A change in Winnipeg’s radio market has seen Power 97 FM,”Winnipeg’s Best Rock”, relaunch as a classic rock station.
For a few hours, rumours were swirling the new format was going to be country music, which would have taken it back to its roots as Canada’s first FM country music station.
The station got its start in 1948 when CJOB founder John Oliver Blick was issued Western Canada’s first FM broadcast licence. “CJOB-FM” went on the air at 103.1 FM in May of that year.
The station merely simulcast the AM station’s feed until 1960 when permission was granted to move to 97.5 on the FM dial and to begin broadcasting original programming.
To counter CJOB-AM’s mix of talk and classical music, Blick chose a “country and western” format with a little folk and “ethnic” music.
In 1965, CJOB had new owners and they re-branded CJOB-FM as “The Town and Country Sound” featuring some of CJOB-AM’s popular personalities, such as Red Alix and George McCloy. The Canadian Broadcasting Foundation considers this to be the first FM country station in Canada.
In 1976, the station’s call letters were changed to CHMM and it continued to play country music until 1981, when it switched to an adult contemporary format and eventually, to Power 97. Today, it has become BIG 97.5.
For more about CJOB’s history, both AM and FM, check out CJOB Now Officially a Senior Citizen at West End Dumplings.