One hundred years ago this month, Canada began licensing radio stations as we know them today. On April 01 1922, Canada’s regulator of that era, the Radio Branch of the Department of Naval Service, began issuing private commercial broadcasting licenses.
Twenty-one licenses had been issued by the end of April. Rather than Frequency, Wavelength is shown below in the first column, as that is how stations were first licensed. Wavelength is measured in Meters, which is spelled “Metres” in Canada.
430 AB Calgary CFAC Issued to George Melrose Bell (697 KHz).
400 BC Vancouver CFYC Issued to Vancouver World newspaper (749 KHz).
410 BC Vancouver CKCD Issued to Vancouver Province newspaper (731 KHz).
420 BC Vancouver CJCE Issued to Vancouver Sun newspaper (714 KHz).
430 BC Vancouver CHCA Issued to George Melrose Bell (697 KHz).
440 BC Vancouver CFCB Issued to Marconi (681 KHz).
400 MB Winnipeg CJNC Issued to Tribune newspaper (749 KHz).
410 MB Winnipeg CJCG Issued to Manitoba Free Press newspaper (731 KHz).
420 MB Winnipeg CKZC Issued to Lynn V Salton (714 KHz).
430 MB Winnipeg CHCF Issued to George Melrose Bell (697 KHz).
440 NS Halifax CFCE Issued to Marconi (681 KHz).
400 ON Toronto CFCA Issued to Star newspaper (749 KHz).
410 ON Toronto CJCD Issued to T Eaton store (731 KHz).
420 ON Toronto CHCZ Issued to Globe newspaper (714 KHz).
430 ON Toronto CJSC Issued to Evening Telegram newspaper (697 KHz).
440 ON Toronto CHCB Issued to Marconi (681 KHz).
450 ON Toronto CKCE Issued to Independent Telephone (666 KHz).
410 QC Montreal CHYC Issued to Northern Electric (731 KHz).
420 QC Montreal CJBC Issued to Dupuis Frères store (714 KHz).
440 QC Montreal CFCF Issued to Marconi (681 KHz).
420 SK Regina CKCK Issued to George Melrose Bell (714 KHz).
Most of these stations were not on the air by the end of April 1922. As well, there seemed to be no hurry to move to their newly-assigned wavelength for those already on the air before April with an experimental license. CFAC Calgary, for example, did not move to 430 meters until June 1922. Some of these stations never did exist, but their call letters were re-issued only a few years later, which led to a lot of confusion for broadcast historians.
A casual glance at the equivalent frequencies will identify a huge problem. Interference between local stations spaced that closely together would have been intolerable, especially on the crystal sets that listeners other than Hams would have been building or purchasing. This was addressed in the years ahead, but in these early years, most radio stations only operated for a few hours per week, and scheduled their broadcasts to ensure that they were the only local station on the air at a given time. In fact, quickly realizing the issue, Canada soon began assigning all stations in most cities to the same frequency, forcing them to share.
The Facebook page Canadian Radio News by Dan Sys provides much of the information for this column, with additional tips from Alain Pepin, sowny.net, Bob Tarte and Mary Vipond.
IRCA DX Monitor items, April 9 via WOR iog (2022-04-05)