CIVT-DT, CTV, Vancouver
|Baton Broadcasting Inc.
On January 31, the CRTC granted Baton Broadcasting a licence to serve the Vancouver market with a new independent television station. The application for Vancouver’s fourth conventional English language TV station won out over competing bids by CanWest Television Inc., CHUM Limited, Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. and Rogers Broadcasting Limited. Plans were to present at least 21 hours per week of original local programming, including 12.5 hours of first-play local news.
Construction of CIVT-TV was completed over the summer with studios and offices located at the city’s former public library, at the corner of Robson and Burrard Street. The station signed on at 6 p.m. September 17 with a 22 minute promotional tape followed by a 5 minute PBS station promotion. KCTS-TV Seattle, which had been carried for years on Rogers Cable 9 in southwest B.C. was moved to a higher channel position to accommodate the new Vancouver station. The two tapes ran continuously until 5:55 p.m. September 19, when CIVT-TV started running its own promos. Official launch of “Vancouver Television” took place at 5:55 a.m. on September 22.
The station was originally authorized to transmit on UHF channel 42. However, prior to sign on, the channel was changed to the lower and better channel 32 with a video peak effective radiated power of two million watts from the Rogers Tower on Mount Seymour. In terms of watts, the station claimed to be the most powerful and the first fully digital commercial facility in Canada. Although Baton owned CTV, CIVT-TV was not initially affiliated with the network due to a contractual agreement with CHAN-TV Vancouver, which ran until 2001.
Baton hired Jonathan Festinger away from WIC and made hime vice president for B.C. and general manager of CIVT-TV.
Former BCTV news director Cameron Bell was now looking for news staff for CIVT. Bell was consulting for CIVT and was developing a new weekly national affairs show for all of the Baton stations.
CIVT hired Vicki Gabereau from CBC Radio to host a daytime interview come September.
Bob McLaughlin joined CIVT as vice president of news and current affairs. He had been with ATV Halifax.
Doug Elphick was CIVT’s national sales manager.
Vancouver Television cancelled its noon newscast. VTV’s vice president of news, Bob McLaughlin said “Gabereau Live” would move into the midday timeslot, preceded by an expanded news update.
Helen Slinger became news director at VTV, succeeding Bob McLaughlin who moved into programming.
On September 8 at its annual general meeting, Baton officially changed its name to “CTV Inc.” following taking control of the network in 1997.
After purchasing the CTV Television Network, Baton Broadcasting Inc. changed its name to CTV Inc. The name change was effective December 21.
Wayne Sterloff left CIVT-TV as head of independent production. Other changes at VTV: former Globe & Mail reporter Ross Howard was added as assignment editor. Lynn Raineault became news director after stops at MSNBC, and prior to that, CBC Newsworld.
On August 2 the CRTC authorized cable companies in many parts of B.C. to carry the CIVT-TV signal for the first time. Most viewers in the interior of the province had been receiving CTV network programs on CHAN-TV over cable and re-broadcast transmitters. This authorization was given due to the CHAN-TV network affiliation change to Global, effective September 1, which otherwise would have left no CTV coverage in the interior. As part of the agreement, local advertising was to “cover over” some commercials in specific markets.
CIVT-TV became the new CTV affiliate at midnight on September 1, as part of one of the largest TV network shuffles ever, involving CHAN-TV and CKVU-TV in Vancouver along with CHEK-TV Victoria. In line with its new role as the CTV affiliate, the station billed itself as “BC CTV”.
On September 3 popular TV and CKNW radio commentator Bill Good started as anchor on the “CTV News at Six”. He was joined on October 18 by long time news anchor Pamela Martin. Both had previously hosted newscasts at CHAN-TV.
Tom Walters became news director at CIVT. He had been senior correspondent at CTV’s Halifax news bureau.
On January 30 the CRTC approved application by CTV to operate a transitional digital television station in association with CIVT-TV Vancouver. The applicant proposed that the station simulcast the current analog programming service, with the exception of up to 14 hours per week of programming that would not be duplicated. The digital station would operate from Mt. Seymour, on UHF channel 33 with an average effective radiated power of 319 watts.
Testing of the new digital transmitter (CIVT-DT) on UHF channel 33 began on May 11 from Mount Seymour, with the official launch of “CTV HD West” on June 21. On August 18, CTV announced that virtually every hour in prime-time in the 2005-06 season would be broadcast in High Definition on both its Vancouver and CFTO-DT channel 40 Toronto “CTV HD East” digital transmitters
On July 12 it was announced that Bell Globemedia would pay C$1.7 billion for CHUM Ltd., in a deal that would see the company become part of the BCE-owned media conglomerate, subject to CRTC approval. On August 31, the two companies announced that BGM had been successful in its offer to acquire approximately 6.7 million common shares and approximately 19.2 million non-voting Class B shares of CHUM. The shares were to be placed in the hands of an independent trustee pursuant to a voting trust agreement approved by the CRTC.
On December 12th, it was announced that Bell Globemedia would henceforth be known as CTVglobemedia.
A CRTC hearing on the CTVglobemedia application to acquire the assets of CHUM Limited was held on April 30th 2007. On June 8 the CRTC approved the acquisition of CHUM Ltd. by CTVglobemedia, on condition that CTV sell off its five City-TV stations, CITY-TV Toronto, CHMI-TV Portage La Prairie/Winnipeg, CKEM-TV Edmonton, CKAL-TV Calgary and CKVU-TV Vancouver. Rogers Communications announced on June 25th that a deal had been reached for them to buy these stations from CTV, subject to CRTC approval. Among the CHUM assets acquired by CTVglobemedia in the deal were seven television stations, 21 specialty channels and some 33 radio stations, CFUN-AM, CHQM-FM, and CKST-AM.
Late in the year, CIVT-DT was authorized to increase maximum effective radiated power from 900 watts to 12,600 watts and average ERP from 319 watts to 4,500 watts. The transmitter would continue to use a directional antenna and EHAAT would remain 740.3 metres (same tower site).
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 CIVT-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.”
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.
On June 18, the CRTC approved the application by CTVglobemedia Inc., on behalf of its subsidiary CTV Television Inc., to amend the broadcasting licence for the television programming undertaking CIVT-TV Vancouver in order to add a digital transmitter at Vancouver. The transmitter would operate from the existing CIVT-TV tower on channel 32 with an average effective radiated power of 12,000 watts (maximum ERP of 33,000 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 740.3 metres).
In July, CTV Calgary took over Master Control for CTV Vancouver & the B.C. Interior. With that addition, CTV Calgary was the Master Control hub for all CTV stations west of Manitoba.
On October 7, the CRTC denied an application by CTVglobemedia Inc., on behalf of its wholly owned subsidiary CTV Television Inc., to reduce the overall minimum level of Canadian programming broadcast by its conventional television stations from 60% to 55%.
Rob Chambers succeeded Vladimir Rybarczyk as Director of Engineering at CTV Vancouver. It was a promotion for Chambers. Rybarczyk took leave in June.
Renu Bakshi, Senior Reporter at CTV British Columbia left her position for family reasons. Mike Schinklewitz was the new Technical Supervisor, succeeding recently retired Terry Brady. In his new role he was responsible for workflow of all systems relating to production requirements and their integration in Feed and Play and CER .
CTV News at Six anchors Bill Good and Pamela Martin stepped down at the end of December 2010. They were succeeded January 3 (2011) by Tamara Taggart and Mike Killeen, both veterans with CTV BC news. Former CITY-TV Toronto meteorologist Michael Kuss moved to CTV BC on January 3 as part of the CTV News at Six team. Chris Olsen of CTV BC’s news department, moved to become press secretary to new B.C. Premier Christy Clark.
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. Condition: enhance local news in Western markets – incremental new local morning newscasts and programming content in Vancouver – 3 hours x 5 days per week; additional incremental news programming Vancouver – noon newscast, 1 hour x 5 days per week.
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 Sympatico.ca portal.
On July 27, the CRTC renewed the licence for CIVT-DT until August 31, 2016. Additional conditions of licence for CIVT-TV: The licensee shall alter, at its own expense, the signal of CIVT-TV that it provides to the licensees of the cable distribution undertakings serving Terrace, Kamloops, Kelowna, Prince George and Dawson Creek, or their successors, by covering over those commercials that are not carried on all conventional television stations owned or controlled by Bell Media Inc. with program promotions and/or public service announcements. The licensee shall permit the licensees of television stations CFJC-TV Kamloops, CKPG-TV Prince George, CJDC-TV Dawson Creek and CFTK-TV Terrace to cover over, at their expense, the above-noted program promotions and public service announcements with commercials sold by these four local television stations, provided that the licensees of the cable distribution undertakings serving the four communities concerned have received the necessary regulatory permission to alter the CIVT-TV signal.
The analog to digital conversion deadline for mandatory markets was August 31. On that date CIVT-DT moved from transitional channel 33 to post-transitional channel 32 (virtual 32.1), the same channel it had been using in analog.
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.
Kate Gajdosik left her CTV British Columbia weekend backup Weather job to return to Manitoba where she became the new Weather Specialist at Global Winnipeg.
CTV British Columbia added new morning and lunchtime shows. CTV News at Noon began October 31 while CTV Morning Live premiered November 14. Aamer Haleem returned to morning television as co-host alongside Norma Reid. Marke Driesschen delivered weather while Ann Luu provided traffic updates. CTV News at Noon was anchored by Keri Adams, who moved from the late night package. Additionally, Rob Brown joined Adams to co-anchor the CTV News at Five, while Coleen Christie took the reins of CTV News at 11:30. CTV News at Six remains unchanged.
New appointments at CTV British Columbia included Mike Bothwell as a CTV Morning Live Writer. Bothwell had been a CKNW reporter, national reporter for Global TV, legislative reporter for UTV and producer for CBC; reporter Shaheed Devji, formerly of CTV Kitchener, where he worked as a VJ and a back up anchor; and Sheila Scott was the overnight assignment desk/writer. She had been a News1130 reporter/anchor since 2008.
CTV Vancouver legislature reporter Jim Beatty became the new anchor at CHEK News. Beatty was CTV’s legislative bureau chief for seven years.
Ed Watson, an original on VTV Vancouver (now CTV British Columbia), returned to the Vancouver Island Bureau Chief’s post February 13. Watson held the position when VTV launched in 1997. He moved to CHEK-TV Victoria in 2004 where he anchored for three years. Duane English, a former Global TV Edmonton weather specialist, was now with CTV BC and working CTV News weekends at 6 and 11:30 p.m. CTV British Columbia assignment editor Elaine McKay was no longer with the station (as of February 8).
Gillian Riddell became the new Assignment Editor for CTV News British Columbia. Riddell began her broadcast career at CKNW Vancouver before moving to Vancouver-based Global National for a seven year period. Riddell also worked as a field Producer for CBC’s The National and Global Toronto.
Scott Roberts from CTV Edmonton was now a CTV British Columbia reporter and back up anchor. Nafeesa Karim, who started as a writer, was now a full time news reporter.
Vice President/General Manager Tom Haberstroh and News Director Margo Harper left CTV Vancouver. Haberstroh had been with CTV for 31 years and in the Vancouver post since May of 2006 while Harper became ND in June of 2006. Moving into the CTV Vancouver leadership position was James Stuart, Regional VP, Radio and TV Operations – British Columbia. Peter Angione, the CTV Ottawa ND took over the ND’s duties on an interim basis.
Manager Heron Hanuman was no longer with CTV British Columbia. He’d been there since January, 2000, and won two International Edward R. Murrow Awards for Best News Website – Television Large Market and won the 2012 Best Digital Media Award from the B.C. RTDNA.
CTV British Columbia had a new News Director and a new Assistant News Director. ND Les Staff joined the station five years ago after moving from ND duties at CTV Saskatoon. Ethan Faber, the new Assistant ND/Managing Editor, had been with CTV News in Vancouver since 1996.
Rhonda Fuller was appointed senior producer at CTV News at 6 p.m. Vancouver. She began at the station, then VTV Vancouver, as the director of Live at 11 in 1997.
Effective March 4, Will Black moved from weekend news producer to 5 p.m. news producer and Len Catling moved from 11:30 p.m. news producer to weekend news producer.
CTV Vancouver health specialist Dr. Rhonda Low, after 15 years, was no longer with the station. She had been host of the daily Your Health on CTV News.
Julia Foy, who’d been the CTV British Columbia bureau reporter from the Fraser Valley since 2001, was no longer with the station.
At Bell Media Vancouver, 18 people were affected by the latest job cuts. Among them on the CTV side: sports director Perry Solkowski, reporters Lisa Rossington and Peter Grainger, meteorologist Michael Kuss, assignment editor Len Catling and producer John Scott. At TSN Radio Vancouver: Jeff Paterson, Matt Baker and Cam Mitchell.
CTV Vancouver features reporter Dave Gerry retired after a 40-year TV career. Over the years he worked at CFPL-TV London, CKCO-TV Kitchener, CKVU-TV Vancouver, Global Toronto and stations in New Zealand and Newfoundland.
Bell Media cut some staff at CTV Vancouver in the spring, including Brent Shearer who had been a reporter since 2010 and co-host of CTV Morning Live since 2014. Sports anchor Jason Pires slid into the co-hosting slot following the elimination of a dedicated sports segment, with weekend sports anchor Karen Thomson also a casualty.
CTV Vancouver celebrated its 20th anniversary on the air on September 22. CTV Morning Live hosted an anniversary special that featured a live studio audience. Special guests from the station’s past and present, included CTV News at Six co-anchors Mike Killeen and Tamara Taggart. When CIVT went on the air September 22, 1997, it was known as Vancouver Television. It joined the CTV network in 2001 and was rebranded CTV Vancouver in 2012.
In April, CTV Vancouver parted ways with lead anchors Tamara Taggart and Mike Killeen as part of what the station called a “major refresh.” Taggart joined the station in 1997 and Killeen in 2001.
In August, there were more layoffs at CTV Vancouver. Several long-serving behind-the-scenes employees were let go, including Murray Titus (ENG/SNG flight camera operator), David Alexander (ENG Operations Manager), Jim Walsh (crew chief/floor director), Steve Saunders (VJ), and Christian Adler (cameraman).
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.