Remembering the launch of NEWS 1130, 20 years ago today


By John Ackermann
February the 8th, 2016


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It was 20 years ago today Vancouver welcomed all-news radio to the airwaves.

“Turn out the lights, the party’s over,” Willie Nelson once sang.

By the mid 1990s, the party was over for music on the AM band and that also meant there wasn’t much time left for country music on CKWX either.

But it turns out flipping the switch to all-news was no easy task.

“We did not have enough people on staff and I think that the biggest challenge was just finding the people to put in the slots,” admits Chuck McCoy, who was the General Manager of the station at the time.

McCoy hosted a news conference on January 10th to announce the change in format and just four weeks later the station was on the air.

In between, there was a flurry activity, from hiring staff to testing equipment, and then on the morning of February 8th, it was show time.

“The last record we played we decided would be Ray Price ‘For the Good Times,’” McCoy recalls.

“That sort of signed off the country station and then immediately we went into the new production for the new news station.”

The rest as they say is history.

“To say it was an overnight success wouldn’t be quite true, but we certainly picked up a loyal, core audience very quickly and the market was really never the same after that!”

Much of the work of getting the format off the ground fell to original News Director Tom Mark, including staffing what would become Western Canada’s largest radio newsroom.

“You’re looking for people who sound good on the air, who can present a good newscast, and also you’re looking for people who, you know, have got some news savvy.”

As official word of the change to the all-news format was only revealed on January 10th, there wasn’t much time for trial and error.

“From that time to February the 8th, it was just a mixture of trying to find the staff, trying to figure out how we were going to put this thing together, working on the technology, and making sure that everything was going to fit perfectly and work perfectly and, actually, you know, put together a news room.”

Mark admits there were more than a few skeptics in the market.

“I remember people saying, ‘This isn’t going to last. We’ll give it maybe a year, maybe two years. No-one is going to want to listen to all-news radio 24 hours a day, seven days a week and how are you going to feed the beast?’ We proved them wrong.”

20 years later, Mark is proud that what he helped start continues to endure and also that one of his original hires is now doing his old job.

“Young Treena Wood! I knew that she would fit in well with us at NEWS 1130 and, well, you know where she is today!”

Listen all this month for more memories and tell us your own.

Tweet us using #20yearsofnews and leave a comment on our website or our Facebook page.






  1. A real strength of News1130 has been its business reporting. It was particularly strong under the duo of Russ Byth and Richard Dettman. Unfortunately that combination was broken up by a cost-savings analyst.


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