On March 25, 1975 CKJS (810 AM) first hit Winnipeg's airwaves.
Source: CFMB.caCKJS was the brainchild of Polish-born Casimir Stanczykowski. After spending World War II in the Polish underground and a Nazi concentration camp, he settled in Montreal and worked in ethnic radio. In 1962 co-founded Montreal's CFMB, Canada's first full-time multicultural radio station.
Stanczykowski then set his sights on Winnipeg. Why here ? He told Gene Telpner (WFP Aug 18, 1966): "I love this city, it's the centre of life and culture for many ethnic groups and it is probably the greatest Ukrainian cultural seat outside of the Ukraine itself".
The first CKJS application was made in 1966 but was was turned down due to opposition from existing radio stations saying that there was no room for more competition. Stanczykowski and his consortium tried five more times before finally being granted a licence in July 1974.
The station began with a staff of five in offices on the 12th floor of the Union Tower at Lombard and Main and a transmitter south of Winnipeg. It was to begin broadcasting in February 1975 but technical difficulties moved the launch to March 25th.
The inaugural broadcast began with words from Mayor Stephen Juba, Archbishop Hacault, Liberal Leader Charlie Huband and, of course, owner C. G. Stanczykowski.
Juba was that he would mis-identify the station but was reminded by Stanczykowski to just look at the call letters written on the mic. He ribbed the mayor not to accidentally call it CJOB. When the broadcast got underway, however, it was the station's own announcer that welcomed people to "CGJS". (WFP Mar 26, 1975)
The station broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week in 15 languages, 60% in English or French and the rest in German, Ukrainian, Polish, Czech, Greek, Urdu, Portuguese, Filipino, Yiddish, Hungarian, Dutch and Russian. By the end of the year the lineup included Hindu, Italian, Caribbean and Romanian. There was some Italian programming from their Montréal station but, for the most part, the content was created locally.
When asked if he had plans for more multicultural stations across Canada Stanczykowski told the Free Press "In Canada, anything is possible". Sadly, though, he would not get a chance to pursue them. On July 12, 1981 54 year-old Stanczykowski was killed in a car accident at Rawdon, Quebec.
Stanczykowsk was a Member of the Order of Canada (1973) and posthumously inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame (1986).
CKJS continued on. By 1984 they were in new premises on Corydon Avenue. In 1986 they increased their ethnic programming from 40% to 60%. (Here's the 2010 program schedule).
In March 2006 the CRTC approved the sale of CKJS by C.G. Stanczykowski & Associates Ltd. to Nova Scotia-based Newcap Radio Inc.
Winnipeg's Multilingual Press