Golden West, the largest independent radio broadcaster in Canada, started 65 years ago.

The first station, CFAM, began broadcasting at 8:01 p.m. on March 13, 1957. The radio station, operating at 1,000 watts and heard at 1290 AM, was housed in a small studio in Altona – a community of 1,800 people at the time.

“It was a very momentous evening – something that people had looked forward to for quite a while,” reflected CEO Elmer Hildebrand, who at the time of the launch, worked as a commercial copywriter at the station. “It was a cold winter day…(and) it was an amazing evening and from my recollection, it’s sort of like yesterday, I can remember it well.”

A man with light skin tone wearing glasses and with grey hair smiles at the cameraElmer Hildebrand, Golden West CEO

From modest beginnings, Golden West has grown to more than 40 radio stations, employs hundreds of professionals and continues to develop robust solutions to help business and communities grow. The Golden West offer includes dozens of community-based web destinations that, each year, reach almost 100 million users that consume more than a quarter-billion pages of information.

The addition of Homefield to the Golden West family provides clients and partners with an incredible set of tools to improve online performance in reach and revenue. Alongside the considerable array of marketing and advertising tools, Homefield People and Strategy provides specific tools to assist businesses with strategy, staff retention, and growth.

Hildebrand admits that in those early days he had no idea that small group would become an entity of this size. “But somewhere in the mid-60’s it dawned on me that this was a real business and that we could probably expand it over time, and we have.”

Golden West has continued to grow, evolve, and innovate to remain a vital part of the fabric for about two-dozen communities. The belief in local news, weather and sports continues to be the foundation of relationships with communities, clients, and families in the centres it works in and represents. "We are nothing if we are not serving the community," noted Hildebrand.

An image shows the logos of Golden West, Homefield, and the various radio stations