Thursday, 25 March 2010

CKJS at 35 !

Happy 35th birthday CKJS !

On March 25, 1975 CKJS (810 AM) first hit Winnipeg's airwaves.

Source: CFMB.ca
CKJS 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.

Downtown Winnipeg
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.

Related Dumplings:
Winnipeg's Multilingual Press


The View from Seven said...

Does anyone remember Bob Larson from about 20 years ago -- the U.S.-based fundamentalist talk show host who used to come on CKJS at 11 p.m. to rail against Satan and all the other ills of the world?

Some ultra-religious folk were going around Winnipeg handing out pamphlets promoting the show, no doubt hoping to win converts. I suspect most listeners simply found it strangely amusing or just plain bizarre.

Christian Cassidy said...

Lol - yes I DO ! As a night owl it was one of few talk options at night back then. Heh ... he would always try to tie Clinton becoming President to bible prophesy about the apocolypse. Good times !

Anonymous said...

I was a listner of pastor Bob in the late 80's early 90's. His rhetoric was a glimpse into the disease that is sweeping through middle America today. His bigotry, mysogeny and racism while provocative at the time are tame by today's standards. I have to wonder how much was show and how much was real given his divorce from his wife and affair with his 20 year old secretary.