians and Entertainers Hall of Recognition for his “many significant artistic contributions as a broadcaster, newspaper columnist, sports historian and tireless promoter of the Near North community”. 57 of his 60 years in broadcasting had been spent at CKAT/CKFX-FM.

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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