CBAT-DT, CBC-TV, Fredericton/Saint John

Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

StationYearChannelNetwork AffiliateOwner/Info
CBAT-DT20114.1 (31)CBCCanadian Broadcasting Corp.
CBAT-TV19944CBCCanadian Broadcasting Corp.
CHSJ-TV19544CBCNew Brunswick Broadcasting Co.


CHSJ filed an application for the operation of a television station – operating on channel 4 with an effective radiated power of 27,800 watts video and 13,900 watts audio through an antenna 1,200 feet above average terrain.

The CBC opened Canada’s first television stations in September of 1952 – CBFT Montreal, followed two days later by CBLT in Toronto. The corporation had plans for a number of additional stations of its own, across the country. In March, the CBC, which was also the broadcast regulator, recommended for approval (to the Department of Transport), television licences for the private sector at Hamilton, London, Quebec City, Saint John, Sudbury, Sydney and Windsor. An application for Kitchener was denied. In approving the CHSJ application, the board said the station would extend the national service in addition to providing local coverage. The CBC also announced that private stations would be required to carry programs produced by the CBC. The stations would be paid by the CBC part of the revenue the corporation received from commercial programs, while sustaining and other programs would be supplied free of charge. Tom Drummie, operator of CHSJ radio, said that it was planned to operate the TV station about three hours daily. Another spokesman for the applicant – Duncan MacTavish, representing New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. Ltd., said the outlay of about $470,000 on the station would be made. D. Malcolm Neill of CFNB Fredericton and Bob Bowman of CFBC Saint John, opposed the CHSJ application, and asked for deferment. Neill said his company was preparing an application which would cover a much larger area than the CHSJ proposal, possibly including Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton. Bowman said CFBC was preparing an application which proposed to cover southern New Brunswick and parts of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. The CBC said the CHSJ proposal would cover Fredericton but not Moncton. An engineer from Canadian General Electric said with a power increase, CHSJ could possibly provide service in Moncton.

George Cromwell would be manager of CHSJ-TV.

Ad: First television station in Maritimes – operational March 1954 – downtown studios, channel 4 – 27,800 watts video and 13,900 watts audio – antenna on Champlain Mountain – an 1,560’elevation – 18 miles from city – CGE equipment. (Mt. Champlain is the highest point in southern New Brunswick).


It was announced that CHSJ-TV was expected to open in late March – on schedule. However, it would operate at half the authorized signal strength at the start. The operating schedule would be slightly more than four hours a day during the week and 6 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. About 400,000 people would be in the station’s coverage area.

The Irving Family’s New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. Ltd. opened CHSJ-TV at 6:45 p.m. on March 22. The station was originally on the air from 6:45 p.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends. CHSJ-TV’s studio was on Church Street (the existing CHSJ Radio building) and the 25,000 watt transmitter and tower were on nearby Mount Champlain. Microwave was used to send programming from the studio to transmitter. CHSJ-TV was a CBC affiliate. Early Network programs were Uncle Chichimus, Toyland Adventure, The case of Tommy Tucker, Picturesque Denmark, Ford TV Theatre, Camera Magic, Jazz with Jackson and The Big Revue. Early local shows were “Time for Juniors” and “The Maritime Farmers”, a country and western show, and “Jene-ally Yours” a concept to sell television by putting the audience (viewers) on television. The first year this program was on the air, the number of guests totalled 1,238, counting the members of choirs and other groups as individuals.

Many Canadian television stations were now entering into daytime programming. CHSJ-TV planned to start its broadcast day at 3:00 p.m. in September.

CHSJ-TV received approval to increase effective radiated power from 27,800 watts video and 13,900 watts audio to 100,000 watts video and 50,000 watts audio. The change was required to improve unsatisfactory signals in parts of the service area.


Dennis Townsend was appointed program director. He had been with the company four years.

CHSJ-TV joined the Canadian Television News Film Cooperative, a joint operation of the CBC and private stations. The number of member stations was now eight.


CHSJ-TV increased power to 100,000 watts video and 50,000 watts audio.

George A. Cromwell

Ownership of New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. Ltd.: New Brunswick Publishing Co. Ltd. 99.7%, T. F. Drummie 0.1%, L. W. Bewick 0.1% and E. K. Logan 0.1%. Thomas F. Drummie was president of the company. George A. Cromwell was manager. William A. Stewart was program director. 


139 microwave units across Canada went into operation on July 1, carrying TV signals 3,900 miles over the longest microwave network in the world. The CBC’s Dominion Day program “Memo to Champlain” inaugurated the system. The network linked together Canada’s 40 privately owned TV stations and 8 CBC stations, providing live TV to 80% of the Canadian population between Victoria, B.C. and Sydney, N.S. Newfoundland was expected to be on the network in 1959. The CBC, in cooperation with CFRN-TV Edmonton, CKCK-TV Regina, CKLW-TV Windsor and CHSJ-TV Saint John, used the inaugural program as an electronic travelogue to visit 15 Canadian cities. The microwave network was called the Trans-Canada Skyway.


CKCW applied to the BBG to serve the Bay of Chaleurs area on the Quebec-New Brunswick boarder. The Campbellton-Dalhousie area along the south side of the bay as well as parts of Quebec’s Gaspe were receiving a mixed French and English TV service from CHAU-TV Carleton, QC. CHSJ Saint John proposed to set up an independent transmitter and studio on the Quebec side of the bay to reach into Campbellton, Dalhousie and Bathurst, with a program schedule integrated with the parent outlet in Saint John. Later, a satellite of this transmitter would extend coverage into the Newcastle area on another channel. Applications for a new station to cover this area came from CHAU Carelton, CHSJ Saint John and CKCW Moncton. CHAU’s president said the English applications from the other two would jeopardize his station’s existing bilingual operation in the area. He proposed that his station turn its existing service into an all-French station while using the same transmitter site atop Mount St. Joseph at Carleton to provide an all-English service to the area on channel 12. CKCW was granted the new transmitter but the mayor and councillors of Dalhouse, N.B., appealed that decision to the federal cabinet. They felt a full TV service should be licenced to their region (not just a satellite).


Being the only CBC affiliate in the province, CHSJ-TV began to expand its coverage area. On October 8 a rebroadcaster – CHSJ-TV-1 – went on the air at Bon Accord on channel 6.


CHSJ Radio and Television received approval to change studio location from 85 Germain Street to 335 Union Street.


Network colour began in 1966. with studio colour add in 1969.


A new building housing studios and offices was opened.

John Millar was news director.


Les Henwood left CHSJ-TV for Rogers Radio in Toronto. His work on the installation of CHSJ-TV in 1954, led to a permanent position with the station. (Les passed away September 18, 1982)
On December 20, the CRTC announced some major changes regarding television service in the Maritimes. CKCW-TV Moncton would fully affiliate with the CTV network, with rebroadcaster at Saint John/Fredericton. Present CKCW-TV rebroadcast facilities at Campbellton and Upsalquitch and of CKAM-TV-1 Newcastle would remain licenced to Moncton Broadcasting Ltd. and remain affiliated with the CBC, supplemented by local CKCW programs. The CBC would be expected to establish transmitters at Fredericton. CHSJ-TV Saint John would remain affiliated with the CBC and would establish a rebroadcaster at Moncton.

CJCH-TV Halifax, a CTV affiliate, would extend service to cover fully, the southern part of Nova Scotia, namely the counties of Lunenberg, Queens, Shelburne, Yarmouth and Digby. CJCB-TV Sydney would extend service to Prince Edward Island and would be fully affiliated with CTV. The CBC would be expected to establish rebroadcasters to cover Antigonish and areas of Cape Breton presently serviced by CJCB-TV. Radio-Canada would be expected to extend service to Yarmouth, Saint John-Fredericton, Halifax and Cape Breton.


On May 14, New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. Ltd. was authorized to add a transmitter at Moncton to rebroadcast CHSJ-TV (CBC), operating on channel 7 with 182,000 watts vido and 36,400 watts audio (directional). The new transmitter would receive the CHSJ programming via microwave.

CHMT-TV Moncton went on the air as did the channel 4 transmitter at Mt. St. Joseph. These transmitters rebroadcast CHSJ-TV. CKCW-TV Moncton had switched from CBC to CTV and CBC service had to be provided.


CHSJ-TV came under fire from New Brunswick education minister J. Lorne McGuigan for removing the American children’s program Sesame Street from its schedule. CHSJ had dropped Sesame Street in order to meet its Canadian content requirements, and because the station could not earn revenue from the program which did not permit advertising.


On July 5, permission was given for the transfer of shares in New Brunswick Publishing Co. Ltd. from K. C. Irving Ltd. (798 common shares) to Arthur L. Irving (399) and James K. Irving (399). New Brunswick Publishing, a holding company, owned New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (CHSJ-AM-TV Saint John, CHMT-TV Moncton, and CHSJ-TV-1 Bon Accord).


The CRTC hoped it was on the way to solving long-standing reception problems in part of New Brunswick. It gave CHSJ-TV permission for rebroadcasters at Caimpbellton (channel 4 with 32,500 watts) and Newcastle/Chatham (ch 6, 11,000 watts) to provide CBC service. Moncton Broadcasting’s rebroadcasters in the same areas would switch from CBC to CTV. Both companies were urged to improve their coverage in the Miramichi Valley area.


In the continuing effort to provide TV service to northeastern New Brunswick, ATV (CKCW-TV) would change the affiliation of CKCD-TV Campbellton and CKAM-TV Upsalquitch/Newcastle to CTV, and add low power rebroadcasters at Chatham, Blackville, Doaktown and Boiestown; while New Brunswick Broadcasting (CHSJ-TV) would add a rebroadcaster at Boiestown to carry CBC service.

Low power rebroadcasters for New Brunswick Broadcasting were approved for Boiestown and Coaktown to carry CHSJ-TV (CBC). CTV service would be extended by a rebroadcaster at Blackville, Chatham, Boiestown and Doaktown, licensed to ATV (CKCW-TV). ATV was also permitted to change the affiliation of its Campbellton, Upsalquitch and Newcastle rebroadcasters from CBC to CTV as soon as CHSJ-TV rebroadcasters at Campbellton and Newcastle/Chatham were operational.


On March 18, the Doaktown rebroadcaster (CHSJ-TV-2) went on the air on channel 2.

The CRTC renewed New Brunswick Broadcasting’s seven TV licences, and approval was given for a low power rebroadcaster at Parker Ridge. The company was now providing separate regional programming for northern New Brunswick from its studios in Saint John, and was to improve the signal of CHCR-TV Campbellton, in the Bathurst area.


Rebroadcasters at Boisetown and Parker Ridge were added.


The Mount Champlain (Saint John) transmitter was updated and fully automated.

75 CHSJ Radio & Television reporters, technicians and producers, members of NABET, went on strike.


Kenneth B. Clark was promoted to president of New Brunswick Broadcasting, succeeding Ralph Costello. Clark had been general manager for the past three years and worked previously with CBC Halifax, CJCB-TV and ATV.

The licenses for CHSJ-AM and TV were renewed for three years following a review of cross-ownership. New Brunswick Broadcasting was owned by the Irving family who also own the Saint John daily newspapers. The CRTC said the licensee still needs to make some improvements.

The Federal Court of Canada said it would allow New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. Ltd. to appeal a CRTC ruling involving media cross-ownership. In August, the Commission renewed CHSJ-TV’s licence for two and a half years, and indicated it might require the Irving family to divest at a later date, if CBC service was otherwise ensured in the province. The decision followed a cabinet directive telling the CRTC not to renew a licence for any company controlling a daily newspaper in the same market, unless there were overriding public interest considerations.


Lawyers for New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. planned to appeal the latest ruling over CHSJ-TV. A federal court upheld a cabinet order which instructed the CRTC to require divestiture of newspaper-owned television stations in the same market, unless there were overriding benefits to the community. As a result of the order, the CRTC in 1983 gave CHSJ-TV a short-term renewal of 27 months so that it could re-arrange its affairs.


CHSJ-TV agreed to a ten-year contract with the CBC, by which the station and its rebroadcasters must remain affiliated with the network. This was related to the company receiving approval to operate a new regional TV service (MITV). The new network would carry many local productions now on CHSJ-TV. This would allow CHSJ to schedule virtually all CBC network programs.


At a hearing involving applications by MITV to change from VHF to UHF channels at Saint John and Fredericton, the CBC put up very strong opposition. The corporation said it had planned to establish its own stations on those channels at the end of the current ten year affiliation agreement with CHSJ-TV. The CBC proposed the CRTC require NBB to surrender the licence of CHSJ-TV when the corporation had the funds to establish owned and operated services in New Brunswick. The Commission deferred discussion on the question to CHSJ-TV’s renewal hearing, to be held later this year. MITV did get the VHF channels.

New Brunswick Broadcasting launched MITV (CIHF-TV) on September 5. The station was based in Halifax, N.S. and in Saint John.


The Irving family offered to sell CHSJ-TV to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., but the network didn’t seem interested. J.K. Irving said he and his brother were surprised at the CBC’s lack of interest in the 36-year-ol CBC affiliate.


A popular voice on Saint John radio and TV in the 1950s and 1960s – Foster Marr – passed away at age 77 in November. He was the voice of the Maritime Farmers show on CHSJ-TV for many years. He also hosted a country music program on TV and a weekday radio show from the Saint John city market. Marr was inducted into the New Brunswick Country Music Hall of Fame in 1990.


On December 13 Kenneth Colin Irving passed away at the age of 93. He formed Irving Oil as a young man and went on to build an empire that included New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (CHSJ-AM-TV and MITV).

At a CRTC hearing, the CBC opposed the plan by CHSJ-TV to move its Moncton CBC rebroadcaster from channel 7 to channel 27. Bill Donovan, Maritimes director, said the CBC was committed to owning is own channel in the province by August 31, 1998, if not sooner!


CanWest Global Communications was having a look at the New Brunswick Broadcasting Company’s television properties. General manager Larry Nichols said CanWest expressed an interest in CHSJ-TV and MITV, but had no interest in the company’s radio properties.


On August 29, CHSJ-TV ceased to exist. It became CBAT, owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. New Brunswick had been the only province not served by a CBC owned and operated English language TV station. CBAT uses its existing facility in Fredericton as the main studio. The CRTC approved the sale on April 19, 1994.

Call letter changes to the rebroadcast transmitters: Bon Accord CHSJ-TV-1 became CBAT-1. Moncton CHMT-TV – CBAT-2. Chatham/Newcastle CHCN-TV – CBAT-3. Campbellton CHCR-TV – CBAT-4. Doaktown CHSJ-TV-2 – CBAT-5. Boisetown CHSJ-TV-3 -CBAT-6. The Parker Ridge transmitter was eliminated. The Commission also approved the sale of New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. Ltd.’s MITV network to CanWest Maritime Television Inc. In order to facilitate the CBC acquisition, an agreement was entered into between the CBC and CanWest Maritime, whereby all but $1,000,000 of the $10,500,000 purchase price would be advanced to the CBC by CanWest. In exchange for $9,500,000, the CBC will turn over to CanWest all of the selective advertising inventory of the new undertaking for a period of 12.5 years. CanWest Maritime will sell that air-time and retain the revenues generated. The Commission notes that all network advertising time is excluded from this agreement. CanWest Maritime will pay an annual administration fee to the CBC to cover the expenses required to air the selective advertising.


Bill Piekarski passed away January 2. Bill retired in 1986 as director of engineering for CHSJ Radio and Television.


On August 28, the CRTC gave permission for CBAT-TV-2 Moncton to reduce its effective radiated power from 182,000 watts to 138,900 watts.


By this time, CBAT Fredericton/Saint John operated the following rebroadcast transmitters: CBAT-6 Boiestown, CBAT-1 Bon Accord, CBAT-4 Campbellton, CBAT-5 Doaktown, CBAT-2 Moncton, and CBAT-3 Newcastle/Chatham.


Long-time New Brunswick radio and TV broadcaster Gary Murphy died. He spent most of his career in sports, first at CHSJ-AM then he moved to CHSJ-TV. He was considered one of the first TV personalities in the province, beginning his career in the early 1960’s. He retired as sales manager of CHSJ/MITV in 1995.


On April 7 the CRTC approved the CBC’s application to change the authorized contours of CBAT-TV-1 Bon Accord, by decreasing effective radiated power from 54,700 watts to 32,300 watts and by decreasing the effective height of antenna above average terrain from 346.5 metres to 320.4 metres. The transmitter site would remain unchanged.


On March 23, the CRTC denied an application by the CBC to amend the licence for CBAT-TV Fredericton/Saint John to add a post-transition digital transmitter to serve the population of Fredericton. The new transmitter would have operated on channel 19 with an average effective radiated power of 3,900 watts (directional antenna with a maximum ERP of 7,800 watts and an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 102.8 metres). The analog transmitter associated with CBAT-TV was located on Mount Champlain and provided service to both Fredericton and Saint John. The proposed digital transmitter would be located in Fredericton and would provide service only to that market. The proposal would therefore result in a loss of over-the-air television service to the residents of Saint John. The CBC reiterated its commitment to operate 27 digital transmitters where it operated stations and originated local programming. It also stated that OTA transmission was no longer the most appropriate and efficient means of making its television services available throughout Canada.

On March 29, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CBAT-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.

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 CBAT, this approval included CBAT Saint John and CBAT-2 Moncton. 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.

On the same date, the Commission approved applications by the CBC to amend the licence for CBAT Fredericton to add a post-transition digital transmitter to serve the population of Fredericton and to change the technical parameters of the existing analog transmitter so that it can continue to serve Saint John. The new transmitter would operate on channel 31 with an average effective radiated power of 4,200 watts (maximum ERP of 7,360 watts) with an effective height of antenna above average terrain (EHAAT) of 102.8 metres. The CBC further applied to change the technical parameters of CBAT, which now served both Fredericton and Saint John, in order to maintain service to Saint John and the surrounding area in analog. Specifically, the CBC proposed to decrease the transmitter’s average ERP from 55,000 to 5,400 watts (maximum ERP from 100,000 to 22,000 watts) and to increase the EHAAT from 384.9 to 423.2 metres. All other technical parameters would remain unchanged. The Corporation submitted that these applications responded to concerns set out in Broadcasting Decision 2011-203. In that decision, the Commission denied an application by the CBC to add a post-transition digital transmitter to serve Fredericton because its proposal would have resulted in a loss of over-the-air service to viewers in Saint John. The Commission is of the view that the Corporation’s proposal was a reasonable method of continuing to provide over-the-air service to both Fredericton and Saint John.

August 31 was the deadline for the conversion of analog to digital for television stations in mandatory markets. CBAT made the switch by this date, moving from channel 4 analog to channel 31 digital (virtual 4.1).


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 CBAT-DT licence: CBAT-TV-6 Boiestown, CBAT-TV-1 Bon Accord, CBAT-TV-4 Campbellton, CBAT-TV-5 Doaktown, CBAT-TV-2 Moncton, CBAT-TV-3 Newcastle, and CBAT-TV Saint John.


Laura Foster died January 13 at the age of 98. She joined CHSJ-TV in 1961 to produce and host “Magazine” and other programs like “You and the Law.” She spent 15 years at the station.

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