20 Nov

Format changes and new frequencies

The Vancouver Radio Museum Time Tunnel is interesting in the same way that the list of stamp-issuing entities I posted about the other day is, I think. It’s just basically a list of the radio and tv stations in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, and how they changed over the years. Sounds dry, does it? Yet somehow, it isn’t. Excerpts:

1998 July 21: ORCA FM officially signs on the air with ?All whales . . all the time? at 88.5 FM within 15 km of Robson Bight and at the Vancouver Aquarium.

You’ve gotta wonder about that one. Then there are the format changes:

2000 Sept. 2: CJVI AM 900 Victoria signs off the air unceremoniously at 5:05 pm after over 78 years of continuous broadcasting.? Last song played was the Fortunes “You’ve Got Your Troubles.” At 5:06 pm CHTT (HOT 103) FM 103.1 signs on with today?s hit music with? ?N Sync?s ?Bye, Bye, Bye?.

2001 Jan. 31: CKLG 730 signs off 1 day short of 46 years on the air.? At midnight following the playing of Sarah McLaughlin?s ?I Will Remember You?? NW2 launches with 24-hour news radio powered by CKNW.

1979 Jan. 6: At noon, CKLG FM? signed off the air with The Beatles: ?The End?? followed by the Doors: ?The End.?.? After being off the air for just over 3 minutes, the sound of ocean waves and an introduction of CFOX FM 99.3was heard.? It?s first song was Steely Dan?s? ?FM?.

Yup, it’s the format changes that really interest me here — the discordant shifts from oldies, to jazz, to Christian, to news; the poignant songs chosen to end each station’s broadcast life; the songs chosen to begin the new formats; and the constant changes in station names, from the 60s when most stations were known directly by their call letters, to the 80s-early 90s when the names started to be more abbreviated and catchy, to the 2000s when stations have names like “Jack FM”, “The Team”, “The Wolf”, and “Mountain FM.” (Seattle has “The Mountain,” as well.)

I can’t pick up most of the Vancouver stations (except sometimes AM stations, at night), so this is mostly an academic interest. I wish there was a site like this focusing on Seattle stations.

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