CFJO-FM, O 97.3, Thetford Mines

Arsenal Media Group

CFJO-FM2019103.3100,000Arsenal Media Group
CFJO-FM2015103.3100,000Attraction Radio inc.
CFJO-FM1989103.3100,000Réseau des Apalaches (FM) Ltée.


On July 26, Francois Labbe, on behalf of a company to be incorporated, was licensed to operate a new FM station at Thetford Mines, with an auxiliary studio at Victoriaville, and rebroadcast transmitter at Lac-Mégantic. The technical parameters were not approved – 83,180 watts effective radiated power – on 94.7 MHz at Thetford Mines and 409 watts ERP on 101.7 MHz at Lac-Mégantic. The CRTC’s Notice of Public Hearing referred to a proposed power of 100,000 watts at Thetford Mines, but this was subsequently amended to 83,180 watts in line with the transmitter’s apparent average radiated power. 

Labbe proposed to target young adults, specifically those between the ages of 18 and 34, a group which listened to FM stations located outside the area. The station would be operated in the Group IV music format, with 60% of the popular music from subcategory 51 (rock -softer) and 40% from subcategory 52 (rock -harder).


On March 15, Réseau des Appalaches (FM) Ltée was authorized to utilize the 103.3 MHz frequency with an effective radiated power of 16,600 watts at Thetford Mines and the 101.7 MHz frequency with an effective radiated power of 2,660 watts at Lac-Mégantic.

CFJO-FM signed on the air on July 15. It was a unique station as if operated from two cities – seventy miles apart. Réseau des Appalaches owned AM stations CFDA Victoriaville and CKLD Thetford Mines, so studios were set up for CFJO-FM in both communities. Programming originated from Victoriaville for 7 hours a day and for 15 hours a day from Thetford Mines. Two represent the two areas it served, CFJO identified itself on the air as “CFJO Amiante Bois-Francs”.

CFJO-FM used a 50,000 watt transmitter at Vianney, near Thetford Mines. Power at Names, near Lac-Mégantic was 2,660 watts. Both transmitters were from Broadcast Electronics, and Shively antennas were used – 8 bays for Thetford Mines and two bays for Lac-Mégantic. Mosley studio-transmitter links were used. At the studios, CFJO-FM had McCurdy “S” series consoles, Technics turntables, Revox tape machines, and Broadcast Electronics cart machines. The station received the NTR audio service (French equivalent of Broadcast News) by satellite from Montreal, as well as the Canadian Press wire service.

Fracnsois Labbee was president of Reseau des Appalaches.


CFJO was given approval to move from 103.3 to 97.3 MHz and to increase effective radiated power from 16,600 to 100,000 watts. 


On November 6 the CRTC renewed the licence for CFJO-FM and its transmitter CFJO-FM-1 Lac Megantic. The licence was renewed until August 31, 2009. The Commission received an intervention by Radio Gaé-Rit inc., licensee of CJIT-FM Lac Mégantic, opposing the licence renewal for CFJO-FM’s transmitter, CFJO-FM-1 Lac Mégantic. The intervener opposed the fact that the licensee had opened an auxiliary studio in Lac Mégantic, which the intervener considered would be in competition with CJIT-FM for [translation] “a significant share of an already meagre national advertising revenue pool.” In addition, the intervener submitted that CFJO-FM’s programming included only short local cutaways originating from the auxiliary studio in Lac Mégantic. Consequently, the intervener asked the Commission to impose a condition of licence prohibiting CFJO-FM from soliciting or accepting local advertising within the area served by CJIT-FM’s 3mV/m contour, namely Lac Mégantic. In response, Réseau des Appalaches (CFJO-FM) noted that: since its inception in 1989, CFJO-FM’s mandate has been to serve the listening audience of Lac Mégantic, Thetford Mines and Victoriaville; CFJO-FM broadcasts news and events relating to Lac Mégantic at different times of the day; the purpose of opening an auxiliary office in Lac Mégantic was to improve the quality of information relating to Lac Mégantic; and since its inception, CFJO-FM has always maintained a commercial service in Lac Mégantic. The Commission finds that Radio Gaé-Rit inc.’s perception of CFJO-FM-1 as a distinct radio station is not correct because all the local programming from Lac Mégantic is broadcast using the Thetford Mines main transmitter, CFJO-FM. Moreover, the Commission notes that CFJO-FM was given authorization to serve the same market at the time of its last licence renewal and that the intervener was aware of that fact when it acquired CJIT-FM (formerly CKFL) in 1998. Lac Mégantic is an integral part of CFJO-FM’s market, and the Commission agrees that the opening of a studio in Lac Mégantic serves to improve and diversify the service provided to the listening audience of this community.


On May 28, the CRTC renewed the licence of CFJO-FM (and its transmitter CFJO-FM-1 Lac-Mégantic) until August 31, 2016.


On May 19, the CRTC approved the application by Attraction Radio inc. for authority to acquire the shares and change the effective control of Gestion Appalaches, the parent company of Radio Mégantic ltée (CKLD-FM Thetford Mines and its transmitter CJLP-FM Disraeli), Réseau des Appalaches (FM) ltée (CFJO-FM Thetford Mines and its transmitter CFJO-FM-1 Lac Mégantic), and Radio Victoriaville ltée (CFDA-FM Victoriaville). Attraction Radio was owned by Attraction Média inc. (80%) and Ooük Management Inc. (20%) and controlled by Richard Speer. Gestion Appalaches was a corporation owned by François Labbé (90.91%), Annie Labbé (2.82%) and Fiducie familiale F. Labbé (6.27%). Effective control of Gestion Appalaches was exercised by François Labbé. Following the transaction, Gestion Appalaches would be wholly owned by Attraction Radio and controlled by Richard Speer. To ensure compliance with the Common Ownership Policy, the Commission directed Attraction Radio, as a condition of approval, to file a technical change application by August 13, 2015 to reduce to under 5% the population included in the overlapping area of the primary contours of CKYQ-FM Plessisville and CFDA-FM Victoriaville, as well as to shut down the transmitter CKYQ-FM-1 Victoriaville.


In August, the CRTC approved the change of effective control of Groupe Attraction Radio. The move transferred majority ownership of the company’s 14 Quebec radio stations to Sylvain Chamberland, the company’s executive VP and CEO. He would hold a 50.25% stake in the new ownership structure. Chamberland was recruited by Attraction’s founder Richard Speer in 2011 to set up the radio division.


In January, Attraction Radio became Arsenal Media Group.

The story continues elsewhere…
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