CKNW (980 AM is a commercial radio station in Vancouver, British Columbia. It airs a news/talk radio format and is owned by Corus Entertainment. Its offices and studios are in the TD Tower in Downtown Vancouver.

Broadcast areaGreater Vancouver
Frequency980 kHz
Branding980 CKNW
AffiliationsGlobal News
BC Lions
First air date
August 15, 1944; 79 years ago (1944-08-15)
Former frequencies
1230 kHz (1944–1949)
1320 kHz (1949–1958)
Call sign meaning
CK New Westminster (original location)
Technical information
ClassA (Regional frequency)
Power50,000 watts
Transmitter coordinates
49°09′42″N 122°43′55″W / 49.161554°N 122.731892°W / 49.161554; -122.731892 (CKNW Tower)
Repeater(s)730 CKGO (Vancouver)
101.1 CFMI-HD2 (Vancouver)
WebcastListen live

CKNW is powered at 50,000 watts, the maximum for Canadian AM stations. It is unusual in that it is a Class A station but it broadcasts on a regional (not clear-channel) frequency. CKNW uses a directional antenna with a four-tower array to protect other stations on 980 AM from interference. Its transmitter is on Pacific Highway near the Serpentine River in Surrey.[1]



CKNW has local talk shows on weekday mornings and afternoons. Hosts include Simi Sara (Mornings With Simi), Mike Smyth (The Mike Smyth Show), Jill Bennett (The Jill Bennett Show) and Jas Johal (The Jas Johal Show). Nights feature talk shows syndicated across Canada from Ben O’Hara-Byrne (A Little More Conversation) and Dani Storer (Let's Talk).

CKNW's Global News department produces newscasts every hour. There are also weekday news blocks at 5 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Mark Madryga is CKNW's meteorologist. His weather reports can be heard during the morning news. Global BC's Kristi Gordon is the substitute forecaster.

The station's traffic department provides Vancouver traffic reports every 10 minutes on the 4s during morning and afternoon drive time and every half hour at other times. Elaine Scollan does the AM Drive from the CKNW helicopter. [citation needed]



Bill Rea ownership


CKNW began in New Westminster, British Columbia. It signed on the air on August 15, 1944; 79 years ago (August 15, 1944).[2] Its original frequency was 1230 kilocycles, under the ownership of Bill Rea's International Broadcasting Company. It was the first in the region to provide hourly newscasts (between 6:00 a.m. and midnight) and the first in the province to broadcast 24 hours a day, beginning in 1947. It later became the Vancouver area's first country station,

In 1947, Rea purchased a half-interest in Port Alberni radio station CJAV. Several personalities who started there would move to CKNW. These included Joe Chesney, who became morning show host until moving on to establish Langley station CJJC (now CKST in Vancouver) in 1963, and Jim Robson, who would provide play-by-play for the newly established Vancouver Canucks of the NHL beginning in 1970.

On January 2, 1949, CKNW switched frequencies to 1320 AM and increased its power from 250 watts to 1,000. CKNW again increased its power to 5,000 watts on November 5, 1954. Jack Webster was an early host of a call-in talk show during his time with CKNW in the 1960s.

WIC ownership


In February 1956, Bill Rea began experiencing health problems. He sold CKNW to Frank Griffiths and the Allard family, who went on to form Western Broadcasting Company, which later became Western International Communications (WIC). In February 1958, long time Creative Director Tony Antonias wrote a jingle that was introduced on CKNW in April 1958. It was used across western Canada for years for the famous Woodward's "$1.49 Day" sale (said aloud as "dollar forty-nine day") on the first Tuesday of every month.[3]

On November 17, 1958, the station switched to its present frequency of 980 AM. On February 22, 1960, its transmission power was increased to 10,000 watts, and it was further increased to 50,000 watts in 1965. On January 15, 1969, CKNW moved into larger studio space in a former Safeway store in New Westminster.

CKNW added an FM station at 101.1 MHz with the call sign CFMI-FM. It signed on the air on March 22, 1970; 54 years ago (March 22, 1970).[4] (Today, CFMI carries CKNW's programming on its HD Radio subchannel.)

CKNW founder Bill Rea died on April 15, 1983, in Santa Barbara, California at age 74. On October 3, 1983, the station began broadcasting in AM stereo.

Western Information Network


On June 18, 1984, it became the flagship station of the Western Information Network, broadcasting programs via satellite to affiliate stations throughout British Columbia. During the World's Fair known as Expo 86, CKNW moved its Holiday Inn Hotel Talk studio to a new facility in the BC Pavilion Complex. CKNW broadcast on site for the duration of the fair. CKNW Talk programming aired from the Expo Studio until 1997.

In mid-December 1995, CKNW became the first commercial radio station in Canada to stream 24/7 over the internet.[5]

During the 1990s, CKNW made a gradual transition from the mixed format of news, sports, talk shows and MOR music it had adopted in the 1960s to full-time news, talk and sports. In 1996, CKNW and CFMI moved again to their current studios in the TD Tower at Pacific Centre in Downtown Vancouver.

Corus ownership

CKNW's logo until 2010.

In 2000, both CKNW and CFMI were purchased by Corus Entertainment as part of the splitting of WIC's broadcasting assets; Corus acquired WIC's radio stations and pay-TV assets while WIC's broadcast TV stations, including CHAN-DT (BCTV, now Global BC) in the Vancouver area, were purchased by Canwest. Canwest ultimately went bankrupt in 2010, selling the bulk of its broadcast properties including Global BC to Corus sibling company Shaw Communications, which in turn transferred them to Corus in 2016.

In February 2001, Corus Entertainment launched an all-news sister station, NW2. This new station (CJNW AM730, formerly CKLG) was branded as "24 hour news radio, powered by CKNW." NW2 shared newsroom resources with CKNW, including several anchors and reporters. However, NW2 did not achieve broad appeal, and was shut down in May 2002.

Since 2001, CKNW has gone through two significant restructurings focused on reducing costs, which resulted in dozens of lay-offs. Several senior reporters have left CKNW for other opportunities. The cost-cutting decisions made by Corus, along with the increase in infomercials, has correspondingly resulted in CKNW suffering a steady erosion of its listening audience.[6]

Global News Radio 980 CKNW logo until 2022.

CKNW lost the BC Lions CFL broadcast rights to Team 1040 in 2004. The station had broadcast the games continuously since 1985. In 2006, CKNW lost the rights to broadcast Vancouver Canucks games to Team 1040 as well after broadcasting every one of the club's games since their inaugural NHL season in 1970. The loss of the Canucks games may have resulted in the station losing nearly a third of their cumulative audience in the Fall ratings of 2006. [citation needed]

In November 2015, CKNW's programming was added to sister station 101.1 CFMI-FM's HD Radio digital subchannel. It become the first AM station in British Columbia to broadcast on an HD subchannel.

On June 26, 2024, CKNW can be heard on 730 AM CKGO.[7] Corus has stated that the simulcast is an interim measure and will ultimately only operate one news-talk AM station in Vancouver, but has not announced whether it intends to return the CKGO station's license to the CRTC or sell the station.[8]

Broadcast code violation


In 2007, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council faulted CKNW for airing "potentially dangerous information" during the Dawson College shooting. During the incident, CKNW had simulcast content from its sister stations in Montreal which included students speaking by cellphone from inside the school. A Vancouver man complained that the content could have told the gunman where the students were.

The council said that as a result of modern technology reducing geographic distance as a barrier, CKNW had breached Section 10 (coverage of violent situations) of the broadcast code. The station broadcast the decision as required, but did not air an apology and the station manager said it was a "one-off situation" that would not affect CKNW's policies.[7]

Former hosts and programs


Christy Clark hosted a weekday talk show on the station from 2007 to 2010, before returning to politics and becoming Premier of British Columbia. Her afternoon slot was taken over by Simi Sara. In 2020, Simi Sara moved to the morning slot, replacing Jon McComb.

Rafe Mair hosted a talk show on CKNW for 19 years, before being dismissed in 2003.[8]

Dan Russell's "Sportstalk" was the longest running sports discussion show in Canada but ended on CKNW in September 2013. The show was revived on CISL radio briefly, before ending on that station on May 1, 2014.[9]

Long time radio broadcaster Bill Good retired after nearly 26 years with CKNW on August 1, 2014.[10]

Sean Leslie once hosted CKNW's weekend afternoon talk program (The Sean Leslie Show). The syndicated Canadian talk show Drex Live also previously aired on CKNW.

CKNW once aired an American syndicated overnight talk show Coast to Coast AM and on weekends The Ted Radio Hour.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1960 page B-82. Retrieved Jan. 17, 2024.
  3. ^ McManus, Theresa; Antonias, Tony (February 6, 2014). "The $1.49 Day Man (YouTube interview)". New Westminster Record. Archived from the original on 2021-12-22. Retrieved April 27, 2018. I was creative director at CKNW. The $1.49 Day for Woodward's, written the morning of February 17, 1958 ... hit the airwaves for the first time in April 1958, after Woodward's decided to use it. (Tony Antonias)
  4. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1977 page C-243. Retrieved Jan. 17, 2024.
  5. ^ "First live RealAudio streaming of commercial radio in Canada – INSINC". Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  6. ^ "CBC passes CKNW to lead Vancouver radio ratings".[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Eustance, Chantal (July 21, 2007), "CKNW report on college shootings breached code", The Vancouver Sun, Vancouver, BC, archived from the original on March 4, 2016
  8. ^ Rod Mickleburgh, "Radio legend Rafe Mair fired," Globe and Mail, June 10, 2003.
  9. ^ Ziemer, Brad. "Sportstalk's Dan Russell to sign off after 30-year run". Archived from the original on 2018-10-06. Retrieved 2018-10-04.
  10. ^ "News Talk 980 CKNW - Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk". CKNW.
  • Global News Radio 980 CKNW
  • CKNW-AM at The History of Canadian Broadcasting by the Canadian Communications Foundation
  • CKNW in the REC Canadian station database
  • Radio locator CKNW