Engineer Bergquist circa 1949 CJOR


Norman Eric Bergquist


Born July 17, 1916 in MacGregor, Manitoba, the son of Swedish immigrants, Bergquist grew up on a farm where doing chores contributed to shaping his character. In their high school years he and some friends had made a few impromptu radio broadcasts and by the beginning of 1939 he had received a certificate from Philco stating that he was “qualified to do guaranteed service work on all makes of radios.” He served during WWII in the Canadian Signal Corp and after the war worked for CKRC in Winnipeg starting in January, 1946 where he assisted in the installation of new transmitter facilities. He moved west about 1947 and was employed by CJOR in Vancouver, B.C. as an engineer.


Bergquist married Angela Kopp on March 19, 1949 in Vancouver and moved to Victoria in July, 1951 to become Dave Armstrong's chief engineer at CKDA. He contributed to the improvement of facilities there increasing transmitter power. His son, Jim Bergquist says, "he came home one day and told our mother about the problems that they were having finding a suitable site for a new transmitter in Victoria and Mom asked if there was somewhere off shore that they could use. Dad and the others looked around and they found the Chatham Island (a native owned island about 9 km SE of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club) location for their three tower antenna and transmitter facility. Maintenance of the facilities involved trips to and from the island aboard the ‘Chatham Chief’. This boat ended up on the rocks at least once that I know of but the family got off ok although there was some concern about the boat sinking. There was a time when Dad was stranded on the island and had to swim over to Discovery Island under poor conditions in order to use a phone to call for help. The barnacles there were a hazard but he did manage to get ashore with some cuts as a result. During a severe storm one year the ‘Chatham Chief’ sank while anchored at the yacht club and had to be replaced by a new boat. The story made the local papers.”


“In the mid 1950s Dave Armstrong et al. decided to extend their interests to include television with the construction of CHEK-TV in Victoria and Dad became the chief engineer in addition to holding the chief engineer position at CKDA. The transmitter facilities were located on Saturna Island about midway between Victoria and Vancouver and a 29 ft. cabin cruiser named the ‘Saturna Chief’ served as a link to the island for the TV station. Dad supervised and assisted in the installation of the television transmitter equipment on Saturna Island. About 1960 CHEK-TV did some live broadcasts from the PNE in Vancouver which demonstrated the use of ‘satellite stations’ for television remotes. One time Dad had to check the station’s signal strength at various locations on Vancouver Island, so he added a receiver and a set of ‘rabbit ears’ to the family car and when he was driving about people would ask him if he had television in the car. He would answer that he could only get the audio portion of the signal.”


“In July, 1962 Dad, Mom and now 5 children moved to Fresno, California where Dad found a position at KJEO-TV as an engineer. His initial position was as a Video Tape Technician but this was a time when television in the US was switching from B & W to color so there were a lot of equipment changes. During the sixties the technology switched from tubes to transistors which made the equipment more reliable but also introduced more complexity. After five years when he was able to become a US citizen, he was able to get a 1st class radio operator's license which enabled him to again work with transmitters and assist in providing support for live remotes in the Fresno area such as an annual telethon from a local auditorium with guest stars from around California. Dad retired from television in 1978."


Suffering from prostate cancer he died on August 10, 1992.



Broadcast Engineer



CKRC (CKRX - CKRO) 1946-1947


TransCanada Communications Limited


CJOR 1947 -1951



CKDA 1951 - 1962



CHEK-TV 1955 - 1962



KJEO-TV 1962-1978

Fresno, California





Bergquist Collection

  1. CHEK-TV staff photo shows Bill Rea and Dave Armstrong seated bottom left and Norman Bergquist top row left
  2. CHEK-TV staff photo shows Norman Bergquist on back row second from left
  3. CJOR window south of Grosvenor Hotel entrance on Howe Street
  4. CJOR art deco big studio entrance on opposite side of street



Pictures submitted by Jim Bergquist

BC Radio History