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1980s: Satellite and Cable Expansion

March 1:  The sign on of Canada’s first all-jazz radio station CJAZ FM 92.1 VANCOUVER. The first song played was “Maiden Voyage” by Herbie Hancock.   It included all kinds of jazz with news and public affairs programs called “Word Jazz” Mon-Fri 6-9 am, noon-1 pm and 5:30-6 pm.and on the weekends 8:30-9 am; noon-1 pm & 5:30-6 pm.  The jazz format continued on for 4 years. Power was 46,850 watts.   Due to reception problems in Vancouver’s West End, the station moved to 96.9 FM in early 1984. CJAZ/CKKS/CKLG FM (2003) history.
  Wikipedia history. 

May 1: CISL 940 goes on the air at 6 am and becomes Richmond’s first radio station.  CISL is low powered and cannot be heard south of the Hwy 17 interchange south of the tunnel.  Its format is a mellow sound.  Like CJAZ it would change frequencies. CISL history.
  Wikipedia history.

In the spring: KLYN FM 106.5 Lynden changes hands and is bought by Crista Ministries, a Seattle-based multi-media company. 

Jan. 4: CHEK TV 6 VICTORIA drops all CBC TV programming and becomes a full time CTV affiliate.

Jan. 12: THE KNOWLEDGE NETWORK B.C.’s  own educational network signs-on on cable 18.

Jan.: KLYN changes from an easy-listening format to a new national format, called "contemporary Christian music."  Its evening ethnic programs would end by the end of the year. 

Sept. 16: KCPQ CH. 13 Tacoma started being carried on cable in the Vancouver area.  Channel 13 had many different programming formats over the previous 28 years.  It carried mostly TV reruns and old movies like channel 11 in Tacoma.  It would become Seattle/Tacoma area's FOX Network station in 1986.    Historical note:  Channel 13 had a variety of call letters and owners since 1953.  In the mid-70s it became KCPQ a PBS affiliate and signed off Feb. 28, 1980.  KCPQ relaunched itself on Nov. 4 , 1980 after 8 months off the air.
  The station's first program on Nov. 4 was the movie: "Deer Hunter."

Nov. 30: CISQ FM (Mountain FM) Squamish was launched at FM 104.9 with an effective radiated power of 2400 watts.  Transmitters for Whistler and Pemberton signed on the following year.   CISQ history at Canadian Communications Federation.  Wikipedia history.

Jan:  BCIT campus radio station CFML began broadcasting on carrier current and at FM 104.5 on local cable.  

 April 1:  University of BC radio station CITR  signs on with 49 watts of power in mono at FM 101.9.  First song was "Dancing in the Streets" by Martha and the Vandellas. CITR history.
  Wikipedia history.

CJAZ FM 92.1 Vancouver moved its transmitter from Saltspring Island to Mount Seymour.

Feb. 1: FIRST CHOICE PAY TV signs on the air as Canada’s first national 24 hour a day premium service with the 1977 blockbuster movie “Star Wars”.  Programming was mainly movies with some music specials, comedy specials and boxing.

C CHANNEL signs on the air at 7 pm as a national fine arts premium channel.  The “C” stood for classic movies, cinema, comedy specials, concerts and children’s programs.  The children’s block was from 4-6 pm Monday-Saturday with the rest of the programming from 6 pm- approx. 2 am & on Sundays from noon-2 am.  Its first program was the ballet ”Swan Lake”.  C Channel signed off late night June 30 after only 5 months on the air.

WORLD VIEW signed on the air at noon as a regional pay-tv broadcaster.  It broadcast only to the Lower Mainland and Victoria as a multilingual service. Its programs were in Chinese, East Indian, Japanese, Italian, German and Scandinavian languages.  Like C Channel financial problems plagued this service from early on.  On July 1 this service was reduced from a 92-hour/week service to a 36-hour/week service only in the Chinese languages and a couple of East Indian movies.  The service was further reduced to just 30 hours/week in October.  New owners and a name change to CATHAY and it slowly increased numbers of broadcast hours/week to over 65 within 2 years.  In 1991, FAIRCHILD purchased the station and it took on the name of its owner with Chinese language programming. 

Dec. CJAV 1240 Port Alberni ceases being a CBC Radio affliate as Port Alberni receives full CBC Radio service at FM 98.1.

From mid-December, 1983-early February 1984: CJAZ was testing its new frequency at 96.9 and operating 2 separate jazz programs on both its 92.1 and 96.9 frequencies.  In early February, the regular programming had switched to 96.9 for clearer reception in downtown Vancouver.

Feb. 4: SUPERCHANNEL comes to B.C. after launching a year earlier in Alberta and Ontario as a regional service.  It featured movies, specials and NHL Hockey.  The current PAY TV line up was Superchannel, First Choice and Cathay.

July 1: CISL RADIO moves from AM 940  to AM 650 increasing it’s power to be heard all over the Lower Mainland. 

Aug. 31/Sept. 1 The second wave of PAY TV launches. All these channels were scrambled.
MUCHMUSIC launches coast-to-coast as Canada’s first 24-hour a day music video channel.  It launched at 4 pm Aug. 31 with a 72-hour party over the Labour Day Weekend.  The first music video was an early music-to-film synchronization short from the 1920s which featured Eubie Blake performing "Snappy Songs."  Then Much Music aired Rush's "The Enemy Within."   Watch the MuchMusic launch on YouTube.

TSN: THE SPORTS NETWORK launched with a 30-minute preview and a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game at 9:30 am PT on Sat. Sept. 1.  This was Canada’s first national sports network.

The Arts and Entertainment Network (A&E)Cable News Network (CNN) and CNN Headline News and TNN: The Nashville Network also became available in Canada. 

FIRST CHOICE and SUPERCHANNEL merged to become FIRST CHOICE/SUPERCHANNEL. It’s opening night blockbuster movie was "Gandhi."   After both services struggled financially, Superchannel took over the area west of the Manitoba/Ontario border and First Choice took over the east.  Within 18 months the merged name was shortened to Superchannel in the west and First Choice in the east.  Sports programming was dropped because of the debut of TSN. Musical concerts were less common because of Much Music.

  KUGS FM 89.3 Bellingham increases its power from 10 to 100 watts which is what it is today.  It can be heard as far north as the Canadian border. 

 Dec. 15: CJAV 1240 Pt. Alberni increases its power to 1000 watts day and night.

Dec. 17: CFUV FM from the University of Victoria became the 2nd FM station in Victoria broadcasting at FM 105.1 with a power of 49.4 watts.

Dec. 29: C-FUN changed format from Top 40 to “Lite Rock . . . Less Talk” with a 4-day commercial free preview.  Its last charted #1 song was "Sea of Love" by the Honeydrippers.

June 21 at 10 am: CILK FM 101.5 signs on the air in Kelowna B.C.

June 25: CJJC 800  becomes CJUP 800 under new management.  The call letters would change again in 1988 to CKST.  The station would drop its country music format for Top 40.

Sept. 15: CJAZ FM drops its format and its call letters.  The station is now a light R&B station and called FM 97.  Within 18 months it would develop an adult contemporary format and become 97 KISS FM (call letters CKKS).  Jazz programming would drop to 21 hours/week and would decrease to zero by Feb. 91.

CKVU moves from UHF channel 21 to VHF channel 10 and stays on cable 13. 

CJVI 900 drops its country music format for adult contemporary music.  More oldies are inserted into the programming until CJVI is broadcasting an all oldies format within 3 years.

KISM 92.9 FM Bellingham shifts from album rock to independent rock.  Independent rock is rock music that is independent from heavy chart airplay or hot sheet play lists and is programmed independently by KISM programmers.

May 2: EXPO 86 OPENS AS VANCOUVER WELCOMES THE WORLD: Live coverage on CBC English and French networks, CTV, the KNOWLEDGE NETWORK with edited live coverage on Seattle stations: KOMO, KING, KIRO and a 3 hour taped telecast on KCTS 9. Live coverage was also on CBC Radio and CKNW. Expo Information Radio at AM 530 & 1600 was on the air from 7:30 am-7:30 pm to broadcast information of the World's Fair and parking lot availability.     On Feb. 20, the Expo Info Channel was added to local cable systems on cable 2 and from 11 pm-9 am on the Knowledge Network's off-air hours. 

July 1: JR COUNTRY 93.7 signs on at 9:37 am with Waylon Jennings’: “Are You Ready for the Country”  CJJR history.
  Wikipedia history--it's brief.
The same day, CKDA Victoria moves from AM 1220-AM 1200.

Sept. 2: MUSIQUE PLUS signs on as a PAY TV channel on local cable systems and is removed after about a year.  The channel returns as part of the Digital Tier in 1999 and again is removed after about a year.  Musique Plus is the French equivalent of MuchMusic.  Wikipedia history.

Sept. 12: 1040 AM RADIO signs on at 7 pm Friday with a commercial free music weekend of adult contemporary music.  Official sign on was Monday the 15th at 5:30 am with Huey Lewis & the News: “Stuck with you”. From now until 9 March 1991 this station would change format from adult contemporary to Top 40 to hard rock back to Top 40 and adult contemporary.  It’s called letters would change just as often to CIOF 1040, SUPERSTATION BRITISH COLUMBIA, 1040 KICKS, CKXY 1040, ROCK 1040. Even after 9 March/91 changes would still be a part of every owner of this frequency.  Veteran radio broadcaster Don Hamilton was the original owner.

Oct. 1: STAR FM becomes the Fraser Valley’s own FM radio station.  It broadcast a mix of adult contemporary and easy listening at 104.9 in Abbotsford and 107.5 in Chilliwack.
Dec. 11:  CKKQ FM 100.3 Victoria signs on with The Rolling Stones: “Start Me Up.”   Power: 44,000 watts. CKKQ station history. 
  Wikipedia history.

Sept. 1: The next wave of cable specialty services begin, this time on basic cable except for Family Channel. New services include Family Channel, YTV, Vision TV, and The Weather Network.  

Rogers Cable unscrambles MUCH MUSIC.

Sept. 2: CJOR 600 signs off after 62 years on the air with a farewell show hosted by Fanny Kiefer.  It’s personalities during the last weeks as a talk format included Wayne Cox, Barrie Clarke, Fanny Kiefer, Tom Mark, Al Davidson, Pat Burns Hot Line, Dan Russell’s Sportstalk, Shell Busey’s Mr. Build Show, Michael Levi, Horse Talk with Tommy Wolski, Bernice Gerard and Jamie Hart’s Heart Line.  CJOR signed off the air just before noon.  At noon CHRX 600  brings “classic rock” back to the Vancouver airwaves with a 90-hour commercial free music marathon until 6am Tuesday.  Its first song was Bob Seger’s “Ol’ Time Rock n Roll..

 Dec. 27 6 am: After 72 hours of non-stop Christmas music, CISL shifted from an adult contemporary sound from 1955-today as "AM Gold Music Radio" to "Vancouver's Oldies Station" playing rock n roll oldies from 1955-75.

January: CFUV FM from the University of Victoria moved from FM 105.1 to FM 101.9 and increased its power to 2290 watts.

 Feb. 2: CITR FM UBC Radio increases its power to 1800 watts with a giant balloon release.  First song:
"Have Not Been the Same" by Slow.

Feb. 10: KEGA (now KBCB) Channel 24 signs on the air in Bellingham.  It is carried on local cable systems in Washington State and has a strong over-the-air signal into British Columbia.  It carries multilingual programming.  It is branded as World Television.  It changed its call letters to KBCB on October 2. 

April 3: Shaw Cable unscrambles the specialty channels launched Sept. 1, 1984 and begins negative-option billing.  WTVS (56) THE DETROIT PBS STATION is added to the tier. Rogers Cable would unscramble TSN in September and the rest on May 12, 1992. Rogers Cable would not add the Detroit PBS station until Jan. 1, 1995.

July 31: CBC NEWSWORLD signs-on on basic cable.  It is Canada’s first 24-hour TV news and public affairs channel.  It was supposed to be on the air when the other specialty channels signed on last September, but some private broadcasters who also proposed all news channels protested to the CRTC that the government funded CBC got the license.

Oct. 16: CBC FM service launches it’s first rebroadcasters in BC in Victoria at FM 92.1 and Sooke/ Metchosin at FM 105.1.

Nov. 1: KNWR 104.3 FM Bellingham becomes KAFE 104.3 Bellingham (the Soft Rock Kafe) with an adult contemporary sound.

Nov. 10: CKO FM 96.1 FM signs off.  In a brief announcement at 9 am PT which shocks CKO staff.  CKO owners suffered years of financial losses, so decided to the plug on its national radio news service.  The date is significant because one of the biggest news stories of the decade took place today as the Berlin Wall came down.  CKO FM history.

CFPA FM Port Alice signs on as a repeater of CFNI Port Hardy.

Forward to 1990.