CKAC-AM, French – Radio Circulation 730, Montréal

CKAC-AM201073050,000Cogeco Inc.
CKAC-AM200573050,000Corus Entertainment
CKAC-AM200273050,000TVA Group/Radio Nord
CKAC-AM199473050,000Radiomédia (Télémédia/Mutuel)
CKAC-AM197873050,000CKAC Ltee. became Télémédia Communications
CKAC-AM197073050,000Desmarais sold Télémédia to de Gaspe Beaubien
CKAC-AM196873050,000CKAC Ltee. (La Presse: Quebec Télémédia Inc.)
CKAC-AM195873050,000La Compagnie de Publication “La Presse” Ltée
CKAC-AM194473010,000La Compagnie de Publication “La Presse” Ltée
CKAC-AM19297305,000La Compagnie de Publication “La Presse” Ltée
CKAC-AM1925730k1,200La Compagnie de Publication “La Presse” Ltée
CKAC-AM19244302,000La Compagnie de Publication “La Presse” Ltée
CKAC-AM19244253,000La Compagnie de Publication “La Presse” Ltée.
CKAC-AM19234303,000La Compagnie de Publication “La Presse” Ltée.
CKAC-AM1920430m2,000La Compagnie de Publication “La Presse” Ltée.
CKAC-AMn/an/an/aLa Compagnie de Publication “La Presse” Ltée.


The Federal Department of Marine and Fisheries adopted new regulations and created a new commercial licence category for private radio broadcasting. Before 1922, all similar licences had been granted solely on an experimental basis.

In April, the Department granted a licence to the La Presse newspaper to operate radio station CKAC, and it did likewise with Marconi (CFCF), Northern Electric (CHYC) and Dupuis Frères.

On May 3, the La Presse newspaper announced that it was going to set up the most powerful radio station in America on the roof of its office building located at 7 St-Jacques Street. The station would operate on 2,000 watts of power at 430 metres. A contract between the Marconi Company and the newspaper was signed on May 2, only a few days after it received the call letters CKAC from the federal authorities.

Jacques-Narcisse Cartier, a journalist and expert radio technician, became the first Director General of CKAC, after having participated in the creation of two radio stations, one in New York City and the other in Philadelphia, in 1920-1921, with David Sarnoff from RCA. He had also been an employee of Guglielmo Marconi, in Nova Scotia, in 1908.
At the time, listeners could purchase a receiving set for about $20.00 and had to acquire a permit, which cost $1.00 per year, in order to listen to their favourite radio broadcasts. It is estimated that about 6,000 permits were issued during the 1922-1923 period. However, not all listeners applied for a permit. 
In September, the first tests of CKAC’s radio broadcasting equipment were conducted.

On September 20, 1922, Evelyn Marengo sang on the air. Several other tests were carried out over the next few days, up until the official launch of the complete program line-up on September 27. Daily programming began at 14:00, with the weather, stock prices from the Montreal and New York Stock Exchanges and the news. The evening programming was broadcast every other day on a rotating basis with CFCF and consisted of tales and short stories, as well as conversations and concerts given by various artists. The station then went off the air at 23:00. Between 1922 and 1924, CKAC was on the air for only 12 hours and 30 minutes per week.

CKAC was officially inaugurated on October 2, in the presence of movie stars Douglas Fairbanks and Canadian-born Mary Pickford. At the time, CKAC was broadcasting in both English and French.

During the fall, the station installed a Casavant organ, just like the ones used in fine concert halls at the time. 

In December, the La Presse newspaper showed how anyone could build their own radio receiving set for only $5.00.


Leonard Spencer helped with the building of CKAC and became technical director this year.


CKAC was off the air for at least eight days at the end of May and beginning of July due to technical problems.

CKAC began broadcasting the weekly program Chantons en français, which became extremely popular. 

On April 5, a series of concerts began airing that assembled large musical ensembles, made up of more than fifty musicians who formed brass and concert bands. The same day and for the first time in the Province of Quebec, CKAC aired a play, which was entitled Félix Poutré written by the playwright Louis Fréchette. 
On June 12, CKAC did the first live broadcast of a musical, the operetta Les Cloches de Corneville, with an orchestra made up of 25 musicians, a choir of 38 singers and professional soloists.

Power increased to 3,000 watts.


CKAC organized contests to boost the station’s listening audience. For example, the station offered a ten-gallon barrel of Frontenac beer to the person who could correctly guess the results in the upcoming municipal elections.

On April 27, a fire that was accidentally started by a photographer, who got recklessly too close to some velvet curtains in the studio, quickly engulfed the entire room. The losses were estimated at about $40,000. The Marconi company graciously permitted CKAC to use the facilities of its CFCF radio station. Two weeks later, CKAC went back on the air on its own. 

J. Arthur Dupont (future owner of CJAD) joined CKAC in March as an announcer. 


On September 15, CKAC broadcast its first educational program over the airwaves, a 30-week piano course given by the internationally renowned Quebec pianist, Emiliano Renaud. 

Successfully overcoming considerable technical challenges, CKAC aired reports from outside their studio during the Federal election campaign that led to the election of Mackenzie King, on October 29. The CKAC team had to move about with portable equipment weighing some 850 kilograms.

On October 19, CKAC broadcast the speeches at a huge political assembly live. The meeting, presided over by Mackenzie King, was held at the Forum and attracted some 18,000 people.

The evening of the vote, October 29, CKAC broadcast the election results live, and was given the role of national broadcaster at the time, as the Federal Government had forbidden all other radio stations in the Province of Quebec and Eastern Canada to broadcast the results, so as to avoid interfering with the reports aired by CKAC.

After the Montreal Canadians Hockey Club refused to allow play-by-play descriptions of the games to be aired from the Forum itself, CKAC decided to regularly broadcast the games from Boston, when the Canadians played against the Bruins, thanks to an agreement with a Springfield-based station. 
CKAC moved to 730 kHz with 1,200 watts power.


Jacques-Narcisse Cartier was struck by tuberculosis and left CKAC. Joseph-Arthur Dupont became the station’s second Director General. 

While up to that point CKAC had only been broadcasting live programming, the station now began to play records on the air before noon, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


On April 7, CKAC aired its first play-by-play description of a Montreal Canadians hockey game, at the beginning of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The announcer, J.-A. Dupont, described the game standing against the boards beside the players’ bench, but he had to move somewhere else, after being injured by a stray puck that hit him in the face.

In October, CKAC began airing a press review entitled Le journal, aujourd’hui, at 23:00.


On May 1, CKAC broadcast its first baseball game from Delorimier Stadium. 
In June, a new allocation of the wavelength range enabled Montreal radio stations to broadcast all day long and simultaneously without any interference. 

CKAC began broadcasting the official time signal, which promptly became a service brought to the audience by a sponsor.

In October, CKAC put a new radio transmitter into service. Erected in Saint-Hyacinthe, it boosts the station’s power from 2,000 watts to 5,000 watts, on a frequency of 730 kilocycles and a 410.7 metre wavelength, thereby becoming the most powerful station in Canada.

CKAC moved its studios to the Bank of Commerce building, located at 980 Sainte-Catherine Street West. The new studios were inaugurated on October 19. 
On September 21, during the Radio Trade Show, CKAC announced that it had entered into an affiliation agreement with the U.S.-based Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) network regarding the exchange of great classical music concerts. 
In December, CKAC signed an agreement with the Government of Quebec to broadcast the legendary educational and musical series called, L’Heure Provinciale, which lasted one hour, and was aired twice a week. The program was a Quebec-based science and arts panel show that aired until 1939.


The station considerably increased its weekly on air time, going from 80 hours in March to 108 hours in November, of which about one hour a day was devoted to news and information. The station went on the air at 9:00 and interrupted its programming between 13:30 and 16:30 in the afternoon. On holidays, such as Good Friday and New Year’s, CKAC did not broadcast any programs at all. The broadcast schedule was tailored moreover to the liturgical holiday calendar.
On May 14, CKAC presented another application to increase its power to 50,000 watts. The station would ultimately receive this authorization, but not until 1958. 
Still in the month of May, Jacques-Narcisse Cartier, who had returned to CKAC after taking care of his tuberculosis, was the only francophone journalist authorized to air reports from the Saint-Hubert landing strip, when the R-100 Zeppelin came to Montreal. He also became the only journalist to undertake the return trip back to England on June 15, aboard the R-100, where he sent daily reports by telegraph to CKAC.

CKAC began broadcasting a one-hour long program devoted to religion called L’heure catholique.


In order to offset the influence of L’Heure Provinciale, the Federal Government had a paid program put onto CKAC’s program schedule, entitled Le Canada en Parade, during which Western music and cowboy songs were aired.


In August, in an attempt to impress its listeners, the station broadcast a program 2,500 feet up in the air, aboard an airplane flying at 95 miles per hour. 
The station’s reach at the time was about 1 million francophone listeners.


Phil L. Lalonde
Phil Lalonde

Phil Lalonde became CKAC’s manager.

CKAC expanded its affiliation agreement with the CBS network to include CBS news, in order to sidestep the Canadian Press news agency embargo on radio stations from using the news that it produced before the end of the evening, in order to not compete with the newspapers who controlled the agency.

On October 5, CKAC announced that it would henceforth be going on the air at 7:40 and would no longer be interrupting its programming between 13:30 and 16:30 in the afternoon. On Sunday, programming would begin at 10:30 in the morning and continue until 23:30 at night. Finally, the station would no longer be off the air on holidays. 


Flavius Daniel joined CKAC.


The Canadian Press news agency began producing a written newscast intended for radio, transmitted by Teletype, the Broadcasting News, in a single English version for all of Canada.

CKAC’s Roger Baulu hosted one of the first radio quiz show in Canada called Radio Encyclopédie.

Studios moved to 980 St. Catherine Street.


On June 26, CKAC launched the news broadcast called Les Nouvelles de Chez Nous at 18:45. Items related to current events in Quebec, across Canada, and in Montreal, as well certain international matters were featured. The news announcer was Albert Duquesne, one of the great actors of his time, who headlined the program for sixteen years.

Louis Leprohon, formerly with La Presse, was named promotion and station relations manager at CKAC. Marcel Sylvain was promoted to the mail division of the station and Andre Daveluy was named chief statistician. 


Slogans: It speaks their language. CKAC Montreal. About 3/4 of Montreal’s population speaks French. CKAC speaks French. Canada’s Busiest Station. (The C, B and S were emphasized for the station’s affiliation with the CBS network) / CKAC Montreal covers 90% of the population of the Province of Quebec. Canada’s busiest station in Canada’s most unique market. The Columbia station in Montreal. 

The Association of Independent Stations of the Province of Quebec was formed at the end of January, with CKAC, CHLP and CFCF Montreal; CHRC and CKCV Quebec; CKCH Hull; CJBR Rimouski; CHNC New Carlisle; CHLT Sherbrooke; CHLN Trois-Rivieres; and CKRN Rouyn as members. Phil Lalonde of CKAC was elected president; Narcisse Thivierge, CHRC, vice-president; Alex Dupont, CKCH and Marcel Lefebvre, CHLP, directors.

On September 9, the day before Canada declared war on Germany, radio station CKAC announced the creation of a permanent newsroom. This newsroom was supplied from several international sources, which included the American CBS network and the British United Press. CKAC was then broadcasting four 15-minute newscasts per day, as well as 5-minute bulletins on the hour. CKAC did double duty in reporting the European war situation through its CBS facilities. A few minutes after each news report was broadcast in English it was repeated in French.

CKAC purchased an RCA 5,000 watt transmitter which it expected to have operating around February 15, 1940. The new transmitter was part of the station’s modernizing program which also included renovation of the studios.

During the week of October 15-22, CKAC claimed an all-time record for North American radio when it reported that every minute of broadcast time between 6:00 p.m. and midnight for that period, was sold.


Through special arrangement with British United Press, CKAC had its own European representative. James Crandall was a veteran newspaper correspondent. CKAC, affiliated with La Presse, North America’s largest French-language newspaper, specialized in news coverage.

CKAC celebrated the inauguration of its new modern studios (at the existing St. Catharine Street facility) and new RCA transmitter (at St-Hyacinthe). Montreal’s mayor proclaimed April 20-27 as “CKAC Week”. Besides the inaugural program from the new facilities, CKAC started several new French-language programs. Associated newspaper, La Presse, devoted several pages of its April 20 edition to promote the station’s new facilities.

Marie-Therese Lenoi was music, transcription and record librarian, pianist-accompanist, soloist and arranger. Roy Malouin was known as CKAC’s singing announcer. Yves Bourassa left CKAC as program director to work at Radio Programme Producers. He was succeeded by Henry Letondal. Ferdinand Biondi of the CKAC production staff was named chief of that department. Announcer Bernard Goulet joined CKAC from CHLP. Marcel Sylvain also joined the announce staff, now headed by Roy Malouin. Armand Gravel was named office staff manager. 

Traffic manager Flavius Daniel was promoted to director of publicity and news. 


Under the Havana Treaty, CKAC was to move from 730 to 900 kHz (Class II) with 5,000 watts of power. The treaty was adjusted and CKAC would remain on 730 kHz (Class II) with 5,000 watts when other stations across North America were to change dial positions on March 29.

L.R. Beaudoin joined CKAC’s news department. Paul Corbeil became CKAC’s program director. He had been the chief organizer-director of CJBR Rimouski. Louis Leprohon, CKAC salesman, was promoted to national and local sales manager. It was announced April 3 by manager Phil Lalonde that Paul Lane Carpentier, from Breboeuf College, was added to the announcing staff. Phil Lalonde was named director of the C.A.B.


Marcel Sylvain left CKAC announce staff to work for a production company. 

CKAC marked its 20th anniversary with a special program on October 3 from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. “CKAC Cavalcade” covered the 20 years of service the station had offered its audience. Another special program aired earlier that evening (7:30 p.m.) and was exclusively made up of former staff members, including Henri Letondal, Roger and Marcel Baulu, Marcel Pare, Marcel Sylvain and others.

Phil Lalonde was station director. Roy Malouin was chief announcer. 


Some advertising slogans used by CKAC at this time: “CKAC – The Social Centre of French Canada” and “Quebec’s Timepiece is CKAC”. 

CKAC began subscribing to the Canadian Press news service.


CKAC’s director, Phil LaLonde, was elected president of the Quebec Association of Private Broadcasters.

Phil Lalonde was managing director. Paul Gelinas was publicity director. Andre Daveluy was sales promotion and personnel manager. Jean Lalonde was musical director. Bernard Goulet was a master of ceremonies and Roy Malouin was an announcer. Beatrice Parenteau left for CKRC Winnipeg to become sales promotion director. Alain Gravel was doing news on CKAC. The former CKAC announcer was back after two years overseas with the BBC.

CKAC announced that as soon as it could get the needed equipment from the U.S. it would start experimental television work – likely after the war. 

News commentator L.R. Beaudoin left CKAC. He would later become a Member of Parliament. 


CKAC’s request for a power increase to 50,000 watts was turned down.

Marcel Ciguere was sound effects engineer. Announcer Louis Belanger left for the War Auxiliary Services. He had been a regular at CKAC for six years and was with CKCV before that. Georges Bourassa took over CKAC’s sales department. He had worked in the past at CKCH in Hull, and replaced Louis Leprohon. Paul Guy left CKAC to return to CJCA in Edmonton. 

Louis E. Leprohon left CKAC as commercial manager for the F.H. Hayhurst Co. Ltd. 

When CJAD Radio signed on the air in December, it had proposed to share the Columbia (CBS) franchise with CKAC. CJAD would carry English programs and musicals with English announcements while CKAC would air musicals with French announcements. The CBC board denied this request by CJAD. 


Four Canadian stations had their applications for 50,000 watts of power turned down: CKAC, CFRB Toronto, CFCN Calgary and CKY Winnipeg.


George Bourassa, former national sales representative of CKAC, was appointed sales manager. He had been with CKAC since the summer of 1945. Roy Malouin was assistant manager. Len Spencer was chief engineer. Ferdinand Biondi, Barney Goulet, Bob Jouglet, Jean Lalonde, Andre Daveluy and Paul Gelinas were all department heads. Paul Corbeil left CKAC.

CKAC was granted a 1,000 watt FM licence. 


Noel Croteau was a scriptwriter at CKAC.

CKAC was to broadcast all Saturday games of the Montreal Royals baseball team throughout the 1947 International League season. Michel Normandin would do play-by-play. Montreal mayor Camillien Houde announced his intent to do a series of broadcasts over CKAC. 

CKAC was getting ready to celebrate its 25th anniversary on September 27. The station planned to begin operating 24 hours a day on that date. The station was adding new staff as a result of the planned increase in operating hours. The new overnight program would feature written and telephoned music requests. 

CKAC applied for temporary allocation of 10,000 watts on 730 kHz and permanent power of 50,000 watts on 730 kHz, directional. In December, the application was deferred to provide an opportunity for further study including consideration of the technical factors involved.

CKAC was granted a 1,000 watt FM licence.


In January, the CBC Board gave CKAC the green light for 50,000 watts – the second such granting for a private station, after CFRB in Toronto. The board recommended against CKAC’s proposal to operate on a temporary basis with 10,000 watts. It cited interference concerns because CKAC proposed to operate with a non-directional antenna at 10 kW.

Harry Sedgwick, founder of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters in its present form (1948) and the chairman of the board since 1934, stepped down in favour of CFRN’s Dick Rice. Rice had been honorary president. Sedgwick would remain as a CAB director. CKAC’s Phil Lalonde became honorary president. The post of general manager, made vacant by the resignation of Harry Dawson, went to Jim Allard, who started in radio in 1935 on CJCA, where he worked under Percy Gayner, Tiny Elphicke and Gordon Henry.

CKAC was hoping to be operating at 10,000 watts by the end of May and then 50,000 watts in the late fall.

When CKAC started in 1922, it had a manager and two assistants. The station now had over a hundred employees divided between some 60 different departments. CKAC claimed to having discovered close to 75% of the best-known present day French-Canadian radio stars.

The station expected to be operating at 10,000 watts daytime in June. That would be upped to 50,000 watts day and night at some point in 1949.

A June advertisement promoted the fact the station was now at 10,000 watts.

The CBC’s first hearings on Television in Montreal were scheduled for October. In the early going, two applications had been received: Canadian Marconi Co. (CFCF) and La Presse Publishing Co. (CKAC).

Paul Gelinas, publicity manager for CKAC, was appointed director of the station’s news and information service. He joined CKAC in 1940 as staff writer in the publicity department. After chores in the traffic and studio departments, he was appointed publicity manager in 1942. Mike Normandin did sports at CKAC.

Applications to bring television to Canada, starting with Toronto and Montreal were turned down by the CBC Board of Governors. Applicants included CFRB, CKEY, Al Leary and Famous Players Canadian Corp. at Toronto; and CFCF and CKAC for Montreal. The applications were shelved because the CBC had no money to enter the television game.


On December 4, the Reverend Lionel Groulx, a staunch nationalist, recorded the first in a series of weekly 15-minute long radio talks on the history of French Canada. He was 71 years old and at the height of his career as a historian. The series was sponsored by the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal. It would eventually total about one hundred episodes by 1951. Recorded on 17 LPs (that are kept today in the Lionel-Groulx Research Centre archives), they were widely broadcast throughout the rest of French Canada, in New Brunswick, Ontario and Western Canada.

The applications for new television stations (CKEY, CFRB, Famous Players and Al Leary for Toronto; and CFCF and CKAC for Montreal) were again deferred by the CBC Board of Governors.

The CBC deferred CKAC’s application to use 50,000 watts directional at a new location, with a temporary power of 10,000 watts on 730 kHz.

Phil Lalonde was manager and Georges Bourrassa was commercial manager.


The CKAC newsroom was then made up of a permanent team of six reporters and was broadcasting 25 newscasts per day, with the assistance of three press agencies, Great Britain’s United Press, Agence France-Presse and Canadian Press.On October 1, one of the most popular programs in CKAC’s history saw the light of day, Le chapelet en famille. Every evening at 19:00, for 19 years, all Montreal would turn on the radio to listen to Cardinal Leger recite prayers live from the Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral. The audience reaction was astonishing. On December 9, 1950, Le Devoir reported that 154,487 families, representing 65% of the total population of the Montreal diocese, prayed the rosary daily. In the space of two months, the station received more than 1,000 letters of congratulations, about one hundred of which were addressed to the archbishop. At the celebration of the first anniversary of the first broadcast of the praying of the rosary on the air, more than 10,000 people attended a ceremony at place d’Armes.

CKAC was then broadcasting on 10,000 watts of power during the day and 5,000 watts at night, and was by now broadcasting entirely in French.

Lucien Roy left CKAC to become French services director of British United Press.


Flavius Daniel left CKAC to manage CHLP. He joined CKAC in 1934 in the publicity, news and commercial departments. In the end, he was doing public relations for the station. 


CKAC received a Medal from the Académie Française for the quality of the language spoken over the air for all its programming. 

Slogan: Canada’s busiest station. 

The French Academy of Paris awarded CKAC with a medal of merit for its aid in promoting the French language in Canada.

CKAC joined the RTNDA. Paul Boudreau was news director. 


Manager Phil Lalonde marked 25 years in the radio business. Paul Boudreau was in the news department.


Slogan: The pioneer of French radio in America.

Pamphile R. DuTremblay died October 6 at the age of 76. In 1921, he started CKAC, Canada’s first French language radio station, as an affiliate of his La Presse newspaper. Twelve years later, another French language newspaper presided over by DuTremblay, obtained CHLP. He became a Member of Parliament, member of the Legislative Council for Quebec, and was appointed to the Senate.

Andre Daveluy was in the sales department. Robert Jouglet was director of sales promotion. 


According to the Elliot-Haynes ratings service, CKAC had the greatest number of steady listeners in Canada – 1,056,408 listeners, daily.

CKAC again applied to increase its power to 50,000 watts day and night. Power was now 10,000 watts day and 5,000 watts night on 730 kHz.


CKAC operated on 730 kHz with a power of 10,000 watts day and 5,000 watts night and was a CBS affiliate. Ownership of La Compagnie de Publication “La Presse” Ltee: Mrs. A. DuTramblay 0.1%, Gilles Berthiaume 0.1%, J. L. Dansereau 0.1%, C. A. Berthiaume 0.1%, Mrs. A. DuTremblay (trustee of the estate of Hon. T. Berthiaume) 1.0%, Mrs. A. DuTremblay G. Berthiaume and J. L. Dansereau (executors of the estate of Hon. T. Bertheaume) 98.6%.

Mrs. A. DuTremblay was president of the company and Phil Lalonde was CKAC’s manager. Guy D’Arcy and Mario Verdon were announcers. Maurice Dejardins was a technician and Len Spence was Chief Engineer.

CKAC received federal approval to increase its power to 50,000 watts.


On March 16, CKAC started broadcasting from its new 50,000 watt transmitter, located 30 miles west of Montreal at St. Joseph du Lac. It was designed and manufactured by Canadian General Electric. The facility was opened by Cardinal Leger. The official opening was to take place some time in June. Two 337 foot towers were used. Ad related to the power increase: CKAC – now 50,000 watts! 5 times more power for us. More sales for you. The most listened to station in Canada. 

The station received permission to operate a 10,000 watt standby transmitter.

According to Elliott-Haynes CKAC reached a total of 973,496 adult listeners every day. 

With the Board of Broadcast Governors replacing the CBC as regulator, many parties were awaiting the lifting of the TV ban…in Montreal two channels were available and the following expressed interest in obtaining a TV licence: CKAC and CKVL (both French), CFCF and CJAD (both English). 

CKAC installed a new 50,000 watts Canadian General Electric transmitter. 


La Compagnie de Publication de “La Presse” Ltee applied to operate a new French-language TV station (channel 10) in Montreal. The licence was awarded to Paul L’Anglais & Associates (CFTM). An English licence was awarded to Canadian Marconi (CFCF).

Former CKAC news editor Gabriel LaSalle died March 13 at age 40. 

Real Giguere was an announcer at CKAC.

Mid 60’s

CKAC’s studios were moved to 1400 Metcalfe Street.


Paul-Emile Corbeil died January 11. He started CFCF in 1925 and then worked at the CRBC/CBC between 1935 and 1941. He joined CKAC in 1941 as program director and left in 1945 to form his own production company. 

Maurice Chartre was president of the company and Fernand Dore was CKAC’s manager.

In 1967, Paul Desmarais purchased the La Presse newspaper and thereby became the owner of CKAC.

CKAC (The Voice of French Canada) and parent “La Presse” were acquired by Paul G. Desmarais (Trans-Canada Corp.). La Presse had been owned by the Berthiaume family since 1889. The deal with Desmarais first required approval from the Quebec Legislature because of (Bertheiaume) family squabbles in the early 1960’s. As a result of the problems, the government had restricted ownership of La Presse to Berthiaume family members until 1975. 


Andre Ouimet, newly appointed general manager, passed away.

Approval was given for the transfer of 7,500 common and 5,000 preferred shares of La Compagnie de Publication de la Presse Ltee from the present shareholders to Trans-Canada Corp. Fund. 


A special Federal Senate committee, the Davey Committee, began examining media concentration in Canada. Its report was published in 1970.

La Compagnie de la Presse Ltee was granted a new charter for the operation of CKAC, to be known as CKAC Ltee. The following appointments were announced after the company’s first shareholder’s meeting: Paul Desmarais (president), Jean Parisien (executive vice president), Gaston Meloche (secretary), Edmond Deslauriers (treasurer) and Jacques-M. Goulet (director). Goulet would continue to be general manager of CKAC. 

Studios and offices were at 1400 Metcalfe Street.

Slogan: French Canada’s influential radio. 

Jacques-M. Goulet, general manager, was appointed president of CKAC Ltee. He would also continue on as the station’s manager. Goulet had been with the station since 1967, coming aboard as commercial manager. 


The La Presse newspaper sold radio station CKAC to Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien, who would later form Groupe Télémédia.
With the arrival of the Montreal Expos baseball club, on April 14, CKAC began broadcasting the play-by-play description of the games, which would continue until spring 2004. The announcer, Jacques Doucet, became the club’s official voice, describing the games until the Expos eventually left Montreal at the end of the 2003-2004 season.

On November 1, The Service des Nouvelles Sonores de Telemedia (SNS) began providing French language voice service to CKAC, CKCV, CKCH, CHLN and CHLT. Stations were joined together by CN-CP Broadband. 


Power Corp. sold a controlling interest in CKAC (CKAC Ltee) and a number of other stations to Philippe de Gaspe Beaubien’s Telemedia (Quebec) Ltee (owned by Telemedia Communications Ltee, in turn owned by Beaudem Ltee). CKAC was first sold to La Corporation des Veleurs Trans-Canada Ltee before going to Telemedia. Power would retain through ownership debentures, a large financial interest in the new company for a period of time. Philippe de Gaspe Beaubien would control more than 80% of the votes of the company.

For more than 25 years thousands of French listeners faithfully tuned to CKAC to hear the 15 minute program, Le Chaplet, the recitation of the Rosary. Station management in announcing the re-vamping of programming, said the program would be dropped on September 30 because the audience for the 7 p.m. broadcast had dropped 72%. Listeners were outraged at the loss. Jack Tietolman stepped in and the broadcast was heard as of October 1, in stereo, at 9 p.m. on his CKVL-FM.


The Telemedia Radio Network (Le Réseau Télémedia) was formed. CKAC was the flagship. It was joined by Telemedia stations CHLN Trois-Rivieres, CHLT Sherbrooke and CKCH Hull. The network would enable the smaller stations to improve their national and international news services. 


The program Le Festival de l’humour québécois began with Tex Lecor, Roger Joubert, Louis-Paul Allard and Pierre Labelle. It would air for 15 years. 


Roger Baulu and Jacques Normand launched the program Les Couche-tôt broadcast on Sundays from 20:00 to midnight. The program would remain on the air until 1980.


On May 16, Telmed Ltee, CKCV (Quebec) Ltee, CKAC Ltee, CHLT Radio Sherbrooke Ltee, Metro-Media Communications (1977) Ltee and Telemedia Communications Ltee received approval to amalgamate under the name of Telemedia Communications Ltee., a wholly owned subsidiary of Beaudem Ltee. Telemedia would then become the direct licensee of the six AM and three FM stations it already controlled in Quebec.

Telemedia launched CITE-FM.


Telemedia had its radio network licence renewed for two years, but was told to meet its commitment to provide news services. The network was established on the premise that it would offer its stations improved national and international news coverage, leaving each affiliate free to concentrate on local news. Telemedia was to maintain at least nine hours of news a week and told to strengthen local news service.


Normand Beauchamp, who was vice president of sales for Telemedia, became vice president of Telemedia Communications Ltee and executive v. p. of Opex Communications Ltd., Telemedia’s sales arm.


Over the past year, Telemedia expanded in to Ontario with the purchase of a number of stations, including CKFH Toronto, which became CJCL. CJCL began feeding newscasts four times a day to the other Telemedia Ontario stations, and was now exchanging news with CKAC and the other Telemedia Quebec stations.


The following Telemedia appointments were announced: Andre Bureau to president of Telemedia Ventures; John Van de Kamer to president of Telemedia Canada (publishing and broadcasting); Pierre Morrissette to senior v. p. for finance and administration; and Normand Beauchamp to president of Telemedia Communications broadcast group.


On February 13, the CRTC approved the application by Télémédia Communications Inc. for a French-language AM radio network licence consisting of CKAC Montreal and CJMT Chicoutimi, for the purpose of broadcasting the open-line program “Vie de Couple”, Mondays to Fridays from 1:45 PM to 3:15 PM and “Roger Baulu”, a program of interest to senior citizens, which would be broadcast weekly, on Sundays from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM. 

Normand Beauchamp and Paul-Emile Baulne left for Radio Mutuel. Pierre Beland, previously vice president of Telemedia’s FM division became president of the company. Jacques Lina became vice president of Telemedia. Pierre Arcand was named vice president and general manager of CKAC. Andre Gagnon was named vice president of network operations. 


On November 22, CKAC broadcast The Leaders Debate between Robert Bourassa, head of the Liberal Party and Pierre-Marc Johnson, the Parti Québécois leader, with Pierre Pascau as the moderator. On December 2, Robert Bourassa was elected with an overwhelming majority.

Appointments at Telemedia Broadcasting Systems: Len Bramson was promoted to chairman and Don Pagnutti was named executive vice president. At Telemedia Inc., John Van de Kamer, president and formerly CEO, was named CEO. Promoted to president, Telemedia Communications Inc. divisions were Pierre Beland (Quebec) and Peter Viner (Ontario).

Telemedia Quebec named CKAC vice president and general manager Pierre Arcand, head of the AM division in the province. 

Claude Beaudoin left Tele-Capitale in Quebec City where he had been executive vice president and general manager. He returned to Montreal to become executive vice president for Telemedia Quebec, responsible for all radio operations and sales. 


Former premier Rene Levesque was now a daily commentator on CKAC.


CKAC was now known as “CKAC-73 La Superstation”. The name replaced the longtime flower logo.


On January 8, the CRTC approved the affiliation of CKAC to the French-language AM radio network “Réseau des Nordiques” to be operated by Les Entreprises de Radiodiffusion de la Capitale Inc. for the purpose of broadcasting the hockey games of the Quebec Nordiques.

Liza Frulla-Hebert became vice president and general manager of CKAC. 

Claude Beaudoin was appointed president of Telemedia Communications, the Quebec division of Telemedia. He replaced Pierre Beland, who left the company as a result of a successful bid with former associate Pierre Arcand to purchase CFCF-AM and CFQR-FM from CFCF Inc.


Peter D. Viner and Claude Beaudoin were appointed executive vice-presidents of Telemedia Inc. In addition to their other positions, Viner was named chief operating officer for Telemedia West, and Beaudoin, chief operating officer for Telemedia East.


CKAC relocated its studios and offices to a new downtown location at 1411 Peel Street. The new facilities included two Arrakis 10,000 consoles, a 30 input on-air console and an 8 track production board. 

Both the Radiomutuel and Telemedia networks increased their programming hours to provide all-night service. RM would now schedule 73.5 hours weekly, while TM would have 82 hours weekly.


On September 30, Télémédia Communications and Radiomutuel Inc. announced a strategic alliance merging their AM stations and creating the Radiomédia network. This operation would lead to a vast reorganization in the world of radio across the Province of Quebec.


On March 27, the CRTC approved the application by Radiomédia S.E.N.C. for authority to acquire the assets of CKAC from Télémédia Communications Inc. The Commission also approved the application for a licence to operate a French-language AM radio news network for the purpose of broadcasting newscasts, public affairs programs and sports programs in place of the AM news network that had been operated by Télémédia. The Commission issued licences to the partners of Radiomédia S.E.N.C., including Télémédia Communications Inc. and Radiomutuel Inc. (Radiomédia S.E.N.C.), expiring August 31, 1999. These applications were filed with the Commission in the context of a major restructuring of the AM broadcasting undertakings of Télémédia and Radiomutuel Inc. in the province of Quebec, announced on September 30, 1994. Under this restructuring, six AM radio stations were closed: CJMS Montréal, CJRP Quebec City, CJTR Trois-Rivières, CJRS Sherbrooke, CJMT Chicoutimi and CKCH Hull. Radiomédia S.E.N.C. argued that this restructuring had become necessary, due in part to the difficult economic situation AM radio had been facing for a number of years and the significant losses it had incurred. It noted in particular that, between 1989 and 1993, AM radio in Quebec as a whole posted cumulative losses of more than $60 million, close to 50% of which was borne by Télémédia and Radiomutuel. It added that, during this period, advertising revenues declined by 33%, and that the situation was apparently not about to improve, notwithstanding certain measures that had been taken to rationalize operations. The applicant stated that, in the circumstances, it had come to the conclusion that it would have to regroup and retrench its AM radio holdings in Quebec if it were to maintain an adequate level of service. It decided to implement this plan by retaining a single AM station in each region, the one with the best frequency and capable of reaching the widest audience, and by creating a new AM network, the Radiomédia network, anchored by two stations owned equally by Télémédia and Radiomutuel, namely CKAC Montréal and CHRC Quebec City. The applicant also decided to establish a news agency, Radiomédia Information, with CKAC as the flagship station, to provide the Radiomédia network stations with a news service operating 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Radiomédia S.E.N.C. was a general partnership owned equally by Télémédia and Radiomutuel. In this regard, the applicant noted at the hearing that Télémédia and Radiomutuel had not merged their respective undertakings; it added that, with the exception of CKAC and CHRC, AM stations maintained in operation following the restructuring would be affiliated to the Radiomédia network and would continue to be owned by Télémédia or Radiomutuel as the case may be. It also noted that the FM stations of Télémédia and Radiomutuel were likewise unaffected by the restructuring, and would continue to compete in their respective markets. In addition to producing 50 hours 30 minutes per week of programs for the Radiomédia network, CKAC would also produce 75 hours 30 minutes per week of local programs directed to the metropolitan Montréal area. This production included 6 hours 36 minutes per week of local and regional news and 10 hours of provincial, national and international news which CKAC would also provide to the Radiomédia network. The balance of the network’s programming would be composed of public affairs, magazine programs and open-line talk shows dealing with sports.

In September, the program Deux psys à l’écoute with Dr. Pierre Mailloux was launched. The program would remain on the air until 2002.


CKAC won the radio broadcast rights to the Montreal Canadians’ hockey games.

Effective June 1, Louise Roy took over as president and CEO of Telemedia. She had been with the company since 1994 and succeeded James McCoubrey. Claude Beaudoin was now in charge of all of Telemedia Broadcasting, succeeding Rob Hewett.


CKAC signed an agreement with the Montreal Alouettes football team to broadcast all their games.


Jean Martin was appointed president and general manager of Radiomedia in Montreal. He had been associated with Telemedia for 18 years, in senior capacities.

On May 16, Télémédia confirmed that it had reached an agreement to sell its 11 radio stations in the Province of Quebec, including CKAC and the FM Rock Détente network, and eight other stations located in the Maritime Provinces, to Montreal-based Astral Media for $255 million.

On December 21, the Federal Competition Commissioner announced that he would oppose, via the Competition Bureau, Astral Media’s acquisition of the eight French-language radio stations (six FM stations and two AM stations) belonging to Télémédia located in the Province of Quebec and the acquisition of the 50% stake held by Télémédia in Radiomédia, which included CKAC (Montreal) and CHRC (Quebec City).


Notwithstanding the Competition Commissioner’s opposition, on April 19 the CRTC approved the application to transfer control of the Télémédia stations to Astral Media, provided however that Astral Media divest itself, in favour of an eventual purchaser, of radio station CFOM-FM (Lévis), which Astral already owned.

On August 12, the program Deux psys à l’écoute became Doc Mailloux, still featuring the psychiatrist Pierre Mailloux.

On September 3, the Competition Bureau announced that it had reached an agreement to resolve the problems of competition raised by Astral Media’s plan to purchase Télémédia’s radio stations in the Province of Quebec. According to the agreement, the AM stations belonging to the two companies in each of the six markets at issue would have to be sold. On the other hand, Astral could keep the four FM stations from Télémédia’s Rock Détente network, as well as radio station CFOM-FM (Lévis).

Pursuant to the Competition Bureau’s decision on December 21, 2001, Astral Media announced on September 12 that it had sold seven French-language stations to a new company created jointly by Groupe TVA and Radio Nord Communications, for $12.7 million. Besides the Montreal radio station CKAC, the new company (60% owned by TVA and 40% by Radio Nord Communications) thereby purchased all of Astral’s French-language AM radio stations in the Province of Quebec, namely, CJRC (Hull/Gatineau), CKRS (Saguenay), CHLT (Sherbrooke), CHLN (Trois-Rivières) and CHRC (Quebec City). It also acquired CFOM-FM (Lévis). With this transaction, Quebecor, the owner of Groupe TVA, made its entry into the radio arena.


In March, the station announced that it had reached an agreement with the Montreal Impact soccer team to broadcast the team’s games.

On July 2, the CRTC refused its approval of the transaction between Astral Media and Groupe TVA/Radio-Nord on account of its concerns regarding ownership concentration and cross-media ownership.

On September 2, the Astral Media group announced that this time it had sold the stations that the CRTC had refused to transfer to TVA/Radio-Nord for $12 million. The new owners would be Gaétan Morin, a schoolbook publisher, and Sylvain Chamberland, a radio personality who was then Director General of CKAC.


On February 13, a new development took place in the sale of radio station CKAC, when the buyers Gaétan Morin and Sylvain Chamberland withdrew their offer to purchase, thereby forcing Astral Media to find a new buyer in order to comply with its agreement with the Competition Bureau.

Meanwhile, on March 23, the broadcast of the Montreal Expos’ baseball games, which had been airing on CKAC for 35 years, was transferred to the FM station 98.5 (CHMP-FM – Formerly CIEL-FM and COOL-FM) belonging to Corus Entertainment.

On March 30, Astral Media announced an agreement with Corus Entertainment to sell them seven AM stations, including CKAC, and radio station CFOM (FM) in Quebec City. In return, Corus would transfer to Astral five FM stations, located outside the major urban areas in the Province of Quebec. According to Corus’ plans, radio station CKAC would become a station specializing in sports and health.

On February 13, a new development took place in the sale of radio station CKAC, when the buyers Gaétan Morin and Sylvain Chamberland withdrew their offer to purchase, thereby forcing Astral Media to find a new buyer in order to comply with its agreement with the Competition Bureau.

Meanwhile, on March 23, the broadcast of the Montreal Expos’ baseball games, which had been airing on CKAC for 35 years, was transferred to the FM station 98.5 (CHMP-FM – Formerly CIEL-FM and COOL-FM) belonging to Corus Entertainment.

On March 30, Astral Media announced an agreement with Corus Entertainment to sell them seven AM stations, including CKAC, and radio station CFOM (FM) in Quebec City. In return, Corus would transfer to Astral five FM stations, located outside the major urban areas in the Province of Quebec. According to Corus’ plans, radio station CKAC would become a station specializing in sports and health.


On January 21, the CRTC authorized the purchase of CKAC by Corus Entertainment, along with the Radiomedia Network, CHRC Quebec City, CJRC Gatineau, CKRS Saguenay, CHLN Trois-Rivières, CHLT Sherbrooke, CKTS Sherbrooke and CFOM-FM Lévis. In return, Corus Entertainment transferred to Astral Media five FM stations, namely, CJOI-FM Rimouski, CIKI-FM Rimouski, CFVM-FM Amqui, CFZZ-FM Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and CJDM-FM Drummondville. 

On February 18, the CKAC Employees Union decided to appeal to the Federal Cabinet regarding the CRTC’s decision to authorize the sale of CKAC to Corus Entertainment.

On April 18, the Federal Cabinet announced its rejection of the CKAC Employees Union’s appeal, thereby giving definitive approval to the sale of CKAC to Corus Entertainment.

On May 30, after 80 years of existence, CKAC closed down its newsroom. As of this date, the newscasts would be broadcast from Corus Nouvelles in the studios of Info 690. About 20 CKAC journalists thus lost their jobs.


Effective July 15, all of the Corus Montreal (CINW-AM, CINF-AM, CKAC-AM, CFQR-FM, CHMP-FM, and CKOI-FM) stations came under the same roof at 800, rue De La Gauchetiere Ouest , Bureau 1100.


On April 2, CKAC switched from its long-time newstalk format to all sports.


On August 27, the CRTC renewed CKAC’s licence until August 31, 2016. The licensee commits to broadcasting no less than 2 hours of 10 minutes of sports news in each broadcast week. The licensee commits to broadcasting 40 hours of local programming each week.

On August 28, the CRTC renewed the transitional digital radio licence of CKAC-DR-2.


On April 30th, Corus Entertainment Inc. announced that they had reached an agreement with Cogeco Inc. for Cogeco to purchase the Corus Quebec radio stations: CKOI-FM , CKAC-AM, CHMP-FM and CFQR-FM Montreal , CFOM-FM102.9 and CFEL-FM Quebec City, CJRC-FM Gatineau , CIME-FM St-Jérôme, CHLT-FM and CKOY-FM Sherbrooke, and CHLN-FM Trois Rivieres. The deal would be subject to CRTC approval. 

History was made in May when the American League game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Texas Rangers was called in French. Jeremy Filosa and Alex Agostino of CKAC broadcast two games in French for the first time in Blue Jays history.

On December 17, the CRTC approved the transfer of various commercial radio programming undertakings from Corus Entertainment Inc. to Cogeco inc. The Commission received an application by Corus Entertainment Inc., on behalf of its wholly owned subsidiaries 591991 B.C. Ltd. and Metromedia CMR Broadcasting Inc., to transfer their shares and effective control from Corus to Cogeco inc. or one of its wholly owned subsidiaries (the proposed transaction). 591991 B.C. was the licensee of the French-language commercial radio programming undertakings CFOM-FM Lévis, CFEL-FM Lévis/Québec, CHLT-FM and CKOY-FM Sherbrooke, CKAC Montréal, CJRC-FM Gatineau and CHLN-FM Trois-Rivières. Metromedia was the licensee of the French-language commercial radio programming undertakings CKOI-FM Montréal, CHMP-FM Longueuil, CIME-FM Saint-Jérôme and its transmitters CIME-FM-1 Val-Morin and CIME-FM-2 Mont-Tremblant, and CFQR-FM Montréal, an English-language commercial radio programming undertaking. Following the proposed transaction, effective control of 591991 B.C. and Metromedia would be exercised by Cogeco, a corporation controlled by Gestion Audem inc. The CRTC approved, by majority decision, Cogeco’s request to be granted an exception to the Common Ownership Policy in relation to the number of radio stations that it is authorized to operate in the Montréal radio market. For the record, Cogeco already operated CFGL-FM in the Montreal market. The Commission denied Cogeco’s request to convert CKOY-FM Sherbrooke into a rebroadcasting transmitter for CKAC. The Commission considered that such a conversion would result in the loss of a local voice in the market and that it would not represent the best use of the frequency occupied by CKOY-FM. Further, to ensure that Cogeco remained at all times in compliance with the Policy as it related to the number of radio stations a licensee might operate in a given market, the Commission required that Cogeco divest itself of CKOY-FM no later than one year from the date of this decision and that in the interim ownership and control of the station be transferred to a trustee pursuant to terms of the voting trust agreement addressed in Broadcasting Decision 2010-943, also issued today. 


After the deal was closed for Cogeco’s purchase of Corus Quebec, these appointments were announced: Richard Lachance was promoted to senior VP, Radio; Monique Lacharite to VP of control, administration and human resources; André St-Amand to VP of programming; Jean-Luc Meilleur to VP of regional stations and general manager of 105.7 Rythme FM; Real Germain, GM of CKAC Montreal and Cogeco News; Daniel Dubois, VP, sales; and François Birtz, GM of technology, IT and operations.

CKAC morning host Paul Arcand signed a long-term contract to continue in that position at the sports and Cogeco News station. 

On September 6, CKAC became Radio Circulation 730, a station entirely dedicated to traffic, road work and weather in the Greater Montréal area. Existing CKAC sports programming was transferred in part to 98.5 FM. 

On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CKAC-DR-2 to April 30, 2012.


On April 23, the CRTC administratively renewed the broadcasting licence for digital radio programming undertaking CKAC-DR-2 until August 31, 2012.

In November, Henri Audet, founder of Cogeco cable died at age 94. Trained as an engineer, Audet left a job at the CBC to launch a TV station in Trois-Riviére. He sold his house and raised $100,000 from friends and other investors as seed money. From that single television station the company became Canada’s fourth-largest cable company and one of Quebec’s largest media companies. Audet served as president of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters from 1961 to 1964, and was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1984. Control of Cogeco Inc. and its direct and indirect subsidiaries was held by Gestion Audem Inc., a holding company whose shares were held entirely by the members of the family of Henri Audet.


Jacques Proulx died at age 78 in December. He was the morning show host at CKAC from 1968 to 1987, and retired from the station in 2000. 


Normand Beauchamp died at the age of 72. He began his broadcasting career with Télémédia where he became president in 1982. Between 1984 and 2000, he was president, chairman and CEO of Radiomutuel. Beauchamp was a member of the board of directors of Astral Media from 2000 to 2004.


In April, CKAC became available in HD via CFGL-FM-HD2.

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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