CHVR-FM, Pure Country 96.7, Pembroke

Bell Media Inc.

CHVR-FM201396.7100,000Bell Media
CHVR-FM200796.7100,000Astral Media Inc
CHVR-FM200296.7100,000Standard Radio Inc.
CHVR-FM199996.7100,000Telemedia Radio Inc.
CHVR-FM199696.7100,000Pelmorex Broadcasting Inc.
CHVR-AM199013501,000Pelmorex Broadcasting Inc.
CHRO-AM198113501,000Mid-Canada Communications
CHOV-AM19421340250Ottawa Valley Broadcasting Co. Ltd.


The call letters for the new station expected to launch in March at Pembroke: CHVO – The voice of the Ottawa Valley. E.G. (Gord) Archibald was vice president and general manager of the newly-formed Ottawa Valley Broadcasting Co. Ltd. Archibald had spent five years at CKGB Timmins and two years CKRN Rouyn. CHOV would use a 250K RCA Victor transmitter. Studios were being built in the centre of town. D.A. (Dan) Jones was president of the company. He was the publisher of the Rouyn-Noranda Press. C.J. “Charley” Jones was secretary treasurer. The CBC affiliate operated on 1340 kHz with 250 watts of power from a transmitter site located along Highway 17, east of Pembroke. The “OV” in the calls: Ottawa Valley. 

CHOV was to sign on the air July 1. August 18 was then set as the launch date. The station served the city of Pembroke and 34 towns and villages within a 25 mile radius. Practically the entire area served by the new station had been in a radio desert. Surveys by CBC engineering showed no service from any Canadian station before now. CHOV was affiliated with British United Press from the station’s first day of operation (August 18 – some say August 25). 


Student Bob Smith was providing reports on CHOV.




Advertising slogan of the time: CHOV – The Voice of the Ottawa Valley.


CHOV’s “Mothers’ Day Program” aired on the Dominion network, making the station the first 250 watter to get a network airing for a full-length production. 


In May, CHOV increased power to 1,000 watts full-time (one directional pattern for day and night) on new frequency 1350 kHz. Two 182 foot towers were used at the existing transmitter site.

W. Montaigne was commercial manager.


Ramsay Garrow was commercial manager. 


The grand opening for CHOV’s new studios and offices took place on October 4.


Dan Trout (Dan Fish) started his radio career at CHOV.


CHOV was a CBC Dominion affiliate, operating on 1350 kHz with power of 1,000 watts (single directional pattern). Ownership of The Ottawa Valley Broadcasting Co. Ltd.: Ottawa Valley Enterprises Ltd. 66.7%, E. G. Archibald 32.2%, Edna M. Archibald 1.1% and J. S. Craig 0.0%. Ownership of Ottawa Valley Enterprises Ltd.: E. G. Archibald 65.0%, Edna M. Archibald 34.5% and J. S. Craig 0.5%.

E. Gordon Archibald was president of the company and CHOV’s manager. Bill Kay was program and sports director.


Ad slogans: CHOV Pembroke – The BUY that Sells. / Don’t take a chance on a glance…take a good look and learn why CHOV is the buy that sells. / CHOV – Radio Pembroke. 

Dan Trout left CHOV for Fredericton. Don “Red Hot” Kohls was at CHOV. 


Ads: Pembroke – is this the market you’re NOT selling? “Plug the coverage gap.” CHOV is the only medium covering all the Upper Ottawa Valley. / In the Ottawa Valley only the snow covers as many homes as CHOV Radio Pembroke.

Ramsay Garrow was commercial manager.


Gordon Archibald’s Ottawa Valley Broadcasting Co. Ltd. launched CHOV-TV.


The Trans-Canada and Dominion networks consolidated into a single service. CHOV continued on as a CBC affiliate after the merger.


E. G. Archibald was president of the company. Bill Kay was CHOV’s manager and sports director.


Ramsay F. Garrow, director of sales and marketing, died May 11. He was associated with CHOV Radio & TV for 22 years – 14 as AM commercial manager and 8 with TV. Ramsay moved to TV when it signed on in 1961.


Bill Kay, general manager of CHOV-AM, was now also general manager of CHOV Television as well. 


Approval was given April 1 for the transfer of shares in CHOV to Paul Marleau (representing a company to be incorporated – Mid-Canada Communications). This brought the radio and television stations in Pembroke under common ownership once again. Originally CHOV-AM-TV – the TV station had been purchased by J. Conrad Lavigne in 1977. Mid-Canada purchased Lavigne’s company in 1980. As a result, the AM call letters changed to CHRO (the same as the TV station) and the radio station moved studios and offices to the television building.


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


On May 29, at 4 p.m., CHRO switched from a country format to Hot Hits, Familiar Favourites. 


Among the people in the newsroom were, Pat Leonard, Marianne Zadra, Jamie Bramburger and Rhonda London.


On July 26, approval came for the sale of Mid-Canada Radio Inc. by Northern Cable Holdings Limited to Pelmorex Broadcasting Inc. 14 radio stations in northeastern Ontario, including CHRO, were part of the deal. When the sale was complete, CHRO became CHVR, with the “VR” standing for Valley Radio.

On October 11, the CRTC approved the sale of Ottawa Valley Radio Ltd. (CKOB and CKOA) by Neil McMullen through his company Annapolis Valley Radio Ltd. to Pelmorex Broadcasting Inc. (controlled by Pierre Morissette). The Commission took into consideration the precarious financial situation of CKOB and CKOA and the fact that this transaction would provide the stations with the resources necessary to ensure continuation of local radio service. The Commission also approved the request to reduce locally-produced programming on CKOB from 126 hours per week to 21 hours 15 minutes weekly as well as to increase the locally-produced programming on CKOA to 21 hours 15 minutes per week. CKOB and CKOA would become part-time rebroadcasting stations of CHRO Pembroke. CHRO would become CHVR.

On-air: Jon Blair (6-10), Rick O’Brien (10-3), Rob Webster (3-7) and Mark Lemke (evenings). Jamie Bramburger, Dan Madden and Marina Kolby were in the news department.

Scott Jackson was program director.


Among the news staff: Walt Latham, Wayne Pratt and Daphny Gebhart.


Glennis Lane and Brian Burton were heard on weekends.

Arnprior was abandoned. Programming came from Renfrew between 6 a.m. and noon, and  Pembroke for the rest of the day.


There were major layoffs at the end of the year, and most programming was now picked up from Pelmorex Satellite Network.


Announcer Rick O’Brien left around mid summer. There were more layoffs this year.


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.

CHVR received approval to move from 1350 kHz to 96.7 MHz on the FM band. The new station would have an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts. CBCD-FM, a rebraodcaster of CBO Ottawa, would shift from 96.7 MHz to 92.5 MHz. Once on the FM band, the CHVR AM transmitters at Arnprior and Renfrew would close.

Rob Webster was still on-air. The news team included, Jamie Bramburger, Daphny Gebhart and Chris Cooper.


In the Summer, all three CHVR AM stations combined into the new CHVR-FM at 96.7 MHz on the dial. The new station broadcast from the CBC-FM antenna site, approximately 16 km south of Pembroke. 

Tony Grace joined the news department in September. 


Scott Sexsmith was now announcing at the station.


Tony Grace (news) left in August. Jamie Bramburger (news)left in December to accept a posistion with Algonquin College. 

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.


On January 4, Jamie Bramburger became assignment editor at CHRO-TV. He had been news director at Star 96. 

On February 17, the purchase of  CHUR-FM North Bay, CHVR-FM Pembroke, CJQM-FM Sault Ste. Marie and CJMX-FM Sudbury from Pelmorex Radio Inc. by Telemedia Communications Inc. was approved. 

Local announcers: Rob Webster and Scott Sexsmith. The news team included: Chris Cooper, Daphny Gebhart and Patricia Jorgensen. 

With Telemedia’s acquisition of CHUR-FM, CHVR-FM, CJQM-FM and CJMX-FM, it became the sole commercial radio licensee in both North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie by owning all three of each city’s commercial stations. In Sudbury, it would hold three of the five licences. 


On-air: Rob Webster (6-noon), Rick Johnston (noon-6) and Brian Burton (6-midnight). Jon Blair did weekends. Tony Grace was back in the news department.


Telemedia Radio VP Braden Doerr, most recently vice president 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) would continue 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 Ontario region.

Jon Blair was now hosting the 6 p.m. to midnight show. News: Tony Grace, Chris Cooper, Daphny Gebhart, Oona Woods and Kim Bourne. Notes: Tony Grace left in February to return to CJBQ/CIGL Belleville. 

On-air changes as of July 16: Brian Burton (6-noon), Chris Cooper (noon-6) and Rick Johnston (6-midnight). Notes: Tony Grace (morning news anchor and AM co-host) returned from CJBQ/CIGL/CJTN Belleville-Trenton in July and left again in August.


On April 19, the sale of several Telemedia stations, including CHVR to Standard Radio Inc. was approved.


On September 27, Astral Media Radio G.P. received CRTC approval to acquire the assets of the radio and TV undertakings owned by Standard Radio Ltd., subject to certain conditions.  The purchase included CHVR-FM.  


On August 8, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CHVR-FM until August 31, 2013. 

After 12 plus years at the station, Rick Johnston and Star 96 parted ways. 


On June 27, 2013, after a previous such application had been denied in 2012, the CRTC approved an application by Astral Media Inc. to sell its pay and specialty television channels, conventional television stations and radio stations to BCE Inc., including CHVR-FM.


In February, CHVR changed its branding from Star 96 to the New Star 96.7.


In May, Bell Media rolled out a rebrand (Pure Country) of 12 of its country stations. The stations offered local morning and afternoon drive shows with evening and weekend programming being syndicated. No jobs were lost as part of the changes, as former evening and weekend announcers were assigned new duties. CHVR changed from Star 96.7 to Pure Country 96.7.

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.

Contact this station