CHOM-FM, The Spirit of Rock, Montréal

Bell Media Inc.

CHOM-FM201397.741,200Bell Media
CHOM-FM200797.741,200Astral Media Inc.
CHOM-FM200197.741,200Standard Broadcasting Corp. Ltd.
CHOM-FM198597.741,200CHUM Ltd.
CHOM-FM196997.741,200Geoff Stirling
CKGM-FM196397.741,200Geoff Stirling


Maisonneuve Broadcasting Corp. Ltd., owner of CKGM-AM, had its application for a Montreal FM station, deferred by the BBG.


On July 16, Geoff Stirling’s Maisonneuve Broadcasting Ltd. launched CKGM-FM. It operated on a frequency of  97.7 MHz and  simulcast the programs of CKGM-AM. Studios were at 1455 Drummond Street. 

On September 16, CKGM-FM began offering programming separate from CKGM-AM. Operating in stereo, 24 hours a day, CKGM-FM provided quality music (mostly instrumentals) and sophisticated talk programs, with four brief breaks per hour.  


By this time CKGM-FM was operating with an effective radiated power of 41,200 watts (possibly 50,000 watts). Programming is totally independent from CKGM-AM. 


CKGM-AM moved to 1310 Greene Avenue in Westmount.


On October 28, CKGM-FM became CHOM-FM with an album rock format.

On December 11, the application for the transfer of 1,000 common and 8,930 preferred shares of Maisonneauve Broadcasting Corp. Ltd. from Geoffrey W. Stirling to CHUM Ltd. was denied.


On July 26, CHOM-FM was authorized to move its studios and offices from 1310 Greene Avenue to 1355 Greene Avenue in Westmount.


CHOM was authorized on an experimental basis to continue broadcasting in English and French.


The English and French experiment on CHOM was ended by the CRTC.


CHOM-FM was given a short-term licence renewal. Its case was complicated by its bid to use up to four hours of French intermittently throughout the broadcast week. This request was denied, but the CRTC did say it had no objection in principle to such bilingual broadcasting and would consider a proposal for better-defined blocks in French, but no commercials. CHOM also wanted unlimited repeats of musical selections and increased use of hits. The Commission ruled that hits must be less than 50% of all music, and each may be repeated only 18 times a week.


John Mackey left as general manager of CHOM/CKGM . He was replaced by former sales manager Phil Parker. Mackey moved to CJBK in London. Mark Sherman became retail sales manager for CHOM-FM. 


The CRTC was to decide later whether or not to renew the licence of CHOM-FM. Despite assurances from the station that it was meeting its conditions of licence, the Commission said the licensee did not provide enough evidence to support that claim, and would therefore undertake further analysis of CHOM’s performance. 

CHOM joined sister station CKGM at 1310 Greene Avenue (third floor).


CHUM Ltd. to purchased CHOM and CKGM from Maisonneuve Broadcasting Ltd. (Geoff Stirling). 

Following CHUM’s purchase of CHOM/CKGM (and CKWW/CJOM Windsor), Lee Hambleton was named vice president and general manager of CHUM Quebec. He had been with the Montreal stations for 17 years.


Rob Braide left CHOM as program director to become general manager at CJAD/CJFM-FM.


Steve Kowch took over as news director of CHOM/CKGM. He replaced Bill Roberts who left the job for health reasons.


By this time, CHOM was operating with a power of 47,100 watts.


CHOM was given permission to operate a transitional digital radio undertaking, using a transmitter installed at the Mont Royal tower in Montréal. The service would employ the EUREKA-147 digital audio broadcasting system, and operate on 1452,816 MHz with an effective isotropic radiated power of 11,724 watts. 

General sales manager Mark Dickie left CHOM/CKGM on August 28 for a job at Generation Net. 

After announcing that CHOM would air the Howard Stern program from New York, CHUM Ltd. announced in the summer that it now would not carry the shock jock’s program on the station.

Steve Anthony became CHOM’s new morning show host. 


Pierre Rousseau joined CHOM/CKGM as promotion director. He had developed and sold CFCF’-TV’s promotions to retail and national clients.

Steve Anthony and Andrew Carter hosted the morning show. 


Ian McLean left CHOM as program director on June 29. The interim PD for both CHOM and CKGM was Chris Brooke, who joined the stations from co-owned CFST in Winnipeg.

On December 20, Standard Radio Inc. (CJAD and CJFM) was given approval to purchase CHOM-FM from CHUM Limited. Standard took ownership of CHOM on February 1, 2002.


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 CHOM-FM, CJAD-FM and CJFM-FM. 


In August the “Ted, Kim and Bad Pete” morning show (5:30 to 9:00) began airing on CHOM-FM. Sharon Hyland continues to rock (weekdays 9-1). Rob Kemp moves to weekdays 1-4. Drive home (4-8) is handled by Bilal Butt. Joanne Vrakas is heard in the evening (8-midnight.) CHOM’s legendary Tootall hosts Saturdays noon-6 and Sunday afternoons 11-5. Randy Renaud keeps the 80’s alive with the “That 80’s Show” Saturday nights 8-11 and rocks the blues with the “Black Cat Alley” on Sundays 7-9 p.m. Brandon Craddock takes Sunday mornings on a new ride with a fresh spin from around the city.

On August 28, the CRTC renewed the transitional digital radio licence of CHOM-DR-1.

Martin Spalding, assistant vice-president, sales and marketing for Astral Media Radio Quebec, was named vice-president and general manager of Virgin Radio 96, CHOM 977 and CJAD 800 effective November 2. Luc Tremblay currently VP/GM of the stations and vice president, Operations of AMRQ, would now concentrate on the management of the Quebec operations and would return to the René-Lévesque offices as of November 2.Bob Harris currently vice-president, programming and operations manager of CJAD, Virgin 96 and CHOM would move to the post of vice-president and GM of Astral’s Hamilton stations K-Lite, Talk 820 and Oldies 1150 in January 2010. Jacques Bolduc, GM, local sales in Montreal, would see his responsibility broaden by taking on management for Local Sales of AMRQ. Kim Rossi currently morning co-host on CHOM 97.7, would move to co-host mornings at HTZ FM with Iron Mike in January 2010.

With the departure of VP programming/operations manager Bob Harris to Astral Radio Hamilton (in January 2010), the following appointments were made in Montreal by VP/GM Martin Spalding. Mark Bergman was named interim program director of Virgin Radio 96. Mark would also continue his afternoon drive shift and music director responsibilities. Mathew Wood was appointed CHOM 97-7 promotion director. Melissa Mancuso was named Virgin Radio 96 promotion director. Bianca Bayer was appointed Virgin Radio promotion co-ordinator. Lisa Fuoco was named promotion director CJAD 800. With former CJAD PD Mike Bendixen accepting the role of PD of CFRB Toronto, Chris Bury formerly of CINW (940 News) was appointed CJAD program director/interim news director (effective January 4, 2010). 


After 17 years at CHOM-FM, Ted Bird resigned in January. 

P.J. Stock, a former NHL player took over the CHOM-FM spot vacated by Ted Bird as of February 1. His shift was 7 to 9 a.m., Monday through Thursday. Stock joined co-hosts Chantal Desjardins and Pete Marier. 

CHOM switched formats from Classic Rock (The Spirit of Rock) to Active Rock (The Evolution of Rock). To go with the new format, CHOM introduced a new logo to reflect the change. The effort was part of a 10-month project to update the playlist.

Martin Tremblay returned to Astral Media Radio Montreal as Director of Content and Sales. He had been with Astral Media Radio Toronto’s Virgin Radio and boom 973.

Mathew Wood was appointed CHOM-FM Promotion Director.

Astral’s Montreal head office moved June 28 to a new location at 1800 McGill College. The building formerly known as Place Montreal Trust became Maison Astral.

CHOM 97.7 marked its 40th anniversary in October. A year of celebration was planned for “The Spirit of Rock”, including air segments with some of the favourite hosts and features from the past 40 years.


CHOM-FM and program director Daniel Tremblay parted ways. Vice president and general manager Martin Spalding added programming duties to his title on an interim basis. It was announced that Terry DiMonte would return to CHOM after three years of mornings at CFGQ-FM (Q107) in Calgary. DiMonte began in CHOM mornings back in 1984. A dispute with the station led to his departure at that time. After 30 years in the radio business, Ray Scott, assistant program director and music director at CHOM 97.7 FM, retired.

Robert Latreille, the general manager of engineering at Astral and based in Montreal, retired November 11. He had been with the organization for 35 years.

While Terry DiMonte remained at Q107 Calgary, continuing to fulfill his six-month contractual obligation after handing in his resignation, he now had an official start date at CHOM-FM Montreal – January 9 (2012). His last on-air date at Q107 was set for December 9. 


Senior vice president and CFO Claude Gagnon of Astral Media in Montreal, after 20 years with the company, retired. His successor was Robert Fortier, the VP, Finance. Fortier began as VP/CFO February 1.

Since September 3, Astral’s five radio stations, NRJ Montréal 94.3, 107,3 Rouge fm, CJAD 800 AM, Virgin Radio 96 and CHOM 97 7, had been broadcasting from the same address, thereby making Astral Radio Montreal Canada’s largest private radio broadcasting centre. Over the past year, Astral Radio had made major investments in its Montreal headquarters in order to make state-of-the-art technology an integral part of its infrastructure. The Astral Radio English-language stations (CJAD 800 AM, Virgin Radio 96 and CHOM 97 7) left their studios on Fort Street to join their French-language counterparts (NRJ Montréal 94.3 and 107,3 Rouge fm) at 1717 René-Lévesque Boulevard East. Astral Radio’s five Montreal stations were now united under one roof, sharing cutting-edge technology in their exceptionally modern and attractive new premises. In addition to uniting the strengths of the five stations, this endeavour brought stations, shows and radio personalities together under one roof.

Kathy Coulombe died at age 56. She was a Newcaster at CJAD/CHOM-FM for more than 30 years, then worked as a Researcher for Radio-Canada International.


On June 27, 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 CHOM-FM.


Angus Mackay (67) passed away in January. He was an announcer at CHOM-FM in its early days and later worked at CJFM Mix 96. Mackay introduced listeners to the likes of Van Morrison, Boz Scaggs and Jackson Browne. He was doing afternoons at CHOM when the station was taken over by FLQ extremists who insisted on broadcasting their demands.

Merv Williams died at age 39 in July. The former producer and announcer worked at all three Standard/Astral Montreal stations: as part of the CHOM morning show, as part of a CJAD trivia feature and working at MIX 96. He left the stations in 2011.


Robert “Tootall” Wagenaar announced he would sign off on September 29 after 40 years with CHOM 97.7. Tootall was the host of Made In Canada for many years. He was the last active announcer to start in CHOM’s original brownstone home at 1355 Greene Avenue.

Tootall did his final show on CHOM after a 40-year run, September 22. On his final show, he was surrounded by friends, colleagues and wellwishers, including Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre.


On November 5, Leslie Sole and Terri Michael (husband and wife) were killed in a car crash in Mexico. Sole began his career at CHOM and then spent 25 years with Rogers Communications. He retired as CEO of Rogers Media Television in 2011. Michael started in radio at CHOM, and went on to work at CHFI, CJEZ, CKFM and CILQ Toronto, and CJBK London.

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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