CFGP, the Peace River Country's own radio station, officially went on the air shortly after 7:30 p.m., November 2, with a remote control broadcast of the opening ceremonies from Speke hall. 165 invited guests were on hand, including George Alford and Stanley Kerr of Edmonton, both directors of Northern Broadcasting Corp., Mayor P. J. Tooley, J. M. Taylor of Taylor & Pearson Ltd., H. W. Brooker, Manager of CFGP, Rene A. Pelletler, M.P., and W. J. Lampley, M.L.A.
CFGP operated on a frequency of 1200 kHz with a power of 100 watts. It was owned by Northern Broadcasting Corp. Ltd. and was operated by Taylor & Pearson Ltd. H. W. Brooker was manager. Bert Churchill was program director, coming to CFGP after conducting a concert orchestra over CKY (Winnipeg), being
music director of CFRN (Edmonton), and being a band instructor, conductor, and concert organist at CJCA (Edmonton). Norman Botterill came to CFGP from CJCA Edmonton. The “GP” in the call sign represented the community of licence.
| Norm Botterill
CFGP moved from 1200 kHz to 1310 kHz. Power remained 100 watts.
Under the Havana Treaty, CFGP changed its dial position from 1310 to 1340 kHz (Class IV) on March 29. Power was 250 watts.
CFGP’s power increased from 250 watts to a thousand watts.
The frequency shifted to 1350 kHz from 1310 kHz.
Slogan: the Voice of the Mighty Peace.
Cecil Berry was CFGP's manager.
CBC Trans-Canada Supplementary stations: CKCV, CKOC, CKLW, CJIC, CKCK, CFAR, CFGP, CKLN Nelson.
CFGP joined the BBM ratings service.
In September, CFGP announced that it would soon be moving to 1050 kHz.
Slogan: The Alaska Highway Station.
Cecil L. ("Mush Mush") Berry, owner and manager of CFGP, passed away on September 30.
Art Balfour was appointed manager of CFGP. He had managed CJOC Lethbridge and CJAT Trail before joining the RCAF. He reported that of the 13 males on the CFGP staff, eleven had served in the Second World War.
| Art Balfour
CFGP – “The Voice of the Mighty Peace” – moved from 1350 kHz to 1050 kHz on January 1. Power remained 1,000 watts.
What was now Taylor, Pearson & Carson Ltd. (and would later become Selkirk Communications Ltd.) purchased an interest in Northern Broadcasting Corp. Ltd. The company had operated the station on behalf of Northern Broadcasting.
CFGP was noted as being a CBC Trans-Canada affiliate. Studios and offices were at Redmond Avenue and First Street East, and the transmitter on Clairmont Highway.
CFGP was airing two separate breakfast hour programs each day because it served two time zones. The Peace River district of Alberta was in the Mountain time zone and the British Columbia listeners were in the Pacific time zone. CFGP also had a two-hour noon hour program for the same reason.
G. Cockburn was commercial manager. Gordon Cummings left CFGP to become station manager for the soon to open CJDC in Dawson Creek.
CFGP applied for a change of hours of service of public commercial licence - one granted under specific conditions to certain stations serving outlying territories which permitted them to broadcast person to person messages in emergencies where no land line facilities existed. The request was denied.
CFGP was negotiating with Alberta Government Telephones to produce a setup that would allow the station to broadcast news of surrounding centres over telephone lines, directly from the correspondents in those communities.
Arthur Balfour was manager and Jack Soars was commercial manager.
The CBC approved the transfer of 46 common shares in Northern Broadcasting Corp. Ltd.
Ken Dunstan was farm director.
CFGP increased power from 1,000 watts to 5,000 watts.
Eugene Ross did sports and Gertrude Charters was a newscaster.
CFGP received federal approval for an increase in power to 10,000 watts. The increase from 5,000 watts to 10,000 watts took place later in the year - on November 27. CFGP used the same directional pattern for day and night operation at 10,000 watts as it did at the old 5,000 watt level.
CFGP wanted to make it easier for the people of Grande Prairie to know what time it was, so a 100 foot tower was erected atop the CFGP building. Speakers were attached to the tower. The speakers were connected to a microphone that was placed by a Westminster Chime clock. Every quarter hour between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., the residents were able to hear time chimes!
CFGP 1050 still operated as a CBC Trans-Canada affiliate. The ownership of Northern Broadcasting Corp. Ltd. was as follows: R. Martland 14.4%, H. E. Parson 0.4%, J. E. Thompson 0.4%, J. S. MacKay 12.0%, Western Radio Distributors Ltd. 37.2%, R. L. Barnes 6.4%, G. Gaetz 18.0%, 14 shareholders 11.2%. The ownership of Western Radio: Taylor, Pearson & Carson (Canada) Ltd. 94% with J. M. Taylor, H. E. Pearson and H. R. Carson, each holding 2.0%. H. E. Pearson was president of the company. Arthur Balfour was CFGP's manager. Norman Hickey was program and production manager. Jack Soars was assistant manager.
According to Elliott-Haynes CFGP reached at total of 39,651 adult listeners every day.
ACMO - the All-Canada Mutually Operated stations set up a radio news bureau in August. The bureau channeled news from Ottawa by telegraph, telephone and tape recorder. Stations using the service: CJVI, CKWX, CJAT, CJCA, CFAC, CFGP, CJOC, CKCK, CKRC and CKOC.
Cam Perry, previously national sales manager at CJCA Edmonton, became manager of CFGP Grande Prairie, a post previously held by Art Balfour who moved on to manage CJOC Lethbridge. Norman Botterill, previously CJOC's manager, was now executive vice president of Lethbridge Broadcasting Ltd. The appointments were made by Harold R. Carson, president of All-Canada Radio & Television Ltd.
James M. Taylor died in November. He was co-founder of the Taylor, Pearson & Carson wholesale firm...automotive, appliance, radio parts and equipment outlets in Alberta and British Columbia...with interests in CJCA Edmonton, CFAC Calgary, CJOC Lethbridge and CFGP Grande Prairie.
The Dominion and Trans-Canada networks consolidated into a single CBC Radio network. CFGP remained affiliated with the newly combined network.
CFGP was authorized to move to a new studio location at 10008 – 103rd Avenue.
Fred Griffiths returned to CFGP from Red Deer.
Fred Griffiths left CFGP to work in Australia. Fred noted some of the people he worked with at the station over the years: Fran Tanner, Cecil Morton, Jim DeRoaldes (Engineer), Vaughn Desjardines, Cam Perry, Jack Soars, Claude Burrows and many others.
Cameron A. Perry left CFGP as manager to take up the same position at CJCA Edmonton. W.E. Everitt was appointed general manager of CFGP (effective April 1). He had been with CJCA Edmonton.
On March 12, approval was granted for the transfer of 50% of Northern Broadcasting Corp. Ltd. from the existing shareholders to Selkirk Holdings Ltd. Selkirk had provided direction and management to CFGP over many years and already owned the other 50% of the shares.
Peter Hall joined CFGP from CKYL Peace River.
On September 18, CFGP received approval to move to a new transmitter site.
Ken Connors arrived from 630 CHED to do mornings as well as to be Production Manager/Music Director/Assistant PD. Other announcers at the time were Peter Hall, Sig Reuter, Mark Innes, Jeff Rechner, Ken Gieger, Dale Wolfe. News: Gord Sharp, Bill Parker, Mike Cameron, Ken Truhn (sports).
On April 17, Northern Broadcasting Corp. Ltd. was denied an FM licence (98.9 MHz with 100,000 watts) for Grande Prairie. A competing application by Pioneer Broadcasting for a new AM station in the city was approved. Pioneer’s CJXX 1430 would sign on the air later in the year.
CFGP was authorized to drop its CBC affiliation now that CBXP-FM (owned by the CBC) was on the air.
Ken Connors left radio to do sales at the Daily Herald Tribune in Grande Prairie.
On July 21, approval was granted for the transfer of 200 Class B voting shares of Selkirk Communications Ltd. from Southam Inc. to John T. Ferguson, and subsequently, the transfer of these shares from Mr. Ferguson, together with 200 Class B shares from each of seven other individual shareholders, to the Canada Trust Co., pursuant to a voting trust agreement. Southam held 20% of the voting shares and approximately 28% of the non-voting shares of Selkirk Communications. Selkirk owned the following broadcast companies: Selkirk Broadcasting Ltd., Lethbridge Television Ltd., Calgary Television Ltd., and Niagara Television Ltd.
CFGP began broadcasting in AM Stereo.
July 25, 1987, the 50th anniversary year of CFGP Radio was marked by a Royal Visit from the Duke and Duchess of York, Andrew and Sarah, to open the new CFGP facility in Windsor Court.
Gordon L. Pearcy was manager. Ken Geiger was program director.
Gord Sharp became CFGP's program director. He had been news director. Keith Allan became news director. The station's former program director - Ken Geiger - had moved on to CJVI in Victoria.
Sales Manager Ken White became Operations Manager, Sales Rep Murray Driver becomes Sales Manager. Station Engineer Kris Rodts transferred to CJOC Lethbridge. Sam Lowe was hired as the new Station Engineer, moving from CJXX where he had worked since 1980.
On September 28, Maclean-Hunter Limited's purchase of Selkirk Communications and the subsequent transfer of several stations to Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. was approved. CFGP was among the stations acquired by Rogers.
Tom Bedore became Program Director.
Kevin Hilgers was CFGP's morning show host at this time.
Marie Taylor became CFGP's news director. Jill Webb joined the station as promotions director from CJVI in Victoria. Myrna Logan moved from promotions to marketing consultant.
On June 29, CKER Radio Ltd. was given permission to purchase CFGP from Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
On January 16, O.K. Radio Group Ltd. was given approval to convert CFGP to the FM band. The new station would operate on a frequency of 97.7 MHz with an effective radiated power of 70,000 watts (Maximum ERP of 100,000 watts).
On June 20 at 8:24 p.m., 97.7 SUN FM was launched, replacing CFGP-AM 1050 (10,000 watts day and night).
After a few months of simulcasting SUN FM, CFGP 1050 left the air.
Kevin Albers joined station, replacing Paul Ouellette, as morning show host. Co-host was Program Director Margaux Watt.
On April 23, CFGP-FM was granted a decrease in effective radiated power from 70,000 watts to 66,000 watts. There was no change to Maximum power, which was still 100,000 watts. This nominal change was due to the difference with the ‘as built' antenna.
On June 25, CFGP was given approval to add a transmitter at Peace River, operating on 104.3 MHz with an effective radiated power of 2,000 watts.
Keith Allen left CFGP. He had been news director.
On May 8, the CRTC approved an application for authority to effect a corporate reorganization of O. K. Radio Group Ltd. The transaction would be implemented through the transfer of 43 Class A common shares (30.07%) from R. Stuart Morton to Wind Mountain Holdings. The Commission noted that the licensee proceeded with the transaction prior to obtaining its approval. The ownership of O. K. Radio Group Ltd. following this transaction: Roger Charest 67.13% of the Class A shares, Wind Mountain Holdings Ltd. 30.07%, François Charest 2.10%, and Linda Charest 0.70%. The ownership of Wind Mountain Holdings Ltd. - Stuart Morton 2.70% Class A and 0.01% Class C, Janet Morton 0.01% Class C, Morton Family Trust 0.01 Class D, and Stuart Morton 97.27% Class E Preferred shares.
CFGP created Kev's Kids to help needy children in Grande Prairie and area who "fall between the cracks" in obtaining help that was not addressed by any other agencies or health care.
On September 27, the CRTC granted CFGP a rebroadcast transmitter at Tumbler Ridge, B.C., operating on 104.3 MHz with an effective radiated power of 10 watts.
On November 29, Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. received approval to acquire the Alberta stations owned by O.K. Radio Group Ltd. The stations were CHDI-FM and CKER-FM Edmonton, CJOK-FM and CKYX-FM Fort McMurray (and CJOK-FM-1 Tar Island), and CFGP-FM Grande Prairie (with CFGP-FM-1 Peace River and CFGP-FM-2 Tumbler Ridge). Rogers was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rogers Media Inc., which, in turn, was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rogers Communications Inc., a corporation ultimately controlled by Edward S. Rogers. O.K. was controlled by Roger Charest.
On January 16 at 7:00 a.m., SUN FM became ROCK 97 7 "Today's Best Rock and Killer Classics". The format changed from Hot Adult Contemporary to Active Rock.
Early on the morning of December 2nd, Ted Rogers, founder and former Chief Executive of Rogers Communications, owners of CFGP-FM, died at his home in Toronto, after having suffered from congestive heart failure for some time.
Peter Hall died at age 62. Hall was on the air at Big Country Grande Prairie for over 15 years and, before that, at CFGP (now ROCK 97.7 FM).
Daryl Major left ROCK 97.7 Grande Prairie as News Director/morning co-host to become News Director at Island Radio Nanaimo. Cliff Kriz was named as new morning co-host/News Director.
Ron Prochner was the new General Manager/General Sales Manager at CFGP, succeeding Dave Reid. Prochner moved from being GSM at Mountain FM (CHMN-FM) Canmore/ Banff.
Afternoon Drive Host and Program Director, Kevin Becker left ROCK 97.7 to co-host the morning show at up! 97.7 Calgary. Andrew Wilcox joined ROCK 97.7 as the new Program Director.
Jack Soars died at age 95. He had spent four decades at CFGP (now ROCK 97.7) and retired in 1981. He was best known for his long-running open line weekday morning talk show, which began around 1958.
Graham Mosimann transferred to ROCK 97.7 in Grande Prairie where he continued in his role as evening/swing announcer.
Kev's Kids hit a milestone - in its 10th year - over ONE MILLION DOLLARS received all thanks to the support of the community.
Jim Blundell succeeded Kevin McKanna and is the Acting General Manager of the 13 Rogers Radio stations in Alberta. Blundell had been the Vice President & GM at CTV Vancouver Island, C-FAX and KooL FM Victoria and left Bell Media in September of last year. Blundell's background included being the Market Manager for the CHUM radio stations in Brockville, Kingston and Peterborough. In 2007, he was promoted to VP/GM of then Star-FM London and, in 2009, he was promoted again to take the lead at CHUM's (now Bell Media's) Victoria properties.
John Edward Barron passed away. His broadcast career began in 1949 at CFGP Grande Prairie. He then moved on to CFAC Calgary, CKYL Peace River and to CFRN Edmonton. He was an announcer, writer, producer, interviewer, book reviewer, cooking show host and men's fashion commentator.
Bill Dulmage - Updated November 2014