Ontario, South-Western Ontario

CHYR-FM (Mix 96.7), Leamington

, Blackburn Radio Inc.

1954
Albert A. Bruner filed an application with the CBC Board of Governors for the operation of a new AM radio station at Leamington - having a power of 250 watts on a frequency of 710 kHz. It would operate seven days a week but only between sunrise and sunset. The CBC approved the application after turning down an earlier one.

Al Bruner
             Al Bruner
1955

Sun Parlor Broadcasters Ltd. opened CJSP on February 19 at 3:30 p.m. The station operated during daytime hours only (dawn to dusk), on a frequency of 710 kHz with power of 250 watts (directional). The Canadian General Electric transmitter with two 235 foot towers was on Point Pelee, four miles south of town. Studios and offices were at 23 Erie Street North. The station would use McCurdy audio equipment in the studios.

CJSP was owned by John Moore (who would later own CHLO-AM St. Thomas) and Al Bruner (also went on to be involved in CHLO and would start the Global Television Network in 1974). Moore started his career at CBO Ottawa in 1948 and moved to the new CBE Windsor in 1950. He had been CBE's program director and would manage CJSP. Bruner had been an emcee, singer and night-clubber and would be president of CJSP. The "SP" in the call letters stood for Sun Parlor and the station would be known as The Sun Parlor Station.

Slogan: Canadian Radio Coverage of the rich Windsor-Leamington market!

1950's 
CHYR aired a program called "57 Time", likely associated with Heinz (as in Heinz 57), a big employer and sponsor in the region. Produced in Leamington, the weekly musical variety show aired on some 50 stations across the country. Some of those involved in the program were John L. Moore, Al Bruner, Jack Madden, Jean Richards and Don Large.

1957 
CJSP was an independent station with no network affiliation. Ownership of Sun Parlor Broadcasters Ltd.: A. A. Bruner 15.8%, J. L. Moore 18.2%, C. P. Whaley 14.1%, R. Clark 4.2%, E. J. Neville 8.9%, J. T. J. Madden 16.7% and two other shareholders 22.1%.

Albert A. Bruner was president of the company and CJSP's commercial manager. John L. Moore was CJSP's manager and program director. Stuart C. Brandy was production manager and copy chief.

1958
John Moore, former CJSP production manager, left for CHLO St. Thomas, as manager.

Slogan: CJSP Radio Leamington. The Right approach...to the Sun Parlor. Canada's 7th major market.

1959
Al Plant was a staff announcer at CJSP.

1960
CJSP increased power in the spring from 250 to 1,000 watts - still daytime only and directional. Four 235 foot towers were located at a new transmitter site, a short distance away from the existing location.


Ads: A powerful salesman - CJSP Sun Parlor Radio 71 - effective selling coverage of all The Sun Parlor - including Windsor. Broadcast power now 4 times greater. Covering the whole blooming Sun Parlor. / CJSP Radio 71 - Power now 4-times Greater. 

John C. Garton was regional sales manager. Al Bruner, until this time, CJSP general manager, became managing director, retaining his interest in the company, but moved to Toronto to become sales manager of the new Baton Aldred Rogers TV station (CFTO). In addition to founding CJSP, Bruner starred for two years with CBS and later headlined the Al Bruner Show on WJR 760 in Detroit. Replacing Bruner as CJSP GM was Stuart Brandy, former production manager. Program director Lou F. Tomasi, became production manager. Jo Anne Fillmore hosted Call of Success on CJSP.

1963
Wayne McLean began his radio career at CJSP. Stuart C. Brandy left CJSP as Executive Vice President and General Manager to take up the General Sales Manager position at CKEY Toronto.

1965

Robert M. Clark was president of the company. John C. Garton was manager of CJSP as well as commercial manager (also sports director). Lou Tomasi was producton and program manager.

1967
CJSP became CHYR ("Cheer") on June 26, a
Licence to operate the station at night-time, as CHYR on 730 kHz was issued August 2.
 
On August 23, the station increased power to 10,000 watts daytime (directional), using six 250 foot top loaded towers, from a site at Concession B, Mersea Township, about three miles southeast of Leamington. Five of the six towers were used during the daytime 710 operation and towers five and six were used for night service on 730 kHz with 250 watts (directional). 

Ted Rogers announced plans to purchase CHYR. The proposal required federal approval. A competing group headed by Gene Plouffe lost in the bidding for the station. Plouffe was a consultant for CTV and for Ted Rogers!

1968 
Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. was granted permission to acquire 83% of CHYR-CHIR from Sun Parlour Broadcasters Ltd. The Board of Broadcast Governors had concerns about the station representing itself as serving Windsor when it was licensed to serve only Leamington and surrounding Essex County. Ted Rogers told the board he would respect that condition but suggested that the same condition might also apply to CFGM in Richmond Hill.

CHIR 730 began broadcasting. This made for an unusual setup: CHYR operated during daytime hours on 710 kHz and CHIR operated from sunset to sunrise on 730 kHz.

Paul Godfrey joined the announce staff from CFCO Chatham.

1969
Paul Godfrey left for CKJD in Sarnia.

CHYR subscribed to the Rogers Radio News Network which began operations in April. RRNN was affiliated with ABC in New York.

1972
Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. became Radio Rogers Ltd.

1974 
On July 24, CHIR 730 was given permission to increase power from 250 to 500 watts (Night, directional), using the same towers and site.

CHYR / CHIR became known as CHYR / CHYR-7.

1975
On November 24, Dancy Broadcasting Ltd. was given approval to acquire Sun Parlor Broadcasters (CHYR and CHYR-7).

1977
CHYR upgraded its studio facilities. The control room now provided for newscasting as well as announce-operating, a concept already introduced at its sister station, CJJD in Hamilton.

A numbered company formed by Keith J. Dancy received approval to acquire CJJD Hamilton from Rogers Radio Ltd. Rogers Management Services Ltd. received permission to purchase CKJD Sarnia and CHYR Leamington from Dancy Broadcasting Ltd. Dancy established the Sarnia station in 1968 and tried to buy the Hamilton station in 1970 but the CRTC said no. With the purchase of CJJD, Dancy left Radio Rogers Ltd. where he was president. He was replaced by Jim Sward. 

1979
Don Martin joined from CHLO in St. Thomas. Chuck Reynolds was a CHYR announcer.

On December 7, studios and offices moved to 100 Talbot Street East from 23 Erie Street North.

1980
CHYR increased night power on 730 kHz to 1,000 watts (directional).

John C. Garton died. He was General Manager of CHYR from 1962 to February of this year. He was an original CJSP staffer and was also the voice of the Windsor Bulldogs on CHYR.

Don Martin, Chuck Reynolds, Pete Summers and Bill Taylor were heard on CHYR.

1981
Don Martin left for CHEX in Peterborough.

1984
On February 13, the CRTC approved the application by Telemedia Communications Inc. for a licence for an English-language radio network that included CHYR, for the purpose of broadcasting the hockey games of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1983-84 season of the National Hockey League.

1985
Lou Tomasi marked 25 years at CHYR.

1986-87
Gerry Kennedy named Don Chamberlain manager of CHYR and CKJD/CJFI-FM Sarnia.

1987
Gerald Kennedy of Eastern Broadcasting in Moncton, New Brunswick, filed an application to acquire CHYR / CHYR-7 and Sarnia's CKJD / CJFI-FM from Rogers. Lou Tomasi, who had been with CHYR since it went on the air in 1955, would continue to manage that station. Kennedy would move to Sarnia to manage CKJD / CJFI.

Kennedy withdrew his application to acquire the Leamington and Sarnia stations. A new application was filed, with Maclean-Hunter being the controlling shareholder. Kennedy would hold a minor interest.

Approval was granted July 16 for Rogers to sell CHYR / CHYR-7 along with CKJD and CJFI-FM Sarnia to Blue Water Broadcasting Ltd. (67% owned by Eastern Broadcasting, 24% by Don Chamberlain and 9% by Gerald Kennedy). Eastern was 90% Owned by Maritime Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Maclean-Hunter Limited.

Jon Mark (evenings) joined from CHNR in Simcoe and then left. Rob (Guy) Valentine started his radio career at CHYR.

1989
Chuck Reynolds was still at CHYR.

1990
At a Public Hearing beginning on February 20, 1990, the Commission considered an application by Blue Water Broadcasting Limited to renew the licence for CHYR/CHIR, expiring September 30, 1990. The Commission also heard an application by Blue Water for a licence to carry on an English-language (Group I - Pop and Rock - Softer) FM radio broadcasting undertaking at Leamington, operating on the frequency of 96.7 MHz (channel 244) with an effective radiated power of 20,730 watts. The applicant planned to cease operation of CHYR/CHIR upon implementation of the proposed FM service. Following consideration of these proposals, the Commission denied Blue Water's application for a licence to operate a new FM station at Leamington. The Commission decided to renew the licence for CHYR/CHIR for a period of three years only - to August 31, 1993. This term would enable the licensee to respond to the concerns addressed herein, and to arrive at an acceptable plan for removal of the technical restrictions that, for some time, have affected the operation of the Leamington AM station. CHYR/CHIR was unusual among Canadian radio stations in that it operated on two AM frequencies, these being 710 kHz during daytime hours and 730 kHz at night. At the public hearing, Blue Water stated that it had retained the services of engineers, immediately upon taking over the operation of CHYR/ CHIR, "... to review possible single frequency operation on 710 (kHz)". According to the applicant, this review brought to light a number of complications associated with the nighttime use of 710 kHz in the Leamington area that had been unknown to it at the time it purchased the station's assets. It indicated that these complications would involve the acquisition of property adjacent to the present antenna site on which to erect an additional transmitting tower, and the need to negotiate with the owners of CKVM Ville Marie, Quebec with respect to compensation for potential interference to the CKVM signal. The applicant also stated that a nighttime signal on 710 kHz at Leamington would, itself, be affected by interference created by the operations of a high-power Cuban station. Blue Water added: We took all of these elements into account and determined that in order to provide service to residents of Essex County comparable to CHYR's daytime service, transfer of the station to 96.7 FM was the answer. The applicant also stated that the recent construction in the vicinity of the CHYR/CHIR antenna of a new microwave and cellular telephone transmission tower by Cantel had resulted in re-radiation problems affecting the CHYR/CHIR signal pattern. According to Blue Water, denial of the current FM proposal would likely require that the Cantel tower be de-tuned, and the CHYR/CHIR antenna system be re-proofed, at considerable cost. The Commission's decision to renew the licence for CHYR/CHIR for a period of three years only was based on the applicant's failure to honour an important commitment accepted by the Commission as one of the benefits of the transfer of the station's assets in 1987. The Commission expected Blue Water, without delay, to enter into consultations with it and the Department of Communications with a view to finding a long-term solution to the technical restrictions affecting the nighttime operation of CHYR/CHIR on 730 kHz. Further, the Commission expected Blue Water to file a report within six months of the date of this decision on its plans to resolve this problem. The DOC advised the Commission that it was prepared to renew the Broadcasting Certificate for a period of 12 months only, expiring September 30, 1991.

1991
In the fall CHYR changed format from Adult Contemporary to Canadian Country. General Manager Lou Tomasi said research showed listeners wanted a station with a strong emphasis on Canadian country music. CHYR retained its Sunday ethnic programming and play-by-play sports.

1993
CHYR was given permission on February 11 to flip from AM to FM. The unique two-channel AM station would move to 96.7 MHz and have an effective radiated power of 19,320 watts. For years CHYR, operating on 710 kHz during the day and 730 kHz at night, had been unable to find a suitable single AM frequency for Leamington. The station had been losing money for the past five years and was denied a move to FM in 1990. Costs for the move to FM were expected to be around $590,000.

Construction of the new FM 500 foot tower began in March at the existing AM antenna site. To allow this, all of the AM towers had to be removed, except for one. This permitted CHYR to operate on 710 kHz only - day & night - at reduced power. Operations on 730 kHz ceased at this time (March).

CHYR-FM began testing in early July, and official operations commenced July 23, at 6:00 a.m.

CHYR-AM ceased operations on 710 kHz on September 10, at 6:00 p.m.

1994
On December 19, the Rogers Communications Inc. purchase of Maclean-Hunter Ltd. was approved, as was the spin-off sale of Bluewater Broadcasting Ltd. (CHYR-FM, along with CFCO Chatham and CKTY-CFGX Sarnia) by Rogers to Blackburn Radio Inc.

1996
Ted Cribbie retired at CHYR's chief engineer on September 30.

1998
Lou Tomasi, 64, died in Leamington. He had been general manager at CHYR, having been there since the station opened in 1955. He took early retirement a few years back. 

2001
On April 22, CHYR-FM dropped its longtime country music format (used since the station moved to FM in 1993) and adopted a hot adult contemporary format (Today's Best Music).

2005
On March 22, approval was granted for a change in control of Blackburn Radio Inc. through the transfer of all of the issued and outstanding shares of Blackburn Group Incorporated (the parent corporation) from the Estate of Martha G. Blackburn to 2061302 Ontario Limited, a corporation controlled by her son, Richard Costley-White.

2006
On July 11, CHYR was authorized to move to a new transmitter site, decrease effective radiated power from 19,320 watts to 10,650 watts, and increase antenna height.

2007
Early in the year, CHYR-FM completed the technical changes approved earlier. The move of the transmitter site marked a milestone in the station’s history. Ever since it went on the air in 1955 as AM station CJSP, it had operated from the same transmitter site (even on FM). The move ended 51 years of operation from the same transmitter site. The technical changes (including ERP decrease and antenna height increase) allowed for the Hot AC station to serve up to 120,000 more people in Windsor-Essex.

On July 9, Blackburn Radio Inc. received permission to operate a new FM station at Leamington. Blackburn operated Leamington’s only commercial radio station, CHYR-FM. The proposed new station would offer a Country music format targeting listeners aged 25 to 64. The station would provide 9 hours and 30 minutes of news in each broadcast week, of which 50% would be devoted to the coverage of local Leamington and area stories. It would also provide extensive surveillance and spoken word programming, including local traffic reports, weather, interviews, sports and relevant community information. Blackburn committed to ensuring the editorial independence of the new FM station from CHYR-FM through the hiring of a full-time dedicated news director/ reporter and two additional full-time employees dedicated to programming. The station would operate at 92.7 MHz with an average effective radiated power of 960 watts.

2008
On March 3, CJSP-FM 92.7 signed on the air with a country format. CHYR-FM became known as Mix 96.7 - Today's Hits - on the same date. It should be noted that the CJSP call letters on the new station were originally used by CHYR when it first signed on to the AM dial in 1955.


2011
Tom Fraser left Mix967/927 Max-FM for BOB-FM in London.

2012
In a cost cutting move (due to declining sales), Blackburn parted ways with on air talent Craig Venn, Kimberly Scott, Kara Ro, Rebecca Wolfe and Lisa Daigneault as well as several other behind the scenes employees in Leamington. Other employees in management, marketing and information technology were also laid off. The music selection, particularly on Windsor's CKUE-FM, The Rock (95.1/100.7), was expected to be altered to broaden its audience. More classic rock would be added to appeal to listeners 40 and up. There would be more emphasis on news and information on the other Blackburn Windsor-Leamington stations.

2013
Don Chamberlain died at age 73 on January 26. The Saint John native began his broadcast career in Atlantic Canada and became a part-owner of CHYR Leamington and CKJD/CJFI Sarnia and, later, a part-owner of CJBK/CJBX London. Earlier, Chamberlain played an integral role in Jack Schoone's Eastern Broadcasting chain of stations. Schoone was his majority partner in the Sarnia and London stations. Chamberlain was also the son of Charlie Chamberlain, long an entertainer on the old CBC-TV show, Don Messer's Jubilee.

2014
Rod Martens was no longer with Blackburn Radio. He had been manager of the company's stations in Windsor and Leamington and was PD at CKUE Chatham/Windsor, FM 95.9 Windsor and Mix 96.7/Country 92.7 Leamington. 

                                            Bill Dulmage - Updated March 2014