Halifax AM STEREO Radio Stations

Here in Halifax, Nova Scotia there are three local stations on the AM dial, two of which broadcast in stereo.

1. Oldies 96 CHNS - 960 AM STEREO    

Nova Scotia's first radio station, hitting the airwaves in May of 1926, CHNS is unquestionably one of the best sounding AM STEREO operations I have ever heard.  (My sincere appreciation and thanks to current CE Mark Olson and former long-time CE Wayne Harvey for making sure of this.)  Unfortunately, CHNS does not promote the fact that they are an AM STEREO operation, but they did at one time back in the 80's as is evidenced by their official logo of that era:  

 

It was back on Friday, February 7, 1992 when 96 CHNS beat rival 92/CJCH AM STEREO to the punch when they switched formats from Metro's Best Music Mix 96 CHNS to Oldies 96 CHNS.  (And they haven't looked back since.)  Currently broadcasting at 10,000 watts in AM STEREO 24 hours a day, Oldies 96 has an excellent, albeit limited, playlist ranging from the late 1950's to 1980.  Their jingles and particularly their promos (the latter being produced in-house by now Operations Manager and former Production Manager Mike Halverson) are absolutely superb. For those interested, Mitch Craig is their official ID voice.  If you'd like to hear a two minute sample of CHNS in AM STEREO, then you're in for a real treat.  The following was recorded off the air on my SONY ST-JX220A AM STEREO home tuner in full wideband C-QUAM AM STEREO back in 1997.  It was creatively edited by my "production wizard" Ryan McDow from Knightwolf Studios in Eastern Passage, NS and then converted into a streaming Real Media file.  To give your ears a real treat, simply click here.

**Note:  A nagging problem in the audio chain prevented CHNS from broadcasting in stereo since October of 1999, but I am absolutely elated to now report that Oldies 96 has resumed broadcasting in full AM STEREO with incredible separation.  The stereo was turned back on the afternoon of Monday, April 16, 2001 using their original equipment for a few days until their faulty stereo generator was replaced with the one from their sister station 1220 CKCW in Moncton, New Brunswick.  (Prior to this, the 25 Hz pilot tone was being sent out by CHNS, but the source of their programming was in mono.)  The "new" AM STEREO equipment was sent to CHNS as a result of CKCW having switched formats on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 from Hot Country to AC and moving to 94.5 on the FM band with the moniker Moncton's Newest Music.  1220 CKCW officially went dark on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 at 12:20 pm and their stereo generator was shipped to Halifax and successfully installed at CHNS on the evening of  Thursday, April 19, 2001 by CE Mark Olson.  I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation and thanks to Mark and congratulate him on a job well done.  It's truly wonderful to have CHNS back on the air sounding the way they should be!

Note:  If you have a shortwave radio, and you want to listen to CHNS, they can be found on the 49 m band at 6130 KHz with the call letters CHNX.

2. TALK RADIO 920 CJCH - 920 AM STEREO  

Originally hitting the airwaves on November 14, 1944, and the one-time untouchable Top 40 powerhouse of Halifax radio, CJCH officially switched to a News/Talk format back in May of 1995 becoming known as:

In May of 1998 they began ID'ing themselves as Talk Radio 920 CJCH.  Prior to this, they were playing music in some form encompassing a variety of different formats, with their last music format being that of All Rock and Roll Oldies 92/CJCH after switching from Classic Rock 92/CJCH in January of 1994.  The Classic Rock format debuted on CJCH on Friday, January 22, 1993 at 7:00 am after switching from 92/CJCH Favourites of Yesterday and Today. Throughout the latter part of the 1980's, their official ID/logo was:

In the mid-80's they had bumper stickers printed with the logo 92/CJCH AM STEREO on them and ran a promotional campaign with the slogan, "Stick With The Winners, 'Cause You'll Win With Our Stickers".  How I miss those days!

For the record, CJCH's days as a Talk Station are numbered as they will soon be switching their format to that of All Sports as part of The CHUM Radio Group's plans to embark on a new Canada-wide 24 hour Sports radio network known as The Team (with CJCH adopting the new moniker The Team 920).  All this aside, CJCH still pumps out 25,000 watts of AM STEREO 24 hours a day, and even though they will become for the most part a 24 hour a day satellite operation, their commercials, promos, ID's, etc. still sound excellent.  (Let's just hope the stereo remains on once they hang up on the Talk format and strap on the athletic gear.)  For your information, the legendary Charlie Van Dyke is their official ID voice.

Note:  CJCH officially went AM STEREO on Tuesday, October 11, 1983 using the Kahn/Hazeltine system.  Unfortunately, I never got to experience this type of transmission technology since I did not own an AM STEREO receiver at that time.  The point is though that CJCH is an example of a Canadian AM station that always believed in offering AM STEREO to it's listeners.  Back in 1988 when C-QUAM became the AM STEREO standard in Canada, they embraced this system (along with the rest of the CHUM AM stations), rather than killing it off altogether.  Needless to say, I will always commend them on this decision.

3. Classic Country 780 KIXX  (CFDR-AM) - 780 AM  

Originally found at 790 on the AM band, in 1978 they moved down the dial to 680.  During the 80's they were known as 680 CFDR AM STEREO, and ID'ed themselved on air as Stereo 680 CFDR.

In 1991, CFDR moved back up the AM dial to occupy 780 and changed their moniker to that of All Hit Radio 78 CFDR.  In December of 1993, another format change occurred and CFDR became known as Hot Country Favorites 780 KIXX. (The legal calls of CFDR still remain.) The most recent addition to the lineup of 780 KIXX will occured on Monday, April 23, 2001 when popular local talk show The Hotline moved down the dial from 920 CJCH to it's new home and new time of 1-3 pm.  This aside, the only troublesome thing about CFDR/KIXX is that they no longer broadcast in AM STEREO.  Word has it that their Motorola C-QUAM exciter "has a few dust bunnies in it", but it is apparent that they have no plans whatsoever to fix it.  It's too bad though, because with their switch to Classic Country 780 KIXX on Wednesday, July 1, 1998 and pumping out 50,000 watts of power 24 hours a day, I know they have the potential to sound incredible if they only cared enough to do so like they once did.  For the record, Randy Reeves is their official ID voice.


Other Canadian AM STEREO Radio Stations

Here is a tentative list of AM stations in other parts of Canada which have been confirmed to be broadcasting in stereo:

Notes:  

There has been a very big void left on the AM dial in Eastern Canada.  Country 700, CHSJ - 700 AM STEREO in Saint John, New Brunswick, has officially switched over to 94.1 FM STEREO and now goes by Country 94.  This was done so that the station could more effectively compete in the Saint John radio market.  CHSJ flipped to 94.1 FM, at 100,000 watts, effective January 7, 1998.  They employed a slightly longer than three month simulcast transition period, prior to leaving the AM band for good.  For those who are interested, CHSJ AM STEREO used a Nautel 25,000 transmitter with a Motorola C-QUAM stereo exciter, which, according to Ian Cameron (Program Director, Chief Engineer & Head Bottle Washer), "even in mono, sounded better than the mono Nautel exciter."  I want to wish Ian and the rest of the gang at CHSJ the best of luck in their new endeavour.  In my opinion, they are a stellar example of how a Country station should be run, and were one of the best sounding AM STEREO stations I have ever heard.

In June of 1999, the powers-that-be at Country 1110 CKTY in Sarnia, Ontario decided to do quite a number on their station.  They not only changed their calls and dropped their Country format, they also silenced their Motorola C-QUAM exciter too.  In fact, they abandoned the entire AM operation altogether and moved over to 106.3 FM with a Rock format and the new calls of CKHS.  They are now known as Sarnia's Best Rock, K106.3 FM with a full-time power of 25,000 watts.  For those keeping score, 1110 CKTY first hit the airwaves on Saturday, August 3, 1968 and formerly operated on the AM band at a power of 10,000 watts days and 1000 watts nights.  It would've been nice to see CKTY/CKHS keep their new format on 1110 KHz in AM STEREO though.

On Tuesday, February 29, 2000, Oldies 55 CHNO in Sudbury, Ontario said goodbye to not only broadcasting in AM STEREO, but also to broadcasting on the AM band altogether.  The Oldies format was discontinued on this date as well, as CHNO officially moved to 103.9 FM, with a New Contemporary Hits format.

As of Friday, May 12, 2000, Today's Hot Country 1200 CKXM in Victoria, British Columbia has officially shut down their AM STEREO operation and moved to the FM band at 91.3 MHz. (CKXM had been transmitting on their new FM assignment for a couple of months before the shutdown.)  Their new official slogan is The New X 91 Three and the format will remain Hot Country.  Unfortunately, their coverage will be considerably diminished because of this move, but they are only interested in serving the Victoria audience anyway.  This is rather apparent, as they have gone from a 50,000 watt AM STEREO flamethrower operation to a measly 1766 watts on FM.


     American AM STEREO Radio Stations

Again, here is a tentative list of US AM stations which have been confirmed to be broadcasting in stereo:

Note:  Sadly, 920 KGHO in Olympia, Washington has left the airwaves.  It had been broadcasting a Goodtime Hit Oldies format in AM STEREO under Special Temporary Authorization pending construction of a new tower.  Unfortunately, the construction permit ran out in March 2000, as did the STA.  As a result, the station was shut down in May by the FCC.  The whereabouts of owners Brian and John Spencer are not known.


Mexican AM STEREO Radio Stations


Australian AM STEREO Radio Stations


Hong Kong AM STEREO Radio Stations


Japanese AM STEREO Radio Stations


Other AM STEREO Radio Stations

Note: Word has it that 864 RADIO BLEUE in Paris, France ceased their test broadcasts of Motorola C-QUAM AM STEREO in January of 2001.  This is rather unfortunate as, by all accounts, their Nostalgia format sounded absolutely incredible to those listeners in France who were fortunate enough to have AM STEREO capable radios in their possession.


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