CKY-AM 580 Winnipeg MB Canada Raccoon Carney 1983

The glory days of Top 40 AM radio were not restricted to just the United States.  Canada also had several notable stations: CFUN vs CKLG in Vancouver, CFOX and CKGM in Montreal, Toronto’s CHUM and CFTR, plus many others.  In Winnipeg, there were THREE Top 40 outlets: CFRW, CKRC, and CKY.

Due to the combination of low dial position and excellent soil conductivity, both CKRC and CKY could be heard well into North Dakota.  I recorded this short clip of CKY from my grandparents’ house in Michigan, located between Devils Lake and Grand Forks.  Even though CKY’s signal is directional away from the U.S. to protect 570 WNAX in Yankton, SD, it still came in pretty well.  As an aside, the slight adjacent channel splash you hear is from WNAX.  I was approximately 300 miles distant from their transmitter, yet they were still able to splatter on CKY!  An amazing signal for sure.  The recording was made using a Pioneer AM/FM/cassette boombox with internal antenna and TDK D90 tape.

Sadly, CKY is no longer on the air.  Unlike the U.S. where an AM station can simply add an FM facility, Canada typically requires migrating broadcasters to relinquish their AM outlets.  On January  21, 2004, the big 50kW signal on 580 fell silent.  That station was moved to 102.3 and became CKY-FM.  The format was changed to A/C and the new station was branded as “102.3 Clear FM.”  This format still exists today.

Here’s “Raccoon” doing his afternoon schtick with a caller.  He was a very entertaining personality.  I wish I had more of him.  Unfortunately, this short clip was all that I recorded.


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