Our History

In Business since 1852

The Blackburn family has been in the Canadian media business for 160 years. Over the course of five generations the family has played a pioneering role in newspaper publishing, radio, television, database marketing and digital media.

In 1922 Arthur Blackburn was granted one of the first radio licenses in Canada. Since then Blackburn Radio Inc. has established a successful tradition of marrying state-of-the-art technology with high quality local programming and community service.

Blackburn Radio Inc.’s vision is to be the leading independently owned broadcasting company in Southwestern Ontario, with a deep commitment to our region and to the local communities in which the company operates.

The dramatic digital transformation of all media continues to demonstrate the vital importance of local radio and its power to engage listeners and activate audiences. Our mission is to connect people and build communities with an innovative blend of over-the-air, online, interactive and mobile media services.

1852

The Canadian Free Press newspaper is purchased by Josiah Blackburn, and renamed to the London Free Press.  

1900

Josiah Blackburn passes away and is succeeded by his son, Arthur Blackburn.

1922

Blackburn is granted one of the first radio licenses in Canada and opens their first radio station, CJGC-AM.

1932

Unhappy with the growth of radio, Aurthur Blackburn strikes up a deal to merge CJGC-AM with Windsor’s CKOK-AM. CKLW-AM is born, with the goal to serve both the London and Windsor Market.

1933

The merger between CJGC and CKOK sparked outrage from London residents and businessmen, forcing the Blackburns to withdraw from their partnership and open a new station in London, CFPL-AM.

1936

With Arthur Blackburn’s passing, the company is taken over by his son Walter. Despite being only 21 and fresh off of receiving his HBA from the University of Western Ontario, Walter Blackburn would now be in charge of CFPL-AM and the London Free Press.

1946

In an effort to get to breaking news scenes quickly, The London Free Press purchases a twin engine Cessna Crane aircraft to transport their reporters.

1947

The Blackburn Group applies for a licence to operate a new FM station in London. Upon approval, CFPL-FM is created.

1953

Looking to expand their media empire, The London Free Press Printing Co. Ltd. files an application for the operation of a television station to serve the London area. Shortly after the application, the CBC approves the request; thus, creating CFPL-TV.

1971

Blackburn Group continues its media expansion by acquiring CKNX-TV and CKNX-AM Radio in Wingham, Ontario. 

1977

After seeing the success of CKNX-AM in the Wingham market, Blackburn decides to launch an FM station under the same call letters, CKNX-FM.

1992

Blackburn decides to shift their business focus to the radio industry, and sells both CFPL-TV and CKNX-TV to Baton Broadcasting.

1994

Looking to expand into more markets across Ontario, Blackburn acquires CFCO-FM Chatham, CHYR-FM Leamington, and CFGX/CHKS-FM Sarnia.

1997

Blackburn sells The London Free Press to the Sun Media Corporation.

1998

After seeing success in Sarnia, Blackburn Group acquires CHOK-AM, giving them control over all three radio stations in Sarnia.

2005

Blackburn launches a new station in Wingham, CIBU-FM. Blackburn would also acquire the Chatham stations CFCO-AM, CKSY-FM, CKUE-FM, and CKUE-FM-1 (Windsor).

2007

Despite already owning two stations in the Windsor market, CKUE-FM-1 and CHYR-FM, Blackburn continues expansion and opens a new station, CJSP-FM.

2008

The Windsor expansion does not end with CJSP-FM, as Blackburn launches another commercial radio station in Windsor, CJWF-FM.

2011

Blackburn returns to its London roots by launching CKLO-FM.