CHRO-TV, CTVtwo, Ottawa / Pembroke

Bell Media Inc.

StationYearChannelNetwork AffiliateOwner/Info
CHRO-DT201143CTVtwoBell Media
CHRO-TV20085ABell Media
CHRO-TV20075A ChannelCTVglobemedia
CHRO-TV19975IndependentCHUM Ltd.
CHRO-TV19965IndependentBaton Broadcasting Inc.
CHRO-TV19915CTVBaton Broadcasting Inc.
CHRO-TV19905CBCBaton Broadcasting Inc.
CHRO-TV198055CBCMid-Canada Communications
CHRO-TV19775CBCJ. Conrad Lavigne Ltd.
CHOV-TV19615CBCOttawa Valley Broadcasting Co.


A revision to the Canada-US Television Agreement allowed Canada to add channel 5 at Pembroke and channel 7 at New Glasgow (NS). Canada agreed that it would not authorize any station to operate in Pembroke if its transmitter was less than 190 miles from Lake Placid, N.Y., or less than 170 miles from Rochester, N.Y. Co-channel U.S. stations on channel 5 were WPTZ (TV) Lake Placid and WROC-TV Rochester.


The CBC applied for a rebroadcaster of CBOT at Pembroke while CHOV Radio applied for a local television station in the town. The Board of Broadcast Governors approved the CHOV application in July. CHOV-TV would broadcast on channel 5 with effective radiated power of 34,000 watts video. 110,000 people would be within the Grade B coverage contour – including towns like Chalk River, Petawawa, Renfrew, Arnprior and Pembroke. Only 20% of these viewers could now receive television service.

Gordon Archibald chose RCA Victor for CHOV-TV just as he did 18 years ago for CHOV-AM. TV equipment: Studio: 1 TK-12 4 ½” image orthicon camera, 1 TRT-1A video tape recorder, 1 TS5A switcher, 1 TK21 film camera. Transmitter: RCA TT2AL 2 kW transmitter (readily increased in power to 6 kW by addition of amplifier), RCA monitoring and control equipment, RCA 12-slot coaxial Wavestack antenna and 460′ supporting tower.


Ottawa Valley Broadcasting Co. Ltd. headed by Gordon Archibald, opened CHOV-TV Channel 5, on August 19. Studios, transmitter and 580 foot tower were located on Forest Lea Road. The station was affiliated with the CBC network. CHOV-TV also operated a microwave link to Ottawa. Ottawa Valley Broadcasting also owned CHOV-AM. The OV in the calls stood for Ottawa Valley.


CHOV-TV received approval to increase its effective radiated power.

CHOV-TV had an effective radiated power of 19,100 watts video and 9,500 watts audio. E. Gordon Archibald was president of Ottawa Valley Broadcasting Co. Ltd.


A portion of CHOV-TV was sold to Toronto engineer W. J. Malone. The shares had been owned by Telerent Europe of Luxembourg, a foreign interest. The licence was almost not renewed on March 31 because it was felt Telerent owned too large a share of the station.


On March 29, CHOV-TV’s licence was renewed despite serious financial problems. The CBC agreed to make subsidy payments to the station in order to ensure continued network service in the region.

At this time, CHOV was airing three local newscasts per day during the week: Noon Report from 12-12:30 p.m., Newsworld from 6-6:30, and Night Report following The National until 11:45 pm.


The staff of CHOV-TV unionized and went on strike while negotiating their first collective agreement. Gordon Archibald was unable to resolve the conflict, and six months later the station went dark.

The station had gone dark for five days in August because the CBC refused to offer further financial assistance to keep the station going. Over the previous three years, the Corporation had given CHOV-TV money and leased equipment. Financial help was cut because of the station’s chronic problems. Ottawa Valley Television stopped operating the station on August 1 and it simply became a rebroadcaster of Ottawa’s CBOT-TV.

The CRTC announced that it would deal with the possible suspension or cancellation of CHOV-TV licence. In the meantime, J. Conrad Lavingne had offered to acquire the station. He would move the transmitter site to Foymount, and establish an Ottawa studio, while maintaining the Pembroke studios. CHOV-TV would continue as a CBC affiliate while receiving some programs from the Timmins and Sudbury stations of Lavigne’s Mid-Canada TV.


J. Conrad Lavigne Ltd. was given approval to purchase Ottawa Valley Television (CHOV-TV) from OV TV Co. Ltd. Also approved by the CRTC: the change of transmitter site to Foymount and the establishment of an Ottawa studio. Until the new facilities were completed, CHOV-TV would continue to rebroadcast CBOT on a full-time basis. The CRTC noted the new studio, mainly for the production of public affairs programs, would provide a useful program source for Lavigne’s Mid-Canada network serving northern Ontario.

On October 1, the call letters changed to CHRO-TV with the “RO” standing for Regional Ottawa. Once the new transmitter site was operational, CHRO began receiving programming part-time from its new sister stations in Timmins and Sudbury, in addition to local programs from Pembroke and Ottawa.


Station founder Gordon Archibald passed away.


Northern Cable Services Ltd. was given permission to purchase J. Conrad Lavigne Ltd., Ottawa Valley Television Co. Ltd. and Cambrian Broadcasting Ltd. from J. Conrad Lavigne.


Dan Nyznik was news director.


An application by the CBC for a rebroadcaster at Deep River was denied. It was contingent on approval of Mid-Canada’s application for a new Ottawa TV station. That licence was awarded to Baton Broadcasting. If Mid-Canada had been granted the Ottawa licence, it would have disaffiliated CHRO-TV Pembroke from the CBC network.


On November 16, Baton Broadcasting Inc. purchased Mid-Canada Communications, which had previously purchased the interests of J. Conrad Lavigne Ltd., owner of CHRO-TV.


On January 23, the CRTC approved the application to amend the licence for CHRO-TV by increasing the effective radiated power from 51,800 watts to 100,000 watts. The licensee indicated that this increase would result in an extension of CHRO-TV’s coverage area to the northwest, with no change to the eastern portion of the station’s contours.

On September 1, CHRO switched to CTV from CBC.


On September 1, Nation’s Capital Television Inc. amalgamated with CFTO-TV Ltd., South Western Ontario Broadcasting Inc. and Mid-Canada Communications (Canada) Corp. to become BBS Ontario Inc.


On January 23, the CRTC approved the application to amend the licence for CHRO-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.


On August 28, the CRTC approved CHRO’s request to drop its CTV affiliation and go independent, and to open a re-broadcaster in Ottawa on channel 43 with 231,000 watts video. At the same time, CJOH-TV Ottawa (also owned by BBS) opened a re-broadcaster in Pembroke on channel 47 with 253,000 watts video. The new CJOH transmitter provided CTV programming to the Pembroke area.

In September, it was announced that Baton & Electrohome would merge. This would give Baton 42.9% of CTV Television Network Ltd. Electrohome’s share of CTV was 14.3%.


Mid-Canada Television’s George Lund was named vice president of Baton Broadcasting’s Ontario stations.


On February 25, the Baton-Electrohome alliance announced a deal with CHUM Ltd., involving the swapping of some TV stations, to give Baton control of CTV. Baton would get CHUM’s 14.3% interest in CTV for $10 million. Baton will swap CFPL-TV London, CKNX-TV Wingham, CHWI-TV Wheatley and CHRO-TV Pembroke/Ottawa for CHUM’s Atlantic Television Network (CJCH-TV Halifax, CJCB-TV Sydney, CKCW-TV Moncton/Charlottetown and CKLT-TV Saint John/Fredericton). ATV is a CTV affiliate. Baton also gets CHUM’s Atlantic Satellite Network. Baton holds 57% of CTV. The next largest shareholder is Western International Communications with 28.6%. The CRTC approved this deal and the one involving Baton and Electrohome on August 28, 1997.


CHUM Ltd. took over operation of CHRO-TV and became known as “The New RO” in September.


In October, CHUM Ottawa opened new studios and offices – the 46,000 square foot CHUM Market Media Mall – located in the heart of the Byward Market at 87 George Street. The facility houses CHRO-TV, CKKL-FM, CJMJ-FM, CFRA-AM and CFGO-AM. CHRO also continued to operate from 611 TV Tower Rd. in Pembroke.


Geoffrey Dixon left The New RO to become general sales manager at CHEX-TV in Peterborough.


In March 2005 CHUM announced that in the Fall, CHRO-TV would be one of six CHUM owned stations to be re-branded as A-Channel stations, to facilitate cross-promotional opportunities

On August 2, The New RO was re-branded as A Channel (Ottawa).

Allan Waters, the founder of CHUM Limited, owner of A-Channel Ottawa, passed away at the age of 84, on December 3rd.


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 November 22, the CRTC approved the transfer of effective control of CHUM Limited from Mr. Allan Waters to his estate, following his death in December 2005. The approval represented the preliminary step to enable the transfer of CHUM’s shares to a trust, which received approval on July 12. This transfer was not related to the pending sale of CHUM to Bell Globemedia. Prior to his death, Mr. Waters was the sole shareholder of Allan Waters Ltd., which in turn, owned approximately 87% of CHUM’s voting shares. The executors of the estate were James Allan Waters, Ronald Allan Waters, Sheryl Bourne and Robert Sutherland.

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, in- cluding CHRO-TV, 21 specialty channels and some 33 radio stations, including CKKL-FM,CFGOAM andCJMJ-FM.


CTV decided to rebrand the “A Channel” stations as “A”. The transition began in June with newscasts (ie: “A News”). The change to “A” officially took place at 6:00 p.m., August 11.


On March 3, CTV confirmed further steps in its on-going efforts to address the grave financial reality facing its conventional ‘A’ stations by announcing the restructuring of its local program operations and significant staff layoffs. Effective immediately, ‘A’ Morning, the three-hour local morning show produced separately in Victoria, London and Barrie, would be cancelled. In Ottawa, the evening, late night and weekend newscasts would be cancelled. A total of 118 positions were eliminated at ‘A’ stations in Victoria, London, Barrie and Ottawa, representing approximately 28% of the ‘A’ stations’ overall staff count.

On April 27th the CRTC began hearings to consider CTVglobemedia’s applications for various OTA licence renewals, including CHRO-TV, along with similar applications from several other major broadcasting entities. During the hearing, CTVglobemedia reaffirmed its wish not to renew the Wingham, Wheatley/Windsor and Brandon stations, and its willingness to sell them for a dollar apiece.

On April 30th, in a full-page ad in the Globe and Mail, Shaw Communications CEO and Vice Chair Jim Shaw announced that Shaw was prepared to buy the three CTV stations at $1 each. On the opposite page in the Globe and Mail, in a half page ad, CTVglobemedia announced its acceptance of Shaw’s offer, and thanked the cable operator for ‘stepping up’. The proposed transaction would of course be subject to CRTC approval.

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 CHRO-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 August 13, the CRTC approved the application by CTV Corp. for authority to acquire from CTV Limited, as part of a corporate reorganization, the assets of the English-language television programming undertakings CIVI-TV Victoria and its transmitter CIVI-TV-2 Vancouver, CFPL-TV London and its transmitter CKNX-TV Wingham, CHRO-TV Pembroke, CHRO-TV-43 Ottawa, CHWI-TV Wheatley and its transmitter CHWI-TV-60 Windsor, as well as CKVR-TV Barrie and its transmitter CKVR-TV-1 Parry Sound. CTV Corp. was a wholly owned subsidiary of CTV Limited. The latter was a wholly owned subsidiary of CTV Inc., which in turn was wholly owned by CTVglobemedia Inc. (CTVgm). This transaction would be effected through the transfer of the assets of the above-mentioned undertakings from CTV Limited to CTV Corp. As a result of the transaction, CTV Corp. would become the licensee of the undertakings. The applicant stated that this transaction served administrative and tax planning purposes. The Commission noted that the transaction would not affect the ultimate control of the undertakings, which would continue to be exercised by CTVgm.

News Anchor Sandra Blaikie left A Channel Ottawa to pursue other interests. The station’s newscast was cancelled last March. Taz Boga, formerly of A Ottawa, joined the CHCH Hamilton “All-news, all-day” team to anchor weekday afternoons.

Peter Angione was the new CTV Ottawa News Director. He had held the same position at sister station /A Ottawa. Angione had held that position since October of 2005, promoted upward from Senior News Producer. He had worked in broadcast newsrooms at Halifax, Barrie and Edmonton before moving to Ottawa in May 2004. Joanne Woo, who had been Supervising Producer at /A Ottawa, succeeded Angione there as News Director.


The CRTC approved an amendment to the licence of conventional television station CHRO-TV-43 (Ottawa) to add a post-transition digital television transmitter on channel 43 with a maximum effective radiated power of 50,000 watts (average ERP of 24,000 watts), using a directional antenna. Effective height above average terrain would be 177 metres on the existing Rogers tower. Programming would be fed to the transmitter site by microwave.

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: Maintain the local programming that airs on all of CTV’s A-Channel stations for at least three broadcast years starting on 1 September 2011.

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.

On July 27, the CRTC renewed the licence for CHRO-TV Pembroke and CHRO-DT-43 Ottawa, until August 31, 2016.

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.

On August 29, the /A stations were re-branded as CTV Two.

The deadline for conversion from analog to digital in mandatory markets was August 31. On that date, CHRO-TV-43 Ottawa shut down its analog transmitter (channel 43) and turned on its digital transmitter – also operating on channel 43 (virtual channel 43.1). The main CHRO transmitter at Pembroke was not in a mandatory market so not required to make the change to digital at this time.

Robert Edgley became director of engineering, IT and building maintenance at CTV Ottawa, succeeding Art Clarke, the manager, engineering and IT, who retired at 49. Edgley would direct the CTV Ottawa


J.R. Ello was named promotions manger at Bell Media Ottawa. He would be responsible for all promotional and community relations activity for Majic 100, 93.9 BOB FM, CFRA, Team 1200, CTV Ottawa and CTV Two Ottawa.

Sixteen Bell Media Ottawa staffers, on-air and a manager, were let go in what was described as a corporate restructuring at CTV Ottawa, CFRA, Majic 100, Bob FM and Team 1200. Among those dismissed were CFRA talk show Host Michael Harris and reporter Gord McDougall; Team 1200’s Jim Jerome, Phil Melanson and Mike Sutherland; Majic 100’s Steve Boynton; BOB FM’s Tina Sapp; marketing director for Bell Media Radio Ottawa and CTV Two Ottawa Al Macartney; and CTV Ottawa’s promotion manager, Brent Corbeil.


On November 20th, Bell Media confirmed a Unifor union report that among the around 50 cuts being made in on-air personalities at Bell television stations were CTV Two Ottawa hosts Melissa Lamb and Lianne Laing. In confirming the reported cuts, though without naming names, a Bell Media spokesman said: “Like other Canadian broadcasters, we are confronting rapid change in the media marketplace, including new broadcast technologies and viewing options and fast-growing international competition. As the media marketplace evolves, local radio and TV stations are facing significant declines in advertising, their only source of revenue. We need to reorganise and reduce costs to manage the impact.”


Larry Gavin passed away March 3. He started out in the business at CKOC Hamilton, went on to radio stations in Niagara Falls, Barrie and Calgary. In 1969, he moved to Sudbury where he worked at CKSO Radio & TV (eventually MCTV). In 1988, he became regional manager at CHRO Ottawa, which he retired from in 1995.

The story continues elsewhere…
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