brief history of Vancouver station start-ups and shut-downs from beginning to current
Much of the information for the first few years
of Vancouver broadcasting was taken from various newspaper clippings. As the
newspapers started the first stations and regarded others as competition, most of the
items were about their own stations.
1922 - Three Vancouver newspapers raced to get a station on the
air. On March 14th the Vancouver Daily Province stated that its Station FE
(CFCB) had signed on the day before. The Sun stated in March 15th, "We have
been operating for several days" with station CJCE. CFYC was licensed to
Trans-Canada Radiovox Ltd. and started broadcasting March 23 from the top floor of the
David Spencer Ltd. department store, under the sponsorship of the Vancouver Daily World
newspaper. On April 10 Sprott-Shaw Schools of Commerce & Wireless Telegraphy and
Radio Specialties Ltd. started CJCE. On April 20 Radio Specialties Ltd. opened CFCQ.
1923 - On April 1 CFDC Nanaimo, which was moved to Vancouver circa
1925 and renamed CKWX in 1927, went on the air. In June CFCB call letters became
CKCD. On December 5th, mayoralty candidate W.R. Owen gave a ten-minute speech over
Station CJCE, owned by the Vancouver Sun newspaper and the Sprott-Shaw School of
Commerce. CHCL was licensed to the Vancouver Merchants Exchange, but there is no
record that the station went on the air. Following a broadcast of seasonal greetings, some Christmas carols and a message from Canon D'Easum of Holy Trinity Cathedral on
the afternoon of Christmas Day, CFXC officially signed on New Year's
Eve, and included a number of comments, speeches and a discussion by
Fred Hume on the coming of radio. Electrical company Hume and
Rumble performed the installation and its "radio mechanics," F. Stirling and Roy R. Brown did the technical work.
1924 - In April, after some
time off the air, CFYC was set up with a 25 watt transmitter in the First Congregational
Church at Thurlow and Pendrell. On October 21, CFYC carried a speech made by Prime
Minister Mackenzie King from the Denman Arena, considered to be Canada's first political
broadcast. On September 27, 50-watt CKFC went on the air from the same church
1925 - The Canadian National Railway set up a network of stations
coast-to-coast, mostly for the benefit of its train passengers. The network would
eventually become the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation or CBC. The call letters
were CNR plus the first letter of the city. CNRV Vancouver signed on at AM 1100.
1926 - Henderson's Directory listed six radio stations in
Vancouver. They were CNRV, the Canadian National Railway Company's station, operated
from studios in the CNR station on Main Street (the CNR ran a radio service for its train
passengers); CFYC, operated by Commercial Radio Ltd; CFDC, owned by the Sparks Co; CFCQ,
operating out of the 16th floor at 500 Beatty, home of the Sprott Shaw Radio Co., which
had been in business for years teaching the technical aspects of radio; CKFC, a United
Churches station and CKCD, owned by The Province newspaper. Additionally, radio
engineer George Chandler purchased CFXC New Westminster, changed call letters to CJOR
(apparently the closest thing to George) and moved the station to Vancouver. It
operated with 50 watts into a fish pole antenna located near the old Marpole Bridge at the
south end of the city. Broadcasts originated from the St. Julian Hotel (later the
1927 - CFDC, which started in Nanaimo in 1923 signed off at 9:30 p.m.
July 29, returning as CKWX (the call letters were chosen because they could be easily
understood through a noisy signal) at 6 p.m. July 30. It shared airtime on 410
metres (730 kHz) with CFCQ, CFYC and CKCD. CNRV, the CNR's Vancouver station,
produced Canada's first regular drama series on radio, which was heard across the country
on the railway's network and lasted until 1932. CNRV shared airtime on 291 metres
(1030 kHz) with CJOR.
1928 - CFCQ changed call letters to CKMO. The Province newspaper
started a second station, CHLS which signed on May 23rd.
1929 - At 7 p.m. On December 19 the Canadian National railways
inaugurated its permanent transcontinental network on CNRV.
1933 - On April 22nd, CJOR moved to 1210, CKWX and CKCD to 1010, CKMO
and CKFC to 1410. CRCV was at 1100, having changed calls from CNRV a few days
earlier, now run by a new entity called the Canadian Radio Commission. CJOR moved to
the Grosvenor Hotel, 840 Howe Street, and operated for years out of the hotel's basement.
The station became a real force in local radio in the 1930s with broadcasters like
Ross and Hilda Mortimer, Dorwin Baird, Billy Browne Sr. & Jr. and Vic Waters.
Waters eventually became program director and hired future broadcasting stars like Red
Robinson, Jack Webster and Brian "Frosty" Forst.
1934 - CRCV began operating on Station Street, just east of Main.
1936 - The Canadian Radio Commission changed to the CBC, the Canadian
1937 - On February 16, the CBC station changed call letters from CRCV to
1941 - At 3 a.m. ET (midnight PT) March 29, over 2000 radio stations in
North America made frequency changes as a result of the Havana Radio Treaty.
1944 - CKNW (NW for New Westminster) signed on August 15 at 1230 on the
dial with 250 watts of power, after on-air testing which began April 1. On Tuesday,
August 15, four stations were listed in Vancouver, CBR, CJOR, CKWX and CKMO, from the many
which had signed on during the first few years.
1947 - After a test period, Vancouver's first FM station, and the first
west of Toronto, VE9FG officially signed on November 21, operating with a power of 1,000
watts on 105.7 MHz. Programming was a simulcast of CBR AM 1130. Call letters
would later change to CBR-FM and then CBU-FM.
1949 - On January 2, CKNW moved from 1230 to 1320 and increased power to
1952 - At 8:30 p.m. on January 25 CBR 1130 moved to 690 and changed call
letters to CBU.
1953 - KVOS-TV channel 12 Bellingham signed on June 3 with BBC film
flown in from England of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Not technically a
Vancouver station, KVOS provided the first easily receivable TV signal in southwest BC.
It was later incorporated in Canada, establishing a subsidiary company in
Vancouver. During the earlier years much of its local programming was produced at
its Vancouver studios. Vancouver's first television station, CBC owned and operated
CBUT channel 2, signed on December 16, with network programming initially
kinescope-delayed from Toronto. Newly forming cable TV systems later fed CBUT on
channel 3 to avoid impairment caused by the over-the-air signal.
1954 - CKNW 1320 increased to 5000 watts on November 5.
- CKLG (LG for Lions Gate) 1070 signed on February 3 with 1000
watts in North Vancouver. Up against booming 50 kilowatt
KNX Los Angeles on the same
frequency, CKLG's signal didn't go much past south Vancouver
after dark. Coverage map (note limited night signal) CKMO
changed call letters to CFUN at 6 p.m. February 14.
1957 - On August 15 CKWX became BC's first 50 kilowatt radio station as
it moved from 980 to 1130. For a period of time, This is not CKWX, it used to be,
could be heard on the old frequency, advising listeners to change the dial.
1958 - On August 18, CKNW 1320 moved to 980 the same day as CKLG 1070
switched to 730.
1959 - Founder Bill Bellman, of CBC Vancouver Radio/TV fame, signed on
CHQM (for Canada's Highest Quality Music) 1320 at 5 p.m. December 10 with an easy
listening format. Some websites state that 'QM was off air for several days after
its original sign on due to an administrative mixup. That information is incorrect.
1960 - CHQM-FM 103.5 signed on August 10 with an easy listening format,
carrying much of it's AM station's programming. At 4:45 p.m. October 31, CHAN-TV/8
Vancouver signed on as Vancouver's first independent TV station. It was assigned
channel 11 on Lower Mainland cable systems.
1962 - Likely the most historically significant broadcast in BC history
took place when Typhoon Frieda tore up the west coast on October 12/13, knocking most of
the stations in its path off air. Fill-in host Gerry Gawne anchored the all-night
slot on CKNW, operating on stand-by facilities designed by engineer Jack Gordon,
broadcasting news updates on the progress and destruction of the storm.
1963 - CJJC (the JC for founder Joe Chesney) 850 Langley signed on
January 19 as BC's first full-time country music station.
1964 - CKLG-FM 99.3 signed on October 15 with an easy listening format,
including orchestra concerts and Broadway soundtrack recordings. On November 8
CBU-FM 105.7 began regular programming separate from CBU AM 690, with recorded classical
music and BBC programs.
1967 - CBUF-FM 97.7 signed on December 1 as BC's first French language
station. CFUN AM 1410 discontinued its Top 40 format on September 17 and began
broadcasting easy listening the following day as The Sound of Music.
1968 - After experimenting with album rock music late at night in late
1967, CKLG-FM 99.3 expanded the format into the evening hours, becoming Canada's first
full-time rock FM station by later in the year.
1969 - On July 1, CFUN AM 1410 became CKVN (for Voice of News) with an
1970 - In March, CFMI-FM (for FM-One) 101.1 signed on, identifying as FM-One
with an automated rock/country hybrid and Sunday programming of International/Ethnic
music. That same month, CKVN AM 1410 returned to Top 40.
1972 - CJVB (JVB for founder Jan van Bruchem) AM 1470 signed on June 18
as Western Canada's first multilingual station.
1973 - On September 30, CKVN AM 1410 got its old call letters CFUN back.
The call letters were purchased from a Newcastle, NB station. On February 1,
CJJC moved from 850 to 800 after receiving approval for the move with a power increase to
10 kW in December 1970.
1975 - On April 15 at 3 p.m., Vancouver Co-operative Radio CFRO-FM 102.7
signed on with community-based programming.
1976 - Vancouver's second private television station CKVU-TV/21 (cable
13) signed on at 4 p.m. September 5. CBUFT/26 (cable 7) signed on at 9:30 a.m.
September 27, bringing Radio-Canada, CBC's French language service to the west coast.
CBUT/2 had been airing limited Radio-Canada programming weekend mornings since
1977 - CKO-FM 96.1 signed on November 21 as part of the CKO national
1979 - On January 6 CKLG-FM changed call letters to CFOX-FM.
1980 - Canada's first all-jazz station, CJAZ-FM 92.1 signed on March
1. Two months later, on May 1 CISL AM 940 Richmond signed on.
1982 - University of B.C. station CITR-FM 101.9 signed on April 1st with
49 watts omni-directional as Vancouver's first on-air campus station. Later boosting
power to 1,800 watts directional towards Vancouver & the Fraser Valley,
it would share the frequency with University of
1984 - On December 29, CFUN AM 1410 changed from Top 40 to Lite
Rock...Less Talk. CJAZ-FM moved from 92.1 to 96.9.
1985 - In February, CKVU-TV started broadcasting on channel 10,
moving from channel 21. On June 25, CJJC became CJUP under new management. On
September 15, CJAZ-FM changed calls to CKKS-FM
1986 - CJJR-FM 93.7 signed on July 1 at 9:37 a.m. with a country music
format. CIOF (for Ten Forty) AM 1040 officially signed on September 15 at 5:30 a.m.
with an adult contemporary format, after a commercial-free weekend test period.
1988 - At 12 noon on September 2, the CJOR call letters which had been in
use since 1927, disappeared as the station changed to CHRX with a classic rock format.
CJUP Langley changed call letters to CKST, identifying as Coast 800.
1989 - After a brief announcement at 9 a.m. on November 10, CKO-FM 96.1
and the national news network signed off forever due to financial losses.
1991 - CKZZ-FM 95.3 signed on at 8 p.m. May 24 with a commercial-free
weekend of contemporary R&B and dance music.
1992 - AM 1040 Magic 104 signed off February 4, to be replaced
by CKST on March 9, as it moved from its AM 800 frequency in Langley. It identified
as Coast 1040.
1994 - At 6 p,m. January 7 CHRX ended its Classic Rock era with Led
Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven, officially signing on at noon January 9 with
Christian music as CKBD The Bridge. At 9 p.m. on February 9, Chinese New
Year's Eve, Memory Music CHQM AM 1320 ended over 34 years of nostalgic and easy
listening music with Bob Hope's Thanks for the Memories. Moments later it
became CHMB with an all-night Chinese program and new multilingual format before moving to
all-Chinese seven months later.
1996 - On March 27, CFUN AM 1410 moved to an all-talk format.
1997 - On August 18 Star-FM expanded it's Fraser Valley signal
into the Vancouver market by moving its Abbotsford FM 104.9 transmitter to Mount Seymour,
effectively becoming a local station. CHKG-FM 96.1 signed on September 6 as Western
Canada's first multilingual FM station. CIVT-TV/32 (cable 9) signed on at 5:55 p.m.
September 19, with official launch of Vancouver Television at 5:55 a.m. September
22. With two million watts, the station claimed to be the most powerful and the
first fully digital commercial facility in Canada.
1998 - On July 31 AM 600 CKBD changed format from Contemporary Christian
to Unforgettable Adult Favourites.
2001 - NOW-TV CHNU-TV signed on shortly after 7 p.m. September
15, with studios and transmitter in Surrey. The station's on-air transmitter was UHF
channel 66 and cable channel 10 in the Vancouver area.
2002 - After starting transmitter testing on February 15, CFBT-FM (BT
for the Beat) 94.5 officially launched on March 4 with an urban format. CBUX-FM 90.9
began on-air testing September 5 with French network programming from La Chaï¿½ne
culturelle beginning the following day.
2003 - Simon Fraser University's new community-based campus radio
station, CJSF-FM (SF for Simon Fraser) 90.1 Burnaby, signed on at 7 p.m. February
13. The station had previously been broadcasting to the campus via carrier current on
AM 940 and is available at 93.9 on cable in the Metro Vancouver area. On March 25,
CKKS-FM changed calls to CKLG-FM. Channel M CHNM-TV (CHNM for a short
version of Channel M) officially signed on at 7 p.m. June 27, bringing multicultural
television to Vancouver viewers over-the-air on channel 42 and on cable channel 8.
2004 - Legendary DJ Red Robinson celebrated 50 years in broadcasting on
November 12. Red started spinning the hits at CJOR Vancouver in 1954, becoming the
first DJ to play rock 'n roll on a regular basis in Canada.
2005 - On May 20th, the CRTC approved application by Rogers Broadcasting
Limited to acquire the assets of CHNU-TV, which was subsequently rebranded from NOW-TV
to OMNI.10 on the Labour Day weekend. On July 21, the CRTC approved
applications by South Asian Broadcasting Corporation Inc. for a new commercial specialty
FM (ethnic) station directed at South Asian audiences to operate at 93.1 MHz and by I.T.
Productions Ltd. for a new ethnic station also directed at South Asian audiences to
operate at 1200 kHz. On December 21 CKYE-FM 93.1 signed on, identifying as Red-FM.
2006 - On March 7, British Columbia Institute of Technology
instructional campus radio CFML-FM 107.9 signed on, identifying as Evolution 107.9.
On May 30, CHMJ AM 730 stopped its sports/talk programming and relaunched at 7:30 a.m. on
June 5 with drive-time traffic, live sports and delayed CKNW talk shows. CJRJ AM 1200 Vancouver officially signed at
12 minutes to 7 p.m. on November 25. targeting listeners aged 18-44
with a mix of Bollywood, hip hop, Indi-pop, rap and bhangra.
2008 - At 2 p.m. on September 26, Clear FM CKCL-FM 104.9
Chilliwack/Vancouver changed format to become FM 104.9 - The Greatest Hits of All Time.
On October 10, CBU-2-FM 88.1 Vancouver began rebroadcasting the programming of Radio
One CBU AM 690. The PEAK CKPK-FM 100.5 Vancouver officially launched
at 7 p.m. November 13 with a Triple A format. It replaced 600AM
CKBD, which began as CFXC in 1924. The 600 Khz frequency went silent at the end of
December, follwing a simulcast period. CISL picked up much of CKBD's programming.
2009 - At 4 p.m. January 8, CKZZ-FM 95.3 Vancouver
became Virgin Radio 9 5 3 and added new programs including Ryan Seacreast’s On
Air show and American Top 40. Following a month of signal testing, Shore
104 CHHR-FM 104.1 officially signed on July 1. It was been authorized by the
CRTC to move to 104.3 in a swap with KNWR-FM Bellingham. At 10 a.m. November 5, CFUN
AM 1410 changed format from talk to all sports, followed by a call letter change to CFTE.
CKCL-FM then picked up the CFUN call letters after it starting identifying as Fun-FM.
2010 - At 7:30 a.m. January 14, CHHR-FM swapped frequencies with KAFE-FM
Bellingham, moving it from 104.1 to 104.3.
2011 - Shortly after 8:30 a.m. on August 17, CFUN-FM announced a change
to a current hit music format and new branding as SONiC, with a pledge to play
10,000 songs in a row. On August 31/September 1, analog TV transmitters were shut
2012 - At 1:02 p.m. September 10, Co-op Radio CFRO-FM 102.7 and The
PEAK CKPK-FM 100.5 swapped
frequencies, putting CKPK at 102.7 and CFRO at 100.5. The swap was
part of a deal between the stations which allowed CFRO to increase
power, transmit in stereo and have its transmitter site lease costs
covered for five years by CKPK's owner The Jim Pattison Group.
- On June 27, the CRTC approved a change of effective control of Astral
Media's broadcasting undertakings to BCE Inc., but ordered Bell to
divest itself of CHHR-FM 104.3, CKZZ-FM 95.3 and CISL AM 650.
2014 - On March 19, the CRTC approved applications by Newcap Inc. to acquire the assets of Vancouver market stations CHHR-FM 104.3, CKZZ-FM 95.3 and CISL AM 650 from Bell Media Inc. On March 31 CKZZ-FM 95.3 returned to its earlier branding as Z95 3. On June 20 Shore
CHHR-FM 104.1 dropped its AAA format which had been in place since the
station's launch in 2009, moved to hits of the 70s and 80s, rebranded as
LG 104 3 and changed call letters to CHLG-FM. Aboriginal
Voices Radio CKAV-FM 106.3 Vancouver went silent during the first week
of December and returned a few days later as Voices Radio with a 2000 song catalogue of eclectic music.
2015 - On February 24, SONiC CFUN-FM 104.9 Vancouver changed branding to KiSS RADIO. Roundhouse Radio CIRH-FM 98.3 Vancouver signed on in mid October with a mostly talk format. Pulse
CISF-FM 107.7 Surrey signed on in mid December with test announcements
and Christmas music. Its format is Adult Contemporary
with some talk programming. CKNW was added as HD2 on sister
station CFMI-FM 101.1 in mid October. It was the first HD station
in the Vancouver area.
- In early June the programming of TSN1 1040 and TSN 1410 were added to
CHQM-FM 103.5 HD2 and HD3 respectively. In late June CKWX was
added as HD2 to CJAX-FM 96.9. The
CHMJ AM 730 transmitter site in Delta was destroyed by the Burns Bog
fire on July 3, forcing the station off air. The all-traffic
station's air signal was quickly restored, first with temporary
facilities in downtown Vancouver and then with reduced power at the main
site. It was also added to FM 101.1 HD3.
2017 - On May 26, the CRTC approved the purchase of CISL AM 650 by Rogers Media. CISL dropped its oldies format on August 28, switching to an all sports format as Sportsnet 650 with official launch on September 4. The station was added as HD3 on CJAX-FM 96.9 in time for the launch.