Fun Facts About Lethbridge…Lethbridge’s First Radio Station

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Written by Belinda Crowson

In April and May 1926 – 90 years ago – Lethbridge the people of Lethbridge had a new form of entertainment – radio.

Did you know Lethbridge’s first radio station started broadcasting 90 years ago?

For it was during those two months that Jock Palmer received a license to start a radio station, and when he first went on the air. He called his station CJOC – a play on his name.

There are two stories about where he was first located when he started broadcasting.

Some say he started broadcasting about two hours a day from his mother’s home at 1235 5A Avenue South.  Others claim that, no, he was actually located in a studio located behind G.F. Tull & Ardern’s offices on the corner of 3 Avenue and 7 Street South.

While it is Jock Palmer who is most associated with the station, he had a couple of partners:  Harold Robertson Carson and William Water Grant. Palmer and Grant sold their interests in CJOC to Carson in 1928. That same year Carson, W.J. Millican and G.H. Millican created the Lethbridge Broadcasting Limited.

It was also around that time that CJOC found a new home moving into the penthouse of the newly constructed Marquis Hotel.

The radio station would bring many firsts to Lethbridge and area.

CJOC did one of the first remote hockey broadcasts in Canada in 1933. Henry Viney went to Vegreville and provided the play-by-play of the game over the phone. Bob Buss remained in Lethbridge in the studio.

In the fall of 1936 CJOC created “The Radio School of the Air” – one of the first of this type of programs in Canada. The program was designed to assist teachers in schools across southern Alberta. There were different programs each day of the week including “Mother Goose” stories on Wednesday. “Drama”, the weekly Thursday program, was produced by Agnes Davidson. There was also a day for “Health Hints” and “History of People Who Have Helped Mankind”. And a sing-song on Friday.

And this was only 10 years after the station started. There was certainly much more to come.

Learn more Fun Facts about our city’s history by visiting and liking the Lethbridge Historical Society Facebook page.

In this image: CJOC, 1928, located in the penthouse of the Marquis Hotel.

Home page image: Jock Palmer, 1918, in his First World War uniform, started Lethbridge’s broadcasting history in 1926.

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