Clyde Mitchell and Gilbert 'Gib' Liddle, owners of CKCR-AM received a licence for an FM station in the Kitchener-Waterloo market. Adding an FM station was more a defensive gesture than anything. Transmitting on FM was relatively inexpensive, and should the medium take off, CKCR would be ready.
CKCR-FM signed on the air later in the year, simulcasting the programs of its AM sister station. The FM operated on 96.7 MHz with a power of 350 watts. Studios were in the Arcade Building, 125 King Street East, in downtown Kitchener. CKCR was a CBC Dominion affiliate. CKCR-FM used an RCA transmitter.
Slogan: Kitchener-Waterloo's First stations - CKCR 1490 KCS / CKCR-FM 96.7 MEG. - Making Coverage Count.
Clyde Mitchell died.
Gilbert Liddle passed away while on vacation.
Ownership of CKCR-AM-FM passed to the Mitchell and Liddle families, each owning an equal share.
A government report showed the ownership of Kitchener-Waterloo Broadcasting Co. Ltd. as follows: Gilbert Liddle estate 49.7%, Mrs. Ruth Liddle 0.29%, J. Liddle 0.01%, Mrs. Ella Mitchell 49.7%, J.C. Mitchell 0.3%. CKCR-FM was operating on 96.7 MHz with power of 350 watts. CKCR-AM and FM were affiliated with the CBC Dominion network.
On February 25, CKCR-AM and FM became CHYM-AM and FM ("chime").In commenting on the change, Don Hildebrand said, unfortunately CKCR was a "tired, worn-out prostitute" that had to be scrapped.
Ownership changes were approved affecting CKCR Radio and CKCO-TV. The changes involved the sale of interests by two elderly windows - Mrs. Clyde Mitchell and Mrs. G. Liddle. They owned Kitchener-Waterloo Broadcasting Co. (CKCR) and that company held 25% of CKCO-TV. Famous Players Canadian held 50% and Carl Pollock (president), held 50% of CKCO-TV. Pollock would acquire the 25% held by the widows. This would create a 50% ownership between Pollock and by Famous Players for CKCO-TV. The BBG approved the sale of CKCR to J. Irving Zucker of Hamilton who was licenced last year to operate new station CHIQ.
The Dominion and Trans-Canada networks were consolidated into a single CBC radio service. After the merger, CKCR-AM and FM remained as CBC affiliates.
CKCR-FM 96.7 still had a power of 350 watts. It offered programs independent from CKCR-AM daily between 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
Great Lakes Broadcasting Ltd. (CFCO and CFOR) and Kitchener-Waterloo Broadcasting Ltd. (CHYM-AM-FM) merged to form Great Lakes Broadcasting System Ltd.
A partnership was formed to purchase Great Lakes Broadcasting System Ltd. Maclean- Hunter Publishing Co. Ltd. would hold 50%. Don Hildebrand (25%) and Clair L. Chambers (25%) were the other partners. Great Lakes owned CHYM-AM-FM Kitchener, CFCO Chatham and CFOR Orillia. Maclean-Hunter was in the process of purchasing CKEY-AM in Toronto. It would be held directly by the publishing giant and would not come under the Great Lakes umbrella.
On October 5th, CHYM was given permission to drop its affiliation with the CBC, despite a protest from the latter. In November, approval was given to move the studio location for CHYM from 125 King Street West to the 12th floor of the Canada Trust Building, 305 King Street West at (at Water Street).
The move to the Canada Trust building took place January 31.
On May 28, Great Lakes Broadcasting System Ltd. was given approval to make some technical changes for CHYM-FM. Effective radiated power would increase from 350 watts to 7,800 watts. Antenna height would increase from 169 feet to 217 feet. The antenna would be relocated to the top of the studio building.
CHYM-FM was given a permanent voice of its own. Daytime simulcasting was replaced by orchestral music. Off-hours pockets of classical music satisfied the 'Arts, Letters and Sciences' mandate required of FM stations at the time. While CHYM FM's Morning shows were live and local, most programming was automated. Engineers rigged a system involving a carousel cartridge machine and a series of turntables (later replaced by reel-to-reel players). CHYM music librarian Molly Zakrzewski was charged with setting up records, which, in theory, would provide five hours of people-free programming. When Molly went home, CHYM-FM returned to AM simulcasting.
Donald G. Hildebrand was president and general manager.
Greatlakes Broadcasting would come under complete control of Maclean-Hunter Ltd. pending CRTC approval. Maclean-Hunter, in collaboration with Countryside Holdings, a few months ago, each purchased 50% of CFOR Orillia from Greatlakes and set up a new company - Orillia Broadcasting, subject to federal approval. The latest purchase involved 50% of the common shares of Greatlakes previously held by D.G. Hildebrand, president, and Clair L. Chambers. Donald F. Hunter, head of Maclean-Hunter would also be president of Greatlakes. If approved, M-H would be sole owner of CHYM-AM-FM, CFCO and part owner of CFOR. M-H also owned CKEY and CFCN-AM-TV.
On September 19, permission was granted for the transfer of 50 common shares of
Greatlakes Broadcasting System Ltd. (CFCO, CHYM, CHYM-FM) to Maclean-Hunter Ltd. and 1 common qualifying share to each L. R. Clark and W. G. Bailey.
Mac Lindsay was appointed sales manager. He had been with the station for the past four years as promotions manager. Cindy Pearson was named promotions manager. She had been working in the station's promotions department. Murray Porteous was named chief engineer. He'd been with the station for the past two years.
A power increase to 25,000 watts ERP was granted July 28. Antenna height would to 658 feet from a new tower site...the CKCO Television tower, near Baden. CHYM-FM would continue to transmit a non-directional signal.
CHYM-FM became CKGL-FM. The format changed to Country music, though some classical programming remained on the schedule. The "GL" in the call sign: Great Lakes. The skeletal staff included program director Keith Stirling, Don Sanderson, Brock Dodington and Don Bird - host of "The Bird's Nest".
The re-organization of the Maclean-Hunter group of companies (16 cable systems and the CFCN/Shoreacres/Great Lakes broadcasting group) was approved by the CRTC. Reservations were expressed regarding the nearly 10% equity of the Toronto-Dominion Bank in the new company, Maclean-Hunter Holdings Ltd. The shares had been held by Hunco and D. F. Hunter. Effective control of Maclean-Hunter Ltd. was now held by the directors and senior management.
Larry Mack was afternoon drive host.
A third control room was built for CHYM and CKGL-FM.
John Gilbert's overnight talk show from CKEY in Toronto was heard on CKGL.
Keith Stirling was station manager.
John Larke, vice-president and general manager of CHYM and CKGL-FM passed away December 16. He was 54 and had been in broadcasting over 25 years. Over the years, he had worked with CFJB Brampton, CFTR Toronto and CFCO Chatham. John was actively involved in the community as a director of Octoberfest, and had a keen interest in broadcast education.
Jim Webb was promoted to general manager for CHYM/CKGL-FM and Bill Leeson became sales manager.
Great Lakes Broadcasting System Ltd. merged into Key Radio Ltd. (CKEY Toronto, CKOY Ottawa), with Key becoming the licence holder. Both companies were wholly owned subsidiaries of Maclean Hunter.
CHYM was forced off the air for about an hour on January 12 when fire hit the ten storey office building that housed the station. The fire was in the building's electrical distribution room which was on the same floor as CHYM and CKGL-FM. CKGL continued to operate on automation with stand-by power. CHYM personnel were forced out of the building by smoke.
The CKCO-TV transmitter building at Baden was upgraded and enlarged. Six transmitters (main and standby for CKCO-TV, CFCA-FM and CKGL-FM) had to be moved three times in order to do the construction work. All was done while keeping the three stations on the air.
On January 11, the CRTC renewed CKGL-FM's licence until September 30, 1985.
By this time, FM had hit its stride. Key Radio opted to downsize 'Charlie' (CKGL's automation system) in favour of a live, local 24-hour air staff, anchored by Country songwriter/recording artist Tim Denis in the mornings.
Key Radio Ltd. named James Webb as vice president and general manager of CHYM and CKGL-FM.
On July 6, CKGL was granted an increase in effective radiated power to 100,000 watts from the CKCO-TV tower. The increase was operational later in the year.
Terry McDougall moved from CKGL/CHYM engineering to Key Radio corporate engineering.
Dave Brown was appointed engineering manager for CKGL and CHYM.
On September 4, at 8:00 a.m. CKGL and CHYM-AM swapped dial positions. CHYM and its adult contemporary format moved to 96.7 MHz and CKGL with its country format, moved to 570 kHz. Key Radio felt both stations would increase market share by making the switch. It was felt country would work better on AM while AC would do best on FM. It was hoped these changes would also reverse the trend of out-of-market listening which at the time was 60%.
That same day, CHYM became tapeless: all recorded programming, spots and promos were now handled digitally.
CHYM and CKGL held the grand opening for their new studios and offices on May 17. The facilities, still located at 305 King Street West, underwent a total makeover and upgrade. Key Radio says they're among the most technically advanced facilities in North America.
Wolfgang Von Raesfeld became general manager for CHYM and CKGL. Valerie Corcoran was named promotion/marketing manager.
In September, CHYM-FM adopted a softer sound, targetting the 25-54 age group, mainly women (60%), with office workers being the main goal.
Neil Beaumont was heard on CHYM-FM.
On December 19, the CRTC approved the purchase of Maclean Hunter Ltd. by Rogers Communications Inc. CHYM and CKGL became a division of Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
Don Jackson evening show from CHFI Toronto was heard on CHYM. Local announcers included Mary-Anna Scott and Steve Hodgson.
Rebecca Black and Bob Murray were heard on CHYM. Wolf von Raesfeld was General Manager of CHYM-FM/CKGL. Glen Pelletier, CHYM's Music Director and afternoon drive announcer for 12 years, left for sports at CKGL.
Larry Fine (Steve Sobczuk) joined from CKDK Woodstock for weekends.
Larry Fine (weekends) left. Gavin Tucker was program director at CKGL-FM.
One of CHYM’s former owners – Clair Chambers – passed away July 11, one day after his 89th birthday.
CHYM was given approval to increase average effective radiated power from 74,000 to 100,000 watts on October 23.
Announcer line-up: George Michaels & Tara Connors (5:30 to 9), Rebecca Black (9-2), Brian Davis (2-7), Neil Beaumont (evenings), Kim Wagner and Dan Henry, weekends. The news department included Joe Pavia, Gina Lorentz, Lisa Drew (traffic).
CHYM-FM received approval to decrease effective radiated power from 100,000 watts to 80,000 watts and to increase antenna height (EHAAT) from 213 metres to 250 metres.
Late in 2007, Rogers Broadcasting received permission to acquire CIKZ-FM (Kix 106.7 FM). As a result, on January 31, CIKZ-FM joined CKGL and CHYM-FM at 305 King Street West.
Early on the morning of December 2nd, Ted Rogers, founder and former Chief Executive of Rogers Communications, owners of CHYM-FM, died at his home in Toronto, after having suffered from congestive heart failure for some time.
Due to budget cuts in August at Rogers Kitchener, Ron Funnell's sales manager position was eliminated.
Don Kollins, who had been Operations Manager/Program Director at 570 News and PD at KIX 106 (both Kitchener), moved to sister station Fan 590 Toronto as PD. Wendy Duff, the PD at CHYM-FM Kitchener, succeeded Kollins as PD at KIX. Pete Travers returned to Kitchener as PD at 570 News. He had been a PD at CHUM Kitchener for 23 years before moving in the summer of 2008 to Astral's The Bear Ottawa. Thirteen months later, his job at Astral ended.
Chuck McCoy became VP/Cluster Manager for Toronto/Kitchener Radio and Julie Adam was now VP Programming & National Program Director for the Rogers Radio Division. As well, she would retain duties as Program Director at either CHFI or KISS 92 Toronto, depending on the results of a PD search. Most recently, McCoy was the Rogers' National Program Director. Adam was GM/PD of CHFI and added Assistant National Program Director duties in 2008. The changes were announced in March by Paul Ski, chief executive officer, Rogers Radio.
On November 30, the CRTC renewed CHYM's licence until August 31, 2017.
Adele Newton re-joined CHYM 96.7, hosting afternoons (1-7 p.m.). She started her career at CHYM 14 years earlier. Most recently, she was with 91.5 The Beat Kitchener. Ron Combden, regional engineering manager for Rogers Broadcasting in the Toronto/ Kitchener markets, was no longer with the company. Mike Collins was general manager of Rogers Radio Kitchener. Most of his career had been at CHYM 96.7/570 News as sales manager, promotions manager, and since 2005, as GM. Wendy Duff was Program Director.
Ronald W. Osborne died at age 66, in Florida. His broadcasting background included the presidency of Maclean Hunter Ltd. In 1994, he fought off a hostile takeover bid from Rogers Communications. After a protracted battle, a deal was inked for $3.1-billion.
Norm (Harold) Haines died at age 73. He started his broadcast career as an announcer at CFTJ Galt in 1958 and worked at CKCR Kitchener, CFCO Chatham, CKWS-Radio-TV Kingston and CFOX Montreal. Haines moved to Calgary where he was president of Voice of the Prairies Ltd. (CFCN Radio). He took on CFCN in 1973, and in time, developed CJAY-FM, Canada's first new generation FM station.
Written by Bill Dulmage - Updated April, 2013