Joyful Sounds Inc.

Christian Radio Production

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Joyful Sounds debuted on Rogers Cable TV (then, Jarmain Cable TV) in Newmarket, Ontario in 1980. Two years later, on October 2, 1982, Joyful Sounds became an all music radio program on CKAN-1480 in Newmarket, Ontario. The show started as two hours, and was later extended to three hours.

By October,1983, CKAN changed its music format to Country. However, Joyful Sounds, had built a substantial audience and was not forced... yet... to change its format to match. But by October,1984, station manager Chuck Connors, insisted that in spite of high ratings (we had the highest ratings of any weekend block, and won our time slot, book after book), so starting in October 1984, the show was renamed Joyful Country.

A regular listener, Michael Cheng, in Richmond Hill, Ontario, made it his mission to get the original contemporary Joyful Sounds back on the air. Almost immediately, he made contact with radio station CHOO-1390, in Ajax Ontario. Although it was a country station, program director Joe Conrad Frechette was enthusiastic about picking up the Joyful Sounds program.

The first stations were over 40 miles apart, and both shows were performed live. CHOO ran Joyful Sounds from 4pm to 7pm on Sunday. CKAN ran Joyful Country from 9pm to midnight. Sometimes, in inclement weather, I pulled into the CKAN parking lot a few minutes late, and a concerned Peter Newnham (he later refined his name to Pete Newman) would start the show for me.

Both shows had news at the top of each hour, and weather reports. The afternoon show also had weekend road reports with Bob McIntosh from the Provincial Ministry of Transportation. Bob died on May 2011. As the only person on site at each radio station, I was responsible for pattern changes, handling the news departments including submitting emergency news reports to the network wire services. One time, a small plane made an emergency landing on a city street near CHOO, and, while running the show live, I also dealt with police, recording a news report and submitted them to NewsRadio. I actually heard myself on CKO, an all news station, while making the drive to my second station.

On May 31, 1985, a tornado ripped through part of my listening area. It was just northwest of CKAN, but it occurred on the weekend, and the news department was closed. My wife and I went out in the morning, and helped some friends (listeners, actually) clean up some of the damage. I had forgotten about this until recently, but Mary Weening reminded me recently, that I had left our friends farm, and driven into Bradford, Ontario, nearby the carnage. I talked the manager of the local McDonalds into supplying a large number of hamburgers, and Tim Hortons supplied coffee. I then drove through the ravages of the tornado, and handed out food and drink, to people who had just lost their homes. I also dispensed a few hugs. There was no power, no phones. After that, I headed back to our friends farm.

It was pretty obvious, that about 1/3 of my audience could tune in both stations easily. And when CKAN gave up on country around 1985, and we reverted to contemporary music, the show being effectively 6 hours long. It was a lot of work.

By 1988, now six years into radio, we made the decision to syndicate. We syndicated two shows. Joyful Sounds and a reboot of the country show, County Line. And County Line was hosted by Rob using the pseudonym of Les Roberts. This was because two radio stations in the same market (CHUM owned C101 in Peterboro, and CKLY in Lindsay) each took one of the shows. And for a while, they aired them at the same time. Days before we started syndication in October 1988, it became obviously necessary to use the pseudonym Les Roberts or lose some of our affiliates. Just like today, deejays can not be on competing stations in the same market. Syndication took us coast to coast in Canada. We were on in every province, and in a few cases, we found ourselves on 100,000w FM stations. Boris Kuruk helped with the technical aspects of the syndication and handled duplication and distribution for the first year.

Stations carrying the show, besides Newmarket and Ajax, include the aforementioned Peterboro and Lindsay, Champlain NY (aiming back into Montreal), Barrie, Collingwood, Mississauga (where I camed their first Christian music director), Welland, Orangeville, Wingham (all in Ontario), Winnipeg Manitoba, Melfort, Swift current, Shaunavon Saskatchewan, Edmonton Alberta, Prince George, the chain of stations across Northern BC, and the BC Ferries in British Columbia, Moncton, Fredrickton and Saint John New Brunswick, Sydney, Port Hawksbury, and Halifax Nova Scotia, and St John's Newfoundland.

CJMR in Mississauga was a special case, where I was hired on by owner Michael Caine to be their Christian Music director. My job was to build a library, and provide format clocks, in 1988 as Canada's first Christian music station outside of Newfoundland.

In 1989, we relocated from Ontario to Michigan, and in 1995, to Indiana. Around that time, we started publishing CCRB later renamed Christian Music Weekly. Around 1996, County Line was merged into a competing show called Gospel Country, and shortly into the 21st century, Gospel Country became a countdown show. Syndication of Gospel Country widened, and the show, at various times, was carried in Poland, Norway, Iceland, two stations in Africa, two in New Zealand, and two in Australia. Aside from Canada and the US, the show currently airs in the Philippines, two stations in Australia, and Paraguay.

Around the turn of the century, when Christian stations became legal in Canada, mainstream stations saw their carrying of Joyful Sounds and County Line as no longer necessary. And in the U.S. there were several other syndicated shows just like Joyful Sounds, so it was discontinued.

The reboot of Joyful Sounds came about with our association with a community radio station, WYRZ-98.9 in Brownsburg, Indiana. They had been running Gospel Country Countdown since their founding, and the decision was made in January 2016, to try out the rebooted Joyful Sounds, as a solid gold CCM show, specializing in music of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Currently, it starts as an hour weekly, but there are expansion plans.

Radio has changed a lot. The turntables, and even the CD players are gone. What's left is a computer. We have a lot of work ahead of us to digitize all this music.