CITO-TV, CTV, Timmins

Bell Media Inc.

StationYearChannelNetwork AffiliateOwner/Info
CITO-TV20113CTVCTV Television Network
CITO-TV19903CTVBaton Broadcasting Inc.
CITO-TV19803CTVMid-Canada Communications
CITO-TV19703CTVJ Conrad Lavigne Ltd.


In the fall of 1969, the CRTC considered four competing applications to establish second television service at Sudbury. These specific applications were denied on the grounds that, in view of the market’s limited broadcasting base, the licensing of such service, at Sudbury only, would have rendered the extension of second service to other parts of the region unlikely for many years.

Accordingly, the Commission proposed an alternate framework to provide for the early introduction of second television service in Northern Ontario, which was predicated upon co-operation between the region’s existing broadcasters and designed to preserve a balance between them. On the basis of this co-operative approach, J. Conrad Lavigne and Cambrian Broadcasting were subsequently licensed to provide CBC and CTV service respectively at each of Sudbury, Timmins, North Bay and other surrounding communities.


On August 5, Cambrian Broadcasting Ltd. was authorized to switch CKSO-TV Sudbury’s network affiliation from CBC to CTV. This was connected with the approval this date for J. Conrad Lavigne Ltd. to operate a new television station in Sudbury. It would be the CBC affiliate.

On the same date, CKSO-TV was authoirzed to operate rebroadcast transmitters at Timmins (channel 7, 164,000 watts video, 33,000 watts audio, antenna height of 542 feet, directional), Kearns (channel 11, 64,000 watts video, 13,000 watts audio, antenna height of 734 feet, directional) and North Bay (channel 4, 26,000 watts video, 5,100 watts audio, antenna height of 643 feet, directional). Cambrian’s rebroadcaster at Elliot Lake would continue to deliver CBC service until other arrangements could be made with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.


On April 8, Cambrian was authroized to make these changes to the Timmins transmitter: operate on channel 3 with effective radiated power of 63,500 watts video, 12,500 watts audio, with antenna height of 537 feet (directional).

CKSO-TV-2 Timmins went on the air on April 1 as the CTV affiliate. The main station, CKSO-TV Sudbury had been on the air since 1953. In Timmins, the CBC affiliate – CFCL-TV – had been on the air since 1956. The CKSO stations were owned by Cambrian Broadcasting Ltd.


CKSO-TV-3 Kearns was authorized to increase effective radiated power from 65,000 watts to 162,000 watts.

On December 21, Montreal’s Multiple Access Ltd. failed in its bid to acquire Cambrian Broadcasting Ltd.


CKSO-TV received permision to add a transmitter at Kapuskasing to rebroadcast CKSO-TV-2 Timmins. It would broadcast on channel 10 with effective radiated power of 900 watts.


CKSO-TV had applied to broadcast some separate programming on CKSO-TV-2 Timmins, CKSO-TV-3 Kearns and CKSO-TV-4 Kapuskasing. The CRTC denied the proposal on Ocotber 28.


Cable brought in U.S. signals and the Global television signal.


The viability of local services was the focus of a CRTC decision which approved applications whereby the competing CTV and CBC affiliated stations licensed to Cambrian and Lavigne came under the ownership of Mid-Canada, and under the ultimate control of Northern Cable Services Limited which owns 95.8% of Mid-Canada.

The Commission acknowledged the various factors which make Northern Ontario a difficult and unusually expensive market to serve. The marginal profitability and frequent financial losses encountered by Lavigne and Cambrian in the operation of their CBC and CTV television affiliate services provided clear evidence of these difficulties. The relatively slow growth rate of the area’s economy, the escalating costs of program production and acquisition, increasing cable penetration and the introduction of additional television services were identified as placing further strains on the viability of over-the-air broadcasting services in the region.

The Commission said that it viewed the purchase of the CBC related assets by Mid-Canada as being a realistic interim measure towards achievement of the goal of improved television service in the region, and noted the applicant’s statement that this was an “in trust” arrangement until the CBC had sufficient funds to purchase the transmitters and associated equipment. The Commission also noted the applicant’s commitment to offer the CBC the opportunity to buy or rent surplus equipment for the production of a CBC regional news service.

As stated above, Mid-Canada is owned 95.8% by Northern. The largest shareholder of Northern is CUC Limited with 48.3% of the outstanding voting shares. CUC Limited has extensive cable television interests across Southern Ontario and is deemed to be controlled by G.R. Conway and its other founding shareholders. The remaining 51.7% of Northern’s voting shares are owned by Northern Ontario investors who also form a majority on Northern’s Board of Directors. The largest of these is The Sudbury Broadcasting Company Limited, which owns 20.1% of Northern’s voting shares and is controlled by F. Baxter Ricard. Mr. Ricard has been involved in broadcasting in Northern Ontario since the late 1940’s and is a long-time associate of G.R. Conway.

Under the new ownership CKSO-TV-2 Timmins became CITO-TV (“TO” for Timmins, Ontario). CKSO-TV Sudbury was now CICI-TV.


On May 27, Cambrian Broadcasting Ltd. received approval to increase effective radiated power for CITO-TV-1 Kapuskasing from 900 watts to 3,500 watts and by relocating the transmitter from its currently authorized site in Kapuskasing to a location approximately 5 kilometers south-east of Kapuskasing. The licensee has indicated that these changes would improve the signal quality to Kapuskasing, Val Rita, Harty and Opasatika and improve the over-the-air reception of this station at the cable system head-end in Lowther.


When CITO-TV had its licence renewed, the CTV affiliate, committed in to broadcast an average of 10 hours and 46 minutes of original local programs per week during the new licence term. CITO-TV currently produces the weekday morning access/talk show “Midday” and the evening news magazine “On the Issue”. Programs produced in co-operation with the licensee’s other stations or produced by them and broadcast by CITO-TV are the same as those broadcast by CKNY-TV North Bay.


On October 22, Baton Broadcasting Incorporated, on behalf of Mid-Canada Communications (Canada) Corp. received approval to operate transmitters at Hearst and Chapleau, on channels 4 and 9 with effective radiated powers of 3,320 and 258 watts respectively, to rebroadcast the programs of CITO-TV Timmins.

Baton Broadcasting Inc. of Toronto purchased Mid-Canada Communications (Canada) Corp. from Northern Cable Holdings Ltd. The purchase included CHRO-TV (CBC) Pembroke, CICI-TV (CTV) and CKNC-TV (CBC) Sudbury, CITO-TV (CTV) and CFCL-TV (CBC) Timmins, and CHNB-TV (CBC) and CKNY-TV (CTV) North Bay and their respective rebroadcasters. At the same time, Mid-Canada (Baton) purchased CHBX-TV (CTV) and CJIC-TV (CBC) Sault Ste. Marie from Huron Broadcasting Ltd. The CRTC approved these transactions on October 22. Baton, is controlled by members of the Eaton family of Toronto through their indirect ownership of a majority of Baton’s voting shares.


On September 8, CITO-TV-4 Chapleau was authorized to increase effective radiated power from 258 watts to 375 watts. The applicant stated that the proposed amendment is the result of a minor variance in the as-built parameters of the transmitter


William Plaunt, former owner of CITO-TV (CKSO-TV-1) passed away in November, at age 78.


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


On January 23, the CRTC approved the application to amend the licence for CITO-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 May 11, BBS Ontario Inc. received approval to relocate the CFCL-TV and CITO-TV transmitters and transmitting antennas and increase power for CITO-TV. The transmitters would be relocated to a site 29 kilometres from the presently authorized location. Effective radiated power for CITO-TV would increase from 55,000 watts to 72,400 watts. In support of its request, the licensee stated that, contrary to when it was originally constructed, the tower is now located in a residential area. The licensee claims that the aging tower needs to be replaced.

Baton Broadcasting laid off 25 employees at MCTV in Northern Ontario. Local news was replaced with regional coverage on weekends. City councillors in Sault Ste. Marie asked BBS to reconsider the layoffs.


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


On January 27, the Eaton family sold its 41% interest in Baton.

John White Hughes Bassett (longtime head of Baton) passed away on April 27.

After purchasing the CTV Television Network, Baton Broadcasting Inc. changed its name to CTV Inc. The name change was effective December 21.


In February, Bell Canada Enterprises through its subsidiary BCE Media, proposed to purchase CTV Inc. for $ 2.3 billion. In June BCE submitted their brief to the CRTC with the largest “benefits package” ever presented to the regulative body. The benefits, money allocated over the proposed seven year licence term, were almost entirely to be spent on new Canadian programming. Ivan Fecan agreed to stay with the network under BCE ownership.

The CRTC hearing was held in September and the ownership application was approved on December 7th.


BCE entered into an agreement with The Woodbridge Company Limited and The Thomson Corporation (owners of The Globe and Mail newspaper). Bell Globemedia Inc. was formed by these companies. Bell Globemedia became the parent of CTV Inc.

In November, MCTV stations in North Bay and Timmins lost their local newscasts. All news now came from CICI-TV Sudbury. Short local inserts were produced for the other two stations.


On October 10, the CRTC approved the sale by CTV Television Inc. of its CBC affiliated stations (CFCL-TV-3 Kapuskasing, CFCL-TV-2 Kearns, CHNB-TV North Bay, CJIC-TV Sault Ste. Marie, CKNC-TV Sudbury, and CFCL-TV Timmins) to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. These transmitters became rebroadcasters of CBLT in Toronto. CICI-TV Sudbury and the other CTV affiliated stations in the north remained in CTV’s hands.


On July 21, the CRTC approved an application for ownership restructuring by Bell Globemedia (BGM), parent company of CTV, stemming from a deal in December 2005 that saw two new investors added to the company. Thomson family’s Woodbridge Co. Ltd. increased its stake in BGM to 40 per cent from 31.5 per cent, while BCE Inc. reduced its holding to 20 per cent from 68.5 per cent. Two other investors were added to the deal, including Torstar Corp. and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, each with 20 per cent.

On December 14th, it was announced that effective January 2007, Bell Globemedia would be renamed CTVglobemedia Inc.


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 VITO-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 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%.


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 televi


When the CITO licence was renewed in May, CITO‐TV‐3 Hearst and CITO‐TV‐4 Chapleau were removed from the licence at the request of Bell Media. The existing licence would expire August 31, 2017.


On July 30, the CRTC gave Bell Media permission to delete 28 analog rebroadcasting transmitters across the country. Bell stated the transmitters did not generate any incremental revenue and generally attracted little to no added viewership. CITO-TV-2 Kearns would be shut down on December 3, 2021.

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.

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