CKBE-FM, The Beat 92.5, Montréal

Cogeco Inc.

CKBE-FM201192.550,000Cogeco Inc.
CFQR-FM201092.550,000Cogeco Inc.
CFQR-FM200092.550,000Corus Entertainment Inc.
CFQR-FM199092.550,000Metromedia CMR Broadcasting Inc.
CFQR-FM197292.541,400Multiple Access Ltd.
CFQR-FM196692.541,400Canadian Marconi Company
CFCF-FM1947106.57,700Canadian Marconi Ltd.
CFCX-FM1940n/an/aCanadian Marconi Ltd.


An experimental FM licence was granted to Canadian Marconi Co. of Montreal – the first issued for FM broadcasting in Canada. The licence would allow experimental use of the station with all programs supplied by the CBC. At this time, the CBC had not decided if it would retain FM for itself or throw it open to independent operators. The call sign for the Marconi station was VE9CM, operating on 43.7 MHz with 2,000 watts of power. In addition, Marconi was given a 25 watt FM licence for use with the construction of FM receivers. Similar licences had been issued for Toronto to Stromberg-Carlson (owner of WHAM Rochester, NY) and Rogers (CFRB). 


Experimental FM station VE9CM went on the air. The station was owned by the Canadian Marconi Co. and was one of the country’s pioneer FM’s. The 25 watt transmitter was located at the Marconi factory in the town of Mount Royal. The city of Montreal was not served by the the FM outlet because Mount Royal stood between the factory and the downtown area. The station carried the programs of CFCF-AM except for those affected by the AF of M ban on simultaneous AM and FM transmissions of live music. 


The first licence for a commercial high powered FM station in Canada was issued to Canadian Marconi Co., according to the company’s general manager, S.M. Finlayson. In conjunction with CFCF (AM), the FM station would operate on 106.5 MHz and be located in the Sun Life Building. The tower would be some 400 feet above the city streets. Service was expected to commence in early 1947.


In the spring, Canadian Marconi was in the process of installing a 3,000 watt transmitter in the Sun Life Building for CFCM-FM. A new 5,000 watt transmitter was also being installed for CFCF-AM. 

Marconi’s experimental FM station became a fully licenced commercial station. It simulcast the programming of CFCF-AM.


S.M. Finlayson, general manager of Canadian Marconi Co., announced the appointment of W. Victor George as broadcasting manager of the company. George was president of Whitehall Broadcasting Ltd., a company he formed when he left Canadian Marconi in 1935. He was to assume his new position on May 15 and would be responsible for all broadcasting services…AM, FM and eventually TV. He first joined Canadian Marconi in 1931, as manager of CFCF. Before that he worked for the C.N.R.

An Ad promoted CFCF as having 5000 watts on 600, CFCF-FM with 3000 watts on 106.5 and CFCF-TV: application (for TV had been) filed.

CFCF’s application for separate FM programming was deferred by the CBC board for further study. CFCF re-introduced the application again at the end of the year. The application was eventually approved but only on a trial basis.


In February, CFCF was making plans for separate FM programming which would come directly from studios in the Sun Life Building. It was expected CFCF-FM would have a regular staff to handle the new programs.

Slogan: CFCF Montreal – 600 KC – Plus Short Wave and FM.

CFCF was to launch separate FM programming in February. It would be the first FM station in Canada to offer its own program service. The licence would only allow this for a trial of one year though. A number of changes in personnel took place as a result. Herbert Hewetson would be FM program supervisor. Traffic chief Allan Hammond would become assistant station manager. Librarian Morris Austin would now be traffic manager. Chief announcer Paul Steven became production supervisor while Announcer Jack Brooks took over from Steven. Announcer Russ Dakin was appointed local sales rep, succeeding Peggy mcGannon who left the station. Toronto freelancer Lee Hamilton became a staff announcer.

CFCF wanted the CBC Board to review the separate programming over CFCF-FM and sought to have it classified as a separate operation with the rights and privileges applying to normal broadcasting stations. The CBC deferred the matter for further study.


John J. Kingan, former assistant to Canadian Marconi’s general manager Stuart M. Finlayson, was named general manager of the company. He was named assistant to Finlayson in October of 1947, after serving as project engineer since 1945.


Gordon Keeble resigned as manager of CFCF to become manager of S.W. Caldwell Ltd. He was replaced at CF by Al Hammond, who had been with the station for some time. Both appointments wer effective September 1.

In December, A.H. Ginman resigned as president of Canadian Marconi Co. He was succeeded by S.M. Finlayson. Ginman would remain on the board of directors and Finlayson would continue on as general manager. 


Control of Canadian Marconi Co. was to be purchased by the English Electric Co. Ltd., which had acquired Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd. of England some seven years earlier. English Electric had agreed to buy from Cable & Wirelesss Ltd., the latter’s 50.6% share capital of Canadian Marconi.


By this time, CFCF-FM was operating on a frequency of 106.5 MHz with an effective radiated power of 7,700 watts. 

Ownership of Canadian Marconi Company – Qualifying shares only: J. A. Boyd, S. M. Finlayson, Hon. A. K. Hugessen, W. A. Mather, H. J. Symington, L. B. Nicholls, H. G. Nelson. There are approximately 23,500 shareholders worldwide.


Under the new Broadcasting Act (that saw the creation of the Board of Broadcast Governors), a broadcasting station had to be 75% Canadian owned but the restrictions would not apply to existing stations…for example, the CFCF stations (Canadian Marconi Co., controlled by Canmar Investments Ltd., in turn owned by English Electric Co. of England). 

Around lunchtime on October 23, a two alarm fire swept through the CFCF building. Arrangements were made by manager Dick Misener for CFCF to broadcast temporarily into the old recording studio in the penthouse of the Dominion Square building – the station’s former home.

CFCF launched a regular schedule of stereophonic broadcasts. From 4:05 to 5:00 p.m. every Sunday, the completely stereophonic program “Startime In Stereo” was airing on both AM and FM. The station said listeners placing an AM radio and an FM radio about ten feet apart from each other and positioning themselves midway between the two, achieved full stereo sound. The first broadcast produced stereo music from discs but CFCF planned to present a complete Dixieland program in full stereo in the near future. Before the end of the year, CFCF had added Symphony In Stereo, nightly from 10:00 to 11:00, and Pops in Stereo, Saturday from 11:05 to noon.


Canadian Marconi was awarded an English-language television licence for Montreal, using channel 12. Paul L’Anglais and associates received a French-language licence.

Stuart M. Finlayson was president of Canadian Marconi. W.V. George was general manager of the company. Richard Misener was manager of CFCF Radio. Vincent Ditmer, commercial manager of CFCF Radio. J.C. Douglas was Canadian Marconi’s chief engineer. For the record, Finlayson joined Marconi in 1919 with the opening of CFCF-AM, as apprentice engineer, took four years leave to get his degree at McGill University in electrical engineering, advanced thru various positions to president in 1951. 

R.E. Misener, manager of the broadcast division of Canadian Marconi, appointed J.A. Funston as manager of CFCF Radio.


CFCF-AM-FM-TV & CFCX Shortwave moved to 405 Ogilvy Avenue.


By this time, CFCF-FM 92.5 was operating with an effective radiated power of 41,400 watts and broadcast in stereo. Daily from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m., the FM station offered programs that were separate from CFCF-AM. W. V. George was President of Canadian Marconi Co.


In November, CFCF-FM became CFQR-FM with programming totally separate from CFCF-AM.


CFQR-FM officially aired its first broadcast as a totally separate station from CFCF-AM on October 1 at 10:00 a.m. 

Bert Cannings was news director of CFCF-AM-TV/CFQR-FM. Bud Haward was vice president of the broadcast division for Canadian Marconi.


Ken Dobson was general manager. Stephen Boyd (Bud) Hayward, vice president of Canadian Marconi Co. and manager of the broadcasting division, died July 13 at the age of 43. Before joining Canadian Marconi, he helped to co-found CKPT-AM in Peterborough. 

D.W.G. Martz was appointed president of the broadcasting division of Canadian Marconi. He had been general manager of CFCF-TV and sales manager before that. He joined the company in 1962 from CKCR in Kitchener.


Brian Pearce was appointed sales manager of CFQR. 


Jim Kidd was appointed program director of CFQR/CFCF-AM. He had been production director since 1962. Kidd replaced Gerry Bascombe who became program director of CHFI-FM-AM in Toronto. Bascombe had been PD for the past five years and was with CF-TV for two years before that.

It was announced that Bushnell Television Co. of Ottawa (CJOH-TV) would purchase CFCF-AM-TV/CFQR-FM.

Ron Hore was appointed director of advertising and promotion for CFCF-AM/CFQR-FM. He had been promotion supervisor for CFCF-TV.

Slogans: The most listened to FM station in the province of Quebec. / The second most listened to FM in Canada and the leading FM in Montreal and Quebec.

CFQR had a free, swinging style of music, with infrequent breaks.

Jack Oldham was appointed deputy director of news and public affairs for the CFCF stations.

At this time CFQR was offering some automated programming.

On October 21, Canadian Marconi’s shareholders approved the purchase of CFCF-AM-FM-TV by Bushnell Communications. 


Because of the CRTC’s new foreign ownership regulations, Canadian Marconi Co. was forced to sell its stations. Canadian Marconi was an ineligible owner because slightly more than 50% of its shares were owned by Canmar Investment Co. Ltd. which was controlled by English Electric of The United Kingdom. The remaining shares were owned by some 22,000 shareholders, some of whom were non-Canadian.

On July 6, Stuart W. Griffiths on behalf of a company to be incorporated (representing Bushnell Communications of Ottawa) was given approval to purchase the stations.


On March 31, the licences for the Canadian Marconi stations were extended to December 31 because Bushnell was unable to proceed with purchase for various reasons, including the inability to arrange the necessary financing. The contract between Marconi and Bushnell expired on February 26 and the licences would have expired March 31. The extensions gave Canadian Marconi time to find a new buyer.

A new purchaser was found and on December 23, CFCF Limited was authorized to purchase the stations. CFCF Ltd. was 80% owned by CHUM Ltd. of Toronto and 20% by Canadian Marconi. There was a catch however…CFCF Ltd. would have to sell CFCF-AM (and CFCX-SW) and CFQR-FM in Montreal and CHUM Ltd. would have to sell  CKVR-TV in Barrie, Ontario.


On July 20, Multiple Access Ltd. was given federal approval to acquire the CFCF radio and television stations. The new owner was controlled by the Bronfman family.


On October 12, the CRTC denied the sale of 54.4% of Multiple Access Ltd. by Mainvest Communications Ltd. and others to Baton Broadcasting Inc. (owner of CFTO-TV inToronto). If the deal had been approved, Baton would have controlled CTV licensees reaching 30% of the Canadian population, received almost 40% of total air time sales revenues of all CTV stations, and accounted for over 70% – in dollar terms – of all production for the network.

The CRTC ruled that Baton had failed to demonstrate how proposed advantages would outweigh the significant concentration of ownership which would result if the sale were approved. For the first time in CRTC history, a minority opinion was published. It expressed the view that approval would not have resulted in undue concentration of ownership, but would have provided a clear opportunity for making Montreal one of the primary sources of English language prime time network programming in Canada.


On July 6, Multiple Access was given permission to sell the CFCF stations to CFCF Inc. The new owner was headed by Jean Adelard Pouliot, who was President and CEO of Tele-Capitale Ltd. He also owned approximately 25% of Tele-Capitale’s shares. With the purchase of the CFCF stations, he committed to selling some of his T-C shares so that his interest in that company would be much smaller. He also planned to continue working for T-C as a consultant. The CRTC felt it would be best if he resigned his position with Tele-Capitale.

In approving the purchase, the CRTC called for a new promise of performance to be submitted by October 31; increased input by CFCF-TV to the CTV network, and more emphasis on local production with improved weekend news coverage. Associated with Pouliot were Don Martz, Lee Hambleton, Douglass Hanson and John Krug of CFCF. The Dofasco Employees’ Fund would own 12.5% of the voting shares of CFCF Inc.


David A. Barrett was named vice president of radio (CFCF-AM and CFQR-FM).  Ralph Lucas was program manager. Don O’Shaughnessy was creative director.


An estimated $10,000 damage was caused to the CFCF Building by an intruder on February 6. A man gained access to the building, proclaimed himself the mayor of the world and then went on a rampage.

The CFQR licence was renewed for two years. Its proposed reduction of special interest music was approved. The proposed reduction of French-language vocal music from 5% to 3% was denied.


CFCF Inc. announced plans to expand its facilities with a $12 million addition that would accommodate CFCF-AM-TV, CFQR-FM, CF Cable and Champlain Productions.


Montreal broadcast legend Jimmy Tapp retired. He was the first person seen on CFCF-TV when it signed on the air, and had been with CFQR in recent years.


Jean A. Pouliot became chairman of the board and chief executive officer of CFCF Inc. Don W.G. Martz became vice-chairman of the board and chairman of the executive committee. Adrien D. Pouliot became president and chief operating officer.

Malcolm Campbell was named general sales manager for CFQR/CFCF-AM. Gordon Donaldson was appointed manager of sports properties.

CFQR/CFCF-AM promotions manager Eric Young, became program director for CFCF-AM. 


Mount Royal Broadcasting Inc. purchased CFCF-AM, CFQR-FM and CFCX Shortwave from CFCF Inc. Mount Royal was headed by two senior executives with Telemedia Quebec. Pierre Béland was Telemedia Quebec’s president and CEO. Pierre Arcand was senior VP and general manager of Telemedia’s flagship – CKAC-AM. The new owners would leave their positions at Telemedia and planned to eventually move their new stations from the CFCF building to a new site. CFCF Inc. sold the radio stations because they had been losing money and the company wanted to concentrate on television (they retained CFCF-TV and TQS). Control of Mount-Royal (55%) was held by Béland through holding company, Belcand Mount-Royal Holdings Inc. The other shareholders in the applicant company were the two institutions providing financial backing for the transaction, Royal Trustco Limited (40%) and the Toronto-Dominion Bank (5%). Arcand owned 30% of the shares in the holding company.  

Andy Peplowski became news director at CFQR/CFCF-AM.


On May 1, CFQR and CFCF-AM moved to 1200 McGill College Avenue (suite 300).


CFCF-AM became CIQC. 


Chris Ryan (St. Clair) joined Q92 from CKIS-AM.


On July 1, CFQR and CIQC relocated to the CKVL-CKOI Building at 211 Gordon Avenue in Verdun. The owners of CFQR and CIQC had purchased the Verdun stations in 1992. 


Chris Ryan left CFQR-FM.


CIQC 600 became CINW 940.


Corus Entertainment Inc. purchased Metromedia CMR Broadcasting Inc. from Les Placements Belcand Mont-Royal inc.


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. 


In April CFQR changed its name from Q92 to The New Q.

In August “92.5 The Q” parted ways with morning co-hosts Tasso Patsikakis and Suzanne Desautels, leaving Aaron Rand handling morning drive by himself. 


Murray Sherriffs returned as the morning show news anchor at The Q, joining host Aaron Rand. Newcomer Sarah Bartok was the show’s Traffic Reporter. Shaun McMahon, who had been doing traffic, was now the show’s producer.


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.    

Aaron Rand marked 25 years with 92.5 The Q. The veteran broadcaster first took to the airwaves of CFQR on May 19, 1985. 

On August 17, the CRTC renewed the licence for CFQR-FM Montréal from 1 September 2010 to 31 August 2014. This short-term licence renewal would enable the Commission to review, at an earlier date, the licensee’s compliance with the Radio Regulations, 1986. In Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2010-138, the Commission noted that, during the week of 5 to 11 July 2009, the licensee may have failed to comply with subsection 2.2(3.1)(b) of the Radio Regulations, 1986, which relates to the broadcast of Canadian musical selections from content subcategory 34 (Jazz and blues). The Commission also noted that, in Broadcasting Decision 2006-597, it had previously renewed the station’s broadcasting licence for a shorter term for failing to comply with the condition of licence regarding the broadcast of hits. In the same notice of consultation, the Commission summoned the licensee to appear at a public hearing in order to show cause why the Commission should not issue a mandatory order requiring the licensee to comply with the Regulations in regard to the level of Canadian musical selections from content subcategory 34 that must be broadcast during each broadcast week. When a station fails a second time to comply with the Regulations, the Commission usually renews its licence for a two-year term. However, the Commission noted that the licensee had taken the appropriate measures to comply at all times with its conditions of licence and with the requirements set out in the Regulations. Under these circumstances, the Commission considered itself justified in deviating from its standard practices, and that a four-year licence renewal term was appropriate for this station.        

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.           

In December it was announced that Brian DePoe would be the new program director of CJMJ and CKKL in Ottawa, effective January 4, 2011. For the past two years, he had been PD of 92.5 The Q (CFQR).    


Aaron Rand did his final morning broadcast on CFQR on May 26.  He had been a part of the Montreal radio scene for almost 30 years, 22 of them at The Q/Q92/ CFQR. Cat Spencer of Virgin Radio 96 (Montreal) was Rand’s successor.

Nat Lauzon joined The Q92.5 (CFQR) to handle weekends. She had been mid-day host at Virgin Radio (CJFM).

CFQR The Q 92.5 FM became CKBE 92.5 The Beat on September 6. The format remained Hot Adult Contemporary. The following day Cat Spencer was added to the on-air team. He joined Sarah Bartok to co-host The Beat Breakfast with Cat (Spencer) & Sarah (Bartok) (weekdays 5:30-9:00am). The rest of the line-up: Donna Saker (9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), AJ Reynolds (4:00 to 8:00 p.m.), Heartbeats with Paul Hayes (Mon-Thur 8:00 to 11:00 p.m.). Weekends: Ken Connors, Anne-Marie Withenshaw and Nat Lauzon. Mark Dickie was general manager of 92.5 The Beat. Chris Reiser remained from the old format.


Montreal’s Feel-Good music station 92.5 The Beat announced the arrival of Montreal radio personality Cousin Vinny to its on-air line-up. He would host Drivetime on 92.5 The Beat – Monday to Friday from 4 to 8:00 p.m. Cousin Vinny joined fellow broadcasters Cat Spencer & Sarah Bartok (The Beat Breakfast), Donna Saker (The Beat of Your Workday), Paul Hayes (Heartbeats), Ken Connors (Weekend Breakfast), Anne Marie Withenshaw (All-Access Weekend), Nat Lauzon (Feel Good Weekends) as well as TB1 (Beatmix). Leo Da Estrela was program director. Vince Barrucco (Cousin Vinny) joined The Beat 92.5 from Virgin Radio 96 (CJFM). 

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-Riviéres. 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.


On November 29, the CRTC approved an application by Cogeco Diffusion Acquisitions inc. to change the authorized contours of CKBE-FM by increasing the ERP to 100,000 watts and the effective height of the antenna.


Program Director Leo Da Estrela was named interim GM after the departure of Mark Dickie. Da Estrela had been PD at the station since 2010.

Wayne Bews became GM/GSM at The Beat 92.5 FM in early March. He moved from being retail sales manager at CTV Montreal. 


On September 27, the CRTC approved Cogeco Media’s applications to combine CKOI, CKBE, CKMP and CFGL’s services on a single, more efficient antenna owned by Cogeco on Mount Royal. Under the change, CKBE would decrease EHAAT from 298.9 to 276.7 metres.

The consolidation of Cogeco’s four Montreal-area FM antenna’s on to a single Mount Royal tower was completed in November. The stations involved were CKBE 92.5 Montreal, CKOI 96.9 Montreal, CHMP 98.5 Longueuil and CFGL 105.7 Laval.

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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