CFRY is celebrating yet another year around the sun!
When you think of Portage la Prairie, you may think of the gigantic Coke can, Stride Place, or the Island. Another thing that most people relate to Portage is CFRY 920AM.
Today, CFRY turns 67 years old. The station was started by Digby Hughes in 1956 and broadcast from its studios in the basement of the Portage Hotel. It became Manitoba's first-ever privately owned simulcast station when broadcasts started on 920AM and 93.1 FM in the early 90s.
93.1 separated into what is now Country 93 in 2015. Many things that CFRY started with are still on the air today, like the Saturday Night Polka Party and the Sunday Request Show.
Since then, there have been several moves around the city and the station is now located on Sissons Drive, along with Mix 96, Country 93, PortageOnline, and Homefield. Through all the moves and changes, the focus has always been on the community.
While other types of music have been played over the years as part of special programming, country music has been the focus since day 1, making CFRY Manitoba's longest-running country music station. Other stations have been around longer, but the music has not always been this format exclusively.
Sixty-seven years is an accomplishment that can only happen with the support of our listeners.
We asked people why they enjoy CFRY so much.
Betty, a long-time listener, says that she listens every Saturday night for the polka party.
"It is nostalgic because my parents used to listen to the polka party when I was young, and I like to keep up that tradition every once in a while."
Jim Stuart says his radio is on 24/7.
"I love the western music and listening to the radio. I also love the friendliness of the staff."
Stella and Suzy listen to CFRY because it gives them all of the necessities.
Stella says, "I enjoy the music, the news, and anything else that is on there."
Gladys Green, a consistent listener of CFRY, says that the radio never turns off in her home.
"The music and the staff make listening to CFRY the best."
Pam Stinson says that all of her memories of CFRY are positive ones.
"When I was a young girl on the farm, we listened to CFRY for the news and weather. We were hoping for snow days."
Along with all of our faithful listeners, we also caught up with some locally owned businesses that sometimes play CFRY inside their stores.
Rhonda McCallister from one of Southport's newest businesses says that listening to CFRY brings back many memories. "When I was a kid, we had CFRY on in our horse barn, and my dad would always turn it up, especially for the General Store."
Don Hales, a CFRY listener and owner of Don's Direct Deals, says he has many memories of CFRY.
"When I was a young lad attending school, CFRY would sign off at night and return on the air at 6 a.m. The radio was turned up full blast, and at 6 a.m. and, that was the alarm clock in our house. My fondest memories of the radio station come from my 38 years in the automotive industry and all the great people from the station I have met and worked with, past and present. I did countless radio ads over the years with Ryan Simpson, Whether it be live at a tent sale or many other live on-the-spot broadcasts. Also, I have fond memories of working with Marvin Monk and many of the crew at community talent shows and the great support I receive from the staff now and when they came to visit me when I worked in Gimli."
Caitlin Giercke mentions how her business, Pharmasave Portage la Prairie, has a particular spot on the Terrier games and loves hearing their radio ads on air.
"We just love the Terriers. My in-laws especially love listening to broadcasted games on CFRY and are season ticket holders, so we have been exposed to those games for many years."
Alicia Pettinger, from Mil Jeanne Flowers & Axcenz, says that it's so hard to pick just one thing about real country radio, 920AM.
"CFRY is where we listen to all of our Terrier games and get our news and our weather. Our 11-year-old loves getting up in the morning and turning it on to get that information. So, yeah, it's a great radio station."
If you'd like to hear some nostalgia, you can listen now at 920 AM on your radio dial or right here. Also, you can listen to some old jingles below!