Colonial Broadcasting System Ltd. applied for an AM licence to serve the Trinity and Conception Bay region of Newfoundland. The application was denied on August 18. The proposed transmitter would have been located at Spaniard’s Bay, operating on 850 kHz with full-time power of 10,000 watts. The CRTC denied the application on the grounds the proposed station would compete with stations in St. John's, where two new FM stations had been licenced. The commission suggested that a low power station be considered to provide local service to the area. A 1977 application to service this area was also denied.
On January 28, Colonial was finally successful in gaining a licence for a new AM station at Carbonear (Spaniard's Bay). It would operate on a frequency of 850 kHz with a power of 5,000 watts day and night. The new station would rebroadcast some programming from VOCM (between midnight and 6:00 a.m.). Two competing applications by Radio CJYQ 930 Ltd. were also heard. The one calling for the use of 850 kHz at Gander (CFYQ) was denied. Another, proposing to use 970 kHz at Harbour Grace was approved. In licensing two competing stations for the same area, the CRTC said it took into account, the strong position of both CJYQ and VOCM. If it was necessary, the two companies were expected to subsidize the new stations.
CHVO signed on the air in October. The majority of its programming was local and designed to serve the Trinity and Conception Bay area. Some programming originated with VOCM St. John’s and some of CHVO’s programs were rebroadcast over CHCM Marystown. CHVO offered a country music format.
Colonial Broadcasting System Ltd. was now also operating under the name Radio Newfoundland Ltd.
Bill Dawson (Dulmage) joined the air staff of CHVO in June. Other on-air staff included John Harvey (program director/mornings), Robert Lannon (music director), Kevin McConville, and Al Mackenzie. Norma Bonnell was news director and Charlie Spurrell was manager of 850 CHVO Country.
The application by Colonial to swap the frequencies of CHVO Carbonear and CHCM Marystown was denied. The CRTC ruled the application failed to demonstrate that a switch from 850 kHz to 560 kHz for CHVO would give adequate service to off-shore oil rigs, as claimed. It did feel that CHVO would provide a better signal to St. John's, but the station was licensed to serve the Conception Bay area only. CHCM's proposed move from 560 kHz to 850 kHz, with a nighttime power boost to 10,000 watts, was dependent on approval of the CHVO proposal.
Kevin McConville left CHVO. Bill Dawson (Dulmage) left CHVO in June.
The CHVO-CHCM frequency swap was applied for again. It was also turned down again. The CRTC said the proposal would give Colonial three strong signals in St. John's and suggested CHVO look at an FM rebroadcaster as a way of improving its coverage area.
The CRTC again rejected an application by Radio Newfoundland Ltd. to change the authorized frequency of CHVO from 850 to 560 kHz and increase full-time power from 5,000 to 10,000 watts. This was the fourth attempt by the company to make this change. An accompanying application to change the frequency of CHCM Marystown from 560 to 740 kHz and to increase night-time power from 5,000 to 10,000 watts was also denied.
On June 1, the CRTC approved the application by VOCM Radio Newfoundland Limited to amend the licence for CHVO Spaniard's Bay/Harbour Grace by changing the frequency from 850 kHz to 560 kHz. The licensee indicated that this amendment would result in improved service within its coverage area and, in particular, in the more distant communities around Conception Bay. The Commission denied VOCM's previous applications to amend the station's frequency and to increase its transmitter power because of concerns that these technical changes would enable CHVO to deliver a competitive signal to the St. John's market which would impact adversely on the financial viability of existing broadcasters in that city. However, after careful evaluation of the licensee's current submission and the intervenor's arguments, the Commission was satisfied that the present application was technically different from VOCM's previous proposals. The Commission was of the opinion that CHVO's signal would not be competitive with existing St. John's broadcasters. Furthermore, the Commission noted that the Department of Communications had indicated that this new application achieved a significant reduction in signal strength in St. John's and that the proposal was technically acceptable. Also today, the Commission approved VOCM's application to change the frequency for CHCM Marystown from 560 kHz to 740 kHz and to increase the station's night-time transmitter power from 5,000 watts to 10,000 watts. The licensee had indicated that the CHCM application was contingent upon approval of the CHVO application.
By this time CHVO broadcast 118 hours of local programming per week with the remainder of its schedule originating from VOCM St. John's.
NewCap announced plans to buy all VOCM Radio Newfoundland stations (VOCM-AM/Magic 97 St. John's, CKVO Clarenville, CHVO Carbonear, CHCM Marystown, CKGA Gander, CKCM Grand Falls/Windsor and CKIM Baie Verte). The deal would bring the VOCM stations together with Newcap's CJYQ group in the province.
Newcap Broadcasting Ltd. purchased CHVO and the other VOCM stations.
Phonse King was an announcer at CHVO.
On July 4, Newcap Inc. received approval to convert CHVO to the FM band. On the FM dial, CHVO would operate on a frequency of 103.9 MHz with an average effective radiated power of 14,000 watts. Newcap indicated that the new FM station would continue to offer a Country music format targeted to adults aged 25 and over. All the programming would be local: half would be live-to-air and half would be voice-tracked.
CHVO-FM signed on the air January 7 at 5:30 a.m. as "Kixx Country". The station broke away from the VOCM network and once again provides local newscasts to the community.
Harold Steele died in May at the age of 65. Steele worked for VOCM for more than 30 years, 10 of which he was Chief Engineer. He was also with CHVO Carbonear for several years. Steele was credited with having superior technological skills, particularly in circuit boards and transmitters.
Dennis Dillon, the Retail Sales Manager at Steele Communications in St. John's, added Station Manager duties for 103.9 FM KIXX Country Carbonear and Sales Manager responsibilities for VOCM St. John's. He succeeded Darlene Myers who moved to Newcap Radio Halifax as an Account Manager.
Written by Bill Dulmage - Updated March, 2013