CKKL-FM, Pure Country 94, Ottawa
|Radio Station CFRA Ltd. (CHUM Ltd.)
|Radio Station CFRA Ltd. (Kathleen 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.
At 8:05 p.m., May 3, Ottawa Mayor Stanley Lewis officially signed CFRA-AM 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 Auditorium, 413 O’Connor Street, at Catherine. This was CFRA’s first home (studios and offices). 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 also did on-air work at CFRA as host of the popular “The Farmer’s Notebook”. Terry Kielty was CFRA’s first program director.
CFRA-FM signed on the air later in the year, but the launch date is uncertain. Many say that it signed on the air at the same time as CFRA-AM. CFRA-FM broadcast on a frequency of 93.9 MHz with an effective radiated power of 250 watts. It rebroadcast the programming of CFRA-AM (560 kHz). 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.
CFRA-FM used an RCA transmitter.
On March 22, the corporate name changed to CFRA Ltd.
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.
CFRA-FM received approval to increase power from 383 to 1,000 watts and to increase antenna height from 100 to 240 feet above average terrain.
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-FM increased power from 393 watts to 860 watts. Antenna height was 125 feet. Power was actually listed as 1,100 watts on 93.9 MHz.
CFRA-AM-FM was an independent operation with no network affiliation. Ownership of CFRA Limited: Frank Ryan 99.8%, Kathleen Ryan 0.1% and D. L. Martin 0.1%.
Federal approval was given to CFRA-FM to operate with separate programming from CFRA-AM.
On March 8, at 6:00 p.m., CFRA-FM began broadcasting programs separate from what aired on CFRA-AM – Monday to Friday from 6:00 p.m. to Midnight, Saturday & Sunday from 3:00 p.m. to Midnight.
Independent FM programming increased to 12 hours a day.
On December 15, CFRA-FM began broadcasting from the CBC’s Camp Fortune, Quebec transmitter site. Effective Radiated Power increased to 146,000 watts from an antenna height of 1,305 feet.
On December 18 at 6.00 am, CFRA-FM became CFMO-FM. All programming was separate from CFRA 580. The “FMO” in the calls: FM Ottawa. It was the first FM station to use separate call letters from its sister AM statiom.
CFRA-AM moved from 560 to 580 kHz.
CFMO introduced stereo programming to its listeners during the weekend of July 5 to 7 with “Stereo Weekend”. Stereo broadcasting gradually built up over the summer and autumn…from two hours a day in the first two weeks to 12 hours a day by the fall to 17 hours per day by the end of the year. CFMO was one of the first FM stations in Canada to broadcast in Multiplex FM Stereo.
Ron Slade joined CFMO as news director. He had held the same post at CHNS in Halifax.
CFMO offered 120 hours of programming each week that was independent from CFRA-AM. Frank Ryan was President of CFRA Broadcasting Ltd.
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.
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.
Ron Slade left CFMO where he had been news director.
CFMO had a power decrease to 95,000 watts (horizontal & vertical) non-directional (1,077 feet).
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.
Doug McGowan was director of sales merchandising.
CFMO was providing program service to WSLU-FM in Canton, N.Y. It was also on closed circuit to campus stations at the University of Ottawa and Potsdam State Teachers College in Potsdam, N.Y.
The best two-station buy in the capital for the price of one. CFRA 58. CFMO 93.9. Radio Ottawa.
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.
CFMO installed a new AEL 25 kw transmitter.
Bernie Boucher left CFMO to become news director at CKRA-FM in Edmonton. Gord Atkinson was general manager at this time.
On January 11, the CRTC renewed CFMO-FM’s licence until September 30, 1985.
All of CHUM Ltd.’s divisions, including Radio Station CFRA Ltd. amalgamated. CFMO-FM and CFRA became a direct division of CHUM Ltd.
CFRA-CFMO news director Steve Madely was elected chairman of the national editorial committee of Broadcast News.
Linda Spalding was CFMO’s promotions director. Steve Madely was news director. Lundy Sanderson was a part-timer in CFMO’s news department.
CFUN Vancouver general manager Paul Ski added responsibilities for program development at CFRA / CFMO-FM.
Having outgrown the old facility on 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.
CFMO-FM / CFRA 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.
On August 28, CFMO-FM dropped its long-time easy listening (or beautiful) music format for a hit adult contemporary sound as “Kool-FM” CKKL-FM.
Don Leger retired in the spring. He had joined CFRA-AM in 1965 and then later moved to CFMO-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.
Sales Manager Larry Kelly left KOOL-FM/CFRA after 31 years with the stations.
KOOL-FM and CFRA were among the first in Canada to be on the internet…CFRA was the first to broadcast in real time.
Mark Maheu was General Manager.
Kevin & The Shark hosted the morning show.
Chris Gordon left CFPL/CFHK London as program director to take up a similar position at KOOL FM.
CHUM Limited announced it had purchased Rawlco’s Ottawa stations, CJMJ-FM (Magic 100) and CFGO (OSR 1200). CHUM Group Radio President Jim Waters said the Rawlco stations were a natural fit, complimenting CHUM’s existing stations, CKKL (KOOL-FM) and CFRA. CHUM took the stations over later in the year.
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.
KOOL-FM program director Chris Gordon was promoted to operations manager for CHUM Radio Ottawa – The Team (CFGO), CFRA, KOOL-FM and Majic 100 (CIMJ-FM).
On November 13, CKKL was granted a licence to operate transitional digital radio undertakings (DRU) to serve Ottawa. Three transmitters were used: one would be 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.
On May 30 at 12 noon, CKKL “Kool FM” with a hot adult contemporary format, became Classic Hits “Bob-FM” (“Playing 80’s, 90’s and… whatever.”). Call letters remained CKKL.
Allan Waters, the founder of CHUM Limited passed away on December 3 at the age of 84.
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 CKKL-FM.
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.
As part of the reorganization of CHUM’s four Ottawa stations, Ian March was been named assistant program director for 939 BOB FM and Majic 100. He would also continue as music director for BOB FM, and added MD duties for Majic to his daily routine.
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.
Kristin Marand joined CHUM Radio Ottawa. She would be heard on various weekend and evening shifts on BOB-FM (CKKL) and occasional 20/20 updates on TEAM 1200 (CFGO). Kristin had previously been on-air with Corus Winnipeg’s Power 97 (CJKR) and CJOB/68.
Terry Kielty died at age 86. 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.
Former 106.9 The Bear (CKQB) / 106.9 VIRGIN (CKKL) Radio morning host Cub Carson would now be heard doing weekend mornings and other fill-in work on 939 BOB FM.
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.
In December it was announced that effective January 4, 2011, Brian DePoe would be the new program director of Majic 100 and 93.9 BOB FM. For the past two years, he had been the PD at 92.5 The Q (CFQR) Montreal.
Brian DePoe became program director of Majic 100 and BOB FM on January 4. He had been PD at Q92 Montreal.
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.
Ian March, assistant program director and music director for Ottawa’s 939 BOB FM and Majic 100 was named program director at FLY FM and The DRIVE in Kingston. His first day in Kingston was to be September 19.
On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CKKL-FM until March 31, 2012.
Carolyne Desnoyers was named sales supervisor at Bell Media Radio Ottawa.
Some changes at BOB FM (CKKL) and MAJIC 100 (CJMJ): Codi Jeffreys moved from Majic to BOB as afternoon co-host with Steve Gregory. Codi would also host evenings on BOB as well as weekends 2-6 p.m. Kristin Marand would continue to be heard weekends 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. as well as Monday-Wednesday evenings. On MAJIC, Steve Boyton was handling early evenings 6-8 p.m. as well as Saturday evenings 6 p.m. to midnight. Connie B would now be heard 12-4 p.m. Saturday and 10-4 Sunday as well as Thursday and Friday evenings. Canada’s Top 20 Countdown would air on Majic Saturday mornings from 10 to noon and Sundays from 4-6 p.m.
Vinney White & BOB FM parted ways. Brad Ronald, a 35-year veteran with Bell Media Radio Ottawa, was promoted from retail sales manager to general sales manager.
Cub Carson returned home to Ottawa to host BOB’s Breakfast on 939 BOB FM, as of February 13.
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.
On March 20, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CKKL-FM to August 31, 2012.
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 Ottawa and Majic 100/BOB FM program director Brian DePoe parted ways. After nine months as program director at Bell Media Radio Kingston, Ian March returned to Bell Media Ottawa as programming coordinator for Majic 100 and 939 BOB FM.
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.
Former broadcaster Kevin McGowan died August at the age of 58. McGowan joined CFRW Winnipeg in 1987, from CFCF Montreal. In 1992, CFMO-FM Ottawa became KOOL FM, and McGowan teamed up with Sandy Sharkey for the morning show. Kevin left the station (BOB FM by this time) in July of 2004. He worked at other stations before and after his stints in Montreal, Winnipeg and Ottawa.
In August, Darryl Kornicky joined the on air lineup at 939 BOB FM hosting live evenings and weekends.
On August 28, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence of CKKL-FM to December 31, 2012. On December 21, the licence was renewed to August 31, 2019.
Bell Media Ottawa made some changes in January. Long-time BOB FM (originally KOOL FM) personalities Sandy Sharkey and Steve Gregory as well as Majic 100 afternoon host Red Allen were no longer with the stations.
Ian March was promoted from Program Coordinator at MAJIC 100 / BOB FM to Program Director.
On November 12, CKKL-FM adopted a country music format with the branding of Country 94.
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. CKKL changed from Country 94 to Pure Country 94.
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.