XWA/CFCF-AM, Canada’s First Radio station, Montréal
Corus Entertainment – Closed the station
CFCF Canada’s first Radio Station – and indeed one of the first radio stations in the world, starting broadcasting in the early 1920’s.
The station left the air 90 years later on January 29th, 2010. In the interim, the call letters had been changed to CINW-AM, but we decided that while the History is in our “Former” section, with all other old timers, CFCF deserves this special recognition.
For further information about the very early years of XWA, (with thanks to Canadian Antique Phonograph Society News), see also:
XWA, Montreal: the Very First Radio Broadcast in Canada:
The Real Story, at Last
© Arthur E. Zimmerman
|CINW-AM||2010||940||10,000/5,000||Corus Entertainment – Closed the station|
|CINW-AM||2001||940||10,000/5,000||Corus Entertainment Inc|
|CINW-AM||1999||940||10,000/5,000||Metromedia CMR Broadcasting Inc.|
|CFCF-AM||1972||600||5,000||Multiple Access Ltd|
|CFCF-AM||1933||600||500||Canadian Marconi Co.|
|CFCF-AM||1928||1030||500||Marconi Wireless and Telegraph Co.|
|CFCF-AM||1923||440||2000||Marconi Wireless & Telegraph Co. of Canada Ltd.|
|CFCF-AM||1922||440 metres||2,000||Marconi Wireless and Telegraph Co.|
|XWA/CFCF-AM||1920||n/a||n/a||Marconi Wireless & Telegraph Co.|
Marconi’s attempt to add voice transmission to his wireless telegraphy (dots and dashes) failed to reach commercial acceptance until 1914 when the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company in Montreal acquired the rights to Reginald Fessenden’s patents.
World War I caused governments to curtail these experiments and concentrate on war related contracts.
Over the next few years, there were newspaper reports of rumours of experimental radio activity by the Marconi Company – but since there were few radio receivers, these rumours were not substantiated.
In 1919, after the war, the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company was granted an experimental radio licence in Montreal. Extensive experiments were conducted on XWA before CFCF was granted its licence in 1920. These experiments were heard only by those with “crystal sets” or equivalent expeimental devices.
Darby Coats, one of the engineers operating the experimental station, Darby remembered borrowing a record player and records from a local store in return for mentioning it on the air – thus introducing the concept of contra to the airwaves for the very first time. They would also rip and read news and weather forecasts from the local Montreal papers.
On May 20, XWA broadcast the first “real” radio program produced by Coats and his partner, the first such program in the world, from studios on the top floor of the Marconi plant on William Street. It consisted of a performance by vocalist Dorothy Lutton.
XWA became CFCF on November 4. CFCF opened on 440 meters with 500 watts and the station had Canada’s first broadcast studio, in The Canada Cement Building in Phillips Square. The station was owned be the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company.
Power was increased to 2,000 watts.
CFCF switched to 730 kHz with 1,650 watts, sharing time with CHYC and CKAC.
Studios moved to the penthouse of The Mount Royal Hotel.
CFCF switched from 730 to 1030 kHz.
In November, CFCF affiliated with NBC.
James A. Shaw joined CFCF.
CFCF changed from 1030 to 600 kHz.
Studios moved to the King’s Hall Building on Ste. Catherine St. W.
CFCF announcer David Hufman left for the BBC in England.
Slogans: The MOST LISTENED TO station in Canada’s LARGEST CITY! / Cover Canada’s Metropolis with CFCF Montreal. / Canada’s first station first again with the newest sound in radio – “The Big Sound”.
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.
Ad: CFCF Montreal – First in Canada’s Richest Market. CFCF dominates a bi-lingual audience of over 1,000,000.
Victor F. Neilsen, long time CFCF general manager, resigned to become GM of the Richardson stations in the west – CJRC Winnipeg, CJRM Regina and shortwave stations CJRO and CJRX Winnipeg. He replaced Harry McLaughlin, who resigned. James A. Shaw was appointed general manager of CFCF as of August 28. He had been with the station since 1931. The appointment was announced by Reginald M. Brophy, general manger of Canadian Marconi Co. As a result of Shaw’s appointment, M. J. Humphreys was bumped up to commercial director. E. A. Smith was named director of publicity and sales promotion. E. Hewston was named program director. H. G. Young was in charge of special events and assistant in sales.
R. M. Brophy, general manager of Canadian Marconi, presented a memorial monument to Sir Humphrey Walwyn, Governor of Newfoundland, and to the people of Newfoundland, to mark the spot on Signal Hill where Marconi and two colleagues heard the first trans-Atlantic wireless signal on December 12, 1901. The ceremonies were broadcast over CFCF, the CBC’s national network, and the NBC Blue network. Percy W. Paget, one of Marconi’s associates, took part in the broadcast from London. Newfoundland Chief Justice Sir William Horwood, who was present when Marconi heard the signal, also took part in the ceremonies broadcast from St. John’s.
CFCF officially opened modern new studios while also celebrating its 21st anniversary. On May 1, the NBC Blue and CBC networks joined up for special programs saluting the new facility. Lenox R. Lohr, NBC’s president, was one of the speakers, along with Rene Morin, chairman of the CBC Board of Governors, and A. H. Ginman, president of Canadian Marconi. The studios were in the King’s Hall Building where CFCF had already been broadcasting from.
J. Gettenby was appointed chief engineer, replacing K. R. Paul, who was appointed to the engineering staff of the Canadian Marconi Co. factory at Montreal. J. C. Claude was made CFCF transmitter supervisor and A. B. Clapp, supervisor of studios.
Prescott Robinson was a news announcer.
Under the Havana Treaty, CFCF was one of the few stations to hold on to its existing frequency. CFCF was on 600 kHz (Class III-B) with a power of 500 watts. Other stations switched dial positions under the treaty on March 29.
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).
Former CFCF newscaster Prescott Robinson was now news announcer at WOR New York. Roberta Beatty hosted For Ladies Only on CFCF.
To meet growing demands for network time during the evenings, largely due to the war, the CBC set up a second network for commercial sponsorship. The network’s first sponsor (on an experimental basis) was the Gillette Safety Razor Co. The Mutual Broadcasting System originated boxing events for 26 Canadian stations through the CBC, plus the MBS affiliate – CKLW Windsor. The second network had 23 Canadian stations with alternative stations in Montreal to meet local conditions there. The new network would operate only after 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Over the past year, private stations had been anxious to have such a network – outside of CBC control. However, under the Radio Act, the CBC had full control over all networks in the country. It was felt that a full second network with full day and night programming was not feasible or economically possible at this time. CBC-owned stations affiliated with the new network: CBK Watrous, CBA Sackville and CBY Toronto. Privately-owned stations affiliated with the new network were: CJOR Vancouver, CHWK Chilliwack, CFCN Calgary, CFRN Edmonton, CJRM Regina, CJGX Yorkton, CJRC Winnipeg, CKCA Kenora, CJIC Sault Ste Marie, CKOC Hamilton, CKTB St. Catherines, CFPL London, CFCO Chatham, CKLW Windsor, CKCR Kitchener, CKCO Ottawa, CFCF or CHLP Montreal, CHLT Sherbrooke, CKNB Campbellton, and CJLS Yarmouth.
Johnny Winter (announcer), Alfred Ellis and Jacques (Tommy) Tremblay enlisted in the RCAF. Of a total pre-war male staff of 21, CFCF was represented in the armed forces by six in the RCAF, one in the RCASC, one in the RCNVR, one in the RCA and two in the Ferry Command.
Ernie H. Smith was sales promotion director.
M.J. (Jim) Humphreys, commercial director at CFCF for many years, was transferred to the corporate level – Canadian Marconi Co. Perley E. Hiltz, with the station since 1931, and has been acting night supervisor, will move in to the commercial director position.
J.A. Shaw was CFCF’s manager. Leonard Spencer was chief engineer.
Bill Deegan left for Toronto’s CFRB.
CBC Dominion Basic Stations: CJFX, CHNS, CFCY, CKCW, CKNB, CJLS, CKCO, CHOV, CFBR, CJBC, CHEX, CFPL, CFCO, CFPA, CHLT, CFCF, CKRC, CJGX, CKX, CKRM, CHAB, CFQC, CKBI, CFCN, CFRN, CJRL, CHWK, CJOR, CJVI.
Corey Thomson hosted the noon news on CFCF.
Stan Jones left CFCF for the announce staff at CJAD. Newscaster Christopher Ellis returned to radio after retiring several years earlier. He was lured back to do the 6:15 p.m. (Mon-Fri) newscast on CFCF. Doug Smith did sports at CFCF.
In January, CFCF’s King’s Hall studios were destroyed by fire. The station relocated to Cote des Neiges.
The first microwave radio relay communication circuit to be established in Canada was expected to be operational by June, according to A.H. Ginman, president of Canadian Marconi Co. The circuit would connect Marconi’s central telegraph office in Montreal with the beam transmitting and receiving stations at Drummondville and Yamachichie, respectively, providing increased communication facilities and avoiding interruptions of service from land line failures.
CFCF was in the process of installing a new 5,000 watt AM transmitter as well as a 3,000 watt transmitter for CFCM-FM in the Sun Life Building.
J.A. Shaw was manager and P.E. Hiltz was commercial manager.
CFCF hoped to increase power to 5,000 watts in January of 1948. The antenna site at Senneville, was about 12 miles from the heart of the city, along the shores of the Lake of Two Mountains. The directional signal was expected to cover the Laurentian Playground and Eastern Townships.
An explosion ripped through the King’s Hall Building on January 8 at 3:07 p.m., killing a 17 year old boy and injuring six women. The building was home to CFCF and the CBC’s CBF and CBM. King’s Hall was ordered evacuated at 4 p.m. and within six minutes, CFCF had resumed normal broadcasting from its facilities in the Mount Royal Hotel. The CBC stations switched to their transmitter sites and an hour later (5 p.m.), CBF began receiving programming from CBV Quebec City and CBM was getting its programs from CBL in Toronto. The CBC later operated from their shortwave studios and then the engineering department, thereby restoring normal Montreal program services.
P.E. Hiltz was sales manager. The station was affiliated with the ABC and CBC Dominion networks.
CFCF increased power to 5,000 watts on April 12. The antenna site at Senneville, was approximately 10 air miles from the centre of Montreal. The site was built at a cost of more than a quarter million dollars. Facilities included a concrete block and steel building with attractive red brick facing and cottages in similar design for the engineers. Two 300 foot Ajax masts beamed the signal from a Marconi Type PB-31 transmitter. Speech input equipment feeding the transmitter comprised Marconi hi fidelity Type AB-11 consolettes with associated equipment to meet FM quality standards. An ad boasted of increased power, wider coverage and clear reception … “600 kcs First on the Dial”.
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.
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).
Gordon Keeble was appointed station manager and Tom Quigley was named supervisor of national accounts. Keeble started in radio in 1940 as an announcer at CFCH in North Bay, and then went on to CKGB Timmins. He left there in 1942 to join the announce staff at CBC Toronto, later becoming chief announcer at CJBC. In 1946, he joined F.H. Hayhurst & Co. Ltd.
Peggy McGannon was a local sales rep at CFCF.
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.
Slogan: CFCF Montreal – 600 KC – Tops The Dial.
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.
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.
A special Christmas Day broadcast was beamed from nine different stations across Canada without the use of network facilities. The participating stations were CKWX Vancouver, CFCN Calgary, CKCK Regina, CJOB Winnipeg, CKSO Sudbury, CFPL London, CKCO Ottawa, CFCF Montreal and CFCY Charlottetown.
Keith Dancy joined CFCF from CFNB in Fredericton.
Stan Harrison was CFCF’s morning man. Engineer Russ Taylor was straightman to Harrison’s jokes. The new program was presented by remote control from the window of Dinty Moore’s Restaurant, across the street from the station, on St. Catherine Street in downtown Montreal.
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.
Slogans: Station of the Stars. / Canada’s First Station. First… in operation (1919). First… on Montrealer’s dial. First… buy with advertisers. / The Big-Time Station in Montreal.
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.
Rex Loring joined CFCF from the news department at CKOY Ottawa. Tracy S. Lodington headed the news bureau. Peel Stevens and Jack Brooks were news editors.
Corey Thomson, manager of CKVL (Verdun), did his 5,000th broadcast of the “Uncle Troy” program over CFCF in November. The show had now been on the air – and CFCF – for 19 years. This was despite the fact that Thomson had been manager of competing station CKVL since it went on the air in 1946.
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.
Gord Sinclair joined CFCF as morning man. His famous father worked at CFRB in Toronto. Keith Dancy was chief announcer and director of sports. W. Victor George was named to take charge of public relations, publicity and advertising for the Canadian Marconi Co. He would also continue as broadcasting manager of the company, directing CFCF. Sportscaster Doug Smith handled Montreal Alouette CFL football broadcasts for CFCF. William M. Petty was appointed supervisor of public service broadcasts at CFCF. For the past three years Petty had been director of the station’s program “Home and School of the Air”.
Ad: First portable amplifier in Canada? That distinction belongs to CFCF Montreal – the pioneer radio station in Canada with 32 years of merchandising experience – and how!!
Slogan: Look to Canada. Look to its biggest city. Look to its first station. See how effective radio CAN be!! CFCF Montreal.
Dave Rogers took charge of CFCF’s new and exclusive Radio Press newsroom and CFCF’s coverage of Montreal, as of March 1. Rogers had plenty of newspaper experience and had been with CFBC Saint John before joining CFCF.
Gord Sinclair (Jr.) hosted a Western swing show. Charlie Fair was on-air, Bill Petty was director of public service. Reo Thompson was program manager.
CFCF created a radio course for McGill University students showing aptitude and interest for the medium.
Slogans: In Canada it’s Montreal – In Montreal it’s CFCF. / Canada’s first station …Canada’s finest station – CFCF reaches out and beyond giving you complete blanket coverage of this number 1 spot … plus bonus markets of more than a score of rich surrounding counties!
Control of Canadian Marconi Co. was to be purchased by the English Electric Co. Ltd., which had acquired Marconi’s Wirless Telegraph Co. Ltd. of England some seven years earlier. English Electric had agreed to buy from Cable & Wirlesss Ltd., the latter’s 50.6% share capital of Canadian Marconi.
CFCF joined the RTNDA. Dave Rogers was news director.
Program director Reo Thompson was now with the newly formed All-Canada Television. He would be replaced as PD by Jack Howlett.
Some of the staff: Martin Conroy (traffic manager), Russ Taylor (recording engineer), Pat Murray (announcer), Mike Wood (production supervisor), Terry Garner (announcer), Peel Stevens (announcer), Gord Sinclair (announcer), Charlie Fair (announcer), Bill Deegan (announcer), Dean Kaye (news), Keith Dancy (sports director and worked in sales).
Ads: For a complete coverage of Canada…you must sell its largest city…and to sell Montreal…focus your attention of Canada’s first station – CFCF. / Wake up…to Montreal’s best buy – Gord Sinclair – Montreal’s personable morning man on your station of the stars – CFCF.
Keith Dancy became commercial manager. He had been announcer, chief announcer, sports director and salesman before taking on the new role.
Vic George left Canadian Marconi for England. CFCF manager Al Hammond succeeded him as broadcasting manager. George managed CFCF from 1931-35, left then returned in 1948 as broadcasting manager. He started in radio in 1923 at CNRO Ottawa. Hammond started with CFCF in 1940 as a relief announcer. After serving in the RCAF, he returned in 1945 as an assistant in the commercial department. After time as night supervisor, he became traffic manager then assistant manager and then station manager in September of 1950. He now added broadcasting manager to the duties of station manager.
Harry Etheridge was named news director. He had been with the station since the summer of 1953 and succeeded Dave Rogers who left for CHCH-TV in Hamilton.
Duane Desmond was record librarian. Bill Deegan left CFCF as chief announcer to free-lance in Toronto.
Slogan: Listeners and advertisers agree the swing is to CFCF.
CFCF expanded its news department and appointed Bert Cannings as news director. He had been with CKWX Vancouver.
Some of the staff: Sam Solomon (news director), Lloyd Chester (DJ), Bob Crabb (news, joined from CKOC Hamilton), Russ Taylor (sports director), Sam Sullivan (newscaster), Mike Wood (program director), Gord Sinclair (chief announcer), Keith Dancy (sports-caster), Russ Griffiths (announcer), Dick Misener (assistant manager), Creighton Douglas (chief engineer), George Bowden (engineer).
Dean Kaye, chief announcer was moved to the position of production supervisor. He was replaced as chief announcer by Gordon Sinclair who would continue to emcee “Good Neighbour Club”. Arthur Weinthal left the promotions department for Harold F. Stanfield Ltd.
CFCF had now been training (radio) McGill students for three years. Montreal Children’s Theatre with Dorothy Davis and Violet Walters had been on the air 15 years.
Slogan: A little cash buys a LOT of listeners on CFCF-Radio.
CFCF moved its transmitter to The Kahnawake Indian Reserve. Four 282 foot towers are used.
CFCF’s studios at Cote des Neiges were hit by fire. The station moved to the Dominion Square Building.
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.
One of the local programs on CFCF was “Hometown Jamboree”.
All-night programming began on CFCF May 1 with the introduction of Knight Train, hosted by Earl Campbell. Music covered the complete range…latest hits, followed by Latin American, old favourites, light classics, barbershop and an hour of country and western.
Mary Fran Burke became publicity director at CFCF Radio, replacing Harold Heron. Jean Berg was appointed director of press and promotion at CFCF Radio. Graham Gordon was an announcer. Graham Gordon was religious program director for CFCF Radio. Patrick Tweedie was named promotion director. Vin Dittmer was program director.
Under the new Broadcasting Act (that saw the creation of the Board of Broadcast Governors), a broadcasting station must be 75% Canadian owned but the restrictions would not apply to existing stations…for example, CFCF (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. Dean Kaye was halfway through his newscast when a large amount of smoke started pouring from the air conditioning vents. Kaye was able to finish his newscast with breaks for coughing due to the smoke. Bob Crabb then started to read a commercial but had to give up because of the smoke. At 12:40 p.m., master control engineer Ken Gladden started the tape for Dean Kaye’s “Man’s World”, ran downstairs to the switchboard and phoned the transmitter building and told the engineers there: “as soon as this program is over, start emergency programming from out there as the studios are filled with smoke and we can’t go back in”. When the taped program ended, music aired from the transmitter site with no interruption of service. Manager Dick Misener made arrangements for CFCF to move into the old recording studio in the penthouse of the Dominion Square building – the station’s former home. While the old recording studio was being set up for on-air use, chief announcer Hal Gibson and engineer Ken Gladden headed to the transmitter site. Meantime, CKVL delivered several hundred records so emergency programming on CFCF could carry on from the Caughnawaga transmitter. CJAD offered assistance as well. By this time, the fire had destroyed the brand new master control room, only recently completed. Engineer George Bowden was slightly injured when breaking into the back of the building to cut the emergency generator power to the studios. At 6:55 p.m., listeners heard, “Good evening Montreal. This is Art Leonard. Under the most extreme conditions, CFCF resumes near normal programming from the Penthouse of the Dominion Square Building.” For the record, the Penthouse temporary studio was in Suite 600 – CFCF’s dial position – 600 kHz.
Ad slogans: Look who’s selling Montreal – CFCF. / CFCF – A tradition of service.
Keith Dancy was appointed general manger of CKSL. He had been commercial manager at CFCF-Radio Montreal. Before that, he had been with CJKL Kirkland Lake and CHEX Peterborough. His appointment was effective December 1. Vin Dittmer was appointed CFCF’s sales manager. He’d been with the station since 1956 as program director. Before that, he was with CKNX-TV (Wingham) as sales manager.
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 Dittmer, 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.
Ads: CFCF – Goin’ great guns in Montreal. / Today’s best seller in Montreal! CFCF.
Bob Crabb left for CJRH in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Gord Sinclair departed to start his own Montreal-area station – CFOX-AM. News director Bert Cannings now held that title for CFCF-TV as well as for radio. Peter Romar left CFCF sales for CKGM.
R.E. Misener, manager of the broadcast division of Canadian Marconi, appointed J.A. Funston as manager of CFCF Radio.
Ads: In Montreal, the greatest sound this summer is the all new sound of CF60. Naturally, we’re excited about it and judging by the enthusiastic reaction, so are the people of Montreal! CFCF Marconi Radio. / Right this minute … more and more Montrealers are tuning to the all new Summer Sound of CF-60. The $ound with the $ell! (Nee: CFCF – 600 Marconi Radio Montreal)
Kenneth M. Dobson was appointed general sales manager of CFCF Radio. He had been with CKSO Sudbury for the past 14 years.
Licenced last year, CFCF-TV signed on the air January 20.
CFCF launched CFCF-FM (later CFQR-FM) on 92.5 mHz with 41,200 watts power.
CFCF ended its affiliation with the CBC when the Trans-Canada and Dominion networks consolidated into a single service. CFCF had been the Dominion affiliate. CBC service to Montreal carried on through the corporation’s own station – CBM.
CFCF-AM-FM & CFCX-SW joined CFCF-TV at a new studio & office complex at 405 Ogilvy Avenue.
W. V. George was President of Canadian Marconi Co. Ltd. J. D. Wright was General Manager.
Al Boliska was CFCF’s morning man. Dave Boxer was on in the evenings from 6-10. George Balcan was also at ‘CF at this time.
Bert Cannings was news director of CFCF-AM-FM-TV. Al Boliska on-air was at CFCF. Joe Van was on-air 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Martin Conroy was general sales manager. Bud Hayward was vice president of the broadcast division of Canadian Marconi.
Slogan: Turned on in Montreal – CFCF Radio 600.
Dean Kaye broadcast his 1,000th 6:30 p.m. newscast over CFCF on July 17.
CFCF announced it would carry all home and away games of the Montreal Alouette’s (CFL) in the 1968 season. Tex Coulter would do colour commentary and sports director Dick Irvin would do the play by play.
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.
Walter Machny was named general manager. He had been sales manager of CFCF-TV and with the company for 11 years.
Jim McManus was named sales manager. He had been associated with creative and client services for the station for several years. McManus then appointed Brian Pearce as CFQR’s sales manager.
Jim Kidd was appointed program director of CFCF/CFQR. 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, subject to regulatory approval.
Ron Hore was appointed director of advertising and promotion for CFCF-AM/CFQR-FM. He had been promotion supervisor for CFCF-TV.
Jack Oldham was appointed deputy director of news and public affairs for the CFCF stations.
CFCF subscribed to the Rogers Radio News Network which began operations in April. RRNN was affiliated with ABC in New York. Broadcast News was the main source of news for radio stations in Canada but only a handful at this time were subscribing to BN’s voice (audio) service. CFCF was one of those stations.
Ad: CFCF 600 Montreal – The first with fifty years of broadcasting history. Radio with a past. Radio of the future. The People Station for Montreal People.
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.
CFCF agreed to carry a minimum of 148 home and away games of the Montreal Expos’ 162 game schedule in the upcoming season.
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.
CFCF switched formats — MOR to MOT.
After being away for a time, George Balcan returned to CFCF from CJAD.
George Balcan left for CJAD.
Jimmy Tapp was doing the afternoon drive show. Gord Sinclair returned to CFCF. He had sold CFOX in 1973. George Balcan was back at CFCF.
CFCF withdrew its application to increase night-time power to 50,000 watts.
Morning man George Balcan left again for CJAD.
Jack Curran was handling the morning show.
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.
On June 27, the CRTC approved the application by Coopérative des travailleurs CHNC to acquire from Radio CHNC ltée the assets of CHNC New Carlisle and its transmitter CHGM Gaspé. The transaction would be completed through the dissolution and the wind-up of the assets of Radio CHNC ltée into la Coopérative. The transaction would not affect the effective control of CHGM Gaspé, which would continue to be exercised by la Coopérative’s board of directors.
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.
Ted Blackman joined CFCF for the morning show. Lynn Desjardins left the CFCF news department for CJAD.
David A. Barrett was named vice president of radio (CFCF-AM and CFQR-FM).
Gord Sinclair left for CJAD 800.
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.
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.
Kevin McGowan was doing the morning show.
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.
On February 13, the CRTC approved the application by CFCF Inc. for an English-language radio network licence consisting of CFCF Montreal, CKBY-FM Ottawa, CKPE-FM Sydney and CHFX-FM Halifax for the purpose of broadcasting the hockey games of the Montreal Canadiens during the 1983-1984 to 1986-1987 National Hockey League seasons.
In December, CFCF radio moved to a new extension of the 405 Ogilvy Avenue building to make room for CF Cable.
On February 10, the CRTC approved the application to amend the licence for CFCF by increasing the day-time power from 5,000 watts to 10,000 watts. CFCF indicated that this increase in power would improve the quality of the signal provided to the Montreal area.
On December 16, CFCF increased power from 5,000 watts unlimited to 10,000 day, 5,000 night from the same site.
Eric Young, previously promotions manager for CFCF and CFQR-FM, was named program director for CFCF.
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.
Frank McCormick was CFCF’s news director. John Stubbs was operations manager.
Malcolm Campbell was named general sales manager for CFCF/CFQR-FM. Gordon Donaldson was appointed manager of sports properties.
Joe Leone returned to CFCF from CFYN Sault Ste. Marie, where he had been program director. He then left for CKWS-AM in Kingston to become VP of programming.
Eric Young became CFCF’s program director. He had been promotions manager for CFCF and CFQR-FM.
Frank McCormick was news director.
On January 15, the CRTC approved the application by CFCF Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language AM radio network for the purpose of broadcasting pre-season, regular season and play-off games of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team during the 1987/88, 1988/89 and 1989/90 seasons of the National Hockey League. The licence would expire June 30, 1990.
Pierre Arcand was vice president and program director.
CFCF was airing CFCF-TV’s evening news – Pulse News. It was a distinct package – local, personality oriented, with weather and sports. The first half hour was all local.
Andy Peplowski became news director at CFCF/CFQR-FM.
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.
Studios moved to 1200 McGill College Avenue (suite 300) on May 1.
Dennis Bell was doing the midday show.
Program director Andre Chevalier added the position of news director after the departure of Andy Peplowski.
On September 9 at 12:01 a.m., Canada’s first radio station changed its historic call letters. CFCF with an Adult Standards music format became CIQC “Country 600” with a Contemporary Country format. With the change, Jim Connell replaced Jack Curan as morning host. It was also decided that CIQC would continue to simulcast the hour-long CFCF-TV Pulse News, nightly at six.
In March, CIQC switched from Country to Talk. Joe Cannon was doing the morning show. Terry Haig and Mitch Melnick joined from CJAD.
Gordon Courtenay was doing the afternoon drive show.
On July 1, CIQC-AM and CFQR-FM relocated to the CKVL-CKOI Building at 211 Gordon Avenue in Verdun.
Jim Duff was CIQC’s morning man and Shawn Lyons was morning show producer.
On June 21, CIQC 600 was given approval to use CBM’s old 940 kHz frequency and to increase power from 10,000 watts day and 5,000 watts night to 50,000 watts day and night. The station would offer an all news service with a local and regional focus.
In November CINW (CIQC’s replacement) started testing on 940 kHz. The transmitter site for 940 would be the existing 600 facility on Highway 138 near the Kahnawake Reserve. It should be noted that in the early days of testing, 940 was actually using the call letters CKNN.
Regular programming on CIQC 600 came to an end on December 13 and the station was replaced the following day by CINW all-news (English) “940 News”.
After simulcasting CINW 940 since December, CIQC 600 went silent just after midnight on April 23.
Corus Entertainment Inc. purchased Metromedia CMR Broadcasting Inc. from Les Placements Belcand Mont-Royal inc.
Two of Montreal’s great broadcasters passed away. Both had worked at the old CFCF one or more times over the years. Gord Sinclair died July 12 at 74 and Ted Blackman passed away October 1 at age 60.
In September, CINW “940 News” dropped its all-news format to becme “AM 940, Montreal Radio” with a news-talk format.
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 June 14 at 5:00 p.m., CINW flipped to an oldies format as “AM 940 – Montreal’s Greatest Hits.” Eighteen people lost their jobs as a result of the change. An official launch of the new format was set for July 1 at 9:40 a.m. Chris Bury was program director. Marc Denis was host of the morning show (6:00 to 10:00).
On January 29 at 10:00 a.m., Corus Quebec pulled the programming from CINW 940 and CINF 690 and shut the transmitters down at 7:00 p.m. CINF had been known as Info690. CINW was known as AM940 Montreal’s Greatest Hits. In a statement, Corus said that despite the excellence and dedication of station employees, Info690 and AM940 were unprofitable. The statement went on to say that it was clear that these two AM stations were not viable, particularly in the current economic climate. The decision affected 10 positions, including eight positions at Info690: three journalists, two traffic reporters and three operations staff. At AM940, two positions were affected: one on-air host and one technician. The Info690 Montréal newsroom, known as CorusNouvelles, would continue its activities as part of 98,5 FM. CorusNouvelles would continue to invest in providing news content to the entire Corus Québec network and its clients. The majority of journalist positions from the Info690 newsroom (five of eight journalists along with three of five traffic reporters) would be retained. The operating licences for the two stations would be returned to the CRTC.
Metromedia CMR Broadcasting Inc. requested the revocation of the broadcasting licences for its English-language radio programming undertaking CINW and its French-language radio programming undertaking CINF Montréal. The licensee has informed the Commission that these stations had not been in operation since 29 January 2010. Given the licensee’s request and pursuant to sections 9(1)(e) and 24(1) of the Broadcasting Act, the Commission revoked the broadcasting licences issued to Metromedia CMR Broadcasting Inc. for the above-mentioned undertakings – June 8, 2010.
Long-time Montreal broadcaster Ted Tevan passed away. He was 78. Tevan worked at CFCF from the mid 1970’s until he was fired in 1982. He later hosted pregame and post-game shows for the Montreal Expos broadcasts on CFCF in 1995-96, and filled in for play-by-play man Dave Van Horne.
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.