CBK (AM)

CBK
City Watrous, Saskatchewan
Broadcast area Southern and Central Saskatchewan (Regina and Saskatoon)
Branding CBC Radio One
Frequency 540 kHz
First air date July 29, 1939
Format public broadcasting
Power 50,000 watts
Class A
Transmitter coordinates 51°40′48″N 105°26′48″W / 51.68000°N 105.44667°W / 51.68000; -105.44667
Callsign meaning Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Henry Kelsey (first explorer to reach the Prairie provinces)
Owner Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Sister stations CBK-FM, CBKT-DT
Website CBC Saskatchewan

CBK is a Canadian clear-channel station, broadcasting the CBC Radio One network at 540 AM to most of southern Saskatchewan. Its studios are located at the CBC's broadcast centre at 2440 Broad Street in Regina, with an additional bureau in Saskatoon. The Regina facility also houses CBK-FM and CBKT-DT.

The transmitter site is located in Watrous, the city of license. Watrous was chosen because of its excellent location to provide the best possible AM broadcast signal. The station operates as a 50,000-watt clear-channel station. Due to its location near the bottom of the AM dial, transmitter power and Saskatchewan's flat land (with superb soil conductivity), CBK's daytime signal reaches most of the southern two-thirds of the province, including Regina, Saskatoon, Yorkton, Swift Current, Lloydminster, Moose Jaw and Prince Albert. It also provides grade B coverage as far west as Calgary and as far east as Winnipeg, and reaches across the border into North Dakota and Montana. At night, without local interference it can be heard across much of the western half of North America. However, it is strongest in western and central Canada, North Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho and Minnesota.

History

The station was launched by the CBC in 1939, serving most of Saskatchewan from the single transmitter site. It was originally intended as the CBC's clear-channel operation for the Prairies (CKY in Winnipeg, now CBW, was also a clear-channel, but was a private CBC affiliate at the time). However, it initially aired no local programs. All programming was initially fed from Toronto, then after 1948 from Winnipeg. A local studio didn't open until 1954, on Broad Street in Regina.

For most of World War II, it aired programming in both English and French.

CBK was almost forced to move dial locations in 1947, when the International Telecommunications Conference considered designating 540 for a group of low-powered stations. Eventually, the ITC agreed to allow CBK to use 540 until an alternate location could be found.

In 1975 the original tube powered transmitter built by RCA was replaced by a solid state transmitter. The following year on June 4, 1976 CBK's transmitting tower was toppled by plow wind during a thunderstorm. CBK staff put the their programming back on the air in the cities of Regina and Saskatoon by temporarily taking over CBC's low powered FM transmitters normally used to air French language programming Within a few days 540 kHz signal was restored using a temporary tower while a new permanent one was built.

One of the station's distinctive features was its Art Deco style transmitter building in Watrous. The transmitter building featured a studio to keep the station on the air in the event of an emergency, living quarters for station staff, a map of Canada showing CBC stations and private affiliates, and an underground fallout shelter with a studio to broadcast news in the event of a nuclear attack. In 2007 the transmitting equipment was moved from the original transmitter building to a steel shed next to the tower. There was an effort by the town of Watrous to designate the transmitter a historic site. In recent years that the original transmitter building has been vacant it has fallen into significant disrepair. Due to the cost to high cost of restoration due to the cost of removing dangerous materials such as asbestos and lead paint, CBC Saskatchewan decided to demolish the transmitter building in August 2015.

Local Programming

In Saskatoon, CBK-1-FM 94.1 has carried its own local morning program, Saskatoon Morning, in place of The Morning Edition, since 2013. It airs from the CBC's Saskatoon bureau in the Affinity building at 100-128 4th Avenue South in downtown Saskatoon. Saskatoon Morning began streaming online on April 29, and began airing on 94.1 in September after the CBC won Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission approval to move the program over-the-air. For the rest of its broadcasting day, it carries the same programming as CBK.[1]

Rebroadcasters

In 2000, the CBC opened a local FM repeater of CBK in Regina, CBKR-FM 102.5, due to problems with urban reception of the 540 khz signal during the day. In 2006, a second repeater was added, CBK-1-FM 94.1 in Saskatoon likely due to the increasing preference to FM fidelity over AM.

CBK has the following rebroadcasters; except for its Regina, Saskatoon and Meadow Lake transmitters, all are licensed to rebroadcast CBKA-FM La Ronge (see below):

Rebroadcasters of CBK
City of licenseIdentifierFrequencyRECNetCRTC Decision
BeauvalCBKB-FM101.5 FMQuery
Buffalo NarrowsCBKD-FM103.5 FMQuery
Cumberland HouseCBKV-FM94.9 FMQuery
Denare BeachCBKO-FM94.3 FMQuery
Fond-du-LacCBKG-FM100.1 FMQuery
Île-à-la-CrosseCBKC-FM105.1 FMQuery
Island FallsCBKN-FM105.1 FMQuery
La LocheCBKE-FM95.5 FMQuery
Meadow LakeCBKM-FM98.5 FMQuery
Montreal LakeCBKL-FM93.3 FMQuery
PatuanakCBKK-FM105.5 FMQuery
Pelican NarrowsCBKW-FM105.9 FMQuery
Pinehouse LakeCBKJ-FM94.1 FMQuery
ReginaCBKR-FM102.5 FMQuery99-459
SaskatoonCBK-1-FM94.1 FMQuery2006-84
SouthendCBKP-FM91.7 FMQuery
Stanley MissionCBKI-FM95.5 FMQuery
Stony RapidsCBKH-FM93.3 FMQuery
Uranium CityCBDH-FM105.1 FMQuery

Community-owned rebroadcasters

Rebroadcasters of CBK
City of licenseIdentifierFrequencyRECNetCRTC Decision
Wollaston LakeVF204091.9 FMQuery
Athabasca Hydro StationVF228088.1 FMQuery94-614

Though separately licensed, CBKA-FM in La Ronge is a full-time satellite of CBK. Until 2009, that station produced its own noon-hour show and regional news updates, although it aired both The Morning Edition and The Afternoon Edition.[2]

References

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