Ontario, Hamilton/Niagara Area

CIXL-FM (Giant FM 91.7), Welland

, David Holgate

1956
A new AM radio station was approved for Welland, operating on a frequency of 1470 kHz with a power of 500 watts - daytime-only. It was expected to be on the air sometime in 1957.

1957
Wellport Broadcasting hoped to open its station around May 15, using 1470 kHz with power of 500 watts. The company was headed by President Gordon Burnett, manager of Radio Guardian in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. His two associates were Bob Redmond, former sales manager of CHEX radio in Peterborough, and Doug Manning, former CHEX-TV sales manager. The station was to be equipped by RCA, and completely designed and built by N. J. Pappas & Associates of Montreal. Redmond said programming would be "both snappy and bright" but would not cater to "rock & roll". There would be no network affiliation.

CHOW 1470 signed on the air June 4. CHOW used two towers from a transmitter site located in Humberstone Township, Welland County.

Later in the year, CHOW received permission to add night-time service with a power of 500 watts (directional).

1958
Ad slogan: Now! Radio Station C-"How" Welland-Port Colborne Ontario - selling the Niagara Peninsula.

Dave Wright was program director.

1959
Bud Riley joined to do the morning show. He had been at CKAR Huntsville.

CHOW received permission to operate day and night and to increase power from 500 to 1,000 watts. It had been operating as a daytime-only station. The power increase took place later in the year. CHOW used different directional patterns for day and night operations. The station was now using four towers from the existing transmitter site.

1962
Bud Riley (mornings) left CHOW.

1964
Bud Riley returned to host the morning show.

1966
Bud Riley (mornings and program director) left for Niagara Falls.

1967
On air people at this time: Jay Jackson, Mark Lade, Paul Godfrey, Pat Conley, and Brian Master. News staff: Jim Cassidy (news director, joined from CFCO Chatham), Frank Seranac, Rocco Ventresca, and Dave Schreiber (sports).

1968
CHOW's studios and offices moved from 76 Division Street to Forkes Road in Welland.

1969
On July 25, CHOW was authorized to operate a studio in Dunnville.

1975
CHOW switched from a Middle of the Road format to Country.

Wellport received permission to increase CHOW’s power to 10,000 watts during the day and 2,500 watts at night.

1978-79
CHOW increased power to 10,000 watts day and 2,500 watts night, using eleven towers.

1980
On March 21, CHOW was licenced to increase night-time power from 2,500 watts to 10,000 watts.

The power increase was operational by the end of the year. New equipment included a McMartin BA 10K transmitter and Potomac phase monitor. McMartin's Charlie Goodrich was on hand for the initial switch-on and was able to demonstrate modulation levels of well over 130%. CHOW's chief engineer at this time was Larry Holleran. 

1981
As of February 2, CHOW 1470 was operating at 10,000 watts day and night (different day and night directional patterns), eight towers. 

1984-85
Joe Woodburn replaced Frank Sernak as news director.

1987

CHOW began broadcasting in stereo, using the Motorola C-Quam system on September 1.

Suzanne Rochon Burnett, vice president and PR director of Wellport Broadcasting, was appointed to TV Ontario's board of directors.

1990
The CRTC denied Wellport Broadcasting's application for an FM station at Port Colborne. Instead, a licence was given to CJFT-AM (Fort Erie) so that it could move to the FM band.

1992
Wellport Broadcasting applied for a new FM station at Port Colborne, using 104.9 MHz. The new station would take CHOW's country and western format and CHOW would switch to dance music. The application was turned down.

On December 2 when morning man Jay Hart arrived for work he found the station had been broken in to. Stolen items included CD players, and CHOW was off the air for seven hours due to equipment damage.

1994
On December 13, the CRTC approved the sale of CHOW by Gordon Burnett to a numbered company, owned by Suzanne Rochon's R.B. Communications. Rochon was Burnett's wife. CHOW had been unprofitable for the past three years.

1999
CHOW AM switch to FM as CHOW-FM at 91.7 mHz with an ERP of 27,420 watts in May.

2001
On-air staff included Doug Rollins, Bill Thomas, Brian Salmon and Troy McCallum.

2004
R.B. Communications Inc. sold CHOW to David Holgate.

2005
On January 29, CHOW (Spirit 91.7) dropped the country music format that it had offered for almost 30 years in favour of a classic rock format. The station was now known as 91-7 Giant FM and the call sign changed to CIXL.

2006
The station’s former owner Suzanne Rochon Burnett passed away April 2. In 1994, she purchased CHOW-AM from her husband, turned it around and then converted it to the FM dial. Health problems forced her to sell the station in 2004.

2008
CIXL changed format from Variety Hits to Classic Rock as Giant FM.

2010
On October 19, the CRTC renewed the licence for CIXL-FM Welland from 1 December 2010 to 31 August 2014. This short-term licence renewal would enable the Commission to review the licensee's compliance with the Radio Regulations, 1986 and its conditions of licence at an earlier date.

Jim Rendall died at the age of 58. The former radio host began his career at CHOW Welland in the early 1970s, moved to CKX Brandon and, in the late ‘70s, to CKOM Saskatoon. Later, he joined CFQC Saskatoon.

2011
Former CHTZ-FM program director and afternoon drive announcer, Mike Tyler joined the morning show (5:30 to 9:00 a.m.) with Brian Salmon and Pete Morena at Niagara's Classic Rock, 91.7 GIANT-FM on November 21. Before HTZ, Tyler was with Jack FM Toronto, Y108 Hamilton, The Hawk London and CFNY Toronto.

2013
After seven successful years doing afternoon drive in Niagara, Paul Wainwright ended his relationship with GIANT FM.

                                                  Written by Bill Dulmage - Updated May 2013