Dick Mather's St. Albert Radio Began 33 Years Ago

Stories and info about those no longer involved in the industry

Dick Mather's St. Albert Radio Began 33 Years Ago

Postby jon » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:15 am

In 1978, CKST was licensed to St. Albert, an Edmonton suburb, on 1070 KHz with 10KW. The station began broadcasting on December 23rd of the same year. A local community initiative, the station faced financial and other issues for years. And may hold the Alberta record for most ownership changes. Today, CKST has morphed into Easy Rock Edmonton, CFMG-FM on 104.9 MHz with 100KW. The MG in the call letters are named after the British sports car that was once the station's logo during the period when it switched from Oldies on 1200 KHz AM to Adult Contemporary on 104.9 MHz FM. On FM, the MG was quickly dropped in favour of the Easy Rock branding, a thinly-veiled reference to CKRA's early 1980's K-Lite format ("Light Rock and Less Talk"), effectively capturing the Music At Work audience that CKRA created in Edmonton. By the time Standard Radio purchased Easy Rock Edmonton in 2002, the vast majority of music played was from that early '80s list of songs that K-Lite had played. Standard made a lot of changes, most notably making recent Adult Contemporary the largest component of the current playlist.

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This morning's Today in History marks the 33rd anniversary of the birth (licensing) of CKST, the only station ever licensed to a suburb of Edmonton.

Ironically, it was just a couple of weeks ago that I received a profile of the man behind CKST, Dick Mather, who passed away in 1997. That profile, written by a member of the Edmonton Broadcasters Club, was placed on the Club's web site for all to see. Well worth a read, especially for someone like me, who really never knew of the man or even his name:
http://edmontonbroadcasters.com/ebc/col ... ther-dick/
This Edmonton boy was even a Newsman at the legendary Buffalo blowtorch, WKBW, before green card problems ended his stay in the U.S.
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Re: Dick Mather's St. Albert Radio Began 33 Years Ago

Postby jon » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:51 am

Al Stafford had the following to say (via FaceBook):
If you click the link, there's a brief history of this station, but there appears to be an error. I worked there back in the '80s when the station began the process of changing call letters from CKST to CHMG. The reason was the station was to be called 1070 Gold, Edmonton's Magic. I believe the call letters were in place by the time the decision was made to move up the dial to MG1200. I know...a very small, historical point.

Thanks, Al. I've made that correction in the original Today in History entry for this morning, but I've left the "wrong version" above, just so it all makes sense to visitors reading this in the future.

There were other changes needed, too, with the recent launch of Virgin, so it now reads:
In 1978, CKST was licensed to St. Albert, an Edmonton suburb, on 1070 KHz with 10KW. The station began broadcasting on December 23rd of the same year. A local community initiative, the station faced financial and other issues for years. And may hold the Alberta record for most ownership changes. Today, CKST has morphed into Virgin Radio, CFMG-FM on 104.9 MHz with 100KW. The MG in the call letters are short for "Magic", based on the "1070 Gold, Edmonton's Magic" branding that saw the call letters change to CHMG. After a frequency switch to 1200 KHz, the MG was tied to the British sports car of the same name, and red MGs began appearing on billboards across Edmonton. A switch to FM retained the MG in the call letters, as CFMG. But the MG branding was quickly dropped in favour of the Easy Rock branding, a thinly-veiled reference to CKRA's early 1980's K-Lite format ("Light Rock and Less Talk"), effectively capturing the Music At Work audience that CKRA created in Edmonton. By the time Standard Radio purchased Easy Rock Edmonton in 2002, the vast majority of music played was from that early '80s list of songs that K-Lite had played. Standard made a lot of changes, most notably making recent Adult Contemporary the largest component of the current playlist. Today the station is owned by Astral and plays CHR.
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Re: Dick Mather's St. Albert Radio Began 33 Years Ago

Postby Weslyn Mather » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:14 pm

Dick worked very hard and sacrificed his own income for a number of years in preparation for the CRTC hearing. He hired wonderfully talented individuals who worked with competence and loved every day at the station. Arline Dee, Ron Dyck, Al (?) Peggy Stolte, Ted (?) and many others. Dick had a vision that many of the radio stations employ now – less talk, 3 songs between commercials and a real presence in the community while offering a competitive sound for the Edmonton area. The saint logo was designed by Dick. It was all a labour of love and pride.
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