Newstalk 580 CFRA is marking a milestone on Tuesday, May 3, celebrating 75 years on Ottawa’s airwaves.
Founded by former CKLW Windsor Managing Director Frank Ryan (the “FR” in CFRA), the 1,000 watt station was officially signed on May 3, 1947 at 8:05 p.m. ET by Ottawa Mayor Stanley Lewis. Its first home was in the Ottawa Auditorium on O’Connor Street.
Among CFRA’s early local programming was Breakfast Jamboree with Fred Davis, What’s Doing About Town with Erroll McKinnon, The Better Half with Kathleen Whitton, Teen Time and For Safety’s Sake with Terry Kielty, and Sports at Six with Tom Foley.
After Frank Ryan’s death in 1965, ownership of the station passed to his wife Kathleen, who subsequently sold CFRA and sister station CFMO-FM to CHUM Limited. Bell Globemedia acquired the station as part of its absorption of CHUM in 2006.
The station will feature special programming Tuesday, including interviews with on-air legends Steve Madely, Lowell Green, and Ken “The General” Grant. Archival audio will also highlight the station’s history in Ottawa.
“First and foremost we want to thank our dedicated listeners, who continuously tune in to CFRA,” said Peter Angione, Director News & Information Programming, Bell Media Ottawa, in a release. “We would not be here today without those loyal listeners, and we look forward to celebrating this milestone with them.”
Among the radio veterans featured on CFRA’s airwaves over the years were Gord Atkinson, Hal Anthony, and Ernie Calcutt. Its current lineup includes Bill Carroll, Leslie Roberts, Evan Solomon, and Kristy Cameron.
“For so many people, CFRA is Ottawa and Ottawa is CFRA,” said Carroll, host of The Morning Rush. “I was already aware of the great history I was joining when I came to work for CFRA six years ago, and it continues to be an honour to wake up with a new generation of Ottawa listeners.”
Listeners can share memories of the station via a dedicated “Listener Line” at 613-562-6700. Select messages will air as part of anniversary programming.
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