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June 19, 2022 10:49 am  #1


Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

It doesn’t happen often – a radio station going off the air, never to be heard again. But there are a few examples I can think of in Toronto-Buffalo’s recent history.
 
CKEY
 
Probably the most famous for me is the demise of CKEY. It went from being a very successful station – including a period as a rock challenger to CHUM – to a variety of formats, including MOR, country and oldies. For a while in the 70s, it gave ratings leader CFRB a run for its money, with a similar music playlist, some great personalities and a huge newsroom.

It began life as 'EY in 1945 and was gone by 1991, when what is now the Fan 590 saw CJCL move over from its old 1430 perch.

https://i.postimg.cc/157fCBMn/CKEY-Ad-No-Date.jpg

 
CKEY was the place I got my first professional job in radio and I have very fond memories of it for that reason. The people there were real pros and it’s a shame what happened to it.

https://i.postimg.cc/bYQxB72G/CKEY-Jim-Paulson-Bus-Back.jpg


CKO
 
CKO’s history also plays a part in CKEY’s demise. In 1987, the struggling all news network at 99.1 in Toronto tried to swap frequencies with CKEY. But the CRTC turned them down. You can only wonder if CKEY would still be around today if the trade had been approved. CKO was not financially viable in the long run, lost millions during its brief existence across the country and finally pulled the plug on November 10, 1989. The CBC would eventually take over the valuable frequency and Radio One remains at 99.1.

https://i.postimg.cc/X7qvCF3V/CKO1979.jpg


And there’s one last CKO-CKEY tie that’s tremendously ironic. When the all-news network left the air for good that day, they aired one last newscast at noon, leading with the fact it would be their last. But somehow CKEY got wind of what was happening and broke the story on their own noon newscast, which aired right before CKO was able to make the announcement.

It was such a terribly run place, that its very last story about its own demise – and what should have been a final exclusive – was broken by somebody else!

https://i.postimg.cc/4ySs5LZX/CKO-Card.jpg



CKFH

Speaking of 1430, of all the lost stations, this may be the one I miss the most. Technically, you can trace its heritage back through CJCL. But the original Foster Hewitt (hence the "FH") station is long since gone. It was one of the few that took on CHUM in the late 60s and early 70s for Top 40 prominence, and despite a great line-up, a looser playlist and even its own chart (that's the first one ever issued, below), it finally gave up chasing 1050. 

https://i.postimg.cc/HxWrvNGM/fh1.jpg

There's an odd story behind how I came to own this first-ever FH chart. When they announced on the air they were putting them in record stores, I rushed over to Record World in Yorkdale to get mine. But by the time I heard about, it was already in its second week. I picked up chart #2 (fittingly because they called themselves "#2 radio") and buried in the back, a bit crumpled, was a single copy of chart #1. It's the one pictured above. Somehow it got mixed up and left behind when they changed them, or my FH Chart collection would have started at #2.

When CKFH was sold to Telemedia in 1981, the call letters and the format both changed. But those of us who grew up looking for an alternative to the Drake format on CHUM were happy to tune to 1430. It wasn't a ratings killer, but it sure was fun while it lasted. 

https://i.postimg.cc/gk73XmCT/CKFH-Toronto-Top-70-Of-1970-4.jpg

(From left to right - Duff Roman, Mike Williams, John Donabie, Mal Faris and Tom Fulton.) 

 
 CJRN
 
After years as a mainstream radio station, they had a ridiculous “tourist radio” format subjected on them. It was accompanied by restrictions so severe, that they couldn’t even report out of town sports scores, because it was strictly about Niagara Falls. After being a one time pioneer in the area with hosts like John Michael and the Motts, the CRTC pulled the licence in 2012 and the 710 AM frequency has been vacant ever since.
 
CHSC
 
Another Niagara area pioneer, CHSC St. Catharines was a very successful music station for many years. I didn’t realize it had only been around since 1967, but it managed to find an audience fairly quickly. But it didn’t last. It fell victim to a terrible signal, especially at night, and the migration of music listeners to FM. By 1994, the station filed for bankruptcy, and got into trouble with the feds for not paying taxes.
 
Even the sale of the place to a new owner didn’t help, as it became more foreign language oriented and targeted at Toronto’s Italian audience – well outside its original market purview. The CRTC started coming down on the new owner for repeated violations, finally revoking the licence altogether. It went off the air for good on October 1, 2010.
 
A new owner, a new format and new call letters remain on the 1220 frequency – CFAJ has been on and “testing” since 2020, but more than two years later, it’s yet to become a “full service” radio station, airing no commercials, news, or having any announcers. How this latest entity is making any money or when it will finally become what it’s supposed to be beyond “testing” remains to be seen – or at least heard.
 
WEBR
 
The oldest station on this list, WEBR had been on the air in Buffalo using various formats since 1924. It was a huge outlet in its day, as the local affiliate of the Mutual Broadcasting Network. It lasted until 1975, when the owners of WNED bought it and changed it into an educational and all news format and used the calls WNED-AM.
 
But the station that helped bring NPR programming and another all-news format into Toronto’s reach via AM wasn’t to last, either. It went off the air Nov. 30, 2012, only to return under yet another owner, this time as an AM version of all-religious WDCX with the call letters WDCZ. 

The WEBR call sign took the place of WJJL and is now being used by the Niagara Falls, N.Y. outlet at 1440 AM.   

 

June 19, 2022 12:22 pm  #2


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

CKSL 1419 London.

In recent years, small town AMs all over Canada have been shutting down and switching to FM

CJCS 1240 Stratford

CKBB 950 Barrie

CKCB 1400 Collingwood

Also gone are AMs in Orillia, and Midland

Two small town stations that have successfuly bucked the trend are CFOS in Owen Sound and CKNX in Wingham.


You don't have to be a good sport to be a mad one.
 

June 19, 2022 12:41 pm  #3


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

Actually, I wasn't really thinking of stations that have left AM for FM because technically, they still exist. But CKSL is definitely one that should be on the list. I was sad to see them go, a shadow of their former selves. At one time, they had a great rivalry with CJBK when both were battling for the Top 40 audience. 

London may not be the size of either Toronto or Detroit, but what a great radio market it was back then - and for the most part, still is. 

https://i.postimg.cc/ZKCmVCZb/CKSL-Rip-Off-Contest.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/nL8nsZyH/CJBK-London-Aug-10-1973-Chart.jpg

     Thread Starter
 

June 19, 2022 12:59 pm  #4


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

What about 1610-CHEV in Markham?

 

June 19, 2022 1:08 pm  #5


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

Speaking of CKO, here are a few jingles from 96.1 CKO in Vancouver. Thanks to radiofan from RadioWest.ca  
https://www.radiowest.ca/jingles/cko961.mp3

 

June 19, 2022 1:31 pm  #6


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

NW wrote:

What about 1610-CHEV in Markham?

I talked about CHEV in a previous post. What an odd station it was - only on part time when a sporting or special event was on. I'd love to know more about how what was probably the weirdest local station in the Toronto market came about. I'm guessing most people never even knew it was there when it was on. 

     Thread Starter
 

June 19, 2022 1:40 pm  #7


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

paterson1 wrote:

Speaking of CKO, here are a few jingles from 96.1 CKO in Vancouver. Thanks to radiofan from RadioWest.ca  
https://www.radiowest.ca/jingles/cko961.mp3

I never worked at CKO, but I know a ton of former colleagues of mine who did. They all said the place was a disaster area almost right from the start, with poor equipment and terrible management who had no idea what they were doing. 

I well recall calling up one of my friends who was at work there and, in a conversation I'll never forget, she told me she couldn't take it anymore and was going to resign that day. A few hours later, I called her back and she was still working there. What happened? 

She'd gone on a hunt through the halls for anyone in management, looking to hand in her resignation. But try as she might, not one of them was anywhere to be found. And then she uttered a sentence that has to be one of the all-time great statements in radio history. 

"There's no one to quit to!" she wailed in agony over the phone. So she just kept working.

That is a true story and one of many I've heard about the place many employees called CK-Zero.

https://i.postimg.cc/pLgkgV7M/CKO-1980.jpg

     Thread Starter
 

June 19, 2022 1:42 pm  #8


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

CKLN


 
 

June 19, 2022 1:54 pm  #9


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

There used to be CFGM, the cowboy music station in Richmong Hill. Is it still around in some form?


You don't have to be a good sport to be a mad one.
 

June 19, 2022 2:05 pm  #10


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

turkeytop wrote:

There used to be CFGM, the cowboy music station in Richmong Hill. Is it still around in some form?

Global News Radio 640


 
 

June 19, 2022 3:19 pm  #11


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

Would the original CFRC in Kingston count? The AM station was first on the air and they had a separate FM station for many years alongside the AM; the FM is still on the air today but the AM shut down in 1990. Might be kind of a grey area for this list.

I believe there was also once a French station in Cornwall that eventually shut down.

There was also a station in Sarnia for a number of years operated by Global. Yes, that Global. I believe it was just a tourist info station.

There’s also situations like CHLO in St. Thomas - technically that was an AM-to-FM conversion, but it hasn’t operated as a St. Thomas station in well over 20 years now.

Last edited by MJ Vancouver (June 20, 2022 10:39 am)

 

June 19, 2022 6:11 pm  #12


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

 

June 19, 2022 6:26 pm  #13


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

I'd forgotten about them. They're a perfect example of a silent station. Why anyone thought a place that started as an airport information station with no real signal strength could be changed into a questionable all business format is beyond me. 

The Wikipedia page says the CFNB call letters have been reassigned to a low power traffic broadcaster at 93.3 FM in St. Catharines. Can't say I've ever received it here and I'm not even sure it's still on the air. 

     Thread Starter
 

June 20, 2022 12:17 am  #14


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

93.3 CFBN bridge radio still broadcasts in St Catharines, it's co-channel with CFMU Hamilton (93.3)

Last edited by DOPEfm (June 20, 2022 12:19 am)

 

June 20, 2022 10:59 am  #15


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

I believe the CKEY call letters have been in Barrie since 2010 operating as a 50 watt tourist information station at 98.5.

 

June 20, 2022 11:07 am  #16


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

As for the CKFH first chart issue from Jan 1970, that would have been the first chart available in area record stores. I have some CKFH charts from the summer of 1968 which listed songs from #2-#36 [because they were #2 Radio] Their weekly hitbound songs comprised a total of ten tunes entitled Growin' Wild. I would phone the station each week and the receptionist would mail me a copy. I don't ever recall seeing these in record stores.

 

June 20, 2022 7:42 pm  #17


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

CBL 740 (now at 99.1)
CJMR 1190 and 1320
CHWO 1250 (now Zoomer 740)
CKAN 1480
CHOO 1400 (now KX 96)
CJFT 530
CKBB 950
 


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

June 20, 2022 9:46 pm  #18


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

RadioAaron wrote:

turkeytop wrote:

There used to be CFGM, the cowboy music station in Richmong Hill. Is it still around in some form?

Global News Radio 640

Also CFGM calls went to a tourist information station somewhere for a little while. Not sure about today.
Here's something that may be very separate, but current: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX3hxBbX9HWuty_82F4S8YA



 


RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.

 
 

June 21, 2022 7:39 am  #19


Re: Local Radio Stations That Are No Longer On The Air

Here's two more:

CHNR 1600 in Simcoe, where I started, switched to FM as CHCD and 980 CHEX in Peterborough where I also worked, also went to FM as CKRU.