February 13 is World Radio Day. We take pride to celebrate our community radio — CKJS 810AM — probably one of the strongest, longest-running multilingual radio stations in the whole of Canada.
Since its inception in 1974, CKJS has maintained its role in connecting and reaching out to many ethnicities and communities in Manitoba.
Spanning four decades in the airwaves, CKJS has aired programming in different languages that included Bulgarian, Chinese, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Irish, Jewish, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, East Indian, Spanish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese and the widely-listened to Filipino programs.
Founded by Casimir Stanczykowski and previously managed by Antonio Carta, CKJS is now part of Evanov Radio Group, which owns a number of radio stations in different parts of Canada.
Filipino programming on CKJS has its roots from 1976 when Resty Taruc pioneered a one hour program called “Radyo Pilipino.” Aired Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, it had no regular time slot then.
Joe Sulit took over when Resty went on vacation and did intermittent show until Resty’s return.
Winnipeg’s Filipino population continuously grow in the 80s . Radyo Pilipino was given regular time slot on weekday evenings in 1982. Joe was joined by Kaka Paquito Rey Pacheco who was in-charge with news.
GOOD MORNING PHILIPPINES
Population of Filipino-Canadians grew to 35,000 in Manitoba in the 1990s. Listenership and market for a radio Filipino program became stronger.
With the fresh addition and brilliant contribution of Ms Emmie Joaquin, a regular morning show that is known now as “Good Morning Philippines” was born. The first GMP was heard on CKJS on April 24, 1989. The rest is history.
“GMP became a household name. Pinoys relied mostly on radio to hear latest news about the Philippines.” shared Emmie, now editor-in-chief and Publisher of Pilipino Express News Magazine.
Mainstream media noticed the existence and strength of CKJS. After a month of airing GMP, the Winnipeg Free Press featured an article on its Entertainment page citing how CKJS gambled for a show with ethnic content to go head-to-head against commercial radio programs in the 6 to 9AM primetime slot. And that since its first airing, the program has carved its own niche and found strength!”
GMP became a strong voice that united and inspired the community.
Well loved Kaka retired in 1989. Jimi Cruz joined Emmie and Joe. The trio went on-air til 2003.
Summer of 1990, to encourage connection with the music-loving Pinoys, CKJS launched an amateur singing contest called “Tuklas Talino” (Talent Search) which involved volunteers from the community.
“Tuklas Talino” became a platform for aspiring talents (young and old) to share their singing prowess on stage.
It also served as gateway for many local talents to shine in mainstream music and stage scene such as the like of Maan Dionisio (Canadian Star of Miss Saigon) or Elsaida Alerta (World Karaoke Champion).
“People loved it. It was fun because CKJS was the only source of entertainment of our community back then. Wala pang internet. We were able to do sold out shows in Pantages and Centennial concert hall” , Emmie recalled.
“Tuklas Talino” last went on-stage under NewCap Radio Management in 2008.
FILIPINO PROGRAM EXPANDED TO SATURDAY AND WEEKDAYS AFTERNOON
Circa 1992, “Tunog Pinoy Pang-Sabado” was created. It proved its viability when around two thousand people showed up after a plea on-the-air for support. It was a notable show of solidarity of the Filipino community during those years protesting against a large grocery store when a Filipino boy became a victim of racial slur and racial profiling.
Emmie anchored the Saturday show until 1998. Show was passed on to Michele Majul (now Michelle Majul-Ibarra) who did live remote broadcast with Joe until 2006.
In 1996, Filipino afternoon show called “Manila Sound” was created which Emmie co-anchored with Dale Burgos.
Ayen Dandan (now Ayen Dandan-Zamora), who was a university student then, joined Joe every Monday morning while Emmie focused on Manila Sound.
Joy Lazo also pitched in for a few months as co-host of GMP.
Meanwhile, Mark Salamatin took over the midnight Saturday shift playing only Original Pilipino Music.
Jimi left GMP in 2003. Lito Taruc, brother of Resty succeeded as News Director.
Emmie went back to co-anchor GMP again in 1997 and joined Joe and Lito. In December 2003, Emmie left CKJS radio to pursue a change of career.
CKJS INTO THE NEW MILLENIUM
Spring of 2004, CKJS looked for a new female announcer for GMP. Donna Natividad-Arenas (then Donna Natividad), a Broadcasting Major with only five days of stay in Winnipeg auditioned and got in.
“I felt blessed. I was new, with no friends, no connection. I was driven and optimistic. Thanks to then owner, Tony Carta for the trust. Radio is my passion. To be part of CKJS is a gift and a responsibility. I always hope that my voice be used to touch and affect people’s lives in a positive way and become instrument to advocate for meaningful causes.”
Donna joined the tandem of Joe and Lito until Joe’s retirement in 2007.
Joe spent 32 years with CKJS. In 2013, thousands of listeners wept in his untimely passing due to illness. Joe was loved by many because of his modesty and his nice way of dealing with people and his overwhelming passion and dedication.
A seasoned broadcaster, Chester Pangan filled in Joe’s shoes. Chester brought in a brand new approach, charm and energy to the morning CKJS primetime airwaves joining Donna and Lito. He immediately captivated many hearts.
“It’s been an honour and great pleasure for me to be able to be a part of a Winnipeg Filipino tradition that is GMP. Waking up early in the morning is no problem knowing that I will be able to do something I truly love and cherish. Radio is King! “.
Prior to joining GMP, Chester (who is also the station’s production manager) has already been co-hosting the afternoon drive show with Lucille Nolasco.
Lucille, formerly senior news correspondent for TV in the Philippines, started with CKJS as news writer and announcer for the Saturday program. She later on recreated Manila Sound into what is “Afternoon Pasada” now.
Lucille who also writes for newspaper believes that in this age of social media, radio is still and will always remain relevant.
“Radio is such a unique medium that will never die. Radio has been part of people’s lives even before TV and social media. It has its own niche in this world. You can bring radio anywhere. Its reach is immediate and strong. I love radio because it brings a certain connection no other medium can.”
Lucille, Ayen and Donna Medina-Cantiveros (then Donna Medina) also joined GMP as female co-host when Donna took her maternity leave.
FILIPINO PROGRAMS ALL DAY AND ALL WEEKEND!
To this date, Filipino programming has kept up with different needs, genre, time and clamor of the 70,000 strong Filipino community in Manitoba.
CKJS Pinoy programs try to come across the millenials or the classic Titos and Titas while giving the Lolos and Lolas the feeling that they belong very much.
Chester, Donna and Lito spread the morning dose of sunshine everyday from 5:30 to 9AM with regular segments like Pastor Junie Josue’s Higher Life and Dr Jay Buenafe’s Health News. Listeners always look forward to Lito’s in-depth analysis of important national issues and relevant current events.
In their drive home, listeners tune in daily to Lucille in “Afternoon Pasada” from 3 to 7PM. Lendyll Soriano joined Lucille one hour every Friday since 2017. Lendyll created “Bisaya ni Bay”, the first pure Visayan program in Canada.
On Saturdays, Chester broadcast live from a Vickar Automotive Group location from 10AM to 2PM as Allan Balingit does the news reporting for “Tunog Pinoy PangSabado.”
Since 1998, listeners get an extra treat of Pinoy music with Ayen and Maui Zamora on Pinoy Saturday night from 9 to 12 midnight.
Michele and Mark also joined the on an off mic tandem of Maui and Ayen once in a while.
CKJS STRONGER AND WIDER!
Through the years, CKJS has remained a tool for the community to connect. It has participated and involved itself in many community and city endeavors.
With Evanov’s continuous effort to make CKJS keep up and make use of modern technology, from regular dial on AM band, CKJS can now be accessed in many different ways.
The multi-generation of listeners connect to CKJS by Facebook and Instagram.
By the start of 2018, it was announced that CKJS will switch to FM Band for wider and clearer reception.
Recognizing its role, CKJS 810AM continuously aims to provide a medium dedicated to keeping Pinoys connected to their homeland and to the world; and in continuously promoting Filipino ingenuity, arts, music, culture and identity.
To all our listeners, supporters and advertisers, “maraming salamat po” for always making CKJS a part of your family.
(CREDIT: Special thank you Ms Emmie Joaquin for the valuable inputs. Photo credit: Maui Zamora and Josel Media)