CHQM-FM - History


CHQM-FM signed on the air on August 10, 1960 with a mainly instrumental easy listening format, several months after its original AM sister station, CHQM 1320 (whose programming CHQM-FM mainly simulcast), first went on-air on December 7, 1959. The original owner of CHQM-AM and -FM was Vancouver Broadcast Associates Ltd., headed by Bill Bellman and Jack Stark, with the stations' studios and offices then located on 1134 Burrard Street.

On November 4, 1961, CHQM-FM began broadcasting in stereo, and was authorized by the Board of Broadcast Governors (predecessor of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, CRTC) to increase its transmission power from 18,950 watts to 100,000 in 1963. The transmitter site was moved from Grouse Mountain to Mount Seymour at this time. CHQM-FM was the second private radio station in Canada to transmit in stereo (after CFRB-FM/Toronto), and it was the first in the nation to transmit an SCMO subcarrier ("Q Music"). This subcarrier was used to transmit background music to stores and businesses throughout the Lower Mainland, and it helped support the FM station during the difficult first two decades, when FM audiences were small. Parent company Vancouver Broadcast Associates changed its corporate name to Q Broadcasting Ltd. on August 23, 1969.

The two owners had a falling-out, and each struggled to control Q Broadcasting through the mid-1970s. In 1979, Stark assumed complete control of the company. Bellman moved on to become a major shareholder in fledgling CKVU-TV, also in Vancouver.

CHUM Limited acquired CHQM-AM and -FM on October 17, 1990, on condition from the CRTC that CHUM sell either CHQM-AM or its other Vancouver AM station, CFUN (regulations of the time allowed media companies to own only one AM and one FM station in a particular market in Canada); CHQM-AM was sold, and CHQM-FM made a gradual switch from its longtime beautiful music format to its current format over a six-month period between March and September of 1992, giving Vancouver two adult contemporaries (CKKS, now Jack FM as CKLG-FM, and the new QM/FM). However, despite CFQR-FM in Montreal changing from a mainly instrumental beautiful music playlist to an easy listening playlist with vocals by 1988, only to go adult contemporary by 1992 (the same time it joined CHQM-FM to flip to their current AC formats), CHQM-FM eventually had a mainly instrumental beautiful music playlist, even though it was one of the last stations in Canada having that type of beautiful music format.

Vancouver ended up with three ACs by 1996, when Star 104.9 was expanded to Vancouver. The three-way AC battle ended in 1999, when Rogers acquired the station and changed to alternative rock as Xfm, which later became AC/smooth jazz as Clear FM (Clear FM went to fulltime AC by 2006). CKKS-FM switched formats to Jack FM on Boxing Day 2002, leaving QM as the sole AC in Vancouver (with an exception from 2006-2008). On July 12, 2006, CTVglobemedia announced it would acquire CHUM Limited, which includes CHQM-FM. The transaction was approved by the CRTC (on condition that CKVU, which had also been acquired by CHUM in 2001, be sold to Rogers Communications) on June 8, 2007, and CHQM-FM became a CTVglobemedia station on June 22. On September 21, 2008, in order for the Jim Pattison Group's later launch of 100.5 The Peak, rival AC station CKCL-FM (Clear FM) became classic hits as "FM 104.9", making Vancouver once again the largest market in Canada with only one adult contemporary station (many AC stations in Canada are either owned by Astral Media or Rogers Media), eventually surpassing Edmonton in that category (and from 2006-2008, Calgary). Although KAFE in Bellingham, Washington has an adult contemporary format, and is easily receivable in Vancouver, the station itself does not target the Vancouver area.

By 2010, sister station CJMJ-FM in Ottawa dropped the remaining 1960s songs, although 1960s songs can still be found on CHQM-FM, such as Stand By Me by Ben E. King and What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong, making CHQM-FM one of the only AC stations owned by CTVglobemedia to do so. They still play a few 1960s songs and more classic hits to go up against classic hits station CFUN-FM (104-9 Fun FM). With the flip of CFUN-FM to CHR, they now only rival Rogers Radio's adult hits CKLG-FM (96-9 Jack FM) and Astral Media's hot adult contemporary CKZZ-FM (Virgin Radio 95.3), as well as adult album alternative rivals CKPK-FM (100.5 The Peak) and CHHR-FM (Shore 104.3).

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