Jim Pattison Group
During the 1940s, a bright young student attending the University of British Columbia began buying used cars, driving them onto campus and selling them at a profit. He was so successful that he dropped out after three years to run a local Nash dealership – whose owner allowed him to complete his university studies on the side.
The student was Jim Pattison, who went on to carve out an exceptional entrepreneurial career, first in the automobile business, and then via Outdoor Billboards, the food industry, the sports business – and broadcasting. By 2008, with 28 radio stations and 3 television stations, he had become Western Canada’s largest group owner.
When the Board of Broadcast Governors’ lack of confidence in the current owners of an AM radio station in Vancouver prompted them to refuse to issue a new licence and demand that the station be sold, Jim Pattison took his first plunge into the broadcasting business. He bought CJOR-AM, one of the West’s oldest stations (which had been launched in 1923). The station had given early exposure to many future stars, including bandleaders Moxey Whitney and Dal Richards, comedian Alan Young, hard-hitting journalist Jack Webster and controversial talk show host Pat Burns.
It was to be over twenty years before Pattison would own additional broadcasting properties, but acquisitions in other areas continued. In 1967 the Pattison Group secured ownership of Seaboard Outdoor Advertising and of Neon Products of Vancouver. 1968 saw the Overwaitea Food chain of supermarkets folded into the Pattison organization, and the following year Pattison expanded its media holdings by buying Provincial News, an Alberta magazine distributing firm.
1980 saw the launch of the Jim Pattison Real Estate Group; the Canadian Fishing Company became part of the Pattison empire in 1984, and in 1985, Pattison moved in yet another direction with the acquisition of the rights to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. In 1981, after several personnel changes over the years, CJOR adopted a news-talk format. But it would be five more years before Jim Pattison renewed his interest in broadcasting acquisitions.
Vancouver had been announced as the home of a World’s Fair in 1986, and Jim Pattison was appointed CEO and later President of the Expo 86 Corporation. Over the next five years, much of his time would be devoted to bringing this mammoth project to a successful conclusion.
As Jim Pattison’s work on Expo 86 began to wind down with the opening of the World’s Fair, his interest in broadcasting began to be rekindled. Jim Pattison Industries applied for a second Vancouver radio licence, and received CRTC approval for an FM station, and CJJR “CJ Country 93.7” signed on on July 1 at 9:37a.m.
On April 10th the CRTC approved Jim Pattison Industries’ application to purchase two Twin Cities Radio Ltd. stations in Kamloops (CFJC-AM and CIFM-FM). The Pattison group also made their first venture into TV ownership with the acquisition of Kamloops’ CFJC-TV (and its many rebroadcasters in the BC interior) from Inland Broadcasters Ltd. At this time, the Pattison Broadcasting Group made their headquarters in Kamloops under President Rick Arnish, who had run the radio and television stations prior to their acquisition by Pattison.
The corporate name changed from Jim Pattison Enterprises Ltd. to Great Pacific Industries Inc., by which time the Jim Pattison organization had grown even further with the acquisition of The Food Service Packaging Group, the Flexible Packaging Group, and Coroplast and Montebello Packaging (all 1990). In 1994, Westshore Terminals, a B.C. coal-export terminal facility, was folded into the Pattison conglomerate.
In June, Pattison secured CRTC approval to acquire radio stations CKLZ-FM and CKOV-FM Kelowna from Seacoast Communications. Noting that the stations had been unprofitable for the previous three years, the Commission elected to forego any requirements for benefits packages to attend these acquisitions.
On December 21, the Jim Pattison Group received permission from the CRTC for its largest broadcasting acquisition to date, namely the assets of Monarch Broadcasting Ltd of Medicine Hat, Alberta, and its subsidiaries. This included television stations CHAT-TV Medicine Hat (and its rebroadcasters at Pivot and Maple Creek) and CKPG-TV Prince George, and radio stations CHAT-AM and CFMY-FM Medicine Hat, CJXX-AM and CJXX-FM Grande Prairie, CHLB-FM Lethbridge, CHUB-FM Red Deer, CHHK-FM Taber, CKMK-AM Mackenzie, B.C., CKPG-AM and CKKN-FM Prince George, CKEK-AM and CKKR-FM(later to become CHBZ-FM) Cranbrook, B.C. and CFEK-AM (later to become CHDR-FM) Fernie, B.C.
On January 21 the CRTC gave approval to convert CKPG-AM Prince George to the FM band, operating on 99.3 At noon on May 30 CKPG-AM with a news-talk format became CKDV-FM “The Drive” with a classic rock format.
On May 7th, Medicine Hat Broadcasting Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Jim Pattison Industries Ltd, acquired ownership of CIBW-FM Drayton Valley, AB and CHBW-FM Rocky Mountain House AB and CHBW-FM 1 Nordegg from Big West Communications Corp. In approving the deal post facto, the CRTC reminded the applicants that such transactions should not have taken place without prior Commission approval.
On March 15th, Jim Pattison Industries Ltd received CRTC approval for a new FM licence in Red Deer, AB. The only variation in the approval was a requirement that Pattison propose an alternative frequency to that originally requested, since that frequency (99.9FM) was being given to the CBC for the Red Deer market. In 2005, CFDV-FM signed on using the frequency of 106.7.
On December 23, the CRTC approved an application by Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Ltd. (the general partner) and Jim Pattison Industries Ltd. (the limited partner) carrying on business as Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership, owned by James A. Pattison (the Pattison Group), for the authority to acquire the assets of all of the radio and television stations and their respective transmitters located in Alberta and British Columbia, that were currently licensed to James A Pattison.
This transaction was part of a corporate reorganization that would not affect the ultimate control of the broadcasting undertakings. Ultimate control would continue to be exercised by James A. Pattison, the sole shareholder of Jim Pattison Ltd.
As a result of this transaction, Jim Pattison Industries Ltd. (the limited partner) would have a 99.99% interest and Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Ltd. (the general partner) would have a 0.01% interest in a limited partnership which would carry on business as Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership. Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Ltd. was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Jim Pattison Industries Ltd., which in turn was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Jim Pattison Ltd.
In what was to be a short-lived venture into other media, the Pattison group partnered Quebecor Media in the launch of 24 Hours, a Vancouver edition of the free daily papers published by Quebecor subsidiary Sunmedia in several major Canadian markets. Pattison would sell their share in 24 Hours in 2007.
On March 20th the Pattison group was back before the CRTC, this time to seek approval for them to acquire the assets of Island Radio Ltd. of Vancouver Island. The stations involved were CHWF-FM and CKWV-FM Nanaimo, CIBH-FM and CHPQ-FM Parksville, CKLR-FM Courtenay and CJAV-FM Port Alberni. This application was approved on June 27th.
On May 9, the Edmonton-based OK Radio Group had announced the sale of its two Victoria stations, CKKQ-FM and CJZN-FM to the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, subject to CRTC approval. COO of OK Radio, Stu Morton, was quoted as saying, "The management, programming and character of the stations will continue. [Pattison] stations run much the same way we do.” On November 24, the CRTC approved the ownership change, along that of with the respective transmitters (CKKQ-FM-1 and CKXM-FM-1) in nearby Sooke. The Commission also noted the purchase included the not-yet-launched transitional digital radio undertakings, CKKR and CJZN Victoria, associated with the stations.
In a historic move, Pattison-owned radio station CKOV-AM Kelowna moved to the FM band at 103.1 at noon on August 17th. CKOV-AM Kelowna was one of the West’s earliest stations, having gone on the air in 1931. The station continued to broadcast its AM signal until final shutdown on November 17th. CRTC approval of the move to FM was conditional on the Pattison group following through with certain commitments to Canadian Talent Development on the station.
Following a Public Hearing on February 25th, the CRTC on May 30th approved an application from the Pattison group to convert its first station acquisition, Vancouver’s CKBD-AM, from AM to FM. Since the original purchase of CJOR-AM by Pattison in 1965, the call letters had been changed to CHRX-AM in 1988 and then CKBD-AM in 1994. With the move to FM, the call letters changed yet again, to CKPK-FM.
On February 28th the CRTC had denied Pattison applications for permission to acquire radio stations CKIZ-FM, of Vernon BC, and CIGV-FM Penticton B`C, citing the potential infringement of the Commission’s Common Ownership Policy that could result from approval of these applications. However, a revised application to acquire CKIZ-FM from Rogers Broadcasting was approved on October 31st. At this point, Pattison owned 30 radi three television stations.
A new application to acquire CIGV-FM Penticton was denied in November; the Commission felt that, although the revised application satisfactorily addressed the Common Ownership problem, the resulting reduction in coverage would be a less than acceptable use of the frequency.
On November 9th, the CRTC announced that on February 6th 2012, at a hearing in Calgary, it would consider an application by Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Ltd. for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language commercial FM radio programming undertaking in Calgary.
The new station would operate on frequency 95.3 MHz (channel 237C1) with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 36,000 watts (maximum ERP of 100,000 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 180.3 metres).
On May 3, 2012 CITY-TV announced that it had concluded an affiliate agreement with the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group that would provide for the exposure of CITY-TV programming on all three Pattison television stations in Western Canada.
Beginning September 1, the Pattison stations would be airing 90% of CITY-TV programming throughout prime time and the majority of the daytime hours. The basis for the schedule would be the CITY-TV Vancouver schedule. The Pattison stations would continue to produce and broadcast their local newscasts (at 12 noon and the dinner hour).
The affiliate agreement was with television stations CFJC TV7 (Kamloops, BC), CKPG TV (Prince George, BC), and CHAT TV (Medicine Hat, AB).
On May 24th the Pattison application for a Calgary FM station was approved.
On May 6th the CRTC began what would be a week-long hearing of a revised application by BCE Inc to acquire Astral, their first application having been turned down. On May 16th, the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group announced that it had committed to the acquisition of three broadcast properties, two from Bell Media and one from Astral, subject to CRTC approval.
Pattison had made a deal with Bell Media to acquire Kool FM 101.5, CKCE-FM Calgary and FAB 94.3, CHIQ-FM Winnipeg, and with Astral to acquire QX 104, CFQX-FM Winnipeg/Selkirk.
At the time, the CRTC's decision was awaited regarding the BCE application to acquire Astral, and it was anticipated that, if approved, BCE would be required to divest itself of several properties, including these three stations.
On June 27, 2013, the CRTC approved the application by Astral Media Inc. to sell its pay and specialty television channels, conventional television stations and radio stations to BCE Inc, subject to certain conditions, including the divestiture of ownership of the three stations Pattison had agreed to buy.
On December 20th 2013, Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership ("Pattison"), announced that the Canadian Radio Television-Telecommunication Commission had approved the application by Jim Pattison Broadcast Group LP to acquire the Bell Media assets of:
- KooL FM 101.5 (CKCE-FM) - Calgary, AB
- QX 104 (CFQX-FM) - Winnipeg, MB
- FAB 94.3 (CHIQ-FM) - Winnipeg, MB
This completed Bell Media's obligatory divestitures of various properties as a condition of the CRTC's approval of Bell Media's acquisition of Astral.
On April 25th, the new Pattison Calgary station CHPK-FM The Peak was launched on 95.3, with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 36,000 watts (maximum ERP of 100,000 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 180.3 metres).
On July 10th the Jim Pattison Group announced that, subject to CRTC approval, they would be acquiring from Rawlco Radio nine radio stations in Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan. On making the announcement, Pattison Group Chairman and CEO Jim Pattison said:
“The Rawlinson family have built a great legacy in Canadian broadcasting with the first purchase of CKBI Radio in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 1946. I thank Rawlco Radio CEO, Gordon Rawlinson, for allowing us the opportunity to continue building on his family’s history in the radio industry, especially in the province of Saskatchewan, with which we both have close ties.”
Gordon Rawlinson stated:
“When we were approached by the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, I was impressed with how their style of operating radio stations was very similar to ours. They have an outstanding reputation of providing excellent local radio with a keen focus on community service. I was also pleased with the Pattison commitment to provide opportunities for all of the current Rawlco employees to grow their careers with Pattison. I am confident that these stations will be in very good hands.”
On November 12th, the applications were the subject of a non-appearing CRTC hearing in Gatineau. The Chairman advised that the applications, and interventions that had been received, would be placed on the public record, and said that the material would be given careful consideration and a decision rendered by the Commission in due course. The Commission subsequently announced their approval of the deal on November 16th.
The stations included in the proposed deal were:
CKNO-FM 102.3 Now!
CIUP-FM Up! 99.3
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
CFMM-FM Power 99
CHQX-FM Mix 101
North Battleford, Saskatchewan
CJHD-FM 93.3 The Rock
Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan
On August 25th 2015, the CRTC approved an application by Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Ltd. (the general partner) and Jim Pattison Industries Ltd. (the limited partner), carrying on business as Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership, for authority to acquire the assets of the English-language commercial radio station CIKT-FM Grande Prairie from Bear Creek Broadcasting Limited Partnership.The Commission considered that the transaction served the public interest and furthered the objectives for the Canadian broadcasting system set out in the Broadcasting Act.
On August 14, the company announced plans to acquire Fabmar Communications Ltd., owner of CHWK-FM Chilliwack (BC), CIXM-FM Whitecourt (AB) and CKJH-AM / CJVR-FM Melfort (SK). The purchase would require CRTC approval.
Jim Pattison Group Radio Stations
(Click on the call letters to view individual station histories)
|Red Deer, AB|
|Prince Albert, SK|
|Medicine Hat, AB|
|Medicine Hat, AB|
|Rocky Mountain House, AB|
|Prince Albert, SK|
|Red Deer, AB|
|Drayton Valley, AB|
|Grande Prairie, AB|
|Port Alberni, BC|
|North Battleford, SK|
|North Battleford, SK|
|North Battleford, SK|
|Meadow Lake, SK|
|Prince Albert, SK|
|Prince George, BC|
|Prince George, BC|