Gilbert “Gib” Liddle

March 1954

Gilbert Liddle came from England (circa 1902). He was ten and orphaned which labeled him a “home boy”. He lived and worked on a farm in Elmwood, Ontario located 10km. north of Hanover. It was a harsh life at a young age.

After serving in the army and fighting in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Gilbert “rode the rails out west” and returned to Toronto where he met and eventually married Ruth Tinning in 1922. There they became fast friends with Clyde Mitchell. All soon moved to Waterloo where their lives were about to change in a grand new direction. The age of radio was gaining popularity in Canadian homes.

The Liddles began a family with Betty, Jack, Isabelle, Frank and Jane.

In 1929, Gilbert and Clyde founded and owned K-W’s radio station – CKCR (forerunner of CHYM).

In 1944, Clyde Mitchell and Gilbert ‘Gib’ Liddle, owners of CKCR-AM received a licence for an FM station in the Kitchener-Waterloo market. Adding an FM station was more a defensive gesture than anything. Transmitting on FM was relatively inexpensive, and should the medium take off, CKCR would be ready.

CKCR-FM signed on the air later in the year, simulcasting the programs of its AM sister station. The FM operated on 96.7 MHz with a power of 350 watts. Studios were in the Arcade Building, 125 King Street East, in downtown Kitchener. CKCR was a CBC Dominion affiliate. CKCR-FM used an RCA transmitter.

For the smooth running of CKCR, owners Gib Liddle and Mitch Mitchell had two very different roles. Gib was the outside man, looking after the advertisers, while Mitch was the inside man, presiding over the CKCR staff.

In 1949 Clyde Mitchell and Gilbert Liddle, owners of CKCR-AM now broadcasting on 1490 AM, received a licence for an FM station in the Kitchener-Waterloo market. Adding an FM station was more a defensive gesture than anything. Transmitting on FM was relatively inexpensive, and should the medium take off, CKCR would be ready. CKCR-FM signed on the air later in the year, simulcasting the programs of its AM sister station.

In late September of 1953 Clyde Mitchell passed away. He had suffered a slight heart attack at the CCBA convention a few days earlier and died at his home. Succeeding Mitchell, Gilbert Liddle was named president and general manager of CKCR. Liddle became a partner in Kitchener-Waterloo Broadcasting Co., founded by Mitchell in 1939, and had been commercial manager since that time. Jim Mitchell, 21-year old son of the founder, was appointed commercial manager. Also in 1953, Gilbert Liddle announced that he had filed an application for a television licence with the Department of Transport. He said he was ready to go ahead with television just as soon as he got the official word.

An application for a television station was filed under the name of Central Ontario Television Ltd. The application was denied. There were concerns over foreign ownership (Famous Players Canadian Corp. would be 50% owner and this company was said to be 65% American owned) and the use of channel 6 which was intended for operation in Toronto. N.S. Robertson, counsel for Central Ontario Television Ltd., made the case for his company at the board meeting. He said the other 50% of the company would be offered for sale to Carl Pollock, general manager of Dominion Electrohome and owner of CFCA-FM, which went off the air a year ago, and Gilbert Liddle, part owner of CKCR radio. The television application was to be heard again later in the year – for the 4th time – along with a competing application from Grand Television Ltd. Central Ontario Television’s application was approved this time.

On March 1 1954 CKCO-TV went on the air. Later that month Gib Liddle, president and general manager of CKCR and partner of the newly launched CKCO-TV, died at age 64 while on vacation.

Ownership of CKCR-AM-FM passed to the Mitchell and Liddle families, each owning an equal share.

In 1960 ownership changes were approved affecting CKCR Radio and CKCO-TV. The changes involved the sale of interests by two elderly windows – Mrs. Clyde Mitchell and Mrs. G. Liddle. They owned Kitchener-Waterloo Broadcasting Co. (CKCR) and that company held 25% of CKCO-TV. Famous Players Canadian held 50% and Carl Pollock (president), held 50% of CKCO-TV. Pollock would acquire the 25% held by the widows. This would create a 50% ownership between Pollock and by Famous Players for CKCO-TV.