- 1947-1969 (Creation)
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Radio station CJBQ was licensed to operate in 1945 under A. McLean Haig of Belleville and his partner H.B. Cowan formerly of the Peterborough Examiner. The station's first equipment was purchased from Northern Electric. In 1946 the station began putting its administration in order and named W.H. “Bill” Stovin station manager and Tom Wilkinson the commercial manager. The station began operations on August 12 and held a formal opening on August 15 at Belleville Collegiate. The BQ in the call sign stands for Bay of Quinte.
The station was owned by Quinte Broadcasting Company and broadcast on a 1230 kHz frequency with a power of 250 watts. The first home of the station was at 11 Victoria Avenue in Belleville and the transmitter was located on Lot 3, Concession 3 in Thurlow Township. The station was on the air everyday from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm with the exception of Sundays when broadcasts started at 8:30 am. The shareholders of the company at the outset were Gerald A. Morton, A. McLean Haig, H.B. Cowan Jr., and W.H. Stovin. These shareholders were eventually bought out by the Morton family.
In 1947 the station became a CBC Dominion supplementary station. The same year, they also hired “Hammie” MacDonald as their staff pianist. The year 1949 saw MacDonald replace Tom Wilkinson as the commercial manager, and in 1950 CJBQ opened its Trenton studio. Bill Stovin hired assistant manger Frank Murray in 1952. The 1950s closed out with an expanded broadcast range to meet the needs of the postwar boom while also reflecting the industry trend. On March 12, 1957 CJBQ moved to 800 kHz with 1000 watts and moved its transmission apparatus to Highway 14 near Mountain View, Prince Edward County using three 209 foot towers.
CJBQ added an FM station in 1962, signifying a new era for radio. The offices and the Belleville studio then moved from the Victoria Avenue location to the Intelligencer Building at 45 Bridge Street East. At this time Dr. Gerald Morton was the Quinte Broadcasting Company's President and Frank Murray had been promoted to manager. Long-time on-air personality Peter Thompson joined the station in 1969. The station also began to broadcast Montreal Expos games in the same year, marking the arrival of the first Major League Baseball team in Canada, and giving the sport a local media outlet.
The Quinte Broadcasting Company was authorized to increase their transmission power to 10,000 watts in 1970. This is reflected in yet another new transmitter location west of Niles Corners in Hillier Township, Prince Edward County. This site housed six 297 foot towers. Peter Thompson would leave CJBQ in 1974 for CKSL in London. In 1975 Quinte Broadcasting opened a semi-satellite station in Bancroft – CJNH. Peter Thompson returned from London in 1978 and CJBQ FM became CIGL. Another long time anchor joined the news team in 1979 as John Ferguson was added to the news department.
The 1980s began with Peter Thompson once again leaving the station, and he was replaced by John Henderson. Thompson returned in 1983. In 1981, owner Gerald Morton died at the age of 82, although his estate would continue to control the station until 2003. CJBQ's affiliation with CBC ended in 1984 after the CRTC approved Quinte Broadcasting's application to amend their license. Two human resources moves also occurred in 1984 as manager Frank Murray retired and John Henderson took a position at Loyalist College. The post CBC era was heralded in by another move, as the offices and studios took up residence at 10 Front Street in 1985. In 1988, the station began operating in stereo with a new Motorola C-Quan system.
CJBQ switched its musical direction in 1993 from adult contemporary to country. In another move reflecting media and social trends, the station dropped its broadcast of Montreal Expos games and picked up the Toronto Blue Jays in 1995. This move occurred because of lack of local, regional, and national fan support, as well as the team's financial troubles after the MLB players' strike in 1994, and concerns over the viability of baseball in Montreal. After years on-air, the 1990s saw Peter Thompson become the Quinte Broadcasting Company's Operations Manager. In order to keep up with other industry and societal trends, CJBQ launched its internet site in 1997, giving them an online presence.
Control of the organization was transferred from Gerald Morton's estate to Herbert M. Morton, who controlled two-thirds of the station, while the remaining third went to Mrs. Joyce Mulock in 2003. In 2007 Bill Morton was promoted from the position of General Manager to CEO, succeeding his father Myles Morton, who passed away in 2009 at age 85. Official ownership then passed from the late Myles Morton to William Alexander Morton, Stephen Myles Morton, Virginia Elizabeth Morton, Cynthia J. Thorne, and Deborah Barbour. In 2012 the station's license was renewed by the CRTC until 2019.
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