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. From its studies, the government deemed it wise to delay the introduction of television until it was satisfied that it could adopt a system which would serve the best interests of the country.
That being said, Canadians living next to or near the Canada-USA border were receiving U.S. television programs with relative ease, and others further distant with high antennas could pick them up with varied clarity. But most Canadians had yet to see their first television program – and they were waiting impatiently.
In March, the Government of Canada took its first positive step when it gave the CBC permission to create TV production centers in Toronto and Montreal, and loaned it the money for the purpose.
Despite the fact that Canadian television did not exist, by 1950, 30,000 television sets were purchased in Canada, and by the next year, another 40,000 were sold.
The Royal Commission on National Development in Arts, Letters and Sciences (the Commission considers that it is appropriate to impose conditions of licence on Espace Musique and Radio 2 that: permit the broadcast of a maximum of four minutes of national paid advertising, as currently defined by the Commission, in any clock hour; and limit the number of times that programming can be interrupted for advertising to no more than twice per clock hour.The Massey-Levesque Commission) recommended to Parliament a plan for the development of Canadian TV which would see the CBC establishing transmitters in a number of large cities of Canada, supplemented by private stations which would act as CBC affiliates.
On September 6th, CBFT Montreal had the honour of being the first Canadian TV station to begin regular broadcasting, programming in both French and English. CBLT Toronto followed two days later. Initially, the two stations offered 18 hours of programming a week – together, capable of reaching 30% of Canadians – a figure well exceeding the number owning TV sets.
A Bell microwave-link between Toronto and Buffalo made it possible for CBLT to carry American programs “live”. A link to connect with CBFT in Montreal and to the CBC’s newest station CBOT-TV, was completed in time to broadcast the June 2nd coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. CBC’s TV weekly programming rose to 30 hours.
Canada’s first privately owned television station CKSO-TV (CBC’s first private affiliate) came on the air October 25. With infinite ingenuity and lacking a direct source of networked programs, by providing a mixture of locally-produced features, theatrical films and kinescopes (video recordings) of CBC-produced programs shipped by air daily from Toronto, CKSO-TV pioneered a mode of television broadcasting that endured until the microwave system linked the station to Toronto in 1956.
CFPL-TV London, hard on the heels of CKSO-TV, became the second private affiliate on November 28th.
On December 16th, Vancouver’s CBUT became the first TV station to be built in western Canada.
The year saw 3 more CBC TV stations in operation – CBC’s English language station, CBMT Montreal, (January 10) leaving CBFT to program French language only, CBWT in Winnipeg (May 31) and CBHT in Halifax (December 20th).
Fifteen private affiliates of the CBC came on the air – in Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Sault Ste. Marie, Windsor, Kitchener, Hamilton, Kingston, Quebec City, Moncton, Sydney, Saint John, N.B. and Port Arthur (Thunder Bay) and Rimouski.
With 7 CBC stations and 17 privately owned affiliates, the reach of CBC programming rose in two years to 60%, with the number of Canadians owning receivers climbing from 150,000 to almost one million.
Eight more private stations came alive – in Lethbridge, Brandon, North Bay, Wingham, Barrie, Peterborough, Jonquiere and St. Johns.
CBOFT-TV came on the air June 25th, the CBC-owned second French language station.
By March, the Bell Telephone microwave connected stations in Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Peterborough, Kingston, Toronto, Hamilton, Kitchener, London and Windsor. The CBC continued to use kinescope recordings to serve all other cities.
Private stations were born in Victoria, Charlottetown, Timmins and Sherbrooke.
The first television broadcast of the opening of Parliament could have been accessed by 66% of all Canadians.
Television was brought by private stations to Kamloops, Kelowna, Medicine Hat, Swift Current, Red Deer, Noranda and an English station in Quebec City.
The Report of the Royal Commission on Broadcasting established December 2, 1955 by Order in Council, was tabled on March 15th. The “Fowler Report”, so-named for its chairman, Robert Fowler, ranged over a wide number of issues and had a significant impact on policy development. Overriding all other recommendations was the separation of the CBC from the role of regulator, and the creation of a single system. All Canadian radio and television stations (and networks), public and private, would be integral parts – regulated and supervised by an agency representing the public interest and responsible to Parliament.
Live network arrived in Alberta via microwave in time for the World Series Baseball.
Two more private stations were added to the English TV network – in Prince Albert and Yorkton, and 2 French language stations in Matane and Trois Rivieres.
The CBC English Television Network, now numbering 46 stations (only 6 of which were CBC-owned) and accessible by 91% of Canadians, celebrated its status as the world’s longest television network by broadcasting a July 1 program via microwave from links stretching between Victoria, British Columbia and Sydney, Nova Scotia.
Live network service came to CBHT-TV Halifax thanks to microwave.
The CBC’s French Network comprised 8 private stations and CBFT-TV Montreal and CBOFT-TV Ottawa providing the Network programming.
On September 6, Bill C-55 was passed by Parliament as The Broadcasting Act, bringing the regulation and supervision of the network and all future networks – and, for that matter, all broadcasting – under the responsibility of the Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG) which was formed on November 10.
Four more private stations began broadcasting in Dawson Creek, Moose Jaw, Carleton, Que., and Cornwall.
The CBC established CBY-TV in Cornerbrook.
CBHT Halifax added re-broadcast transmitters at Liverpool, Shelbourne and Yarmouth.
A private station started operations in Lloydminster and the CBC added CBWFT-TV Winnipeg to its French Network.
The Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG) held hearings for “second” private stations in eight of the largest cities in Canada. The first of these stations came on the air in Calgary and Vancouver.
The arrival of the microwave brought live CBC Network programming to British Columbia.
More “second” stations came on the air in Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.
Efforts began to form a network involving these stations and eventually came to fruition when the BBG granted a licence to CTN the Canadian Television Network to be operated by a consortium headed by Spence Caldwell, a failed applicant for the “second ” TV licence in Toronto. (see The History of the CTV Network).
After much negotiation, CTN started in the fall.
The CBC established its own transmitter to serve Edmonton (CBXT-TV) and CFRN-TV switched to CTN.
One private station started in Prince George, B.C.
One more private station came on the air in Terrace, B.C.
CBVT-TV Quebec City came on the air as the CBC’s fourth French station joining CBFT-TV Montreal, CBOFT-TV Ottawa, CBWFT-TV Winnipeg and 9 private affiliates.
CBC launched CBNT-TV in St John’s Newfoundland, leaving CJON-TV to join CTN.
Colour TV came to Canada when the CBC was authorized to spend an initial $15-million to convert its facilities, equipment and transmitters to the specifications needed for colour TV.
CBC was host broadcaster for Expo ’67, the World’s Fair called Man And His World, which ran for six months on a group of man-made islands on the St. Lawrence River in Montreal to mark the 100th Anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. Over 650,000,000 viewers in 70 countries were estimated to have watched the Opening Ceremonies on April 28th, and scores of radio and television crews from all over the world used the CBC’s International Broadcast Centre at Expo ’67 to send coverage back to their respective countries.
In July, the CBC was also the host broadcaster for the Pan-American Games, which were held over a two-week period in Winnipeg.
The CBC English Network was now broadcasting 30 hours per week of colour programming, and the CBC French Network was originating approximately 15 hours.
By an act of Parliament (The Broadcasting Act) proclaimed April 1, the Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) succeeded the Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG) as the regulator and supervisor of public and private broadcasting.
CFCY-TV Charlottetown, which had been founded in 1955 by the family of Col. Keith Rogers, became an owned-and-operated station of the CBC – the call letters changing to CBCT-TV.
The CBC Network’s aim to serve Canadians everywhere was re-enforced when Telesat Corporation (Telestat Canada) was created, with a mandate toward providing the first synchronous-orbit satellite designed to add improved efficiency for domestic communications.
CBC bought CHRE-TV Moose Jaw / Regina which became CBKT-TV, with CKCK-TV switching to CTN.
CHUM purchased CJCB-TV Sydney in March 1971 and CKCW-TV Moncton, New Brunswick and both switched to CTV when the CBC’s CBIT-TV Sydney went on the air.
CBC’s networks began to be carried on the newly-established Anik-1 satellite, aiding in expanding the scope of CBC’s reach, particularly to areas of the far north that formerly were dependent on receiving CBC’s national prime-time programming via Frontier Coverage Packages.
The Accelerated Coverage Plan proposed by the CBC, was approved by the government. The plan required the underserved Canadian communities of over 500 people to receive service efficiently and in the appropriate language.
In December, the CBC’s Northern Service began to use the Anik satellite for its broadcasts, which allowed for a wide range of service supplied by production centres in Montreal, Frobisher Bay, Inuvik and Yellowknife.
CBC opened its own TV station in Calgary (CBRT-TV), and on September 1, CFAC-TV disaffiliated from the network and became an independent
The Canadian Radio-Television Commission was re-named The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission.
CFPL-TV London and CKNX-TV Wingham dropped their affiliation with the CBC Network.
As a result, the Corporation opened re-broadcasting transmitters in Chatham, Kitchener, Paris, Wiarton, Simcoe, Sarnia and Wingham, effectively covering all of South-Western Ontario with programming from CBLT Toronto.
The last CBC Television broadcast from the old Studio One (where the station’s first broadcast took place) occurred on March 18.
All of CBC Toronto’s operations moved to the new Canadian Broadcasting Centre at 250 Front Street West.
On August 29, CBC affiliate CHSJ-TV Saint John, New Brunswick ceased to exist. It became CBAT, owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. New Brunswick had been the only province not served by a CBC owned and operated English language TV station. CBAT uses its existing facility in Fredericton as the main studio.
CBAT had re-broadcasters at Bon Accord, Moncton, Chatham/Newcastle, Campbellton, Doaktown and Boisetown.
Between 1984 and 1994, the CBC had suffered 5 major spending cuts representing 30% of its grants from the Federal Government and resulting in staff reductions from 1,200 to just over 9,000. Many of the secondary market owned and operated stations were forced to cut out local production entirely or it was severely restricted.
On September 1st, CKVR-TV Barrie dropped its affiliation with the CBC Network to go Independent.
On that date, CBLT opened three re-broadcasters in Barrie, Huntsville and Parry Sound.
The CBC purchased the MCTV CBC affiliated stations in Northern Ontario from CTV Inc. CFCL-TV-3 Kapuskasing. CFCL-TV-2 Kearns, CHNB-TV North Bay, CJIC-TV Sault Ste. Marie, CKNC-TV Sudbury and CFCL-TV Timmins, became rebroadcasters of CBLT.
In Saskatchewan the CBC purchased CJFB-TV Swift Current from the Forst family, CKOS-TV Yorkton and CKBI-TV Prince Albert from CTV Inc.
CBLT began digital operations on channel 20 from the CN Tower. The inaugural weekend schedule on March 5 and 6 included a premiere of the Nature of Things: Nature Bites Back – The Case of the Sea Otter. CBC HD then broadcast highlights from past and upcoming HD projects, including Hockey: A People’s History, which was still in production at the time. . HD programming was based on the regular network schedule, with HD and wide-screen programming simulcast when available.
At 12:01am on August 15th, the CBC and Radio-Canada locked out their 5500 employees. Months of negotiations had failed to achieve agreement between the Corporation and the Canadian Media Guild on the key matter of the Corporation’s wish to significantly increase the number of contract employees to replace staff as attrition occurred. When the membership ratified a new Agreement early in October, the Canadian Media Guild said that 3,514 ballots were cast and 88.4 per cent voted in favour of ratification.
Under the agreement, wages would increase by 12.6 per cent over the life of the contract, which would remain in effect until March 31, 2009.
On February 1st, the CRTC approved an application by Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership, to amend the broadcasting licence for the television programming undertaking CFJC-TV Kamloops and its transmitters, in order to delete the condition of licence requiring that the station be operated as an affiliate of the CBC’s national, English-language television network.
On April 7th, the CRTC approved an application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to amend the broadcasting licence for the television programming undertaking CBNT St. John’s in order to operate transmitters at Hopedale, Makkovik, Nain and Postville. The transmitters would enable viewers in the above-mentioned communities to receive programming originating from CBNT St. John’s.
The transmitters were at the time operated by the CBC as a radiocommunication distribution undertaking (RDU), which rebroadcast the programming of the CBC Northern Television Service.
The CBC had advised the Commission that improvements in satellite feed technology now permitted it to provide these communities with the full CBNT St. John’s program schedule. The CBC noted that it was thus no longer necessary that it hold a separate RDU licence for these transmitters and asked that the licence be revoked.
Accordingly, the Commission revoked the broadcasting licence issued to the CBC with respect to the above-noted RDU.
Hubert T. Lacroix was appointed President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada on November 5, 2007, for a five-year term, commencing on January 1, 2008. He succeeded Robert Rabinovitch.
Before joining CBC/Radio-Canada, Mr. Lacroix had been with Stikeman Elliott, a law firm, and prior thereto, he had acted as Executive Chairman of Telemedia Corporation and of the other Boards of Directors of the various companies in the Telemedia corporate structure. Before joining Telemedia, he had been a Senior Partner at McCarthy Tétrault, a major Canadian law firm.
On February 28 the CBC announced that it welcomed CBC/Radio-Canada: Defining Distinctiveness in the Changing Media Landscape, the report issued on that date by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.
“It’s positively encouraging to see the Committee recognize the value of public broadcasting to Canadians – on all platforms, old, new and emerging,” said Hubert T. Lacroix. “In the face of sweeping cultural, technological and industrial change, Canadians need a place for distinctive Canadian content. This report to the Government asserts the meaning and importance of public broadcasting for all Canadians, and shows how it improves our democratic and cultural lives.”
From the report itself: “The Committee regards CBC/Radio-Canada as an essential public institution that plays a crucial role in bringing Canadians closer together… The vast majority of the evidence stressed the distinctiveness of CBC/Radio-Canada, reflected in the quality, originality and creativity of its programming. Being distinctive should not however mean being inaccessible. Its services must be accessible to the various elements of the Canadian public.”
On June 28th, the CRTC approved an application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to acquire the assets of the French-language television programming undertakings CKSH-TV Sherbrooke, CKTM-TV Trois-Rivières and CKTV-TV Saguenay and its transmitter CKTV-TV-1 Saint-Fulgence, Quebec, from TQS Inc, and for new broadcasting licences to continue the operation of the undertakings under the same terms and conditions as those in effect under the current licences.
On February 2nd 2009, it was reported that members of the Canadian Media Guild had voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new five-year collective agreement with CBC/Radio-Canada. A full 93 per cent of members approved the historic deal, which had been reached in late 2008, four months ahead of the expiry of the previous agreement.
“The new agreement is based on the principle that people are the foundation of everything that CBC/Radio-Canada does,” said Hubert T. Lacroix. “We’re working together to strengthen our ability to deliver as the national public broadcaster.”
On September 14th, CBC Television announced that it had joined with other major conventional Canadian broadcasters, CTV, Global and others, to create Local TV Matters, an alliance aimed at informing Canadians about critical issues affecting local television programming specifically and the conventional broadcasting model in general.
The CRTC had announced its intention to set up a framework to permit conventional broadcasters and cable and satellite companies to negotiate a value for local signals.
With the CRTC deadline to receive submissions on these and other related issues becoming due on that day, “the broadcasters, in an unprecedented move, have determined the need to come together to reinforce the importance and value of diversity and choice within the Canadian media landscape”, said Steven Guiton, CBC/Radio-Canada’s chief regulatory officer.
On November 17th, the CBC appeared before the CRTC to ask for an end to the “free-riding” by broadcast distribution undertakings (BDUs) on conventional television services. The CBC said that the system had become so imbalanced that the CRTC acknowledged that it could not afford to sit idly by, given the threat to the future of high-quality, local Canadian programming.
“The conventional television financial model in Canada is collapsing,” said CBC/Radio-Canada President Hubert T. Lacroix. “Without a major correction that will allow conventional broadcasters to get a fair price for their signals, Canadians will have to start getting used to seeing stations shut down and high-quality programming disappear.”
The CBC presented the CRTC with a proposed regulatory framework for correcting the current inequities in the system, which it said would ensure the future of conventional broadcasting and the survival of local content for the benefit of all Canadians. As was customary, the Commission reserved its decision.
On March 22, the CBC responded to a just-announced CRTC decision regarding value-for-signal, by stating that, in its view, the CRTC had ” today failed to fulfill its responsibility to maintain a healthy broadcast system that serves the interests of Canadians.”
In its newly announced framework for conventional broadcasting, the CRTC had allowed private broadcasters to negotiate a fair value for their signals with cable and satellite companies, but denied that same right to CBC/Radio-Canada.
On August 6th, with Canada’s switch from analogue to digital over-the-air television just over a year away, CBC/Radio-Canada released the details of its plan for the transition.
CBC/Radio-Canada would be installing digital transmitters in all of the markets in which it produced original television programming, for a total of 27 transmitters. Fifteen of the 27 transmitters would be operational by August 2011, with the remaining twelve to be operational by or before August 2012.
The Corporation would continue to offer analogue service beyond the August 31, 2011 shut-off date established by government in all markets not identified by the CRTC as mandatory for digital transmission. It had also filed a request to the CRTC to allow a temporary extension of analogue service in those markets not slated for transition until after the August 2011 deadline.
Also on August 6th, CBC President Hubert T. Lacroix announced the departure of Richard Stursberg, executive vice-president, English services, from CBC/Radio-Canada. Kirstine Stewart, general manager, CBC Television, would take on the position of executive vice-president, English services, on an interim basis.
On August 9th, the CRTC renewed the broadcasting licences for the stations in the CBC Television Network from 1 September 2010 to 31 March 2011, subject to the terms and conditions in effect under the current licences.
On January 10th, the CBC announced that Kirstine Stewart, who since August 2010 had been the interim Executive Vice-President of English Services, had been confirmed in the position, responsible for the national public broadcaster’s English Services. The change was effective immediately.
On March 21st, the CRTC renewed the broadcasting licences for the CBC Television Network stations from 1 April 2011 to 31 August 2012, subject to the terms and conditions in effect under the then-current licences.
On June 17th, the CRTC announced that it would hold a hearing on September 12th, to consider the CBC’s applications for the renewal of all their various English and French radio and television networks. However, on July 8th the CRTC announced that it was postponing the licence renewal hearing for the CBC until June 2012.
The Commission advised that the decision had been made for two reasons. First, it was made further to a request by the Quebec English-language Production Committee (QEPC) for the same data that had been available for the group-based licence renewals for private English-language television, held in April 2011.
Second, the CBC/SRC had that day advised that the federal government had not yet established the future operating budget for the CBC. The CRTC believed therefore that it would be inappropriate to impose licence conditions given this uncertainty. Consequently, the CRTC had decided to postpone the renewal hearing until June 2012. A revised notice of consultation would be issued in due course, with new procedural dates.
On August 16th, the CRTC announced that it would allow the CBC to continue to operate 22 of its analog television rebroadcasting transmitters in cities in Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Quebec and New Brunswick, until August 31st 2012. In announcing their decision, the CRTC said that approval of the CBC’s proposal, and its related technical amendments, would provide additional time for affected households that relied on over-the-air service in mandatory markets to find other means to access the CBC’s television services. Approval of the proposal would also provide an opportunity for the Commission to discuss the CBC’s plans for its over-the-air transmitter system at the time of the CBC’s licence renewal hearing, now scheduled for June 2012.
On August 18th, the CBC had its Television Network licence renewed to August 2012, subject to the terms and conditions in effect under the then-current licence.
On December 15th 2011, the CBC filed with the Commission the additional data that had been requested.
On January 31st, the CBC wrote to the CRTC, requesting more time to establish its future operating budget before being faced with the imposition of any new licence conditions.
On February 1st, the CRTC published a Notice of Consultation that stated that the Commission considered that it would be inappropriate to set a hearing date for the renewal of the CBC’s licences until the CBC had had an opportunity to establish its future operating budget. The Commission was therefore postponing the licence renewal hearing until further notice.
When the Federal budget was announced on March 29th, the CBC’s worst fears were realized. The planned cost reductions included a 10% cut in the CBC’s $1.1 billion budget. The Corporation was required to reduce its expenditure by $110,000,000 over three years.
After hearing the extent of the required cuts, the CBC said that it anticipated that the true cost to the Corporation could well reach the $200 million range, after factoring in severance pay for employees who would be terminated, and the inevitable loss of revenues as a result of program cuts.
In the ensuing weeks, the CBC announced that 650 positions in total would be cut throughout its English- and French-language programming over the following three years. Kirstine Stewart, executive vice-president, English Services, said $86 million of the English Services budget would have to be cut, including $43 million in programming and 256 full-time jobs.
It was also announced that CBC News would cut $10 million from its budget and eliminate 88 news jobs, CBC Radio faced a $3-million funding cut and the loss of 18 jobs, while CBC Sports would take a $4-million hit, with Sports Weekend becoming a seasonal program and reduced amateur sports programming on the weekends.
The number of live music recordings would be cut along with all drama programming from Radio One. CBC Children’s Programs would also suffer a reduction of four hours per week in its programming.
On May 18th 2012, the CRTC wrote to CBC President Hubert Lacroix
Re: Applications by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to amend the licences of Radio 2, Espace musique, and their affiliated stations to permit national advertising.
Applications by the CBC to renew broadcasting licences for radio, television, and specialty television.
On February 1 2012 the Commission, in response to your request, postponed the licence renewal hearing of the CBC that had been scheduled for June 2012 (Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-379-2). The postponement allowed the CBC to establish its future operating budget following the tabling of the federal budget in March.’
The Commission received the radio amendment applications on April 4, 2012 along with supplementary material on April 20, and is of the view that approval of the amendments might have perceptible effects on the way CBC radio implements its mandate over the next few years.
Consequently, it will thoroughly explore the performance and plans of CBC radio in relation to its mandate when the renewals of the licences are being considered. The amendment applications, including the supplementary material, along with this letter, have been added to the existing renewal files (2011-0286-3 and 2011-0288-9) at the Commission.
In recognition of your desire for a timely ruling on the amendments the Commission is scheduling the public hearing to consider the renewals as soon as its agenda permits. The hearing will commence on November 19, 2012.
Please file material updating the renewal applications no later than July 16, 2012. The Notice of Consultation formally announcing the hearing and a further opportunity for the public to intervene will be released following receipt of the new information.
On June 26, 2012, The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, announced the appointment of Rémi Racine as Chairperson of the CBC/Radio-Canada Board of Directors for a term of five years. He succeeded Timothy W. Casgrain as Chairman.
“On behalf of everyone at CBC/Radio-Canada, we’d like to extend our congratulations to Mr. Racine on his appointment as our new Chair,” said Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO. “Certainly, the fact that he has served on the Board since 2007 is a great asset. Mr. Racine already has an understanding not only of where the organization stands today, but also what our challenges and priorities are with respect to implementing Strategy 2015: Everyone, Every Way. I look forward to continuing to work with him in this new capacity.”
On July 17th, the CRTC announced that, effective 1 August 2012, the Commission would revokes the broadcasting licences for CBIT Sydney and CBKST Saskatoon and ther transmitters. The Commission also approved the CBC’s request to amend the licences for 23 English- and French-language television stations operated by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in order that reference to all analog transmitters be deleted. These amendments were to be effective 1 August 2012. The CBC planned to cease operation of all these transmitters on 31 July 2012.
The CBC had filed an application to revoke the broadcasting licences for its television programming undertakings CBIT Sydney, Nova Scotia and CBKST Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and their transmitters. The CBC had also requested that reference to all analog transmitters for its 23 English- and French-language television stations be removed from its licences.
On August 9th , the CRTC announced the renewal of the licences of the CBC Television Network and its owned and operated stations from 1 September 2012 to 31 August 2013, subject to the terms and conditions in effect under the current licences. As had previously been advised, the hearing of the applications for further renewal of these licences would be held beginning on November 19th 2012.
On October 9th , it was announced that Hubert Lacroix had been reappointed as President and Chief Executive Officer of CBC/Radio-Canada for a further five-year term, commencing on January 1st 2013.
On November 30th, the CBC completed a two-week Licence Renewal hearing before the CRTC in Ottawa.
In a press release on conclusion of the hearing, the CBC said:
“The Corporation used the opportunity to reiterate its commitment to the essential and unique role that the public broadcaster plays in the Canadian broadcasting system, the challenges it faces in fulfilling that role, and the need for regulatory flexibility and additional revenue opportunities to meet those challenges.
‘We have a clear mandate from Parliament and a clear vision of where we’re going,’ said Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO. “The people that appeared before the Commission over the past two weeks want us to do more of what we’re doing: more Canadian programs, more documentaries, more original programs, more children’s programming, more regional reflection of their interests, more exposure to their communities or artists.”
On February 27th, the Office of the Auditor General reported that it had found “no significant deficiencies in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s systems and practices” according to its just released audit.
The 2013 Special Examination Report was presented by the Office of the Auditor General to the Corporation’s Board of Directors. “This clean audit opinion is the best result that a federal agency can obtain,” said CBC/Radio-Canada’s president and CEO Hubert T. Lacroix in a statement.
Covering the October 2011 to June 2012 period, the report confirmed that the public broadcaster managed its assets efficiently and economically, carried out its operations effectively, and also had safeguarded and controlled its assets, said the CBC. “This exercise demonstrates to Canadians that we soundly administer the public broadcaster,” added Lacroix.
While the Auditor General noted “good practices in a number of areas,” it also noted the Corporation would benefit from improving some of its systems and practices, particularly in its management of human resources.
On April 29, Kirstine Stewart resigned from her position with the CBC after accepting a position at Twitter, Inc.
On May 28th, the CRTC announced that it had given a five-year renewal to all the radio and television licences held by the CBC, which would now expire on August 31st 2018.
At the time of the CBC’s licence renewal hearings in November 2012, the Commission had received and considered more than 8,000 interventions regarding these renewal applications. In announcing its decision, the Commission said:
“The conditions of licence that the Commission has imposed build on the discussions between the CBC and the Commission on plans for the next licence term, including the CBC’s five-year strategic plan, Strategy 2015: Everyone, Every way. The conditions also reflect the many thoughtful interventions that the Commission received through this public process. They will ensure that the CBC:
– strengthens its leadership as a pan-Canadian service that reflects and serves the needs of all Canadians in both official languages regardless of where they live;
– continues to be a significant contributor to the cultural life of Canada through the promotion of Canadian music and the creation of Canadian programs; and
-plays a greater role in the lives of Canada’s youngest citizens through Canadian programming for children.”
The CRTC further said that, to achieve these goals, the CBC’s French- and English-language television stations would be required, among other things, to:
– present a reasonably balanced schedule with programming drawn from diverse categories, as well as programming originating from and reflecting all regions of Canada;
– broadcast at least 7 hours per week of programs of national interest during prime time on French-language television and at least 9 hours per week of such programming during prime time on English-language television; and
– broadcast at least 15 hours per week of Canadian programming for children under 12.
In response to an application by the CBC to be allowed to carry commercials on radio, the Commission said that it considered it appropriate to impose conditions of licence on CBC channels Espace Musique and Radio 2 that would
permit the broadcast of a maximum of four minutes of national paid advertising in any clock hour, and would limit the number of times that programming could be interrupted for advertising to no more than twice per clock hour.
In a dissenting opinion on this matter, Commission Vice-Chairman Tom Pentefountas stated, in part: “With all due respect to my colleagues on the hearing panel, I made every effort to agree with their point of view, but I cannot in good conscience agree with the licensee’s request. It gives me no pleasure to take this position, but I would like to state from the outset that I am firmly opposed to the application to amend the licences for Radio 2 and Espace Musique to allow them to broadcast advertising by national advertisers”.
On Tuesday November 26th 2013, the National Hockey League and Rogers Communications announced jointly that Rogers had concluded an agreement with the NHL to acquire Canadian national rights to all NHL games, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final, on all of its platforms in all languages. The agreement would be for a twelve year period, concluding with the end of the 2025-26 season.
In addition to its exclusive rights for all playoff and Cup Final games, Rogers would have exclusive rights to special events such as future NHL All-Star Games and NHL Drafts.
The agreement also guaranteed there would be no further regionalization of games or local blackouts. Rogers would have three exclusive windows to broadcast any game involving a Canadian team — Wednesday nights, Saturday nights and Sunday nights. Fans would have the ability to watch any of those games regardless of geographical location within Canada.
As part of the agreement, CBC would continue to broadcast Hockey Night in Canada for at least the next four seasons, but Rogers would control the production and execution, including editorial content and on-air talent. Rogers would also earn the revenue from those broadcasts.
CBC would not receive any revenue from Hockey Night in Canada, but it would not have to spend any of its public dollars toward broadcasting it. The Stanley Cup Final would be broadcast on CBC.
TSN would continue with its regional coverage of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens.
Heather Conway joined CBC/Radio-Canada as Executive Vice-President of English Services in December 2013. She would be responsible for all of CBC/Radio-Canada’s English-language services, including CBC Television, CBC Radio One, CBC Music, CBC News Network, CBC.ca, documentary and digital operations.
As of February 6th 2014, no decision had been announced as to whether Hockey Night in Canada’s Coach’s Corner feature with Don Cherry would continue beyond the current season.
On March 10th 2014, Rogers unveiled the details of the new broadcast team for Hockey Night in Canada and Rogers’ other hockey properties. Replacing Ron MacLean as the lead host would be CBC broadcast personality George Stroumboulopoulos, who before becoming a talk show host had spent four years as a sports broadcaster at The Fan 590 in Toronto.
Ron MacLean would return with a reduced role, but would continue to hoist Coach’s Corner with Don Cherry on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturdays, and would be seen on Sunday nights hosting Hometown Hockey Community Celebration.
Jeff Marek, former host of Hockey Night in Canada on radio, would host Thursday Night Hockley on Sportsnet Radio 360, as well as the weekend afternoon NHL pre-game shows. Daren Millard, a seasoned broadcaster with Sportsnet since its inception, would host Wednesday Night hockey on Sportsnet Radio, as well as Toronto Maple Leafs regional radio broadcasts on Sportsnet.
On April 10th, in a ‘town hall’ speech to the staff, CBC President and CEO Hubert Lacroix announced that the CBC planned to make budget cuts totalling $130,000,000 over the following two years. The process would involve the elimination of a net 657 positions. The Corporation would also incur one-time severance costs of $33.5 million.
The cuts were necessary to balance its current budget, said president and CEO Hubert Lacroix, in a press release. Contributory factors in the decision had been the loss of the rights to NHL hockey, a reduction in revenues from advertising sales, , lower ratings than anticipated for some CBC television series, and disappointing radio advertising revenues from Espace musique and CBC Radio 2.
Lacroix also said that CBC and Radio-Canada would no longer be in the market to negotiate for professional sports rights, and announced the cancellation of planned expansions into new regions such as London, ON, and advised that the ad sales groups of CBC and Radio-Canada would be consolidated.
On September 5th, the CBC announced that their National newscast host, Peter Mansbridge, would be retiring in the summer of 2017, after hosting the CBC’s coverage of the country’s 150th birthday celebrations in Ottawa on July 1st. He would do his final National newscast on Friday June 30th. 2017.
On Friday, June 30th, Peter Mansbridge anchored CBC’s “The National” for the last time. At the end of the newscast, during which he mentioned that this would be his final regular newscast, Peter said: “Thanks for watching all these years; it’s been quite the ride for me, but always a privilege to be a part of bringing the national story home to you from wherever that story may be. I can only hope you found it worthwhile, too. Goodbye.”
After having shared CBC National hosting duties with Knowlton Nash beginning in 1988, Peter took over the reins in 1992, after Nash did his final newscast on November 28th of that year.
On Sunday July 1st, Peter Mansbridge did his farewell news broadcast on the CBC by hosting the CBC’s television coverage of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations which took place outside the Parliament buildings in Ottawa.
On July 27th, the CRTC renewed the broadcasting licences for all the CBC-owned television and radio programming undertakings from 1 September 2018 to 31 August 2019, subject to the terms and conditions in effect under the current licences. The Commission also extended the distribution orders for the television programming undertakings CBC News Network, ICI RDI and ICI ARTV until 31 August 2019.
The Commission also noted that the term of the CBC’s current President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) would end in December 2017, and a number of positions on the CBC’s board of directors were now or would be vacant shortly, and said that this decision would allow the next President and CEO of the CBC and its new board of directors to have a material impact on the CBC’s licence renewal plans.
The Commission also stated that this decision did not dispose of any issue that might arise with respect to the renewal of those licences. The Commission would consider the renewal of those licences at a later date, and interested persons would have an opportunity to comment at the appropriate time.
On December 19th, Rogers Media and the CBC announced that they had signed a new seven-year sub-licensing agreement for English-language broadcasts of Hockey Night in Canada and the Stanley Cup playoffs, beginning with the 2019-20 season. The new deal, which followed a previous four-year sub-licensing deal and a one-year extension, woiuld run through the end of the 2025-26 season, which was when Rogers’s 12-year national broadcast rights deal with the NHL was due to expire.
The agreement would provide for Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts to continue every Saturday night on CBC, Sportsnet, and City. In addition, Hockey Night in Canada games would also continue to be available on the CBC Sports app, the CBC TV app, CBCSports.ca, Rogers NHL LIVE and Sportsnet NOW.
“CBC has been an excellent partner over the years and we are excited to extend our relationship,” said Rick Brace, President, Rogers Media. “Hockey Night in Canada is the most celebrated hockey brand in the country and is steeped in tradition. We are committed to working together to ensure it reaches the widest possible audience.”
As part of the new deal, CBC would continue to broadcast nationally-televised regular season games on Saturday night plus all four rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Hockey Night in Canada brand would continue on CBC and across all Rogers Media platforms on Saturday nights. Sportsnet would continue to produce the games, retain all editorial control, and manage the advertising, with games continuing to be produced from Sportsnet’s Hockey Central Studio.
In November, CBC announced it would use a four anchor team on The National. Adrienne Arsenault, Andrew Chang, Ian Hanomansing and Rosemary Barton were named co-hosts.
On April 3rd, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly announced that Canadian television and film executive Catherine Tait was to become the first woman president and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada. In June she would replace President and CEO Hubert T. Lacroix, who was completing a ten-year term.
In introducing Tait at a media briefing in Ottawa, the Minister said that Tait was “a champion for Canadian content who has successfully navigated the sea of change from traditional media and communications through to today’s digital world”.
Tait, 60, had worked in the film and television business in Canada and the U.S. for more than 30 years, including at Telefilm Canada in the 1980s as manager of policy and planning. From 1989 to 1991, she was Canada’s cultural attaché to France. As president of Duopoly, an independent film, television and digital content company based in Brooklyn, N.Y., Tait helped provide business strategy services. Tait and film producer Liz Manne co-founded the company in 2002.
In Canada, Tait was president of Salter Street Films from 1997 to 2001. The company produced the CBC mainstay This Hour Has 22 Minutes. She was also on the corporate governance committee at CHUM Ltd. from 2004 to 2007.
On November 5th it was announced that CBC executive vice-president Heather Conway would be leaving the public broadcaster after five years in charge of the corporation’s English-language TV, radio and digital services.
She would remain in her role until Dec. 7th, after which she would leaving “to pursue other opportunities,” according to the statement issued by the CBC.
On February 6th, the CBC announced that Barbara Williams had been appointed CBC’s new vice-president of English services in charge of English-language TV, radio and digital services. Williams had most recently been the chief operating officer and executive vice-president of Corus Entertainment. She had also previously served as president of Shaw Media and executive vice-president of content at Canwest Broadcasting.
Williams replaced Heather Conway, whose departure had been announced the previous November. She would be reporting to CBC President and CEO Catherine Tait.
In November, the CRTC launched CBC/Radio-Canada’s licence renewal application process with all licences (Radio, TV, Specialty, Networks; English & French) set to expire August 31, 2020. As part of the licence renewal, the network proposed that it would increase its overall hours of mandated programming, but asked to be allowed to broadcast less of that on television and more through digital devices. CBC Toronto for example, had an obligation to air up to 14 hours a week of local programming on television. The corporation proposed 12 hours a week on television, but would commit to 14.5 hours a week overall. “Canadians have embraced digital and so have we as their public broadcaster,” CBC/Radio-Canada President and CEO Catherine Tait said in a news release. “Our proposals are a bridge to a new regulatory approach that will acknowledge this reality, and strengthen our unique role in the broadcasting system to serve all Canadians.” In an unusual move, the CRTC decided to allow Canadians to participate in a consultation on Facebook between November 25 and December 8. The deadline for submission of interventions would be 13 February 2020, and the CRTC hearings on the CBC renewal applications would begin in Gatineau on 25 May 2020.
On the November 9th edition of Hockey Night In Canada’s Coach’s Corner segment, commentator Don Cherry (85) made a comment about “you people” when referring to new Canadian immigrants who did not wear poppies for Remembrance Day. Many people found the comment to be racist. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council received so many complaints that its system was overwhelmed. Two days after the broadcast, Cherry was fired and Sportsnet issued the following statement: “Sports brings people together – it unites us, not divides us. Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night’s broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down. During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for. Don is synonymous with hockey and has played an integral role in growing the game over the past 40 years. We would like to thank [him] for his contributions to hockey and sports broadcasting in Canada.” In the end, Cherry refused to apologize, saying his comments were not racist and could be applied to any immigrants. Not long after, Cherry was again speaking to Canadian hockey fans via his own podcast.
In January, CBC announced it was dropping the four anchor format on The National as it was not popular with the audience. Adrienne Arsenault and Andrew Chang would now co-host the broadcast Monday to Thursday, while Ian Hanomansing would host Friday and Sunday. Rosemary Barton was named the Ottawa Bureau’s chief political correspondent. She would continue to host the weekly At Issue panel on The National.
It was announced in February that Jennifer McGuire, general manager and editor-in-chief of CBC News, would be stepping down. She had been in the role since 2009 and oversaw the integration of the television, radio and digital news operations. McGuire started her career with CBC Radio in Ottawa as an associate producer. She later held producer roles at CBC Newsworld, and served as executive producer of CBC Radio.
With CBC News Network’s continuous coverage of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak around the world in March, the CBC decided to temporarily cancel its local television newscasts across the country (except CBC North). CBC News Network evolved into a core live breaking news service that integrated journalism and coverage from CBC News Network, The National and local CBC stations across the country. A short time later, following public concerns, services were restored on a regional basis. Also, CBC News Network was now available for free (during the crisis) to many cable subscribers and via CBC Gem, the CBC News app, and CBC.ca. With the virus forcing the NHL to postpone its season, CBC Television replaced Hockey Night in Canada with Movie Night in Canada, featuring back-to-back movies.
In June, the CRTC rescheduled the public hearing into CBC’s licence renewal to January 11, 2021. The change was made necessary because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Existing licences were extended until August 31, 2021.
At the 72nd Emmy Awards, Schitt’s Creek claimed a total of nine awards – the most primetime Emmy’s ever won by a Canadian series. Awards included Outstanding Lead Actress and Actor in a Comedy Series for Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy.
On November 6, The Nature of Things with David Suzuki launched its 60th season.
Helen Asimakis, Senior Director, Drama, and Michelle Daly, Senior Director, Comedy, were no longer with the CBC as it restructured its scripted content team.
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.
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