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CKRA capital96.3fm logo.png
City Edmonton, Alberta
Broadcast area Edmonton Capital Region
Branding 96-3 Capital FM
Slogan 70's, 80's & More
Frequency 96.3 MHz (FM)
First air date November 15, 1979
Format Classic hits
ERP 100,000 watts
HAAT 230.5 meters (756 ft)
Class C
Transmitter coordinates 53°25′9″N 113°14′29″W / 53.41917°N 113.24139°W / 53.41917; -113.24139Coordinates: 53°31′21″N 113°37′40″W / 53.52250°N 113.62778°W / 53.52250; -113.62778 (96.3 Capital FM)
Callsign meaning C K-Lite (Old format) AlbeRtA
Owner Newcap Radio
(Sale pending to Stingray Digital)
Sister stations CFCW, CFCW-FM, CIRK-FM
Webcast Listen Live

CKRA-FM (96.3 FM, "Capital 96.3") is a commercial radio station licensed to Edmonton, Alberta. Owned by Newcap Radio, it broadcasts a classic hits format.

CKRA's studios are located inside the West Edmonton Mall, while its transmitter is located at Ellerslie Road and Provincial Highway 21, just southeast of Edmonton city limits.

CKRA is currently ranked #4 in the Edmonton market according to the Fall 2014 Numeris data report.[citation needed]


On April 17, 1979, CFCW Limited, owner of CFCW in Camrose, received approval to operate a new FM station in Edmonton. There were ten other applicants for the new license, including CHUM Limited, Radio Station CHED Ltd., CHQT Broadcasting Ltd., The Voice of the Prairies Ltd. (owners of CFCN in Calgary), and Roger Charest. On November 15, 1979, CKRA-FM signed on with an album rock format. By the mid-1980s, CKRA shifted to adult contemporary under the "96 K-Lite FM" moniker. In 1989, CFCW Limited sold the station to current owners Newcap Radio.

On January 13, 1995, the station adopted the name "Mix 96", and shifted to a hot adult contemporary format. Several name and content changes occurred in 2002 and 2003. In the summer of 2002, CKRA adjusted its name to "96.3 The Mix" and incorporated more contemporary music into its playlist. During this time, the station opened a satellite "weekend" location on Edmonton's trendy Whyte Avenue. Local (former) A-Channel entertainment host, Shannon Tyler, was hired to co-host the morning radio show with B.J. Wilson. In February 2003, CKRA once again re-branded as "96X", "the hit music alternative" and retained its hot AC format, leaving R&B and hip-hop out of its playlist. Ryan Waters joined the new morning show, working with B.J. and Shannon then hosting solo for 90 minutes of commercial free music. Mike Anderson (middays), Tim Riess (drive time) and Carly Kincaid (evenings) rounded out the air staff. Several on-air changes followed, including Anderson leaving Middays and focusing on M.D. duties. Riess hosted several dayparts, Waters returned to his former position as "Swing Announcer" and Chris Kuchar held down "Afternoon Drive" before returning to sister station 97.3 K-Rock.

Following the transition of Power 92 to the hot AC formatted "Power 92.5" in June 2003, the station shifted to CHR and adopted the slogan "Edmonton's Only Hit Music Station", which (after Power 92 changed to adult hits) changed to "Edmonton's #1 Hit Music Station". During this time, 96X moved its Whyte Avenue studio to a booth in Hudson's Canadian Tap House from where it began broadcasting during the evenings and on weekends. The station also began weekly broadcasts on Saturday nights from The Standard nightclub. 96X hoped to duplicate the success of Power 92, who targeted the younger demographics through "Power Parties" and would regularly broadcast from different clubs around Edmonton. Long term success was not to be as 96X enjoyed one average and one top 6 rating result, the latter being the highest market share reached to date. At the time, B.J. Wilson and Shannon Tyler hosted the morning show, Carley Kincaid entertained middays, Tim Riess sat in the chair for PM drive, and Adam McKale was the evening DJ. 96X's popularity among younger listeners was bolstered by Power 92.5's flip to "92.5 Joe FM", which airs a variety hits format. In the fall of 2005, 96X's main studio moved from its old location in a 99th Street strip mall to a new facility in Phase 4 of the West Edmonton Mall along with Newcap Broadcasting's other stations.

However, the entry of CHBN "91.7 The Bounce" in March 2005 and CHDI "SONiC 102.9" in April 2005 spelled disaster for 96X, whose market quickly dispersed over the upcoming months. In response, the station once again changed its identity on August 31, 2005, this time to "The 90s and Now: 96X" and reverted to its former hot AC format, but left most of the rhythmic content intact. This change was unsuccessful in regaining listeners.

On December 12, 2005, 96X flipped to "Big Earl 96 dot 3" and adopted a country music format, as well as the slogan "He plays anything country". The station's new identity was modelled after Newcap's CFCW "Big Earl 98 dot 1" station in Camrose. The last song on 96X was "Closing Time" by Semisonic. Within hours of the change, CHBN began broadcasting itself as "Edmonton's Only Hit Music Station" and over the next few months, CHBN expanded its playlist to fill 96X's former niche. The Camrose station was rebranded as "CAM FM" and began to play classic rock.

In its first quarter as "Big Earl", CKRA continued to lose listeners, registering only 2.7% of the Edmonton market and failing, for the most part, to recruit listeners from mainstays CISN and CFCW.

On March 28, 2008, at 3 PM, CKRA changed formats again, this time moving from country to classic hits as "96.3 Capital FM". The final song on "Big Earl" was "Goodbye Earl" by the Dixie Chicks. Capital FM's playlist concentrates on artists from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, including The Beatles, The Mamas & the Papas, and Fleetwood Mac. During the first ratings period after the change, the station's audience grew from a 2.0 share of audience as Big Earl to 4.9 share of audience as Capital-FM. As of the March/April 2009 BBM ratings survey, the station has a 6.9 share.

The station made headlines again on August 15, 2008, when it was announced that the legendary Edmonton morning team of Rob Christie and Audie Lynds would be reuniting starting September 2, 2008 as "Rob & Audie In The Morning". The two were one of Edmonton's dominant morning shows through the late 80's and early 90's. Jungle Jay Hamilton, who like Christie and Lynds, spent many years on CHED and Power 92, has been added on weekends.


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