City of license New Westminster, BC
Broadcast Metro Vancouver
Branding CKNW
Slogan News. Talk. Sports.
Frequency 980 kHz (AM)
First air date August 15, 1944
Format News/Talk/Sports
Power 50 kW
Class A
Callsign meaning C K New Westminster (the station's original location)
Owner Corus Entertainment
Webcast Listen Live to CKNW AM 980
Website CKNW's Website

CKNW owned by Corus Entertainment, is the highest-rated talk radio station in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It broadcasts on AM 980.

The station's content is based on news & current events. It features call-in shows with mostly Vancouver-based hosts.

History Edit

CKNW began in New Westminster, BC on August 15, 1944 @ it's original frequency of 1230 AM, under the ownership of Bill Rea's International Broadcasting Company. It was Vancouver's first country music station, the first in the region to provide hourly newscasts (between 6 AM & midnight) & the first in the province to broadcast 24-hours a day, beginning in 1947.

In 1947, Rea purchased a half-interest in Port Alberni radio station CJAV. Several personalities who started there would move to CKNW. These included Joe Chesney, who became morning show host until moving on to establish Langley station CJJC (now CKST in Vancouver) in 1963 & Jim Robson, who would provide play-by-play for the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL in 1970). On January 2 1949, CKNW switched frequencies to 1320 AM & increased it's power from 250 watts to 1000. It gained even more power, increasing to 5000 watts, on November 5, 1954.

WIC ownershipEdit

In February 1956, Bill Rea, experiencing health problems, sold CKNW to Frank Griffiths & the Ballard family, who went on to form Western Broadcasting Company, which later became Western International Communications (WIC). On November 17 1958, the station switched to it's present frequency @ 980 AM. On February 22 1960, it's transmission power was increased to 10,000 watts & it was further increased to 50,000 watts in 1965. On January 15 1969, CKNW moved into larger studio space in a former Safeway store in New Westminster. Parent company Western Broadcasting put FM sister station CFMI on the air on March 22, 1970.

CKNW founder Bill Rea died on April 15 1983 in Santa Barbara, California @ age 74. On October 3 1983, the station began broadcasting in AM stereo. On June 18 1984, it became the flagship station of the Western Information Network, broadcasting programs via satellite to affiliate stations throughout British Columbia. In 1986, CKNW & CFMI moved from New Westminster to a new Vancouver studio on the Expo 86 site.

During the 1990s, CKNW made a gradual transition from the mixed format of news, sports, talk shows & MOR music it had adopted in the 1960s to full-time news, talk & sports. In 1996, CKNW & CFMI moved again to their current studios in the TD Bank tower @ Pacific Centre in downtown Vancouver.

Corus ownershipEdit

In 2000, both stations were purchased by Corus Entertainment as part of the splitting of WIC's broadcasting assets. Corus also acquired WIC's pay-TV assets; WIC's broadcast TV stations were purchased by Canwest Global.

In February 2001, Corus Entertainment launched an all-news sister station, NW2. This new station (CJNW AM 730, formerly CKLG) was branded as "24-hour news radio, powered by CKNW". NW2 shared newsroom resources with CKNW, including several anchors & reporters. However, NW2 did not achieve broad appeal & was shut down in May 2002.

Since 2001, CKNW has gone through 2 significant restructurings focused on reducing costs, which resulted in dozens of lay-offs. Several senior reporters have left CKNW for other opportunities. The cost-cutting decisions made by Corus, along with the increase in infomercials, has correspondingly resulted in CKNW suffering a steady erosion of it's listening audience.

CKNW lost the BC Lions CFL broadcast rights to The Team 1040 in 2004. The station had broadcast the games continuously since 1985. In 2006, CKNW lost the rights to broadcast Vancouver Canucks games to Team 1040 after broadcasting every one of the club's games since 1970. The loss of the Canucks games may have resulted in the station losing nearly a third of their cumulative audience in the Fall ratings of 2006.

However, the station continues to lead the market in overall ratings, as it has for nearly every ratings period for over 40 years.


Morning & afternoon show hosts include Philip Till (The Morning News with Philip Till) & Jon McComb (The World Today). Both these programs follow a similar format & broadcast strictly on CKNW.

The station added a weekend morning show in March 2008 which follows a similar format to weekday mornings, but without traffic updates every 10 minutes & news headlines @ :15 & :45 (The Weekend Morning News with Jill Bennett).

Other talk-show hosts include Bill Good & Christy Clark who broadcast during mid-day on CKNW & along the Corus Radio Network in BC. In 2006, Charles Adler was added to the lineup, broadcasting the evening pre-recorded slot from Winnipeg, Manitoba. On weekends, Sean Leslie hosts CKNW's afternoon talk program (The Sean Leslie Show).

Guest talk-show hosts include Michael Smyth (Vancouver Province Columnist) & Michael Campbell (Global BC's financial analyst).

The station's traffic department provides extensive reports with traffic every 10 minutes on the 4's during the morning & afternoon shows with Sgt. Rick Mulder in the CKNW Traffic Helicopter & Anita Krishna & Neil O'Brien.

Mark Madryga is CKNW's weather forecaster whose reports can be heard during the morning news & The World Today. Global BC's Kristi Gordon is the substitute forecaster.

Additionally, Dan Russell's "Sportstalk" is the longest running sports talk show in Canada. Sportstalk Weekend is hosted by Rick Quinton.

Broadcast code violationEdit

In 2007, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council faulted CKNW for airing "potentially dangerous information" during the Dawson College shooting. During the incident, CKNW had simulcast content from it's sister stations in Montreal which included students speaking by cellphone from inside the school. A Vancouver man complained that the content could have told the gunman where the students were. The council said that as a result of modern technology reducing geographic distance as a barrier, CKNW had breached Section 10 (coverage of violent situations) of the broadcast code. The station broadcast the decision as required, but did not air an apology & the station manager said it was a "one-off situation" that would not affect CKNW's policies.

External linksEdit

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