CHKS-FM, K 106.3, Sarnia

Blackburn Radio Inc.

CHKS-FM1999106.335,000Blackburn Radio Inc.
CKTY-AM1994111010,000 / 1,000Blackburn Radio Inc.
CKTY-AM1988111010,000 / 1,000Blue Water Broadcasting Ltd.
CKJD-AM1987111010,000 / 1,000Blue Water Broadcasting Ltd.
CKJD-AM1977111010,000 / 1,000Rogers Radio Ltd.
CKJD-AM197212501000Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
CKJD-AM196812501000Dancy Broadcasting Ltd.


Keith Dancy, former vice president of CFOX-AM in Montreal, applied for an AM-FM combination licence – 1250 kHz with fulltime power of 1,000 watts (2 directional patterns) and 106.3 MHz with effective radiated power of 50,000 watts and antenna height of 153 feet (EHAAT), non-directional. The city’s existing station – CHOK – opposed Dancy’s FM proposal in particular. CHOK had an FM station in the city in the past but it was lost in the 1953 tornado and never rebuilt. CHOK felt it should have the first crack at an FM licence even though they had made no efforts to apply for one after the old licence lapsed in 1957. CHOK wanted Dancy’s FM application to be deferred so that CHOK could have time to file an FM application. Dancy felt for his part that an AM-FM combination right from the start would be cheaper than adding an FM station to the AM at a later date. 

The Board of Broadcast Governors approved the AM application by Dancy Broadcasting Ltd. on March 21. The FM application was turned down. The board said Dancy and his associates should operate the AM outlet for a reasonable period of time before consideration would be given to his FM application.

Dancy had been vice-president and part owner of CFOX-AM in Montreal. He sold his interest in CFOX to that station’s controlling shareholder, Gord Sinclair, on June 30, 1967, to raise the funds needed to start the Sarnia operation. 

Ads: The NOW SOUND comes to Sarnia, August 1 – 1250 CKJD. / It’s about time…it’s about music…it’s about news…it’s about sports…it’s about weather…it’s about…CKJD 1250 Sarnia.

Station CKJD signed on the air on August 3. Studios and offices were located at 546 North Christina Street and the transmitter site and seven towers were on Concession 9, Moore Township. The “KJD” in the calls: Keith J. Dancy.


Paul Godfrey joined from CHYR Leamington.

CKJD subscribed to the Rogers Radio News Network which began operations in April. RRNN was affiliated with ABC in New York. 

Slogan: The With-it station.


Paul Godfrey left.


On June 7, Dancy Broadcasting Ltd. (Msrs. Dancy & Ledingham) was authorized to transfer CKJD to Rogers Broadcasting Ltd., for which Rogers would issue 13,500 class “D” shares to the sellers.

Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. became Radio Rogers Ltd. 


Jeff Feldman was doing sports. 


By ingenious design and by stringent control of the antenna array, CKJD was originally able to be “squeezed” in for operation on 1250 kHz at Sarnia. The antenna site, south of the city, had to suppress radiation over a broad arc to the west, minimizing radiation into the U.S. A new chemical complex was approved – to be located immediately next to the CKJD transmitter site. Such a facility would be a disaster to any AM station because of the re-radiation that would be caused. CKJD would not be able to continue to serve the city and continue the tight protection necessary for other stations. Rogers Broadcasting was forced to abandon the site and relocate to a new one.


On January 10, Ray Purves became VP and GM. He had been VP of sales at Toronto’s CKFM.

On November 4th, at 9:00 a.m., CKJD changed dial positions – from 1250 kHz to 1110 kHz. Power was now 10,000 watts day and 1,000 watts night (different day and night directional patterns). Twelve towers were used at a new antenna site.

A numbered company formed by Keith J. Dancy received approval to acquire CJJD Hamilton from Rogers Radio Ltd. Rogers Management Services Ltd. received permission to purchase CKJD Sarnia and CHYR Leamington from Dancy Broadcasting Ltd. Dancy established the Sarnia station in 1968 and tried to buy the Hamilton station in 1970 but the CRTC said no. With the purchase of CJJD, Dancy left Radio Rogers Ltd. where he was president. He was replaced by Jim Sward.


Radio Rogers Ltd. became Rogers Radio Broadcasting Ltd. 

Paul Mahon (middays) joined in July. Mike Wilmot joined from CKGB Timmins.


Announcers included Les Pelango, Mike Wilmot, Paul Mahon (middays) left in June.


Announcers: Mike Wilmot (mornings), John Devinski (midday talk show), Norm Taylor (afternoons), Derek Botten (swing), John Tittel (news). Doug Rollands was doing PM Drive later in the year. Tittel joined from CFOS Owen Sound. Botten joined from CHLO (he is also with CJFI-FM).


Rogers launched CJFI-FM 99.9 in Sarnia on September 14. 


Bob White took over from Ron Sibbett as chief engineer. 

Mike Wilmot, John Hayes (overnights) left in March for CFGO Ottawa. Derek Botten (swing, also with CJFI) left for CKSL London.


New studios were installed for CKJD to keep the pace with sister station CJFI which went on the air in 1981.

Cyd Vandenberg joins (talk show).


Mike Wilmot, Cyd Vandenberg (talk show) left for CJFI.


Gerry Kennedy named Don Chamberlain manager of CKJD/CJFI-FM and Leamington’s CHYR.


Gerald Kennedy of Eastern Broadcasting in Moncton, New Brunswick, filed an application to acquire CKJD / CJFI-FM and Leamington’s CHYR / CHYR-7 from Rogers. Kennedy would move to Sarnia to manage those stations. Lou Tomasi, who had been with CHYR since it went on the air in 1955, would continue to manage that station.

Kennedy withdrew his application to acquire the Leamington and Sarnia stations. A new application was filed, with Maclean-Hunter being the controlling shareholder. Kennedy would hold a minor interest.

Approval was granted July 16 for Rogers to sell CKJD / CJFI-FM along with CHYR / CHYR-7 to Blue Water Broadcasting Ltd. (67% owned by Eastern Broadcasting, 24% by Don Chamberlain and 9% by Gerald Kennedy). Eastern was 90% Owned by Maritime Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Maclean-Hunter Limited. 

Ron Day was doing the morning show. A.J. Renny was also heard on the station.


Gerry Kennedy retired. Pat St. John was named to replace him as general manager for CKJD/CJFI. Part-owner Don Chamberlain was general sales manager. He became president of Key Radio’s CKJD/CJFI.


In late 1987, with CKJD and CJFI under new ownership, it was decided to find a new home for the stations. The lease on the current facility in a high-rise on Christina Street was about to expire. A location was found on London Road, the city’s busiest artery. Shovels went into the ground in mid-February of 1988. The new facility featured 8,000 square feet and four studios. Ward-Beck Systems 14-input audio consoles were installed. The AM station was able to cut over to the new facility for the afternoon drive show on May 26. At about 1:00 p.m. on the 28th, FM was able to cut to their new control room. On May 31, the news room was the final cut and by 10:00 a.m., the entire staff was operating from the new building. The old building was completely vacated by 1:00 p.m. on June 1. The new address: 1415 London Road (in Clearwater).

Before the stations moved to their new home, they got a change of name. On February 26, CKJD became CKTY “Country 1110” (the “CTY” for Country) with a country format and CJFI-FM became CFGX “The Fox” (the FX for FOX) with an adult contemporary format. The old CKJD had a Contemporary music format.

Don Chamberlain was president of Bluewater Broadcasting and Pat St. John was general manager of the Sarnia stations.

On-air: Don Martin (mornings – joined this year), George Hayes (afternoons), Sherry Flick.


Brian Hinz, formerly with CKO, joined CKTY-CFGX (CJFI-FM was now CFGX) as engineering manager.

Mark Cartland and Don Martin were among the announcers.


Don Martin (mid-days) left to work in Guelph radio. 


On December 19, the CRTC approved the purchase of Maclean-Hunter by Rogers Communications Inc. , and the subsequent transfer of Bluewater Broadcasting Ltd. (CKTY/CFGX-FM, CFCO Chatham and CHYR Leamington) to Blackburn Radio Inc. of London. 


On January 31, the CRTC renewed CKTY’s licence to August 31, 1996, subject to the terms and conditions in effect under the existing licence.


Sarnia’s three radio stations were moved together as part of a Local Management Agreement between Sarnia Broadcasters (CHOK) and Blackburn Radio (CKTY and CFGX-FM). The move saw CHOK moving from its downtown building to Blackburn’s relatively new facility at 1415 London Road in Clearwater. CHOK president Wayne Steele was running all three stations. At this time CFGX had an Adult Contemporary format while CKTY was a Country music station. CHOK offered news, information, sports and, Oldies music.


General manager John Divinski left CFGX/CKTY to become operations manager at CJSS/CFLG in Cornwall.


On December 18, the sale of Sarnia Broadcasters (1993) Ltd., by Penway Radio Holdings Ltd. and Wayne W. Steele to Blackburn Group Inc. was approved. Blackburn was the owner of Sarnia’s two other commercial stations – CKTY and CFGX-FM. Blackburn would own all three commercial radio stations in the market. The three stations had been part of an LMA since 1996.

R.A. (Sandy) Green was president of Blackburn Radio.


On January 21, the CRTC approved the conversion of CKTY to the FM band. The new FM station would operate on a frequency of 106.3 MHz, and have an effective radiated power of 35,000 watts.

A new tower was built to accommodate the new K106.3 as well as 99.9 The FOX.

The new CHKS-FM began testing in May.

CHKS-FM launched June 16. K106.3 had an Alternative Pop/Rock format (a blend of 80% current and 20% classic rock). CHKS was designed repatriate Canadian listeners and to fill a void in the Port Huron market as well. Dave Burgess was hired from FM96 (CFPL-FM) in London to be morning man. His co-host was Sarah Woodley. The new station’s slogan was “Sarnia’s Best Rock, K106.3”.

In the first BBM ratings after the launch of CHKS, the station finished with a 14 share overall 12+, CFGX had a 16 share and CHOK, an 18 share. The combined group had a 49% market share. 

On-air: Dave Burgess and Sarah Woodly (mornings), Drew Carter (mid-days), George Hayes (afternoons), Rod Taylor (“The Rodman” – evenings). Others: Shane Roberts. 

Following the purchase of CHOK by Blackburn Radio, Terry Regier became general manager of all of the new Radio Sarnia-Lambton (CHOK, CKTY and CFGX) stations. 

Dave Curtis was sales co-ordinator.


On March 17, the sale of CHKS, CFGX and CHOK (and several other stations) by Blackburn Group Inc. to Affinity Radio Group Inc. (subsidiary of Radiont Inc.) was approved. On May 29, Affinity announced that it would not be able to close on the purchase. The stations would remain in the hands of Blackburn.

CHKS and CFGX were operating with live staff 24/7.

In June, Blackburn decided to totally refurbish the Sarnia broadcast facility. All three stations were converted from analog to digital.

In the Fall BBM’s – CHKS increased its share from 14 to 19, CFGX went from a 16 to an 18 share, and CHOK had a 16 share. Total 12+ for the three had increased from 49% to 53%.

Ron Dann was PD for all three stations.

Rob Jenkins was now doing the mid-day show and Drew Carter was in afternoon drive. 


Keith Jules Dancy, founder of CHKS (CKJD-AM at the time) died May 6, age 71.


On March 22, a change in control of Blackburn Radio Inc. through the transfer of all of the issued and outstanding shares of Blackburn Group Incorporated (the parent corporation) from the Estate of Martha G. Blackburn to a corporation controlled by her son, Richard Costley-White, was approved. 

Mark Cartland died in a diving accident. 


On October 5, the CRTC renewed the licences for Blackburn Radio Inc. stations CFGX-FM Sarnia, CHKS-FM Sarnia, CHOK Sarnia and its transmitter CHOK-FM-1 Sarnia, CKNX Wingham, CKNX-FM Wingham and its transmitter CKNX-FM-2 Centreville, CKUE-FM Chatham and its transmitter CKUE-FM-1 Windsor and CFCO Chatham and its transmitter CFCO-1-FM Chatham, from 1 December 2010 to 31 August 2014. This short-term renewal would enable the Commission to review, at an earlier date, the licensee’s compliance with the Radio Regulations, 1986 and with its conditions of licence.


Don Chamberlain died at age 73 on January 26. The Saint John native began his broadcast career in Atlantic Canada and became a part-owner of CHYR Leamington and CKJD/CJFI Sarnia and, later, a part-owner of CJBK/CJBX London. Earlier, Chamberlain played an integral role in Jack Schoone’s Eastern Broadcasting chain of stations. Schoone was his majority partner in the Sarnia and London stations. Chamberlain was also the son of Charlie Chamberlain, long an entertainer on the old CBC-TV show, Don Messer’s Jubilee.

After 39 years in Sarnia, Blackburn Radio news director Larry Gordon hung up his headphones April 26. Gordon began as a part-time operator at CKWW Kitchener while attending Conestoga College. His first full-time gig was at CKAR Huntsville/CKAR-1 Parry Sound. In 1974, he moved to CJCS Stratford and then to CHOK. He became CHOK News Director in 1978 and, as they became part of the Sarnia ownership, ND for CFGX-FM and CHKS-FM.

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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