CHAT-TV, Medicine Hat
|Jim Pattison Industries
|Monarch Broadcasting Co.
CHAT-TV took to the air on September 14 as Alberta’s 4th television station. Premier E. C. Manning presided over the opening. CHAT broadcast on channel 6 with an effective radiated power of 5,700 watts video and 3,000 watts audio. The modern studio and office building and 403 foot (EHAAT) tower were located at Redcliffe, six miles north west of Medicine Hat. All equipment used was from RCA. The station had a 50 x 70 foot studio.
CHAT-TV was owned by Monarch Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (J. H. “Hop” Yuill 99.0%, Mrs. M. E. Yuill 0.5% and R. J. Buss 0.5%), founder of CHAT Radio (on air since 1946). J. Harlan Yuill was president of the company. R. J. “Bob” Buss was general manager of radio and ran television as well. Sid Gaffney was chief engineer and Merv Stone was production manager. Bob Burns was news director. CHAT-TV was a CBC supplementary station.
In those early days, sign-on was 5:30 p.m. With one black & white camera, the only live programming was the half-hour 6:00 p.m. news, with the rest of the programming being on film or kinescope from the CBC network. About 10% of the local commercials were done live, with the announcers usually ad-libbing, hoping they could add enough “colour” to last a full 60 seconds. The basic ad rate was $100.00 per hour.
Some of the early staff members who got their start at CHAT-TV include Bernie Pascal, Gary Buss, George Lund, Mike Darow and Duff Roman, all of whom have gone on to bigger things in major markets.
Notable local CHAT-TV productions were “Sock-Hop”, a teenage dance show to recorded music, various quiz shows such as “View the Clue” and “Cartoon Quiz”. Two cooking shows, a farm show, and a western music program called “Country Roundup” and “Music for Moderns” featuring local musicians, were also part of the early local productions.
Microwave brought the “live” CBC Network on December 15, and a greatly increased schedule from 10:00 am to 12:00 midnight.
CHAT-TV had 15 employees at this time. The station’s daily sign-on time was 4 p.m.
The BBG deferred Monarch Broadcasting’s application for a rebroadcaster of CHAT-TV at Pivot. CHAT-TV had proposed to use channel 3 for Pivot. The channel would be changed from 3 to 4 and the BBG would now hear the application.
A high powered re-broadcaster (CHAT-TV-1) was installed near Pivot, near the border of Saskatchewan, significantly improving the stations reach. It was opened on May 23.
Orv Kope was appointed Manager of both CHAT-AM and CHAT-TV.
CHAT-TV still operated with an effective radiated power of 5,700 watts video and 3,000 watts audio while CHAT-TV-1 had an ERP of 2,750 watts video and 1,370 watts audio. J. H. Yuill was president of Monarch Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
In October, network colour arrived and local colour started in February, 1971.
CHAT-TV was authorized to add a rebroadcast transmitter at Bow Island, operating on channel 10 with power of 5 watts (directional). It would receive programming directly off-the-air from CHAT-TV Medicine Hat.
A transmitter was also approved for Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, operating on channel 10 with a directional power of 5 watts. It would receive programming off-the-air from CHAT-TV-1 at Pivot.
CHAT-TV-2 opened at Maple Creek on October 7.
The Bow Island transmitter – CHAT-TV-3 – signed on the air.
Mr W. H. “Bill” Yuill, son of the founder, became owner and President of the Monarch Communications Group which has since acquired many other broadcasting and cable properties in Alberta and British Columbia.
Approval was given for the transfer of 4.9% of Monarch Broadcasting Co. Ltd. by H. H. Yuill to W. H. Yuill and O. Kope.
CHAT received approval to disaffiliate from the CBC network.
The main transmitter was re-located at Bowell, Alberta in September. The power was raised to 36,000 watts video and 3,000 watts audio further widening increasing the stations coverage.
Other re-broadcasters were added at Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, and a community-owned satellite at Oyen, Alberta.
On January 28, CHAT-TV received permission to increase effective radiated video power from 5,700 watts to 30,000 watts and to operate from a new transmitter site at Bowell.
On September 14, the licence for CHAT-TV-3 Bow Island was revoked at the request of Monarch Broadcasting Ltd. Since improvements were made at the main Medicine Hat transmitter, the Bow Island transmitter was no longer needed.
Dwaine Dietrick became vice president of operations for Monarch Broadcasting. He succeeded vice president and general manager Merv Phillips, who retired.
Two Monarch chief engineers marked 30 years with the company…Bob Werre of CHAT-TV and Joel Simmons of CHAT-FM.
On February 15, the CRTC approved the application to amend the licence for CHAT-TV by adding the following condition of licence: In addition to the 12 minutes of advertising material permitted by subsection 11(1) of the Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987, the licensee may broadcast more than 12 minutes of advertising material in any clock hour in a broadcast day, in order to broadcast infomercials as defined in Public Notice CRTC 1994-139 and in accordance with the criteria contained in that public notice, as amended.
Monarch Broadcasting made a number of appointments at CHAT-TV – Rod Forsyth to general sales manager, Kevin Deck to production supervisor, Alissa Funk to master control supervisor, and Bryan Jenner to creative supervisor.
Monarch Broadcasting was named 1995 Business of the Year by the Medicine Hat Chamber of Commerce, while president Bill Yuill was among five in Alberta who received the Pinnacle Award, which recognizes Entrepreneurial success in the face of economic adversity.
In December, the CRTC approved the purchase of the radio and television holdings of Monarch Broadcasting Ltd. to the Jim Pattison Group in Alberta and British Columbia, including CHAT-TV Medicine Hat.
Orv Kope died May 4th.
Dwaine Dietrich retired in July, and Dave Sherwood took over as general manager of CHAT-FM-TV, and CFMY-FM in September.
On February 28, Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership received approval to disaffiliate CHAT-TV Medicine Hat and its transmitters CHAT-TV-1 Pivot, Alberta and CHAT-TV-2 Maple Creek from the CBC network. Pattison indicated that it has come to an agreement with Canwest Media Inc. to supply programming for the stations. However, Pattison made a commitment that, upon disaffiliation from the CBC, it would continue to broadcast a weekly average of 10 hours and 30 minutes of original local programming on CHAT-TV.
CHAT TV celebrated its 50th anniversary on September 14.
On July 12, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CHAT-TV and its transmitters in Alberta and Saskatchewan until August 31, 2013.
After seven years at CHAT-TV/CHAT-FM/MY96 FM, News Director Rhonda Carlson left to join husband Will Desjardins, an associate coach with the Dallas Stars of the NHL.
Regan Tate became News Director at CHAT Radio-TV/MY96 FM Medicine Hat November 14, moving from her Assignment Editor duties at Global Regina. Robert Buffam was the new late night anchor, in from Lloydminster. Yvonne Raymond, formerly of Shaw Red Deer, was now a reporter.
On May 3, Rogers Media and the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group announced an affiliation agreement that would see the delivery of Citytv programming on all three of Pattison’s television stations. Beginning September 1, the Pattison stations would air 90% of Citytv programming throughout prime time and the majority of the morning and daytime hours, and would follow the Citytv Vancouver programming grid, including the airing of the popular morning show Breakfast Television. Pattison would continue to produce and broadcast its award-winning local newscasts (at 12 noon and the dinner hour). The affiliate agreement was with all three of Pattison’s television stations: CFJC TV7 (Kamloops, BC), CKPG TV (Prince George, BC), and CHAT TV (Medicine Hat, AB).
Tim Weinberger became General Sales Manager at CHAT-FM/CFMY-FM/ CHAT-TV in mid-July. He had been General Manager/GSM at Newcap’s K-Rock 100.5 Fort McMurray, and succeeded Ed Lundberg who retired at the end of September. Weinberger’s background included CKRD Red Deer, CFRN TV Edmonton and ITV Edmonton.
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.