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A Brief Broadcast History of CJMQ Radio

fessenden photo.jpg
Reginald Aubrey Fessenden

When stepping on to the campus of Bishop’s University one is in fact stepping into the path of radio’s history.

Canadian, Reginald Aubrey Fessenden, was born in East Bolton, Quebec (about 30 minutes from Bishop’s), and was in fact an alumnus of the University. Along with American Lee de Forest, Fessenden was responsible for the development of the technology that allowed for the transmission of the human voice.

At 16 years of age Fessenden began teaching Greek and French during the day at Bishop’s College School, while attending University level courses in mathematics during the evenings. Although Fessenden left Bishop’s to accept a teaching position at the Whitney Institute in Bermuda, his endeavors at Bishop’s are often referred to as the academic beginnings of his career (Carpenter 102).

His greatest achievement that year, occurred at 9 p.m., Christmas Eve, 1906, when wireless operators of several United Fruit Company ships in the Atlantic, tipped off to expect something unusual on their NESCO-provided sets, heard Fessenden transmit a recording of Handel’s “Largo” on an Ediphone, play “Oh Holy Night” on the violin, and read from the Bible before wishing them a Merry Christmas.  Reginald Aubrey Fessenden was the first person to prove that voices and music could be heard over the air without wires.

Fessenden was an incredible character: A holder of over five hundred patents, he also invented sonar, the depth sounder, carbon tetrachloride, the beeper/pager, the voice-scrambler, the radio compass (known today as LORAN), the tracer bullet and, yes, the automatic garage-door opener.  He won Scientific American's Gold Medal in 1929 for the fathometer, which could determine the depth of water under a ship's keel. But we remember him here, not only as the inventor of radio, but as the world's first broadcast producer.

CJMQ is proud to have dedicated our new Broadcast Booth to honour a native son of the Eastern Townships Reginald Aubrey Fessenden, Radio's First Voice.

His grave contains the paean:

"By his genius distant lands converse and men sail unafraid upon the deep."

Back to CJMQ:

Under the moniker of RCBU, standing for Radio Club of Bishop’s University, CJMQ broadcast on the AM dial at 530 and via Carrier Current transmission (localized within particular physical structures) for some 40 years.

In 1987 CJMQ received its "Letters Patent", officially incorporating as CJMQ Radio Bishop’s. Inc.

In 1995 CJMQ applied for and was granted a low power not-for-profit Campus & Community (C & C) FM radio license from the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (C.R.T.C.). The major condition of a C & C radio license is that stations endeavor to provide an alternative source of news, information, and entertainment programming to that being offered by commercially oriented broadcasters within the same region. A focus on local content is of primary importance. Since the granting of an FM license, despite much turmoil, CJMQ has managed to provide just such a service.

At the time of its FM inception CJMQ was licensed to broadcast at an effective radiated power of 25 watts.

25 watts of power allowed CJMQ’s signal to travel, with a limited degree of success, throughout the Town of Lennoxville and portions of Sherbrooke’s downtown core. Given the mountainous geography of this particular region the reception of a 25 watt radio signal was often troublesome however, leaving particular areas (such as Bishop’s University campus itself and one side of the main street in downtown Lennoxville) with a static filled signal throughout the majority of the broadcast day.

Given this trouble CJMQ applied to the C.R.T.C. for a boost to its broadcast power in November of 1997. Although a clearer signal was the initial goal of this application, the ensuing effect of a much wider coverage area was also desirable. In March of 1998 CJMQ was awarded a power increase to 500 watts. CJMQ officially began broadcasting to the population of the Eastern Townships at this increased power on June 1st, 1998.

November 17th 2003 the CRTC held a public hearing in Ottawa, among the applications being considered was the application of CJMQ to change its status from that of  a Campus Based Community Radio Station to that of a Community Radio Station. Since no interventions were filed, CJMQ was a non-appearing event. Three months went by and then we got the call from the CRTC, CJMQ's application had been approved! We are now a full fledged Community Radio Station!

CJMQ is proud to be the English Radio Voice of the Eastern Townships. As the only locally produced English Broadcaster in the Eastern Townships with an estimated listenership of 30,000 and a broadcast reach of 70 km. CJMQ is clearly poised to serve our community.

Page and database design, concept and implementation donated by:
James Platt

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CJMQ is a Proud Member of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

CJMQ tient à souligner la contribution financière du Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine du Québec.

CJMQ would like to thank the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine du Québec for its' financial contribution.