There was a time 97-7 HTZ FM out of St. Catharines was one of my stations. On the FM band, I'd toggle between five stations. If memory serves me correctly, and we're going back a ways here, it was 102.1, 107.1, 97.7, 94.9 and 107.9.
One of the men who helped build the White House of Rock was Paulie Morris. Paul was a long time 97.7 HTZ FM host and music director who helped build that station back in 1986, and except for a few years in the mid-90s, he was there until Bell Media fired him in November 2017.
In August of 2018, Paulie Morris dropped by to tell me about 97-7 HTZ FM and the greats he worked alongside, from Iron Mike Benson to Scruff Connors to KK. Here's that episode if you missed it.
Today comes word BCE Inc. is selling off 45 of its 103 regional radio stations as it cuts nine per cent of its workforce, including journalists and other workers at its Bell Media subsidiary. It's because it's not a viable business anymore," said Bell chief legal and regulatory officer Robert Malcolmson in an interview with The Canadian Press. One of the stations Bell has sold is 97.7 HTZ-FM. The new buyer is Whiteoaks Communications.
Here's what I found on the Whiteoaks Communications Group LinkedIn page.
Whiteoaks Communications Group Limited is a radio and media company broadcasting over 60 years. Founded in 1956, our current brands JOY Radio (CJYE-AM) and CJMR 1320 provide leading programming to unique markets in the Greater Toronto Area and continue to reach new audiences around the world with a strong focus across digital platforms. Along with our sister company, Faith Strong Today, we also help create original audio and video content for their podcast network and online community.
I don't yet know what Whiteoaks has in store of 97.7, but I hope the White House of Rock is left intact and that a wrong can be righted and Paulie Morris can be called back to finish what he started. Whiteoaks seems to have a Christian-slant, so how they're stay true to Paulie's vision remains to be seen.
Here's the chain of ownership of 97.7 from its inception in 1949 as an FM simulcast of CKTB to this announcement:
Niagara District Broadcasting > Standard Broadcasting > Affinity Radio Group > Telemedia > Standard Broadcasting > Astral Media > Bell Media > Whiteoaks Communications Group
If you're one of the 4,800 getting pink slipped today, I'm sending you warm thoughts and assuring you that you are not your job and you will be okay. For one thing is certain, it's nothing personal.