CKY-AM 580 Winnipeg Manitoba Canada Raccoon Carney 1983

The glory days of Top 40 AM radio were not restricted to just the United States.  Canada also had several notable stations: CFUN vs CKLG in Vancouver, CFOX and CKGM in Montreal, Toronto’s CHUM and CFTR, plus many others.  In Winnipeg, there were THREE Top 40 outlets: CFRW, CKRC, and CKY.

Due to the combination of low dial position and excellent soil conductivity, both CKRC and CKY could be heard well into North Dakota.  I recorded this short clip of CKY from my grandparents’ house in Michigan, located between Devils Lake and Grand Forks.  Even though CKY’s signal is directional away from the U.S. (to protect WNAX-570 in Yankton, SD), it still came in pretty well.  As an aside, the slight adjacent channel splash you hear is from WNAX.  I was approximately 300 miles distant from their transmitter, yet they were still able to splatter on CKY!  An amazing signal for sure.  The recording was made using a Pioneer AM/FM/cassette boombox with internal antenna and TDK D90 tape.

Sadly, CKY is no longer on the air.  Unlike the U.S. where an AM station can simply add an FM facility, Canada typically requires migrating broadcasters to relinquish their AM outlets.  On January  21, 2004, the big 50kW signal on 580 fell silent.  The station was moved to 102.3 and became CKY-FM.  The format was changed to A/C and the new station was branded as “102.3 Clear FM.”  This format still exists today.

Here’s “Raccoon” doing his afternoon schtick with a caller.  He was a very entertaining personality.  I wish I had more of him.  Unfortunately, this short clip was all that I recorded.


6 thoughts on “CKY-AM 580 Winnipeg Manitoba Canada Raccoon Carney 1983

  1. Larry W. Stout

    I have wondered what happened to CKY. Growing up and
    graduating from Bemidji high school in1957 it was the one
    we listened to for the music. Good annuncers. Still remember the diaper commercials! I went to Brown Institute and became a combo ann/eng. Retired five years
    but own part of KMGO-FM in Centerville, Iowa. A friend,
    Mark Parr, worked at Cky in nineteen sixty for sixty dollars
    a week.

  2. Drew Post author

    CKY went Oldies then disappeared a few years ago. They moved to 102.3 and flipped to A/C. Under Canadian law, a migrating station has to give up their AM facility. It’s a shame, really. 580 and 630 (remember CKRC?) were both blowtorch signals. Now, they’re both dark.

  3. Richard Baughman

    Racoon Carney and the group from CKY migrated just a few months later to CFRW. The have been broadcasting ever since, until yesterday, September 27, 2010, when the station changed to an all-sports format. There was no forewarning, at least not for the listeners, as we have now lost our only oldies station left in Winnipeg.
    We are still trying to digest this sad news today and don’t know if Racoon and the gang will emerge somewhere else as yet.

  4. Drew Post author

    So sorry to hear this. Raccoon Carney was/is a great talent. Sounds like you folks are going through the same demolition of radio as we did here in the States 10-15 years ago: consolidation, replacing local talent with syndication, etc.

    A sad day for Winnipeg radio 🙁

  5. Julian

    A sad day indeed…… CFRW was a staple of my listening days, most recently on the internet. Although I am from Minnesota my mother is from Winnpeg. I have spent many days on Grand Beach, and nights in the campgrounds listening to that comforting station on my yearly visits, as well as CKY and CKRC over the last 45 years. Hopefully they will find a new home soon!!! Good luck.

  6. Drew Post author

    CKY was a great station. As a kid, I always looked forward to visiting the grandparents so that I could hear them. Actually, Winnipeg had THREE great Top 40 stations back in those days: CKY-AM 580, CKRC-AM 630, and CFRW-AM 1470 (later moved to 1290.)

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