590 CKEY TORONTO, CANADA

This is, sadly, all that remains of the once #1 radio station in Toronto...pictures taken June 6, 2008.
 


 

Looking south into Lake Ontario.  This was just the start of the antenna system...the 5 towers extended out 1600 feet into the lake!!

 
 

 
Aerial view of the area, look north to Toronto.
 
These are the Toronto Islands, with Center Island in the foreground, and the city of Toronto on the mainland looking north.  The beach in the foreground is called Gibraltar Point.  All that is left of 590/CKEY is a concrete access walkway in the water...there used to be an antenna array of 5 towers, each 150 feet high, built right in the water extending 1600 feet south off Gibraltar Point.  It was an amazing antenna system.  This is the site of the famous 590 CKEY! 

You can just see the present antennas further north on the island, relatively new 5-towers for CHIN (1540) and north of these, 6-towers for CHKT (1430) (formerly for CKFH/CJCL).

                                Detailed view shown at right ---------->

 

 

590/CKEY TORONTO, CANADA - SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS
 
Call Letters 

CHKT 
CKYC 
CKYC 
CKYC 
CKEY 
CKEY 
CKEY 
CKEY 
CKEY 
CKEY 
CKEY 
CKEY 
CKEY 
CKEY 
CKCL 
CKCL 
CKCL 
CKCL 

 

Date 

1995 
1995 
1994 
1991 
1985 
1980 
n/a 
1968 
1966 
1964 
1964 
1961 
1958 
1945 
1944 
1940 
1933 
1927 
1925

Freq. 

1430
590 
590 
590 
590 
590 
590 
590 
590 
590 
590 
580 
580 
580 
580 
580 
580 
580 
840

Power 

50 kW 
50 kW 
50 kW 
50 kW 
50 kW 
10 kW 
10 kW 
10 kW 
10/5 kW 
10/5 kW 
5 kW 
5/1 kW 
5/1 kW 
5/1 kW 
1 kW 
1 kW 
100 
500 
500

Owner 
 

Telemedia Communications Inc. (to CJCL) 
Rogers Communications buys MacLean-Hunter 
Key Radio Ltd. (MacLean-Hunter Ltd.) 
Key Radio Ltd. (MacLean-Hunter Ltd.) 
CKEY Ltd. (MacLean-Hunter Ltd.) 
CKEY Ltd. (MacLean-Hunter Ltd.) 
Shoreacres Broadcasting Co. (MacLean-Hunter) 
Shoreacres purchased by MacLean-Hunter 
 

Shoreacres Broadcasting Co. Ltd. 
Frybook Ltd. (Jack Kent Cooke) 

Toronto Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (Jack Kent Cooke) 
Dominion Battery Co. 
 

Dominion Battery Co.

Notes - On February 6, 1995, at 10 a.m., CKYC ceased country music programming and the sound of a ticking clock filled the next two hours of airtime. At 12 p.m., CJCL moved from 1430 to 590 kHz. CKYC moved from 590 to 1430. There is no local programming on 1430, simply material from Country Music Radio (satellite), news from BN and CTV Radio, and constant announcements reminding listeners that CJCL "The Fan" is now at 590 on the dial. In 1997, CKYC became CHKT with ethnic programming.
 

590/CKEY TORONTO, CANADA - DETAILED OPERATIONS INFORMATION
or, "THE STRANGE LONG STORY OF 590 CKEY"

The Dominion Battery Co. was granted a radio licence in the summer of 1924.

CKCL opened on 840 kHz with 500 watts power on May 5, 1925 at 9 p.m. The station shared time with CFCA and CHIC. Studios are in The Prince George Hotel.

In 1926, CKCL is sharing time on 840 kHz with CFCA, CHIC, CHNC, CJBC, CJCD, CJSC, CKNC and CNRT.

On January 10, 1927 at 7 a.m., CKCL moved to 690 kHz.

CKCL moved back to 840 kHz at 7 a.m., February 14, 1927.

On April 1, 1928, CKCL moved to 580 kHz, sharing time with CKNC, CHNC, CJSC and CNRT.

CKCL's frequency got crowded again in 1929, as the station had to share time with CHNC, CJBC, CJCD, CJSC, CKNC and co-owned CFCL.

CKCL is still on 580 kHz with 500 watts power in 1930, owned by The Dominion Battery Co. Ltd., 20 Trinity Street, sharing time with CKNC.

In 1931, CKCL finds itself sharing-time, only with co-owned CFCL.

Authorization was given, November 16, 1931, for Dominion to phase out CFCL, to allow CKCL to use 580 kHz full-time.

In 1932, CKCL's transmitter and towers are listed as being at 20 Trinity Street. Dominion's head offic is at 444 University Avenue.

CKCL reduced power from 500 to 100 watts on April 16, 1933.

The station's 1937 licence shows CKCL as being owned by Dominion Battery Co. Ltd., 444 University Ave. The station has two antenna masts: one 90 foot on top of a 30 foot high building, and one 60 foot on top of a 60 foot high building. The transmitter site is still listed at 20 Trinity Street (43-39-03 79-21-39).

On February 3, 1940, CKYC was authorized to increase power to 1,000 watts, directional, using two 212 foot towers, 1,060 feet apart, oriented 33 degrees west of true north on part of Section D, Lot 26, Scarborough Township (43-44-20 79-15-35).

On June 12, 1944, Dominion Battery Co. Ltd. agreed to sell CKCL to Jack Kent Cooke's Toronto Broadcasting Co. Ltd. The tansaction was completed on August 26, 1944.

On August 28, 1944 at 5 a.m., CKCL became CKEY and began broadcasting 24 hours a day. Jack Kent Cooke’s Toronto Broadcasting Co. Ltd. now operates the station.

The August 28, 1944 licence shows Toronto Broadcasting Co. Ltd. operating out of 414 University Ave. The company had operated previously from the Bank of Commerce Building. The transmitter site is unchanged. The call letters are now CKEY.

On January 13, 1945, CKEY was authorized to operate with 5,000 watts day and 1,000 watts night, on a temporary basis. A directional antenna system is used day and night. CKEY was later allowed to operate at this power full-time.

In 1947, CKEY is listed on 580 kHz with 5,000 day and 1,000 watts night, owned by Toronto Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (Jack Kent Cooke), 444 University Avenue. The transmitter is located at Scarborough Heights. CKEY is on the air 24 hours a day, except, 5 a.m. to 1:05 a.m. on Sundays.

A 1949 engineering brief shows CKEY on 580 kHz with 5,000 day and 1,000 watts night, full-time (DA-2), using three 200 foot (204.5 foot overall height) towers at 43-44-23 79-15-30. This is a slight change in antenna co-ordinates. (The 1960 final proof of performance verifies these co-ordinates).

CKEY's April 1, 1954 licence has the station on 580 kHz with 5,000 watts day and 1,000 watts night. The transmitter site is on part of Section D, Lot 26, Township 7, Scarborough (43-44-18 79-15-21 - the wrong co-ordinates).

In 1957, CKEY is listed on 580 kHz with 5,000 day and 1,000 watts night. Toronto Broadcasting Co. Ltd. is owned as follows: J.K. Cooke 97.0%, Mrs. B.J. Cooke 2.4%, R.E. Cooke 0.1%, K.D. Haywood 0.1%, H.E. Cooke 0.1%, W. Zimmerman 0.3%).

Toronto Broadcasting Co. Ltd. became Frybrook Ltd. on November 10, 1958. (Also note: Consolidated Press Ltd. changed to Consolidated Frybrook Industries Ltd. on August 31, 1959).

Studios moved from 444 University Avenue to 73 Richmond Street West on January 28, 1959. Apparently the station was allowed to operate from 444 University Avenue as well.

1959 CKEY Chart lists this address: 1262 Don Mills Road, Toronto

In the late 50's, CKEY adopted a Top 40 format.

In 1961, CKEY was purchased by Shoreacres Broadcasting Co. Ltd., a consortium consisting of The Globe & Mail, Canadian Westinghouse, Westinghouse Electric and a group of Toronto lawyers, and was managed by Westinghouse. Studios are now at 247 Davenport Road.

On Monday, January 6, 1964, at 8 a.m., CKEY moved from 580 to 590 kHz. The transmitter site moved from Scarborough to Gibraltar Point at the Toronto Islands (43-36-33 79-23-20). Four "Texas tower" type antennas, each 150 feet high and top loaded, extend 1,600 feet out into Lake Ontario. Power on 590 is 5,000 watts full-time, DA-1. This move was approved by the BBG (Board of Broadcast Governors, Canada) in 1962 and required CKAR Huntsville to move from 590 to 630 kHz. CKEY financed CKAR's move. Later in the year, CKEY applied to the BBG to increase daytime power to 10,000 watts. Night power would remain 5,000 watts. The same site and towers are to be used. At some point, this change was approved in 1964. Not sure when it was implemented.

CKEY switched from Top 40 to a Middle of the Road format in 1965.

Maclean-Hunter Publishing Co. Ltd. purchased all of the issued shares of capital stock in Shoreacres Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (CKEY). The following sold shares to Maclean-Hunter: Canadian Westinghouse Co. Ltd. (493 common, 500 first preferred shares), The Globe and Mail Ltd. (1998 common, 2000 first preferred), Westighouse Electric Corp. (499 common, 500 first preferred, 4000 second preferred and 8000 third preferred), Senator J.B. Aird, Q.C. (250 common, 250 first preferred), Mr. D.I.W. Bruce (1 common), Mr. J. D. Campbell (1 common), Mr. J.L. Cooper (1 common), Mr. J.G. Edison, Q.C. (250 common, 250 first preferred), Mr. G.G. Main (1 common), Estate of J.S.D. Tory (250 common, 250 first preferred), Mr. R. Howard Webster (1 common), Mr. W.P. Wilder (250 common, 250 first preferred). Canadian Westinghouse Co. Ltd. sold one common share each to: Mr. Donald G. Campbell, Mr. D.C. Trowell, Mr. Ronald A. McEachern, Mr. Floyd S. Chalmers, and Mr. Donald F. Hunter. The purchase was approved in March 1966.

On September 20, 1968, CKEY increased power to 10,000 watts full-time (DA-2), using five 150 foot top loaded towers at the same site (43-36-33 79-23-20). Because of technical problems, CKEY operated DA-1.

CKEY moved from the Branding's Brewery Building at 247 Davenport Road, to the new Toronto Star Building at #1 Yonge Street (25th floor). The new studios officially opened at 4:30 p.m., June 8, 1972.

In January 1980, CKEY Limited and CKOY Limited, both owned by Maclean-Hunter Ltd., amalgamated to become KEY Radio Ltd. The CRTC approved the change on March 21, 1980.

In 1982-83, CKEY experimented with "Rescue Radio", a talk format during middays, and middle of the road music the rest of the time. This format failed and the station then switched to a MOR/Adult Contemporary format.

On January 1, 1984, CKEY adopted a soft rock/golden oldies format.

In 1985, CKEY increased power to 50,000 watts (full-time DA-1), using nine towers at 200 acre site located near Grimsby. CKEY applied to the CRTC for the change in 1983.

On April 25, 1988, the CRTC denied the applications by Key Radio Limited and The CKO Radio Partnership, that would allow the two stations to swap dial positions. CKEY would have operated on 99.1 MHz with a Group IV (68% Pop and Rock-Softer; 25% Pop and Rock-Harder and 7% Jazz-oriented) music format while CKO would have moved its all news service to 590 kHz. As part of the consideration involved in this transaction, Key would have paid CKO the sum of $4 million. In turn, and in accordance with an agreement between the two licensees, CKO proposed to use portions of this money to construct various radio stations for which it was originally authorized in 1976, but which to date it has failed to put into operation.

CKEY changed to a classic hits format in 1988.

On June 20, 1988, CKEY became "Key-590".

On February 11, 1991, the CRTC approved the applications by Key Radio Limited to allow CKEY and CFNY to relocate their studios to a new facility to be constructed in Mississauga. Key Radio stated that an approval would enable the licensee to consolidate operations into its proposed community performance centre, which will include a community stage, audio workshop and the Canadian Artists and Programs on Satellite radio facilities.

On March 15, 1991 at 7 p.m., CKEY Key-590 became history. The following day at 9 a.m., after hours of heartbeat sound effects, the station became "Country 59" CKYC.

On September 15, 1994, the CRTC approved Key Radio CKYC Limited’s purchase of CKYC from Key Radio Limited. The Commission has taken into account the fact that Key Radio CKYC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Key Radio Limited which, in turn, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Maclean Hunter Ltd. and that the transaction represents an intra-corporate reorganization without any change occurring in the effective control, programming or management of the licensee.

On December 19, 1994, the CRTC approved the purchase of Maclean Hunter Ltd. by Rogers Communications for$3.1 billion. The deal was reached March 8, for $17.50 per share. It should be noted that about 36.3 million (apx 18%) Maclean Hunter Ltd. shares were held by Maclean-Hunter Holdings Ltd. at this time (March). Also approved: the sale of Key Radio CKYC Ltd., owner of CKYC, through the transfer of 1,000 common shares (100%) from Rogers Communications Inc. to Telemedia Communications Ontario Inc.  The purchase price was $5,000,000. Telemedia’s CJCL would then be allowed to move from 1430 kHz to CKYC’s 590 frequency. Telemedia will have to find a new owner for the 1430 frequency.

On February 6, 1995, at 10:00 a.m. after CKYC 590 ceased country music programming and filled the next two hours with the sounds of a ticking clock. CJCL carried on with regular programming on 1430. At 12 noon, CKYC 590 moved to 1430 and CJCL 1430 moved to 590. The new CJCL 590 operates with 50,000 watts full-time DA-1 from a transmitter site located near Grimsby. CKYC 1430 now operates with 50,000 watts full-time DA-1 from a site on Toronto Island. Until a new owner can be found for CKYC, the station will continue to air satellite fed country music programming. There is no local programming on 1430. In addition to the Country Music Radio service, there are newscasts from Broadcast News and CTV Radio News, and constant announcements reminding listeners that CJCL "The Fan" is now at 590 on the dial.

On August 10, 1995, the CRTC approved the sale of CKYC 1430 by Key Radio CKYC Limited to Telemedia Communications Ontario Inc. The Commission has taken into account the fact that Telemedia Communications Ontario Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Telemedia Communications Inc. and that the transaction thus represents an intracorporate reorganization without any change occurring in the control, programming or management of the licensee. The Commission notes that once this transfer of assets is complete, Telemedia Communications Ontario Inc. will amalgamate with Telemedia Communications Inc. and continue under that name.

On October 3, 1996, the CRTC approved the sale of CKYC from Telemedia Communications Inc. by 1146129 Ontario Inc. CKYC currently operates in a predominantly country music format, but also offers 18 hours per broadcast week of Chinese-language programming. The applicant proposes to change the station's format to one that will offer 122 hours per broadcast week of Type A and Type B ethnic programming directed to a minimum of 14 cultural groups in a minimum of 15 different languages. The cultural groups will include five that are currently unserved by existing ethnic broadcasters. The purchase price relating to this transaction is $1.8 million. The applicant is directly controlled by its sole shareholder, Y.B.C. Holdings Limited. Y.B.C. holds indirect ownership of 100% of Great Pacific Broadcasting Ltd., licensee of ethnic AM station CJVB Vancouver, and will also have direct ownership of 50% of a company to be incorporated, whose application to carry on a new ethnic FM station in Vancouver was approved in July 1996. No single shareholder or other person holds effective control of Y.B.C.; its chairperson, Thomas Fung, has ultimate control of the national Chinese-language specialty programming undertaking, Fairchild Television Ltd. The deal for this sale was reached on September 22, 1995.

Early in 1997, CKYC became CHKT with mainly Chinese programming.

On November 20, 2003, the CRTC approved the application by Fairchild Radio Group Ltd. for a licence to operate a transitional digital radio undertaking, associated with its existing station CHKT. The proposed undertaking would use a transmitter located on the CN Tower. The applicant proposed to operate the transmitter using 1,454.560 MHz (DRB channel 2) with an effective isotropic radiated power of 5,084 watts.