Thursday, May 23, 2024

A history of the Calgary radio station CKMX

CKMX is a Calgary broadcast radio station. It became the first radio station to sell advertising space and aired a commercial news program, calgary-future writes.


William Walter Westover Grant served in the British Royal Air Force in France during World War I. There he learned to install and maintain radio equipment and was even awarded for his services in radio communication. After the war, Grant came back to Canada and in early May 1919 built a radio station in the Canadian city of Halifax (province of Nova Scotia). According to one version, the first radio programs in the country were broadcast there.

The next year, Grant took a job with the Aviation Board of Canada’s forest patrol and opened another station in Alberta, in the Morley settlement, along the Canadian Pacific Railway between the Trans-Canada Highway and the Bow River. The radio station was called CYAA and was created for the federal government to notify the public about wildfires.

In January 1921, it was decided to move this station. So Grant built a 50-watt station in High River, Alberta. It broadcast concerts of musicians and the first entertainment programs in Western Canada. However, the station was not destined to exist in this place for a long time, a year later it was moved to Calgary and renamed CFCN.

Broadcasting begins in Calgary

In Canada, until April 1922, there was no special category for entertainment radio stations. However, in April, the license classification of private commercial radio station was added and an initial group of 23 entertainment stations was announced, 2 of which were in Calgary. CFCN was then licensed. She started speaking on May 18, 1922. The transmitter of the station was placed on the picturesque hill of the Scotsman.

Scotsman’s Hill

In 1923, the transmitter was upgraded from 100 to 1000 watts, and a few months later – to 8500 watts. It was quite powerful at that time. In 1924, the music program Cy Ebineser & the Kid (later renamed CFCN Oldtimers) debuted. The program has become the longest continuously running weekly radio program since the 1980s. It was published every Friday from 21:00 to 00:00. Famous personalities such as accordionist Tony Neidermeier, DJ Hod Faris, musician Vic Siebert and others participated in its creation at different times. Also in the 1920s, CFCN started manufacturing radio receivers, which were then sold to the public to increase the number of listeners.

Change of owner

In 1928, CFCN was acquired by Herbert Love. In 1931, CFCN increased its power to 10,000 watts, making it the most powerful Canadian radio station in the west. It then came under the control of Voice of the Prairies Ltd.

In 1931, Grant briefly returned as vice president and chief engineer. After 5 years, Love took over the management, and after some time Grant started working at the Slovak radio station CBK Watrous. He died on March 1, 1968.

Crescent Heights High School principal William Aberhart started his Prophetic Bible Institute program in the 1930s. Another religious program was the “Gospel Hour at Sunrise.” On Christmas Eve 1945, CFCN produced its 10,000th newscast.

In 1969, former announcer Don Thomas was appointed manager. Bob Lamb was appointed chief engineer.

Change format and name

In 1993, the station changed its format from “Contemporary Hits” to “Contemporary Music for Adults”. Since then, they began to broadcast light music, mainly in the genre of alternative rock. Such changes were made after long studies of listeners’ preferences. In the spring of 1994, the name of the station was changed to CKMX.

By 2005, the station changed its format to classic country. It was the last Canadian radio station still broadcasting the classic country format.

In September 2013, the station again changed its format to a comedy one. Fragments of stand-up comedy created by stand-up comedians and improvisational comedians were presented on the air.

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