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 1990: Niche Formats Expand

Jan. 1: CHQM 1320 changes from an easy listening  (elevator music) station to “Lite 1320” with the music of Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, the Beatles, Lionel Richie and Phil Collins.  

Nov. 9: CKST COAST 800: brings “modern rock” music to the Vancouver airwaves after many unsuccessful formats at AM 800 in Langley. Veteran DJs John Tanner and J.B. Shayne join program director David Marsden in launching this new format.  The last song played as a Top 40 station was "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong.  At midnight COAST 800 launched with "The Beaten Generation" by The The.

  Feb. 20: CHQM 1320 dumps it’s “Lite 1320” format for “Memory Music” from the 30s to 60s. This could have been done to get a jump on what was to happen on March 10.

March 10: MAGIC 104 launches with a nostalgic music format with Pat Burns Hot Line and Larry King in the evening taking over from ROCK 1040. Rock 1040 had started Larry King on Feb. 6 and Pat Burns on March 6.

  May 23 8:15 pm: CKZZ (Z 95.3 FM) signs on the air  commercial free until Monday 6 am. Its format is contemporary R&B and dance music broadcasting from the Graceland night club.  First song played after launch "Everybody Dance Now" by C&C Music Factory.   CKZZ station history. 

Feb. 4: MAGIC 104 signs off.

March 9: CKST COAST 800 moves it’s struggling “modern rock” from the weak AM 800 frequency in Langley to downtown Vancouver and 1040 on the AM dial becoming  CKST COAST 1040.

May 12: As Rogers Cable moves Much Music, TSN, A&E, CNN, TNN, TLC and TV5 to an extended basic tier, it introduces Superstations TBS Atlanta and WGN Chicago to it’s PAY TV line-up.

From March to September CHQM FM 103.5 now owned by CHUM Limited dropped it’s mainly instrumental play-list and evolves into an adult contemporary format. 

Jan. 23: CHQM 1320 contracts out it’s late night programming from 10:30 pm-6 am Mon-Sat. nights to Canadian Chinese Radio.  In 3 weeks time, the show would start at 9 pm.

Sept. 30 at midnight: After almost 3 years of constant low ratings and less than half the advertising revenue needed to keep the station on the air. “Modern rock” CKST COAST 1040 signs off with The The: “The Beaten Generation.”  After 5 seconds of silence the call letters are unofficially changed to Q 104 and a nostalgic music format with many former employees of CHQM.  It is rumoured that CHQM will change format in a few months. The first song played on Q 104 is Blues in the Night.”

From April-September CKLG gradually increases the amount of talk from 3 or 4-10 minute interviews per day to 24 hour talk by Sept. 20.

Jan. 7: CHRX 600 CLASSIC ROCK signs off at 6 pm with Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven
At 6 pm the sound of ocean waves and Christian music medleys introduced us to a new radio format for Canada. CHRX station history. 

Jan. 9 at noon: CKBD 600 AM “THE BRIDGE” officially signs on as Canada’s first contemporary Christian music (CCM) radio station with Rich Mullens:  “Awesome God”.  Since then, CCM formats have followed in Edmonton, Ottawa and Calgary.
Feb. 9: On Chinese New Year’s Eve at 9 pm MEMORY MUSIC CHQM 1320 ends its over 34 years of nostalgic and easy listening music with Bob Hope’s “Thanks for the Memories.”  After a brief pause CHMB 1320 signs on with an all night Chinese program.  This new multilingual format continues for about 7 months before becoming ALL Chinese Monday-Saturday.  CJVB 1470 would follow suit. 

Feb. 22: CKLG drops it’s experiment of talk radio and goes back to contemporary hit music.
June 24: CKDA 1200 drops it’s all oldies format for an all 70s format.

June 25: Following CFVR 850’s major 5 pm newscast, the station changes it’s call letters to CKMA playing rock & roll from 1955-1980 and calling itself 85 Radio MAX.

Oct. 1: MOVIEMAX!  signed on as a premium PAY TV movie channel playing movies of the 60s, 70s and 80s. The blockbuster double bill that launched this new service was "The Godfather" at 7 pm & "The Godfather II" at 10:15 pm

 Dec. 31/94-Jan. 1/95: The next tier of new cable TV specialty services debut.
 THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL launches at 5 pm Dec. 31 with a 30-minute preview program called Discover followed by the 90-minute feature “In the Company of Whales”. Also launching are The Life Network, Showcase  with The Life of Brian”, The New Country Network (now called CMT Canada), WTN: Women’s Television Network, BRAVO!  with “TV is King” and RDI, the world’s first 24 hour French language news TV station.

 Jan. 2: CHUB 1570 Nanaimo becomes THE WAVE CKWV FM 102.3.  Rebroadcaster CHPQ Parksville/Qualicum becomes CKWV-1 FM 99.9 and CKEG 1350 moves to AM 1570.

In the summer KLYN moves  its transmitter  to Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island from its previous location just east of Blaine.  The move requires a power decrease from 100,000 to 68,000 watts.

Sept. 1 5 pm: CKDA 1200 signs off the air.  The owners of CKDA and CFMS FM 98.5 sell the AM station to CKKQ 100.3 FM and CFMS is sold and partnered with CJVI.

Oct. 10 5 pm: CKXM 1200 signs on with a country music format.

  Nov. 5: The NBA Vancouver Grizzlies make their debut in Vancouver.  Their broadcast history for their short time here was bizarre.  In their first two years,  CKNW had their broadcast rights, but their games were on CKLG, with a game of the week simulcast on CKNW.  At that time, both stations were under different ownership. In subsequent years their games were on CFMI.  Their final year's games were on C-ISL.  Their local TV rights were shared by BCTV and CHEK Victoria, then CHEK Victoria solely, then Sportsnet Pacific.  Their opening night broadcast was heard on both CKNW and CKLG and telecast nationally on CTV.  At the end of the 2001 season the Grizzlies franchise moved to Memphis. 

Dec. 1: CKBD 600 plays the longest Christmas music marathon in B.C. radio history until Dec. 26 8 pm.  This would continue in 1996 and in 1997. 

Dec. 11: The new owners of CFMS which broadcast adult contemporary music from 6 am-7 pm weekdays and 6 am-6 pm weekends with “Candlelight and Wine” instrumental music in the evening start CIOC “The Ocean” which broadcasts hot adult contemporary music all the time.

Feb. 8: CKWX 1130 drops it’s country music format after 23 years just before 8 am with the country classic Ray Price’s “For the Good Times.  At 8 am CKWX NEWS 1130 brings a 24-hour all news format to Vancouver with a tight 30-minute wheel of news every half hour.  This change would make the CKWX newsroom the largest radio newsroom in Western Canada.

March 27: CFUN 1410 drops its “Favourites of Yesterday and Today” format to go all talk under the slogan “Talk with Attitude”.  Its headliner is Dr. Laura Schlesinger whose talk show has aired in the afternoon drive slot since last May. Many of its talk shows deal with health issues, relationships and lifestyle.

In the summer KLYN FM 106.5 Lynden dropped its contemporary Christian music for a more mellow “Music of Worship and Praise” known as PRAISE 106.5 FM (KWPZ).

April 1: CJVI AM 900 Victoria drops it’s oldies format and becomes “Victoria’s Information Superstation” with talk and news programming 24 hours a day.  This confirms the trend in the 1990s for AM radio stations to drop music programs for news, talk and information programs.

Aug. 18: STAR FM expands its signal from the Fraser Valley to include Greater Vancouver.  It now broadcasts at 104.9 FM from Mt. Seymour and a new transmitter is installed to serve Mission and Abbotsford at 92.5 FM.  Its big name morning personality is Rick Honey.   STAR FM also simulcast the first 20 minutes of “Global News at 6.”  This move proved to be a flop. The same day CKVU is officially known as GLOBAL.

Sept. 6: CHKG FM 96.1 signs on as Western Canada’s first multilingual FM station. Programming focuses on “World Beat” music (Latin, reggae, salsa, African, Soca, Celtic).  It’s programming from 6 am-3 pm Mon-Sat. focuses on these musical styles.  After 3 pm and all Sunday programming is in Chinese.  CHKG FM station history.

Sept. 8: CHWK 1270 Chilliwack and CKGO 1240 Hope join their Abbotsford station with “the Greatest Rock & Roll Hits of all Time” on Radio MAX.

Sept. 19: VANCOUVER TELEVISION (VTV) CHANNEL32; CABLE 9 goes on the air at 5:55 pm with a 65 minute preview of the station and it’s local programs.  The evening programs will continue with “Frasier”, “Friends”, “Comedy Now” and a 3-hour block of “Melrose Place”.  Saturday night VTV will feature a 6-hour”Larry Sanders” marathon. VTV (official call letters are CIVT) will focus on local programs including newscasts at noon, 6 and 11 pm Mon-Fri. and 6 pm on weekends, Vicki Gabereau live coast-to-coast each weekday, the "Double Exposure" duo of Bob Robertson and Linda Cullen, “On the Edge” with Mason Lee and the 2 hour early morning show “Vancouver Breakfast”.  The show expanded to 3 hours in Sept. 98.

Oct. 17:  Another new cable package of 16 new specialty services launches.  It includes the unscrambling from the premium PAY TV tier of FAMILY CHANNEL, TBS SUPERSTATION AND CNBC.   New stations include Canadian services THE COMEDY NETWORK, HISTORY CHANNEL, HGTV: HOME & GARDEN TELEVISION,  SPACE: THE IMAGINATION STATION, PRIME, OUTDOOR LIFE NETWORK, TELETOON, TREEHOUSE TV & HEADLINE SPORTS.  U.S. STATIONS INCLUDE BET: BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION, THE FOOD NETWORK, THE GOLF CHANNEL & SPEEDVISION.  This tier would prove to be a tough sell after a 3- month free preview period.  CTV NEWS-1 launched as a basic service with a newscast every 15 minutes.
First programs included: the science-fiction spoof Mars Attacks with an all-star cast on SPACE, the movie Apocalypse Now on HISTORY  and a 12 hour ”Comedython” a spoof of telethons on the COMEDY NETWORK.


  July 21: ORCA FM officially signs on the air with “All whales . . all the time” at 88.5 FM within 15 km of Robson Bight and at the Vancouver Aquarium.

 July 31: CKBD 600 AM “THE BRIDGE” maintains it’s name, but drops it’ s contemporary Christian music programming after two years of very low ratings.  The new format is “Unforgettable . . . Adult Favourites” which includes music from Perry Como, Dean Martin, Doris Day, Paul Anka and Glenn Miller.
Sept. 28 at 6 am:  Victoria gets it’s own CBC RADIO ONE station at 90.5 FM.

Oct. 1: MUCHMOREMUSIC .  Another music video channel.  This one is mostly adult contemporary music featuring Celine Dion, Elton John, Phil Collins, Rod Stewart and a few classic videos from before 1983.  First song played was  Bob Marley's "Is This Love?"

 Oct. 9 3 pm: The launch of Canada’s first regional sports network CTV SPORTSNET .  It includes more coverage of regional sporting events.  In B.C. this includes 45 Vancouver Canucks and 25 Grizzlies during each of the next 3 seasons.  It’s first telecast was their sportscast called “Sports Central” then the opening night of the NHL season with 2 games Philadelphia at NY Rangers and Calgary vs. San Jose from Tokyo.

Nov. 2: KCCF “HERITAGE” 1550 signs on the air to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland from Ferndale, Washington broadcasting “Classics of the Christian faith” with 70% traditional Christian music and hymns and 30% spoken word.   It replaces KNTR, which had been broadcasting Christian programming as a non-profit station since 1985.

April 10: KCTS 9 starts broadcasting with a digital signal and shows off it’s new technology with the hour long film "Rainier" The Mountain" at 8 pm and repeated again afterward.

 May 1: 12:45 pm: TVA from Montreal launches on cable.

July 10: CJVI 900 Victoria drops it’s talk shows and returns to playing popular music of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

 Sept. 1: Launch of APTN: Aboriginal People’s Television Network with a 3-hour live telecast from Winnipeg.  Also launched was the Globe & Mail’s Report on Business Television.   Rogers Cable also launched in selected areas the new “Digital Tier” which features the new STAR TV, CANADIAN LEARNING TELEVISION, SUPERCHANNEL, MUSIQUE PLUS, RDS,, Telelatino, PLAYBOY and 7 different ethnic services.  The US superstations: KTLA Los Angeles, WSBK Boston, WGN Chicago and WPIX New York were also added to the introductory Digital Tier. DMX: Digital Music Express and Galaxie launch 60 different CD quality music channels called DMX/Galaxie.  In January 2000, the BBC WORLD SERVICE is added to the digital basic service.

Oct. 1: CKEG 1570 Nanaimo dropped its country format to play "Good Time Oldies."

Nov. 11: CFCP 1440 Courtenay becomes CFCP FM 98.9 "Magic FM."

Another Courtenay FM station signed on in 1999: CKLR FM 97.3 "The Eagle" playing "The Island's Best Music Mix."

Forward to 2000.