Yukon Nuggets

1969 Hougen's history


40 years ago, if you wanted to hear private radio in the Yukon you had to tune in radio stations from big cities in Southern Canada or the U.S. That usually took an expensive receiver, a copper wire antenna and some luck on a crisp cold night. But all that changed on November 17, 1969 when radio station CKRW hit the Yukon airwaves. Imagine that:40 years ago.

In December of 1968, Klondike Broadcasting was awarded a broadcast license beating out a bid by another local group headed by Vic Wylie. That spring in 1969, Rolf Hougen, president of Klondike Broadcasting, announced that “Comfall” the most northerly private radio station would be serving the public. He also described plans for a new building on Main Street to accommodate the state-of-the-art radio operation. Al Jensen would be the station’s first manager. For forty years, CKRW radio has reported on, participated in and added to Yukon culture. By keeping favourite features since the station’s beginning and adding hits of yesterday, today and tomorrow, online contests and cutting edge features, CKRW has always combined a modern flare with small-town charme. Through both the on-air programming and the website, CKRW continues to sponsor many local events, from music festivals to the longest sled-dog in the world, in keeping with the slogan “Your community radio station”.

Through the years there have been changes. On May 10, 2004, Klondike Broadcasting added an FM transmitter at Whitehorse to provide an FM stereo service to the city and surrounding area while continuing to provide service on the AM band to residents who weren’t able to receive the new FM signal. CKRW officially launched “The Rush 96.1 FM” on September 14, 2004. Today CKRW transmits to listeners in Watson Lake, Teslin, Haines Junction, Faro, Mayo, Carmacks and Dawson City and reaches outside the Yukon boundaries with transmitters in Atlin, British Columbia and Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

So, a big happy birthday RW and may you celebrate many more in the years to come.

A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin.

Les McLaughlin

Les McLaughlin

As storyteller, radio man, and music producer, Les proved a passionate preserver of Yukon heritage throughout his life — nowhere more evident than as the author and voice of CKRW’s “Yukon Nuggets,” from its inception until his passing in 2011.