Take a look at the CFRN-FM Photo Album
CHMA - licensed to the Christian and Missionary Alliance was launched Easter Sunday, April 17th, with power of 100 watts and shared airtime on the same frequency with other pioneer Edmonton stations on 580 kHz. Calls: Christian & Missionary Alliance.
CHMA, while retaining studios in the Beulah Tabernacle, re-located its 100-watt transmitter in the Crestwood Community (area of 99 Avenue and 146 Street), utilizing a 150-foot tower supported by four sets of guy wires.
CHMA was taken-over by Taylor & Pearson Ltd. who, in 1927, had sold their first station (CFCK) to the Department of Extension of the University of Alberta and which had become operational as CKUA on November 21st of that year. CHMA became CFTP (“TP” for Taylor & Pearson), and obtained sole use of the frequency of 1260 kHz. Studios were set up in the Birks Building, 347 - 10360 Jasper Avenue. CFTP operated daily except Sundays. Airtime on CFTP was allocated on the Sabbath to the Christian and Missionary Alliance as part of the acquisition deal.
Dick Rice had always wanted to own a radio station but he never had the money. In 1922, he went to work for CJCA instead. He helped build that station and put it on the air. Rice was CJCA's manager. In the 30s, Rice again had the urge to own a station. At this time, in addition to CJCA, Edmonton now also had CKUA and CFTP. Jim Taylor & Hugh Pearson's CFTP was in financial trouble. Rice convinced his friend Hans Nielsen (a grocer in Coalspur) to help him raise the $10,000 needed to take over CFTP.
| Dick Rice
In the meantime, responding to an invitation by the Edmonton Journal (Southam Newspapers) to submit a proposal for the management and operation of the Journal's station CJCA, Taylor & Pearson Ltd. was named the successful bidder over a competing proposal submitted by Rice and Nielsen.
Rice & Neilsen formed Sunwapta Broadcasting Co. Ltd. to purchase CFTP from Taylor & Pearson. A licence was issued November 1, with the call letters - CFRN ("RN" for Rice & Nielsen). CFRN signed on the air on November 3. Taylor & Pearson moved their staff from the Birks Building to CJCA's McGee Building studios and programmed CJCA on 730 kHz, starting November 1. Rice and Nielsen, simultaneously, established their CFRN staff in the former CFTP studios in the Birks Building, using CFTP's existing schedule of programs at the outset. CFRN was on the air daily from 7:30 a.m. to midnight.
When Rice chose the corporate name Sunwapta Broadcasting Co. Ltd., he wanted the word "Sunwapta" because it was the Stony Indian word for "radiating waves". The Indians noted the small waves that radiated in all directions when stones were dropped in still pools. These waves were given the name "Sunwapta". Rice felt this was a natural for a radio station because radio waves followed almost the same pattern from a transmitter.
In addition to Rice & Nielsen, there were seven other staff: members in the early going: Frank Mackepeace (plant engineer), Gordon Williamson (sports announcer), Albert Churchill (music director), Gordon Shillabeer (control engineer), Dave Hill (chief announcer), Gilbert Seabrooke (announcer, continuity), Doris Neale (secretary) and Susan Agar (on-air hostess). She would eventually become Mrs. Rice. Sid Lancaster joined CFRN from CKUA.
CFRN moved into new studios in the CPR Building at 10032 Jasper Avenue.
The CRBC approved on June 15th a change of frequency for CFRN from 1260 to to 960 kHz, which took effect September 13th.
In November, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission was replaced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. CFRN became a CBC affiliate.
CFRN received approval for a power increase from 100 watts to 500 watts.
Gordon Reid, formerly of CJOR, joined the announcing staff of CFRN. Winifred Sutton, woman's director, replaced Susan Agas on Chatelaine of the Air, a feature that had been running on the station for eight consecutive years. Agas had to give up broadcasting due to ill health.
CFRN and CFCN hooked up via government phone lines to carry "The Army Sings" from the Edmonton encampment of the Southern Alberta Regiment each week.
Under the Havana Treaty, CFRN was scheduled to move from 960 to 1340 kHz (Class IV) with 100 watts. The treaty was revised and on March 29, CFRN moved to 1260 kHz (Class III) and power would be allowed to increase to 1,000 watts. The power increase took place later in the year.
The station purchased an RCA 1,000 watt transmitter for use on its increased power under the Havana Treaty. CFRN completely remodelled and now had three studios and adjoining control rooms. New RCA studio equipment was installed, including a new console.
CFRN celebrated its seventh birthday on December 1 with newly enlarged and redecorated studios and a new 1,000 watt RCA Victor transmitter. The station also operated shortwave station VD2N, using its own gas driven power plant, for use where regular current was not available. VD2N operated in the 10 meter band and was a small pack type transmitter which could be carried on the announcer's back for special broadcasts. At this time, CFRN's accent was on news and sport. G.R.A. (Dick) Rice was manager of the broadcasting division of Sunwapta Broadcasting and H.F. Neilsen managed the sound division.
Trevor C. Schofield joined CFRN as continuity writer.
To meet growing demands for network time during the evenings, largely due to the war, the CBC set up a second network for commercial sponsorship. The network's first sponsor (on an experimental basis) was the Gillette Safety Razor Co. The Mutual Broadcasting System originated boxing events for 26 Canadian stations through the CBC, plus the MBS affiliate - CKLW Windsor. The second network had 23 Canadian stations with alternative stations in Montreal to meet local conditions there. The new network would operate only after 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Over the past year, private stations had been anxious to have such a network - outside of CBC control. However, under the Radio Act, the CBC had full control over all networks in the country. It was felt that a full second network with full day and night programming was not feasible or economically possible at this time. CBC-owned stations affiliated with the new network: CBK Watrous, CBA Sackville and CBY Toronto. Privately-owned stations affiliated with the new network were: CJOR Vancouver, CHWK Chilliwack, CFCN Calgary, CFRN Edmonton, CJRM Regina, CJGX Yorkton, CJRC Winnipeg, CKCA Kenora, CJIC Sault Ste Marie, CKOC Hamilton, CKTB St. Catherines, CFPL London, CFCO Chatham, CKLW Windsor, CKCR Kitchener, CKCO Ottawa, CFCF or CHLP Montreal, CHLT Sherbrooke, CKNB Campbellton, and CJLS Yarmouth.
CFRN joined the newly formed CBC Dominion network.
S.S. (Sid) Lancaster left CFRN for Radio Representatives Ltd. in Toronto. He had been with the station for 9 years, the past four as assistant manager.
On April 30, the dedicatory ceremony of the oil refinery at Whitehorse completed by the U.S. Army was carried by CFRN over a line 1,400 miles long. It was the first broadcast made from Whitehorse direct to any local station.
Gordon Reid was CFRN's production manager. T.H. Mansell was news editor.
CFRN marked its 10th anniversary on November 29. The actual birthday was November 1 but the celebration of the event was moved to the end of the month due to the Victory Loan.
Jane E. Jones left CFRN's traffic department. Jack Wilson became CFRN's new staff announcer.
CBC Dominion Basic Stations: CJFX, CHNS, CFCY, CKCW, CKNB, CJLS, CKCO, CHOV, CFBR, CJBC, CHEX, CFPL, CFCO, CFPA, CHLT, CFCF, CKRC, CJGX, CKX, CKRM, CHAB, CFQC, CKBI, CFCN, CFRN, CJRL, CHWK, CJOR, CJVI.
G.R.A. Rice was manager and A.J. Hopps was commercial manager. Gordon Williamson returned to his sports announcing post at CFRN after three years with the RCAF. David Wood, formerly with CFRN's continuity department, took over the newly organized publicity and advertising department at the station. Trevor Schofield returned to CFRN as continuity editor after two years instructing in the army.
Dick Rice became sole owner of Sunwapta Broadcasting Co. Ltd. He bought out his partner, H.F. Nielsen, at this time.
On Thursdays at 8 p.m., CFRN presented "Education and Your Child", a program about educational problems discussed by a special committee of educationalists comprised of members of the Edmonton School Board, officials and teachers of Edmonton schools.
Gordon Williamson was heard on-air at CFRN. A.J. "Red" Hopps was assistant manager.
An ad for the station noted that since 1934 CFRN had catered to the country audience with programs like its weekly Barn Dance - a solid hour of authentic hoedown and hillbilly tunes, played by Gabie Haas and his Rhythm Rangers, with vocals by Dixie Dean the Barn Dance Queen.
Gordon Reid, CFRN's assistant manager, left for CKNW New Westminster.
CFRN increased power to 5,000 watts from a new transmitter site located along Jasper Highway, about six and a half miles west of the city’s centre.
At this time, CFRN was on the air from 6:30 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and 7:30 a.m. to midnight, Sundays.
CFRN issued invitations to the Dominion Network's coast to coast ceremonies, marking the station's increase in power to 5,000 watts - at the Trocadero Ballroom - March 3. This special event did take place. Premier E.C. Manning praised Dick Rice for the part he had played in Canadian radio since he first joined the Marconi Company before World War I. Following the change in power, a coast to coast broadcast was sent over the CBC Dominion network as planned.
Lew Roskin, former CJOB Winnipeg production manager, was now an announcer at CFRN.
Tom Marshall left CFRN to become news editor at CKMO Vancouver. Gordon Williamson was sports editor. Three Royal Canadian Navy veterans joined the CFRN staff: Tony Lefroy (sales), Wally Clarke (continuity) and Tommy Graham (promotions and publicity director). Eve Henderson joined CFRN. She had left CKRC Winnipeg earlier in the year, to retire in Edmonton. She didn't like retirement. Lew Roskin joined CFRN in January. He had been working for a produciton company but had been with stations CJOB Winnipeg and CJOC Lethbridge before that.
Slogan: The Pioneer 5,000 watter In Alberta's Largest City. (CFRN was operating with 5 kW non-directional day and night).
CFRN received approval to operate an emergency transmitter.
An FM licence was recommended for approval by the CBC in December.
Harry Sedgwick, founder of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters in its present form (1948) and the chairman of the board since 1934, stepped down in favour of CFRN's Dick Rice. Rice had been honorary president. Sedgwick would remain as a CAB director. CKAC's Phil Lalonde became honorary president. The post of general manager, made vacant by the resignation of Harry Dawson, went to Jim Allard, who started in radio in 1935 on CJCA, where he worked under Percy Gayner, Tiny Elphicke and Gordon Henry.
Plans were made to turn CFRN over to members of the Kiwanis Club on May 17. They would fully take over the programming, announcing and operating of the station. The purpose for the one day event was to tell the story of the club's community service activities.
Lew Roskin left CFRN to head up the re-organized CJDC in Dawson Creek. Helen Kent was women's editor.
CFRN had a new transmitter west of Edmonton.
Omar Blondahl was a staff announcer. A.J. (Red) Hopps was assistant manager (and commercial manager). He joined CFTP in July of 1934 and that November, shifted over with others, to the new CFRN. Allan Slaight joined CFRN news from CHAB Moose Jaw.
CKUA was reportedly about to close, so both CFRN and CJCA applied to use that station's 580 kHz frequency (CFRN would use an omni-directional antenna and CJCA would use a directional antenna at night). The CBC Board of Governors told the applicants that 580 kHz was being used by CKUA so the frequency was not available.
Sunwapta Broadcasting Ltd launched CFRN-FM to simulcast the programming of CFRN-AM.
Frank Makepeace was CFRN's chief engineer. He had been a ham radio operator since 1918 and operated VE6AH since 1921. He joined CJCA in 1928. That station was under the management then of G.R.A. Rice. In 1934, he moved over to CFRN, serving as engineer and transmitter operator. He distinguished himself shortly after by building a temporary 1,000 watt amplifier when delivery of a new transmitter was held up.
CFRN received approval to operate a 1,000 watt emergency transmitter.
Bert Gibb handled Edmonton Eskimo CFL broadcasts for CFRN.
Slogan: In Edmonton it's CFRN.
Allan Slaight left CFRN news for CJCA.
Sunwapta Broadcasting Co. Ltd. was granted Edmonton's first television licence. Competing applications by William Rea Jr. (CKNW New Westminster) and Edmonton Television Ltd. (CHED and CJCA) were denied.
Sunwapta launched CFRN-TV on October 25.
Trevor Kerbey did news. Tony Biamonte was an emcee.
CFRN marked its 20th anniversary on November 1. Slogan: Selling and serving Northern Alberta for 20 years. Edmonton's CFRN.
Slogan: Alberta business, too knows that CFRN-Radio dominates the market.
Eric Candy was a producer/writer for CFRN-Radio and Television.
CFRN had a power of 5,000 watts (non-directional) on 1260 kHz and was a basic CBC Dominion affiliate. Ownership of Sunwapta Broadcasting Co. Ltd.: G. R. A. Rice 99.8%, Mrs. J. C. Rice 0.1% and D. Atkinson 0.1%. G. R. A. Rice was president of the company while Arnold Hopps was manager of CFRN and also commercial manager.
A. J. (Red) Hopps, a senior executive with the company, was appointed manager of CFRN Radio. He had been assistant manager, with CFRN since it opened in 1934. S. S. (Sid) Lancaster was appointed manager of CFRN-TV. He had been actively supervising the TV station since it opened, and had been with CFRN Radio.
Winnifred Sutton died in December. She became Edmonton's first woman commentator with CFTP in 1934, moving to CFRN in 1938. She served as promotion director at Calgary's CFAC before returning to CJCA in a similar capacity from 1939-56.
Harry Farmer, organist, pianist, orchestra leader, joined CFRN as musical director. He would co-ordinate every phase of the music activities of CFRN Radio and Television. Mike Darow was an on-air personality.
Ad slogan: CFRN Radio (Dial 1260 - Channel 3) Television.
CFRN 1260 received approval to increase power from 5,000 watts to 10,000 watts (DA-2).
The transmitter site was moved to six miles south of Winterburn. Power increased to 10,000 watts. These changes took place October 29.
George Duffield was program director. Bob Irvine was appointed commercial manager of CFRN Radio. He had been with Radio Representatives Ltd.
CFRN 1260 received permission to increase power to 50,000 watts from 10,000 watts, to move to a new transmitter site.
Power increased to 50,000 watts (directional at night), utilizing two towers.
The Dominion and Trans-Canada networks consolidated into a single CBC Radio network. CFCN became an independent station. CFAC 960 remained the CBC network affiliate in the city until the corporation opened CBR in 1964.
The CFRN studios and offices moved on March 15 from the CPR Building at 10012 Jasper Avenue, to Broadcast House at 18520 Stoney Plain Road.
CFRN-FM received permission to begin offering programming that was different than that offered by CFRN-AM.
Bruce Hogle was news director and Bob Smith was in continuity.
Tony Coumant was manager.
CFRN subscribed to the Standard Broadcast News service. SBN received direct feeds from NBC New York by broadband.
Slogans: CFRN Radio 1260 - a convincing 50,000 watt sales voice in the Edmonton market area. / The Matchmakers. CFRN Radio Dial 1260. Bringing national products and Edmonton consumers happily together for over 35 years.
Bruce Alloway became vice president of Sunwapta Broadcasting. He had been station manager of the company's CFRN-TV.
CFRN-FM became CKXM-FM. The station now operated fully separate from CFRN-AM.
Don O'Neil was now CFRN's program director. He had been with CHEX-AM in Peterborough. Don Percy was CFRN's morning man. Bruce Alloway became vice president and general manager of the CFRN stations.
George Churchill was named manager of CFRN. He had been general sales manager.
CFRN-AM-TV/CKXM-FM news director Art Kennard became vice-chairman of the national editorial committee at Broadcast News.
Walt Gidyk became CFRN's program director.
Chuck Chandler was back at CFRN doing the morning show.
Bruce D. Alloway, president of Sunwapta Broadcasting, announced the appointment of Stan Knaga as manager of engineering. Knaga had been with the company since 1977 as assistant director of engineering. He succeeds E.W. (Ted) Wadson upon his retirement from the company on June 1.
On April 8, the CRTC approved the sale of CFRN-AM-TV and CKXM-FM by Sunwapta Broadcasting Ltd. to CAP Communications Ltd. of Kitchener, ON. Sunwapta was controlled by Dr. G.R.A. Rice, who has had a distinguished history in Canada's broadcasting industry. He was involved in Edmonton broadcasting since 1922, placing him amongst the earliest pioneers in Canadian broadcasting. Both Sunwapta and Dr. Rice have won a number of awards over the past 54 years, including several Gold Ribbon awards from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. Under Dr. Rice's leadership, Sunwapta established a reputation of public service and involvement in the local community. CAP was the licensee of CKKW, CFCA-FM CKCO-TV Kitchener, and was indirectly effectively controlled by Mr. J.A. Pollock. Dr. Rice retired when Sunwapta was sold but would continue to serve as honorary chairman.
W.D. McGregor, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Sunwapta Broadcasting, announced the appointment of Bruce E. Cowie as president and chief operating officer of Sunwapta (effective July 1). Cowie had been with CKCK-TV in Regina where he had been president. He was also president of Harvard Communications. Cowie was a director of the CTV Television Network; past president of both the Saskatchewan and Western Association of Broadcasters; and founding chairman of Can Pro. He was the WAB Broadcaster of the Year in 1981. Cowie succeeded Bruce D. Alloway who was retiring after 33 years with Sunwapta. He became president of the company earlier this year.
Manager George Churchill left the CFRN stations to start Churchill Marketing.
CKXM-FM changed call letters to CJKE-FM.
CFRN secured the rights for the Edmonton Eskimo football games for the next three years. This ended an era that saw the games broadcast over CJCA for 24 years. Part of the new deal called for CFRN, CKXM-FM and CFRN-TV to promote and support Eskimo sales and marketing efforts.
L.G. (Gord) Williams was appointed general sales manager of CFRN and CJKE-FM.
Bruce Hogle was appointed general manager of Sunwapta's radio division as well as a member of the executive committee and station manager of CFRN-AM.
| Bruce Hogle
Large scale renovations of the Sunwapta Broadcast Centre begun two years ago were completed at a cost of about $9 million. Electrohome chairman John Pollock was on hand for the grand opening on June 1. The staff of 250 had worked in 5,000 square metres on three floors. That was expanded to 7,400 square metres on three floors. The original building was started over 30 years ago and just kept growing. First it was a TV studio and a few offices, then more offices, another studio, then radio control rooms, more offices, FM control rooms, new equipment connected to old, and building additions and subdivisions... Over time an Edmonton landmark emerged - a huge log cabin style building housing TV and AM. FM had outgrown the main building in 1971 and was relocated to an outbuilding that was over 50 years old. While the recent project was underway, FM control and studios were moved to the lobby of the Convention Centre in downtown Edmonton. It stayed there until January. AM and AM-FM production kept their basement locations. All that really remains of the old building is the foundation and the central core of two TV studios.
George Churchill, former manager of CFRN, died in January at age 57.
Dr. G.R.A. Rice died in Edmonton on February 25 after a short illness. He was 92. In addition to helping build CJCA-AM, and then his own Edmonton radio and television stations (CFRN), Rice served as president of the Western Association of Broadcasters, and was chosen Broadcaster of the Half Century by the WAB in 1984. He also served a term as chairman of the CAB. In 1984 he was selected to the CAB's Canadian Broadcasting Hall of Fame and received RTNDA Canada's President's Award for his contributions to the industry.
On June 19, approval was given for Standard Radio Inc. to purchase the former Sunwapta stations CFRN-AM and CJKE-FM from CAP Communications. CAP retained CFRN-TV.
CJKE-FM became CFBR-FM.
Bob Arnold left CFRN to become morning host at CJCY Medicine Hat.
CFRN flipped back to "Oldies" on July 1 (from Adult Standards), debuting Standard Radio's new Oldies Network delivered via Anik satellite. Chuck Chandler remained CFRN morning host while Rock'n'Roll Hall of Famer Red Robinson did a special hour later in the morning. An 800 number connected Alberta listeners with the BC control room. The oldies network replaced the former Satellite Radio Network service.
CFBR/CFRN promotions manager Vicky Belfiore left for CFTR/CHFI Toronto. She was replaced by Jeff Montgomery from CHIQ Winnipeg.
Edmonton Journal columnist John Short returned to CFRN to host SportsTalk on Monday's.
Carl Stark, a top salesman at CFRN/CFBR, celebrated 25 years with the stations.
Frank George Arthur Makepeace, 93, passed away. He started his broadcasting career in 1928 and joined Sunwapta Broadcasting where he remained for 30 years.
In June, CFRN joined CHUM’s all sports network – The Team – adopting an all sports format. It had been simulcasting the oldies format of sister station CISL-AM in Vancouver.
CFRN continued programming all sports despite CHUM’s closure of The Team radio network on August 27.
On September 27, Astral Media Radio G.P. received CRTC approval to acquire the assets of the radio and TV undertakings owned by Standard Radio Ltd., subject to certain conditions. The purchase included CFRN-AM, CFBR-FM abd CFNG-FM.
Lewis Roskin passed away December 27. He started his radio career as an announcer (at age 17) at CJOC in Lethbridge. That was in 1937. He went on to work at CFRN Edmonton, CJDC Dawson Creek, CFCN Calgary, CHED Edmonton and CKLG Vancouver. He then went on to co-found CHQT Edmonton where he was president and general manager until he sold the station years later.
Norris McLean died at age 76. The former CFRN-TV announcer and weatherman joined the AM/TV combo in 1963 and stayed until the early ’80s, then moved across the road to CITV and stayed through to his retirement in 1993.
A.G. "Gil" Seabrook passed away at the age of 97. He started his radio career at CFRN in 1931.
Ryan Zimmerman, Operations Manager at Astral Media Radio Edmonton's four stations and Program Director at one of them, 104.9 EZ Rock, was promoted to General Manager at Big Dog 92.7 Regina.
Joan Powers was named Digital Sales Manager for Astral Radio Edmonton. It was an internal promotion.
After three years with The Bounce, Broadcast Engineer Trevor Stuart moved across the street to Astral Radio Edmonton. He began October 13.
On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CFRN until March 31, 2012.
Stewart Meyers was now vice president of Alberta operations and general manager of the Astral Calgary radio stations, succeeding Tom Peacock. The position in Calgary became effective September 1. Meyers moved from Corus Radio Toronto at the end of 2002 to become operations manager and program director at the then-Standard Radio Calgary. When Marty Forbes retired at the beginning of 2009, Meyers took over at Astral Edmonton as VP/GM. Meyers would manage both clusters for the time being.
Pat Cardinal moved to become General Manager at Astral Media Edmonton. Cardinal, who'd been the Operations Manager and Alberta Program Manager at Newcap and based in Edmonton, moved from Toronto in May, 2008, to become Ops Manager for Newcap's Edmonton Radio Group. In 2010, he became Program Director for Newcap Alberta's 31 radio stations while retaining his Ops Manager duties. He began at Astral Edmonton on September 12.
On March 20, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CFRN to August 31, 2012.
Beginning May 10, Astral Media Radio Edmonton began the process of putting a new programming team in place. Ross MacLeod, who had been Program Director at Rogers Radio Lethbridge, would be the PD for Team 1260. Tammy Cole, who had been Assistant PD at CHFI Toronto, became the EZ Rock PD on May 20, and Rob Vavrek moved from PD at EZ Rock to programming The Bear.
Ross MacLeod left The Team 1260 to be the new brand director at CJAY 92 and Classic Country 1060 Calgary. Succeeding him in Edmonton was Rob Vavrek who added Team 1260 programming duties to his BD role at The Bear Edmonton.
On July 10, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CFRN to March 31, 2013.
The Team 1260 announced the addition of Jason Strudwick, as the host of The Jason Strudwick show weekdays from 9:00 p.m. to Midnight (previously Edmonton Sports Night Live)! Strudwick had an extensive professional hockey career. The show would focus on and capitalize on post hockey games.
On February 6, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence of CFRN to August 31, 2013.
Written by Bill Dulmage with early recollections from veteran
Sunwapta executive George Duffield - Updated May 2013