CFCN-DT-5, CTV, Lethbridge

Bell Media Inc.

StationYearChannelNetwork AffiliateOwner/Info
CFCN-DT-5201113.1 (13)CTVBell Media
CFCN-TV 5200613CTVCTVbellglobemedia
CFCN-TV 5199913CTVCTV Inc.
CFCN-TV 5199613CTVBaton Broadcasting Inc.
CFCN-TV 5199413CTVRogers Communications
CFCN-TV 5196813CTVMaclean Hunter Ltd.


CFCN Television Ltd. applied for a rebroadcast transmitter at Lethbridge. CJLH-TV (Lethbridge) offered conditional rental of their facilities for CFCN for its proposed operation. Stipulation: CJLH wanted to tie itself to CHCT so the Calgary station could feed much of the CBC’s programming to Lethbridge. CJLH said in this way an alternative service could be provided and the Lethbridge studios could become a production centre for two stations. The CBC requested that CHCT use channel 10 in Lethbridge so channel 13 could be reserved for future CBC plans. The applications were deferred. The BBG wanted to hear an application by CJLH to operate as a part-time rebroadcaster of CHCT.


CFCN again applied for a Lethbridge transmitter which would receive programming over the air from Calgary. It would also offer programming on a part-time basis from studios in Lethbridge. They proposed to operate on channel 13 with an effective radiated power of 36,700 watts video and 7,340 watts audio. Antenna height would be 582 feet (EHAAT) and a directional pattern would be used. Lethbridge Tvsn Ltd. (CJLH) propoased to operate as a part-time rebroadcaster of CHCT Clagary. It would continue to offer local programming and take CBC programs from CHCT, plus some feature films and syndicated material. It was likely to keep its staff and studios functioning. The close tie-in with CHCT would save money for the small station by eliminating duplication in many areas. CFCN would produce six hours and 45 minutes of local programming for Lethbridge. CJLH now turned out 14 hours a week of regularly scheduled local programs. This might be trimmed slightly when sharing facilities with CFCN begins. CJLH did not expect local content to fall below 10 hours per week.
On May 16, The Board of Broadcast Governors approved the applications. CJLH-TV would team up with Calgary’s CHCT-TV and operate as a part-time rebroadcaster of that station. It would also share its facilities with the proposed CFCN-TV outlet in Lethbridge. CFCN would bring CTV service to the region, offering part-time service over-the-air from Calgary and part-time from the CJLH-TV studios. 

It was announced CFCN-TV Lethbridge would open September 3. It would air all syndicated programs on CFCN-TV Calgary as well as the full CTV network schedule. Over 98% of the prime time schedule would be in colour. Of the 21 hours produced in Calgary, six hours and 45 minutes would be produced and telecast separately in Lethbridge. The signal from Calgary would be picked up 49 miles south of Calgary and relayed in two microwave hops to Lethbridge. The antenna would be on the existing CJLH-TV tower. By sharing the tower it would be unnecessary for viewers to change their home antennas. CFCN Lethbridge would operate on channel 13 with an effective radiated power of 120,000 watts video and 60,000 watts audio.

CFCN-TV-5 in Lethbridge opened on September 3. It shared the CJLH-TV tower and studio space in the CJLH Building. 


On March 18, CFCN-TV Lethbridge was given the ok to increase ERP to 47,000 watts video. Audio ERP would remain 7,340 watts.

A rebroadcast transmitter was approved for Burmis, operating on channel 5 effective radiated power of 200 watts video and 100 watts audio, and transmitting a directional signal from a 445 foot tower. It would receive programming over-the-air from CFCN-TV-5 (channel 13) in Lethbridge.


CFCN-TV took full control of CFCN-TV-5.


CFCN received approval to operate a transmitter at Medicine Hat to rebroadcast the programs of CFCN-TV-5 Lethbridge.


CFCN-TV’s transmitter at Medicine Hat (channel 8) was authorized to decrease effective radiated video power from 13,400 watts to 6,700 watts.


Maclean-Hunter Holdings Ltd. was given approval to acquire Maclean-Hunter Ltd. shares held by Hunco and D. F. Hunter. Effective control of Maclean-Hunter Ltd. was now held by the directors and senior management.


CFCN-TV-5 received approval for a power increase to 57,000 watts and a change of antenna site. The CRTC suggested a further power increase to improve coverage.


Former CHEC-AM news director Bruce Mitchell took over news anchor duties at CFCN-TV Lethbridge. He replaced Gord Colledge who was the successful applicant for a new AM station in Medicine Hat.


At thist time CFCN-TV operated the following transmitters in Alberta: Drumheller CFCN-TV-1, Banff CFCN-TV-2, Brooks CFCN-TV-3 , Burmis CFCN-TV-4, Lethbridge CFCN-TV-5, Drumheller CFCN-TV-6, and Medicine Hat CFCN-TV-8; British Columbia: Cranbrook CFCN-TV-9, Fernie CFCN-TV-10, Sparwood CFCN-TV-11, and Moyie CFCN-TV-12.


On June 30, CFCN-TV-1 Drumheller received approval to increase effective radiated power from 14,100 watts to 40,000 watts.


On August 10, CFCN Communications Ltd. was authorized to acquire CFWL-TV-1 Invermere, a rebroadcaster of CFCN-TV Calgary, from Invermere District Television Co. Ltd. CFCN had been providing the capital costs necessary for the maintenance of this rebroadcaster for several years.    

On August 12, CFCN-TV was authorized to add a transmitter at Canmore (Harvie Heights), on channel 45 with a transmitter power of 35 watts. CFCN-TV also intends to change the program source for CFCN-TV-2 Banff from CFCN-TV Calgary to the new rebroadcaster at Harvie Heights. A transmitter was also approved for Pigeon Mountain, on channel 40 with a transmitter power of 5 watts.  


Standard Radio Inc. received permission to purchase CFCN-AM and CJAY-FM from CFCN Communications Ltd. This put CFCN radio and television under separate ownership.


On January 18, CFCN-TV was authorized to add the CFON-TV-1 transmitter at Oyen, which rebroadcasts CFCN-TV and is currently licensed to The Oyen and District Television Association. The licence issued to the Association for CFON-TV-1 was revoked.


On December 19, the Canadian Radio-Television & Telecommunications Commission approved Rogers Communications Inc’s purchase of Maclean-Hunter Ltd. M-H was the parent company of CFCN Communications Ltd., owner of CFCN-TV.


On June 21, the CRTC approved the sale of CFCN-TV by Rogers to BBS Western Acquisition Corp. (Baton Broadcasting Inc.) This sale of CFCN to Baton was completed on June 28, 1996.


The CRTC approved a corporate reorganization of Baton on January 23. Among other things, the reorganization featured the amalgamation of all Baton divisions (CFCN comes directly under the Baton Broadcasting banner. Baton’s TV West had been the owner). 

After purchasing the CTV Television Network, Baton Broadcasting Inc. changed its name to CTV Inc. The name change was effective December 21.


CTV cut 131 full-time jobs (199 people and 12 vacant positions). Most were from local stations, including CJOH, CKCO, CFRN and CFCN-5 and about 65% were in management, administrative, and operations.


Rumours had many of the big media companies eyeing CTV. 

In a surprise move, late in February, BCE (Canada telephone giant) through its subsidiary BCE Media, proposed to purchase CTV Inc. for $ 2.3 billion, the largest transaction in Canadian broadcasting. 

Later in March the CTV board approved the deal, which required CRTC approval. 

In June BCE submitted their brief to the CRTC with the largest “benefits package” ever presented to the regulative body. The benefits, money allocated over the proposed seven year licence term, were almost entirely to be spent on new Canadian programming. Ivan Fecan agreed to stay with the network under BCE ownership. 

The CRTC hearing was held in September and was approved on December 7th. 


On September 17, CFCN-TV was granted an increase in effective radiated power from 55,000 watts to 100,000 watts. CTV planned to replace the existing transmitting tower. It would also replace the old directional antenna with a new non-directional antenna, resulting in a power increase and a minor increase in CFCN-TV’s coverage area.

When CFCN-TV had its licence renewed, it operated the following transmitters: CFCN-TV-1 Drumheller, CFCN-TV-2 Banff, CFCN-TV-3 Brooks, CFCN-TV-6 Drumheller, CFCN-TV-13 Pigeon Mountain, CFCN-TV-14 Canmore (Harvie Heights) and CFCN-TV-16 Oyen, Alberta. CFCN-TV-5 Lethbridge operated these transmitters: CFCN-TV-4 Burmis, CFCN-TV-8 Medicine Hat, CFCN-TV-17 Waterton Park, CFCN-TV-18 Coleman, Alberta, and CFCN-TV-9 Cranbrook, CFCN-TV-10 Fernie, CFCN-TV-11 Sparwood, CFCN-TV-12 Moyie, CFCN-TV-15 Invermere and CFWL-TV-1 Invermere, British Columbia.


On July 21, a change in the ownership structure of Bell Globemedia Inc. was approved. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and Torstar Corp. (Toronto Star) would each acquire a 20% voting interest in BGM (purchasing shares from BCE). Woodbridge Co. Ltd. would acquire additional shares from BCE and increase its holdings in BGM from 31.5% to 40%. BCE’s voting interest would be reduced from 68.5% to 20%. There would be no clear-cut control of BGM. BGM and its subsidiary CTV Inc. would be controlled by BGM’s Board of Directors pursuant to a Unanimous Shareholder Agreement.

On September 20, approval was granted for the deletion of CFCN-TV-15 and CFWL-TV-1 Invermere, British Columbia from the licence of CFCN-TV-5 Lethbridge and to add those thransmitters to the licence of CFCN-TV Calgary. The changes would allow it to deliver a satellite feed of CFCN-TV Calgary to the Invermere transmitters instead of the existing combination of off-air and microwave feed from CFCN-TV-5 Lethbridge. The programming would be for the most part unaffected, as the programming of CFCN-TV Calgary and CFCN-TV-5 Lethbridge is virtually identical, with the exception of 2.5 hours each week of local Lethbridge news delivered on the CFCN-TV-5 signal. The licensee stated that Invermere is a recreational area, largely populated by Calgary residents, and the change would be a positive one, since the Calgary programming would be of more relevance to this community.

On December 14th, it was announced that effective January 2007, Bell Globemedia would be renamed CTVglobemedia Inc.


CTV globemedia acquired CHUM Limited. With the purchase, CFCN-TV gained a brother radio station in the city – CKCE-FM which had signed on the air earlier in the year.


On May 15th, the CRTC announced a one-year licence renewal, effective September 1st 2009, for all of CTVglobemedia’s Over-The-Air stations, including CFCN-TV-5, “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.” 


It was expected that, by summer, CTV Calgary would host master control for most of the Western Canadian CTV stations: four in Saskatchewan, three in Alberta, CTV Vancouver and BC Interior feeds.


The CRTC approved an amendment to the licence of conventional television station CFCN-TV-5 (Lethbridge), to add a post-transition digital television transmitter on channel 13 with a maximum effective radiated power of 27,000 watts horizontal and 9,300 watts vertical (average of 27,000 horizontal and 3,400 vertical). A directional antenna (171.5 metres) would be used at the existing CKUA-FM site. Programming would be fed to the transmitter by fibre-optic cable.

On March 7, the CRTC approved an application by BCE Inc. on behalf of CTVglobemedia Inc., for authority to change the effective control of CTVgm’s licensed broadcasting subsidiaries to BCE. The Commission concluded that the transaction would be beneficial to the Canadian broadcasting system by ensuring the long-term stability of a significant Canadian television network and advancing the Commission’s objective of providing relevant high-quality Canadian programming to Canadians through conventional and new media distribution channels. BCE was a public corporation and controlled by its board of directors. Before this approval, BCE held 15% of the voting interest in the capital of CTVgm. The other shareholders were 1565117 Ontario Limited (a corporation ultimately controlled by Mr. David Kenneth R. Thomson) (40% of the voting interest), Ontario Teacher’s Plan Board (25% of the voting interest) and Torstar Corporation (20% of the voting interest). Under the transaction agreement dated September 10, 2010, BCE would acquire the remaining 85% of the voting interest in the capital of CTVgm and would therefore exercise effective control.

On March 15, CTV Inc., CTV Corp., CTV Limited and CTVglobemedia Inc. amalgamated to continue as CTV Inc. 

On March 29, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for a number of conventional television and transitional digital television stations until August 31, 2011. The CRTC 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.

BCE Inc. announced on April 1 that it had completed its acquisition of CTV and that it had launched Bell Media (replacing CTVglobemedia), a new business unit that would make CTV programs and other Bell content available on smartphones and computers as well as traditional television. In addition to CTV and its television stations, Bell Media now also operated 29 specialty channels, 33 radio stations, Dome Productions, a mobile broadcast facilities provider, and dozens of high-traffic news, sports and entertainment websites, including the portal. 

The CRTC approved the transfer of the transmitter CFCN-TV-3 Brooks, Alberta, which rebroadcasts the signal of CFCN-TV Calgary, to the list of transmitters associated with CFCN-TV-5 Lethbridge. According to information provided by Industry Canada, this transmitter had been associated with the Lethbridge station for a number of years so this request was being made so that the Commission could adjust its files accordingly. 

On July 27, the CRTC renewed the licence for CFCN-DT-5 until August 31, 2016. The renewal included the following transmitters: CFCN-TV-3 Brooks, CFCN-TV-4 Burmis, CFCN-TV-8 Medicine Hat, CFCN-TV-17 Waterton Park, CFCN-TV-18 Coleman, CFCN-TV-9 Cranbrook, B.C., CFCN-TV-10 Fernie, B.C., CFCN-TV-11 Sparwood, B.C., and CFCN-TV-12 Moyie, B.C. The Commission noted the licensee’s commitment to broadcast 2.5 hours of local programming per week, averaged over the broadcast year. 

The CRTC approved a change to the ownership of Bell Media Inc., from BCE Inc. to Bell Canada. This transaction would not affect effective control of Bell Media Inc. and of its licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, which continued to be exercised by BCE Inc. Bell Media Inc. held, directly and through its licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, various radio and television programming undertakings as well as specialty and pay-per-view television services.

CFCN-DT-5 began operations just after midnight on August 31 and the analog transmitter left the air. This was the final day for analog TV broadcasting in mandatory markets. CFCN-DT-5 operated on channel 13 (virtual 13.1), the same dial position that had been used by CFCN-TV-5.


On July 30, the CRTC gave Bell Media permission to delete 28 analog rebroadcasting transmitters across the country. Bell stated the transmitters did not generate any incremental revenue and generally attracted little to no added viewership. The following CFCN-DT-5 transmitters would shut down on February 26, 2021: CFCN-TV-10 Fernie and CFCN-TV-9 Cranbrook (both B.C.).

The story continues elsewhere…
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