CFCW Historical Timeline
Information provided by the Canadian Communications Foundation
Camrose Broadcasting Co. Ltd. opened CFCW at 1:00 p.m. on November 2. The station operated with 250 watts of power on a frequency of 1230 kHz, covering the Wetaskiwin, Camrose and East Central section of Alberta with a radius of 25 miles. The transmitter and single tower were located a mile and a half east of town. Studios and offices were located at 4832-50th Street in Camrose.
The opening broadcast was a presentation of the story of CFCW’s listening area…the builders of the district, including the pioneers of the past and the service club members of past and present who helped mould the growth of the district. The station’s music format covered a full range, from heavy classics to hot boogey and hillbilly.
Tom Shandro was the Managing Director of CFCW. Hal Yerxa handled sales promotion and was production manager. He was already known to residents as “Uncle Hal” of the “Sunny Boy” program and for being MC at bingos and wrestling matches. He started in radio in Regina in 1936, was associated with the CBC in Toronto and later joined CJCA Edmonton as news editor. He was a former director of Central Alberta Broadcasting Co. (CKRD) Red Deer.
Lyndon Olson would start on July 1st. He started as a writer. Was the host of “Uncle Willy’s Story Time”. He would retire from CFCW, 45 years later!
CFCW was an independent station with no network affiliation and it broadcast on a frequency of 1230 kHz with full-time (non-directional) power of 250 watts. CFCW was owned by Camrose Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (Hal J. Yerxa 61.2%, R. C. Byers 5.0%, E. W. Schnell 5.0%, J. E. Stuart 5.0 and 24 other shareholders 23.8%). Hal Yerxa was president of the company and CFCW’s manager.
CFCW 1230 received federal approval to increase power from 250 watts full-time to 1,000 watts day and 250 watts at night
CFCW became Canada’s first full-time country music station in October. Curley Gurlock, Mr. D.J. USA of 1957, starts on CFCW.
CFCW’s frequency changed from 1230 kHz to 790 kHz. Power was raised from 1,000 watts to 10,000 watts.
Bev Munro, Mr. D.J. USA of 1959, makes his debut on CFCW. He would be with CFCW until his retirement in 1993. Bev would be inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2002.
Dale Smith starts working at CFCW full time on May 1st. Dale would go on to do the morning news from 1982 until his retirement.
Power increased to 50,000 watts (day and night).
Curley Gurlock retires. He would be inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame posthumously in 2006.
On June 23, the CRTC approved the transfer of effective control of CFCW Ltd., to Newcap Broadcasting Ltd. NewCap was 100% owned and controlled by Mr. Harry Steele with the head office located in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Wes Montgomery starts at CFCW where he would remain until his death. Wes would be inducted posthumously into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
Curley Gurlock passes away at the age of 76 on September 11th.
Hal Yerxa passes away at the age of 76 on April 12.
Wes Montgomery passes away at the age of 66 on April 25th.
On November 14, the CRTC approved the change of frequency for CFCW – from 790 kHz to 840 kHz. The proposed change would restore night time coverage to listeners in north-central Alberta, which has been reduced by noise and interference over time.
Lyndy Olson passes away at the age of 76 on March 4th.
In October, Dale Smith retires after more than 47 years with CFCW’s news department. CFCW celebrates its’ 60th Anniversary on November 2nd with a special SOLD OUT concert at the Winspear Centre, starring Gene Watson & Brett Kissel.
On August 1st at 8:40pm on the Main Stage at Big Valley Jamboree, thousands of country music fans help CFCW count down as we “flip” from 790 to 840.