Big Earl 96.3 is now Capital FM

I never listen to the radio anymore, so the only reason I know about this news is because I’ve seen an influx of traffic to one of my old posts about Big Earl 96.3. Back in December of 2005, the radio station switched formats from “96X” which was hit music, to “Big Earl” which was country music. Here’s what I wrote at the time:

If you’re scanning the radio dial here in Edmonton, you’ll notice we have a new station. Or, more accurately, an existing station that has for the thousandth time changed formats.

They’ve done it again. Big Earl is out, Capital FM is in. Here’s what they say on their website:

Finally Edmonton has a radio station that plays all your favorite songs from the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s.   Welcome to the NEW 96.3 Capital FM, Edmonton’s Greatest Hits!

Yeah, because we don’t have that already? Whatever.

I have to agree with the verdict at the Edmonton Radio Ratings site:

It needs to be said. Someone has to take this lame horse of a station to a corner of the pasture and shoot it. Two’s company but three’s a crowd with the greenhorn seemingly regulated to always be on the outside looking in over the fence of the country radio market.

It remains to be seen how much longer Newcap general manager Randy Lemay can sustain the misery before accusations of radio cruelty can be levelled. Exactly five years ago the 96.3 frequency enjoyed a fifth-place 9.6 share … what was somebody thinking?

If you check out the ratings archive, you’ll see the clear decline. I guess they think that yet another format change will save them. Once again however, they’re going up against a Corus radio station that has been very successful for a long time (Joe FM at 92.5).

Currently, the Wikipedia entry for CKRA-FM still identifies the station as Big Earl. The latest switch is the station’s fifth since 1995.

Capital FM? Even the name is completely uninspired. It’s like a terrible car accident happening in slow motion that you just can’t look away from.

UPDATE: This Edmonton Journal article has more information.

UPDATE (4/1/2008): They now have a Facebook group – check it out here.

58 thoughts on “Big Earl 96.3 is now Capital FM

  1. What happened to our Big Earl country music??? It was the only radio station we ever listened too and the only one that had decent music

  2. I love the new station! Finally a station that every song played I remember. I enjoy today’s music also, but to have a station that plays all music from the past I have to say is nothing like Joe FM. So far we have had nothing but Capital FM on in our home and on in our vehicles, even my children 14 and 11, know a wide range of songs.
    I am enjoying the change. I listen to country but hate the idea of only top 10 songs being played over and over again and the country stations tend to play the same songs so much, that any song I do like, I get sick of.
    I appreciate the change of stations and look forward to having Capital FM on for a long time.

  3. I love your station with the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s music! I’ve had it on all weekend long at home and in my car and am delighted with the oldies songs. Finally I have a station that I can listen to all the time and not have to keep flipping dials to find decent songs. I intend to pass the word to everyone that I know to tune in to your station. Good job!

  4. I am choked first they start Big Earl in Camrose then they move it to Edmonton and give us Cam FM, so we follow it to Edmonton and then they take it away totally and give us the same crap on 3 stations now. There was nothing like Big Earl now there is just CISN and CFCW and neither one was as good.

  5. I am very disappointed to hear Big Earl is gone. It was the only station I listened to. I guess I will have to go back to cisn country. Sorry about your loss newcap.

  6. What happened to Big Earl? Capital FM SUCKS! Some people like country music! All you people listening to the music of the past give it up your youth isn’t coming back in a song. Live with it your just old!! Bring back Big Earl to those of us who live in the here and now!!!

  7. You are joking. Big earl is the reason I am a country fan. To take this station from us as Albertans is a joke. Its alberta a country province not a hippy elton john gay province. Theres farming and all that is western and to take a station like big earl and let this capital station come in is a slap in the face. This province is based on oil and cattle not a gay pop singer. Anyone who takes this will good hope or happiness needs to get out of this province

  8. I think your “new” station sucks.. CISN has 10 songs..CFCW talks about the hog report and should be a talk station with a few songs thrown in..So now what do I listen to??? I think you should have given us some warning and maybe the fans would have told you a thing or two..

  9. What a shame. You had devoted followers who once again are dropped to gain what. Oh I forgot Big Business.
    This change does not impress me at all. If I wanted to listen to 50’s 60’s music I wouldn’t have listened to Big Earl.

    Was a Dedicated! I guess you guys weren’t

  10. I was a Big Earl listener and am a country music fan; however, I absolutely love the new Capital FM. There is no other station like it on the FM dial, certainly not Joe FM or Easy Rock. Though I liked Big Earl, this is way better. I tuned in Friday night and haven’t changed the dial since, at home or in the vehicle. This is the greatest music out there, from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

  11. Joe , and CAM FM are running basically the same when I go to work I have to listen to CAM FM and Capital FM is a carbon copy of both Joe and Cam, there is a reason why 80’s music went away because it is crap. What do you listen to in this area if you dont want to listen to the bounce or the bear if you are under the age of 35? Big Earl played a fantastic mix of some classic country and all new country I am really not impressed.

  12. What is with these comments? A lot of them seem to be written as if Mack is personally responsible for this radio station. Um…he isn’t, people.

    Anyway, I definitely agree with the assessment that Capital FM is a hilariously uninspired name despite the “FM” reference, both the name and the logo seem like they’ve come from an AM radio station that time forgot.

  13. I was shocked that Big Earl was dumped. I like country music, and I like the 60s, 70s & 80s tunes. Although, if you have Joe FM that plays what they claim is “everything”, then why do we need Capital FM? I’ve been listening over the weekend and for the last two days, and it’s no different than any other station around. Plus, they repeat the same songs that I haven’t heard already on Joe FM. You would think with the millions of songs that have been produced over the years, we can find a station that doesn’t repeat the same songs over and over again, week after week. That goes for the Rock stations as well, enough with the AC/DC overkill!

  14. Ho-Hum… Same old, same old. It blows me away that
    there must have been over a million songs recorded over the thirty years of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Radio stations play what a hundred, maybe two? What Edmonton needs is a station that plays what the listeners want. Hey, Newcap, why not do something great… a all request station that plays whatever we want! You never know, might work?! At very least you would find out what the listeners want!

  15. Finally, an FM station in Edmonton (finally!!, indeed)that plays a wider and better variety of oldies music!! Keep it up guys and more power!! (How about including some modern jazz music in your genre? Just asking….)

  16. I was sad to see Big Earl go as I preferred it over the other country station. But I did enjoy listening to the new station all day today. I enjoy the new & older music, the Bear is good also but too much repetition same as K-Rock. I hope this station stays around.

  17. This really sucks…Big Earl was the best station to happen to Country music. What the hell is going on??? DAMMIT PUT THE BIG EARL BACK ON!!! It kept me sane during the workday.

  18. The music on stations like Capital FM, Joe and K-Rock truly bites it. Instead of playing the other 95% of music that appeared on playlists from any of those decades, each station continues to play the same 800 songs over and over (or about the same old selection every three days). How boring! Welcome to “ordinary” Capital FM.

  19. You guys are simply amazing!!! I really couldn’t believe you guys playing seldom heard songs like “Day After Day” (just now, 8:46 a.m). It’s been ages since I last heard that song and I’m just thrilled hearing it once again!!! Just keep on doing what you’re doing guys and thanks a lot for finally arriving in Edmonton!!! More power to you!!!

  20. I TOTALLY think that the decision they made to just cut the station off so abruptly was disrespectful to those who have been devoted to Big Earl. They were so different from CISN (or however you spell it). CISN is just a radio station. Big Earl felt like family, with down to earth people. They made it seem like they would still run the station even if they were’t paid, like they belonged. I don’t know what else to say, other then I am quite disappointed!!!! And at this point, I don’t even know if they would have the same following if they DID bring Big Earl back. I think they let TOO MANY people down. Adding insult to injury that they can’t even keep one station running for more then a couple years at all, let a lone cut off Big Earl.

  21. Very disappointed Big Earle is no longer on the radio, like the others, it was the only radio station I liked as it did not play the same songs over and over. I also played a very good variety of old and new and the hosts were not annoying. I was quite annoyed to find out that Big Earle was off the air, hopefully with all the complaints maybe we can have our “Big Earle” station returned to the airways.

  22. Interesting comments from everybody. I don’t listen to country music very often, but the fact of the matter is even if cisn plays the same 10 songs over and over, and big earl was much better the ratings show that a lot more people were/are listening to cisn and all the other stations for that matter, because big earl was at the bottom of the ratings.
    So while it may be frustrating for you big earl fans the station management has to do something to try to move out of the ratings cellar

  23. The fact that you can hear the same songs over and over on most of the higher rated stations is not a testiment to their “better sound” but rather a pathetic example of just how bad FM radio is in this city.
    The only shred of entertainment appears to come from the conservative-promoting retards on CHED, the juvenille rantings on The Bear or, (god forbid), the Zyban-induced programming on Easy Rock.
    The only rapid repetition I like from my radio is the monthly entertainment value I receive from my satellite radio subscription.

  24. We are totally disappointed that Big earl is gone. I put in a country c.d now instead of listening to the radio. I loved the morning show and the talks they had with early morning evelyn. The poor lady is probably devistated. I only listened to big earl and refuse anything but!!

  25. hey, what a blow 96.3 big earl was a great station, it sucks now there is only one country station out there…. and there is so many stations as this new one…. i think its a big loss i love country music, !!! and big earl was the best one out there i guess now i will just liten to 103.9 in my car… casue the new sation is a blow… no effence just my personal words!

  26. Welcome back K-lite! It’s about time you realized the major mistakes over the years. you have come full circle, I switched over as soon as I heard and have not radio jumped since.

  27. What happened? I loved Big Earl and now its gone. Thanks alot. While I am sitting at work that is the only station I listen to. I love their music alot better than the other country music station. They shoul bring that station back.

  28. Country music sucks, thats why they took it off the air people. Capital Fm is good to listen to at work, althought i think with all the different songs out there they shouldn’t have to repeat the same bunch of songs all the time. Capital Fm is better then joe and ezrock, because they play the same exact songs day after day, at least capital tries to spread them out. So please Capital Fm try to listen to people and play a bigger selection of the 60’s and 70’s.

  29. Well thank goodness I for one love this station. I found while scanning the dial and left it there. There isn’t many commecials and I wish they had one of these stations in Calgary. Whenever I go to Edmonton I am denfintly listening to this station. Are there signal compatable with my GMC Yukons RDS system(which tells me the artist song etc) all I could get was Capital FM Edmonton’s Greatest Hits!

  30. Here’s a thought… Big Earl was rated higher than CAM FM? When Big earl was from camrose originaly… so why not just move Big Earl back to camrose to keep the fan base… and increase the ratings for a small town station? Any thoughts

  31. I loved Big Earl, now its gone. I agree, they should have gave us some warning, I would have told them a thing or two. If I want to listen to 60’s, and 70’s, I will pull out my parents old albums. SUCKS ASS! Sorry New Cap, you have now lost me forever. You really need to fire your manager because they cannot seem to make up there mind! I was dedicated, now I am just discusted!

  32. HI ENJOYED BIG EARL LOVE COUNTRY MUSIC BUT WOW LOVE THE NEW STATION IT,S ALL WE LISTEN TO AT WORK AND AT HOME AND IN MY VAN KEEP IT GOING LOVE IT

  33. Some interesting comments. You people who are raving about a 60, 70, 80’s music station being so new. I shake my head at you, one other awesome radio station played those tunes for at least 6 years and now are off the air because they didn’t have good enough numbers. If you guys would have been listening….

  34. I guess I can say the name of the station, Cool880. They actually are not off the air totally until May 20,(they have no DJ’s now) when it turns into an all news atation, now that sucks

  35. I’m not a country fan so I’m glad Capital FM is on. The other stations who claim to play all the oldies should maybe dig out the archives and trash the current pre-recorded track of 8 songs that they have played to death. At least you provide a vaiety of music. I even bought a satellite radio so I had variety.

  36. Well, I liked big earl, it was different country.
    Alot of older & newer songs. A lot of repeating though. Then I always used to go to the am dial for cfcw because they played older, sometimes to many older songs, but a good variatey. Only it’s am mono, not stereo like earl. I stopped listening
    to cisn, big earl was better. Cisn played to many
    new songs & the repeats were terrible. I’m getting use to this new station. My wife & I love the 80’s Sundays, with no comercials, you guys still repeat to much, with thousands of songs, & I do mean thousands, from the 60’s, 70’s, & 80’s you guys just play the same, (I don’t know how many songs) in a repeating loop. What the hell, I don’t understand why? I guess all radio stations repeat, that is a shame. Are all the DJ’s getting that lazy that they just play a recorded mp3 disk,
    & pause it to talk & play the many commercials that you have, this is not right, something should be done about this. Is it possible to bring back the non-repeat workday? Also, if you could go through a whole Sunday without one repeat that would be wonderfull.

  37. As a bitterly disappointed Cool880 “dumpee” I have been listening to your station since mid month and at least have been hearing some of the music I like, but not the Disc Jockey’s. I was delighted to hear Chuck Chandler on Saturday…and will hope that this is an omen that many of us who miss him (because I’m quite sure you inherited many Cool880 listeners) will soon have our “Chucker” back!

  38. Ok…I’ve given it a month or so…it still sucks! ‘Sounds like the same old tired stuff everyone else is playing. If you’re looking for truly excellent music…tune in to AccuRadio.com and choose your own…it has a beautiful sound and it’s free on the internet.

  39. Love the music, I work in the Oilfield (Trican Industrial Services) It’s the most reffreshing music I listen to all day. Hell it eeven rivials my SIRUS system!!

    Thanks

  40. I love the new station… I have started listening to it at work and on my computer at home which is something I have never done before with any other radio station..

    Thanks for the entertainment!!!

  41. i am in mourning for Big Earl!!!! I can not believe that as a major city in Alberta we only have one counrty station choice. we should be ashamed that we let Big Earl go without a fight. I like a kinds of music.when I felt like counrty i tuned in. Now i am so disgusted with the situation I refuse to listen to the other station. for my country fix i turn to the tv.

  42. Hey, quit your whining about the loss of Fat(sorry, Big) Earl. All country music sounds the same so you only need one station to play that crap.

  43. I am quite pleased with the music on Capital FM. All radios in the house and cars are set to the station. The only thing I’m not happy with is they didn’t get Chuck Chandler in the mornings.

  44. Looks like they’ve spent a whole lot to obtain Audie Lynnes and Rob Christie…that should improve things…now if they would only stop playing the same old music over and over…I can’t listen to Signs by the Five Man Electrical Band or most of that overplayed stuff, anymore…I think I’ll keep my Cirius satelite subscription!

  45. BIG EARL FANS . . . I found some leftover Big Earl stickers the other day. It occured to me, these would technically be the property NewCrap radio! I will be returning them to the station on wednesday while at West Ed Mall. Since I may or may not be there while they are open I will just leave them on the window of CrapitalFM. BE AWARE, if you have leftover stickers you should also return them to NewCrap Radio asap!!!

  46. Wow! I cant believe the negative responses in here. It is such a nice change from Country music (even though I am a really big Country fan), I think its great that us “old People” that used to dance to these tunes in the 80’s can reflect on the good times we had!! We are NOT trying to relive our youth through these songs at all, just having some great memories that Capital plays for us….and whats wrong with a little happiness in our lives?? Seems with this world right now, who couldnt enjoy some happiness?? Keep up the GREAT work Capital FM and I will be getting a sticker as soon as i can for my car! And by the way…. Go OILERS!! 🙂

  47. Big Earl WAS a good station when BJ Wilson and Shannon Tyler were DJs. After they hired Greg Shannon and his partner Tara (who belong in Nashville, not on an Edmonton radio station) the quality of the music went down the toilet. Big Earl sucked and I went back 2 listening 2 CISN! At least they played Christmas music on Dec 25, unlike Big Earl! THANK GOD FOR CISN!

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