CFHK-FM, Fresh Radio, London/St. Thomas

Corus Entertainment Inc.

CFHK-FM1999103.150,000Corus Radio Company
CFHK-FM1994103.150,000CFHK Radio Ltd.
CHLO-AM1981157010,000CHLO Radio Ltd. (St. Thomas)
CHLO-AM1970157010,000Souwesto Broadcasters Ltd.
CHLO-AM19596801,000Souwesto Broadcasters Ltd.
CHLO-AM19486801,000Radio Station CHLO Ltd.


Major John (Jack) Peterson announced he would open his St. Thomas radio station in March. The operation had been assigned the call sign of CHLO. The station would use Northern Electric equipment and broadcast on 680 kHz with 1,000 watts of power (single directional pattern for day and night operation). Peterson, new to radio, would be general manager. The chief engineer would be John Warden who had worked for CKPC Brantford and CFPL London.

CHLO was hoping to open May 14. Major John Frederick Peterson, DSO, spent two years getting the station licensed and built. Prior to this, Peterson was with the Peterborough Examiner. General Manager for CHLO would be Tom Warner, former commercial manager at CJKL Kirkland Lake. The station’s brand new building – Radio Centre – 133 Curtis Street – was located in the centre of town. All studios floated on cork and were entirely divorced from the surrounding walls. Glass panelling would allow viewing from the streets. Radio Centre displayed the following slogan: The Voice of The Golden Acres. CHLO would be the second station in Canada to use four towers. Each one was 241 feet high and spread nearly 1300 feet apart. The ground system was spread out over 175 acres and required more than 44 miles of copper wire. The transmitter and four towers were located on Lots 9 and 10, Concession 12, Yarmouth Township, Elgin County. In early May, the preliminary technical proof of performance was in its final stages. The “LO” in the call sign represented London, even though the station was licenced to St. Thomas. CHLO did operate a London sales office though (until 1960).

CHLO officially signed on the air May 14. An advertisement for the station promoted it as “A New Voice In A Rich Market”. Its 1,000 watts on 680 kHz would include in its intense-signal area, the prosperous counties of Elgin, Norfolk, Oxford, Middlesex, Perth, Huron, Lambton, Kent and Essex. Art Hallman lead his orchestra through the CHLO opening ceremonies. CHLO held its opening day one day before the debut of CFPL-FM in nearby London. On opening day, a dedication was held at the studios. There were programs at the Vocational School and Capitol Theatre. Cocktails and dancing followed at Port Stanley. St. Thomas declared a municipal half holiday to mark CHLO’s opening. Lt. Gov. Ray Lawson addressed a dinner at the Chamber of Commerce, where he 
welcomed CHLO to the airwaves.

Ruth Scott was traffic manager. George Miller joined CHLO as sales manager. 


Owner Jack Peterson was elected mayor of St. Thomas at the end of the year.


Jack Peterson was accepted as an officer in the Special Canadian Force for Korea. As a result, he resigned as mayor of St. Thomas and as president of CHLO.

Clarence Nichols took over as president of CHLO. He was already a member of the board of directors. John C. Warder was appointed manager. Jack Peterson remained chairman of the board. Warder started in radio in 1933 as a transmitter operator at CFPL London, becoming chief engineer in 1944. After two years as chief engineer at CKPC Brantford, Warder became the first employee of CHLO. As CHLO’s chief engineer, he supervised the installation of equipment prior to the station’s debut.

Bob Colling was CHLO’s farm broadcast director. 


Clare Bestall was a pioneer in the field of phone-in talk shows, with her daily CHLO show where listeners were invited to phone in with their comments and questions.


Al Bestal was named manager of CHLO while Bob Evans became news director and Peter Dickens was appointed program director. Bestal, former manager of CJRW Summerside, took over at CHLO from John Warder. Evans had been a top U.S. network newsman. Dickens had been with CHLO since its debut in 1948. At the time of his appointment, Dickens had been chief announcer. That post would now be filled by Bob Staton, formerly of CFCO Chatham and CKTS Sherbrooke. 

The London Free Press Printing Co. Ltd., owner of CFPL-AM-FM, filed an application for operation of a television station at London. It was approved by the CBC. The application was opposed by G.C. Nichols, president of CHLO. He asked the board to defer the Free Press application until CHLO could apply for a licence. He said CHLO was prepared to spend $800,000 on a TV station (slightly more than the Free Press was proposing). LFP’s Walter Blackburn said he would not argue against a TV station in St. Thomas. 

In the first half of the year, CHLO added a lot of new people and promoted others. In print advertising the station was saying: “Everything is NEW at CHLO”. Al Bestall was general manager (since March). Doug Cole was St. Thomas sales manager (since May). He had been with the station since early 1950. Ken Deas was appointed London sales manager in May. He had been with Radio Representatives Ltd. Peter Dickens was program director (since May). He joined CHLO as an announcer in 1948. Glen Bricklin was production manager. He joined CHLO’s sales staff in the fall of 1949 was moved to his present position this May. Robert Evans was news editor (since April). Bill McGee was sports director (since July). Bob Staton was farm director (since June). Arthur Cooke was chief announcer (since May). Doug Hinz was assistant engineer (as of May). Other staffers included: John Blaser (sales), Jack Thurlow (sales), Pat Devine (receptionist), Mary Snell (traffic manager) and Shirley Gifford (librarian). 

CHLO joined the RTNDA. 

An ad promoted the fact the London studio was to open on or about November 1. The studios did open and the station planned to produce a considerable proportion of its broadcast time from London.

Approval was given for the transfer of CHLO from Radio Station CHLO Ltd. to Ernest M. Warwick of Blenheim.

Slogan: Double your money! Use the station that gives you two rich markets for the price of one…CHLO London/St. Thomas.


CHLO’s application to increase daytime power from 1,000 to 5,000 watts was denied.

Peter K. Dickens, after six years with CHLO, was appointed assistant manager. He had been a staff announcer when the station opened in May of 1948. He moved up to chief announcer, program director, sales rep and program manager. London musician Glenn Bricklin was named promotion manager. He had MC’d stage shows for CHLO. F. Robert Staton, staff announcer for several years, who had been handling program department matters for a few months, was officially named program director. He would still do on-air work as well. The new chief announcer was Lou Tomasi who joined CHLO several months earlier. He hosted Coffee Capers from 6:00 to 8:45 a.m. and the new feature DJ show, Clubtime, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Two new voices were added to the CHLO line-up: Bob Walters from CKSF Cornwall and Stan Taylor.

Robert Evans was in the news department.


CHLO was on the air 24 hours a day.


Radio Station CHLO Ltd. was now owned by E.M. Warwick (98.98%), G.C. Nichols (0.005%), H. Huffman (0.005%), R.W. Todgham (0.005%), and A.T. Warwick (0.005%) and was a CBC Trans-Canada affiliate.

G. Clarence Nichols was president of the company. Eldred M. Smith was CHLO’s manager. Peter K. Dickens was assistant manager and promotions manager. William C. Moyer was program director. Lyle Cameron was news director. William R. Onn was chief engineer. 


John Moore joined CHLO as manager. He had been production manager with CJSP in Leamington. 


On November 1, Souwesto Broadcasters Ltd. (John Moore, Al Bruner and Andrew McDermott) purchased CHLO. Moore and Bruner had founded CJSP Leamington in 1955 (Bruner would go on to start the Global Television Network in 1974). McDermott was later involved in a broadcast sales representation firm. 


Ad: CHLO Radio 68 – The brightest C.P.M. in South-Western-Ontario. 

John L. Moore was president and general manager, George Harper was sales manager and Don Lumley was program director. 

CHLO now had a studio controlled mobile unit which allowed the station to originate programs from almost any point in Southwestern Ontario. The unit was housed in a 15 foot custom-built trailer. 


Ted Rogers, owner of CHFI in Toronto was willing to pay CHLO St. Thomas to move from 680 kHz to 1410 kHz so that CHFI could use the 680 frequency and add night-time service. CHFI was limited to daytime-only operation on 1540 kHz because it was an American clear channel and stations such as KXEL in Waterloo, Iowa, had to be protected. CHLO’s application to move to 1410 kHz was denied and the frequency was awarded to CKSL 1290 in London. Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. decided to move ahead with its application to use 680 kHz for night-time operation only while continuing to operate on 1540 kHz during the day. 

In October, CHFI-AM was given approval to add night-time service, using 680 kHz with a power of 10,000 watts. Daytime operation would continue on 1540 kHz with power of 50,000 watts.


CHFI-AM was authorized to broadcast on 680 kHz during the day as well as at night. 

Paul Ski (mornings) and John Camps (mid-days) were on the air at CHLO. Bill Williams (Vigars) joined CHLO.


Souwesto Broadcasters made it clear that it had no plans to vacate the 680 frequency when rumours continued to circulate on the matter. The company said CHLO had been on 680 kHz since it signed on the air in May of 1948 and was staying there. Engineering research showed that CHLO and CHFI could both operate full-time on 680 kHz.

John L. Moore was president of the company and CHLO’s manager. Peter A. Webb was commercial and promotions manager. Doug Hinz was morning man and farm director. Barry Kentner was news director. A. A. McDermott was vice president.


By this time, CHLO was owned 50-50 by John L. Moore and Andrew A. McDermott. McDermott would eventually sell his interest but was still listed as 50% owner in 1968.


On March 28, CHFI Toronto ceased daytime operation on 1540 kHz and began fulltime broadcasting on 680 kHz.

CHLO dropped a hodgepodge of programming to become London’s Top 40 station. Although licensed to St. Thomas, CHLO was generally considered a London station, only 10 miles away. 


Effective February 15, CHLO program director J. Robert Wood was to become programming assistant at CHUM Toronto.

Programs: Dan O’Connor (6-10), Jerry Stephens (10-2), Paul Ski (2-6), News and religion (6-8), Tom Lodge (8-12). Other announcers: Mike Jay, Rick Smith, Bobby Steele, Chris Scott and Robert J. Wood. News: Bill Williams, Robert Collins, Rich Smith and Harold Parish.

Peter Webb was sales manager. Paul Ski was program director. 

CHLO had a three person music committee that met daily to discuss new record releases. Music selection was not left up to the announcers. Commercials were programmed and there were only 12 minutes worth, per hour. CHLO had been a Middle of the Road music station, three or four years ago. It now had a Contemporary format. 


Ray Phillips Rich Grevan (joined from CFCH North Bay) and Wayne McAteer (joined this year) were now CHLO announcers. Hal Vincent was in the news department. 

Frank Hurley became sales manager, succeeding Peter Webb who moved to CJOB Winnipeg. Hurley at been retail sales manager at CHCH-TV Hamilton.


On February 13, at 12 a.m., CHLO moved from 680 kHz to 1570 kHz, CFPL London’s old frequency. Power increased from 1,000 watts full-time (one directional pattern) to 10,000 watts full-time (two directional patterns). CHLO was now operating from a transmitter site located about one mile west of Sparta on Elgin Road 27. Eight 220 foot towers were used. Ted Rogers, owner of CHFI Toronto made two agreements with CHLO. The first was in 1966, allowing CHFI to move from 1540 kHz to 680 kHz, thus causing some interference to CHLO. In the second agreement, Rogers paid Souwesto $400,00 for CHLO’s move from 680 kHz to 1570 kHz. The money would pay for the new equipment needed to make the switch. This last change would allow CHFI 680 to increase its power and not encounter interference from CHLO. The agreement was approved by the CRTC.

Ad: Now 9,000 watts more powerful…”Greatest hits of all time”…

The station had a vehicle called the Super Bird.

Top 40 CHLO got some competition when CJOE London began programming rock at night. CJOE then went rock in all time periods. CJOE started by relying heavily on “underground” album cuts then CHLO started mixing in album cuts too. CJOE then fought back by playing more hit singles mixed with album cuts.

Dick Williams, Chuck Azzarello and Ron Fitzpatrick (joined in September) were now CHLO announcers. Doug Hinz (news director) and Dave Corbett were now in the news department. Jerry Stevens was named CHLO program director, succeeding Paul Ski who left for CKSO-AM-FM in Sudbury (as PD).


Ron Fitzpatrick left for CKWS in Kingston. Chuck Azzarello was program director. Bill Williams (Bill Vigars) left CHLO.

By the summer, both CJOE and CHLO were sounding very similar in their rock war. Both were playing a mix of top 30 singles and progressive album cuts. Under new ownership, CJOE became CJBK. Jerry Stevens left CHLO as music director to become CJBK’s first program director. CHLO now decided to go with album cuts full time and CJBK dropped albums to concentrate on hit singles. The CHLO playlist consisted of about 15 main LP’s, 6 or 7 secondary LP’s and some 10 Canadian albums. The station selected 2 to 4 cuts from each for airing. As to singles, there were 12-15 primary, 10 secondary and 10 Canadian. This worked out to around 90 album songs and 30 singles. Azzarello said CHLO was going after the 16-25 age group and the format was simply “contemporary”.


Wayne McAteer (weekends) left for CJOE in London.


J.D. Karr (Greg Simpson) joined the CHLO air staff.


J.D. Karr left CHLO. Don Martin joined.


Greg Simpson returned.


Greg Simpson left CHLO.


CHLO celebrated its 30th anniversary with a week-long series of events in its listening area. 

Announcers included Don Martin, Al Baldwin, Tom Jones, Bob Williams, Andy Henderson, Steve Moore (owner’s son), Robert Palmer, Rich Grevan, and George Appleton.


Don Martin left for CHYR in Leamington. Derek Botten joined.


Dick Peplow joined CHLO as program director and morning man from CJKL in Kirkland Lake.


Karen Coleman (wife of J. Michael Phillips) was news editor at CHLO.

Dick Peplow was morning man. He was followed on-air by Tom Jones, Steve Moore and Ian McLoud. The station signed off at midnight. Ruth Martin and Jeff Lowe were also heard on the station. Derek Botten left for CKJD in Sarnia.


On September 25, Souwesto Broadcasters (John Moore) sold CHLO to CHLO Radio Ltd. (Gordon V. Marratto and Vern Furber). Marratto had purchased CKDK in Woodstock a year earlier and was that station’s general manager.

CHLO’s program line-up from November: Bob Williams (6-9 am), Robert Palmer (9am-1:30pm), Ken Cook (1:30-6 pm) (program director), Bob Sutherland (6-midnight), John Keetley (midnight-6), and Don Martin (swing). News: Fred Lehmann, Dave Helwig (news director), and Mike Alan.


Former CHLO owner John Moore passed away June 1 at age 61. He started his broadcasting career in 1948 at CBO Ottawa, where he was an announcer and producer. Moore moved to the new CBE Windsor in 1950. He was that station’s first program director. In 1954, he moved to co-own and manage the soon to open CJSP in Leamington. Moore came to CHLO in 1958 as general manager. In 1959, Moore and partners purchased the station. Over time, John Moore became sole owner of the station and then sold it in 1981.


Phil Vincent was appointed program director while Warren Allen was named music director.


Jack Peterson passed away at age 80 on September 2. He founded CHLO, was a
war veteran and served as mayor of St. Thomas. 

CHLO filed an application with the CRTC for the use of CKO-FM London’s old 97.5 MHz frequency. Power would be 50,000 watts. The new FM station would replace CHLO’s 1570 AM frequency.


On January 18, the CRTC denied an application by CHLO Radio Ltd. to convert CHLO to the FM band. The 97.5 MHz frequency was awarded to CIQM 103.1 London, but the CRTC suggested perhaps CHLO could go after the 103.1 frequency to be vacated by CIQM.

On November 22, CHLO 1570 was granted a conversion to the FM dial, using CIQM London’s former frequency of 103.1 MHz. Average effective radiated power would be 16,700 watts (50,000 watts maximum). A directional antenna would be used. The new FM station would operate with a contemporary music format. CHLO-AM had a country format. 

CHLO 1570 was operating by this time with 10,000 watts full-time. At some point in the recent past, CHLO changed from separate day and night antenna patterns to using a single pattern for 24 hour operation.


CHLO’s new FM station began operations on June 20. It simulcast CHLO’s country music format in the beginning.

At 6 a.m. on July 8, the FM station became CFHK-FM “The Hawk” with a Classic Rock format. CHLO 1570 left the air at this time. Studios and offices were still at 133 Curtis St. The FM transmitter site was located along Highbury Avenue, one mile south of London. The site was also 19 kms due north of Hawk Cliff on Lake Erie, one of the largest stopovers of hawks on the eastern migration route (hence, the station’s name, “The Hawk”). For the record, the CHLO-AM towers were dismantled on July 22.


CFHK-FM switched from Classic Rock to Modern Rock in March.


On December 21, the format changed from Modern Rock to Classic Rock.


In January, CFHK-FM entered a local marketing agreement with Blackburn Radio. The CFHK-FM studios and offices moved to the CFPL-AM-FM facility in the London Free Press Building, 369 York Street in London. 

Trisha Freriks was promotions manager for CFPL/CFPL-FM/CFHK-FM. 

Tim Kilpatrick, formerly part of the CKIS-FM Calgary morning team, was the new sports director at CFPL/CFHK. Hawk program director Chris Gordon left the station to take up a similar position at CKKL-FM Ottawa. 

Late in the year, Blackburn Radio announced it had placed CFPL-AM-FM on the market. Ernst & Young Corporate Finance was engaged to assist in the sale. CFPL/CFPL-AM were in a Local management agreement with 103.1 the Hawk, which was not involved in the sale but would remain a partner within the LMA.


Shaw Communications agreed to acquire CFPL-AM/CFPL-FM and CFHK-FM London from Blackburn Radio. Blackburn operated the two CFPL stations and had an agreement to purchase CFHK from Vern Furber. 

On August 23, the CRTC approved the purchase of CFHK-FM St. Thomas by Blackburn Radio Inc. from CFHK Radio Ltd. and the purchase by Shaw Radio Ltd. of CFPL-AM and FM London and CFHK-FM St. Thomas from Blackburn.

Corus Entertainment Inc. was formed September 1 from the media assets of Shaw Communications Inc. Corus became a separate and distinct, publicly traded corporation. The Shaw family continued to hold the majority of voting shares in Corus.

Corus took ownership of the Blackburn stations in September.


At 4 p.m., January 12, CFHK 103.1 St. Thomas (The Hawk – classic rock) swapped formats with sister station CKDK 103.9 Woodstock (Energy Radio – dance music).


On August 1, CFHK Energy @ 103.1 began carrying the Energy network morning and afternoon drive shows from CING Burlington.


On May 20, the Corus radio stations in London, moved from the London Free Press Building at 369 York Street to City Centre at 380 Wellington Street (the former home of CKSL and CIQM).

On July 15, Energy 103.1 in London went back to full-time local programming, keeping the “Energy” format.


On August 22, CFHK-FM switched from Contemporary Hits as “Energy FM” to Hot Adult Contemporary as “Fresh FM”. 


Dave Hopkins left Corus Radio London as retail sales manager to become general sales manager at K-ROCK/KIX Country/The LAKE in Kingston. 


Lesley Graham died at age 50. She had been a copywriter at Corus London for 17 years.

On November 26, the CRTC renewed CFHK’s licence to August 31, 2014. This short-term renewal would enable the Commission to review, at an earlier date, the licensee’s compliance with the Radio Regulations, 1986.

Dean Sinclair, former General Manager at Corus London, was the new GM at Humber College Radio in Toronto.

Bob Colling died at age 84. The veteran radio Newsman began at CHWK Chilliwack in 1948. His career included stops at CHLO St. Thomas, CKNW New Westminster, CKMO and CKWX Vancouver and then 25 years with Broadcast News in Edmonton. He retired in 1991.


Jim McCourtie left FM96 / 1031 Fresh FM as program director to take up the same post at sister stations Y108/Vinyl 95.3 Hamilton. Colin Botten, PD for Fresh/103.9 The Hawk since 2006 resigned. As of February 22, he was working at Astral’s 97.5 EZ Rock ad morning show co-host. Darrin Laidman left 1031 Fresh FM (CFHK) for CING-FM Hamilton. 

There were a number of changes at Corus Entertainment related to its organization review to streamline decision-making and clarify roles and mandates. Among the changes: Reporting to Hal Blackadar, Executive Vice President and interim President of Corus Radio – Chris Sisam, VP/GM, Corus Radio, Southwestern Ontario (based in London, Sisam would be responsible for Corus Guelph, Corus Kitchener/Cambridge and London). Corus London GM Dave Farough was now VP, Brands and Programming at Corus Radio Toronto.


Chris Love joined Fresh Mornings (5:30 to 9:00) with Gord Vickman and Natalie Lovie. Ian Sterling was program director. 


On December 11, the CRTC approved the application by Corus Radio Company to change the authorized contours of CFHK-FM by changing the class from B to C1, increasing the average ERP from 16,700 watts to 22,000 watts (maximum ERP from 50,000 watts to 60,000 watts), increasing the EHAAT from 150 metres to 179.6 metres and relocating the transmission site.


In February, CFHK changed branding from FRESH FM to FRESH RADIO.

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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