CKCK went on the air during a prairie thunderstorm the evening of July 19, operating on 420 meters with 2,000 watts of power. CKCK was established by the then-publisher of the Regina Leader Publishing Co. Ltd., George Bell. The transmitter and studio were situated on the fifth floor of the Leader Building at 1853 Hamilton Street. The flat-top antenna was attached to two steel towers atop the front and rear Leader buildings. At night, the lighted towers could be seen for miles across the flat terrain.
The first and only employee of CKCK from 1922 to 1929 was Albert Walter (“Bert”) Hooper, who started his radio career in his teens as a self-taught Marconi wireless operator aboard the Empress of Japan. At CKCK, Bert was the chief engineer, manager, program director and announcer. As the station did not accept advertising and all expenses were borne by the Regina Leader, there was no need for a sales manager. . Hooper was CKCK's and Saskatchewan's first radio announcer. He designed and built the station's first control room.
| Bert Hooper
After experimenting with several frequencies, CKCK settled down at 960 kHz with 500 watts.
The Leader Publishing Co. Ltd. (including CKCK) was purchased by the Sifton family, who also bought the Evening Post and published morning and evening editions under the banner "The Regina Leader-Post". The newspaper continued to fund the operation of CKCK which did not accept advertising.
CKCK did not operate "full time" at this period, which inspired Williams Department Store to give Regina a second radio station - CHWC. CKCK and CHWC shared the use of the same frequency. Between the two station, Reginians began to receive continuous radio service from 8 am to 11 pm, as the stations alternated hours during the day as well as splitting the evenings.
The Leader-Post entered into a contract with Plainsmen Broadcasters, headed by Horace Stovin to operate CKCK, and paid-advertising was introduced. In 1922, Mr. Stovin had founded 10-AT at Unity, Saskatchewan and brought several years experience to CKCK.
"The Freshmen Quartet" with Fred Usher became a household name in Regina thanks to CKCK and Fred tells the story of their sucess.1,2,3,4,5,6
Bert Hooper accepted the offer of James Richardson and sons to become Cheif Engineer of CJRM serving Regina and Moose Jaw from anew transmitter at BellePlain.
Horace Stovin left CKCK to accept the position of Program Director-Western Canada, for the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC) which had taken-over the administration of radio broadcasting in 1932, and was beginning to provide network programs from Halifax to Vancouver. The Leader-Post resumed direct control of CKCK.
CKCK switched frequency from 960 to 1010 kHz.
Wilf Collier joined VKCK as an announcer/operator and recalls just how he got started and some of his experienes in those early days of radio.1,2,3,4,5,6
The Leader-Post bought CHWC from R.H. Williams and Sons Limited and began a full-day of programming from 7 am to midnight starting in September. At the same time, the Siftons entered into a management contract with Taylor, Pearson and Carson Ltd. of Calgary who had gained expertise in managing CFAC Calgary, CJCA Edmonton and CJOC Lethbridge on behalf of their owners.
J. Lyman Potts had worked for CHWC. When that station merged with CKCK, Lyman became a full-time announcer and later, production manager.
CKCK moved into state-of-the-art studios on the second floor of the Leader Building, as engineers finished the job of constructing a transmitting plant 7 miles North-East of Regina at Boggey Creek (Victoria Plains) to house a 1-kw RCA transmitter. A 257-foot wooden tower was erected for the antenna.
Don Dawson joined CKCK.
Ross MacRae joined CKCK.
Art Balfour left CKCK and moved to CJAT Trail as manager, effective November 1. Gerry Gaetz was named manager of CKCK. He had held the same post at CJOC Lethbridge.
George Davies joined the CKCK staff. Roy Malone joined CKCK as an announcer, writer and operator. J. Lyman Potts transferred from CKCK to CKOC Hamilton as production and program manager. Gerry Gaetz was manager of CKCK.
As of September 1, Taylor Pearson & Carson Ltd. (Harold Carson, president) took over management and operation of CJRC and CJRM. At the same time, TP&C ended its management and commercial operation of CKY and CKX, a relationship that had been in place for the past four years.
Victor Sifton, president of Trans-Canada Communications of Winnipeg, operating CJRC, CJRM and CKCK, was appointed acting Master General of Ordinance for Canada.
Under the Havana Treaty, CKCK moved from 1010 to 620 kHz (Class III-A) on March 29. Power was 1,000 watts.
Bob Smith, formerly with CKCK, joined the sales staff at CKWX Vancouver. Don Dawson was traffic manager.
CKCK assistant manager W.A. Spears moved east to take up a similar position with sister station CKOC Hamilton.
Audrey Counsell took over the duties of Evelyn Simpson at CKCK, who left for Toronto. Counsell had been with CJOC Lethbridge. E.A. "Ernie" Strong was chief engineer. Jack MacRae was a production man and announcer at CKCK. Mac McKone joined CKCK as production man and announcer. Eileen Fox and Marjorie Walsh also worked at the station. Gerry Gaetz was CKCK's manager. Later in the year, Gaetz was moved to CJRC in Winnipeg. He was succeeded by Harold Crittenden who had been CKCK's sales manager for the past year. R.J. (Bob) Buss became CKCK's sales manager. He had been with CJOC in Lethbridge.
Announcer Wilf Smith left CKCK for CKBI Prince Albert.
From midnight to 6:30 p.m., May 29, the C.W.A.C. completely took over CKCK's operations. The women not only took over management of the station but they offered at least four programs dealing with women's army activities.
Announcer Gordon Cook left CKCK for CBC Toronto. Announcer Wilf Smith left CKCK for the U.S. Army. Staff additions: Jack Matthews, Glen Hjalmarson and bruce Goldie - all new to radio. Audrey Counsell succeeded Marjorie Walsh as traffic manager. Walsh was now a continuity writer. Mrs. Murray McLeod replaced Counsell as secretary.
Norman McBain and Ken Compton joined CKCK's announce staff. McBain had been with CHAB Moose Jaw and Compton was a newcomer from Regina. Departures from the station: Joyce Moxley (copy writer) and Jim Kent (continuity editor). Kay Krizwiser and Mrs. Melville-Ness joined the CKCK continuity staff. They had both worked in the newspaper business.
CBC Trans-Canada Supplementary stations: CKCV, CKOC, CKLW, CJIC, CKCK, CFAR, CFGP, CKLN Nelson.
H. Crittenden was manager and R.J. Buss was commercial manager. Former chief announcer Fred Cripps left CKCK for CKEY in Toronto. Don Dawson returned to CKCK as promotion director after serving with the RCAF since 1942. Dawson first joined CKCK in October of 1937. Production supervisor George Davies also returned to the station after serving with the RCAF since 1942. He first joined the station in November of 1940. Jack Sayers was appointed CKCK's commercial manager. He had been sales manager at CJOC in Lethbridge. Bob Buss had left the station as commercial manager to move to the soon to open CHAT Medicine Hat. Al Hooker was an announcer at CKCK. Announcer Jim Ward left for CKOC in Hamilton.
Ross MacRae was promoted to program director, but left the station in September. Jack L. Sayers joined CKCK from CJOC Lethbridge where he had been sales manager. Roy Malone who had left CKCK earlier returned to the station after working in the sales department at CKRC in Winnipeg.
A 200 foot tower was erected at a new transmitter site at Pilot Butte, east of Regina. This was in preparation for an increase in power to 5,000 watts. Later in the year, the second tower in the array (400 feet) was completed, along with the transmitter building.
Bruce Peacock was an announcer at CKCK. Norman McBain left CKCK for Winnipeg's CKY.
CKCK broadcast over an hour or more of the afternoon sessions, and covered 36 hours during the session of the Saskatchewan Legislature. The costs were borne by the province. The broadcasts met with strong approval by both the people and the members of the legislature.
In August, CKCK reported that its new 200 foot tower had been completed and a new 400 foot tower was nearing completion. Once the towers were up, the station hoped to "sweep" Saskatchewan with 5000 Watts! The station announced in September that the 400 foot tower had been erected in a record time of five days. The transmitter building was now under construction.
Art Kennard started his radio career as an announcer at CKCK. Jim Grisenthwaite joined CKCK as an announcer.
CKCK moved to yet another transmitting location at Rowatt, south of the city.
Jack L. Sayers left CKCK as commercial manager to become sales manager at CKWX Vancouver. Gil Seabrook was appointed sales manager.
CKCK applied to increase power to 1,000 watts for its emergency transmitter. This was approved in December.
Bob Weir was in the promotion department. 18 year old Dan Woods left CKCK to join the announce staff at CKRC in Winnipeg.
A special Christmas Day broadcast was beamed from nine different stations across Canada without the use of network facilities. The participating stations were CKWX Vancouver, CFCN Calgary, CKCK Regina, CJOB Winnipeg, CKSO Sudbury, CFPL London, CKCO Ottawa, CFCF Montreal and CFCY Charlottetown.
Wilfred E. Collier, CKCK production manager, left the station to become manager of CJNB North Battleford, effective February 1. He joined CKCK in 1931 as operator-announcer. In 1933, he added assistant engineer duties. After a year at the station's transmitter, he was, during 1937, operator-announcer-writer-assistant engineer until being promoted to production manager in 1940. Lawrence Dillibaugh, former program director of CKCK, took over as production manager (from Collier). He joined the station in April of 1948 as PD. Tom Hulub joined CKCK as continuity editor. H. Crittenden was manager and G.L. Seabrook was commercial manager.
Slogan: Your 5,000 Watt Top Network Station.
"Mighty Mike" was used in station print advertising.
Slogans: Your 5000 watt Top Network Station. / Saskatchewan's First Station.
Jim Grisenthwaite left CKCK for Victoria's CJVI.
Slogans: Everyone in Saskatchewan listens to CKCK. / Just like the Roughriders - the best in the West!
The CBC approved the transfer of two common shares in Leader-Post Ltd. (CKCK).
Regina Rough Rider CFL games were handled on a split basis by Lloyd Saunders on CKCK and Johnny Esaw on CKRM. "Uncle" Larry Glover was an emcee.
Jim Grisenthwaite returned to CKCK from CJVI in January. He would now be production manager.
CKCK marked up 30 years on the air July 27 and was one of the first Canadian outlets to reach the age.
Gil Seabrook left CKCK as commercial manager to become manager of CJIB in Vernon. Seabrook was succeeded at CKCK by Roy Malone. He started at CKCK as an announcer, writer and operator 12 years earlier. Malone moved to CKRC sales in Winnipeg and returned to CKCK in 1945. Lloyd Saunders did sports. Robert K. MacDonald joined CKCK as an announcer.
The CBC approved the transfer CKCK from The Leader-Post Ltd. to Transcanada Communications Ltd. (no change in ownership).
Don Dawson was assistant manager. Al Edwardson was promotion director. Larry Glover was an announcer. Jim McLeod was news editor.
CKCK Television signed on the air.
Clifford Sifton filed an application seeking control of Transcanada Communications Ltd. (CKCK-AM-TV Regina and CKRC Winnipeg). The application was approved.
Friendly Fred Sear worked on-air.
Lloyd Westmoreland was appointed commercial manager. He had been sales manager of CKOC Hamilton for the past 12 years and started in radio at CKCK-AM as a free-lance announcer for three years. In 1937 he became staff announcer. He moved to CKOC in 1941 to head production and later promotional activities. After serving in the RCAF, he returned to CKOC as sales manager. James Grisenthwaite became production manager. He had been an announcer. Robert K. MacDonald became assistant production manager.
Slogans: By any measure, CKCK IS...the BIG One in Saskatchewan. / Market...Coverage...Programming! Dial 620 CKCK Regina.
Jim McLeod was a newscaster.
Clifford Sifton, owner of CKCK, was appointed honorary lieutenant-colonel of the Governor-General's Horse Guards, Toronto regiment.
CKCK operated as an affiliate of the CBC Trans-Canada network. Ownership of Trans-Canada Communications Ltd. (aka Transcanada): Phoenix Management Ltd. 99.7%, Clifford Sifton 0.1%, M. C. Sifton 0.1%, T. A. Cookson 0.1%. Phoenix is owned entirely by Cortleigh Investments Ltd. which in turn is controlled by Clifford Sifton with Canada Permanent Mortgage Co. as a minority shareholder. Clifford Sifton was president of Trans-Canada. Harold A. Crittenden was CKCK's manager.
About 230,000 radio homes in Saskatchewan alone were now tuned to CKCK at some point during the broadcast day.
Donald R. Dawson became CKCK's general manager. He joined the station in 1937 as an announcer. Fred & Betty Sear (husband and wife) were on the air Mon-Fri from 2:15 to 3 p.m. with "The Better Half".
In late 1957 or early 1958, CKCK began broadcasting 24 hours a day. A print ad from January of 1958 promoted the fact: Everything's NEW at 62. 24 hours a day.
Slogan: CKCK Radio covers ALL Saskatchewan.
James Grisenthwaite was named retail sales manager. He joined the station in 1946 as announcer and became production manager in 1954. Robert K. MacDonald took over as production manager. He started in radio at CJGX Yorkton in 1949, moved to CFAR Flin Flon and then joined CKCK in 1952 as an announcer. He became assistant production manager in 1954. Jerry Landa was on-air at CKCK. Wanda Hendren was receptionist. Donald R. Dawson was named general manager of CKCK-AM. He joined the station in 1937 and served in all departments over the years.
"Mighty Mike" was now appearing in CKCK's print ads: Mighty Mike is mighty proud - still first in Saskatchewan. / Day and Night it's tops with Mighty Mike - CK Radio - CKCK Regina 620. / Today's radio for today's listening. CKCK Regina 630 (CK Radio).
According to Elliott-Haynes CKCK reached a total of 217,704 adult listeners every day.
ACMO - the All-Canada Mutually Operated stations set up a radio news bureau in August. The bureau channelled news from Ottawa by telegraph, telephone and tape recorder. Stations using the service: CJVI, CKWX, CJAT, CJCA, CFAC, CFGP, CJOC, CKCK, CKRC and CKOC.
Johnny Sandison "The Morning Mayor" was on CKCK between 6:00 and 9:00 a.m. Fred Sear - The Friendly Fred Show - 6:15 to 9:00 a.m. During the football season, Chester "Cookie" Gilchrist aired "Cookie Gilchrist Swings", a one hour jazz program, over CKCK. He was a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and last year had been with the Hamilton Tiger Cats.
The Sifton-owned radio stations in Regina, Winnipeg and Hamilton, came under the management of Trans-Canada Communications, and later, Armadale Communications Ltd, both owned by the family of Clifford Sifton.
Jim Grisenthwaite became general sales manager.
Applicants for a second television station in Winnipeg included Red River Television Association. Red River's main stockholder was Clifford Sifton, publisher of the Regina Leader Post and Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, and owner of CKCK-AM-TV Regina and CKRC-AM Winnipeg. The group also included members of the Richardson family and Hal Crittenden, general manager of CKCK, who would move to Winnipeg and act as general manager of the new station until a permanent chief was named and trained. The licence was awarded to Ralph S. Misener & Associates.
"Fred on the Fone" aired from 9:05 to noon on CK62, followed from noon-2 by Don Slade.
Harvey Davidson left CKCK to join the news department at CKRC Winnipeg. Doug Lee was production manager.
Ads - Everyone knows ... to sell Saskatchewan advertisers use CKCK. / CKCK - Play it cool in CK-land. The Voice of the Prairies. Breeze along with the CK guys & gals. Sparkling radio - CK Radio - Regina. / 3 out of 4 water skiers listen to CK Radio. / 1st in Saskatchewan...serving the Great Prairie West. Out of total circulation of 200,914 adult persons 87,826 (43.7%) listened only to CK-Radio. (Special Elliot-Haynes Unduplicated Audience Report, October, 1960; B.B.M. Spring 1960). / CKCK Radio Regina - Workshop of the great Prairie west. Broadcasting 24 hours a day. CK Radio.
The Dominion and Trans-Canada networks consolidated into a single CBC Radio network. As a result, CKCK’s affiliation with the network came to an end.
The Leader-Post vacated the building on Hamilton Street for a new one-floor office and production facility at 1922 Park St. Expanded accomodation was also provided for CKCK and for a future FM station.
Michael C. Sifton, President of Transcanada Communications Ltd. announced the appointment of Harold A. Crittenden as Vice President and director of the company. Crittenden joined CKCK sales and production in 1938, and was named manager of the station in 1942. In 1954 he was named manager of CKCK-TV and in 1959, became General Manager of Transcanada.
H. A. Crittenden, Vice-President and General Manager of Transcanada Communications appointed R. A. Pitt as Executive Assistant of the company, with head office in Toronto.
Jim Grisenthwaite was named CKCK's manager.
James K. Struthers was named general manager of CKCK-AM. Michael Sifton was president of Transcanada Communications. In addition to being manager, Jim Struthers was also CKCK's news director. Bob Arnold was the program director.
Manager Jim Grisenthwaite was transferred to the same posting at CKRC Winnipeg.
Ron Lamborn, general sales manager of CKCK became general manager of the station, succeeding Jim Struthers who took up the same position at CKCK-TV. Gary Miles, retail sales manager of CKCK moved in to take Lamborn's place as general sales manager.
John Walker was on-air. G.L. Miles was named general manager of CKCK.
Gary Miles became manager of CKCK. He had joined the station as an announcer in 1956 and moved up the ranks over the years.
CKCK subscribed to the Standard Broadcast News service. SBN received direct feeds from NBC New York by broadband.
Morris Burns worked at CKCK.
Transcanada Communications became Armadale Communications Ltd.
Gary Miles took his GM duties to sister station CKRC in Winnipeg.
Armadale Communications Ltd. sold CKCK-TV to Harvard Communications. Armadale president Michael Sifton said he was selling the TV station because of constant criticism in political circles of the combined ownership of the Leader-Post newspaper and CKCK Radio and Television, and the potential threat of enforced divestiture in the future. CKCK-AM remained in Armadale's hands.
CKCK opened CKIT-FM at 104.9 kHz, with 100 kw, transmitting from the antenna tower of CKCK-TV on #1 Highway, east of Regina.
Duane Grandbois left CKCK to be music director and morning host at CKAL Vernon.
Con Stevenson became manager of CKCK. He had been news director at sister station CKOC in Hamilton.
Con Stevenson was appointed general manager of CKCK and CKIT-FM.
CKCK-CKIT general manager Con Stevenson was now running quality control for Armadale and moved back to Ontario. Gayle Robinson took over as general manager of the stations. She had been vice president of sales at CKTV (CKCK-TV).
Tom Steve became news director at CKCK/CKIT-FM.
Dave Burdeniuk was appointed news director of CKCK.
It was announced that Western World Communications would purchase CKCK / CKIT-FM and CKRC / CHZZ-FM from Michael Sifton's Armadale Communications of Markham, Ontario. Sifton said Armadale planned to retain CKOC / CKLH-FM in Hamilton but would focus more strongly on newspaper publishing.
On January 22, Clint C. Forster's Western World Communications Ltd. received CRTC approval to acquire Regina's CKCK-CKIT and Winnipeg's CKRC-CHZZ from Armadale Communications Ltd. Western World, based in Saskatoon, was licensee of CJWW Saskatoon, SK and CKST Langley, BC, and owned 100% of Balsa Broadcasting Corp., licensee of CHMG St. Albert, AB.
Western World Communications Limited Partnership sold CKCK and CKIT-FM to Craig Broadcasting Systems Inc. of Brandon. Craig changed the call letters of CKIT-FM to CKWF-FM.
Craig Broadcasting Systems entered into an agreement with Harvard Communications to locate the studios of CKCK and CKIT-FM in the Harvard building at 2060 Halifax Street which, for many years, also housed CKRM and CHMX-FM. At the same time, Harvard took on the day to day management of CKCK and CKIT-FM in addition to CKRM and CHMX-FM.
In June, CKCK lost one of its towers during a thunderstorm. The station was off the air for a number of hours. Program director Michael Olstrom said the downed tower looked like a pretzel.
Michael Olstrom was promoted to operations manager for CKCK, CKRM, CFWF-FM and CHMX-FM.
On November 30, the CRTC approved an application whereby Harvard was able to purchase the assets of CKCK and CKLT-FM, and for CKRM to replace CKCK at 620kHz, using CKCK’s transmitter. Harvard also acquired the licence for CFWF-FM, which gave them a second FM station in the Regina market.
Co-incidentally, the CRTC gave permission to RAWLCO Communications to take over CKRM’s AM transmitter and a licence to use it to broadcast CJME’s programs on 980 kHz instead of 1300 kHZ. A licence was also issued to RAWLCO to operate a second FM station in Regina on 94.5 kHz which began operations on July 27th.
Thus, CKCK, founded in 1922 – one of Canada’s first radio stations – became history, ending almost 80 years of service to the people of Sakatchewan on November 30th, 2001.
* * * * * *
On July 27, 2002 over two hundred former members of CKCK's staff gathered together at the Hotel Saskatchewan to celebrate what would have been the year of CKCK’s 80th anniversary. Special guests were Lucille Hooper Carpenter, Wallace Hooper and Randall Carpenter, the daughter, son and granddaughter of Bert Hooper, who single-handedly kept CKCK alive from 1922 to 1929.
Audio - Fred Usher:
||1 Fred can claim that it was his voice that got him into radio, but not as an announcer
||2 Success for the Freshmen Quartet meant acquiring a repertoire of over 100 songs
||3 The Freshmen Quartet began to share success with the Mart Kenny Trio
||4 Fred never left music, but plunged deeper into radio as a morning man -- until the war loomed
||5 Victoria was now the broadcast home for Fred and he recalls how a contest got his group national exposure on the CBC which did not originate much from the West
||6 Fred recalls the links that early radio had with its audience, they were almost friends
Audio - Wilf Collier:
||1 In the early days of radio, everyone was self-trained -- from the engineers to the announcers
||2 One of the most valuable announcing skills was the ability to recreate a distant sports event from teletyped reports
||3 Wilf's start in the business began as the last guy sitting in the High School gymnasium in Regina
||4 Acoustics in the radio studio were managed in an inventive way -- with some odd consequences
||5 Even then, music was a staple of radio and it came from various sources
||6 And if you thought straw was an odd way to quieten a studio, then there were the microphones
Written by Lyman Potts, Bill Dulmage - Updated August, 2012