Ontario, Hamilton/Niagara Area

CJRN-AM (Niagara Falls Tourist Radio), Niagara Falls

, CJRN 710 Inc.

1946
The Department of Transport issued a licence to Howard Bedford for the operation of a new radio station at Niagara Falls - 1,000 watts on 1600 kHz. Bedford had recently retired from the Signal Corps. as a Captain, and was latterly connected with CKNX in Wingham. He started at 16 at CFCO Chatham on an after school basis. He later worked at CKLW Windsor, CKCR Kitchener, CRCW Windsor and CKSO Sudbury.

1947
CKVC was expected to open in June. The station also apparently had authorization to give price quotations in commercial announcements. Early in the year, it was decided that the call letters for the not-yet on-the-air station would be CHVC rather than CKVC. Studios would be in the Rainbow Bridge, overlooking the falls. The station would be on the air 24 hours a day. Ben R. Prior was appointed assistant manager. He was new to radio and was the Reeve of Stamford Township, the suburban half of Niagara Falls.

CHVC became a member of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.

CHVC signed on the air on June 1. The station was on the air during daytime hours only. Studios were located under the Rainbow Bridge. The transmitter and three towers were on McLeod Road in Niagara Falls.

Late in the year, CHVC was granted a 250 watt FM licence.

Keith Dancy was one of CHVC's first announcers. Many years later, he would own the station.

1948
Approval was granted for the change of licensee from B.H. Bedford to Radio Station CHVC Ltd. (no change in ownership).

1950
Skip Letcher was a disc jockey at CHVC.

 

CHVC applied for approval to increase daytime power from 1,000 to 5,000 watts (non-directional, before and after). Night power would remain at 1,000 watts. The CBC board deferred the application for further study. At the board's next hearing, the application was approved. The power increase (directional at night) was in operation before the end of the year.

1952
R.H. Hamilton, advertising manager of CHVC, announced the appointment of Joyce McKenzie to manage the station's new Welland office in the Barclay Hotel. For the past four years, McKenzie had been a senior member of CHVC's production department in Niagara Falls. The new office would also serve Port Colborne clients.

CHVC ignored a ban placed on it by the American Federation of Musicians, by broadcasting, live, the entire civic Remembrance Day service in November.

1953
CHVC received permission to increase night-time power from 1,000 to 5,000 watts.

Jack Burghardt was manager. Art Blakely was production manager. Bill Killough was assistant production director. Hershel Harris was chief announcer.

1954
April licence: Radio Station CHVC Ltd., 1833 Leonard Ave., 1600 kHz 5,000 watts day and 1,000 watts night. Transmitter: Lots 178 and 187, Stamford Township, Welland County.

Power increased to 5,000 watts (full-time, DA-N) on October 1. Four 145 foot (height above insulator) towers were used at the same site.

Novemer 11 - CHVC studios moved from 1833 Leonard Ave. to 1745 River Road.

Slogan: The Peninsula's Only 5 Kilowatter.

1957
CHVC was an independent station with no network affiliation. Radio Station CHVC Ltd. was owned by B. H. Bedford 50.0%, Mrs. E. J. Bedford 49.9% and W. S. Martin 0.1%. B. Howard Bedford was president of the company.

1958
According to Elliott-Haynes CHVC reached a total of 48,661 adult listeners every day.

1960
CHVC was now operating at 10,000 watts from a site at Netherby, 10 miles south of Niagara Falls. It had been using 5,000 watts since 1953. Initial reports suggested good signal strength through Welland, Lincoln and Haldimand counties, the station's main market. Manager Arthur Blakely said the station would now provide absolutely clear and distinct reception at night as well as day to the entire southern part of Welland County. The areas around Fort Erie, Crystal Beach, Port Colborne and Welland would receive the greatest benefit from the improved service. CHVC had different day and night directional patterns. The transmitter site was on Netherby Road, Willoughby. Four towers were used.

1964
Permission was granted in March to transfer all the issued common shares of capital stock in Radio Station CHVC Ltd. to Adanac Broadcast Investments Ltd.

CHVC became CJRN on May 6 (possibly July 1). The "RN" in the calls: Radio Niagara. 

CHVC Ltd. became Radio Niagara Ltd. on November 5.

1965
On April 8, studios and offices moved from 1745 River Road to The Park Motor Hotel, Clifton Hill.

In April, Robert O'Brien joined CJRN as program director.

James O'Brien was President of Adanac Broadcast Investments Ltd. Ed Houston was operations manager and music director. Rick Smith was news director.

1966

Bud Riley joined CJRN from Welland's CHOW to do middays.

1967
Norman Fetterley joined CJRN.

Robert O'Brien was now operations manager.

1968
Peter Thompson took over the afternoon drive shift in September. Bud Riley(middays) left for CHUM in Toronto.

1969
On March 28, Radio Niagara Ltd. was granted approval to move CJRN from 1600 kHz with power of 10,000 watts day and night (different directional patterns) to 710 kHz with 5,000 watts day and 2,500 watts night (different directional patterns).

Peter Thompson (PM Drive) left in May. Barry Sharpe joined CJRN to do hockey broadcasts. 

Slogan: CJRN 1600 Radio Niagara.

CJRN had a Middle of the Road sound with a limited commercial policy.

CJRN subscribed to the NewsRadio news service, started by Stephens & Towndrow in September of 1968. NewsRadio received news content from CBS in New York.

1970
On April 1, CJRN changed frequency from 1600 to 710 kHz. CJRN had proposed to operate separate transmitter sites for day and night operaton on 710 – Sherkston for daytime operation and Fort Erie at night. In the end, the Fort Erie site was chosen for both day and night-time operation, using six 230 foot towers. The old 1600 transmitter site was at Stevensville, near Fort Erie.

1971
CJRN was given permission on April 26 to move studios and offices from The Park Motor Hotel to 4668 St. Clair Avenue.

1974-75
CJRN installed Gates-Harris automation equipment and a dial in programmer which allowed the station to run in the absence of staff for eight hours.

Stu Black was an announcer. Donald Rodgers was an operator.

1979
On June 19, CJRN 710 Inc. failed in its bid to acquire an FM licence (91.7 MHz with ERP of 50,000 watts) at Niagara Falls. A competing application from Domenic Morabito was also turned down (104.9 MHz, 50,000 watts). CJRN's FM proposal was criticized for adding little diversity of programming to the area. It also proposed using a frequency designated for educational use.

With the ownership change at CJRN, Gary Hooper became director of engineering for both CJRN and CJJD. His brother Brian was with CFOR in Orillia.

Paul Burke was CJRN's morning man.

1979-80
Michael Cunningham became CJRN's sales manager.

1980
Lee Steri was now hosting the CJRN morning show.

1981
In June, Winnipeg's Moffat Communications Ltd. was given approval to purchase CJJD in Hamilton from Keith J. Dancy. Approval was also given for CJJD to carry the John Michael Talk Show from Dancy's CJRN in Niagara Falls.

New consoles and cart machines were installed in the CJRN control room.

Ken Harris was now chief engineer.

Lisa Brandt joined CJRN and then left.

1982
John Michael hosted the mid-day talk show. Don Gautier was evening announcer.

Scott MacBride joined CJRN for on-air work.

1983-84
After 18 years at CJRN, popular talk host John Michael and his producer, Darryl Whitehead, moved to CKTB St. Catharines.

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

Carol Taylor and Paul Mott hosted the mid-day talk show.

Travel agent Les Nyull moved his talk show from CJRN to CKAR in Oshawa.

1986 
CJRN-AM started CJFT-AM in Fort Erie on 530 kHz with 270 watts power, July 1.

David Dancy started working for his dad at CJRN. He was a salesman and an announcer. Scott MacBride left CJRN for sister station CJFT Fort Erie.

1986-87
After about three years at CKTB St. Catharines, talk host John Michael left that station to return to CJRN 710. Before going to CKTB, Michael had spent some 18 years at CJRN.

1987
CJRN was handed a strong censure by the CRTC for racially offensive remarks made on the John Michael talk show earlier in the year. The Commission said that intolerance expressed toward native Canadians as a group by Michael and some of his callers was objectionable and completely unacceptable.

1988

CJRN was given CRTC approval to increase day power to 10,000 watts. Night power is 5,000 watts.

CJRN was fined $5,000 in provincial court for what a judge said were "crude and racist" remarks about natives the previous year on an open line talk show. The station was charged under the Broadcasting Act.

The station had its licence renewed for only 18 months (to June 30, 1990) instead of the usual 3-5 years. The CRTC decision came after the station was censured for racially offensive remarks broadcast in the spring of 1987 on three talk show programs. CJRN was reminded that the Commission would continue to monitor the station's performance closely, with particular emphasis on the open line program which resulted in its censuring the station.

John Michael hosted the mid-day talk show, Don Daken was heard in the evening. Other announcers included Jay Brown and John Gilbert.

Chuck Camroux was at CJRN as acting consultant and general manager.

1991
CJFT-AM moved to the FM dial (101.1 MHz) early in the year. By the end of the year the station had become known as CKEY-FM.

In the spring, CJFT-FM moved its studios to the CJRN building in Niagara Falls. The CJFT studios were at 1239 Garrison Road in Fort Erie. The move to Niagara Falls was to be temporary as the station was hoping to move the studios to the transmitter site on Kraft Road in Fort Erie. It was decided in the end, to simply keep the CJFT studios in the CJRN building.

Paul & Carol (Taylor) Mott hosted the mid-day talk show. Doug Hobbs joined from CKTB.

1992
CJRN launched a low-power tourist information station at Niagara Falls. CFLZ (C-Falls) broadcast at 91.9 Mhz.

Doug Hobbs left CJRN.

1994
David Dancy became a shareholder in Niagara Broadcasting Corp. and general sales manager of CJRN/CKEY-FM.

1997
In late 1997, CKEY-FM and CJRN entered into a local marketing agreement with Mercury Broadcasting of Buffalo, owners of WEDG-FM and WGRF-FM. CJRN and CKEY also had a local agreement with CHSC St/ Catharines.

CJRN celebrated its 50th anniversary. It had gone on the air June 1, 1947 as CHVC 1600. Original studios and offices were in a small building under the Rainbow Bridge.

1998
David Dancy became a director of Niagara Broadcasting Corp.

Tourist information station CFLZ moved from 91.9 to 105.1 MHz late in the year.

1999
Bob Dancy & Tami Jenerette hosted the morning show (5:30 to 10). Michell Cruise was on the air from 10-3, followed by Rob White 3-7 and Matt Thompson 7-12. Weekend hosts included Tim Davis, Natalee Roads, Andy Stewart and Reggie Cecchini.

2001
Keith Jules Dancy, owner of CJRN, CKEY-FM and CFLZ-FM died of cancer May 6. He was 71.  Mr. Dancy was one of the original employees of CJRN when it signed on the air as CHVC in 1947. Dancy had planned to sell CJRN/CKEY-FM to George Johns. Dancy would have stayed on as a part-time advisor to Johns for a period of two years.

On July 3, the CRTC approved a change of ownership of CJRN 710 Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Niagara Broadcasting Corporation. CJRN 710 Inc. owned CJRN Niagara Falls and CKEY-FM, Fort Erie/ Niagara Falls and its rebroadcaster CKEY-FM-1, St. Catharines. CFLZ-FM, Niagara Falls, was a wholly owned subsidiary of CJRN 710 Inc. This ownership change in Niagara Broadcasting Corporation occurred as a result of the death of Mr. Dancy on May 6. Mr. Dancy’s family would now operate Niagara Broadcasting Corporation.

On December 2, the CRTC approved applications to amend the licences for CJRN-AM and CFLZ-FM, to allow the two stations to exchange programming formats. At the time, CJRN was a commercial AM station owned by CJRN 710 Inc., and had an oldies format on 710 kHz. CFLZ-FM was a non-commercial tourist information station operating on 105.1 MHz.

2002
In September, adult contemporary CKEY 101.1 disappeared and was replaced by a synthesized voice doing a strange countdown. Concerned citizens called Niagara Regional Police to find out what was going on as the station gave no explanation. It was a stunt. CKEY’s “The River” and its adult contemporary format moved to CJRN’s 710 frequency as “The River 710” for a brief time.

On September 6,  at 6 a.m., CKEY-FM “The River” format officially moved to 105.1 MHz, the former home of CFLZ – the tourist information station – and kept the CFLZ-FM call letters. The adult contemporary format was retained.

Urban (dance/contemporary hits). formatted “Wild 101.1” officially launched on CKEY’s 105.1 frequency. It kept the CKEY calls.

Tourist information station CFLZ 105.1 format officially moved to CJRN 710 and the CJRN calls were retained on 710.

2005
On December 19, the CRTC approved the transfer of ownership and control of CJRN 710 Inc. (CJRN Niagara Falls, CKEY-FM Fort Erie and CKEY-FM-1 St. Catharines) from Niagara Broadcasting Corp. (controlled by David Dancy) to Northguard Capital Corp. (owned and controlled by Andrew Ferri). This approval also covered the transfer to Northguard of 788813 Ontario Inc. (CFLZ-FM Niagara Falls), once it became a wholly owned subsidiary of CJRN 710 Inc. Northguard would then amalgamate both entities to continue the operation of the undertakings under the name of CJRN 710 Inc.

These applications had already been approved by the CRTC by letter on February 1, 2001, but the authority was never acted upon. It should be noted that although Mr. Ferri would now control all three stations, David Dancy would retain a minority interest and continue in active management of the stations.

2006
On January 10 the CRTC renewed CJRN's licence until August 31, 2012. CJRN would be subject to the following condition: "The licensee shall use this station solely to broadcast pre-recorded tourist information for the purpose of informing visitors to Niagara Falls".

2009
On August 21 the CRTC approved an application by Radio 710 AM Inc. for authority to acquire from CJRN 710 Inc. the assets of CJRN Niagara Falls and for a new broadcasting licence to continue the operation of the station under the same conditions as those in effect under the current licence. The new licence would expire August 31, 2011. This short licence term would enable the Commission to assess, at an earlier date, the licensee's compliance with its conditions of licence. CJRN 710 Inc. was currently controlled by Northguard Capital Corp., a corporation controlled by Mr. Andrew Ferri. Upon closing of the proposed transaction, Radio 710, a corporation wholly-owned and controlled by Niagara Media Group Inc., which in turn was controlled by Northguard, would be the new licensee of CJRN. Radio 710 indicated that the acquisition of assets was a corporate reorganization that would not affect the effective control of CJRN as it would continue to be exercised by Mr. Ferri. Licence conditions: "The licensee shall use this station solely to broadcast pre-recorded tourist information for the purpose of informing visitors to Niagara Falls. The licensee shall not broadcast any commercial messages."

2011
On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CJRN to August 31, 2012.

2012
On June 22, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CJRN until November 30, 2012.

On October 10, the CRTC denied the application to renew the broadcasting licence held by Radio 710 AM Inc. for the English-language tourist radio programming undertaking CJRN Niagara Falls, which would expire November 30, 2012. The Commission stated Radio 710 had shown a history of repeated non-compliance and disregard for its regulatory obligations over two consecutive licence terms. The Commission was gravely concerned about the licensee's willingness and ability to bring itself into compliance. The Commission was unconvinced as to the seriousness with which the licensee took its regulatory obligations. The Commission was similarly not convinced that the licensee's attitude toward its regulatory obligations would change going forward. The CRTC reviewed the various measures it might adopt to ensure that licensees met their obligations where it found that they were in non-compliance, such as mandatory orders, short-term renewal, suspension and non-renewal of the licence. Given the seriousness of the non-compliance and its recurrence, the inability of Radio 710 to implement the measures necessary to ensure ongoing compliance and the lack of confidence on the part of the Commission that the lack of oversight would change going forward, the Commission was not convinced that a mandatory order or short-term renewal would be effective. The Commission was similarly not convinced that a suspension would be effective as there was no evidence to suggest that the licensee would not revert to its present practices. In light of the above, the Commission was of the view that non-renewal of the licence was the only appropriate measure in this case. Accordingly, the Commission denied the application by Radio 710 to renew the broadcasting licence for the tourist radio programming undertaking CJRN Niagara Falls. As such, the licensee was required to cease broadcasting by no later than the end of the broadcast day on November 30, 2012.

                                                Written by Bill Dulmage - Updated October, 2012