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February 11, 2019 12:59 am  #1


1220 AM St Catharines again

Well it has been about a year since I asked whether anyone is aware of any developments with respect to the still silent 1220 AM. Any testing taking place? Any activity at the transmitter shack? I think its been over two years since the new operators were given the okay to put it on the air.

I occasionally check the frequency but only hear the signal from Cleveland.

Anyone hearing anything?
 

 

February 11, 2019 2:09 am  #2


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

A cut and paste from Airchecker.ca: 

(CRTC) CONSTRUCTION PERMIT FOR NEW ST. CATHARINES STATION ON 1220 AM
HAS BEEN SOLD
The CRTC has granted an ownership change of the “yet to go on the air” 10,000 watt facility on 1220 AM in St. Catharines, Ontario which was approved in 2016. Sivanesarajah Kandiah and David J. Dancy will be relinquishing 100% control of the construction permit to Manu Datta and Ripudaman Singh Dhillon (Radio Dhun). Purchase price is $300,000.00. The new owners plan to stick with the original plans of launching the English language station with a Classic Hits.

The big mystery remains....WHEN???    
 

 

February 11, 2019 5:58 pm  #3


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

The new owners must be looking for a tax write-off.  Its amazing that anyone would expect to make money playing music on the AM band in the 21st century.  

The only reason the original CHSC stayed on the AM band was due to the owners inability to find a suitable spot on the FM dial.  They tried to get 107.5, but instead the CRTC awarded that frequency to CJDV Cambridge.

 

February 14, 2019 8:36 pm  #4


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

Thanks for the update. Doesn't look promising for a spring launch.... how long can they prolong this before the CRTC becomes concerned?

Maybe 960 in Mississauga could use this frequency / facility to improve coverage there.

     Thread Starter
 

February 14, 2019 10:03 pm  #5


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

710 would actually be the best frequency for 960 in Mississauga, but it was still being used by CJRN in Niagara Falls when CKNT originally applied for its license.  The closest station is WOR which operates on a directional night-time pattern designed to serve the New York City area.

1220 would definitely improve coverage, but at a much higher cost.  CHSC used 9 towers with different day and night patterns.   Using 960 allowed the station to go non-directional, with one tower, albeit with a poor night time signal. 

A non-directional signal with one tower on 1220 would likely interfere with WHKW in Cleveland.  However, if could afford it, you could produce good daytime and much better night time coverage into Peel and most of Toronto using a signal directed north from a transmitter located south of Mississauga.






 

 

February 15, 2019 7:11 am  #6


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

Chuck99 wrote:

  The new owners must be looking for a tax write-off.

   

What profitable media properties do they currently own, that would qualify for losses from this venture to be applied to profit, Chuckie?
 

 

February 15, 2019 9:10 am  #7


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

Kilgore wrote:

Chuck99 wrote:

  The new owners must be looking for a tax write-off.

   

What profitable media properties do they currently own, that would qualify for losses from this venture to be applied to profit, Chuckie?
 

I have to agree. Once a person has been in business, they understand the value of making a profit, not looking for losses to write off. If write-offs were the goal, we'd all be offering crappy products and services to ensure a loss, just to get that tax break. 


 
 

February 15, 2019 11:36 am  #8


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

Kilgore wrote:

Chuck99 wrote:

  The new owners must be looking for a tax write-off.

   

What profitable media properties do they currently own, that would qualify for losses from this venture to be applied to profit, Chuckie?
 

My tongue was firmly in my cheek as I wrote that comment.  

The previous owner, Pellpropco, essentially ran out of money and the CRTC did not grant a license renewal for CHSC in 2010.  Since then, the CRTC has granted two new FM licenses in the Niagara Peninsula including a soon-to-be-launched station in Grimsby.  And last year, Byrnes Communication acquired two Niagara Falls area FM stations that, according to the CRTC, had been losing money for years. 

Also, the CHSC transmitter and tower array is nearly 30 years old and nearing the end of its useful life.  The transmitter for 101.1 FM is around the same age and Byrnes has had to make major repairs at its Kraft Rd. location in Fort Erie.

When you factor in the saturated radio market, the aging transmitter, and the diminishing number of listeners on AM radio, the new CHSC would likely end up with the same financial problems as the old CHSC and CKNT 960.
 

 

February 15, 2019 5:39 pm  #9


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

Chuck99 wrote:

  
The previous owner, Pellpropco, essentially ran out of money 
 

Where are you getting your information from? They were making good money with Radio Uno.
The problem is, they did so illegally, beyond what would have been an acceptable number of hours dedicated to such a format.
The week-end Radio Uno content alone made more money than the week.
However, they did not want to be known as a multicultural station.
They continued with classic hits during the week day.
CRTC did not tolerate their format, nor did they tolerate their website, claiming to be a Toronto radio station.

There is nothing to suggest that they had no money. Just several indications of not serving St. Catherines properly.
If they didn't target Toronto, and if they respected the max number of hours allowed for multicultural content, they may have continued to make just the right amount of money to continue on.

Here is a link to a time when they insisted that they are a Toronto radio station...
https://web.archive.org/web/20110706201950/http://www.radiouno.ca/


 

Last edited by Radiowiz (February 15, 2019 5:50 pm)

 

February 15, 2019 7:50 pm  #10


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

They were locked out of their Queenston St. studios in 2008 and the bailiff sold their equipment at auction.  Its highly unlikely that would have happened if the station had been making money.

http://www.broadcasting-history.ca/listing_and_histories/radio/chsc-am-0

https://www.fybush.com/NERW/2010/100802/nerw.html

 

February 15, 2019 9:00 pm  #11


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

What kind of signal (quality / strength) did CHSC put into Toronto through the day and night?

     Thread Starter
 

February 16, 2019 12:08 am  #12


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

Apparently, it was very good and that is why the owners got the idea of increasing the amount of Italian language programming.  When not broadcasting in English, it was known as Radio Uno and targeted the Italian community in Toronto.  

The maps of its day and night time signal coverage has been removed from Radio Locator, but I remember it was a tight directional pattern which directed the signal mostly north of St. Catharines.  I remember being unable to receive it on a car radio in Fort Erie at night.

 

 

February 16, 2019 12:21 am  #13


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

If I were going to try to program this station, I would do local news / talk in the morning from 05:30 to 09:00. Then switch to classic country with a live announcer at 09:00. At 15:00 - 18:00 some kind of live drive show with local host. You would need some deep pockets to hire good personalities.

In the evening you could automate or hire newbie low cost announcers who would polish their skills and stay live until 23:00.

A pipe dream? Could it be profitable?

     Thread Starter
 

February 16, 2019 1:36 am  #14


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

Small market AM stations used to do block programming i.e. talk for a few hours, country for a few hours, Top 40 for a few more.  It largely ended with the advent of consultants, who feared that listeners that liked talk radio would switch on mass to another station if you adopted a country music format in the middle of the day.

Nonetheless, I think out-of-the-box thinking is going to be required for the survival of terrestrial radio in smaller markets.  So, who knows, block programming could be the salvation of local radio. 

But you are right about one thing.  To make it work, you would require deep pockets.  You would also have to meet CRTC license requirements.  And I think you would require an FM frequency for it to be successful.

 

February 16, 2019 7:04 pm  #15


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

darcyh wrote:

What kind of signal (quality / strength) did CHSC put into Toronto through the day and night?

As someone who used to listen to 1220 at night, I can tell you the signal was almost non-existent after sundown in Toronto. (It was just OK during the daylight hours, but listenable.) I was actually tuning in to hear WGAR Cleveland back in its Top 40 glory days and they came in nearly perfectly, with very little interference from CHSC.

In fact, most nights if you didn't know there was a St. Catharines signal on the frequency, you never would have even really detected it. 

 

February 16, 2019 7:47 pm  #16


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

Long before there was an Internet, a guy from Indiana named Vane Jones used to put out a yearly book called "The North American Radio-TV Station Guide." This was an invaluable tool for DXers, since it listed every TV and radio station in North America, including the U.S., Canada, Cuba and Mexico, by dial position, location and more. 

I have a few of them saved upstairs in my library (really just a big Ikea book shelf but it sounds way more impressive that way!) and as of 1985, it lists CJRN as 5,000 day, 2,500 night. It had to protect WOR in New York, which never came in here when CJRN was on the air, but now does on a regular basis. 

As for CHSC, the same edition has the power at 10,000 watts day, 1,000 night. Curiously, other Jones editions  differ. In various years, CHSC is listed at 10,000 watts both day and night, but for some reason there's a note that they were "temporarily" operating at 500 watts day and 250 watts night, which may explain why WGAR came in so clearly.

The Jones guides are now long obsolete and out of print, but a great site called "American Radio History" has scanned many of them in for posterity. They're a great way to track long extinct station information. 

You can see them here.

 

February 16, 2019 8:03 pm  #17


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

RadioActive wrote:

darcyh wrote:

What kind of signal (quality / strength) did CHSC put into Toronto through the day and night?

As someone who used to listen to 1220 at night, I can tell you the signal was almost non-existent after sundown in Toronto.

You could still pick up 1220 CHSC in Scarborough at night but the signal would fade in and out at times. 
 

 

February 16, 2019 8:27 pm  #18


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

Back in the seventies, the CHSC signal was similar to that of CKNT today...adequate in the day and weak at night.  I remember growing up in Welland and trying to listen to the evening Top 40 show and at night you could barely hear it even though you were just 15 kilometers from the transmitter. 

But that changed in 1980, when power increased to 10000 watts from 1000 in the day and 500 at night.  Keep it mind, it operated on a tight pattern directed toward the north.   The station could not be heard in Hamilton at night.

I stand corrected on the age of the transmitter in Port Robinson.  Apparently it was built in 1980 when the power was increased, so it is nearly 40 years old.  It would likely need to be refurbished and it would be fairly expensive to make it operational.

The station went bankrupt in the 1990s and was operated by KMPG until it was purchased by Pellpropco in 2002.  So its quite possible with its checkered ownership history, power may have been reduced from time to time to save money.

 

February 17, 2019 2:06 am  #19


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

Great information. This is the stuff you cannot find on the net.

I also recall listening to WGAR in its glory days, living in Kitchener the night time signal was good and I don't remember any reception of CHSC.

With all the challenges to put the existing facility back on the air and try to make a profit maybe this is just unworkable. Someone is still paying to light the towers (I presume) and a three phase electrical connection. Eventually those nine towers will need some maintenance.

When CKSL 1410 London was silenced, in less than a year the transmitter building was demolished, towers down, ground radials ripped up and all debris removed; even the hydro poles feeding it. You would not recognize it as a former transmitting facility.

It seems unusual that a station that's been off the air since 2010 still has its transmitting facility more or less intact. I'd wager there is an old Harris MW 10 still sitting in the shack...




 

Last edited by darcyh (February 17, 2019 2:07 am)

     Thread Starter
 

February 17, 2019 4:23 am  #20


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

Too bad 1990's caused hard times for them.
1220 CHSC knew how to make the good times great...




 

Last edited by Radiowiz (February 17, 2019 4:24 am)

 

February 17, 2019 6:45 am  #21


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

darcyh wrote:

   Great information. This is the stuff you cannot find on the net  

    Sure you can, this IS the net   
 

 

February 17, 2019 7:12 am  #22


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

darcyh wrote:

It seems unusual that a station that's been off the air since 2010 still has its transmitting facility more or less intact. 

The CHNS towers in Halifax still stand. Also in Quebec City the CHRC array is still there.

Back to CHSC, the CP for getting this back on air expires Apr. 20 this year.
 

 

February 17, 2019 1:44 pm  #23


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

The CJRN 710 towers are still standing on Kraft Rd in Fort Erie even though it has been off the air for 5 years.  The CFLZ 101.1 FM tower is located on the same site, but a different company owned the 710 towers, so they will likely remain standing for a long time.

For many years, the towers for 1470 AM in Welland remained near the Forkes Road studio even though the station had flipped to FM many years earlier.  New owners removed them shortly after they purchased the station and renamed it Giant FM in 2005.

Back in 2017, the red lights on the 105.1 CJED transmitter in Thorold burned out and were not operational for months because the station was in the process of being sold.  The lights were finally fixed within a week after the completion of the sale in March 1, 2018.

It is costly to remove old towers.  In the case of CKSL in London, the owner, Bell, has deep pockets and could afford to remove them.

 

February 17, 2019 1:50 pm  #24


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

andysradio wrote:

darcyh wrote:

It seems unusual that a station that's been off the air since 2010 still has its transmitting facility more or less intact. 

The CHNS towers in Halifax still stand. Also in Quebec City the CHRC array is still there.

Back to CHSC, the CP for getting this back on air expires Apr. 20 this year.
 

I will not be surprised if the CP expires.  The towers and transmitter are nearly 40 years old, the station went bankrupt in the 1990s and creditors foreclosed on its studio and sold the equipment at auction under different ownership in 2008.  To me, trying to revive this station does not sound like a good business decision.
 

Last edited by Chuck99 (February 17, 2019 5:21 pm)

 

February 17, 2019 1:59 pm  #25


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

Radiowiz wrote:

Too bad 1990's caused hard times for them.
1220 CHSC knew how to make the good times great...
 

The station had some really good programming in the 1970s.  Jim Marino was the news director and had a good current affairs talk show that aired weekday mornings.  Karl Edmonds was the sports director and was the host of an early evening sports phone in show.  Terry Williams, who eventually landed in radio management, hosted a Top 40 radio show in the evening.  John Larocque handled morning drive from 1971 to 1996. 

 

 

February 17, 2019 2:47 pm  #26


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

Chuck99 wrote:

The station had some really good programming in the 1970s. 
 

That video was from the 80's or 70's?
It sure was interesting seeing a young Ted Yates playing the role of Frankie Valli all in pure fun! 
Dare I say it, it looks like CHSC had more fun in those days (at those functions) than 1050 CHUM ever did...

Last edited by Radiowiz (February 17, 2019 2:54 pm)

 

February 17, 2019 3:00 pm  #27


Re: 1220 AM St Catharines again

According to the title, the video was made in the 1980s.  I lived in a different area of the province for most of that decade, so I was unable to listen to the station during that time period.  But I am sure the programming was still quite good back then.  The station started to go downhill when the original owners put it and CHRE-FM on the block in the late 80s.