Broadcasting Corporation of Newfoundland
|Owner||Dominion of Newfoundland government|
|William Fenton Galgay (general manager)|
|Dissolved||1949 (operations absorbed into CBC)|
The Broadcasting Corporation of Newfoundland (BCN) was the government-owned public radio service of the dominion of Newfoundland. Following Newfoundland's admission as a Canadian province in 1949, the BCN was absorbed into the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and its three main AM radio transmitters remain in operation today as CBC Radio One stations.
The radio service was founded in 1939 by the Commission of Government. Later that year, it bought the Dominion Broadcasting Company, owner of VONF (640 AM) in St. John's, from the Avalon Telephone Company, forerunner of NewTel. Not long after taking control, the corporation acquired two transmitters at Mount Pearl that had been built during World War I as Royal Navy HMS Wireless Station (BZM) for North Atlantic communications with Royal Navy ships. BCN's studios were at the sixth floor of the Hotel Newfoundland in St. John's.
The general manager of the BCN for its 10 years of operation was William Fenton Galgay, who with Joseph Butler had founded the service in 1932. Notable broadcasters also included Aubrey MacDonald, known as Aubry Mac, and the musician Robert MacLeod.
BCN accepted advertising on the station whose programming consisted of commercial, educational and entertainment shows. Notable programmes included future Newfoundland Premier Joey Smallwood's The Barrelman, which spun information and history with island folklore, and the Gerald S. Doyle News Bulletin, which interspersed family and community news about islanders with more serious journalism.
The BCN provided islanders with news of World War II as well as serving as a disseminator of wartime propaganda and as a recruitment tool for the armed forces. After the war, the network provided gavel to gavel coverage of the proceedings of the 1946-1948 Newfoundland National Convention that was elected to determine the future of the dominion. While these broadcasts were closely followed by Newfoundlanders, the loss of advertising revenue from the commercial-free broadcasts hampered BCN's ability to improve its programming.
One of BCN's final acts was to cover the referendums of June 3 and July 22, 1948, on the dominion's future. As the result was to join Canadian confederation, the facilities and staff of the BCN were transferred to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on April 1, 1949, when Newfoundland joined Canada. VONF was renamed CBN, VORG became CBG and VOWN became CBY. Bill Galgay remained as the CBC's Newfoundland regional director until his death.
All three stations remain in operation as of 2017 as affiliates of CBC Radio One. To this day, all Radio One stations in Newfoundland and Labrador essentially operate as a subsystem within the Radio One network; they simulcast most of CBN's programming during Radio One's local programming blocks.
A CBC Radio comedy series in the 1990s, The Great Eastern, reimagined the BCN as still being in operation as Newfoundland's own independent public broadcaster, and was presented in the format of a parodic arts and culture newsmagazine show produced by the BCN.
HQ - 6th floor Hotel Newfoundland 1939-1949
- Corner Brook - VOWN (AM790), 1943–1949
- Gander - VORG (1450 AM), mid-1940s-1949
- St. John's - VONF (840 and 640 AM), 1939–1949
- VONG (9.47 MHz, later 9.48 MHz) 1940-?, now defunct
- VONH (5.98 MHz, later 5.97 MHz) 1940s, became CBNX in 1949, now CKZN
- Mount Pearl (2)