VOCM (AM)

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VOCM
VOCM.png
City of license St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
Branding 590 VOCM
Slogan Local News Now
Frequency 590 kHz C-QUAM AM Stereo
First air date October 19, 1936
Format Full service (News/Talk/Country music)
Power 20,000 watts (day and night)
Callsign meaning Voice Of the Common Man
Owner Newcap Radio
Sister stations CJYQ, VOCM-FM, CKIX-FM
Website VOCM Radio Network

VOCM (Voice of the Common Man) is an AM radio station in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, broadcasting at 590 kHz. Owned by Newcap Radio, VOCM first went on the air in 1936. October 19, 2011 marks 75 years of broadcasting for VOCM. Through the "VOCM/CFCB All-Newfoundland and Labrador Radio Network" of stations owned by Newcap, VOCM programming is carried throughout the province.

VOCM and its sister station VOCM-FM are among just four radio stations in Canada having call signs beginning with the prefix "VO," the ITU prefix issued to the Dominion of Newfoundland before its confederation into Canada in 1949. The other two, VOAR and VOWR, also broadcast in St. John's; all but VOCM-FM predate the confederation. VOCM-FM adopted the callsign in 1982 because of its corporate association with VOCM; all three of the others signed on before 1949, while Newfoundland was still a dominion, and were allowed to keep the VO call signs despite the end of Newfoundland's sovereignty. During the time when the United States had bases in Newfoundland and Labrador, the American Forces Radio and Television Service operated radio station with the VO—call signs including the last - VOUS in Argentia, which closed in the late 1960s. The rest of Canada's radio stations use call signs in the ranges of CF and CH through CK, except for the CBC, which (in violation of ITU policy) uses the prefix CB.

Newcap also owns a number of other AM stations in Newfoundland and Labrador that use VOCM as their main or secondary brand. These stations all have "C" callsigns.

History[edit]

VOCM was started by Walter B. Williams and his father in the family home at 80 Circular Road in St. John's. Williams was very interested in radio, and had attended training at the Radio Corporation of America and the Radio Training Schools in the United States.

On December 22, 1933, Williams (through his company, Atlantic Broadcasting Co.) was issued a licence by the Newfoundland Post and Telegraph Department to operate a station from the second floor of the aforementioned family home. With the transmitter and other equipment built by Walter, VOCM began operations as an experimental father-son station operating only a few hours a day. The station's antenna was built in the backyard and the technical equipment was placed in a backroom on the main floor. VOCM for some time had truly been a family affair, with Walter Williams Jr. later to join him in working long hours at the radio station for many years.

Later in 1937, Joseph Butler joined Williams as a partner in VOCM radio, through Colonial Broadcasting System Ltd. In 1954, Joseph Butler died in a plane accident, and in 1958 Joseph Butler Jr. acquired control of the company. Williams continued to work with the company until two years before his death in 1974.

In 1982, Colonial Broadcasting System changed its name to VOCM Radio Newfoundland Ltd. By this time the company had established a network of stations throughout eastern and central Newfoundland, as well as a sister FM station, VOCM-FM.

In May 2000, the assets of VOCM Radio were acquired by Harry Steele's company Newfoundland Capital Corporation, which now operates the stations as part of the Steele Communications division of Newcap Radio.

Programming[edit]

Talk shows[edit]

VOCM is perhaps best known for its talk shows, including Open Line with Paddy Daily, Backtalk with Peter Soucy and Night Line, where Newfoundland and Labrador-related issues are discussed with callers and emails/tweets sent to the station are read and discussed. These programs are well known and often perform highly in the radio ratings province-wide. Although the current hosts of two of the programs have past or present political involvement (Simms is currently the mayor of the St. John's suburb of Mount Pearl, while Rowe was a former leader of the provincial Liberal party), these shows are generally considered to be non-partisan and are not driven by the hosts' personalities, unlike the majority of contemporary North American talk radio programs. That said, accusations of partisan activity by specific callers, such as political staffers calling in the guise of "regular joes", have been made from time to time.

Open Line airs Monday to Friday 9:00am to 11:30am,[1] and Back Talk airs Monday to Friday 2:00pm to 4:00pm.[2] Night Line airs Monday through Thursday from 8:00pm to 10:00pm,.[3] All are carried by the full VOCM / CFCB group of stations, with Open Line and Night Line also being carried on Newcap's Labrador FM service Big Land.

During the late 1990s, the VOCM network experimented with syndicated talk programming in the form of the Dr. Laura Schlessinger show, which aired on tape delay in the early evening. As with most Canadian stations airing the program, it was quietly dropped shortly after a Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruling admonishing the host for making discriminatory comments. While VOCM continues to air some short syndicated features and occasionally brokered programming (i.e. infomercials) on Sunday mornings, it does not regularly air other extended-length syndicated programming.

Newscasts[edit]

Newscasts generally air every hour on the hour, as well as on weekdays at 5:30 a.m, 6:30 a.m., 7:25 a.m., 7:45 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 8:55am, 11:30 a.m., 12:30pm, 1:55pm, 430pm and 5:30 p.m. There are no newscasts at 8:00 a.m., 2:00pm or 6:00 p.m. Saturdays News airs every hour on the hour, as well as at 6:30 a.m., 7:25 a.m., 7:45 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 8:55am, 11:30 a.m., 12:30pm, 4:30pm and 5:30 p.m. There are no newscasts at 8:00 a.m., or 6:00 p.m., Sundays News airs every hour on the hour, except for 8:00am, 9:00am, and 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm, or 6:00 p.m. there are also newscasts at 6:30 a.m., 7:45 a.m., 11:55am, and 5:30 p.m. The 5:30 a.m, 7:45 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. are all 15 Minute Major Newscasts and are carried by all VOCM network stations; and except for the first, are also carried by the CFCB stations.

Sports[edit]

VOCM's play-by-play sports coverage is currently limited to the Royal St. John's Regatta every August, and in some cases the Herder Memorial Trophy championship games. The VOCM network had carried the games of the American Hockey League's St. John's Maple Leafs throughout the 1990s; however, coverage was dropped around the start of the 2000s, since the team's fortunes were declining somewhat, and coverage interfered with the station's more successful talk programming.

VOCM does not typically broadcast play-by-play coverage of out-of-market sports events, unlike most other full-service or news-talk stations in medium-sized Canadian markets, again since it would interfere with live talk programming.

Music[edit]

Outside of its talk programming, VOCM uses a current country music format, having adopted that format in mid-2002 shortly after sister station CKIX-FM dropped country music. Previously the St. John's station had aired a mix of soft AC and classic hits, veering more towards the latter since CJYQ's flip to Newfoundland music in 2000; however, most VOCM network stations had carried a country format since at least the early 1990s.

Other specific programs include: the VOCM Good Morning Show (5:30am to 9:00am), which carries a variety of information features (such as school information) in addition to some country music; the Saturday Night Cabin Party, which is devoted to classic country music from the 1950s to the 1980s; and the VOCM Saturday Morning Irish Newfoundland Show, playing Newfoundland music.[4] The station also airs short features (such as Would You Believe?) throughout the day.

Coordinates: 47°32′51.57″N 52°46′58.96″W / 47.5476583°N 52.7830444°W / 47.5476583; -52.7830444

References[edit]

  1. ^ "VOCM Open Line". Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  2. ^ "VOCM Back Talk". Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  3. ^ "VOCM Night Line". Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  4. ^ "VOCM Morning Show". Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 

External links[edit]