CFRA-AM, News Talk Radio, Ottawa
|Radio Station CFRA Ltd. (CHUM Ltd.)
|Radio Station CFRA Ltd. (Kathleen Ryan)
|CFRA Ltd. (Frank Ryan)
Renfrew native, Queen’s University graduate and Ottawa entrepreneur Frank Ryan received a licence to operate a new radio station in the nation’s capital. He not only applied for an AM licence but also one for FM, and was granted both. The AM station would broadcast on a frequency of 560 kHz and have a power of 1,000 watts. Frank Ryan was also one-time manager of CKLW in Windsor.
By the end of the year it was announced that CFRA was expected to go on the air on May 1. Studios and offices would be in the Auditorium Building.
CFRA became a member of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.
At 8:05 p.m., May 3, Ottawa Mayor Stanley Lewis officially signed CFRA on the air: “…it is with pleasure and pride that I announce station CFRA in the City of Ottawa, officially on the air…” Music for the launch program was provided by Percy Faith and orchestra, along with a sixty voice choir. The station opening was held at the Ottawa Auditorium, 413 O’Connor Street, at Catherine. This was CFRA’s first home (studios and offices). The mayor’s statement went out before a gathering of 8,000 in the auditorium and a special broadcast aired on the CBC Trans-Canada network. Guests included: Percy Faith, Dorothy Ault, Dave Davies, Gord Sinclair, King Clancy, “Tommy” Gorman, and Dr. Fred Howes of McGill University, who was also the station’s technical advisor.
CFRA broadcast on a frequency of 560 kHz with a full-time power of 1,000 watts. Different antenna patterns were used for day and night operation. The station was on the air from 6:30 a.m. to 1:15 a.m. daily, 8:00 a.m. to 1:15 a.m. on Sundays.
The “FR” in the call sign represented the initials of owner Frank Ryan. Legend has all four letters in the call sign standing for “Can’t Find Ryan Anywhere”. Frank Ryan’s staff included: Brian Hodgkinson (program director), Michael Hopkins, Terry Kielty, Kathleen Williams, Erroll McKinnon and Fred Davis. Technical staff: Dr. Howes, Chester Beachell (chief), Frank Lehman, Jack Simonsen, Perce Simkins, Harold Horsey and Court Broad.
CFRA had the following all-local programs lined up for its early going: Breakfast Jamboree with Fred Davis, What’s Doing About Town with Erroll McKinnon, The Better Half with Kathleen Whitton, Teen Time and For Safety’s Sake with Terry Kielty, Sports at Six with Tom Foley, Rainbow Ballroom with Mike Hopkins, The Glop Shop with Brian Hodgkinson and Farmer’s Notebook with Frank Ryan.
Clint Goodwin joined CFRA’s announce staff. Stan Conder joined the writing staff.
Reports elsewhere have suggested that CFRA-AM and FM signed on at the same time, but CFRA was not issued an FM licence until later in the year. The CBC would open the first FM station in Ottawa.
The first civic election to be held since CFRA went on the air, took place December 6. The station was on the air with election results from 7:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Coverage was provided by Fred Davis, Brian Hodgkinson, K. Whitton, Frank Ryan and Harold Horsey.
Slogan: First On Your Dial.
Frank Jones was an announcer at CFRA. Les Lye joined CFRA.
Slogan: The Station That Made Ottawa “Radio Conscious”.
Announcer Fred Davis became program director, replacing Brian Hodgkinson who left to study television in the U.S. Ches Beachell was in the news department. Bill Williamson was named chief announcer. He had been a staff announcer. Brian O’Connell headed the news department. Before joining CFRA, he had been city editor of the Halifax Chronicle. O’Connell was now assisted by Barbara Abbott, also a former newspaper person. She was responsible for some 15 newscasts per day, with a special accent on local news. George Gowling was commercial manager.
Slogans: Ottawa’s Own Station – Maintaining Its Top Spot By Discrimination, Unfailing Good Taste and Service. / By Actual Survey The Ottawa valley’s “Most Listened To” Station. / The Voice of the valley.
Charlie Tierney was continuity editor. Newsman Bill Williamson was now at ZBM in Bermuda.
Slogan: Community concious in a concious community.
Les Lye was emcee for CFRA’s “Breakfast Jamboree”.
CFRA received permission to operate a 1,000 watt emergency transmitter.
Campbell McDonald was news director.
CFRA’s power increased from 1,000 watts day and night to 5,000 watts day and night, using three 288 foot towers on part of Lots 33 & 34, Concession 1, Nepean Township, Rideau Frontage.
CFRA program director Tom Foley hired Gord Atkinson away from CHUM in Toronto.
Les Lye, later to become a nationally known television personality, joined the station from the Lorne Greene Academy of Radio Arts, as an announcer and writer. A chance meeting with impressionist Rich Little was to be the springboard for many aspects of Les’s highly successful future career.
Frank Ryan announced he was ready to enter the television field as soon as permission was forthcoming from the CBC. He said he had an application pending since sometime in 1946. He would never get a licence.
The CBC authorized CFRA to increase power from 1,000 to 5,000 watts.
Ad: CFRA 5,000 Watts Day and Night – The BIG station in Ottawa…Tops in news…sports…features.
Tom Foley was program and sports director. Terry Kielty and Hugh Bowman also did sports. Campbell McDonald was news director. Joan Baxter was on air. Don Morin was continuity editor. Vaughn Bjerre was at CFRA.
Frank Ryan received permission to change the company name from “Frank Ryan” to CFRA Limited. The name change took place on March 22.
At this time, CFRA’s music programming was a blend of up-tempo popular adult hits and standards with a bit of country mixed in.
Frank Ryan asked progam manager Ken Reynolds to form a Western Band to play on air and do shows throughout the Ottawa Valley to promote CFRA. That was the beginning of The CFRA Happy Wnnderers who would do more than 5.000 live broadcasts during the next 10 years as well as other live shows.
The CBC deferred for further study, an application by CFRA for the operation of a booster station at Almonte on 560 kHz with 50 watts of power.
The CBC Board recommended CFRA be permitted to operate an experimental synchronous booster station at Almonte. The transmitter would have a power of 50 watts and operate on 560 kHz. The licence was granted for technical experimentation purposes for one year only.
On December 5, CFRA-AM and FM began broadcasting from new studios and offices located across the Canada Atlantic Railway/Canadian National line at 150 Isabella Street. The old Auditorium facility at O’Connor and Catherine had become too small for the growing station.
CFRA was an independent station with no network affiliation. It operated on 560 kHz with a fulltime power of 5,000 watts (single directional pattern). Ownership of CFRA Limited: Frank Ryan 99.8%, Kathleen Ryan 0.1% and D. L. Martin 0.1%.
Frank Ryan was president of the company and CFRA’s manager. Don Martin was assistant manager. Tom Foley was program director. Campbell McDonald was news director.
RCA Victor country & western recording artist Bob King was part of the “Ottawa Valley Barn Dance” on CFRA. Late in the year, King gave up on his radio work to concentrate more on personal appearances.
Vaughn Bjerre left CFRA to become program director of London’s CKSL.
CFRA received approval to operate an FM service. This meant that CFRA-FM would operate with a program service separate from CFRA-AM.
CFRA-FM began offering some of its own programming.
CFRA’s sports director since day one – Tom Foley – was killed in a car accident.
CFRA-TV Ltd., a company controlled by Frank Ryan with other shareholders, including Ottawa businessmen and CFRA Radio staff members, was one of several applicants for Ottawa’s second television station. Ryan owned a 150 acre farm and told the Board of Broadcast Governors that the TV station would be unique in that it would have the whole farm for use in outdoor agricultural telecasting. Associated with Ryan in the application were CFRA employees or directors Kenneth Binks, George Gowling, Edward Houston, Terry Keilty, Campbell McDonald, John Sproat and Spence Skelton. The television licence was awarded to E.L. Bushnell Television Co. Ltd. (for what would be CJOH-TV)
CFRA-FM became CFMO-FM.
On June 23, Ken “General” Grant joined CFRA from Montreal. He would be the station’s very popular morning man for many years to come.
Ernie Calcutt joined CFRA.
CFRA moved up the dial a bit – from 560 kHz to 580 kHz, and increased power from 5,000 watts day and night to 50,000 watts during the day and 10,000 watts at night. The station used four top-loaded 300 foot towers at a site located on part of Lots 1 and 2, Concession 1, Gower Township near Manotick.
Norman Kent left CFRA. He started at the station as an announcer, became promotion director, then moved to sales and even became a shareholder of the company, one of 11 at the time.
Frank Ryan was president of CFRA Broadcasting Ltd. He was also CFRA’s farm director. Terry Kielty was manager of CFRA and CFMO. Doug McGowan was program and production manager. Gord Atkinson was chief announcer while General Ken Grant was morning man. Ron Slade was news director. Ernie Calcutt was sports director.
Frank Ryan died of a heart attack while on vacation, March 2. In 1959, Ryan turned over all the issued shares in CFRA to long-term staff and set up a program for other employees to purchase stock. He arranged his estate in such a way that his own preferred stock would be made available to station staff. Ryan kept up his on-air work on CFRA until his death. Following his death, the company was taken over by his wife and business partner, Kathleen Ryan.
John Larsen joined CFRA on March 15 as overnight announcer.
Max Keeping was a CFRA reporter. Don Leger joined CFRA in May from Kingston’s CKWS. (He worked in morning news and would later move to CFRA’s FM station – CFMO).
Government approval was given in May for CFRA Broadcasting Ltd. to transfer CFRA/CFMO to a company to be incorporated, represented by Kathleen Ryan.
On October 19, the corporate name changed to Radio Station CFRA Ltd.
Gord Atkinson moved over to CFMO-FM where he was named station manager.
Jack Derouin (reporter) and Gil Wright (city hall reporter) joined the staff of CFRA on July 1. Wright had been city hall reporter for CKPM.
Kathleen Ryan decided to sell CFRA and CFMO. After talking with a number of broadcasting companies in Canada and the U.S., she settled on having her stations purchased by Allan Waters (CHUM) of Toronto.
CHUM Limited purchased CFRA and CFMO. The purchaser had been known as Radio CHUM-1050 Ltd. until 1967 when it became publicly traded CHUM Ltd.
George M. Gowling was vice president and general sales manager.
Lowell Green did news and hosted the open line show. Al Pascal was on-air.
Slogan: Still first choice in Ottawa.
Douglas McGowan, with CFRA since 1961 as director of programs and promotion, was appointed to the CRTC.
John Larsen became a newscaster under newly appointed News Director Ernie Calcutt.
Steve Ray joined CFRA from CKCY Sault Ste. Marie.
Rogers/CHFI launched the Rogers Radio News Network in April. It was affiliated with ABC in New York. CFRA received a partial feed from Rogers but received ABC News independently of Rogers.
CFRA was affiliated with CHUM Limited’s new Canadian Contemporary News System.
In an effort to widen its appeal, CFRA programming evolved from a blend of up tempo recent-based easy listening to a hotter, current-based Adult Contemporary format.
Steve Ray left CFRA to return to CKCY in Sault Ste. Marie.
Ad: The best two-station buy in the capital for the price of one. CFRA 58 – CFMO 93.9 – Radio Ottawa.
Brooke McNabb left for CJOH-TV.
Tom Jeffries joined CFRA. Steve Young joined and then left.
CFRA and CFMO-FM moved to new studios and offices on the second floor of a two storey, 20,000 square foot structure, located immediately behind the existing facility. The address remained 150 Isabella Street. The old yellow brick building was torn down (in 1977) to make way for an entrance to the new facility. At the new facility, CFMO has a master control room, two production control rooms, one production studio and one booth. There is a large newsroom located between the main CFRA and CFMO studios.
On the air: Ken Grant (5-9), Bill Drake (9-noon), News (12:00-12:35), Lowell Green (talk – 12:35-2:30), Al Dubois (2:30-4:00), Shelley Emmond (4-7), Mark elliot (7-11) and Dan Ferguson (11-5). Other announcers: Tom Jeffries and Barry Sarazin. Mark Elliot joined in November for evenings. Tom Jeffries left.
CFRA had long been Ottawa’s top station. By this time, it had an audience of 600,000 listeners. This was its highest cumulative audience figure to date.
In renewing CFRA’s licence, the CRTC advised further discussion to resolve the issue of a power increase for CFCF 600 in Montreal, which must give technical protection to CFRA 580.
CFRA and CHUM Toronto began a ten minute newscast aired simultaneously on both stations, with each providing input.
On-air people included Ken Grant (mornings), Mark Elliot (evenings), Gerrard Campbell (news, joined this year).
John Crawford joined the news department in July from CJBK London.
Dave Watts was music director.
CFRA installed a new transmitter and began broadcasting in AM Stereo.
Shelly Emond was the mid-day host. John Crawford (news) left in July for CKLW Windsor.
Sportscaster Ernie Calcutt, 51, died of a massive stroke. With CFRA since 1961, he was the voice of the Ottawa Roughriders (CFL) and a past president of the football reporters.
John Badham was hired as sports director and voice of the Rough Riders. He succeeded the late Ernie Calcutt.
All of CHUM Limited’s divisions, including Radio Station CFRA Ltd. amalgamated. CFRA and CFMO became a direct division of CHUM Ltd.
Glen Lisle was in CFRA’s news department.
CFRA-CFMO news director Steve Madely was elected chairman of the national editorial committee of Broadcast News.
On August 18, CFRA switched from a current-based adult contemporary format to lite rock…Favourites of Yesterday and Today. On the same date the CFRA Top 30 chart was retired. It had a run of over thirty years.
Gerrard Campbell (news) left for CKWS Kingston. Mark Elliot resigned on-air July 15. He ended up at CFGO.
Mayor Jim Durrel declared a Ken ‘The General’ Grant Day to salute Grant’s 25 years as CFRA’s morning man. The City of Ottawa dedicated a park to the late Ernie Calcutt who was sports director at CFRA. Ernie passed away in 1984.
Steve Madely was news director. Mike Kelly (ex-of CKLW Windsor) was a part-timer in CFRA’s news department.
CFUN Vancouver general manager Paul Ski added responsibilities for program development at CFRA / CFMO-FM.
News director Steve Madely was now also CFRA’s general manager.
In April, John Larsen covered the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France for the CHUM radio network.
Announcers included Ken Grant (mornings), Brad Williams (afternoons) and Crystal Coutts (overnights).
CFRA hired Cindy Day as full-time weather person.
John Badham left CFRA news for CHEX Radio in Peterborough.
Having outgrown the old facility at 150 Isabella, CFRA and CFMO moved studios and offices in April to a brand new facility, located at 1900 Walkley Road. Located in Ottawa’s south end, the new complex had 23,000 square feet of space.
CFRA personalities at this time included Ken “The General” Grant, Brad Williams, Lowell Green and Shelley Emmond.
Bob Derro joined CFRA from Sudbury’s CJMX-FM.
CFRA/CFMO-FM appointments: Don Holtby, vice-president and general manager, replacing Terry Kielty who became vice-president of broadcast services of the stations; Larry Kelly to general sales manager, and Jack Derouin to retail sales manager.
Dean Roberts was on the air at CFRA.
CFRA switched to an All Oldies music format.
On-Air: Ken Grant (mornings), Brad Williams (mid-days), Michael O’Brien (afternoons), Rebecca Black (evenings) and Steven Doucette (overnights). Weekends/Swing: Chris Edwards, Dean Roberts, Dave Watts.
On June 3, CFRA was given approval to relocate its transmitter site approximately 1 kilometer southeast of the present site. The existing site was located on land which was intended to be used for the proposed Highway 416 extension.
CFRA’s sister station CFMO became CKKL.
Chris Edwards left for CKLC Kingston.
Newsman Hal Anthony retired. He had been with CFRA for several years (and CKOY before that), and also anchored CHUM Radio’s national newscast at noon.
In June, CFRA adopted a News and Talk format which included a fair amount of sports programming. Steve Madely was now hosting a new 3-hour morning talk show, Pamela Kern was host of a new afternoon self-help program, and Sports at Six expanded to an hour-long live call-in show hosted by Gord Wilson.
Longtime morning man Ken Grant retired and station manager Steve Madely took over the AM Drive program. He was followed in mid-days by talk show host Lowell Green. The syndicated Dr. Laura program (from the U.S.) was also now on the schedule.
Rebecca Black and Steve Doucette left for CKKL-FM.
On March 2, Kathleen Ryan passed away. She helped her husband found CFRA AM and FM and ran the company after he died in 1965, until the stations were sold to CHUM in 1968.
Steve Madely was hosting the morning show and Lowell Green did the mid-day talk show.
Sales Manager Larry Kelly was gone from CFRA/KOOL-FM. He had been with the stations for 31 years.
CFRA and KOOL-FM were among the first radio stations in Canada to be on the internet…CFRA was the first to broadcast in real time.
Mark Maheu was General Manager.
CFRA was now streaming live on the internet.
CFRA marked 50 years on the air on May 3.
CHUM Limited announced it had purchased Rawlco’s Ottawa stations, CFGO (OSR 1200) and CJMJ-FM (Majic 100). CHUM Group Radio President Jim Waters said the Rawlco stations were a natural fit, complimenting CHUM’s existing stations, CFRA and CKKL (KOOL-FM). It was last year that CFGO bought away CFRA’s rights to Ottawa Senators broadcasts and launched Ottawa Sports Radio OSR 1200. The purchase of CFGO and CJMJ was approved later in the year.
In the Fall, any sports programming that had been on CFRA moved to new sister station CFGO which had adopted an all-sports format. As a result, CFRA was now News-Talk full-time.
Mike Cleaver (news) joined CFRA in June.
John Brenner was morning newscaster. Dave Mitchell was Program Director. Lowell Green was a talk show host.
In October, CHUM Ottawa opened new studios and offices to house all of its operations in the city – the 46,000 square foot CHUM Market Media Mall – located in the heart of the Byward Market at 87 George Street. The facility was home to CFGO-AM, CHRO-TV (purchased by CHUM in 1997), CKKL-FM, CJMJ-FM, and CFRA-AM.
Alden Diehl, 68, died October 27. He built CFRA into a powerhouse in the 1960s, increasing the station’s circulation from 100,000 to 600,000. He then moved on to CKLW in Windsor.
KOOL-FM (CKKL) program director Chris Gordon was promoted to operations manager for CHUM’s Ottawa radio stations – The Team (CFGO), CFRA, KOOL-FM and Majic 100 (CIMJ-FM).
On-Air: 12:00 – After Midnight with Gary Michaels. 3:00 – Comedy/Drama Classics. 4:00 – Art Bell. 5:00 – On Target Ottawa. 6:00 – Steve Madely. 9:00 – Lowell Green. 12:00 – Ottawa Noon. 12:30 – Lunch Bunch with Steve Madely, Lowell Green, Michael Harris and Rick Gibbons. 1:00 – Michael Harris Live (Friday: Market Monitor with Walter Traversy). 3:00 – Rick Gibbons. 6:00 – Business At Night. 7:00 – CNBC Business Wrap. 9:00 – Business Talk. 10:00 – Late Night Counsell with John Counsell. The news department included Mike Cleaver, John Brenner, Steve Winogron, Michael O’Brien.
Rick Gibbons was promoted to editor-in-chief at the Ottawa Sun. As a result, he had to resign from his afternoon talk show on CFRA.
Bob Derro left CFRA/CFMO-FM for CIWW-AM.
On May 3, CFRA marked 55 years on the air. At 6:50 a.m., Mayor Bob Chiarelli joined Steve Madely and proclaimed the day as CFRA Day in Ottawa. Celebrations continued throughout the day as former CFRA announcers and local personalities like Ken Grant, Les Lye, Terry Kielty and Max Keeping joined Lowell Green and Mark Sutcliffe.
On November 13, CFRA was granted a licence to operate transitional digital radio undertakings (DRU) to serve Ottawa. Three transmitters were used: one was located at the CBC’s site at Camp Fortune, Quebec. The other two transmitters were located in Ottawa, one at the CBC’s building on Lanark Avenue and the other at the Time MCI Las Brisas building. All three transmitters operated in a single frequency network, using 1487.696 MHz (DRB channel 21) with an effective isotropic radiated power of 5,928 watts, 2,850 watts and 2,965 watts, respectively. The transmitters employed the EUREKA-147 digital audio broadcasting system.
Longtime CFRA newsman Hal Anthony passed away.
Don Holtby passed away on January 16. For many years he worked as Ernie Calcutt’s side kick doing the color commentary for Rough Rider broadcasts. Holtby had been with CFRA (and CFMO-FM) for many years, starting in the sales department and eventually becoming vice-president. After a lengthy illness he left in April of 2004.
Allan Waters, the founder of CHUM Limited passed away on December 3 at the age of 84.
CFRA celebrated 60 years of service. Some of the “names” that were heard on the station over the years should be noted: Ken “The General” Grant, Les Lye, Lowell Green, Frank Ryan, Terry Kielty, Don Chevrier, Ernie Calcutt, Mike Anscombe, Max Keeping, Mike Duffy, Hal Anthony, Fred Davis, Bob Walters, Chuck Collins, Cliff Fletcher, Joel Thompson, and Al Pascal to name a few.
On July 12 it was announced that Bell Globemedia would pay C$1.7 billion for CHUM Ltd., in a deal that would see the company become part of the BCE-owned media conglomerate, subject to CRTC approval. On August 31, the two companies announced that BGM had been successful in its offer to acquire approximately 6.7 million common shares and approximately 19.2 million non-voting Class B shares of CHUM. The shares were to be placed in the hands of an independent trustee pursuant to a voting trust agreement approved by the CRTC.
On December 12th, it was announced that Bell Globemedia would henceforth be known as CTVglobemedia.
A CRTC hearing on the CTVglobemedia application to acquire the assets of CHUM Limited was held on April 30th 2007. On June 8 the CRTC approved the acquisition of CHUM Ltd. by CTVglobemedia, on condition that CTV sell off its five City-TV stations, CITY-TV Toronto, CHMI-TV Portage La Prairie/Winnipeg, CKEM-TV Edmonton, CKAL-TV Calgary and CKVU-TV Vancouver. Rogers Communications announced on June 25th that a deal had been reached for them to buy these stations from CTV, subject to CRTC approval. Among the CHUM assets acquired by CTVglobemedia in the deal were seven television stations, including CHRO-TV Pembroke, 21 specialty channels and some 33 radio stations, including CFRA-AM.
Bill Kincaid passed away after a long illness. In the 1960’s he launched Ottawa’s first radio talk show.
3 full time, 2 part time, and 10 contract staff were relieved of their duties at CHUM Radio Ottawa in November. The changes affected long time employee Dave Mitchell (program director CFRA/TEAM 1200) as well as part time Majic 100 announcer/operator Drew Corley along with CFRA talk show hosts Ron Corbett, Rabbi Reuven Bulka, Professor Gerry Cammy, and hosts of “Middle Aged Bald Guys” Alan Flemming and Jim Hurcomb. At a staff meeting, general manager Richard Gray announced that Al Smith (PD for Majic 100 and 939 BOB FM) would move to operations manager for all four stations, with “JR” John Rodenburg (TEAM 1200 morning co-host) assuming sports director duties, and CFRA news director Steve Winogron looking after CFRA’s on air sound.
Long time Ottawa sports broadcaster Dave “The Voice” Schreiber semi-retired. Effective January, he would no longer anchor sportscasts on TEAM 1200 and CFRA. He would continue his play by play broadcasts for the NHL Ottawa Senators and OHL Ottawa 67’s.
Al Smith, Program Director of 939 BOB FM and Majic 100 was appointed Operations Manager for CHUM Radio Ottawa. Dave Mitchell, PD at CFRA and Team 1200, plus Majic 100 announcer Drew Corley, an engineer and two copy writers were let go. Five other employees had their hours reduced. The move, said Vice President & General Manager Richard Gray, was intended to strengthen the on-air product to face new competition posed by recently licensed FM’ers owned by Astral Media and by Torres Radio. Mitchell had been with the company for 30 years. Other changes included John Rodenburg adding Sports Director for the cluster and Program Coordinator for Team 1200 to his duties as that station’s morning show co-host, Ian March as Assistant Program Director/Music Director at both Majic 100 and BOB FM and Steve Winogron, along with his News Director responsibilities, also focusing on day-to-day programming at CFRA.
Terry Kielty died at age 86 in May. Kielty was the first General Manager and helped launch CFRA in 1947. He was an on-air personality and, as GM, mentored some of the biggest names in Ottawa radio; Ken ”The General” Grant, Lowell Green, Ernie Calcutt, Hal Anthony and Steve Madely. Kielty was also President of the Ottawa Rough Riders in the 1980’s, and retired from CFRA/CFMO in 1990.
George Gordon, who had been morning anchor at News1130 Vancouver, moved to the first radio station he’d ever heard in his life: CFRA. Gordon returned to Canada’s capital and began as CFRA morning news anchor August 3.
Leah Walker, most recently the business editor at 680News Toronto, became afternoon business editor on CFRA.
Al Smith left CHUM Radio Ottawa (CFGO, CFRA, CIMJ, CKKL) as operation manager to take up the same position at Astral Media Radio in London.
Randy Dewell died at 62. The former Halifax alderman, award-winning broadcaster – including the Ted Rogers Sr/Velma Rogers award – and civil servant, had such stops in his on-air career as CFRA Ottawa, CHUM Toronto, CKGM Montreal and CJCH Halifax.
The late Terry Kielty received posthumous honours at the Sports Media Canada Achievement Awards in October. Kielty helped launch CFRA in 1947 and was an on-air personality. He also served as President of the Ottawa Rough Riders in the 1980s. Kielty died May 5 at the age of 86.
Robert Edgley became director of engineering, IT and building maintenance at CTV Ottawa, succeeding Art Clarke, the manager, engineering and IT, who retired at 49. Edgley would direct the CTV Ottawa, /A Ottawa and CHUM Radio Ottawa engineering teams and the building/security team. He joined Baton Broadcasting (now CTV) in 1991.
On March 7, the CRTC approved an application by BCE Inc. on behalf of CTVglobemedia Inc., for authority to change the effective control of CTVgm’s licensed broadcasting subsidiaries to BCE. The Commission concluded that the transaction would be beneficial to the Canadian broadcasting system by ensuring the long-term stability of a significant Canadian television network and advancing the Commission’s objective of providing relevant high-quality Canadian programming to Canadians through conventional and new media distribution channels. BCE was a public corporation and controlled by its board of directors. Before this approval, BCE held 15% of the voting interest in the capital of CTVgm. The other shareholders were 1565117 Ontario Limited (a corporation ultimately controlled by Mr. David Kenneth R. Thomson) (40% of the voting interest), Ontario Teacher’s Plan Board (25% of the voting interest) and Torstar Corporation (20% of the voting interest). Under the transaction agreement dated September 10, 2010, BCE would acquire the remaining 85% of the voting interest in the capital of CTVgm and would therefore exercise effective control.
On March 15, CTV Inc., CTV Corp., CTV Limited and CTVglobemedia Inc. amalgamated to continue as CTV Inc.
In March, CHUM Radio President Chris Godon announced that Dave Daigle had been appointed to Vice President, Sales, CHUM Radio. Dave was Sales Manager for CHUM’s Ottawa stations. He would continue to be based in Ottawa. Brad Ronald was appointed general sales manager, Bell Media Radio Ottawa. He started his radio career with CHUM Group Radio in Ottawa in 1976.
BCE Inc. announced on April 1 that it had completed its acquisition of CTV and that it had launched Bell Media (replacing CTVglobemedia), a new business unit that would make CTV programs and other Bell content available on smartphones and computers as well as traditional television. In addition to CTV and its television stations, Bell Media now also operated 29 specialty channels, 33 radio stations, Dome Productions, a mobile broadcast facilities provider, and dozens of high-traffic news, sports and entertainment websites, including the Sympatico.ca portal.
The CRTC approved a change to the ownership of Bell Media Inc., from BCE Inc. to Bell Canada. This transaction would not affect effective control of Bell Media Inc. and of its licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, which continued to be exercised by BCE Inc. Bell Media Inc. held, directly and through its licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, various radio and television programming undertakings as well as specialty and pay-per-view television services.
On August 22, the CRTC approved the applications by BCE Inc., on behalf of Bell Media Inc. and 7550413 Canada Inc., carrying on business as Bell Media Ottawa Radio Partnership, for authority to acquire, as part of a corporate reorganization, CFRA, CFGO, CKKL-FM and CJMJ-FM Ottawa. Bell Media, the managing partner holding 99.99% of the voting interest in the general partnership, is wholly owned by Bell Canada and controlled by BCE. 7550413, the other partner holding the remaining 0.01% of the voting interest in the general partnership, is wholly owned by Bell Media and is also controlled by BCE. BCE submitted that the purpose of this corporate reorganization was to realize tax efficiencies. The Commission noted that this transaction would not affect the effective control of the undertakings which would continue to be exercised by BCE.
Carolyne Desnoyers was named sales supervisor at Bell Media Radio Ottawa.
Brad Ronald, a 35-year veteran with Bell Media Radio Ottawa, was promoted from retail sales manager to cluster general sales manager.
Sixteen Bell Media Ottawa staffers, on-air and a manager, were let go in February in what was described as a corporate restructuring at CTV Ottawa, CFRA, Majic 100, Bob FM and Team 1200. Among those dismissed were CFRA talk show Host Michael Harris and reporter Gord McDougall; Team 1200’s Jim Jerome, Phil Melanson and Mike Sutherland; Majic 100’s Steve Boynton; BOB FM’s Tina Sapp; marketing director for Bell Media Radio Ottawa and CTV Two Ottawa Al Macartney; and CTV Ottawa’s promotion manager, Brent Corbeil.
Long time CFRA/CFMO sales manager Jack Derouin passed away in March. He was 67. Derouin started his career with CHUM Ottawa as a reporter in the 1970’s, retiring from the company two years ago.
J.R. Ello was named promotions manger at Bell Media Ottawa. He would be responsible for all promotional and community relations activity for Majic 100, 93.9 BOB FM, CFRA, Team 1200, CTV Ottawa and CTV Two Ottawa.
Bell Media created four new regional VP positions for radio and local television. They would report to Chris Gordon, president, radio & local TV, Bell Media. Richard Gray, VP Ottawa Radio (CFGO/CFRA/CJMJ/CKKL and CTV Two (CHRO-TV) Ottawa, would be responsible for Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Northern and Eastern Ontario. Local GMs at radio and TV stations would now report to Gray.
Andy Stephen died at age 84. He began his broadcast career at CFRA after the end of the Second World War. In 1953, he moved to CKDA Victoria.
Jack Derouin died at age 67. The two-year retired Derouin had been general sales manager at CHUM Radio Ottawa.
CFRA anchor George Gordon accepted a position in Toronto. He was to begin his newest venture in August.
On August 8, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CFRA until August 31, 2013.
Alison Sandor joined CFRA in early September. She had been lead reporter for 1310 News. The Carleton University graduate had also worked in Yellowknife and Calgary.
On September 26, the CRTC approved an application by Bell Media Inc. and 7550413 Canada Inc., partners in a general partnership carrying on business as Bell Media Ottawa Radio Partnership, to modify the technical parameters for CFRA by increasing its night-time power from 10,000 to 30,000 watts and by modifying its antenna pattern, resulting in changes to its authorized contours.
The licensee stated that the power increase would improve its service to listeners in the Ottawa and Seaway Valleys who were experiencing signal loss, particularly during the winter months when night-time parameters were employed for longer periods. Bell Media indicated that it was currently required to reduce CFRA’s night-time power from 50,000 to 10,000 watts in order to comply with Industry Canada’s rules that prevented interference with the potential night-time service areas of stations proposing to use allotments at 580 kHz, namely Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Thunder Bay, Ontario and Baie-Comeau, Quebec. The Commission noted that these frequencies were previously used by CJFX Antigonish, CKPR Thunder Bay and CHLC Baie-Comeau, all of which had converted to the FM band and ceased operating at 580 kHz. Given that the technical change would result in a relatively modest increase in listenership and that it applied solely to night-time operating hours, the Commission considered that the proposed power increase would not generate significant incremental revenues for the station and would therefore not have any undue impact on existing stations in the market.
CFRA’s Greg Hébert passed away in December after a long battle with cancer. He was 37.
Rick Gibbons, who left radio 24 years ago for print journalism, eventually becoming Publisher of the Ottawa Sun, returned to CFRA as a mid-day talk host.
There was another major lay-off at Bell Media Ottawa. Among those let go were CFRA’s Michael Harris.
Eugene Whalen died at age 88. The former federal agriculture minister hosted CFRA’s Agriculture Hour after he left politics.
Former and long-time CFRA news anchor Don Leger passed away August 29 at the age of 82.
In August, CFRA increased its night-time power from 10,000 to 30,000 watts. Daytime power remained 50,000 watts.
In November, in the latest round of job cuts at Bell Media, a number of long-time employees were let go. Steve Madely, after 21 years as morning host at CFRA, retired. Before CFRA, he was News Director at CFGO, moving there in 1972 from CKLW Windsor. CFRA saw 15 positions eliminated and five more positions lost through attrition, including hosts Rick Gibbons and 20-year veteran Shelley McLean, Madely’s co-host. Also gone were assistant news director John Brenner, afternoon anchor Sean Connolly and producer Mike Murphy. Harrie Jones, a 32-year employee, was no longer the director of engineering.
As part of the restructuring earlier in the month, CFRA began using recorded newscasts from CTV Ottawa anchors as of November 23.
Long-time CFRA talkshow host Lowell Green, retired in January. The 79 year old began his broadcast career in 1960 as a news and farm reporter. Green would still make regular daily commentaries on CFRA.
Bev McRae died at age 70 in January. The former CFRA host was the widow of legendary Ottawa journalist Earl McRae. At one time she worked in Toronto at CFTR where she was known as Bev Bowman.
On November 8, CFRA became available in HD at 100.3 on the FM dial – CJMJ-FM-HD channel 2.
Trevor Kidd (76) passed away in May. He worked on-air in the 1970s and 80s at 580 CFRA and CFMO-FM.
Ronnie Prophet died at age 80 on March 2. Prophet made his debut on the CFRA country music program The Happy Wanderers. Prophet went on to host Canadian TV shows The Ronnie Prophet Show, Grand Ole Country, Rocky Mountain Inn and Ronnie ‘N The Browns. He won Juno Awards in 1978 and ‘79 for country male vocalist of the year.
Fred Ennis died at the age of 71 on October 21. Ennis started his career at CKLW Windsor, and then moved to CHUM Toronto, CHNS Halifax and CFGO Ottawa. He later became bureau chief for News Radio, and ended his career as the Ottawa Sun’s first Page Six columnist, and as a commentator on CFRA.
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.