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.
With Soble’s death, Al Bruner decided to carry forward his vision and established Global Communications Limited. He started preparations to seek funding, and eventually to apply to the CRTC for a licence.
Al Bruner unveiled his plan. It would not be a national service – for now. It would be a regional Ontario television network – a group of transmitters linked together by satellite, operating from one central studio. He proposed to run eight commercial minutes per hour compared to the twelve that other stations were offering. He felt this would be an incentive to lure Canadian advertisers away from Buffalo stations. Helping Bruner make his presentation to the CRTC was producer Syd Banks, who would become Executive Producer for Global when it got its licence.
Global Communications was licensed to operate a network of television transmitters across Southern Ontario. Transmitters would be located at Ottawa (channel 6), Bancroft (channel 2), Uxbridge (channel 22), Paris (channel 6), Sarnia (channel 34) and Windsor (channel 26). The decision on a transmitter at Maxville (near Cornwall) was deferred.
The station was expected to launch in January of 1974 and proposed to broadcast only in prime-time hours, from 5 p.m. to midnight. Daytime broadcast hours would be offered to the Ontario Educational Communications Authority (OECA).
Principal shareholders of Global Communications Ltd. were CanPlex Ltd. (the founding company – Al Bruner and Peter Hill), Maclean Hunter Ltd. and Odeon Theatres Canada Ltd. The remaining 57.2% of the shares would be offered to the public.
Some changes to Global’s channel line-up were approved. The Sarnia (Oil Springs) transmitter would operate on channel 29 rather than ch 34 and the Windsor transmitter would broadcast on channel 22 instead of ch 26.
It should be noted that the Maxville transmitter would not be allowed to operate because of its proximity to Montreal.
At 6:00 p.m. on January 6, The Global Television Network signed on the air with six transmitters across Southern Ontario. Studios were in a former factory at 81 Barber Greene Road in Don Mills (Toronto). The call letters for the new station: CKGN-TV, with the “GN” standing for Global Television Network.
Windsor and Sun Parlor region
With a channel 22 transmitter at Cottam, effective radiated power was 218,000 watts video and 33,000 watts audio. Antenna height was 367 feet EHAAT.
Sarnia and Bluewater country
Service from channel 29 transmitter, located southwest of Oil Springs with effective radiated power was 370,000 watts video and 55,500 watts audio. Antenna height was 685 feet EHAAT.
Niagara Peninsula, London, Kitchener, Hamilton and Toronto
Global’s main transmitter operated on channel 6 from a tower located southwest of Paris. It operated with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts video and 15,000 watts audio. Antenna height was 1,037 feet EHAAT.
Eastern Toronto, Oshawa and Mid-Eastern Ontario regions
Canada’s most powerful television transmitter operated on channel 22 from Uxbridge. Effective radiated video power was five million watts. Audio ERP was 750,000 watts. Antenna height was 598 feet EHAAT. The transmitter was located near Goodwood, south of Uxbridge.
Eastern Ontario Kingston and Peterborough
was covered by the channel 2 transmitter, located just east of Bancroft, and operating on channel 2, with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts video and 15,000 watts audio. Antenna height was 949 feet EHAAT.
Canada’s capital city region
received Global programming from the Ottawa transmitter, broadcasting on channel 6. Effective radiated power was 12,600 watts video and 1,900 watts audio. Antenna height was 149 feet EHAAT. The transmitter was located at Camp Fortune, Quebec.
By the spring, Global had been losing about a million dollars a month. Ratings were bad…a 2.5% share in Toronto, compared to CFTO’s 20% and CBLT’s 17.5. Signing on the air in mid-season was a big mistake as advertisers had already committed their money to the existing stations and networks. Global’s bank cut off its credit. It could no longer meet daily expenses. Founder Al Bruner was pushed out of the President’s office.
On March 31, Global accepted a re-financing plan put forward by a group of investors. Izzy Asper and Paul Morton headed Global Ventures Holdings Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Ventures Western Ltd., which bought a 45% interest in Global Communications Ltd. Seymour Epstein (whose Imagineering Ltd. did all of the technical work for Global and was now a creditor) bought 10%, and Allan Slaight’s IWC Communications Ltd. took 45%. The new owners took over April 15, 1974. Founder Al Bruner and his group exited.
Izzy Asper established CKND-TV, an independent station in Winnipeg, by buying US station KCND Pembina, North Dakota, and acquiring a licence from the CRTC to operate CKND Winnipeg. Don Brinton was Executive Vice-President and later President of CKND.
On December 17, the CRTC gave Global an ultimatum. Unless the network radically improved the quality and variety of its programming within the space of a year, there would not be any point in seeking to renew its license. The Commission praised Global’s news and information programming, but was not enthusiastic about the rest of the station’s features. This assessment came as a by-product of an application the network had filed, asking permission to air slides on its Windsor transmitter, during periods when the rest of the system was carrying US-made programs available exclusively to Detroit stations in the Windsor-Detroit area. The CRTC approved that plan, but utilized the hearing to target-in on Global’s overall performance. Global president Allan Slaight said that the network had dropped most of its Canadian entertainment line-up after he took the helm because of what he felt was an uneconomical program selection. He stated that if the programs were kept in operation they would ruin the overall programming. ACTRA countered with the argument that one of the main reasons behind the granting of a license to Global was that they had promised to utilize Canadian talent. The past summer showed Global to have a high ratings gain which might have been attributed to the inclusion of American 1950’s sitcoms.
Izzy Asper and Gerald Schwartz from Canwest Capital Group Inc. (a venture capital company) and other Global investors, began to roll their shares into Canwest.
On March 22, Allan Slaight triggered a buy-sell agreement and Global Ventures ended up with a 72% interest in the network. The other 28% was held by the public. Global Ventures Western Ltd. (Asper of Canwest Capital Corp.), Morton and Epstein (Odeon-Morton Theatres Ltd.) bought Slaight’s interest. This left Canwest with 50% and Epstein & Morton with 50% of Global.
Later in the year, David Mintz, who had previously worked at WKBW in Buffalo, and was later part owner of KVOS-TV Bellingham, where he worked for 27 years, was appointed as Global’s television sales rep for Western Canada, and later the western United States.
Ray Corelli became a news anchor at Global.
Dave Mintz assumed the presidency of Global TV, with Paul Morton remaining as Chief Executive Officer. Over the next few years, Mintz’s aggressive acquisitions of U.S. programs would finally make Global a major player in the Canadian marketplace – and, inevitably, drove up the costs to Canadian broadcasters of US shows because of the much more competitive environment.
Global had applied to the CRTC to have its signal distributed across Canada via satellite except in markets where third television services already existed (ie: Toronto with CITY, Vancouver with CKVU and Winnipeg with CKND). The application was denied.
Global marked ten years on the air on January 6, by changing its call letters from CKGN-TV to CIII-TV.
Canwest Capital owned 61% of Global Ventures, and Izzy Asper emerged from a reorganization of Canwest Capital as the principal shareholder. Global Ventures Holdings acquired all of the outstanding shares of Global Communications, making it 100% owned by Global Ventures Western, either directly or through its subsidiary Global Ventures Holdings.
On July 17, authorization was granted to decrease ERP at the Windsor-area transmitter from 218,000 to 152,000 watts and to relocate the transmitter site from Cottam to Stevenson. This would reinstate service to the Windsor area. The Cottam transmitter had been off the air a number of years.
Global upgraded all of its transmitters to operate in stereo. The Kitchener transmitter was moved to a new site (still near Paris).
On October 2, CIII-TV-6 Ottawa was given approval to decrease ERP from 14,700 to 8,700 watts and to relocate the transmitter site from an area on the edge of the Gatineau Park to the Camp Fortune transmission tower.
In October, at the Bancroft site, the tower was raised, a new antenna was installed and effective radiated power increased to the authorized 100,000 watts. The transmitter had been operating at 67,200 watts. The increase would improve signal quality to the Kingston and belleville areas. (this change approved by the CRTC July 17, 1986)
Global opened a transmitter (channel 7) at Midland to serve the Barrie/Georgian Bay/Muskoka area on November 24. The tower was located near Port Severn. Effective radiated power was 325,000 watts video and 48,800 watts audio. Antenna height was 1,131 feet EHAAT.
Al Bruner passed away at age 63. Global was his dream. He got it on the air but was forced out of the picture in the early going, but before his death, he did see his dream realized.
The Windsor transmitter at Cottam was deleted and replaced by a new facility at Stevenson. The Cottam transmitter had been down for some time due to a variety of problems.
The channel 4 transmitter at Owen Sound, went into service June 27. Effective radiated power was 18,400 watts video. The height of the new tower would be increased by the same amount as the decreased ground elevation.
On September 29, CIII-TV-4 Owen Sound was authorized to increase ERP from 18,400 to 20,600 watts, and to relocate the transmitter from the currently authorized site to a nearby location of lower ground elevation.
The Peterborough-Cobourg transmitter opened October 15, on channel 27. The transmitter was located at the CFMX-FM site at Alnwick Hill and Harwood Roads, Hamilton Township, just north of Cobourg. A new tower was built for both stations. CFMX owned the property and Global owned the new tower. Channel 27 broadcast with an ERP of 1,284,000 watts (average) and 2,535,000 watts (maximum, video).
On October 22, at 5:30 p.m., the Toronto transmitter opened on channel 41. It broadcast from the CN Tower, 301 Front Street West, with an effective radiated power of 786,000 watts video.
On November 30, the Uxbridge transmitter was pulled out of service. It promoted the new channel 41 Toronto transmitter for a few weeks and was then deleted completely on December 31st.
Global continued to open new stations across Canada with the opening of CFRE-TV Regina and CFSK-TV Saskatoon on September 5th. While Global was not yet a Network, most of the programming was carried on all stations.
Morton & Epstein were “at war” with Asper. They went to court. A Manitoba judge ordered the end of the partnership. Global Ventures Western and subsidiary Global Ventures Holdings were put up for auction with only CanWest Communications Enterprises (Asper) and Seyton Ltd. (Morton & Epstein) being allowed to bid on the shares. On December 14, 1989, Asper emerged as the winner, getting 100% of Global.
Selkirk Communication was purchased by MacLean Hunter and consequentially sold its TV stations, including CFAC-TV, Calgary and its interest in CHAN-TV Vancouver, CHEK-TV Victoria and CHBC-TV Kelowna to WIC International of Vancouver.
On October 31, CIII-TV-27 Peterborough was granted a decrease in ERP from 1,284,000 to 836,000 watts.
On October 22, the CRTC approved the transfer of effective control of Global Communications Ltd. to CanWest Communications Enterprises Inc. Global was owned 100% by Global Ventures Western Ltd., a holding company beneficially owned 60.76% by CanWest.
David Mintz was named deputy chairman, president and CEO of Global Communications Ltd. and chairman of Canvideo Television Sales. Roger Hone became vice president of national marketing. Don Brinton was named deputy chairman.
Doug Bonar was appointed vice president of operations and news for the Global Television Network.
Global Communications Ltd. began (again) to offer its shares to the public.
On February 6, the CRTC approved Allarcom’s sale of CITV and CITV-TV-1 (CITA-TV) Red Deer, as well as CKRD-TV Red Deer and CKRD-TV-1 Coronation, to Westcom TV Group Ltd. In this transaction, Dr. Allard (Allarcom) acquired approximately 22.4% of the issued non-voting class B shares of Western International Communications (Westcom’s parent company). The transfer was completed March 22, 1991.
On November 18, CIII-TV-41 Toronto was given approval to decrease effective radiated power from 1,475,000 to 732,000 watts.
Doug Hoover was named vice president of programming for Global Television.
On April 8, Global was given approval to add transmitters at Fort Erie (ch55 / 14,200 watts), Sudbury (ch 11 / 25,000 watts), Timmins (ch 13 / 11,600 watts), North Bay (ch 2 / 3,400 watts) and Sault Ste. Marie (ch 12 / 1,800 watts). The latest proposal to add a transmitter at Maxville (near Cornwall) was denied. The CRTC was concerned that the proposed transmitter would make it more feasible for cable systems in Montréal to pick up the Global signal.
Global was given a short term licence renewal of four years. The CRTC expressed its concern that Global had not contributed to the Canadian broadcasting system as fully as it should have by treating some requirements for Canadian programming as maximums rather than minimums. The Commission also was not happy with the licence fees Global had been paying to independent producers and encouraged Global to ensure that such fees were set at more equitable levels.
On December 1, Global expanded its coverage area with new transmitters at North Bay (channel 2 with ERP of 3,400 watts video), Sault Ste. Marie (channel 12 with ERP of 18,000 watts video), Sudbury (channel 11 with ERP of 25,000 watts video), and Timmins (channel 13 with ERP of 11,600 watts video).
In February or March, CIII opened a transmitter at Fort Erie, operating on channel 55 with effective radiated power of 14,200 watts video.
After losing an average of $5 million dollars per year since sign-on, CIHF-TV Saint John was sold to CanWest Global Communications Corp. on August 29, 1994, in a three way sale involving the CBC purchasing CHSJ-TV and moving it to Fredericton, renaming it CBAT-TV, as a full CBC station.
Halifax became the operational and business centre for CIHF-TV later in the year.
Kevin Shea was named president of Global TV and of CanWest operations in Eastern Canada. He had been president of YTV for six years and most recently had been president of Atlantis Communications.
CanWest Global promoted Loren Mawhinney to vice president, Canadian production. She had played a key role in this area for several years. Mawhinney joined Global in 1984, right out of Ryerson.
Global had its licence renewed for seven years. The CRTC commended the network for exceeding its minimum $30 million a year on Canadian programming during the past four-year term. However, the Commission denied Global’s bid to carry local advertising on individual stations.
On August 28, the CRTC gave Global approval to add a transmitter at Cornwall. Global had proposed to use channel 11 but that was awarded to CHCH-TV for use in Ottawa.
On February 27, TVA CanWest Limited Partnership (TVA Regional Inc. and Global Communications Ltd.) was given approval to purchase CKMI-TV Quebec City, from Télé-Métropole inc. (TVA Regional Inc.). The station would drop its CBC affiliation and become a GLOBAL network station.
All of the Canwest-Global stations across Canada began using the GLOBAL name.
News anchors Mike Anscombe and Jane Gilbert were let go by Global on March 10. Beverley Thomson joined the Global news team as early anchor on March 31. She had been co-anchor and general assignment reporter at CFTO-TV. Christine Crosbie (weather) joined from CFTO-TV. Paul Rogers joined Global on January 27 as chief news editor. He had been news manager at CFTO. Ken MacDonald was Vice President of News. Reg Thomas left CIII-TV to become news director at CFRN-TV Edmonton.
In October, former Global VP marketing Peter Viner, who had later been President and CEO of CanWest’s Network Ten in Australia, was apppointed President and CEO of CanWest Global Communications.ctober, former Global VP marketing Peter Viner, who had later been President and CEO of CanWest’s Network Ten in Australia, was apppointed President and CEO of CanWest Global Communications.
The Griffiths family holdings in WIC Western International Communications Ltd. were sold, subject to CRTC approval, to Shaw Communications Inc. and CanWest Global Communications Corp.
Following months of negotiation, agreements were filed with the CRTC on the split of WIC assets between CanWest Global, Corus Radio (formerly Shaw Radio), and Shaw Communications; the sale was approved subject to CanWest Global’s divesting its ownership of CKVU-TV Vancouver.
CanWest Global Communications named Executive Vice President Leonard Asper as chief operating officer. He would be responsible for the CanWest Entertainment division and TV3 Ireland.
Leonard Asper was named President/CEO of CanWest Global Communications at the age of 35. He had been executive VP and COO. He was also now Chairman of the Global Television Network and other CanWest Global subsidiaries. At the end of August, CanWest President Peter Viner became Vice-Chairman, based in Toronto. He had been working out of the Winnipeg office.
Following an April hearing in Vancouver, in July, the CRTC announced the approval of the purchase of WIC Television by CanWest Global, which included BCTV Vancouver, conditional on CanWest Global divesting CKVU-TV Vancouver.
The change in ownership resulted in an unprecedented network shuffle in the Vancouver market, with CHAN-TV becoming part of the Global Network, CTV launching its new Vancouver station CIVT-TV, and CKVU-TV becoming an independent CHUM station effective September 1, 2001
On August 8, Global Communications Limited received approval to operate a new FM station in Winnipeg. This would be the company’s first radio station in Canada. Global’s application proposed a station that would operate in a smooth jazz format, in which at least 70% of all music played would be jazz and blues. Global chief Izzy Asper had long been a great jazz enthusiast, hence the chosen call letters CJZZ-FM. The new station would broadcast on a frequency of 99.1 MHz with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts. Antenna height would be 223 metres. Izzy hired nationally known jazz broadcaster Ross Porter away from the CBC to run the new station.
CJZZ-FM “Cool FM” Winnipeg signed on the air at 6:00 p.m. on February 28.
On May 14, Global Communications Ltd. was granted its second Canadian radio licence. It was for a new Rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio FM station, call letters to be CKBT-AM, serving Kitchener-Waterloo. The station would operate at 91.5 MHz with an effective radiated power of 3,600 watts.
On October 7, Israel Asper died at age 71. Asper had served CanWest as its President and Chief Executive Officer and most recently as Executive Chairman. He gave up his role as Executive Chairman in January 2003 but continued to serve as Chairman of the Board. He had founded CKND-TV Wnnipeg in 1975, eventually purchased Ontario’s Global Television Network and over time built the CanWest Global empire.
In January, Global launched CKBT-AM, Its first Ontario radio station.
On June 9, Global was given approval to operate a transitional digital television undertaking in association with CIII-TV-41 Toronto. The digital undertaking would operate from the CN Tower on channel 65C with an effective radiated power of 3,000 watts. Global’s Toronto transmitter (channel 41) began digital (channel 65C) operations in mid-October.
In October, US television executive Kathleen (Kathy) Dore was appointed to the newly created position of President, Television & Radio, CanWest MediaWorks Inc.
On October 27, the CRTC approved the transfer of effective control of CanWest MediaWorks Inc. and its subsidiaries, licensees of various broadcasting undertakings across Canada, from the late Mr. Israel Asper to Mrs. Ruth Miriam Asper, and subsequently from Mrs. Ruth Miriam Asper to the children, through their control of the board of directors of CanWest Global Communications Corp., pursuant to a nomination agreement between them and CanWest Communications Corporation, a corporation controlled by Mrs. Ruth Miriam Asper. (Note: CanWest Mediaworks was now the parent of Global Television).
On February 6th, the Global network introduced a new logo, which replaced the crescent shape that had been the network’s identification since 1997.
In October, CanWest announced the sale of its radio stations in Winnipeg (CJZZ-FM) and Kitchener-Waterloo (CKBT-AM) to Corus Entertainment. Ross Porter left CJZZ-FM to become President of CJRT-FM (JAZZ.FM) Toronto.
On 10 January, 2007, CanWest Global Communications Corp. (CanWest Global) and GS Capital Partners (GSCP), a private equity affiliate of Goldman, Sachs & Co. announced that they had entered into an agreement with Alliance Atlantis to acquire all of its issued and outstanding shares at a cash price of $53.00 per share in cash for an aggregate price of approximately 2.3 billion (which included regulated and non-regulated businesses). In doing so, CanWest Global would acquire effective control of Alliance Atlantis. A public hearing was announced for November.
.In April, CanWest MediaWorks announced the conclusion of an exclusive agreement with the U.S.-based E! Network satellite-to-cable entertainment program service, “…to license content and manage the E! brand in Canada…” effective September 7th. Accordingly, the National Entertainment Network would be rebranded as E! Everything Entertainment in the fall, while also taking advantage of the tremendous equity that the local station news identities had and thus would retain their heritage, “…..with a refreshed on-air image under the banner of their historical call letters…”. Previously some programming from E! USA had hitherto been seen on the Star! Channel in Canada.
In June, CanWest received CRTC approval to add new transmitters for CHCA-TV Red Deer in both Calgary and Edmonton, thus enabling the expansion of the E! signal into those cities as part of the basic cable package. On September 17th the E! network officially launched in both Calgary and Edmonton.
Corus officially took ownership of CJZZ-FM Cool FM 99.1 on July 30.
In July, Peter Viner retired from CanWest after holding several executive positions with the corporation over 20 years.
On October 4th, Canwest announced that it would be centralizing news production control room functions for all owned & operated conventional TV stations (except CHBC Kelowna) at four broadcast centres – CHAN Vancouver, CITV Edmonton, CICT Calgary, and CIII Toronto. The company stated this would allow all of its stations to make a transition to high definition broadcasting, and create around 50 new jobs at the four stations. Approximately 250 positions were to be eliminated in the other stations, the majority of which were reported to be behind-the-scenes/technical positions.
On December 20th, the CRTC announced that it had approved CanWest’s acquisition of Alliance Atlantis, having satisfied itself that the involvement of GSCP would not result in the company being controlled by a non-Canadian entity. The Specialty channels acquired by CanWest through this deal included Analog Food Network Canada, HGTV, Canada Historia (50% interest), History Television, The Score (minority interest) Séries+ (50% interest), Slice (formerly The Life Network), Showcase Category 1, Discovery Health Network, Independent Film Channel, ONE: The Body, Mind and Spirit Channel (minority interest), Category 2, BBC Canada, BBC Kids, D.I.Y. Television, Fine Living, Girls TV, Military Television, National Geographic Channel, Parent TV, Scream (minority interest,) Showcase Action, Showcase Diva ZTV.
On May 6th it was announced that CanWest had made a major deal with NBC Universal for a package of US series programming, prior to the traditional annual buying trip to Los Angeles in which all the major Canadian television broadcasters participated.
As the year drew on, CanWest – like all Canadian broadcasters – became affected by the world wide economic crisis that developed during the year, but CanWest was facing its own particular problems with liquidity as it continued to deal with carrying the heavy interest on various lending agreements. Late in the year, the company lowered the book value of its TV operations by $1-billion.
On November 12th, CanWest cut 210 broadcasting positions through major restructuring of the E! System. CanWest laid some of the blame for its problems on the refusal of the CRTC to allow Canadian over-the-air (OTA) broadcasters to receive fees for the carriage of their signals on cable systems. CTV had also raised this issue with the Commission. On November 18th, Peter Viner returned to CanWest as interim President, following the resignation of Kathy Dore.
The early months of the year saw CanWest needing to renegotiate many of its lending agreements in an effort to avoiding having to seek creditor protection.
On February 5th, CanWest said it was exploring the possibility of selling off some its stations. The stations involved were part of CanWest’s E! network and included CJNT-TV in Montreal, CHCH-TV in Hamilton, CHCA-TV in Red Deer, Alta. CHBC-TV in Kelowna and CHEK-TV in Victoria.
On March 9th, Peter Viner, interim president of CanWest’s broadcasting operations, announced that the potential sale of its E-brand stations was being put on hold until the end of the summer.
In April, along with CTVglobemedia and others, CanWest took part in a CRTC hearing on the renewal of its OTA licences, and the overall implications of the effect of the weakened economy on conventional broadcasters.
On May 15th, the CRTC announced a one-year licence renewal, effective September 1st 2009, for all of cCanWest’s Over-The-Air stations, “….to give these broadcasters some flexibility during the current period of economic uncertainty.” Group-based licence renewals would then be addressed in the spring of 2010. The Commission also stated that it recognized the impracticability of imposing any conditions relative to 1-1 ratios between Canadian and non-Canadian programming in the ensuing year, given the programming commitments that were already in place.
The Commission would however continue to explore various regulatory measures “…to ensure that English-language television broadcasters devote an appropriate proportion of their expenditures to Canadian programming.”
On May 20th, Broadcaster Magazine reported that Canwest had announced that it had found buyers for $100 million of 12 percent senior secured notes that its key subsidiary would issue, and CIT Business Credit Canada Inc had agreed to provide a $75 million asset-based loan. Existing senior lenders had agreed to defer payments of about $10 million until June 2 so the new notes and loan could be arranged.
On June 30th, it was announced that Canwest Television Limited had entered into an agreement to sell CHCH-TV Hamilton and CJNT-TV Montreal to an affiliated company of television broadcaster Channel Zero, subject to CRTC approval and to the willingness of CH-TV’s employees collective bargaining unit to agree to provide a minimum of one year of labour stability for the new owners. This would involve discussions with the Communications, Energy & Paperworkers Union of Canada. The offer to purchase included commitments to maintain 13.5 hours of local ethnic programming per week in Montreal, and 36.5 hours per week of local programming at CHCH-TV Hamilton.
Channel Zero were the owners of the specialty channels Movieola and Silver Screen Classics.
On July 6th, the CRTC announced one-year licence renewals, from September 1st 2009 to August 31st 2010, for all the private conventional television programming undertakings operated by Canwest Television Limited Partnership, subject to certain specified conditions in respect of some individual markets. The decision included requirements for a minimum of 14 hours of local programming per broadcast week in certain designated major markets, and seven hours of local programming per week in certain markets specified as ‘non-metropolitan’.
Also on July 6th, the CRTC invited written comments and proposals, to be considered at a hearing on September 29th 2009, on “…the modalities and conditions for group-based licensing that would provide the necessary criteria to consider upcoming applications for group-based seven-year licence renewals: revenue support for conventional broadcasters; and possible transition models”.
The outcome of this hearing was anticipated to be the establishment of guidelines for the Commision to consider when holding a hearing on seven-year renewals of conventional station licences in the spring of 2010.
On July 22nd, Canwest announced that it would close its stations CHEK-TV Victoria and CHCA-TV Red Deer on August 31st 2009, because there were “no viable options” for these stations. Canwest also announced that current E network station CHBC-TV Kelowna would be rebranded as a Global Network affiliate, effective September 1st 2009.
On August 1st, CEP local 1100 voted to support the proposed sale of CHCH-TV to the Channel Zero group..
On August 28th the CRTC approved the acquisition of CHCH-TVand CJNT-TV, by the Channel Zero group, through a numbered company, 2209005 Ontario Inc , and renewed CHCH-TV’s licence through to August 31st 2016. This renewal was “…conditional on the applicant presenting itself at a public hearing to be held in 2012 to discuss issues the Commission deems appropriate.”
CJNT-TV’s licence was also renewed through 2016, “…conditional on the licensee presenting itself at a hearing to be held in 2012 to discuss the inclusion of French-language programming in time periods devoted to non-ethnic programming.”
In announcing their approval, the Commission noted that the transaction was negative (because the agreed price for the two stations was only $12), and said that in the circumstances there would be no requirement for a tangible benefits package.
In view of the financial background to the transaction, CHCH-TV was relieved of some of its obligations regarding the provision of priority Canadian programming, but was expected to “make best efforts to broadcast priority programming whenever possible”.
On September 23rd, CanWest Global Communications Corp. was reported by the Globe and Mail to be selling its position in Australian television network Channel TEN, in a deal that would “see the debt-laden media company leave behind its plans for international expansion to buy a crucial financial lifeline.”
Given that at the time, CanWest’s stock in Ten Network Holdings Ltd. had been trading at $1.36 Australian ($1.26 Canadian) a share, which valued the broadcasting operation at about $1.4-billion (Australian), CanWest would potentially reap about $650-million (Canadian) from the sale.
But, said the Globe, the divesting of TEN would have an even greater impact on the company’s books. CanWest, which had a $3.8-billion debt at the end of May, would also get to wipe $582-million worth of debt off its books that was attributed to TEN, bringing the total value of the sale to more than $1-billion for CanWest in terms of reducing its debt.
On October 6th, the Globe and Mail reported that CanWest Global Communications Corp had said that it planned to file for bankruptcy protection as part of a restructuring process, and “to implement the recapitalization plan.”
The company’s operations would “continue uninterrupted” through the filing process, said CanWest president and chief executive officer Leonard Asper.
Divisions of the company that would be under creditor protection included the National Post, Fox Sports News and Global Television.
On January 8th, CanWest Communications Ltd. announced that its national chain of daily newspapers, including the National Post, Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen and Calgary Herald, was up for sale. Later in the month it was reported that a group led by former senator Jerry Grafstein was interested in acquiring the Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary papers. Grafstein’s partners in the venture were Raymond Heard, former head of the Global TV network and managing editor of the old Montreal Star newspaper, and Beryl Wajsman, editor of The Suburban, the largest English-language weekly in Quebec.
By early March, half a dozen prospective buying groups were invited to proceed to a second stage, which was due to end on April 30th.
On February 12th, Shaw Communications Inc, announced that it had made an offer to buy the broadcast and specialty channel assets of CanWest Global Communications Corp., subject to CRTC approval. The deal would give Shaw 80 per cent of the voting interest and at least 20 per cent of the equity interest in CanWest. Leonard Asper would not figure in Shaw’s plans for the Network.
On February 19th, it was reported that another group, headed by private equity fund Catalyst Capital Group Inc., had assembled a rival bid for CanWest Global Communications. The bid was supported by Goldman Sachs, and included in the Catalyst group were two former Rogers executives, John Tory (former CEO of Rogers Cable) and Rael Merson, former head of the television division of Rogers Communications. The Asper family supported this bid.
However, late on February 19th the Ontario Superior Court approved the Shaw bid. Shaw were then faced with needing to renegotiate a deal with Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs, from whom the Aspers had secured financial backing at a crucial stage.
On March 4th it was announced that Leonard Asper had resigned as President and CEO of Canwest Global Communications, but would continue as a consultant to Canwest until conclusion of the sale and restructuring of the company.
On March 22nd, the CRTC published its Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-167, being its decisions regarding a group-based approach to the licensing of private television services, following the receipt of input from all interested parties.
On May 3rd. Shaw Communications Inc. announced that it had entered into agreements to acquire 100% of the over-the-air and specialty television businesses of CanWest Communications Corp, including all the CW Investments Inc. specialty channels that had been acquired from Alliance Atlantis in 2007. The deal included the acquisition by Shaw of the entire Goldman Sachs equity interest in CW Media Group.
In announcing the deal, Shaw made it clear that the deal was subject to certain conditions, including CanWest creditor and Court approvals, and regulatory approval from the CRTC and the Competition Bureau.
On March 10th, as a follow-up to the 2009 hearings, and the opinions expressed by all interested parties, the CRTC issued Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-167, covering approaches that would be taken in future in considering new applications for licences and for renewals of existing licences.
On June 22nd, former Canwest President and CEO Leonard Asper appeared before the Ontario Superior Court to appeal against the sale of Canwest’s assets to Shaw Communications.
Canwest’s sale of its television operations, including its specialty channels, to Shaw Communications received Superior Court approval on June 23rd, after Canwest had reached an agreement with the Asper-led dissenting shareholders.
The sale was still subject to regulatory approvals from the Canadian Radio-televison and Telecommunications Commission and the Competition Bureau.
On August 9th, the CRTC announced administrative renewals of all the broadcasting licences held by CTVglobemedia, CanWest and Rogers, which would now expire at various dates in 2011 and 2012.
In making the announcement, the Commission said that this would enable them to consider the renewal of the major large English-language private conventional television ownership groups by taking into account the determinations in the aforesaid Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-167.
It would also permit the Commission to consider the further renewal of community-based television programming undertakings by taking into account the determinations resulting from the review of the community television policy framework announced in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2009-661.
On August 16th, Canwest Global Communications Corp. announced that the Competition Bureau had concluded its review, and would not challenge the proposed transaction between Canwest and Shaw Communications Inc. contemplated by the restated consolidated plan of compromise, arrangement and reorganization relating to Canwest, Canwest Media Inc. and certain of its subsidiaries.
The Canwest Media Inc. entities expected to implement the plan no later than the Fall of 2010, subject to the receipt of CRTC approval.
Canwest Global Communications Corp. (“Canwest”) announced on September 8th that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice had granted the request by Canwest, Canwest Media Inc. and certain of its subsidiaries for an extension of the stay period granted under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to November 5, 2010.
On October 22nd, Shaw Communications Inc. announced that the CRTC had approved Shaw’s acquisition of all of the broadcasting assets of Canwest Global Communications Corp. This transaction included the acquisition of 100% of the over-the-air and specialty television businesses of Canwest, including all of Canwest’s equity interests in CW Investments Co., the Canwest subsidiary which owned a portfolio of specialty television channels acquired from Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. in 2007.
On the same day, it was announced that Jim Shaw had decided to step down as CEO of Shaw Communications, and that his brother Brad had been appointed CEO in his place effective January 13th 2011. Jim would remain involved, as Vice-Chairman of the Board.
On June 6th, Global News announced that Leslie Roberts, Anchor of Global Toronto’s flagship News Hour newscast, would be taking on additional duties as the permanent host for The Morning Show’s national edition. . Roberts would be joining Liza Fromer, Kris Reyes and Rosey Edeh on-air from 9-9:30am ET beginning Monday, June 17.
On March 23, the CRTC approved an application by Shaw Communications Inc. on behalf of Shaw Media Inc. and its licensed subsidiaries, for authority to effect a multi-step corporate reorganization by transferring all of Shaw Communications’ shares in Shaw Media to Corus Entertainment Inc. or one of its subsidiaries. Since the creation of Corus in 1999, the Commission had regarded the two companies to be effectively controlled by J.R. Shaw and this reorganization wouldn’t change that.
In early April, Corus Entertainment completed its $2.65 billion acquisition of Shaw Media. Corus now had 45 specialty TV services, 15 conventional TV channels, 39 radio stations, a global content business, and a portfolio of digital assets.
On September 1, CKSA Lloydminster changed network affiliation from CBC to Global.
In September, CHEX Peterborough, Channel 12 Durham and CKWS Kingston added Global TV news to their schedules while keeping the program supply agreement with CTV. CHEX and CKWS would also start their own versions of Global’s The Morning Show.
In February, Global News announced the elimination of nearly 80 positions across the country, in a move away from producing television news content. Fifty new digital news positions would be added, including multi-platform journalists who would file for new, local versions of Globalnews.ca in Ottawa, Kitchener, Guelph and Barrie.
Most of the Corus-owned talk radio stations were rebranded to incorporate Global News in their names (for example: Global News Radio 980 CFPL).
On August 27, CHEX-DT Peterborough and CKWS-DT Kingston (both Corus-owned) became part of Global. All CTV programming was dropped and replaced with programs from Global. CHEX became Global Peterborough and CKWS, Global Kingston. For local newscasts, the two stations retained their local identities (CHEX News on Global Peterborough and CKWS News on Global Kingston). CHEX Durham had linked up with Global some time earlier.
On June 13, the CRTC approved the request of Corus Entertainment Inc. to delete 44 rebroadcasting transmitters from its broadcasting licences for various over-the-air television stations across Canada. The commission also approved with changes Corus’s request to reallocate the $2,365,771 of tangible benefits that had not yet been expended on the digital conversion of its transmitters to a number of eligible initiatives. Of this amount, at least 80% would be allocated to the Canada Media Fund, with the remaining 20% being distributed to educational institutions, the Ontario Association of Broadcasters and the Western Association of Broadcasters. The following transmitters would be deleted: CHAN-DT-2 Bowen Island, CHAN-DT-3 Squamish, CHAN-DT-5 Brackendale, CHAN-DT-6 Wilson Creek, CHAN-DT-7 Whistler, CHBC-TV-3 Oliver, CHBC-TV-4 Salmon Arm, CHBC-TV-5 Enderby, CHBC-TV-7 Skaha Lake (Ni’kwalla)/Penticton, CHBC-TV-8 Canoe, CHBC-TV-9 Apex Mountain, CHKL-DT-3 Revelstoke, CHKM-DT-1 Pritchard, CHRP-DT-2 Revelstoke, CISR-DT Santa Rosa, CISR-DT-1 Grand Forks, CITM-DT 100 Mile House, CITM-DT-1 Williams Lake, CITM-DT-2 Quesnel, CKKM-TV Oliver, CKTN-DT-2 Taghum, CKTN-TV-1 Castlegar, CKTN-TV-3 Nelson, CKTN-TV-4 Creston, CICT-TV-1 Drumheller, CICT-TV-2 Banff, CISA-TV-1 Burmis, CISA-TV-2 Brooks, CISA-TV-3 Coleman, CISA-TV-4 Waterton Park, CISA-TV-5 Pincher Creek, CFRE-TV-2 Fort Qu’Appelle, CIHF-DT-11 Woodstock, CIHF-DT-12 St. Stephen, CIHF-DT-13 Miramichi, Nova Scotia CIHF-DT-4 Truro, CIHF-DT-6 Bridgewater, CIHF-DT-8 New Glasgow, CIHF-DT-9 Shelburne, CIHF-DT-10 Yarmouth, CIHF-DT-15 Antigonish, CIHF-DT-16 Mulgrave, CHEX-TV-1 Bancroft, and CKWS-TV-3 Smiths Falls.
In the fall, Global Lethbridge officially opened the doors to new studio space in the city’s downtown core on 7th Street South. The station moved from its original home on 28 Street North, from which it had been broadcasting since November 1955.
Corus asked the CRTC for flexibility to spend 10% less on Canadian programming expenditures in the upcoming fiscal year and then make up the difference before the end of its licence term in August of 2022. The amendments were requested as part of conditions of licence attached to Corus’ English-language television stations and discretionary services.
Global News Weekend, a new morning show co-hosted by Aalia Adam and Mike Arsenault streaming on the Global TV App, officially launched on April 25. The program was created specifically for audiences tuning into Global News digital platforms, aired every Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Eastern. The three-hour long program provided a mix of news, weather and in-depth interviews.
Global Montreal employees, represented by CUPE, who’d been without an agreement since August of 2019, rejected a final offer from Corus. The union said 91% voted against the collective agreement renewal offer. The more than 40 employees included journalists, video journalists, and technical and support staff.
Tracy Tong took over anchoring Global Montreal’s supper hour newscasts in September. Tong helmed the newscasts out of Toronto, following senior anchor Jamie Orchard’s release in August as part of ongoing layoffs at Corus.
On December 4, the CRTC approved applications to amend the broadcasting licences for six over-the-air television stations in order to add conditions of licence that authorized these stations to have their existing signal broadcast as part of a multiplexed signal. CHKL-DT Kelowna would broadcast its own signal as well as the signal of CHBC-DT Kelowna; CHKL-DT-1 Penticton would broadcast its own signal as well as the signal of CHBC-DT-1 Penticton; CHKL-DT-2 Vernon would broadcast its own signal as well as the signal of CHBC-DT-2 Vernon; CIII-DT-6 Ottawa would broadcast its own signal as well as the signal of CKWS-DT-2 Prescott; CHEX-DT Peterborough would broadcast its own signal as well as the signals of CIII-DT-27 Peterborough and CKWS-DT-1 Brighton; CKWS-DT Kingston would broadcast its own signal as well as the signal broadcast by CIII-DT-2 Bancroft. Corus stated the applications were intended to alleviate financial pressures caused by the increasing costs of maintaining aging equipment and the significant new costs associated with the mandatory repack of the 600 MHz band, specifically, by reducing the number of transmitters operated by the licensees. Corus also indicated that, as an alternative cost-saving measure, if these applications were denied, it might have considered shutting down multiple transmitters.
Bhupinder Hundal was named News Director and Station Manager for Global BC. Hundal would oversee editorial direction, staff and operations.
In the fall, Global News added four new regional news streams to the Global TV app: Okanagan, Lethbridge, Peterborough and Kingston. They joined the existing B.C., Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and National streams on the app.
In February, Corus announced its restructuring of its Global News operations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Starting in mid-March, supper-hour and late night newscasts for Regina and Saskatoon would be anchored from Winnipeg. Global Winnipeg anchor Lisa Dutton would helm the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts for both Saskatchewan markets. Global Saskatoon meteorologist Peter Quinlan would provide weather. Global Winnipeg anchor Kevin Hirschfield would handle the late night newscasts. The restructuring saw some management changes, including the appointment of Brent Williamson, formerly Station Manager and News Director for Global Winnipeg and 680 CJOB to Regional News Director and Station Manager for Manitoba and Saskatchewan. No job losses were attached to the announcement.
Global’s original news anchor Peter Trueman died at age 86 on July 23. He started in journalism in the 1950’s at the Ottawa Journal. Trueman then became a columnist for the Montreal Star. In 1970, he became executive producer of CBC’s The National, and joined Global at its launch in 1974. Trueman retired from journalism in 1988 but went on to host Discovery Channel’s Great Canadian Parks, and oversaw a series of documentaries for the History Channel featuring national historic sites.