Seventy-five years ago this month, the cover of the November, 1942, issue of Manitoba Calling, the program guide of CKY Winnipeg, carried this photo of two northern residents being kept company by their radio through the lonely winter.
With its 15,000 watt voice from Winnipeg, the station had become “one of the family” for many of those in Canada’s north, including missionaries, trappers, Mounties, doctors, nurses, and fur traders.
The magazine noted that during the First World War, many of these residents did not hear until the spring of 1915 that Canada was at war. But with radio, “a fur trader in his lonely cabin will hear the news and the latest developments on the war-fronts at the same instant that we in urban centres hear them.
The article noted that radio must still occasionally bow to atmospheric conditions, and the Aurora Borealis might occasionally wreak havoc on the standard broadcast band. But it also noted that when broadcast reception was poor, shortwave reception was frequently good, allowing northern residents to hear both American and overseas stations.
The service provided by CKY continues as part of CBC North. While shortwave service ended in 2012, service is currently provided by a network of FM stations.