CHCA-TV, Red Deer
|CanWest Global (Left the air August 31st)
|Global Television Network
|Western International Communications
Central Alberta Broadcasting Co. Ltd., owner of CKRD-AM, applied for a television licence. CKRD proposed the use of channel 6 with an effective radiated power of 4,540 watts video and 2,270 watts audio. The application was recommended for denial by the CBC Board of Governors.
G. A. Fred Bartley’s CHCA Television Ltd. received a television licence on August 1. The new station would broadcast on channel 6 with an effective radiated power of 4,150 watts video and 2,080 watts audio. Bartley had been general manager at CKRD Radio.
On August 20, construction of the building and tower began. The studios and offices were being built atop a hill on Highway 11 on the outskirts of Red Deer. Effective radiated power was now expected to be 5,750 watts video and 2,875 watts audio.
The launch of the station was planned for November 15, but CHCA-TV didn’t get on the air with its official launch until December 11. The station broadcast with an effective radiated power of 13,000 watts video and 6,600 watts audio. Antenna height was 714 feet.
The “CA” in the call sign represented Central Alberta. CHCA-TV was a Basic CBC affiliate. Fred Bartley was president of the company and manager of CHCA-TV. Ray D. Torgrud was operations manager.
Terry Oldfield was farm director. John Jonkman was chief engineer. Garnet Anthony was chief announcer. Ron Roberts did sports. Fred Hodson was a cameraman.
CHCA-TV applied for a power increase and for two satellite transmitters…one at Coronation, about 100 miles east of Red Deer and serving an area from Stettler to the Saskatchewan border, north to Wainwright and south to Hanna. The other would be at Banff National Park. CHCC-TV Coronation would operate on channel 10 with 5,000 watts video and 2,500 watts audio. CHCB-TV Banff would operate with 5 watts video and 2.5 watts audio. As to the CHCA-TV power increase, it would increase the station’s signal to 85% of Alberta viewers. Power would increase from 13,000 watts video and 6,500 watts audio to 25,000 watts video and 12,500 watts audio, if approved. (A later release stated the increase as going from 6,600 to 13,200 watts video and 3,300 to 6,600 watts audio).
Ad: Selling Alberta’s neighbourly television audience. Canada’s luckiest advertisers use six. CHCA-TV Red Deer. The Window of Western Hospitality.
Approval was granted for the transfer of 154,251 common shares of CHCA Television Ltd., owner of CHCA-TV Red Deer and its transmitters at Coronation and Banff.
CHCA-TV now had an effective radiated power of 13,200 watts video and 6,600 watts audio. CHCA-TV-1 Coronation (channel 10) had an ERP of 12,400 watts video and 6,200 watts audio. CHCA-TV-2 was a five watt pedestal, operating on channel 10. H. L. Flock was president of CHCA Television Ltd.
CHCA-TV became CKRD-TV in September.
The station moved downtown, next door to the sister radio station.
Henry Flock and Gordon Spackman purchased the station from Fred Bartley.
Fred Bartley, founder of CHCA-TV died in September. He was also a former general manager of CKRD-AM. Bartley founded CHCA-TV in 1955 and then left the business a year later.
Approval was given for the purchase of CKRD, CKRD-FM and CKRD-TV by Monarch Broadcasting of Medicine Hat.
CKRD-TV was authorized to increase effective radiated video power from 13,200 watts to 56,000 watts and change the antenna site. Its rebroadcaster at Coronation would increase video ERP from 12,400 watts to 97,000 watts.
CKRD-TV moved to new studios and offices.
On September 19, Monarch Broadcasting Ltd. received permission to acquire CKRD-TV Red Deer and its rebroadcasters CKRD-TV-1 Coronation and CKRD-TV-2 Banff from C.H.C.A. Television Limited. C.H.C.A. Television Limited was a wholly owned subsidiary of Monarch Broadcasting Ltd. which, in turn, is owned 75% by Mr. W.H. Yuill of Medicine Hat. There would be no change in the effective control of these stations as a result of this transaction.
On May 13, Monarch Broadcasting Ltd. and Allarcom Limited, as a co-venture, were awarded a licence for a new TV station at Red Deer to rebroadcast the programcs of Allarcom’s CITV-TV Edmonton. The new station would operate on channel 10 with an effective radiated power of 180,000 watts.
Steve Legault left CKRD-TV to become news director at the new STV Saskatoon (CFSK-TV). Brent Matheson replaced Legault at CKRD-TV.
Dwaine Dietrick became vice president of operations for Monarch Broadcasting. He succeeded vice president and general manager Merv Phillips, who retired.
Dale Meyer was appointed retail advertising sales manager.
On April 6, Allarcom Ltd. was given permission to purchase CKRD-TV Red Deer and its rebroadcaster CKRD-TV-1 Coronation and CKRD-TV-2 Banff owned by Monarch Broadcasting Ltd., and to acquire the undivided ownership and control of the assets of the third service television station in Red Deer (to be known as CITA-TV), currently jointly licensed to Monarch and Allarcom. Allarcom, the licensee of CITV-TV Edmonton, is an Alberta-based company entirely owned by residents of Alberta. It is indirectly controlled by Dr. Charles A. Allard through Cathton Holdings Ltd. Monarch is indirectly controlled by W.H. Yuill through Monarch Communications Inc. Monarch also owns CKRD-AM in Red Deer.
CKRD-TV-2 Banff was deleted because the signal quality was less than acceptable and the costs associated with the improvement of its delivery would be prohibitive. The programming that was carried on CKRD-TV-2 was largely duplicated in Banff on the CBC’s transmitter, CBRT-1.
Dr. Charles Allard agreed to sell Allarcom Ltd. to WIC Western International Communications for cash and WIC shares (pending CRTC approval). Allard and his son Peter would become WIC directors. Allard said he worried about CITV surviving as a single independent station. It was felt CITV would be a natural fit with WIC’s CFAC-TV Calgary.
On February 6, the CRTC approved the applications by WIC Western International Communications Ltd., on behalf of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Westcom TV Group Ltd., for authority to acquire CITV-TV Edmonton and CITV-TV-1 (CITA-TV) Red Deer, as well as CKRD-TV Red Deer and its rebroadcaster CKRD-TV-1 Coronation, from Allarcom – effectively controlled by Dr. C. Allard of Edmonton, through his ownership of approximately 79% of Cathton. Dr. Allard had been involved in television broadcasting in Alberta for a period of almost 18 years, beginning with his establishment of the Edmonton independent television station CITV-TV. Dr. Allard, through Allarcom, acquired effective control of the Red Deer independent station CITV-TV-1, and of CKRD-TV Red Deer (CBC) and its rebroadcaster CKRD-TV-1 Coronation, in April 1989. Dr. Allard stated that the decision to divest of his interests in Allarcom was taken, in part, for estate planning purposes, but indicated that his wish to sell was also based on his concern that Allarcom, as the operator of a stand-alone independent television station, was becoming vulnerable in an industry where ownership of independent stations had seen increasing concentration and audiences had become increasingly fragmented. It was noted at the hearing, however, that Dr. Allard would continue to be involved in broadcasting as a director of WIC and as Chairman of the Divisional Boards of the Alberta television stations. Under the terms of the transaction, Dr. Allard would also acquire approximately 22.4% of the issued non-voting Class B shares of WIC. Westcom and its parent company WIC were indirectly controlled, through a voting trust agreement, by Mr. Frank A. Griffiths of Vancouver. Westcom was the licensee of the CTV-affiliated stations CHAN-TV Vancouver, CHEK-TV Victoria and their numerous rebroadcasters which, together, provided service virtuallly throughout British Columbia. Westcom was also the licensee of independent stations CKKX-TV Calgary, CISA-TV Lethbridge and their rebroadcasting stations serving much of southern Alberta. WIC’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Douglas M. Holtby, was President of Allarcom for several years prior to his move to the WIC organization in 1989. At the hearing, Mr. Holtby stressed that approval of the current applications would accomplish a goal long-shared by the WIC and Allarcom organizations, that being the establishment of “a strong western broadcasting company to counterbalance eastern Canada’s dominance of the Canadian broadcasting system.”
The transfer of ownership was completed March 22. The acquisition of Allarcom made WIC Western International Communications the country’s 4th largest private television operation in terms of viewing and revenue. The company was now awaiting CRTC approval to purchase CHCH-TV in Hamilton from Maclean-Hunter.
Dr. Charles Allard died at the age of 71. He was the founder of Allarcom Ltd. He left medicine in the late 1960’s to enter the business world. By 1978 the assets of Allarco Ltd. (predecessor to Allarcom), included extensive real estate holdings in western Canada and in the U.S. He sold those interests in 1980 to concentrate on his broadcast holdings. Dr. Allard sold the broadcast properties to Western International Communications in 1990.
Barry Duggan began managing CKRD-TV.
Barry Duggan left CKRD-TV to become president of CITV-TV in Edmonton.
Frank Griffiths, head of WIC, passed away at the age of 77 on April 7…the day he was to be inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.
On January 23, the CRTC approved the application to amend the licence for CKRD-TV by adding to the licence 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.
Art Reitmayer, president and CEO of RDTV was given added duties by WIC Television. He would also be president and CEO of CITV-TV Edmonton, and head Allarcom Studios and Studio Post & Transfer.
Westcom TV Group became WIC Television.
Barry Duggan resigned as president and CEO of BCTV Vancouver, where he succeeded Ron Bremner a short time earlier. Art Reitmeyer, who was in charge of WIC’s CITV Edmonton and CKRD-TV Red Deer, succeeded Duggan, and Jim Bagshaw, who was in charge of CICT-TV Calgary, became president and CEO of all of WIC’s Alberta TV operations.
Westcom TV announced plans to cut 95 jobs as part of “restructuring” following the licensing of new competitors in B.C. and Alberta. Following the elimination of 46 positions already, 51 would be cut at BCTV in Vancouver and Victoria; another 44 would be lost at WIC’s four Alberta stations. CEO Art Reitmayer said the jobs would be phased out gradually and he hoped most affected workers would take early retirement or buyouts.
WIC Television cut the position of sales manager Larry Forster.
The Griffiths Family holdings in WIC Western Communications Ltd were sold, subject to CRTC approval, to Shaw Communications Inc. and CanWest Global Communications Corp.
Following months of negotiations, agreements were filed with the CRTC on the split of WIC assets between CanWest Global and Corus Radio Co. (formerly Shaw Radio Co.) and Shaw Communications.
WIC Television Alberta restructured RDTV Red Deer and CISA Lethbridge, resulting in the loss of 19 full-time positions at CISA (by mid-June) and 13 full-time slots at RDTV. The losses at RDTV were primarily in the production department.
Glen Young was Vice President of Sales for ITV (Edmonton), RDTV (Red Deer), Calgary7 and CISA-TV (Lethbridge).
CanWest Global Communications purchased WIC Television in July.
CanWest proposed to transfer CKRD-TV and CKRD-TV-1 to the CBC at virtually no cost to them. These facilities would be used to broadcast the full CBC schedule to the region. CanWest also proposed the licensing of two new transmitters of CKRD-TV to serve Edmonton and Calgary. If approved, the CKRD signal would carry the “CH” television service.
On February 26, CKRD-TV was given federal approval to disaffiliate from the CBC network and to give CKRD-TV-1 Coronation to the CBC. CKRD’s associated application to operate new stations at Edmonton and Calgary were denied.
On September 5, CKRD-TV disaffiliated from the CBC and became the fourth station in the CH television system. The call letters changed back to the original CHCA-TV.
On June 8, CanWest MediaWorks Inc. received approval to add transmitters for CHCA-TV at Calgary and Edmonton. CanWest had to submit, within three months from the date of this decision, an amendment to its Calgary application proposing the use of technical parameters that were acceptable to both the Commission and the Department of Industry. CanWest’s proposed technical parameters for Calgary were technically mutually exclusive with those proposed by Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. The Edmonton transmitter would operate on channel 17 with an effective radiated power of 92,000 watts.
On August 20, CHCA-TV received permission to operate the proposed Edmonton transmitter (channel 17) with an effective radiated power of 7,500 watts, to be used at an alternate transmitter location, on a temporary basis. CanWest indicated that, due to uncertainty caused by various ownership transactions in the Canadian broadcasting system, access to the transmitter tower it originally proposed to use in Edmonton is not certain. The licensee stated that it will continue to negotiate for a permanent transmitter location, and that the authority sought would be required only until 8 June 2008.
On the same date, CanWest MediaWorks was granted the use of channel 44 for CHCA-TV at Calgary. Effective radiated power would be 79,000 watts. However, on a temporary basis and for the same reasons outlined above for Edmonton, this transmitter would operate with an ERP of 6,300 watts, using an alternate transmitter location.
On September 7, CHCA-TV was rebranded as E! This change was in line with the other CH Network affiliates in Canada, and followed a content-sharing agreement earlier in the year with the U.S.-based E! Networks. Much of the primetime programming was retained, with the balance a mix of celebrity news and lifestyle shows. One of the most significant changes was the renaming of local newscasts to “CHCA News”, returning to identification with the station’s historic call letters.
The CRTC approved a change in the authorized contours of CHCA-TV-1 Calgary. CHCA-TV had originally planned to share the CFCN-TV tower. It later became evident that this facility could not accommodate the transmitter CHCA purchased. CHCA-TV-1 would now operate with a maximum effective radiated power of 42,000 watts video and 4,200 watts audio (was 79,000 / 7,900) and an average ERP of 26,000 watts video and 2,600 watts audio. It would now have a directional antenna instead of non-directional. Antenna height would increase from 206 metres to 258.5 metres.
A change in the authorized contours of CHCA-TV-2 Edmonton was also approved
CHCA had originally planned to share the CKEM-TV antenna located on the
Standard Radio tower. In the interim, CKEM-TV was sold to Rogers via CTV (was owned by CHUM). Since Rogers owned their own tower in Edmonton, they decided not to develop the CKEM antenna into a shared facility. CHCA-TV-2 would now operate with a maximum ERP of 121,000 watts video and 12,100 watts audio (was 92,000 / 9,200). Average ERP would be 71,000 watts video and 7,100 watts audio. Instead of a non-directional signal, CHCA-TV-1 would now be directional. Antenna height would decrease from 232 metres to 177 metres.
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, as the Canadian economy weakened, and economies had to be effected.. On February 5th, CanWest said it was exploring the possibility of selling off some its stations, including CHCA.
On April 27th the CRTC began hearings to consider CanWest’s applications for various OTA licence renewals, along with similar applications from several other major broadcasting entities.
On May 15th, the CRTC announced a one-year licence renewal, effective September 1st 2009, for all of CanWest’s Over-The-Air stations, including CHCA-TV, “….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 July 15 CHCA-TV was authorized to make the following technical changes for CHCA-TV-1 Calgary: modify the antenna radiation pattern from directional to non-directional, decrease the average effective radiated power from 26,000 to 17,000 watts, increase the antenna’s effective height above average terrain from 258.5 to 378 metres and by relocating the transmitter’s antenna to another location in close proximity recently built by Harvard Broadcasting Inc. The changes would result in a slight increase of the authorized contours of CHCA-TV-1.
On July 22nd Canwest announced with regret that there were “no viable options” for CHCA-TV Red Deer, and the station therefore closed down on August 31st 2009.
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.