Broadcast History - August 29

Broadcast History - August 29

Postby jon » Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:36 pm

In 1922, CFAC Calgary had their official opening at 7:45 p.m. The Calgary Daily Herald newspaper was especially proud of their radio station, which they claimed was running with 2000 watts on 430 metres. If that is true, they may have been justified in their claim of running Canada's most powerful radio station. What is known for sure is that a two kilowatt generator was used to power the transmitter. Ted Rogers Sr. had yet to invent radio transmitters that would run on AC utility power, so this was an all DC operation, running off the generator.

CFAC had originally signed on earlier in the year with 10 watts on 400 metres as CQCA on May 2nd. Call letters changed to CHCQ on May 9th, and then to CFAC on August 26th. By October, both the CFAC and CHCQ call letters were used for different portions of the broadcast day. In these early years, stations only broadcast during some of the day. Multiple stations in an area would share the same frequency, never broadcasting at the same time. So, the Herald may have effectively been running two radio stations during these years.

The CFAC call letters remain with the station today. To date, they represent the longest use of call letters in Alberta. CFCN had their call letters earlier, but has since changed call letters. CJCA Edmonton also had their call letters earlier, but was off the air for several months in the 1990s after their owner shut the station down when it began losing money.


In 1962, CHFM-FM Calgary signed on for the first time.

Image Image

First FM station went on the air in August `62
Frank King. Calgary Herald. Calgary, Alta.: Aug 29, 1991. pg. N.1

August has two anniversaries for FM radio in Calgary - its arrival, in 1962, and its departure eight years later.

CHFM - no relation to today`s light rock station - signed on at 5 p.m. Wednesday, August 29, 1962, with a program called Sing For Your Supper.

It was followed by Dinner Moods, featuring the music of Norrie Paramour, then Dinner By Candlelight - giving Calgarians a taste of the "quality programming" CHFM planned to offer.

"There was quite a bit of criticism at that time of AM radio stations being too similar," recalls Ross Craig, CHFM`s vice-president and sales manager from 1962 to `66.

The station featured opera, symphony, and light classical music, in stereo 16 or 18 hours a day.

The nine local businessmen who owned CHFM estimated the Calgary area had about 20,000 FM receivers, but the station`s arrival sparked a flurry of business for radio shops.

Mantel FM radios, at $40 each, drew many buyers. Adapters, which provided stereo sound, could be had for $30 to $80 more.

CHFM put that stereo to use quickly. In 1963, it broadcast chuckwagon races at the Stampede - with competitors moving from the left channel to the right.

The station also broadcast tapes of concerts by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

CHFM was not connected with an AM operation - even though the feeling in the industry was that an FM station couldn`t function without the support and revenue of an AM owner or affiliate.

"We felt that with Calgary being a broadcast island (far from other markets), this venture could stand on its own two feet."

Calgary had three AM stations at the time - CFAC, CKXL, and CFCN.

Soon after CHFM was approved, the federal Board of Broadcast Governors turned down an application for another FM station, but allowed a new AM one, CHQR, with a format similar to CHFM`s.

"That stopped our growth, and over the next few months we actually lost a few advertisers," Craig says.

Control of the station was sold in 1966, and the new owners tried playing music that had a broader appeal.

Craig left the station soon after, and was a partner in Westcan Electric until retiring three years ago at 65.

In 1969, the the new owners of CHFM tried to sell it again, but the Canadian Radio-Television Commission, which had replaced the BBG, rejected the deal. CHFM then hired as manager the Edmonton man who had tried to buy it.

In 1970, the CRTC announced that CHFM`s licence would not be renewed because control has passed to someone outside of Calgary.

In August, the station went off the air.

Operators of the student station at the University of Calgary considered taking over the frequency, but had to scrap their plans because of the cost.

On March 15, 1971, a new station - called CHFM and using the 95.9 frequency, but not connected to the old one - signed on.

The station was sold in 1972 to Moffat Communications.

After the second launch, FM has blossomed in Calgary, with six more stations - CBR-FM (on air September 1975), CKUA (on air January 1976), CJAY (June `76), CKIK (April `82), CKRY (July `82) and CJSW (January `85).

The first of Calgary`s six AM stations, CFCN (commonly known as AM-106), hit the air in 1922.
(thanks to albertaboy4life for these three articles!)
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