CKRM-AM, 620 CKRM, Regina

Harvard Broadcasting Inc.

CKRM-AM200162010,000Harvard Broadcasting
CKRM-AM198198010,000/5,000Harvard Communications Ltd.
CKRM-AM197098010,000/5,000Buffalo Broadcasting Ltd. (Gallagher)
CKRM-AM196198010,000/5,000Cambrian Broadcasting Ltd. (CKSO Sudbury)
CKRM-AM195898010,000/5,000Western Communications Ltd. (McCusker)
CKRM-AM19569805,000Western Communications Ltd. (McCusker)
CKRM-AM19479805,000TransCanada Communications (Sifton/ACMO)
CKRM-AM19419801,000TransCanada Communications (Sifton/ACMO)
CKRM-AM19409601,000TransCanada Communications (Sifton/ACMO)
CJRM-AM193454010,000James Richardson & Sons – Moose Jaw / Regina
CJRM-AM19349601,000James Richardson & Sons
CJRM-AM1933880500James Richardson & Sons – Moose Jaw / Regina
CJRM-AM1928880500James Richardson & Sons – Moose Jaw
CJRM-AM1926665500James Richardson & Sons – Moose Jaw


Grain merchants James Richardson and Sons Ltd opened CJRM in Moose Jaw on July 27. The transmitter and studios were situated in the Richardson Building in the heart of the city. CJRM had a power of 500 watts and was located at 665 kHz on the dial. 


The Richardsons opened CJRW at Fleming, Saskatchewan. The transmitter was at Fleming, just west of the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border, but the studios were in Winnipeg. They used these stations to provide farmers and grain elevator operators in the “Breadbasket of Canada” with up-to-the-minute grain and market prices, and also provided various entertainment programs.

CJRM’s frequency was changed to 880 kHz.


James Richardson & Sons were successful in obtaining a licence for a 100-watt station in Winnipeg. The CJRC call letters were assigned. The company also received federal permission to operate a studio in Regina and to move CJRM’s transmitter from Moose Jaw to Belle Plain, midway between Moose Jaw and Regina. The new transmitter would operate with 1,000 watts on new frequency of 540 kHz. The new facility would be shared by the Regina and Moose Jaw studios. The CPR broadcast line to Fleming was extended to Regina, and the three studios (in Winnipeg, Regina and Moose Jaw), exchanged some programs from their cities.

Don Copeland joined the James Richardson stations in Winnipeg and Regina from CKGW Toronto.


The Moose Jaw studios were closed and the Fleming transmitter was shut down, as was the inter-city broadcast line to Regina.


Jack Hill started his radio career at CJRM as an announcer. Sheila Stewart left CJRM for the music staff at KLZ in Denver.

CJRM opened its new transmitter plant in early October. The new building was 7 miles east of the city and was equipped with living quarters for two engineers. A new 404 foot tower was installed and was equipped as an airway beacon.


When the CBC put CBK and its 50.000 watt transmitter at Watrous on the air, CJRM was forced to vacate 540 kHz, but was assigned another frequency at 960 kHz.

Announcer Harry McLoy joined CJRM from CJRC Winnipeg. Gerry Quinney was a control room operator. Len Cozine transferred from the control room to the engineering staff. Harry Dane moved from production to the control room. Roy Henderson (new to radio) joined the continuity and production departments. Victor F. Neilsen, longtime CFCF Montreal general manager, resigned to become GM of the Richardson stations – CJRC Winnipeg, CJRM Regina and shortwave stations CJRO and CJRX Winnipeg. He replaced Harry McLaughlin, who resigned. Clair Chambers, former sports and specialty announcer for CJRM and CJRC, left for CKSO Sudbury on September 1 to do sales and production work. Jack Hill of Swift Current joined CJRM as sports announcer. Regina’s Ed Scott joined CJRM’s commercial department.


In April, Victor Sifton and family, interested in having a radio station in the same city as their Winnipeg Free Press, bought the radio division of James Richardson & Sons Ltd (CJRC Winnipeg and CJRM Regina) from the Richardson Estate. Purchase of CJRM gave the Sifton’s ownership of both stations in Regina as CKCK was owned by their Regina Leader-Post newspaper. The proprietorship of two radio stations in the same city, especially when owned by the only daily newspaper, was at odds with the licensing policy of the CBC. The Siftons were aware of this situation, but had been keen on having a station in Winnipeg and in order to obtain CJRC had to buy the full package. The conflict could have bean solved if the Siftons had been allowed to move CJRM from Regina to Saskatoon as a companion to the Star-Phoenix. A serious attempt was made to bring this about, but the regulator would not give its permission.

Victor Sifton, president of Trans-Canada Communications of Winnipeg, operating CJRC, CJRM and CKCK, was appointed acting Master General of Ordinance for Canada.

As of September 1, Taylor Pearson & Carson Ltd. (Harold Carson, president) took over management and operation of CJRC and CJRM. TP&C and the Siftons pledged that CKCK and CJRM would operate with autonomy under separate staffs and managers and would be competitive. CJRM was no longer identified as a Moose Jaw/Regina station (Regina-only).

F.H. (Tiny) Elphicke, recently manager of CJCA (Edmonton), was named manager of CJRC (Winnipeg). Victor F. Nielsen of CJRC moved to CFAC (Calgary). Gordon Henry of CFAC moved to CJCA. Fred Scanlon of CJRM (Regina) was elevated to manager of that station. New commercial manager at CJRC was P.H. Gayner, formerly with All-Canada in Winnipeg. Stewart MacPherson, formerly with the BBC, would hold a similar job at CJRC. Bob Straker, chief accountant of CJRC was moved to CFAC as program director, replacing Pat Freeman, who joined the RCAF. Fred Luce, CJRC salesman, was transferred to CJRM as was Ken Anderson, accountant. CJRM’s Jack Hill joined the RCAF.


In accordance with the implementation of the Havana Treaty, on March 29th, CJRM changed its frequency from 950 kHz to 980 kHz. (At some point after 1939, CJRM moved from 960 to 950 kHz)

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.


Oscar Gullander and Lloyd Ray joined CJRM as announcers.


CJRM became CKRM while Winnipeg’s CJRC became CKRC.

Pearl Powell was an announcer and commentator. Fred Laight joined CKRM as a copywriter.


G.B. Quinney left his post as CKRM production manager to become manager of CFAR Flin Flon. Bruce Pirie was CKRM’s commercial manager.

Ad slogan: CKRM – The Saskatchewan Farmer Station.

CKRM became the Regina affiliate of the CBC’s Dominion Network.


W.A. “Bill” Speers was CKRM’s manager and Bruce Pirie was commercial manager. Gordon Babineau was an announcer at CKRM. Ren Graham was in sales. Fred Laight was production manager. Cliff Mann was an operator. Grant Carson was promotion manager. Jack Hill returned to the station from the RCAF. 



At one point in time, CKRM hired Jack Hill. He then went off to war. To fill the gap, the station hired Jack’s kid brother, Bob. He then came of age and went off to the war. Brother Tom was just graduating from high school so CKRM hired him. Tom then went off to war. To keep a Hill on the staff, the father of Jack, Bob and Tom volunteered to do some announcing on the station. When the war was over, all three boys reported back to CKRM. This year, Tom moved on to CBM Montreal and Jack was expecting to move to CKRC in Winnipeg. This left Bob Hill on the CKRM staff.


Bill Walker was CKRM’s chief announcer and later in the year, added production manager duties.

CKRM was now operating with 5,000 watts of power.


Gerry Gaetz was named manager of CJCA Edmonton, succeeding Gordon Henry. Gaetz had been manager of CKRC Winnipeg since 1942. Bill Speers, who ran CKRM since 1944, replaced Gaetz at CKRC. Stuart MacKay, with CKWX since 1941, where he had been assistant manager, followed Speers at CKRM. Gaetz started in radio at CJOC Lethbridge as an announcer in 1929. Speers started as an announcer at CHWC Regina in 1931. MacKay got his start in the business as an announcer-operator at CJCA in 1938. Bruce M. Pirie left CKRM as commercial manager to take up the same post at CKRC Winnipeg. Don Oakes became sales manager, replacing Bruce Pirie. Oakes had been in the sales department at CFAC Calgary. Fred Laight handled CKRM’s special broadcast services.


CKRM manager Stuart MacKay was appointed manager of All-Canada’s program division, succeeding Spence Caldwell. MacKay would be replaced at CKRM by Norman Botterill, manager of CFBC Saint John.


Ad slogan: CKRM – Saskatchewan’s Favourite Listening Post.

Norm Botterill was manager and Don Oaks was commercial manager.


Ad slogan: CKRM for Saskatchewan. CKRM used “RM the Program Man” in its print advertising.

Johnny Esaw was sports director. Announcer Jim Henderson left CKRM for the soon to open CKDM Dauphin.


Ad slogan: CKRM – The powerful voice of a friendly station – reaching thousands of homes across Saskatchewan.

Tom Hill was production manager. Regina Rough Rider CFL games were handled on a split basis by Lloyd Saunders on CKCK and Johnny Esaw on CKRM.

According to a print ad, CKRM was getting ready to mark its Silver Anniversary…from 50 watts to 5,000…from CJRM to CKRM…from 1926 to 1951… giving service to advertisers and listeners in Saskatchewan. From another ad: Since the day we commenced transmission with 50 watts, our station has grown to be a leader in Saskatchewan. Our faithful listeners and successful advertisers are invited to “keep tuned to the Centre Aisle on Your Radio Dial…” CKRM 980 KC Regina – 1926-1951.


Fred Laight was program director. He had been with the station since 1943 when he joined as a copywriter. Bob Hill was appointed program manager. He had been an announcer on the station. Bob Bye was appointed production manager. He already was host of “Bob for Breakfast” from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. Bye was also program supervisor. Rita Spicer was promotion manager and women’s commentator. She joined the station in 1951. Norman Botterill left to become manager of CJOC Lethbridge (effective September 25). Don Oaks was named manager of CKRM. He had been sales manager since 1948. Oaks started in radio in 1940 at CFAC in Calgary. He succeeded Norm Botterill. Harry Dane, a member of the CKRM staff for 18 years, was named sales manager. He was assisted in his new post by Grant Carson and Bill Rees.


Art Kennard was in the news department. He had been with the station since February of 1952, and joined from CJNB in North Battleford. Al Smith was executive assistant and accountant and had been with the station for six years. Bill Walker (sales manager) and Bob Bye (program director) were now announcers at CKRC Winnipeg.

Ad Slogan: CKRM – The capital station in the capital city – Regina.


Ad slogans: Don’t let your sales slip. Secure your advertising on CKRM on the hard-hitting…far reaching 980 frequency. / People Choose CKRM Radio Regina.

Johnny Sandison and Vern Brooks were emcees.

CKRM opened new studios in June. At this time, the station employed 42 people.


Ad slogans: The Golden Voice of Saskatchewan. / When you want to reach the Booming Saskatchewan Market….the most important step in any… campaign is to contact CKRM Regina.

Some CKRM programs: The Sunshine Club (6-9 a.m.), Kennard’s Korral (1-3 p.m.), The Chatterbox (4:30 to 5:30 p.m.), and Club Time (10:15 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.).

Jack Boitson was promotion manager at CKRM.


The CBC Board of Governors approved the transfer CKRM from Transcanada Communications Ltd., headed by Clifford Sifton of Toronto, to Western Communications Ltd., controlled by Regina liberal M.P. Dr. Emmet A. McCusker. McCusker was also a prominent Regina physician and surgeon. The studios and offices were moved to an existing two-story building acquired by Dr. McCusker at 2060 Halifax Street.


Wilf Collier became CKRM’s general manager on April 1. He had been assistant manager at CKY in Winnipeg and replaced Don Oaks who left for CFAC in Calgary. Harry Dame remained as CKRM’s sales manager while Bob Hill continued on as program director. Art Kennard was program director later in the year.

CKRM 980 was a CBC Dominion Basic affiliate. Ownership of Western Communications Ltd.: Dr. E. A. McCusker 58.3%, H. E. Drope 3.1%, Dr. G. J. McMurty 3.1%, D. K. McCusker 1.5%, M. I. Chase 3.1% and 12 other shareholders 30.9%. Dr. Emmet K. McCusker was president of the company.


According to Elliott-Haynes CKRM reached a total of 105,912 adult listeners every day.

CKRM 980 applied for a power increase from 5,000 watts full-time (directional at night) to 10,000 watts day and 5,000 watts night (two directional patterns). The CBC Board of Governors recommended the application for deferral pending further evidence of improved local programming by the station in line with intentions previously expressed to the board by the applicant. An application was filed again later in the year and again it was deferred. A further application was made and this time it was approved. The power increase took place later in the year and three 250 foot towers were used.

Eugene C. Rebcook, former CKRM promotion manager, was now with Young & Rubicom. 


CKRM’s power boost application was approved by the Board of Broadcast Governors.

Dennis Owens left CKRM to be night supervisor at CJME.


Cambrian Broadcasting Ltd., the owner of CKSO Sudbury, Ontario, purchased CKRM.


The Dominion and Trans-Canada networks consolidated into a single CBC Radio network. CKRM’s affiliation with the network came to an end. 

Joe Budd left CKRM as sales manager to take up the same post at CKSO-TV Sudbury. Don Hogle left CKRM as news director to take up the same position at CKSO Radio & TV.


James T. Miller was president of Cambrian Broadcasting and manager of CKRM. Bob Hill was production and program director. Mary Baker was named sports director of CKRM – very possibly the first female sports director in Canada.


Frank Flegel was news director. Bill Kincaid left CKRM for announce and sales work at CFRW Winnipeg.


James T. Miller was general manager. Kenneth F. Reeves was appointed sales manager. James B. Roberts was production manager.


George Gallagher, owner of CJGX Yorkton, incorporated Buffalo Broadcasting Ltd. last year for the purpose of purchasing CKRM from Cambrian Broadcasting Ltd. The CRTC approved the purchase on June 10 and Buffalo took over operation of CKRM on June 15. Gallagher was president of Buffalo Broadcasting and held the same title with Yorkton Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (CJGX). Merv Phillips was vice president of the company and managing director (manager) of CKRM. Ed Laurence was secretary-treasurer and held the same position with Yorkton Broadcasting. Phillips started his career at CJGX as an announcer, moving on to CKXL Calgary in 1955. He returned to CJGX in 1956 as production manager. In 1959, he was appointed sales manager and still held that position to this day. 


Fred King joined CKRM and about a month later, Willy Cole left for Calgary’s CFCN. 

On December 21, approval was granted for a transfer of shares in Buffalo Broadcasting from Mervin G. Phillips to Geo C. Gallagher and Edward A. Lawrence.


On May 31, Buffalo Broadcasting was authorized to purchase CFMQ-FM from Metropolitan Broadcasting Ltd. CKRM now had a sister FM station.


Willy Cole returned to CKRM.


Bob Hutton and Sam Richardson were at CKRM.


On March 1. Harvard Developments Ltd. (controlled by the Hill family of Regina), bought CKRM-AM and CFMQ-FM from Buffalo Broadcasting. Harvard owned CKCK-TV at this time. They had acquired the TV station in 1977 from Armadale Communications.


Frederick Wilson Hill died at age 58 on October 12. He established Hill’s TV and Radio in 1948, and was credited in 1954, with the world’s first order for an RCA component TV set. In 1973, Hill added a film and video production studio to his group of businesses. He later purchased CKCK-TV and then CKRM-AM and CFMQ-FM.

Geoff Currier became CKRM’s sports director.


CKRM had its licence renewed for only two years because the CRTC had concerns over the placement of Canadian content. The Commission said that in one instance the station only played one Canadian song in morning drive while in another, the Cancon level in the 6-9 a.m. time period was only 6.2%. In its defense, CKRM argued that its listeners had a strong interest in news and information during morning drive and any deviation from its well-established programming style would trigger an irreversible negative reaction. The Commission rejected the station’s argument and warned it would monitor the situation closely and expected CKRM to ensure that Canadian content regulations were adhered to fully at all times.


CKRM / CFMQ-FM news director Manfred Joehnck moved over to CKCK-TV to become assignment editor.


Co-owned CHMX-FM (formerly CFMQ-FM) adopted a New Country format on July 11. It would compliment CKRM’s Traditional Country format. 


Craig Broadcasting Systems which in 1996 acquired CKCK-AM and CKWF-FM (formerly CKIT-FM) entered into an agreement with Harvard Communications to locate the studios of these two stations in the Harvard building at 2060 Halifax Street which, for many years also housed CKRM-AM and CHMX-FM. At the same time. Harvard agreed to take on the management of CKCK and CHWF-FM in addition to CKRM and CHMX-FM.


Broadcaster Fred King died. He started his at CJGX Yorkton, then spent the rest of his career (from 1974) at CKRM.

Michael Olstrom was promoted to operations manger of CKRM, CKCK, CFWF-FM and CHMX-FM.


On November 30, the CRTC approved an application whereby Harvard was able to purchase the assets of CKCK and CKWF-FM. and for CKRM to occupy CKCK’s 620 frequency using the CKCK transmitter. In CKWF-FM, Harvard also acquired its second FM station in the Regina market, ending up with one AM station and two FM stations. CKRM’s transmitter on 980 kHz was acquired by RAWLCO Communications which surrendered its AM licence for CJME on 1300 kHz.

CKCK 620 left the air at midnight, October 1. CKCK was replaced on the 620 frequency by CKRM which had operated at 980 kHz.


On December 12 the CRTC approved an application by Harvard Broadcasting Inc. to effect an intracorporate reorganization. Harvard was the licensee of the radio programming undertakings CKRM, CFWF-FM and CHMX-FM Regina, and the radio network Roughriders. The proposed transaction would be implemented through the insertion of a new holding company, The Gabriel Holding Corp., into the existing corporate structure, between Famhill Holdings Limited and Famhill Investments Limited. As a result of this transaction, Famhill Holdings would own 100% of the Class E voting shares and the Class D non-voting shares, and the Paul Hill Family Trust would own 100% of the Class B non-voting participating shares in Gabriel Holding. This transaction would not change the control of Harvard, which remained with Frederick W. Hill, through the holding companies Harvard Developments Inc., Famhill Holdings and Famhill Investments.


On February 20 the CRTC authorized Harvard Broadcasting to operate a network originating from CKRM. The new network would broadcast regional and provincial news and information of interest to residents of Saskatchewan including open-line shows. It proposed to broadcast a maximum of 15 to 20 programs a year from one to four hours in duration. The network licence would be in effect until August 31, 2009. 


CKRM changed its format from Country to a mix of Country music and sports.

On June 30, the CRTC renewed the broadcasting licence for the English-language commercial radio station CKRM Regina from 1 July 2010 to 31 August 2013. This short-term licence renewal would enable the Commission to review the licensee’s compliance with the Radio Regulations, 1986 and its conditions of licence at an earlier date. In Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2009-786, the Commission noted that the licensee might have failed to comply with section 9(2) of the Radio Regulations, 1986, which related to the provision of annual returns, for the 2007 and 2008 broadcast years, as well as with the Regulations as they related to the 35% minimum weekly broadcast of Canadian musical selections from content category 2 (Popular Music). The Commission also noted that the licensee might have failed to comply with its condition of licence relating to contributions to Canadian talent development for the 2008 broadcast year.

Former CKRM on-air personality Mal Faris passed away.

Angie Norton became the new Business Manager for Harvard’s Regina and Yorkton stations.


Cam Cowie, General Manager of Harvard Broadcasting, announced veteran Saskatchewan radio broadcaster, Willy Cole, had agreed to extend the date of his retirement until April 29, 2011. Cole, born and raised in Selkirk, Manitoba, began his career at CKWL with stops at CHTM, CKRM, CFCN and CFRY. In 1978, Willy returned to CKRM where he charmed and entertained Saskatchewan listeners for the next 33 years. 

Grant Biebrick joined the Harvard Regina Team as Program Director for 104.9 The Wolf and 620 CKRM. He had been Program Director/ Music Director for The Goat and The Wolf in Lloydminster. News veteran Roger Currie was no longer anchoring and commenting at CKRM Regina. Before moving to the CKRM, Currie, among other things, had been the long-time morning anchor at CJOB Winnipeg.

On April 29 Willy Cole signed off the Regina air waves after 33 years being on the air with the Country Music GIANT – 620 CKRM. Willy worked endless hours doing remotes, country cookouts, M.C. jobs, and was also on the sidelines during CKRM’s broadcasts of Saskatchewan Roughrider games. After 42 years in total behind the microphone, 33 of those years at CKRM … Willy was widely regarded as the most respected broadcaster in Regina. Willy was the longest running morning man in Regina radio even surpassing the late Johnny Sandison on the former CKCK. Gloria Evans would team up with Willy’s co-host to continue the morning show as of May 24. Cole began his career at CKWL Williams Lake with stops at CHTM Thompson, CKRM Regina, CFCN Calgary and CFRY Portage La Prairie. In 1978, Cole returned to CKRM where he entertained Saskatchewan listeners for 33 years. 

Michael Olstrom left Harvard Broadcasting as station group manager to become general manager of Astral Radio Regina as of February 15. Olstrom had held his post with Harvard since January 1, 2002 when John Huschi retired. Jason Huschi was promoted from his general manager/general sales manager position at MIX 103 FM Fort McMurray to general manager of Harvard’s Regina cluster. He succeeded Michael Olstrom in that position and, prior to that, his father, John Huschi. Grant Biebrick, program director at The Goat (CKLM) Lloydminster moved to The Wolf/CKRM March 28 as PD, succeeding Cole. Taking over as PD at The Goat was JD Anderson, a promotion from his APD/MD/mid-days duties.

The CRTC approved the change to the effective control of Harvard Broadcasting Inc. from Frederick W. Hill to Paul J. Hill following the death of Frederick W. Hill in July 2008. Harvard was the licensee of radio stations and the parent company of two other licensees of radio stations in Alberta and Saskatchewan.


Roy Brown died at age 75. He began his radio career at CKBI Prince Albert in 1958, and worked at CKRD Red Deer and WECL Eau Claire (WI) before moving to CKRM Regina and later CKCK-AM-TV. Brown was the in-park voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders for 29 years. 


Manfred Joehnck died February 5 at age 64. He served at CKRM’s news director for several years and was a news anchor at CTV Regina from 2001 to 2011. In 2012, he became the legislative correspondent for Missinipi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).

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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