CBRT-DT, CBC-TV, Calgary

Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

StationYearChannelNetwork AffiliateOwner/Info
CBRT-DT20119.1 (21)CBCCanadian Broadcasting Corp.
CBRT-TV19759CBCCanadian Broadcasting Corp.


The CBC opened a television facility of sorts in Calgary on July 1. It wasn’t a television station but the Television Delay Centre. It was opened in the old Alberta Government Telephone Building, downtown. The facility received CBC programs via a microwave closed circuit network, put the content on to videotape and then released it to each time zone from the Lakehead to the Pacific coast.


The delay centre moved to a single storey building on Westmount Boulevard in west Calgary, on the north bank of the Bow River. This would be the home to all CBC Calgary services in the future – CBR in 1964 and then CBRT in 1975.


The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was awarded a licence for an English television station at Calgary, broadcasting on channel 9 with an effective radiated video power of 178,000 watts. The licence included the operation of four five watt (directional) rebroadcast transmitters at Exshaw (channel 6), Banff (channel 5) , Lake Louise (channel 12) and Drumheller (channel 5).

Because Calgary’s existing CBC affiliate – CFAC-TV planned to become an independent station, the CBC pledged to also establish rebroadcasters at Field and Bassano so that the CFAC coverage area would be fully duplicated. It would also apply within one year for licences to establish transmitters to duplicate service in Lethbridge and region, an area now served by CJOC-TV and its rebroadcasters. 

CBRT-TV was authorized to add a transmitter at Rosemary on channel 11 with effective radiated video power of 25,300 watts, directional.


Full CBC Television service came to Calgary on September 1, with the launch of CBRT. Studios and offices were located at 1724 Westmount Boulevard. The station signed on at 9:30 a.m. with the children’s show Mr. Piper. The production manager was Flemming Nielson. . Don Carroll was director of TV operations in Calgary

CBRT broadcast local news twice daily. Evening Eyeopener aired at 6:30 p.m., and Night Final followed The National. Initially, Evening Eyeopener was a half-hour program, except on Thursdays when it ran for a full hour. The original Evening Eyeopener anchors were Jim Morrison and Brian Bullock, joined by sports anchors Gary Arthur and Bob Elphicke, and weather anchor Norris Bick. News supervisor was Ron Smith.

With the launch of the ANIK satellite a couple of years earlier, things changed at the Calgary delay centre. The centre’s equipment was relocated to CBC plants throughout the country since the existing delay pattern no longer served a purpose. To make room for CBRT and all of the other changes happening at CBC Calgary, the Westmount Blvd. facility was renovated. CBRT moved into the section of the building that had been used by the delay centre.

Canadian General Electric supplied the 325 kW (maximum authorized power) transmitter and directional 8-slot antenna. There was a setback when a large section of the tower fell while under construction. The transmitter and antenna are located three miles west of the city, and has an elevation of 4,050 feet. The tower is 820 feet high – 877 feet with the antenna. The tower will also include other CBC stations in the future.

CBRT-2 Drumheller signed on the air on the same date, while CBRT-1 Banff and CBRT-4 Lake Louise signed on September 19 and November 18, respectively.


CBRT received approval for rebroadcast transmitters at Lethbridge (channel 10 with effective radiated power of 123,000 watts) and Waterton Park (channel 4 with 5 watts). The transmitters would replace CJOC-TV Lethbridge which had plans to disaffiliate from the network.

On August 13, CBRT-5 Rosemary commenced operations. A few months earlier, this transmitter received approval to increase effective radiated power from 25,300 watts to 125,450 watts.

On December 8, CBRT-9 Pincher Creek, CBRT-10 Bellevue and CBRT-11 Coleman were launched.

CBRT-7 Waterton Park, CBRT-8 Burmis and CBRT-12 Cardston were launched on December 13.


CBRT-6 at Lethbridge began operations on January 13.


On September 20, CBRT-13 Harvie Heights began operations.


On August 27, CBRT-3 Exshaw signed on the air.

CBRT-15 Cowley started operations on November 20.


On March 7, CBRT-16 Coutts/Milk River was launched.


Andrew Simon became director of TV at CBC Calgary (CBRT). He had been in Quebec as a director of radio.


At this time CBRT operated the following transmitters: CBRT-1 Banff, CBRT-2 Drumheller, CBRT-3 Exshaw, CBRT-5 Rosemary, CBRT-6 Lethbridge, CBRT-7 Waterton Park, CBRT-8 Burmis, CBRT-9 Pincher Creek, CBRT-10 Bellevue, CBRT-11 Coleman, CBRT-12 Cardston, CBRT-13 Harvie Heights, CBRT-14 Drumheller, CBRT-15 Cowley, CBRT-16 Coutts-Milk River and CBRT-17 Exshaw.


On December 5, 1990, local news and current affairs programming was abruptly cancelled on CBRT as a result of budget cutbacks. Only 10 out of 80 employees at CBRT were spared from losing their jobs. Calgary Newshour, co-anchored by Kathy Daley and Bob Nicholson, was replaced by Alberta Newshour, co-produced by CBXT Edmonton and CBRT. Calgary Newshour had an average of 88,000 viewers per night, which made it a close third behind CFCN and CFAC.

Following the cutback announcement, CITV Edmonton co-founder Wendell Wilks spoke with CBC co-chair Patrick Watson about the possibility of buying CBRT in order to continue local CBC Calgary production, but Watson would have no part of it.

Bob Blakey of the Calgary Herald criticized the new Alberta Newshour, which was later named CBC Alberta News, for being “a sad mishmash of clumsily edited news clips and desperate attempts to embrace Calgary and Edmonton in the same breath.”


On June 28, the CBC was authorized to originate programming on CBRT from CBXT in Edmonton. CBRT would not become a rebroadcaster of CBXT but operate as a contributing bureau. Its master control facilities would be maintained, allowing the station to continue to broadcast station identification, public service announcements, occasional specials, and commercial messages.  This followed the CBC’s December 5, 1990 announcement of service reductions to to a budget shortfall.


On February 15, CBRT was granted a transmitter power decrease for CBRT-7 Waterton Park, from 8.9 watts to 1 watt.


On January 18, CBRT received permission to increase the effective radiated power for transmitter CBRT-8 Burmis, from 588 watts to 813 watts.


On December 23, CBRT was authorized to change the channel for transmitter CBRT-12 Cardston from 2 to 6.


On February 18, CBRT received authority to change the channel fro transmitter CBRT-2 Drumheller, from 5 to 6.


The one-hour supper-hour newscast Calgary Tonight, which had replaced CBC Alberta News on CBRT several years earlier, was cancelled and replaced by Canada Now, a one-hour newscast with the first half hour being national and international news anchored by Ian Hanomansing from Vancouver, and the second half hour being local current affairs hosted by Kathleen Petty.

CBRT operated the following rebroadcast transmitters: CBRT-1 Banff, CBRT-10 Bellevue, CBRT-8 Burmis, CBRT-12 Cardston, CBRT-11 Coleman, CBRT-16 Coutts/Milk River, CBRT-15 Cowley, CBRT-2 Drumheller, CBRT-14 Drumheller, CBRT-3 Exshaw, CBRT-17 Exshaw, CBRT-13 Harvie Heights, CBRT-6 Lethbridge, CBRT-9 Pincher Creek, CBRT-5 Rosemary, and CBRT-7 Waterton 


On August 1, CBRT was authorized to add a transmitter on channel 10 with transmission power of 12 watts at Lake Louise (CBRT-4). Until this time, CBRT-4 had been operated by the CBC as radiocommunication distribution undertaking, which rebroadcast the programming of the CBC Northern Television Service.

Improvements in satellite feed technology now enabled the CBC to provide viewers in Lake Louise with the full programming schedule of CBRT.


On December 4, the CRTC approved the application by the CBC to add to the licence of CBRT, the transmitter CBCA-TV-1 Etzikom. The Commission noted that CBCA-TV-1 was operated by the CBC as a radiocommunication distribution undertaking that rebroadcast the programming of CHAT-TV Medicine Hat. Earlier this year, the CRTC approved the disaffiliation of CHAT-TV from the CBC network.


On May 12 the CRTC renewed CBRT’s licence, including the following rebroadcast transmitters: CBCA-TV-1 Etzikom, CBRT-1 Banff, CBRT-10, Bellevue, CBRT-11 Coleman, CBRT-12 Cardston, CBRT-13 Harvie Heights, CBRT-14 Drumheller, CBRT-15 Cowley, CBRT-16 Coutts/Milk River, CBRT-17 Exshaw, CBRT-2 Drumheller West, CBRT-3 Exshaw, CBRT-4 Lake Louise, CBRT-5 Rosemary, CBRT-6 Lethbridge, CBRT-7 Waterton Park, CBRT-8 Brumis and CBRT-9 Pincher Creek. 

Lorie McNaughton passed away. The former CBC-TV host was diagnosed with cancer more than a year ago. McNaughton worked at CKSA Lloydminster, CBC-TV Regina, CBC-TV Winnipeg and anchored Canada Now in Calgary from 1999 to 2003.


A five-hour stand-off at CBC Calgary ended with a 74-year-old man apprehended under the Mental Health Act. He was charged with weapons offences after a man with a handgun entered the CBC Calgary broadcast centre. He apparently wanted to publicize a dispute he’d had with a former employer.

On August 9, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence of CBRT and its transmitters to March 31, 2011.

On November 3, the CRTC approved the application by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to amend the licence for CBRT-TV Calgary in order to add a post-transition digital transmitter in Calgary (CBRT-DT). The new transmitter would operate on channel 21 with an average effective radiated power of 11,800 watts (maximum ERP of 23,500 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 276.3 metres).


On March 29, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CBRT-TV until August 31, 2012. The Commission noted that it did not intend to renew authorizations for full-power analog transmitters operating in the mandatory markets or on channels 52 to 69 outside the mandatory markets beyond August 31, 2011. By that time, the Commission expected licensees to have the necessary authority to broadcast in digital. In addition, the Commission imposed the following condition of licence on stations that operated in mandatory markets or on channels 52 to 69 outside the mandatory markets: Unless otherwise authorized by the Commission, the licensee shall not transmit analog television signals after 31 August 2011 in mandatory markets designated as such by the Commission in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2011-184 or transmit television signals on channels 52 to 69. The CRTC also noted that pursuant to Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-69, it did not intend to renew authorizations to operate transitional digital transmitters included in these licences, beyond August 31, 2011. 

CBRT’s digital transmitter (CBRT-DT channel 21) became operational on April 1. The virtual channel was 9.1 (representing its analog dial position – channel 9). 

On August 16, the CRTC approved applications by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to continue to operate 22 analog television rebroadcasting transmitters until August 31, 2012 in markets that the Commission identified as mandatory for conversion to digital transmission, and to make associated technical changes. With respect to CBRT, this approval included CBRT-6 Lethbridge. Approval of the CBC’s proposal, and related technical amendments, would provide additional time for affected households that rely 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. 

CBRT-DT shut down its analog transmitter (CBRT-TV channel 9) on August 31 – the day that such broadcasting was to end in mandatory markets. 

The CRTC approved an amendment to the licence for CBRT-TV Calgary by deleting the transmitters CBRT-3 and CBRT-17 Exshaw.

Shawna Kelly, Communications & Partnership Manager at CBC Calgary, took over the position of Managing Editor at CBC Windsor on November 28. She succeeded Adrian Bateman who held the position for less than a year after crossing the street from /A Windsor. 


On July 17, the CRTC announced that effective 1 August 2012, it would revoke the broadcasting licences for CBIT Sydney and CBKST Saskatoon and their transmitters. The Commission also approved the 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. The CBC planned to cease operation of all these transmitters on 31 July 2012. The licences for the following transmitters were removed from the CBRT-DT licence: CBRT-1 Banff, CBRT-10 Bellevue, CBRT-8 Burmis, CBRT-12 Cardston, CBRT-11 Coleman, CBRT-16 Coutts/Milk River, CBRT-15 Cowley, CBRT-14 Drumheller, CBRT-2 Drumheller West, CBCA-TV-1 Etzikom, CBRT-13 Harvie Heights, CBRT-4 Lake Louise, CBRT-6 Lethbridge, CBRT-9 Pincher Creek, CBRT-5 Rosemary, and CBRT-7 Waterton Park.

On August 17, the CRTC approved the CBC’s application to change the authorized contours of CBRT-DT, by increasing the average effective radiated power from 11,800 to 253,500 watts (maximum ERP from 23,500 to 507,000 watts and an increase in the antenna’s effective height of antenna above average terrain from 276.3 to 350.8 metres). The CBC requested the change in order to provide CBRT-DT’s programming to a larger audience in the Calgary area.

On August 9, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence of CBRT-DT until August 31, 2013.

Suzanne Sen-Waddell joined CBC Calgary November 8 as Regional Communications Manager. While she has a broad television and radio background, Sen-Waddell moved to the position from Calgary’s Mount Royal University where she was Senior Marketing & Communications Strategist.


Nirmala Naidoo left the anchor position at CBC News Calgary in the pursuit of new opportunities. She joined CBC in 2009 after a long career covering such stories as the Gulf War, British elections and IRA bombings. She also worked as a journalist for CBC-TV Regina.

On May 28, the CRTC renewed CBRT-DT’s licence for a five year term, to August 31, 2018.


It was announced that CBC Calgary would be moving to a new home following the approval of the sale of their long-time location. The CBC said the design and construction process of the new and smaller building was expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete, with the hope of moving in by July of next year.

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.

Contact this station