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February 28, 2023 8:29 am  #1

The Forgotten Canadian Radio Pioneer: "OA" Radio In Ottawa

Most here know the story of XWA, the Montreal Marconi experiment that some claim as the world's very first radio station. It went on the air in 1919 and eventually morphed into the now defunct CFCF. 

But fewer may be familiar with a station originally known simply as "OA," a broadcaster that took to the airwaves in Ottawa in 1921. The article below tells the story of how it started and eventually morphed into "CKCH," a station owned by the Canadian National Railway.

It was a marvel of its time, sophisticated by the standards of the day. 

"In the studio were a microphone on an adjustable stand, a telephone, and a microphone control panel linked to the roof-level operating room. The panel had three lights. A red light indicated that the transmitting set on the roof was in operation. A blue light indicated that broadcasting was in progress, while a white light summoned the announcer. The station had four employees: an operator, an assistant operator, an announcer, and a musical director."

(Hmm, some stations don't even have that much staff these days! CFAJ anyone?)

The station still exists today in a manner of speaking. It was eventually taken over by the CBC and today bears a very well-known call sign in the nation's capital: CBO.

Remember This? Radio station CKCH opens