Yellowknife, NWT – On November 13, 1979, the radio station with callsign CJCD sprang to life over the AM frequency in Yellowknife.
Thirty-five years later, Moose FM celebrated its birthday by speaking to the man who founded the station – Charles Dent, whose initials remain immortalized in the station’s name.
“I started the station with a friend of mine because we didn’t think there was enough news coverage in Yellowknife,” recalls Dent (pictured above), now 63.
“We really wanted to see another news outlet. Then we had to learn more about radio – neither of us had any radio experience.
“Just the fact that it’s still here, in pretty-much the same style of operation as when we started, has proven Yellowknife was ready to support another news outlet.”
Not that the going was always easy. Dent and friends struggled to keep the station running in its first years, with the CRTC – Canada’s broadcasting regulator – insisting Yellowknife was too small to sustain commercial radio.
“There was definitely a lot of doubt about it,” says Dent. “One of my first partners got out because he couldn’t afford to put more money in to keep the station running.
“It was a tough go at first, but it certainly turned around and became a very good operation. The city of Yellowknife supported it because they liked the product.
Charles Dent at today’s CJCD Moose FM studio desk.
“When I started the station, the CRTC said there was no way it could be successful because Yellowknife was too small. In many ways, Yellowknife was way too small and it wouldn’t have been profitable had Yellowknife not grown.
“But just the fact that a small community like this can support a radio station is unique. Other communities of 20,000 in Canada may have more than one radio station, but they typically have a trading area population that is more than double, or triple, the size of the town. Here, you don’t have that luxury.”
Dent admits CJCD is “not as close” to his heart as it once was, having sold the operation in 2007. However, he remains proud of the station he established 35 years ago.
“When I started, we were working with records,” he says. “It’s a completely changed format from the low-fidelity AM station to the high-fidelity FM and using digital.
“I can remember, early on, I had to go to the bank to get a loan for hard drives. Now those same hard drives are probably less than what you have in your iPhone. There have been tremendous changes.
“Given that the average company doesn’t last even 10 years, to see one around 35 years later is pretty awesome. I’m pretty happy that I was in at the beginning and that it’s still going.”
Timeline: the history of CJCD
1979: Approval to launch a new AM radio station received on March 20. CJCD 1240 AM goes to air on November 13.
1986: CJCD begins FM radio service in Hay River, NT.
1997: CJCD switches from AM to FM in Yellowknife, taking the 100.1 frequency.
2007: Charles Dent sells CJCD to Vista Radio, the station’s current operator.
2014: CJCD changes its name from Mix 100 to Moose FM.
CJCD Moose FM News