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Local News / Entertainment

Sunday, 8 November, 2009 4:02 PM

95.9 FM CJWF debuts as new country station from Windsor, Ont.


95.9 FM CJWF will broadcast from the Blackburn Radio offices at 2090 Wyandotte Street East in Windsor, Ont.

by Jason Rzucidlo

WINDSOR, Ont. -- Windsor's 95.9 FM CJWF is a brand new country station built from the ground up. It debuted on Sept. 22, 2009 and is currently in a testing period. The new radio station will officially launch on Nov. 16, 2009 with a complete staff of air personalities. Many of the DJs were individuals who were laid off from other radio and television stations in the Windsor area. 95.9 CJWF will offer a mix of old and new country music with news updates at the top of each hour.

"This is one of the rare occasions where we're building a station from the bottom up," said Rod Martens, program director of the 95.9 CJWF. "Everything from the console, hiring the new staff, doing all the imaging and of course getting together the library of music we're doing. It's been three months pretty well and we're just so close right now, putting the finishing touches on the studio and then we're ready to go on Nov. 16."

The staff at CJWF raced to get the new station on the air just three weeks after 106.7 The Fox switched to a different music format.

"It did speed things up a little bit," the program director admitted. "We were looking at making a launch later on in the year or early next year, depending on how things were. Of course, the switch of 106.7 The Fox moving to the rhythmic AC format kind of pushed us a little quicker into action and it only made sense because there's only one now in Detroit. We do have a strong signal that does go into Detroit. Although we are going to be focusing on the entire region, we are based in Windsor, there's an opportunity for us on both sides of the border as well."

The new radio station is playing both American and Canadian country singers. It will be very different for metro Detroit listeners.

"We're proud of that actually," Martens said. "A lot of the stations are run by multinational corporations, they have a programmer sitting in Dallas or a programmer sitting in New York. They're basically dictating what all the other stations in their chain are going to run. We're a little different because you're going to be hearing stuff in Detroit that you've never heard before. More than likely anyways.

"There's some crossover of course. Paul Brandt, Adam Gregory's had some success. Of course Emerson Drive's had some huge success. There's a lot of great artists here in Canada that people in Detroit have never heard before. Even people in Windsor as well. We're looking to touch with artists like Aaron Pritchett, Gord Bamford and Doc Walker's another great one, George Canyon's a very classic-styled country artist and of course Johnny Reid is one of the big new artists in Canada that's just blowing this country away."

CJWF has recently announced it's full line-up of air personalities. Many were laid off from other radio or television stations in the Windsor area and were selected for positions on the new 95.9 FM.

"We're going to kick it off in the morning with Mitch and Melanie in the morning," the program director said. "Mitch O'Connor was on our AC [adult contemporary] station, but he's done country. He's a radio vet. He's been in the game for I don't want to say how many years but a lot of years. Melanie Deveau was a recently casualty from the restructuring of AM 800 CKLW, a cross-town news/talk here in Windsor. So we're proud to have those two in the morning. They'll be on from 6 until 10.

"Houida Kassem, who may be going on the air as 'Hootie' on the air, that's her nickname. She's a huge country fan. She used to do TV for a local TV station in the Windsor area. She was a morning show host. There was restructuring there as well. Everybody knows it's been happening all over the place. It even hit us here in Canada. She's going to be doing the midday show from 10 until 2. We've got Reg Winters, who's a phenomenal country guy, big voice, knows is stuff and is going to have a lot of fun in the afternoon. Casey Clarke's going to do our afternoon show. He will be syndicated. He's out of the Toronto area but he actually hosts the Chevy Top 20 countdown on CMT, which is the Country Music Television Canada outlet."

The new radio station may begin airing the Jeff Foxworthy countdown show on weekends.

"We're looking at doing the Jeff Foxworthy countdown on Sundays from 2 until 6," Martens said. "I know the Fox used to air it and we're looking forward to picking up where they left off. We're doing a great show called 'Sounds Canadian' as well, hosted by Jason McCoy. Jason McCoy has solo hits here in Canada as well as with a band called The Roadhammers. A fun band, a really fun country band, kind of alternative country but they have a lot of fun. That show's airing Sunday mornings from about 7 to 8 a.m."

95.9 CJWF will have some minor differences from Blackburn Radio's 630 AM CFCO station.

"This one's going to be different in the fact that is that is going to be focused on this area," the program director said. "Chatham's 60 miles away. We're all about Windsor/Detroit here on Windsor's FM 95.9. It's going to have a very distinct feel on what's affecting us. It's going to be a little more bright in sounds. They're more of a heritage station. They have a really heavy farm and news presence. We're going to have a strong news presence but we're going to make sure we have a strong focus at least during the day from 10 o'clock in the morning until 6 o'clock the following morning, music, music, music.

"Play the tunes that people want to hear. Talk about the country lifestyle. Give them the country news and information. CFCO's been around for 80 years. They have a lot of heritage. They have to hold onto that heritage because it makes important sense to them. This is a brand new station. I've got a fresh palette, I can start fresh."

The new radio station will make remote broadcasts on the Canadian and U.S. sides of the border. A phone line is being set up for listeners from both countries to make requests.

"We are looking at getting a toll-free number from the states," Martens said. "We should have that up and running by the time the launch happens. We're also looking to do some stuff over there. Look for us out and about."

CJWF is working to allow U.S. residents to win prizes from the new radio station. Many Canadian residents who listen to U.S. radio stations aren't currently eligible for prizes.

"That's something we're going through with our legal department right now," the program director said. "Traditionally, we don't allow U.S. residents to win. There has to be a play back and forth. It's lawyers. We have to make sure we have everything in place. We would love to have people from both sides of the border win. That's what we're looking to do."

Some metro Detroit residents may experience static while listening to the new 95.9 CJWF. However, an online stream will be provided on the station's website at

"We're limited by how many watts we can put out," Martens explains. "As you know, the radio dial in Detroit is packed. There's a lot of stations. Two clicks, another station. There's not many areas like that due to your proximity to Windsor, Toledo's just around the corner. You've got Flint coming in as well, you even got Port Huron. For us to get this signal, we had to say. All they were willing to give us was a certain amount of watts: 3,000 watts. We're going to do what we can do. It's strong even past Ann Arbor. In the cars it's going to come in a lot clearer than in some offices. To counteract that, we're going to have a live stream. All our stuff is going to be live on our website."

The new radio station is hosting it's first concert with Johnny Reid and Victoria Banks at the WFCU Centre on Friday, December 11. Tickets are currently available from

"Johnny Reid is a new name to a lot of our Detroit fans," the program director said. "We've gotten a few phone calls saying, 'who's that guy who sings Dance with Me?' We have the information line on our test pattern. The most requested song we're getting right now for new stuff is the Johnny Reid 'Dance with Me'. Johnny Reid was recently awarded five of six awards in the Canadian Country Music Association awards. He's going to be doing our kickoff on Dec. 11 at the WFCU Centre. It's our brand new arena here. It's a really nice rink the acoustics are fantastic. I think it holds 4,500 for this show. We're looking to fill that right up."

For more information on the new 95.9 FM CJWF, visit



A look inside the studios for the new 95.9 FM CJWF, which are still under construction.



This will be the future home of the studios for Windsor's 95.9 FM CJWF.



Program Director Rod Martens explains the coverage map for Blackburn Radio's stations.



95.9 FM CJWF can be heard across most of metro Detroit and Windsor/Essex county.






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