CKNR-FM, Moose FM, Elliot Lake

Vista Broadcast Group Inc.

CKNR-FM201294.110,000Vista Radio Ltd.
CKNR-FM200494.110,000Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc.
CKNR-AM199694.110,000Pelmorex Broadcasting Ltd.
CKNR-AM19909301,000Pelmorex Broadcasting Ltd.
CKNR-AM19859301,000Mid-Canada Communications Inc.
CKNR-AM19849301,000Huron Broadcasting Ltd.
CKNR-AM19587301,000North Channel Broadcasters Inc.


CKNR signed on the air at Elliot Lake in September, operating on 1340 kHz with 250 watts (non-directional).


The owner of CKNR purchased CJNR Blind River which had been on the air since 1958. It would become a semi-satellite of CKNR.


On February 28, Algonquin Radio-TV Co. Ltd. was authorized to increase CKNR’s power from 250 watts day and night to 1,000 watts day and 250 watts night. 


Applications were submitted to the CRTC by Huron Broadcasting Ltd., a new syndicate headed by Carmen Greco, owner of CKCY, to acquire all of the broadcast facilities in the Sault Ste. Marie area. The new company would purchase Hyland Radio-TV (CJIC-AM-FM-TV and CJWA Wawa) and Algonquin Radio-TV (CKCY-AM-FM, CJNR Blind River, CKNR Elliot Lake and CKNS Espanola). Huron would then sell CJIC-AM-FM to a group headed by Russ Hilderly, the present program director of CKCY. CJIC-AM-FM would assume new call letters while CJWA would become part of the CKCY network. CJIC-TV would continue as a CBC affiliate and Huron would seek a twin stick operation with a new station to be known as CKCY-TV to bring CTV service to the area.
The CRTC approved the applications by Huron for changes in broadcast facilities in the Soo. The approval was conditional on Huron agreeing to provide CTV service no later than September 1, 1978. Huron was warned it must meet its commitments to provide better TV news and public affairs programming. CJWA was to become a full CBC affiliate with separate programming from Wawa.

CKNS 930 in Espanola began broadcasting on October 2. It operated as a semi-satellite of CKNR.


CKNR installed a completely solid state Sintronic 1,000 watt transmitter. Phil Landry was chief engineer for CKNR, CJNR and CKNS. 


Huron Broadcasting employees became unionized in June.


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

On March 21, the CRTC approved the transfer of effective control of Huron Broadcasting Limited (CJIC-TV, CKCY-TV, CJQM-FM, CKCY Sault Ste. Marie, CKNR Elliot Lake, CKNS Espanola, CJNR Blind River, CJWA Wawa), through the transfer of 1,000 common shares (16.7%) from each of J.S. Hinds, J.O. Hinds and P.D. Edwards to Soo Mill Holdings Limited, the transfer of 1,000 common shares from C.P. Greco and 400 common shares from G.E. Nori (16.7% and 6.7% respectively) to James R. McAuley Investments Inc. and the transfer of 600 common shares (10.0%) from G.E. Nori to James F. Kelleher (in trust for a company to be incorporated), Patrick J. Mahon and Joseph Anthony Martella. As a result of these proposed share transfers, Huron would be owned as follows: Soo Mill Holdings Limited 50.0%, James R. McAuley Investments Inc. 23.3%, W.A. Elgie 16.7%, F. KelLeher, OBCI 5.8%, Patrick J. Mahon 2.1% and Anthony Martella 2.1%. Soo Mill Holdings Limited is owned by three trusts, each having an equal interest and having as its beneficiary one of three brothers, Fremlin Simpson Hollingsworth, Edward Hollingsworth and Ian Woolner Hollingsworth, all of whom are residents of Sault Ste. Marie. James R. McAuley Investments Inc. is effectively controlled by James R. McAuley of Sault Ste. Marie.

CKNR was granted a night-time power increase from 250 to 1,000 watts, on December 13. Daytime power would remain 1,000 watts.


On March 27, Mid-Canada Communications (Canada) Corp. received approval to acquire CHNO, CFBR and CJMX-FM Sudbury from Sudbury Broadcasting (1977) Ltd. and CJNR Blind River, CKNR Elliot Lake and CKNS Espanola from Huron Broadcasting Limited. Mid-Canada is owned 95.8% by Northern Cable Services. The largest shareholder of Northern is CUC Limited with 48.3% of the outstanding voting shares. CUC is deemed to be controlled by G.R. Conway and its other founding shareholders. The remaining 51.7% of Northern’s voting shares are owned by Northern Ontario investors who also form a majority on Northern’s Board of Directors. The largest of these is The Sudbury Broadcasting Company Limited, which owns 20.1% of Northern’s voting shares and is controlled by F. Baxter Ricard. 

Huron decided to sell its radio stations (the Sault Ste. Marie radio stations were sold earlier to another company) in order to concentrate on its television and cable operations in Sault Ste. Marie.  Mid-Canada stated that the existing arrangement where the programming on CJNR was received from CKNR would continue. It also noted that the operation of a separate studio at Blind River would not be possible at this time. Mid-Canada also said it would undertake a study on the feasibility of producing more local programming for CKNS. CKNS was not to solicit advertising in the Sudbury market.


Phil Dunn was news director.


When CKNS Espanola had its licence renewed, the CRTC noted that it had eliminated all programming received from CKNR between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. CKNS broadcast 60 hours of locally-produced programming per week.


On January 3, the CRTC approved a corporate reorganization of the group of companies owned and controlled by Northern Cable Services Limited. The purpose of the reorganization is to segregate the radio operations of Northern Services’ subsidiary company, Mid-Canada Communications (Canada) Corp. and its subsidiary company CKCY 920 Limited, into Ottawa Valley Broadcasting Company Limited in order to facilitate the sale of Mid-Canada’s television operations and OVB’s radio stations through separate transfers which will be subject to prior approval by the Commission. This would result in the transfer of all of the radio assets held by Mid-Canada (CHNO, CFBR and CJMX-FM Sudbury, CKNS Espanola, CKNR Elliot Lake, CFCL Timmins, CFLH Hearst, CFLK Kapuskasing, CJNR Blind River and CKAP Kapuskasing) and of its wholly-owned subsidiary CKCY 920 Limited (CKCY and CJQM-FM Sault Ste. Marie and CJWA Wawa) to Ottawa Valley.

On July 26, the transfer of effective control of Mid-Canada Radio Inc. through the transfer of 100% of that company’s issued and outstanding common voting shares from Northern Cable Holdings Limited to Pelmorex Broadcasting Inc. was approved. Mid-Canada is a company formed from the amalgamation of CKCY 920 Ltd. with The Ottawa Valley Broadcasting Company Limited in January 1990. It is licensee of the 14 following radio stations in northeastern Ontario: CHRO Pembroke, CJNR Blind River, CKNR Elliot Lake, CKNS Espanola, CKAP and CFLK Kapuskasing, CHNO, CFBR and CJMX-FM Sudbury, CFCL Timmins, CFLH Hearst, CKCY and CJQM-FM Sault Ste. Marie and CJWA Wawa. Mid-Canada is also a 45% shareholder in a proposed new company that, once incorporated, will become the licensee of CHUR North Bay. Mid-Canada’s television stations were sold to Baton Broadcasting Incorporated.

CKNR was given permission to dissafiliate from the CBC on November 15 as the Elliot Lake area was now served by the Corporation’s CBEC-FM Elliot Lake.


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 August 13, the purchase of CKNR Elliot Lake and its transmitter CJNR Blind River, and of CKNS Espanola from Pelmorex Radio Ltd. by Walter Hulme, on behalf of North Channel Broadcasters was approved. Conversion of the three AM stations into a single FM signal, operating on 94.1 MHz with an effective radiated power of 90,000 watts at Elliot Lake was also given the go ahead. Antenna height would be 192.9 metres. The coverage area of CKNS and CJNR would also be served by the new FM station. Hulme proposed to broadcast 25 hours weekly of local programming, including 9 hours and 30 minutes each week of news and community programming on the new FM. Principle shareholders of North Channel were Walter Hulme (General Manager) and Rocco Frangione (News Director).


On March 3 at noon, CKNR 1340 kHz with 1,000 watts (non-directional) Elliot Lake, CKNS 930 kHz with 10,000 watts (directional at night) Espanola, and CJNR 730 kHz with 1,000 watts (directional at night) Blind River, were replaced by CKNR-FM 94.1 Elliot Lake. CJNR, CKNR and CKNS went off the air when CKNR-FM signed on.


On March 12, The Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. received approval to acquire CKNR-FM from North Channel Broadcasters Inc. CKNR-FM is the only broadcasting property of North Channel. Haliburton is the licensee of nine FM radio stations in Northern Ontario, including stations serving Sudbury, Timmins, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing and Cochrane.


CKNR-FM became known as Moose FM – a name used by other Haliburton owned stations.


Moose-FM (CKNR) moved studios and offices to 144 Ontario Avenue.

On August 24, Haliburton Broadcasting received approval to add a transmitter for CKNR-FM at Elliot Lake, in order to improve the station’s signal in the northern part of the community. The original 94.1 transmitter is actually located closer to Little Current than it is to Elliot Lake, so some parts of the city of licence do not receive an adequate signal. The new transmitter would operate on a frequency of 98.7 MHz with an effective radiated power of 50 watts.


Walter Hulme passed away in April. He was 68. Between 1996 and 2004, Hulme had owned North Channel Broadcasters. He started his career at CKOX in Woodstock, moved on to CAP Communications in Kitchener, helped launch CHUR in North Bay, and then headed to CKAP in Kapuskasing. After that, he managed CKNR/CJNR/CKNS for Mid-Canada Communications and then Pelmorex Radio. Hulme purchased those stations and converted the three AM’s into a single FM station.


On August 17, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence of CKNR-FM Elliot Lake, and its transmitter CKNR-FM-1 Elliot Lake to August 31, 2013. 

On October 19, the CRTC approved the application by Vista Radio Ltd. for authority to acquire from Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. the assets of Haliburton’s AM and FM radio stations and their transmitters located in Bancroft, Barry’s Bay, Bolton, Bracebridge, Caledon, Cochrane, Elliot Lake, Espanola, Fort Erie, Haldimand, Haliburton, Hearst, Huntsville, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Kemptville, Niagara Falls, North Bay, Parry Sound, Prescott, St. Catharines, Stratford, Sturgeon Falls and Timmins. Vista was a corporation controlled by Westerkirk Capital Inc., in turn controlled by Thompson Investments Limited. CKNR-FM (and CKNR-FM-1) was among the stations acquired by Vista.


Peter Hobbs joined Vista Radio as regional cluster General Manager/Sales Manager for the company’s stations in North Bay, Sturgeon Falls, Espanola and Elliot Lake as well as overseeing Timmins. Hobbs, based in North Bay, was most recently the General Sales Manager at the three-station Bell Media Hamilton cluster. He began at Vista on November 18. 


In August, Erika MacLellan retired from Moose FM 94.1 after 38 years in broadcasting. Over the years, she held down roles from board op to on-air shifts, traffic manager, copy director, station manager and integrated marketing executive.

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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