The development of television in Canada had been interrupted by WWII. While other countries had taken the lead in post war experimentation, Canada, realizing that television would go through a difficult and costly period, opted for the role of observer.
The original CITY-TV station, and the only one that would carry those official call letters, was licensed on November 25th to a company represented by Phyllis Switzer (Channel Seventy-Nine Limited). The applicant proposed a programming service that was uniquely different from, and complementary to, services provided by existing stations. The station would broadcast daily from 4 p.m. to midnight and then repeat that programming the following day between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CITY-TV would broadcast on UHF channel 79 with an effective radiated power of 31,000 watts video and 3,100 watts audio (directional) with antenna height of 403 feet.
After 21 years of Liberal government in Canada, the Conservatives, under Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, came to power in 1957. This new government, after much lobbying by “private” broadcasters, passed a new Broadcasting Act in 1958, establishing the Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG) to be the “watchdog” of Canadian broadcasting. Since its inception in 1936, this had been the domain of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) which independent “private” broadcasters had complained was both their regulator and competitor.
The first Canadian stations to carry an “A” logo and identity were launched by Craig Media, CKEM-TV in Edmonton and CKAL-TV in Calgary. Previously, the Craig family owned just two stations, in Brandon (CKX-TV) and Portage La Prairie (CHMI-TV), Manitoba. The two Alberta stations were each identified as A-Channel.
The beginnings of what was to become E! in Canada came about when, in July, CanWest Media Inc. received CRTC approval for the acquisition of the assets of Western International Communications Inc (WIC). These properties included several B.C. twin-stick CBC affiliates, and CHCH-TV Hamilton, Ontario, an independent station that had been launched in 1953, and that had been acquired by WIC from Maclean Hunter in 1991.
In the 1960’s, Ken Soble, founder of CHCH-TV in Hamilton, had a dream to launch a super station that would use satellite to reach all of Canada. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1966. Al Bruner worked for Soble back then. He too had this super station dream and pursued it.
The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) expressed its interest in the establishment of a third French language commercial television service in the Province of Quebec, but without issuing a call for applications.
OMNI Television was born when Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. launched CJMT-TV Toronto on September 16. Rogers had been awarded a licence by the CRTC for a second multilingual TV channel in Toronto on April 8.
The Government proclaimed a television policy whereby the delivery of licences, the creation of networks and broadcasting were to be strictly governed by the Board of Governors of Radio-Canada (CBC) and the latter would itself take the initiative of building studios and television stations.
On March 22, Joseph Alexandre DeSève received an operating licence from the Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG), which would later become the Canadian Radio-Television and Commission (CRTC), for the first private television station in Montreal, Télé-Métropole (CFTM-TV).