CKSL-AM, Funny 1410, London
|Bell Media – Left The Air
|Astral Media Inc
|Standard Radio Inc.
|Affinity Radio Group Inc.
|Telemedia Communications Inc.
|London Broadcasters Ltd.
|London Broadcasters Ltd.
The CBC Board of Governors approved an application by F. Vincent Regan (OBCI) for a new radio station at London, operating on 1290 kHz with a power of 5,000 watts.
London’s second AM radio station – CKSL – began broadcasting on June 24. It operated on a frequency of 1290 kHz and had a power of 5,000 watts day and night. A single directional antenna pattern was used for day and night operation. Studios and offices were located downtown, at 343 Richmond Street. The transmitter and six 150 foot towers were located on Lot 18, Concession 4, Westminster Township, Middlesex County. CKSL was an independent station with no network affiliation.
CKSL was owned and operated by London Broadcasters Ltd. The principals of the company were Francis Vincent Regan of Toronto, Captain Joseph Jeffery, Q.C., and his three brothers, all of the London law firm of Jeffery & Jeffery. Regan and Jeffrey credited Roy Thomson, who made his early fortunes in Ontario broadcasting, with suggesting that London was ready for a second AM station.
J. Lyman Potts was CKSL’s first manager, having gathered the new staff in putting the station on the air. He joined the station from CKOC Hamilton. Bob MacAdorey was the station’s first morning man. William Post was director of engineering and Ron Turnpenny was chief engineer. John C. Morris was CKSL’s first sales manager. He had been with National Broadcast Sales Ltd. in Toronto; the firm chosen to represent CKSL.
CKSL’s program policy concentrated on music since other area stations had transcribed programs, soap operas and coverage of local sports. J. Lyman Potts said CKSL used no 78 r.p.m. recordings – just 33 1/3 and 45’s. Early mornings consisted of news, weather and sports, supplemented by breakfast music. During mid-day’s, music was selected to suit the housewife. Early evenings were devoted to fathers and youngsters as far as music was concerned. CKSL aired “Adventures In Music” from 8-10 p.m. The program brought back recordings of the Broadway musicals and well-known composers. From 10 p.m. and in to the early morning, the station aired popular music – current hits mixed with old standards.
Slogan: The time buyer’s choice in London – CKSL – 5000 watts – 24 hours daily.
Ownership of London Broadcasters Ltd.: F. Vincent Regan 49.9%, Barbara J. Regan 0.1%, Joseph Jeffery 49.9% and Norah A. Jeffery 0.1%.
F. Vincent Regan was president of the company. J. Lyman Potts was CKSL’s manager. Pete James was sports director. Ron Turnpenny was chief engineer. David Bradley was news director. Francis R. Kirton was production, program and music director. Bob McAdorey was host of London’s Uncle Bob Show – a program for children. Mal Thompson was the morning man. Gerry Bascombe was also on staff.
CKSL acquired a portable transmitter for doing broadcasts outside the studios.
Ads: CKSL leads the way in London and Western Ontario. / Not even one year old but already TOPS in London. CKSL. The leading station in London and Western Ontario. You can sell with 1290 CKSL.
CKSL news had a new portable transistorized two-way transmitter-receiver to give “better, faster, more colourful” reporting.
Ad slogans: In London choose the station with…sellability. CKSL London – foremost in Forest City. / London merchants choose CKSL 2 to 1. / Buyers who know their business select CKSL.
CKSL marked its 2nd anniversary on June 24.
Lyman Potts, CKSL manager since the station’s inception, announced his resignation. He was appointed production manager of CJAD Montreal and would assist that station’s owner – Arthur Dupont – in obtaining an FM licence. Potts started in radio at CHWC Regina, then continued with CKCK when the two stations merged in 1936. At CKCK he climbed the ladder from operator to announcer to traffic manager to program director, until 1940 when he was transferred to CKOC Hamilton to be production manager. He was named assistant manager there in 1947 and he held that post until 1956 when he left for CKSL.
Mal Thompson was on-air at CKSL. Vaughn Bjerre was named CKSL program director. He started out at CKBI Prince Albert in 1943, became PD of CKSO Sudbury in 1950, and was most recently with CFRA Ottawa. W.E. Robinson was named assistant manager at CKSL. He had been with the station since it opened in 1956. Dick McFarland was a DJ.
Keith Dancy was appointed general manger of CKSL. He had been commercial manager at CFCF-Radio Montreal. Before that, he had been with CJKL Kirkland Lake and CHEX Peterborough. His appointment was effective December 1.
Keith Dancy returned to Montreal to be general manager of the new CFOX radio station there.
CKSL applied for an FM licence. The application was denied because CKSL proposed to simulcast its AM programming on the FM station. Such a simulcast operation would add nothing to the choice of programs available in the London area. London Broadcasters Ltd. had proposed the use of 94.3 MHz with an effective radiated power of 9,096 watts.
Don E. Hamilton was appointed general manager of CKSL. He had been with CKOY Ottawa as director of advertising and sales.
Pat Dorey was promotion manager. Bill Brady hosted the morning show (Breakfast with Brady). Also at the station: Dorca Ballantyne, Dick McFarland, Jack Stephens, Al Hinge, Bill Robinson (assistant manager), Al Snider (sales manager), Vaughn Bjerre (program director), Pat Dorey (promotion manager), Ed Blake (news director) and Bill Post (chief engineer).
Ad slogan: CKSL Dial 1290. London Family Radio.
Fred K. Ursel left CKSL as sales manager, for the sales department at CFRB.
CKSL had proposed to move from 1290 kHz to 1410 kHz while CHLO in St. Thomas had applied to move to 1410 kHz from 680 kHz. Ted Rogers wanted to move his Toronto station to the 680 frequency and would pay for CHLO’s move to 1410. CKSL won the frequency in the end.
John Funston was general manager. Jack Stephen and John Hart were DJ’s.
On September 15, CKSL switched from 1290 kHz to 1410 kHz. Power increased from 5,000 watts day and night to 10,000 full-time. Different directional patterns were used for day and night operation. Five 180 foot towers were used at a new transmitter site located on the north half of Lot 18, Concession 6, Westminster Township (modern day address is 3595 Scotland Drive).
F. Vincent Regan was president of London Broadcasters Ltd. John Funston was CKSL’s manager. Bill Robinson was assistant manager. Don Nairn was production and program director. Frank Proctor was morning man. Jeff Guy was chief operator while Bill Post was chief engineer.
John Funston was general manager.
CKSL subscribed to the Rogers Radio News Network which began operations in April. RRNN was affiliated with ABC in New York. CKSL also used Broadcast News, had a news staff of five and one mobile unit. The station offered 160 minutes of news per day (approximately). On Sundays, CKSL presented a four hour package of straight news between 6 and 10 p.m. Tom Dalby was news director. John Funston was manager. Don Nairn was operations manager.
CKSL agreed to carry some Montreal Expos baseball games this season.
In January, CKSL updated its sound to more modern adult contemporary, with an emphasis on personalities. Before this, the station was block programmed with country and conservative Middle of the Road music, with an emphasis on instrumentals. Pat Bestall joined the station in January and that’s when the changes began. Half of CKSL’s music was from new singles. At night some of the softer material was dropped. 1955-63 oldies were added during overnights. Bestall said no other London station played records this old and that the oldest gold on CFPL for example was less than five years old. CKSL’s sound was contemporary enough to appeal to the 18-30 year olds but was generally going after a slightly older audience than CFPL, CJBK and CHLO were.
Peter Garland joined CKSL as morning man. He had been at CJCS in Stratford.
Steve Bradley (aka Peter Thompson, Red Knight at CFTR Toronto and Jack London at CKLW Windsor) joined the air staff in July.
Steve Bradley left in May.
John Best joined CKSL news. He did sports on the Jim Craig afternoon show and news on Tom Kelly’s evening show.
John Best and Tim McCallum alternated to do morning news on the Peter Garland show. This began in August.
CKSL kind of became CFTR London when a number of the Toronto station’s personalities and news people joined 1410 London’s airstaff. Bill Hayes replaced
Jim Craig in PM Drive (Craig moved to weekends). Newscasters J. Michael Phillips and Larry Silver joined the crew. Jeff O’Neil and Rich Greven also became staff members. Sportscaster Chris Mayberry left.
One of the slogans CKSL had been using: It’s a CKSL of a town…London!
Gord Hume was appointed vice president and general manager. He had worked at a number of stations in southern Ontario, including CKPC in Brantford and for Rogers Radio, before joining CKSL. (Gord would later become a long-time London city councillor)
One of the first things Gord Hume got to work on after joining CKSL was to get the station a new studio and office facility. CKSL had been in its present home, a 100 year old building on Richmond Street, since signing on in 1956. The station was still using 1956 equipment. 343 Richmond was owned by the station but the place had become a dump. There wasn’t even a sign on the exterior of the building to show CKSL even existed at the location.
Kevin Nelson – son of the longtime 1050 CHUM morning man – worked at CKSL for a time
Al Gibson was hired away from Winnipeg’s CFRW to be CKSL’s news director. Jerry Stevens joined the station to be program director.
On May 3, CKSL began broadcasting from new studios. The old studio and office complex on Richmond Street had been cleaned up and modernized. Renovations added 2,000 square feet to the existing facility. Mayor Al Gleason cut the tape to open the new operation. Also on hand for the grand opening, Gord Hume, CKSL general manager; Bill Post, chief engineer and an original station staff member; Gordon Walker of the Ministry of Consumer & Commercial Relations; and Charles Turner of the Liberal Party of Canada.
After nine years, Peter Garland left CKSL’s morning show and took up the same position at CFPL-AM. Rich Greven moved up to 6-10 a.m. from weekends.
Jerry Stevens was appointed program director. Derek Botten joined the air staff from CKJD-CJFI in Sarnia.
CKSL General manager Gord Hume was named a vice-president of London Broadcasters Ltd.
Mark Rogers became CKSL’s sales manager. He had been with Toronto’s CFTR.
CKSL completed installation of a new Harris 10,000 watt transmitter. Bill Post was chief engineer.
It was announced that CKSL would move to new studios at the City Centre complex at Wellington and King Streets. City Centre would construct the new facilities on the mezzanine level and also purchase the building at 343 Richmond Street that had housed CKSL since its inception in 1956. The new studios were to be ready for September and represented an investment of $1.5 million by the two companies. There would be four main studios, five talk studios, an expanded news department, and a unique two-way radio set-up for both news and remotes. CKSL vice-president and general manager Gord Hume described this as the most important advancement for the station since it was licensed. In the past two years, the station had acquired a fleet of mobile cruisers, installed a new ten thousand watt transmitter, and enjoyed a dramatic increase in its ratings.
CKSL instituted a “Citizen of the Year Award” and named Carol Johnston, director of the local childrens’ museum, as the first recipient.
On August 29, CKSL moved in to modern new studios and offices in the City Centre complex in downtown London. Director of engineering Bill Post selected McCurdy to equip the control rooms and news facilities. He went with McCurdy in 1956 as well. CKSL occupied 8,200 square feet on the mezzanine level. The new facility also featured a shopping complex and Holiday Inn’s ‘flagship’ hotel in Canada.
The official opening ceremonies were held September 13 with a big celebration, and included a symbolic smashing of CKSL’s old image, represented by a model of the elevator at 343 Richmond St. – notorious for its laboured performance.
With all of the changes made at CKSL since late 1980, the Fall 1983 BBM ratings showed the station’s bright adult-oriented contemporary sound was #1 in the 12-49 demographic. CKSL now had a staff of 40, including: Al Gibson (news director), George Gordon (assistant news director), Terry Scott (news), Mitch O’Connor (announcer & music director), Steve Jackson (announcer), Dick Joseph (announcer), Steve Kelly (production manager), and John Gribbon (engineering assistant).
Robert Sutherland joined CKSL from CHLO St. Thomas. 1986 – Robert Sutherland moved from CKSL to new sister station CIQM-FM.
After a couple of years at CKY Winnipeg, Rich Greven returned to CKSL in November, to do the morning show.
Malcolm Sinclair joined and Derek Botten left for CFPL Radio.
F. Vincent Regan, chairman of the board, named Gord Hume the new president of London Broadcasters Ltd. He had been vice president and general manager, CKSL.
London Broadcasters Ltd. opened CIQM-FM on June 1.
CKSL began broadcasting in stereo, using the Motorola C-Quam system.
Sue Baker joined CKSL news to handle morning duties. She had been with CJLB Thunder Bay.
Mark Rogers left CIQM/CKSL as general sales manager to take up the same post at CHAM in Hamilton.
News director Al Gibson left for CKEY Toronto.
Tom Harkness joined CKSL/CIQM as general sales manager. He had been senior sales rep at CFTR in Toronto.
George Gordon was named news director of CIQM/CKSL replacing Al Gibson who moved to Toronto’s CKEY.
Program director Jerry Stevens left CKSL for CIWW in Ottawa.
Braden Doerr was program director for CKSL and CIQM-FM.
On April 21, Telemedia’s application to purchase CKSL and CIQM from London Broadcasters Ltd. was denied by the CRTC. Telemedia had proposed to create a local advisory board, add a weekly one hour program of Canadian content on CKSL, and add a syndicate new programs produced in London. The company also promised to spend $1 million to upgrade the CKSL transmitter site.
Telemedia Communications Ontario Inc. signed a letter of agreement to acquire CKSL and CIQM from London Broadcasters Ltd. Following last year’s turn down by the CRTC, all were hoping for a favourable outcome this time around.
Swing announcer Malcolm Sinclair left in March for CHYM Kitchener.
On July 28, the second try was successful for Telemedia when it was given approval to purchase CKSL and CIQM-FM from London Broadcasters. To ensure direct community input in the management of the stations, Telemedia proposed to create a community advisory board to be chaired by one of LBL’s founding shareholders, Joseph Jeffery. The major initiative proposed by the new owner was “Canadian Investment In Quality Music” or CIQM! It would support Canadian orchestras and artists through recording, syndication and various subsidies.
Telemedia took ownership of CKSL and CIQM in September.
On December 5, Telemedia subsidiary London Broadcasters Ltd. was given approval to change its name to London Broadcasters Inc.
Braden Doerr was appointed general manager of CKSL and CIQM-FM.
Doug Ackhurst was promoted to group vice-president responsible for CKSL and CIQM London, CJCL Toronto, and CJCS Stratford. Gord Hume was appointed vice-president.
Pat St. John became operations manager for CKSL and CIQM-FM.
Tom Cooke was appointed general sales manager of CKSL and CIQM-FM.
On September 20, CKSL changed formats from contemporary hits to news-talk as “AM 1410, Newstalk for the 90’s”. “. Jim Chapman joined from CJBK to host a talk show.
In February, Rich Greven moved to CIQM-FM for mornings. On March 7, Dave Collins and Jacquie Gauthier movd from CIQM AM Drive to CKSL (5:30 to 9am). Barry Smith was program director.
CKSL’s morning team – Dave & Jacquie – moved down the street to country station CJBX-FM.
Late in the year – CKSL moved from news-talk to a nostalgia format.
Affinity Radio Group agreed to acquire CKSL from Telemedia. A new player, Affinity already had an agreement to buy CKTB St. Catharines from Standard Radio and was reportedly wanting to purchase CHAM Hamilton from Golden West, with the aim of launching a network of AM talk stations.
News director George Gordon left for CKGL Kitchener.
On June 25, 1997, approval came for the purchase of CKSL by Affinity Radio Group Inc. (James O’Brien) from Telemedia Communications Ontario Inc. In the fall, CKSL became “AM 1410 The River” – with an Adult Contemporary format.
CKSL/CIQM-FM general sales manager Tom Cooke became general manager of the stations.
CKSL’s bid to move to the FM dial (102.3 MHz with 4.6 kW) was denied on October 28. The frequency was awarded to CHUM Limited for a new station in London.
CIQM’s Operations Manager, Barry Smith, became Program Director for all 4 Telemedia London sations May 3.
The CRTC announced November 8 that by letter of authority dated October 11, it granted a change of ownership for CHAM Hamilton, CHTZ-CHRE-CKTB St. Catharines and CKSL London from Radio Group Inc. to Telemedia Radio Group Inc. Telemedia took posession of the stations on November 1. CKSL joined the other Telemedia London stations (CJBK-AM, CJBX-FM and CIQM-FM) at the 743 Wellington Road studio and office complex.
November/December – CKSL “The River” became “Oldies 1410”.
Jeff Guy retired from Telemedia London on January 26. He had spent 33 years and 3 months with CJBK (and CJOE). Guy was succeeded by Bill Tofflemire who joined CKSL in 1985.
Telemedia Radio VP Braden Doerr, most recently vice president of the Ontario regional group, assumed responsibility for the Southern Ontario cluster (London, Hamilton and St. Catharines). Rick Doughty, VP of Telemedia Northern Ontario (Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie, Pembroke and Orillia) would continue in that assignment but also added responsibilities as a member of the executive committee of the Ontario division, reporting to Claude Beaudoin, Telemedia executive VP for Ontario region.
Tom Cooke was named to succeed Jim MacLeod as GM of Telemedia’s three Hamilton stations. He had been Assistant GM at the company’s four London stations.
On April 19, 2002, the purchase of several Telemedia radio and television stations by Standard Radio Inc. was approved. Included in the sale: London’s CJBK 1290, CJBX 92.7, CKSL 1410 and CIQM 97.5.
On February 16, Oldies 1410 returned to its old AM 1410 name.,CKSL. The format was adjusted to include Adult Standards in the oldies mix.
On September 27, Astral Media Radio G.P. received CRTC approval to acquire the assets of the radio and TV undertakings owned by Standard Radio Ltd., subject to certain conditions. The purchase included CKSL-AM, CJBK-AM, CJBX-FM and CIQM-FM.
Barry Smith was let go by Astral Media Radio London where he had been brand director (operations manager) for several years. He was replaced by Al Smith, a former London program director who had been working at CHUM Group Radio in Ottawa for the last few years. Barry Smith had worked for London’s Blackburn Radio in the early 1980’s and eventually moved over the competition (now Atral).
Long-time chief engineer Bill Tofflemire retired after 25 years with the Astral London stations.
Former CKSL sales manager Fred Ursel died at the age of 76.
Tom Cooke was vice president and general manager for Astral Media Radio London.
Mark Lade, after 50 years behind the microphone, called it quits. During his career, Lade worked in such venues as Owen Sound, Woodstock, Hamilton, Chatham, Niagara Falls, Welland and London… his last stop being Oldies 1410 CKSL.
Astral London let six staffers go, including long-time CJBK Assistant Program Director Deacon Ritchie and Chief Engineer Hector Card. Two people in traffic were gone as were one each in news and creative. The traffic function was centralized and is being performed by Astral Hamilton.
On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CKSL until March 31, 2012.
Astral Radio announced the launch of FUNNY 1410 for January 1, 2012. Funny 1410 would be Canada’s first all comedy station featuring the biggest names in stand up from Canada and around the world. The format was already proving a winner in several U.S. markets by targeting an adult 25-54 audience with a slight male skew. The format was represented exclusively in Canada by Astral’s syndication arm Orbyt Media. In a market serviced by over 20 radio signals and overlapping formats, Astral said it was pleased to offer Londoners a unique station, unlike any service currently available. The format would be fast moving and topical with as many as 30 comedic bits an hour. It would be hosted by Stand Up and Improvisational comedians and be patterned after a comedy club approach.
Hector Card was the new chief engineer at Astral Radio London, as of April 4. He had been with London’s BOB BM.
Former CKSL personality Kevin Nelson (son of the late Jungle Jay Nelson) passed away December 13 at age 52.
As noted above, CKSL did become FUNNY 1410 on January 1.
On March 20, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CKSL to August 31, 2012. On July 10, the licence was administratively renewed to March 31, 2013.
Colin Botten was appointed Director of Marketing at Astral Radio London. Botten had 24 years in the London market, including 10 years on-air in five formats, radio sales for nine years and five years as Program Director at Corus London. He succeeded Elaine Sawyer who was no longer with Astral London.
When the NHL season began in January (following a long lockout), Funny 1410 added Toronto Maple Leaf games to its schedule, while brother station 1290 CJBK continued to air the Detroit Red Wings (NHL) and the London Knights (OHL).
On January 12, a reunion of 1970’s CKSL staff and management was held in London. The following were able to attend: Sharon and Doug Young, Chris Mayberry, Peter Garland, Bill Hall, King Perry, Charlie Sterne, Elaine Wilson, Al Hinge, Joan Mills, Barb Southall, Sylvia Teachout, Carolyn King, Patti and Derek Eedy, Jeff Guy, Chuck and Jane Beedle, Tom and Diny Dalby, Julie Sawyer, Jan Stanley, Donna Arrand, Barry Smith, Jim Craig, Pat Bestall, Dave Marsden, John Dubinski, Hugh Greenwood, Tim Keele, Larry Smith, and Barry Johnston.
Astral Radio announced the return of “Humble” Howard Glassman and Fred Patterson. On January 21, the Humble & Fred Radio Show began airing weekday evenings on Funny 820 Hamilton, Funny 1410 London, and News Talk 1010 CFRB Toronto.
On February 6, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence of CKSL to August 31, 2013.
On June 27, 2013, after a previous such application had been denied in 2012, the CRTC approved an application by Astral Media Inc. to sell its pay and specialty television channels, conventional television stations and radio stations to BCE Inc., including CKSL.
It was announced that Tom Cooke, Vice President and General Manager of Bell Media’s London radio stations would leave August 30. Don Mumford, regional VP, radio and TV operations, Southwestern Ontario and based in London, added Cooke’s VP/GSM role at the four radio stations to his own.
On July 29 and at the request of Bell Media Radio G.P., the CRTC revoked the licence for CKSL. Bell said it simply could not justify the more than $3 Million in needed technical and structural transmission site upgrades just to keep CKSL on the air and in compliance with regulations. Known as Funny 1410, CKSL had been on the air for 60 years. Over the decades, it had been a Top 40 station, country, news talk, soft adult contemporary, oldies and was Canada’s first radio station devoted to comedy radio.
At midnight on August 14, Funny 1410 signed off the air forever. In the days before the end came, sister station 1290 CJBK aired tributes from legendary CKSL personalities, including Peter Garland, Rich Greven, Elaine Sawyer, Derek Botten, Mike Nabuurs and others to mark the occasion.
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.