CFPL-AM, Global News Radio 980 CFPL, London

Corus Entertainment Inc.

CFPL-AM199998010,000/5,000Corus Entertainment Inc.
CFPL-AM199598010,000/5,000Blackburn Radio Inc.
CFPL-AM198498010,000/5,000Blackburn Group Inc. (London Free Press)
CFPL-AM196898010,000/5,000CFPL Broadcasting Ltd. (London Free Press)
CFPL-AM196098010,000/5,000London Free Press Printing Co.
CFPL-AM19499805,000London Free Press Printing Co.
CFPL-AM194615705,000London Free Press Printing Co.
CFPL-AM194115701,000London Free Press Printing Co.
CFPL-AM1935730100London Free Press Printing Co.
CJGC-AM1933730100London Free Press Printing Co.
CJGC-AM19319105,000London Free Press Printing Co.
CJGC-AM19269101,000London Free Press Printing Co.
CJGC-AM1925910500London Free Press Printing Co.
CJGC-AM1922430200London Free Press Printing Co.


The London Free Press Printing Co. (Arthur Blackburn) opened CJGC on September 30, on 430 meters with 200 watts of power. Studios were in the Free Press building at 440 Richmond Street, and the transmitter was in the publisher’s office. Among those heard in the first broadcast was Sir Adam Beck (Ontario Hydro pioneer), who said radio was proving itself to be more than just a fad.


CJGC moved to 910 kHz and increased power to 500 watts.


CJGC’s power increased to 1,000 watts on 910 kHz.


Power was reduced to 500 watts. 


Harry Link became manager of CJGC. He had been with the London Free Press.


CJGC started leasing time to Canadian National Railway’s CNRL (phantom station) on March 7.


CJGC increased power to 5,000 watts on 910 kHz.


On March 31, the CNR’s phantom station CNRL left the air.


Cy Strange was doing a 15 minute weekly feature on CJGC. John C. Warder joined CJGC as transmitter operator.

In September, CJGC moved from 910 kHz with 5,000 watts to 730 kHz with 100 watts.

On November 6, CJGC London and CKOK Windsor merged to form CKLW. The “LW” in the calls are for London-Windsor. The station operated on 840 kHz with 5,000 watts. CJGC turned in its licence and left the air. Following the merger, CJGC manager Harry Link left for the London Advertiser.


The London Free Press pulled out of the CKLW partnership and in September, CFPL (formerly CJGC) was born on 730 kHz with 100 watts of power. The “FPL” in the new calls stood for Free Press London. Studios were on Richmond St.


Walter J. Blackburn
Walter Blackburn

CFPL became an affiliate of the new Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Arthur Blackburn died and the company was taken over by son, Walter. 


Hartley McVicar was an announcer at CFPL. 


Under the Havana Treaty, CFPL was to move from 730 to 1400 kHz (Class IV) with 100 watts of power. This was changed awhile later, and on March 29, CFPL moved to 1570 kHz (Class II) instead. The station would be allowed to operate with 1,000 watts, using a directional antenna, but for now, the power remained 100 watts with the transmitter located on top of Hotel London. 

To meet growing demands for network time during the evenings, largely due to the war, the CBC set up a second network for commercial sponsorship. The network’s first sponsor (on an experimental basis) was the Gillette Safety Razor Co. The Mutual Broadcasting System originated boxing events for 26 Canadian stations through the CBC, plus the MBS affiliate – CKLW Windsor. The second network had 23 Canadian stations with alternative stations in Montreal to meet local conditions there. The new network would operate only after 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Over the past year, private stations had been anxious to have such a network – outside of CBC control. However, under the Radio Act, the CBC had full control over all networks in the country. It was felt that a full second network with full day and night programming was not feasible or economically possible at this time. CBC-owned stations affiliated with the new network: CBK Watrous, CBA Sackville and CBY Toronto. Privately-owned stations affiliated with the new network were: CJOR Vancouver, CHWK Chilliwack, CFCN Calgary, CFRN Edmonton, CJRM Regina, CJGX Yorkton, CJRC Winnipeg, CKCA Kenora, CJIC Sault Ste Marie, CKOC Hamilton, CKTB St. Catherines, CFPL London, CFCO Chatham, CKLW Windsor, CKCR Kitchener, CKCO Ottawa, CFCF or CHLP Montreal, CHLT Sherbrooke, CKNB Campbellton, and CJLS Yarmouth. 


CFPL increased power to 1,000 watts. The station was now operating from a new transmitter site located about seven miles south of London along the London-St. Thomas Highway.

The London Free Press is now owned 80% by the Blackburn family and 20% by Southam Press. 


Philip H. Morris was commercial manager. John Warder, at CFPL since 1933, became chief engineer. 



Murray Brown was acting manager. He had joined the station this year. Philip Morris resigned from CFPL after 14 years with the station.

Walter J. Blackburn, president of CFPL, announced that effective January 1 (1946), Donald Wright was appointed manager and Murray Brown was named commercial manager. Wright’s background was in music and education. Brown joined CFPL about a year ago, became commercial manager a short time later, then became acting manager. 


Walter J. Blackburn, President of CFPL, operated by the London Free Press, announced the appointment of Don Wright as manager effective January 1. A CFPL ad promoted new equipment, completely new studios, entirely new personnel…and in April, a new 5,000 watt transmitter…. The London Free Press/CFPL bought a twin-engine Cessna “Crane” aircraft to speed reporters to the scene of important news breaks. On September 1, CFPL increased power on 1570 kHz to 5,000 watts full-time, from a new transmitter site located on Lots 14 and 15, Concession 5, Westminster Township, not far from the old site. A new two tower directional array was used. A 1,000 watt backup transmitter was located at the main transmitter site and another backup (100 watts) was located at Hotel London. Douglas Trowell became an employee of CFPL. The London Free Press, owner of CFPL, purchased a twin engine Cessna Crane aircraft to speed reporters from the newspaper and radio station to the scene of important news breaks. It was hoped to soon have a two way radio in operation between the office and the plane, allowing CFPL reporters to broadcast in flight from remote locations. The “flying newsroom” was said to be the first plane to be purchased by a Canadian newspaper for its own use. Former CFPL announcer Hartley L. McVicar passed away. After working at CFPL, he moved on to the production staff at CBC Toronto. Max Ferguson was at CFPL. Bob Reinhart joined CFPL as production manager.


Walter J. Blackburn, President of CFPL, operated by the London Free Press, announced the appointment of Don Wright as manager effective January 1. A CFPL ad promoted new equipment, completely new studios, entirely new personnel…and in April, a new 5,000 watt transmitter…. The London Free Press/CFPL bought a twin-engine Cessna “Crane” aircraft to speed reporters to the scene of important news breaks. On September 1, CFPL increased power on 1570 kHz to 5,000 watts full-time, from a new transmitter site located on Lots 14 and 15, Concession 5, Westminster Township, not far from the old site. A new two tower directional array was used. A 1,000 watt backup transmitter was located at the main transmitter site and another backup (100 watts) was located at Hotel London. Douglas Trowell became an employee of CFPL. The London Free Press, owner of CFPL, purchased a twin engine Cessna Crane aircraft to speed reporters from the newspaper and radio station to the scene of important news breaks. It was hoped to soon have a two way radio in operation between the office and the plane, allowing CFPL reporters to broadcast in flight from remote locations. The “flying newsroom” was said to be the first plane to be purchased by a Canadian newspaper for its own use. Former CFPL announcer Hartley L. McVicar passed away. After working at CFPL, he moved on to the production staff at CBC Toronto. Max Ferguson was at CFPL. Bob Reinhart joined CFPL as production manager.


CFPL was to originate a weekly quarter hour program of choral music for the CBC Dominion network. The “CFPL Chorus” had aired locally for some time. Some individual programs had been originated from London in the past for the CBC, but this would be the first regular weekly program to air on the network from London. Don Wright was manager. Alex Robinson left CFPL to take over management of the soon to open CHNO in Sudbury. CFPL offered two programs every week to the Dominion network: “Adventures in Vocals” and “Invitation from Dominion”. Percy A. Field became CFPL’s chief engineer. He had been with CFRN and CKUA Edmonton, and the CBC’s head engineering office in Montreal. John Trethewey was chief announcer. Alex Kelman and Bob Reinhart were announcers at CFPL. Mary Ashwell hosted the program “Women’s Show” Slogan: Western Ontario’s Most Progressive Station. The London Free Press aircraft, known as “News Hawk”, was first used in February to cover a big blizzard in the region. The plane was used several more times this year, for both the newspaper and CFPL. CFPL hoped to have its FM station in full operation in December.


Manager Don Wright noted that CFPL’s new studios had been in use for about a year, and within three months of the opening, the station was originating two network shows in addition to local productions. Besides the artists employed on a per-occasion basis, CFPL had a staff organist and pianist, a staff 12-piece orchestra and full-time arranger, and a 14-voice choir with pianist. CFPL-FM was on the air in the spring. The official opening took place May 15. AD for 980 kHz: “Soon – The Centre Aisle On Your Radio Dial” and “Multiplies Signal Power & Coverage”. A special Christmas Day broadcast was beamed from nine different stations across Canada without the use of network facilities. The participating stations were CKWX Vancouver, CFCN Calgary, CKCK Regina, CJOB Winnipeg, CKSO Sudbury, CFPL London, CKCO Ottawa, CFCF Montreal and CFCY Charlottetown.


February 6 was the date set for CFPL’s move to 980 kHz. According to an ad, the clear, strong 5,000 watt signal would extend coverage to 13 more counties in Western Ontario. Don Wright stepped down as manager in favour of Murray Brown who had been assistant and commercial manager. Wright would operate a new production organization for the London Free Press. Some program hosts: Roy Jewell (Farm Page), Lloyd Wright (Yawn Patrol and Spinner Sanctum), Daphne Dyer (May We Come In?), Mary Ashwell (Mary Ashwell Show, The Storytime Lady), Bob Mason (Bob Mason’s Swingbillies), Bob Reinhart (Nine A.M. News). CFPL used every advertising medium available in the region to promote its move from 1570 to 980 kHz. The frequency change took place February 20. Power was 5,000 watts, full-time (two directional patterns). The existing transmitter site was used. Keith Chase was commercial manager.


Kevin Ellis was news and sports editor. Kevin Knight was chief operator. Roy Jewell was director of farm features. George Stirling hosted some farm programs. Doug Trowell was promotion manager. Application was made to the CBC to transfer control of CFPL from The London Free Press Printing Co. Ltd. to a company with the same name. The application was approved. Robert V. Elsden joined CFPL radio’s local sales staff.


John Trethewey was news editor. Pat Murray was a newscaster. Slogan: Western Ontario’s First Station. The CBC approved CFPL-FM’s request to program separately from CFPL-AM for a maximum period of two and three quarter hours nightly. CFPL was now using “Mr. 980” in its advertising.


A print advertisement promoted CFPL’s program structure (basic CBC Dominion network – local shows, meet network standards, add strong community flavour with some fed to network – programs specialized at audience favoured times; day-by-day continuity assures thru’ the week penetration – Library: 78’s, Lang-Worth, Standard – Continuity staff – CFPL-FM both satellite and separate) and production quality (network standards – RCA studio equipment and transmitters – 980 kc, 5000 watts D/N, directional, pattern change at night – 1K standby – emergency power generator – Studios incorporate approved specifications of CBC, with improvements – Turntables, 78 and 33 1/3 – Magnecorder studio tape recording, playback equipment; also portable model for remotes – Presto disc recording equipment – Telephone tape recording unit – Complete tech lab – Top flight personnel – Performance record high). Keith Chase was sales manager. Doug Trowell was promotion manager. Chase left for Montreal and was succeeded at CFPL by Trowell.


The London Free Press Printing Co. Ltd., owner of CFPL-AM-FM, filed an application for the operation of a television station at London. Walter Blackburn said his company was prepared to invest in the proposed station $775,000 or more if needed. He said it may be necessary to finance it from the profits of the radio station and newspaper. The CBC Board approved the television application. CFPL Television signed on the air November 28. With the approval of a television licence for CFPL, it was announced that in the early going, the TV station would have a staff of around 15, and all but one of those people would be CFPL radio staffers. Co-owned radio and newspaper staff were to have first crack at TV jobs. CFPL music librarian Jim Plant and Kevin Knight, CFPL’s chief operator, would both be TV production directors. Murray Brown would manage AM-FM and TV, Bob Reinhart would be program director for all three and Glen Robitaille would be in charge of engineering for all three stations. Bill Nunn would move from AM to TV studio engineer. Bob Elsden would shift from radio to TV sales. Tom Booth would move from radio to TV announcing and Dale Duffield would move from the radio turn-tables to camera work. CFPL joined the RTNDA. John Trethewey was news director. Before the launch of CFPL-TV, Tom Bird spent six months hosting “Let’s Talk Television” over CFPL-AM. The program was aimed at making viewers out of listeners. Some early CFPL-TV productions involved former AM staffers. “High Time” was an informal daily 1/4 hour show for teens, conducted by Lloyd Wright, who had done the same show on AM. Ken Ellis handled the daily “Sports on View”, as part of the early evening news-weather-sports package. He had also been with CFPL-AM. Also ex of AM operation, Paul Soles. He did the daily 45 minute “Paul’s Place”. He started his career at CHLO St. Thomas, moved to CKEY Toronto, and then to CFPL-AM. Robert V. Elsden left CFPL radio for CFPL-TV six months prior to that station’s opening.


Ken Ellis was sports director. Mary Ashwell was on air with “Memo to Milady”. Betty Green was assistant promotion manager. Jack Illman was production manager. Ward Cornell joined CFPL as news editor. John F. Harty was appointed full-time public service supervisor for CFPL Radio and TV. He had been public service and promotion supervisor for radio. Harvey M. Clarke was named promotion supervisor. He had been with Capitol Records of Canada. Former commercial manager Keith Chase was now with McKim Advertising. Hugh Bremner was in the news department. Mary Ashwell was appointed women’s commentator at CFPL-TV. She had held the position for both radio and television. Joan Pritchard was named women’s commentator for CFPL Radio. She had been director of women’s activities at CKOC Hamilton. Murray T. Brown was manager of the Electronics Division of the London Free Press Printing Co. Ltd. Cliff Wingrove became assistant manager and program director of CFPL-AM. He had been manager of CKTB in St. Catharines.


W. Clifford Wingrove moved from Radio assistant manager to sales and promotion manager for TV. Douglas C. Trowell, radio sales and promotion manager became assistant manager (radio), succeeding Wingrove. H. Warrent Blahout was appointed national traffic supervisor for radio. Ad promoting CFPL news: Three wire services, 65 person editorial source, 200 “correspondents” throughout western Ontario, threee news editors and news 21 times daily. CFPL Radio-TV held what they believed was the first locally produced simulcast when they raised $2,500 for the London YMCA. Paul Soles and Jack Bennett were announcers at CFPL. Roy Jewell hosted Farming Today. Bill Pring was at CFPL. Bill Scott was a news editor. Barry Morgan was a producer. Ken Ellis did sports. Joan Pritchard was women’s commentator. Jack Illman was production manager. Slogan: Cover London and Western Ontario with CFPL radio – dial 980.


Murray T. Brown

CFPL 980 was a CBC Dominion network affiliate. Ownership of London Free Press Printing Co. Ltd.: W. J. Blackburn 33.4%, A. R. Ford 33.3% and H. R. Davidson 33.3%.

Walter J. Blackburn was president of the company.

Murray T. Brown was general manager while Douglas C. Trowell was station manager. Geoff Bingle and Willaim Yardy shared program and music director duties. Hugh Bremner was news director. Roy Jewell was farm director. Glen Robitaille was chief engineer. Harvey Clarke was promotions manager.

Ward Cornell became CFPL’s program director. He had been working in the news department.


CFPL applied to increase daytime power and change both day and night radiation patterns. The application was eventually approved.


CFPL increased power on 980 kHz to 10,000 watts day and 5,000 watts night (two directional patterns), using four 165 foot towers (overall height) at the existing site near Glanworth (what is now the intersection of Wellington Road at Scotland Drive).


Hugh Bremner was news director. Peter James did sports. Cliff Wingrove, Doug Trowell, and Warren Blahout were at CFPL Radio and TV at this time. Harvey Clark was promotion manager.


Ward Cornell was promoted from program director to manager.


The Trans-Canada and Dominion networks were consolidated into a single service. CFPL had been a Dominion station. It continued as an affiliate of the merged CBC network.


W. J. Blackburn was President of The London Free Press Printing Co. Ltd. Ward Cornell was General Manager of CFPL. He was also host of CBC Television’s Hockey Night In Canada. Other names of the time: Charles N. Knight (sales manager), Geoff Bingle (production manager), John Dickens (morning man), Hugh Bremner (news director), Peter James (sports director), Roy Jewell (farm director), and Glen Robitaille (chief engineer).


On August 29, the CFPL-AM-FM studios and offices moved to the new London Free Press Building at 369 York Street. Blackburn originally planned to move the radio stations to the CFPL-TV facility south of London, but changed his mind in order to prevent an exodus of business out of the downtown core.


CFPL Radio manager Ward Cornell (Hockey Night in Canada) resigned to go into business for himself. Associated with the station since 1954, he progressed from news editor to program director to manager. Before joining the station, he had been teaching. C.N. “Bud” Knight was now manager. Ken G. Smith was named sales manager effective September 18. He joined CFPL sales in 1963.


Roy Jewell, director of farm services, hosted the programs “The Farm Page” and “Town and Country”. He also had similar programs on CFPL-TV. Walter J. Blackburn announced the appointment of Murray T. Brown as president of CFPL Broadcasting Ltd. as of December 17. Brown became commercial manager of CFPL Radio in 1945 after serving as a part-time announcer. In 1949 he was named AM-FM station manager. He added TV responsibilities when it went on the air in 1953. In 1956 Brown was named general manager of the electronics division of London Free Press Printing Co. Ltd. and became vice president and general manager in 1966.


Harrison G. (Harry) Link, 75, died March 16. After working for the London Free Press, he managed CJGC Radio from 1928 to 1933. He then left for the now defunct London Advertiser. Broadcast News was the main source of news for radio stations in Canada but only a handful at this time were subscribing to BN’s voice (audio) service. CFPL was one of those stations. C.N. Knight, manager, appointed Hugh Bremner as the station’s first Radio Editor. Bremner had been news director since joining the company in 1954. This appointment signalled a new approach to news coverage by the station. As of September 1, Bremner would be responsible for the editorial stand of the station on various local issues. He would also present not only the factual side of local, national and international developments, but a further dimension of interpretation by personally commentating on the news of the day. The new editorials would be interspersed from time to time with his daily commentaries which now would air at 12:40 p.m. in addition to the established times of 8:15 a.m. and 6:10 a.m. on CFPL-AM and 12:40 and 6:10 p.m. on CFPL-FM. Gordon Whitehead was appointed news director as of September 1. He joined CFPL radio part-time while in his second year at U.W.O., becoming a full-time newscaster in 1964. He succeeded Hugh Bremner who was named Radio Editor. Scott Alexander joined CFPL from CKPT in Peterborough.


Dorothea Trowell was a copywriter.


CFPL was a CBC affiliate and featured an emphasis on news and information, and had talk-type shows from 7-11 a.m. and 6:30 to 8 p.m. The station had a reputation of being first in the ratings because of its emphasis on news and information. The station also played music and the format was adult contemporary. Music director Bill Murray said CFPL used a list of 40 hit singles and the average 14-tune hour was composed of 7 hits, 5 gold singles and two Canadian items from LP’s. Murray said since CJBK dropped album cuts, CFPL became a little more conservative in its sound. He said the sound was still very bright though when compared to other adult stations.


CFPL is now carrying 40 hours a week of CBC network programming, mainly between 6 p.m. and midnight. CFPL is considering the possibility of keeping its affiliation with the CBC if the CBC establishes its own FM station in London. Barry Sarazin joined CFPL’s air staff from CFRA in Ottawa. Sarazin had worked at a number of stations, including CKLB in Oshawa. He was now teaching radio broadcasting at Fanshawe College and working on weekends for CFPL.


Gord Whitehead left CFPL after 8 years. He had been a full-time newscaster since 1964 and was most recently the news director. Editor Hugh Bremner was named acting news director.


On June 5, CFPL received approval to disaffiliate from the CBC Radio network. The CBC’s own transmitter – CBCL 93.5 – went on the air July 5 so CFPL was able to disaffiliate later in the year. Long-time newsman Dean Chevalier left the station. Jeff Gilhooly was appointed news director.


Bill Brady moved to management. He did his last talk show in September, and was replaced on the air (9:00-noon) by Wayne McLean from CKWW Windsor.


Long-time newsman Hugh Bremner retired. After several years in AM Drive at CKSL, Peter Garland took over the morning show at CFPL.


C. N. (Bud) Knight was promoted to vice president and general manager for CFPL AM and FM. Newsman Dean Chevalier returned.


Glen (Robbie) Robitaille retired March 1. A retirement party was held February 26. He had been vice president in charge of engineering, electronic and mechanical services for CFPL-AM-FM-TV and the London Free Press. He had been associated with CFPL since 1949. Murray T. Brown retired as president of the broadcasting divisions of London Free Press Holdings Ltd. He would remain as a company director. Robert V. Elsden became president of CFPL-AM-FM-TV. William (Bill) J. Brady became manager of CFPL-AM-FM, succeeding vice president and general manager C.N. (Bud) Knight who retired. CFPL began broadcasting in stereo, using the Motorola C-Quam system on September 3. The licenses for CFPL-AM-FM and TV were extended to a full five-year term following a review of cross-ownership. The CRTC concluded the market had been well served by London Free Press Holdings. Walter J. Blackburn died December 16. Control of the company passed to his daughter, Martha.


London Free Press Holdings Ltd. and its subsidiary CFPL Broadcasting Ltd., merged into The Blackburn Group, Inc. CFPL underwent a program format change. The station said: “Radio 98 will find the void between rock and elevator music, with a new sound designed for the contemporary adult”.


Gary Ennett was named news director, replacing Jeff Gilhooly, who returned to his studies at the University of Western Ontario. News director Jeff Gilhooly resigned from CFPL to resume studies at the University of Western Ontario. He had been with CFPL since 1974. He was succeeded by Gary Ennett, most recently a professor at UWO.


Martha Blackburn became the sole shareholder of the company when she purchased her sister’s shares. Sports director Gary Alan Price left for CFPL-TV. Steve Howe became sports director.


Bill Brady was general manager.


CFPL-AM-FM news director Gary Ennet became RTNDA Regional Director – Radio (Central Canada).


Sports director Steve Howe left in January to work for the London Tigers ball club.


Robert V. Elsden was appointed vice-president of broadcasting for what was now The Blackburn Group Inc.


Former CFPL newsman Hugh Bremner passed away at age 74. For nearly 30 years, he aired news and commentaries on CFPL radio. He also anchored the evening news on CFPL-TV for a number of years. Bill Brady was appointed vice president of radio for Blackburn Communications Systems.


In early May, Martha Blackburn, chair of the Blackburn Group Inc. announced the sale of CFPL-TV and CKNX-TV to Baton Broadcasting Inc. Martha Blackburn-Hughes, 47, died suddenly on August 15. She was the daughter of the late Walter J. Blackburn and became head of the company following his death. Despite the death of Blackburn, the proposed sale of CFPL/CKNX to Baton was to proceed. The future of the London Free Press newspaper and CFPL / CKNX radio stations was up in the air.


The CRTC approved the sale of CFPL-TV and CKNX-TV to Baton Broadcasting, in January. In September, CFPL moved to a “Great Oldies, Good Times” format. With the change, Ann Hutchison’s talk show was dropped.


Dean Chavalier and Jerry Daniel left the news department on August 16.


Following the sale of CFPL-TV to Baton Broadcasting, and the sale of The London Free Press to The Toronto Sun, the corporate name changed to Blackburn Radio Inc. Rick Moss became general manager of CFPL-AM-FM, reporting to Blackburn president Bill Brady.


Barry Sarazin left CFPL. He continued teaching at Fanshawe College. CFPL General Manager Rick Moss said two full-time positions in the news department would end in September and three full-timers in programming (2 announcers and 1 operator) because of implementation of the digital cart system, “will likely no longer exist” by December. John Wilson provided weather forecasts to CFPL-AM-FM.


On September 2, CFPL launched two new talk shows: “Hot Talk” with Gord Harris and “The Experts” with Dave Sorrell. Sorrell was the mid-day announcer and now added “The Experts” to his duties. It immediately followed “Hot Talk”.


CFPL was now providing 24-hour news updates on its web site. Program director Brian Nuttall said radio 98 was the first London AM station on the internet and the first station in the city to offer local information around the clock.


Trisha Freriks was promotions manager for CFPL/CFPL-FM/CFHK-FM. Bill Brady was senior vice president and corporate secretary of The Blackburn Group (parent of CFPL Broadcasting). Tim Kilpatrick, formerly part of the CKIS-FM Calgary morning team, was the new sports director at CFPL/CFHK. 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 (LMA) 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. Late last year, Blackburn announced that CFHK would not be part of a sale as the company was only operating “The Hawk” through a local management agreement. 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.


Wayne McLean returned in September for a talk show. He had been at CHYM in Kitchener. Brian Nuttall left on air work to concentrate on his program director duties. Skywatch Traffic was added during drive times.


Former CJBK morning host (1974-79) Joe Duchesne returned to London to take over the CFPL morning show from Peter Garland effective June 2. Peter’s last show on CFPL was on May 28. During his time away from London, Duchesne had been the owner of CFBK Huntsville and CFBQ in Parry Sound. Garland had done the morning show since 1981. He would continue on as a fill-in host. The Corus Ontario talk network disbanded some time ago, but a mini network of CHML and CFPL continued…until August 11 when CFPL went back to local programming during the middays. CFPL had carried the Roy Green and Larry Silver shows from CHML. Former CFPL-TV news director and anchor George Clark would now do a local talk show on CFPL-AM.


On September 28, CFPL had an on-air celebration marking its 85th birthday. Former station personalities Bill Brady and Peter Garland joined together on-air for the “Peter Brady” show. Corus network host Charles Adler (CJOB Winnipg) brought his show to London for the day and broadcast it live from CFPL. Morning host Joe Duchesne, local midday talk show host John Wilson and “Peter Brady” spoke to a variety of people on the air from AM 980’s past. The public was invited to an open house at the station. On November 19, CFPL AM 980 adopted an all-news format during morning (5:30 to 10:00 a.m.) and afternoon (3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.) drive. Local and syndicated talk and sports programming still aired at other times of the day. Joe Duchesne was let go as morning show host. The morning show news segment was handled by Loreena Dickson and Nathan Smith. Scott Monich and Trudy Shaw handled the afternoon news run.


On September 1, John Wilson’s Focus 980 (10:00 a.m. to noon) was replaced by a talk show hosted by CKDK-FM morning man Jeff McArthur (McArthur in the Morning – 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.) and the syndicated Democracy Now (11:00-noon). On November 3, London talk show host Jim Chapman returned to the air to host the Jim Chapman News Hour from 11 a.m. to noon. Over the years, Chapman had been on the air at CKSL, CJBK and UWO’s CHRW-FM. Chapman had also been co-hosting a medical program on AM980 on Sunday nights.


Natalie Lovie joined CFPL as a fulltime reporter. She had been afternoon news anchor at CKNX-AM, Wingham. Dean Chevalier (Shavalier) died at age 69 on December 20. A native Londoner, Chevalier was a news anchor at 980 CFPL London for many years.


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. 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. On November 30, the CRTC renewed CFPL’s licence to August 31, 2017. Dean Sinclair, former General Manager at Corus London, was the new GM at Humber College Radio in Toronto.


Jim Chapman did his last Newshour broadcast (11-noon) on August 5. He had been with the station just under three years. On August 15, CFPL extended the morning all-news segment to 9:30 a.m. and McArthur In The Morning (Jeff McArthur) was expanded to 9:30 to noon (formerly 9-11), followed by The Pulse with Devon Peacock, from noon to 1:00 p.m. The Pulse replaced The Jim Rome Show.


Former CFPL promotion manager Harvey M. Clarke passed away on February 12. He was 82. In August, Jeff McArthur’s show time was changed from 9:30 to noon, to 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Devon Peacock’s show hours changed from noon to 1 p.m. to 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The changes (including McArthur leaving the More 103.9 morning show) were made so that McArthur could begin hosting a two hour show on CFMJ Talk640 in Toronto.


On January 31, Jeff McArthur hosted his final “McArthur In The Morning” broadcast on AM980. He retained his afternoon show at brother station AM640 Toronto. On February 1, McArthur said his final goodbye to London listeners and then turned the mic over to the new 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. host, Craig Needles (The Craig Needles Show). Craig had been a reporter (and occasional newscaster) with AM980 but in recent times had also become a regular fill-in talk show host on the station. John Dickins died at age 85. He pioneered talk radio at CFPL (AM) back in the ‘60s,then moved to Toronto in the early ‘70s where he was, for many years, the guiding hand behind the National School of Broadcasting. Dickins was the son of Punch Dickins, who gained fame as a Canadian pioneering aviator and bush pilot.


Murray Brown died February 4 at age 96. He joined CFPL Radio in 1945 as a weekend announcer. Brown eventually became station manager and helped launch CFPL-TV in 1953, and became manager of that station as well. Between 1968 and 1984, he served as president of the Blackburn stations. Former and CFPL newsman Len Michaels (Marucci) passed away October 31 at age 84.


Geoff Bingle passed away at age 90. He started out with CJCS Stratford in 1948 but joined CFPL two years later and remained there until he retired in the 1990’s. Over the years he hosted programs and anchored the news on the TV side. At CFPL Radio (AM-FM) he was chief announcer, production director and program director.


Jim Weir (70) died in March. His 30-year on-air career began in the 1960s at CFPL with his last gig being morning host at CHOK Sarnia.

In the fall, CFPL was rebranded as Global News Radio 980 CFPL.

In December, the rebranded Global News Radio network in Ontario (CFMJ, CHML and CFPL) added Alex Pierson to its schedule, weeknights from 7-10 p.m. Charles Adler would follow Pierson, starting in January (2018). He was already being heard on CJOB Winnipeg, CHED Edmonton, CHQR Calgary and CKNW Vancouver. 


On January 22, Corus Radio launched a new overnight talk show, The Shift with Drex. The four-hour show aired on CKNW Vancouver, CHQR Calgary, CHED Edmonton, CJOB Winnipeg, CFMJ Toronto, CHML Hamilton, and CFPL London. The four hour show was based at CKNW.

David Longfield died at age 82, on May 21. Longfield worked in radio for 59 years, 54 of those years with what became the Corus Radio London stations.

Doug Chard announced in September that he was retiring after 45 years in radio. Chard started his broadcast career in 1973 at CHOK Sarnia. He moved on to become general sales manager at Ottawa’s at CIWW/CKBY and then was the long-time GSM for CJBK/CJBX London. He had been an account representative with Corus London for the last year and a half. Chard’s last day was October 12. 


Michael Wilmot died at the age of 66 on March 30. Over his career that started in the late 1970’s, Mike worked at CKOX Woodstock, CKGB Timmins, CKJD Sarnia and then in 1978, he joined CFPL 980. Wilmot left radio in 1994.

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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