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November 17, 2020 10:59 am  #1


A Few Lost (And Now Found) Radio And TV Artifacts

Just when I thought there wasn't anything left to find in my "I keep everything broadcast related" file, I came across these business cards in an old drawer. (Don't I have any young drawers in this place?)  This all started when I went hunting for an ancient Mountain Equipment Co-op card that I took out once 30 years ago and haven't used since. 

I was curious if their "lifetime" membership truly meant lifetime, so I called them up, gave them my membership number and to my amazement, they still had it on file and I'm still considered a member. Too bad the place was recently taken over. 

Anyway, along with that, I found three business cards. (Do they still have those anymore?) The first was by far the most interesting - a CKO card that listed the long defunct all news network's frequencies in every one of the provinces where they operated stations - including 99.1 in Toronto, the home of the future CBC Radio 1.

https://i.ibb.co/VCmdvk8/CKO-Card.jpg


This next one is a real blast from the past - a card from the late, great Earl McRae, who was not only a terrific broadcaster but an award winning sports columnist for the Toronto Star, the old "Canadian" supplement that accompanied it on Saturdays, a sportscaster for CBC Toronto and later a writer for the Ottawa Sun. He passed away several years ago from a heart attack, but I knew him and he was one of the most incredible talents I've ever met. I'd long forgotten about that streetcar logo. 

https://i.ibb.co/Yb8mSyY/CJCL-Earl-Mc-Rae.jpg


Finally, I have no idea where this came from but I do remember both the show and the name. "A Current Affair" was a Maury Povich-hosted Fox syndicated so-called "primetime access" show that aired on stations in North America between 7 & 8 PM every weeknight from 1988-1996. Mary Garofalo was one of the correspondents and if I'm not mistaken she used to work at City TV as a reporter before moving onto obviously bigger things in the U.S. I have no idea whatever happened to her 

https://i.ibb.co/4VWt50m/FOX-A-Current-Affair-Mary-Garofalo-Card.jpg
 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to see if there are any other old drawers that haven't been opened in a while...

 

November 17, 2020 11:14 am  #2


Re: A Few Lost (And Now Found) Radio And TV Artifacts

By the way, how did CKO ever end up with a three call letter assignment? I thought those were eliminated years before they went on the air and outside of the CBC and a few legacy private stations (like CKY in Winnipeg), there weren't many of them in Canada.  

     Thread Starter
 

November 17, 2020 11:24 am  #3


Re: A Few Lost (And Now Found) Radio And TV Artifacts

I was curious as to what occupies the old CKO frequencies outside of Ontario now. In Vancouver 96.1 is occupied by Fairchild's mostly Mandarin CHKG. World FM CKER sits at 101.9 in Edmonton. 70's/80's/90's formatted  CFXL operates on 103.1 in Calgary and CKHZ has a Hot Country format in Halifax. 1470 in Montreal has probably been silent since CKO shut down. CJVB in Vancouver is currently the only station operating on that frequency in Canada.

 

November 17, 2020 12:06 pm  #4


Re: A Few Lost (And Now Found) Radio And TV Artifacts

RadioActive wrote:

By the way, how did CKO ever end up with a three call letter assignment? I thought those were eliminated years before they went on the air and outside of the CBC and a few legacy private stations (like CKY in Winnipeg), there weren't many of them in Canada.  

It is to my understanding that 3 letter radio stations are reserved for government run radio stations today, but I could be wrong.
Perhaps also applying to any non government run "information network".

CKO may have been viewed as an "information network" rather than individual radio stations, perhaps?

Also, CKY is most likely grandfathered. It was originally government run:
"CKY has been the call sign of three radio stations in Winnipeg. The original CKY was formed in 1923
by the Government of Manitoba

 
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CKY-FM

Last edited by Radiowiz (November 17, 2020 12:18 pm)

 

November 17, 2020 12:53 pm  #5


Re: A Few Lost (And Now Found) Radio And TV Artifacts

mace wrote:

I was curious as to what occupies the old CKO frequencies outside of Ontario now. In Vancouver 96.1 is occupied by Fairchild's mostly Mandarin CHKG. World FM CKER sits at 101.9 in Edmonton. 70's/80's/90's formatted  CFXL operates on 103.1 in Calgary and CKHZ has a Hot Country format in Halifax. 1470 in Montreal has probably been silent since CKO shut down. CJVB in Vancouver is currently the only station operating on that frequency in Canada.

Interestingly, that 1470 station in Montreal was their only AM outlet. I believe I've heard that the signal was not great in the city and that didn't help an already struggling network. It's amazing to me how many FM frequencies they once gobbled up in major cities. If this were transposed to today, there simply wouldn't be any room on the dial in many of the locations - although I think talk on FM is a lot more accepted now than it was back in 1977, when the network signed on. 

It lasted until 1989 and never really caught on. I still remember that CKEY scooped CKO on its only major exclusive - announcing on its noon newscast that the all-news stations would be signing off for good as of 12 PM on Nov. 10th of that year. They couldn't even report on their own sign off before someone else had it first! 

     Thread Starter
 

November 17, 2020 1:11 pm  #6


Re: A Few Lost (And Now Found) Radio And TV Artifacts

Mary Garofalo, referred to in the "A Current Affair" card above, is apparently now based in New York City. Her last entry on Linked-In is from 2013, so there's a big gap. She lists herself as "Investigative Journalist and Producer" and her last position was on the Marilyn Denis show at CTV. She also notes her time at Global, working on a show called "16:9: The Bigger Picture."

It's telling that her online resume does not list her time at City TV, for whatever reason.  

     Thread Starter
 

November 18, 2020 10:24 am  #7


Re: A Few Lost (And Now Found) Radio And TV Artifacts

CKO was quite ahead of its time but the mistake they made was focussing on national rather than local news. Their big misfortune was having FM frequencies at a time when the band was exclusively music and still very much the secondary band to AM. Had they been able to hang into the 90s though, their FM frequencies would have been a real coup.

Pulling the plug at CKO

Last edited by Hansa (November 18, 2020 10:30 am)

 

November 18, 2020 2:45 pm  #8


Re: A Few Lost (And Now Found) Radio And TV Artifacts

Hansa wrote:

CKO was quite ahead of its time but the mistake they made was focussing on national rather than local news. Their big misfortune was having FM frequencies at a time when the band was exclusively music and still very much the secondary band to AM. Had they been able to hang into the 90s though, their FM frequencies would have been a real coup.

Pulling the plug at CKO

CKEY and CKO lobbied the CRTC about changing places. CKEY was a music station then (but with a great news staff) and CKO was of course all-news. CKEY would have been at 99.1 and CKO would have been at 590. But the swap was rejected by the CRTC, even though it made a lot of sense (probably why it was rejected). Details on the decision below.

It seems what killed this idea was CKEY proposing that their Can-Con be lowered from 30 per cent to 20 per cent, meaning that 10,000 fewer Can-Con tunes would be played on CKEY over the course of a year ("oh, the humanities!.") Anyone remember this?

https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/1988/db88-294.htm

 

Last edited by Dale Patterson (November 18, 2020 2:58 pm)


"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram
 

November 18, 2020 3:59 pm  #9


Re: A Few Lost (And Now Found) Radio And TV Artifacts

Looking back on that CRTC archived page, reveals many interesting what-might-have-beens.
 
In the first place, CKEY – at the time with an all-gold format – proposed some changes to its format if they’d been allowed to make the swap to 99.1: “68% Pop and Rock-Softer; 25% Pop and Rock-Harder and 7% Jazz-oriented.” Would the “jazz-oriented” promise have hurt or helped them? I’m guessing the former.
 
Even they admitted it would have changed the station’s overall sound. “The introduction of a substantial amount of specialty subcategory 55 jazz-oriented, new age music will add variety and distinctiveness to our sound while providing the public with a service presently not available…its music format would stand alone as a unique service to the Toronto community,” they vowed.
 
CKO would have used the cash it received from CKEY to build four more already licenced all-news outlets in markets that didn’t have them – but which they’d already been sanctioned by the CRTC for failing to establish. “The funds CKO would receive from Key would finally enable CKO to construct and operate radio stations in Winnipeg, Regina, St. John's and Saint John.”
 
Which leads to lots of questions: Would CKEY still be around if they’d been allowed to make the swap? Would this have helped CKO to survive as well? (I personally think they were doomed either way, but ’EY could certainly have stayed in business.)
 
What would it have meant for what is now The Fan 590 – would it have had to stay at 1430? And would CBC still be stuck at 740, leaving Moses Znaimer squeezed out of the GTA with that incredible killer signal and languishing at 1250 AM where it started?
 
In the end, the commission decided that there were already too many similar formats on the Toronto FM dial for CKEY to add its voice to the band, and it concluded that CKO, already on shaky financial ground, would say anything to get the money. Add five negative interventions by the competition and the idea was ultimately doomed.
 
We’ll never know what might have happened if the CRTC had approved the deal. But it could have changed at least part of how the T.O. FM dial looks to this day.  

     Thread Starter
 

November 18, 2020 4:06 pm  #10


Re: A Few Lost (And Now Found) Radio And TV Artifacts

106.9 Ottawa is the successor to CJSB 540, one-time sister to CTV's CJOH-TV and remembered by many in eastern Ontario and southern Quebec as "54 Rock". The flip to FM happened in 1994... CJSB became CKQB-FM "The Bear", still with a rock format, and since Corus acquired the station a few years back as part of the Bell/Astral deal, CKQB has been CHR "Jump 106.9", and the station's high-power rebroadcaster in Renfrew County (99.9 Pembroke, transmitting from the CBC FM tower at Rankin) is still on the air today and still mentioned in Jump's legal IDs.