The Sudbury Broadcasting Co. Ltd. was formed by a group of Sudbury residents (led by Senator J.R. Hurtubise) who applied for a licence for a 1,000 watt (directional) AM station, operating on a frequency of 1440 kHz. The licence was granted. The ownership group included Senator J. R. Hurtubise (president), J. M. Cooper (secretary), and A. J. Samson (vice president). F. Baxter Ricdard, G. M. Miller and Leo Gauthier were directors. Alex Robinson was chief engineer and manager and supervised construction of the station.
In the spring, The Sudbury Star reported that the city's second radio station was expected to be on the air in late fall or early winter. The call letters were expected to be CHNO. A shortage of materials was preventing a start on construction work.
By December CHNO was now expected to hit the air in the spring of 1947. Northern Ontario's first bilingual radio station would locate its RCA transmitter and two towers (300' and 107') on the Burwash Road in the McFarlane Lake area of Sudbury. CHNO would beam its signal to the north, east and south of the city and serve a French population of 60,000.
Bilingual CHNO was set to open June 28 under the managership of Alex Robinson, formerly with CFPL London. CHNO would use the latest RCA equipment and be affiliated with the CBC Dominion network. Studios and offices would be at 166 Elm Street West. The RCA transmitter and two towers were situated in the McFarlane Lake district of Sudbury, along Burwash Road, on part of Lot 3, Concession 6, Broder Township. The CKSO transmitter site wasn't far away.
CHNO officially opened on June 24. The inaugural broadcast took place at 8:00 p.m. from the ballroom of the Nickel Range Hotel, conducted by Senator H.R. Hurtubise, CHNO's president. The major address came from Senator Gustave Lacasse of Windsor. J.L. Gauthier, MP for Nippising, and W.E. Mason, president of CKSO Radio, were also speakers.
It was the first bilingual station in Ontario and divided its 16 hour daily schedule into eight time blocks - four in English and four in French. Network programming was received from both the Dominion (English) and Radio-Canada (French) services. Rene Riel was the director of French language programming on the station. The "NO" in the call sign represented Northern Ontario.
Application was made to the CBC for transfer of control of the Sudbury Broadcasting Co. Ltd. from George M. Miller, KC, to Baxter F. Ricard, a Sudbury hardware merchant. New officers: Baxter Ricard (president and general manager), Sen. J.R. Hurtubise (vice president), J.M. Cooper, KC (secretary), Arthur Duncan (treasurer). Other directors: Leo Gauthier, MP, and Joseph Samson. The application was approved.
Slogan: Sudbury's Bilingual Station.
Don Godwin did sports. Rene Riel was manager.
CHNO filed an application with the CBC to seek a supplementary AM transmitter using the existing antenna system. It was understood that the station planned to provide itself facilities to operate a system of dual French and English, similar to CHLT and CKTS in Sherbrooke, QC. CHNO was now bilingual and carried programs of the Dominion network and was also to be linked to the French network. The new station would operate on 1240 kHz and have a power of 250 watts. The application was deferred by the CBC Board. The regulator noted that if approved, the service would allow CHNO to air simultaneous bilingual service.
The CBC deferred CHNO's application for a supplementary station. That application was to be reheard - 900 kHz - 250 watts. If approved, CHNO would broadcast simultaneously in English and French. The CBC turned the application down because one company would have two licenses in the same area. It noted that it had also turned down a similar application by CKSO some time ago.
Sudbury Broadcasting Co. Ltd. received approval to change CHNO's frequency from 1440 to 900 kHz. Power would remain at 1,000 watts and the station would continue to use a directional antenna system.
The CBC approved the recapitalization of the company, from 750 common shares to 153 common shares, 747 Class "B" and 7,500 Class "A" shares, as well as the transfer of 75 common and 467 Class "B" shares.
CHNO became a C.A.B. member.
Alex Bedard left CHNO as chief announcer. He was named sales manager of Radio Representatives Ltd.
Slogan: Your best radio buy north of Toronto.
| Baxter Ricard
F. Baxter Ricard became president and general manager. His wife Alma was secretary treasurer.
On November 9, CHNO moved from 1440 kHz to 900 kHz. Power remained 1,000 watts from the same transmitter site. The station operated with a directional pattern at night.
Slogan: First with the news in Sudbury and district - CHNO (complete community coverage) - 11 editions daily.
The Sudbury Broadcasting Co. Ltd. received a licence for a French-language AM station at Sudbury. From a technical standpoint, the new station would operate in an unusual manner as it would transmit from the existing and co-owned CHNO antenna array. It was proposed that the new station - CFBR - would only broadcast during daytime hours at first - with 1,000 watts of power. Until such time as the new station added night-time service, CHNO would broadcast after sunset with 30% of its programming in French. CFBR 550 began broadcasting on December 8. CHNO 900 had been broadcasting in English and French. With the launch of CFBR, CHNO switched to full-time English programming. CHNO remained an affiliate of the CBC Dominion network while CFBR took up the French Radio-Canada affiliation.
Ownership of The Sudbury Broadcasting Co. Ltd. was as follows: F. B. Ricard 97.3%, A. V. Ricard 2.0% and J. R. Hurtubise 0.7%. F. B. Ricard was president of the company. Rene Riel was manager and commercial manager. Peter Scott was assistant manager and production manager. Irv Morrison was news director. Joe Spence was sports director.
DJ John Size had now been with CHNO for about six years. Before that, he had been with CKTB in St. Catharines.
CHNO increased power to 10,000 watts day and 1,000 watts night, using three towers from the existing antenna site.
Bruce Anderson joined CHNO from CKSO. He worked at CHNO during the evening hours and took a management training course during the day.
Ad: We've grown to 10,000 watts. Northern Ontario's best buy of any media. Serving a Greater Sudbury of 77,000 - a total population of over 250,000. The new Radio 90 CHNO - now serving the entire north.
The Trans-Canada and Dominion networks were merged into a single CBC radio service. CHNO's affiliation with the CBC ended at this time. Competitor CKSO had been the Trans-Canada station. It remained a CBC affiliate after the consolidation.
Bruce Anderson left CHNO for CHEX in Peterborough. He had been CHNO's program director and was also a news announcer.
F. B. Ricard was president of the company and Peter Scott was manager and commercial manager. Cec McKnight was chief announcer and Larry Jacklin was morning man and sports director. Mary Moffat was news director.
On December 31, CHNO swapped frequencies with sister station CFBR. CHNO moved to 550 kHz with 10,000 watts day and 2,500 watts night, using four towers at the existing transmitter site. The change allowed CFBR to go to full-time operation and increase its power using 900 kHz.
Roy Green left for CHUM Toronto in 1951.
Broadcast News was the main source of news for radio stations in Canada but only a handful at this time were subscribing to BN's voice (audio) service. CHNO was one of those stations.
Don Kredl was at CHNO.
CHNO had a Middle of the Road (MOR) format. Chuck Babcock was station manager and program director. On the air: Dal Ross 6-9, Viewpoint (talk show) with Michael Hopkins 9-11, Wolf Hess 11-3, Steve Reagan 3-7, John Braman 7-11, and Jack Richmond 11-6. Bob Derro was a swing announcer. Bill Pring was news director. Dave McKenzie was sports director.
CHNO's application for a change of frequency was denied by the CRTC. The station had proposed to move from 550 kHz to 570 kHz and operate with a full-time power of 10,000 watts.
Sudbury Broadcasting Co. Ltd. received permission to increase CHNO's power from 10,000 watts day and 2,500 watts night to 10,000 watts full-time. The same antenna site was used.
Sudbury Broadcasting (1977) Ltd. was given approval to purchase CHNO and CFBR from The Sudbury Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
The power increase to 10,000 watts full-time went into operation in the fall.
The CRTC approved a corporate reorganization of Sudbury Broadcasting.
In November, CHNO and CFBR moved to new studios and offices in the former King George School on Victoria Avenue. The new facility would have plenty of room to accommodate a new FM station.
CHNO launched CJMX-FM in Sudbury.
Technical director Henry Albert noted at this time that CHNO and CFBR shared the same antenna array in 1957 and still did today, despite the complexity of their directional patterns. They were believed to be the first AM directional stations in Canada to be co-sited.
CHNO received approval to increase daytime power from 10,000 watts to 50,000 watts. Night-time power would remain at 10,000 watts.
A new Harris MW-50B transmitter was purchased for CHNO's new 50,000 watt facility.
On Air: Rick Mallow 6-10, Bob Derro 10-3, Rick Nelson 3-7, and Chris Johnson 7-1l. The news department included, Dave Deloye, Alan Bailey, Paul Scott, Gary Beech, Sherry Drysdale, Barb Valli and Bob Derro.
On March 27, Mid-Canada Communications (Canada) Corp. received approval for the purchase of CHNO, CFBR and CJMX-FM from Sudbury Broadcasting (1977) Ltd. Mid-Canada was 95.8% owned by Northern Cable Services Ltd. CUC Ltd. was the largest shareholder in Northern, with a 48.3% interest. G. R. Conway controlled CUC. The remaining 51.7% of Northern’s shares were held by Northern Ontario investors. The largest of these was The Sudbury Broadcasting Co. Ltd., which held 20.1%. It owned Sudbury Broadcasting (1977) Ltd. and was controlled by F. Baxter Ricard.
Mr. Ricard chose to sell his stations for estate planning purposes. As a major shareholder in Mid-Canada, President and Chairman, he would continue to play an active role in CHNO, CFBR and CJMX-FM. At the CRTC hearing on the sale application, it was noted that Mr. Ricard had continued to operate French-language CFBR despite accumulated losses approaching $1 million.
On the same date, Mid-Canada was also authorized to purchase CJNR Blind River, CKNR Elliot Lake and CKNS Espanola from Huron Broadcasting Ltd. of Sault Ste. Marie.
Bob Derro left CHNO for CJMX-FM.
John Campbell was named news director at CHNO, replacing Paul Scott who was now in operations. Dave Deloye was in CHNO's news department.
Al Bailey left CHNO as news director. He took up the same post as Al Bojarski at CJSS in Cornwall.
Paul Scott was back as CHNO's news director. He replaced John Campbell who moved to CKCY/Q104 in Sault Ste. Marie.
On January 3, the CRTC approved a corporate reorganization of the group of Northern Ontario radio stations, among them CHNO, CFBR and CJMX-FM into a new company – "Ottawa Valley Broadcasting Co. Ltd." The other stations being CKNS Espanola, CKNR Elliot Lake, CFCL Timmins, CFLH Hearst, CFLK Kapuskasing, CJNR Blind River and CKAP Kapuskasing, and by CKCY 920 Limited (CKCY and CJQM-FM Sault Ste. Marie and CJWA Wawa).
On July 26, approval came for the sale of Mid-Canada Radio Inc. by Northern Cable Holdings Limited to Pelmorex Broadcasting Inc. 14 radio stations in northeastern Ontario, including CHNO, CFBR and CJMX-FM, were part of the deal.
Henry Albert, chief engineer for CHNO and CJMX-FM retired after 45 years of service to the stations.
On April 7, the CRTC approved the applications by Pelmorex Radio Inc. for authority to acquire the assets of CKNR Elliot Lake and its transmitter CJNR Blind River, CKNS Espanola, CHYK and CKAP Kapuskasing, CHUR North Bay, CHVR Pembroke, CHVR-1 Renfrew and its transmitter CHVR-2 Arnprior, CJQM Sault Ste. Marie, CHNO, CHYC and CJMX-FM Sudbury, CKOY Timmins and its transmitter CHOH Hearst, and CJWA Wawa, from Pelmorex Broadcasting Inc., and for broadcasting licences to continue the operation of these undertakings. In approving these applications, the Commission took into account the fact that Pelmorex Radio Inc. was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pelmorex Inc. which was controlled by Pelmorex Management Inc. and that the transaction thus represented an intracorporate reorganization without any change occurring in the control, programming or management of the licensee.
Pelmorex and Telemedia entered into a management agreement for the operation of their stations in North Bay and Sudbury, effective September 1. In North Bay, Pelmorex's CHUR moved in to the Telemedia broadcast facility (CFCH/CKAT-FM). In Sudbury, the programming staff at the five stations would now work at one facility while the administrative/support staff worked from another building.
In January, CHNO/CJMX moved out of the CIGM/CJRQ building, back to their old facility.
Mark Burley was program director.
CHNO marked 50 years on the air.
Pelmorex announced the sale of its AM stations to Christopher Grossman's Haliburton Broadcasting and the FM stations to Telemedia Communications. Grossman would acquire AM's at Sudbury (CHNO and CHYC), CKOY-AM Timmins, CKAP Kapuskasing, as well as Timmins repeater stations CHYK Kapuskasing and CHOH of Hearst. Grossman planned to flip the Sudbury and Timmins stations to FM. Telemedia would buy CHVR-FM Pembroke, CJQM-FM Sault Ste. Marie, CJMX-FM Sudbury and CHUR-FM North Bay. Pelmorex decided it wanted to get out of the radio business to focus on its multimedia weather-related information services and was still looking for a purchaser for its radio network.
On August 31, the sale of CHNO and CHYC (formerly CFBR) by Pelmorex Radio Inc. to Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. was approved. Permission was also given for the conversion of CHNO to the FM band at 103.9 MHz with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts. (CJMX-FM was sold to Telemedia earlier in the year).
On February 3, CHNO officially began broadcasting from 103.9 MHz FM with 3,000 watts (rather than the originally planned 100,000 watts). CHNO 550 left the air Feburary 29.
Telemedia Radio VP Braden Doerr, most recently vice president of the Ontario regional group, assumed responsibility for the Southern Ontario cluster (London, Hamilton and St. Catharines). Rick Doughty, VP of Telemedia Northern Ontario (Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie, Pembroke and Orillia) continued in that assignment but also added responsibilities as a member of the executive committee of the Ontario division, reporting to Claude Beaudoin, Telemedia executive VP for Ontario region.
Jim Hamm became general manager at Telemedia's four Sudbury stations. He continued to hold on to his director of programming duties for Ontario North and remained a member of Telemedia Ontario North's management team.
On November 9, the sale of CHNO-FM by the Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. to NewCap Inc. was approved.
Some of CHNO's staff: Lorenzo Bacanovic (news), Barry Johnson (news), John Kennedy (AM Drive), Remy Gagne (sales manager), Michelle Byrne (announcer), Rick Pusiak (news), Christine Walicki (swing announcer), Samantha Theal (community events), Jason Bertram (news).
NewCap and Rogers Broadcasting entered into a Limited Sales Agreement in the Sudbury Market. Rogers took over the radio sales for Z-103 (CHNO), and all departments related to sales (copywriting, traffic, accounts receivable and payable).
On November 18, CHNO was given approval to relocate the transmitter to approximately three kilometres from the existing site, anc increase effective radiated power to 11,000 watts.
On January 1st, at 12:03 a.m., CHNO-FM became known as “Big Daddy 103 dot 9 – Playing Anything” (the best of the 80’s, 90’s and today’s top music).
On June 25 CHNO-FM received approval to increase effective radiated power from 11,000 watts to 100,000 watts, to increase the effective height of the antenna above average terrain to 150.2 metres and to relocate the transmitter. The station stated the proposed changes were required to improve signal reception and to reduce interference due to the mountainous terrain and the present location of the antenna.
On May 21 at midnight, Big Daddy with its Classic Hits format left the Sudbury airwaves and the station returned to its roots when N-O-55 (AM) was the only station playing Rock‘n'Roll in the ‘60s, in Sudbury. Old Time Rock‘n'Roll by Bob Seger introduced REWIND 103.9. The station was announcer-free at the start of the new format as station management completed its coaching of the air staff to create the 70s sound.
In August, REWIND 103.9 "Sudbury's Greatest Hits", unveiled the line-up of DJs for the new format: "Mornings with Dave and Carrie" (Dave Tymo and Carrie Tantalo); Rick Wyman would handle the drive home; evenings would be covered by "The Donny Osmond Show".
Rick Tompkins was director of programming for Newcap Sudbury.
Wendy Watson, general manager at Newcap's REWIND 103.9/HOT 93.5 FM Sudbury, retired. She joined CHNO-FM Sudbury (then known as Big Daddy) in April, 2006. Before that, she was sales manager at CTV Sudbury for 15 years.
The new morning team at 94.1 The Lounge Lethbridge was Dave Tymo, formerly of REWIND 103.9 Sudbury, and Jessica Jackson from Country 95 Lethbridge.
Written by Bill Dulmage – Updated March, 2013