CKSY-FM, 94.3 CKSY, Chatham

Blackburn Radio Inc.

CKSY-FM200494.342,000Blackburn Radio
CKSY-FM198694.342,000Bea-Ver Communications Inc.


On January 23, the CRTC approved the application by Bea-Ver Communications Inc. for a licence to operate an independent English-language FM radio station at Chatham on the frequency 95.1 MHz, channel 236B, with an effective radiated power of 35,400 watts. The licence would expire September 30, 1990. The competing application by Key Radio Limited (CFCO-AM) to operate a joint FM radio station in Chatham was denied. Bea-Ver proposed an easy listening music format would add to the program diversity of the region. The Commission took into account the community-oriented program schedule proposed for this station which included extensive local news coverage. The Commission considered that the application by Bea-Ver represented the most appropriate means of providing a new locally-oriented radio service to Chatham, which was located in an area that received a large number of Canadian and U.S. stations. Bea-Ver intended to use frequency 95.1 MHz which was being used by the CBC for CBEE-FM Chatham. The CBC had submitted an application to move CBEE to 88.1 MHz. The new would be operated in the “Group I” music format with an instrumental: vocal music ratio of 55:45, featuring predominantly category 51 (Pop and Rock-Softer) music from a proposed weekly playlist of 750 selections. Canadian content would comprise at least 14% of all category 5 musical selections. The Commission expected the licensee to substantially increase the size of its weekly playlist from the proposed level of 750 in order to ensure musical diversity in its programming. The station would broadcast 3 hours and 15 minutes per week of category 6 programming (Music-Traditional and Special Interest). It would also broadcast 6 hours and 15 minutes of news programming per week, with a strong local and regional content. Three half-hour foreground public affairs programs would be broadcast on weekdays and one on Saturdays. A weekly fifteen-minute program produced in co-operation with area youth would also be presented.

CKSY-FM “95 COSY” signed on the air July 1, less than six months after it was licensed. Carl Veroba was vice-president of operations. He had previously worked with the CBC in Windsor. His associates in Bea-Ver included Hank Bruhlman, president; Bob Dietrich and Ruth Beatty. The corporate name combines the first three letters of Beatty and Veroba. Merv Russell, previously with Eastern Broadcasting and Telemedia acted as consulting manager in getting CKSY on the air. Paul Mahon was program director and on-air personality. He came from CFOR in Orillia. John Jordan was farm director. John Anderson came to CKSY from CKO as news director. Norman Mann was afternoon host and city council reporter. The recent decision by the CBC to relinquish commercial FM frequencies in a number of communities enabled CKSY to go on the air with a minimum of delay, while obtaining a choice frequency. The CBC moved CBEE-FM from commercial 95.1 MHz to educational 88.1 MHz. CKSY was also able to purchase the existing CBEE-FM technical facilities. Studios and offices were located at 117 Keil Drive in Chatham.

Former Canadian baseball major leaguer Ferguson Jenkins was named sports director at CKSY.


On October 13, the CRTC approved a power increase for CKSY-FM from 35,400 to 42,000 watts and to  relocate the transmitter to a site 2.3 km west of its present location. 


Program director and announcer Paul Mahon left in January. 


The CRTC denied an application by CKSY that would have increased the number of hit songs it could play to 49% from 25%. The application also called for an increase in the ratio of vocal-instrumental music and an increase in Canadian content from 14% to 20%. The Commission said the application was similar to one turned down in 1987. 


Monique Bouchard joined CKSY in April and left in July. 

An application by CKSY-FM for a rebroadcast transmitter covering Leamington-Windsor was turned down by the CRTC. A competing application which would have seen Leamington’s CHYR move from AM to FM was also denied.

CKSY received a two year licence renewal. The station had been operating at a loss and proposed a format change which would increase vocals from 45% to 90% and Cancon from 14% to 20%. This was denied and only a slight reduction in spoken word content was approved. CKSY must meet the 14% Cancon level in the future and increase its weekly playlist to 925 selections.


Maclean Hunter Limited announced that it had agreed to sell CFCO-AM to CKSY’s owner Bea-Ver Communications. Maclean Hunter said it believed two separate stations could not survive in the city which was just 40 miles from Detroit-Windsor. The sale did not go through.


Hank Bruhlman died suddenly at his home on March 21. He was 59. Bruhlman was president of CKSY-FM and one of the founders of the station.


On-air staff: Greg Heatherington (mornings), Lisa Marshall (middays), Craig Fox (afternoons), Cordell Green (evenings), Walter Ploegman (swing). Ploegman was program director. Fox was music director/assistant program director and joined from CKLH-FM in Hamilton.


Craig Fox (PM Drive host, MD/APD) left for CKOT in Tillsonburg. 


CKSY-FM received an AM counterpart when owner Bea-Ver Communications received CRTC approval to acquire CFCO-AM.


George Brooks was program director.


On May 4 at 6:00 p.m., CKSY 95.1 and CKUE 94.3 swapped frequencies in order to increase CKSY’s coverage in Chatham-Kent and to extend CKUE’s signal into Essex County. CKSY’s adult contemporary format moved to 94.3 as “94.3 CKSY, Chatham-Kent’s Perfect Music Mix” and CKUE moved to 95.1 as “The Rock 95.1”.

Kevin Bruhlman passed away. He was one of Bea-Ver’s owners and founders.


On March 22, the CRTC approved the transfer of the effective control of Bea-Ver Communications Inc. to Blackburn Radio Inc. On the same date, approval was granted for the transfer of 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 2061302 Ontario Limited, a corporation controlled by her son, Richard Costley-White.


On May 24 the CRTC renewed CKSY-FM’s licence until August 31, 2013. 


Phil Ceccacci, General Sales Manager at Blackburn Radio Chatham, retired after 23 years with the company. 

Ron Blommers was the new General Sales Manager at Blackburn Radio’s Chatham cluster. He had been with Community Living Chatham-Kent. Before that, he worked with Clear Channel in Hawaii before returning to his home town of Chatham. Further back, he was with Newcap Halifax.


Walter Ploegman, the 25-year veteran of 94.3 CKSY, who began there as the afternoon host when the station was easy listening and began working his way up, was again promoted, this time to general manager of the three-station Blackburn Radio Chatham cluster. He had been director of operations and marketing for Country 92.9, 94.3 and 95.1 The Rock.

The story continues elsewhere…
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