CBEF-AM, Ici Radio-Canada Première, Windsor
Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
The CBC applied for a licence to operate a French-language AM radio station at Windsor, broadcasting on 540 kHz. The application was approved by the Board of Broadcast Governors.
On May 18, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Radio-Canada) launched French-language CBEF. The station operated on 540 kHz with a power of 2,500 watts day and 5,000 watts at night (one directional pattern for day and night). The transmitter site with four towers was located in Anderson Township, Essex County. CBEF was the Radio-Canada station for the Windsor area.
Radio-Canada’s television service came to Windsor (CBEFT-TV).
Radio-Canada had applied for an FM rebroadcaster of CBEF at Sarnia, operating on 103.9 MHz with effective radiated power of 3,000 watts. The application was withdrawn as the AM 540 signal from Windsor had been improved in the area.
CBEF launched rebroadcast transmitter CBEF-1-FM Leamington on May 19.
The main Radio-Canada network was renamed Première Chaîne on September 1.
By this time, CBEF operated one rebroadcast transmitter: CBEF-1-FM Leamington. CBEF broadcast approximately 36.5 hours of local programming each week from Windsor.
On May 9, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation received approval to operate nested FM rebroadcasting transmitters at Windsor for CBE and CBEF. The transmitter for CBEF would operate at 105.5 MHz with an average effective radiated power of 620 watts. The CBC stated that a significant number of residents in the Windsor region who describe themselves as CBC listeners indicate trouble receiving signals in downtown Windsor. The Department of Industry informed the CRTC that, should the CBC’s application for the proposed FM transmitter for CBEF be approved, the application would only be technically acceptable once the CBC submits a revised technical brief indicating a decrease in that transmitter’s maximum ERP from 2,940 watts to 2,400 watts and the resulting decrease in its average ERP from 620 watts to 506 watts. The Department indicated that the required technical change would serve to protect a station in Cleveland. The Commission notes that the CBC has agreed to comply with the Department’s direction.
Donald Nelson, the Senior Broadcast Technologist at CBC Yellowknife, transferred to CBC Windsor as of June 1 in the same capacity.
On August 9, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence of CBEF-FM (and its transmitters) to August 31, 2011.
On August 25, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CBEF and its transmitters to March 1, 2013.
Louis Saint-Cyr was the new Regional Operations Manager at CBC Windsor, responsible for stations at London and Kitchener-Waterloo. The 28-year CBC vet had been with CBC Toronto where he was Supervisor for Post Production at CBC Media Post Production Services. He began in Windsor on September 24.
On October 16, the CRTC approved the applications by the CBC to amend the licence for CBEF Windsor.
The first application was to revise the technical parameters of the station in order to change the frequency from 540 to 1550 kHz, to increase the daytime transmitter power from 2,500 to 10,000 watts (nighttime transmitter power from 5,000 to 10,000 watts) and to relocate the antenna site to Maidstone. The second application was to amend the licence for CBEF by adding an FM transmitter in Sarnia to rebroadcast the programming of the CBC’s national French-language network service La Première Chaîne. The new transmitter would operate at 98.3 MHz (channel 252A) with an average effective radiated power of 2,320 watts (non-directional antenna with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 113.7 metres). In its first application, the CBC stated that a serious rust problem was discovered during a tower inspection at CBEF’s site in August 2011. In order to solve this problem and to maintain CBEF’s current technical parameters, the replacement of four obsolete towers would have been necessary, thus resulting in costs of $600,000. Given that the CBC owned a second AM site in the Windsor region and that it had not been in service since September 30, 2011, the licensee proposed to relocate the CBEF station to this site, which was CBE’s (Radio One’s) former site in Maidstone on frequency 1550 kHz. The CBC stated that the site was in good condition and no investment was expected in the upcoming years. In its second application, the CBC stated that the technical amendment proposed in its first application would result in loss of coverage for its French-language service La Première Chaîne in the Sarnia region. The CBC proposed the addition of a new FM broadcasting transmitter in Sarnia to alleviate this loss in coverage. The new transmitter would allow the listeners of Sarnia to receive the programming of CBEF Windsor.
On February 22, the CRTC administratively renewed the licences for CBEF Windsor and its transmitters to August 31, 2013.
CBEF was scheduled to shut down operations on 540 kHz on March 1 after the simulcast time with 1550 kHz expired.
On May 28, the CRTC renewed the licence of CBEF Windsor and its transmitters CBEF-1-FM Leamington and CBEF-2-FM Windsor for a five year term, to August 31, 2018.
In reaction to reductions in parliamentary appropriations in 2009, the CBC significantly reduced CBEF’s local programming. In 2010, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages filed an action with the Federal Court alleging that the CBC contravened its obligations under the Official Languages Act, by failing to hold consultations with the Southwestern Ontario OLMC and by failing to conduct an impact analysis prior to its decision to significantly reduce local programming. The CBC requested that the Court reject the action on a preliminary basis, arguing that its programming services were subject only to the Act, over which the Commission exercised an exclusive jurisdiction. As well, the CBC argued that the Commission was best suited to make decisions on the negative impact of the reductions in parliamentary appropriations on the local and regional programming of CBEF. In June 2012, the Federal Court issued an interim decision denying the model of exclusive jurisdiction proposed by the CBC and ruled in favour of the concurrent jurisdiction of both the Federal Court and the Commission. The Court, however, stated that the Commission was better placed to decide the issues at hand because of the imminent CBC renewal proceeding. The Court suspended the file pending the completion of the CBC licence renewal proceeding. In its licence renewal application, the CBC proposed to provide five hours of local programming each broadcast week on CBEF. However, at the public hearing, the CBC indicated that it would accept a condition of licence requiring it to provide 10 hours of local programming per broadcast week. After examining the record of the proceeding, the Commission was of the view that it was appropriate to require by condition of licence that CBEF provide a minimum of 15 hours of local programming per week.
The CBC sold its 32,000 square-foot building on Riverside Drive. The broadcaster would lease 13,000 square feet from the new owner and maintain its operations there.
On February 3, the CRTC approved the CBC’s application for CBEF-FM to operate an FM rebroadcasting transmitter in Sarnia that would allow listeners to receive ICI Radio-Canada Première’s programming. The new transmitter would operate at 101.5 MHz (channel 268A) with an effective radiated power of 1,886 watts (non-directional antenna with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 104.7 metres).
In July, CBEF-FM-3 Sarnia signed on the air with 1,886 watts at 101.5 MHz.
The story continues elsewhere…
Effective September 1st 2019, we will only be adding new material to these station histories in exceptional circumstances. Our intent to chronicle the early days of these radio and television stations has been achieved, and many new sources and technologies, from the CRTC website to Wikipedia, and others, are now regularly providing new information in these areas.