CKSW-AM, Swift Current
Golden West Broadcasting Ltd.
|CKSW-AM||1977||570||10,000||Golden West Broadcasting Ltd.|
|CKSW-AM||1975||1400||1,.000||Golden West Broadcasting Ltd.|
|CKSW-AM||1966||1400||1,000||Doug Scott and local group|
|CKSW-AM||1956||1400||250||Bill Forst and group|
Frontier City Broadcasting Co. Ltd. and Swift Current Broadcasting Co. Ltd. both applied to the CBC Board of Governors for a new AM station at Swift Current, using a frequency of 1400 kHz and power of 250 watts. After a couple of attempts, Frontier Broadcasting’s application was approved. The competing application by Swift Current Broadcasting was denied.
The CBC Board re-confirmed its recommendation for Frontier City Broadcasting’s application for a 250 watt radio station on 1400 kHz, at Swift Current. Another applicant, Swift Current Broadcasting Co. Ltd., had asked that the hearings for the applications be re-opened. The CBC refused the request.
The call letters CKSW were assigned for the new station.
CKSW began broadcasting on June 1.
Frontier City Broadcasting was formed by broadcast entrepreneur W.D. (Bill) Forst and a group of local shareholders. Forst held a quarter of the company’s shares. Since 1947, Forst had been chief engineer of CJDC Dawson Creek, CKRD Red Deer and then CKOM in Saskatoon. At each station he designed the complete studios, control rooms, transmitter set-up and directed all building construction. He was general manager and technical director of CKSW.
CKSW operated as an independent station with no network affiliation. Ownership of Frontier City Broadcasting Co. Ltd.: D. W. Scott 25%, H. F. Mahaffy 25%, A. A. Maxwell 25% and W. D. Forst 25%. Doug Scott was president of the company. Wilf Gilbey was manager of CKSW. He was also the farm director.
Bill Forst left to pursue another local project which involved bringing television to the market – CFJB-TV. Doug Scott became principal owner of CKSW after purchasing Bill’s shares, and served as general manager of the station for 17 years.
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CKSW has been the home of several long and successful careers in broadcasting and the 1960s marked the emergence of several personalities. One of the first to achieve success was June Smith, a popular host who became a household name to local listeners. Another who became familiar to listeners was Wilf Gilbey, who spent a total of 25 years with the station. Art Wallman, however, holds the record for longevity. Art joined CKSW in 1960 and began a remarkable on-air career that lasted for 36 years. “Art Wallman Country” featured regular interviews with friends, listeners and recording artists, and drew fans to the station from across the province.
Daytime power was increased to 1,000 watts in 1966. Night power remained 250 watts.
CKSW and CJSN were known as Southwest Saskatchewan Radio.
Frontier City Broadcasting acquired CJSN Shaunavon.
On December 20, the sale of Frontier City Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (CKSW and CJSN) was approved. Douglas W. Scott sold his shares to Southern Manitoba Broadcasting Co Ltd., Albert K. Jahnke, and F. Leonard Dyck. Sceptre Farms Ltd. and Gladys Scott sold their shares to F. Leonard Dyck.
A country music format was adopted.
Lenn Enns became general manager. Along with the change in management, the station received national attention when Bev Lockhart hosted the on-air broadcast of a Swift Current Broncos hockey game. This was a major accomplishment, as she became the first female announcer in history to do play-by play of a sports event.
On January 27, CKSW was authorized to move from 1400 to 570 kHz and to increase power from 1,000 watts day and 250 watts at night, to 10,000 watts day and night (directional) from a new transmitter site.
CKSW moved from 1400 kHz to 570 kHz and increased power from 1,000 watts day and 250 watts night to 10,000 watts full-time on May 11. The changes gave CKSW coverage across the province and allowed it to reach beyond local listeners in the Southwest. Installation included a new master control, Continental transmitter and eight 300′ towers, and took a year to complete.
Jim Johnson succeeded Garth Materie as CKSW’s news director. Materie left for CBC Regina.
At licence renewal time it was noted that CJSN Shaunavon broadcast approximately ten hours of locally-produced programming daily, with its remaining programming originating from CKSW.
Frontier City Broadcasting Co. Ltd. Purchased CIMG-FM from Grasslands Broadcasting Limited. CKSW now had a sister FM station.
Kris Sheldon Mazurak (Chris Sheldon) joined CKSW-CIMG as assistant program director. He would also be morning host for CIMG-FM. He had been at CHAB in Moose Jaw. He would also handle music director duties for the Swift Current stations, CHAB and Shaunavon’s CJSN.
On February 3, Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. (what had been Southern Manitoba Broadcasting), was awarded a licence for a second FM station in Swift Current.
The new station – CKFI-FM went on the air later in the year.
Throughout its existence, CKSW was a model of consistency. The studios were located at 134 Central Avenue North in Swift Current, and the station operated from this location from the time it first received its licence. Local programs including “Trading Post” and “Nite Watch” aired for decades in the same time slot. In an era of continued format and ownership changes, CKSW maintained a consistent and successful balance of programming. The station served as the voice of the Southwest for almost five decades and was familiar to listeners in Saskatchewan for its unique blend of news information, country music and inspirational programming.
In February 2008, CKSW marked 50 years of broadcasting.
On May 28, the CRTC renewed the licence of CKSW until August 31, 2016.
CKSW’s Art Wallman passed away June 23.
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.