CJIC-TV, Sault St. Marie

CBC – a re-broadcaster of CBLT Toronto

StationYearChannelNetwork AffiliateOwner/Info
CJIC-TV20022CBC-TVCBC – a re-broadcaster of CBLT Toronto
CJIC-TV19902CBCBaton Broadcasting Inc.
CJIC-TV19702CBCHuron Broadcasting Ltd.
CJIC-TV19552CBCHyland Broadcast Ltd.


Hyland Radio-TV Ltd. received a licence to operate a television station, operating on channel 2 with an effective radiated power of 5,160 watts video and 2,580 watts audio. Hyland also owned CJIC-AM. Until this time, the company had been known as Hyland Broadcast Ltd.

CJIC-TV went on the air November 27. Programming consisted of live news weather and sports as well as kinescopes from the CBC and other film programs and movies. CBC kinescopes of non-dated shows were broadcast on a week’s delay while news and sporting events were on a 24 hour delay. For example, the Grey Cup Football classic which occurred live the day the station signed on, was broadcast the following afternoon, Sunday, November 28th.

Local Live programs during the early years were, “Romper Room” a pre-school children’s show, and “Down Yonder” as well as coverage of local events such as the “Community Night Parade”. The station also boasted one of Canada’s first female weather forecasters, Hazel Eng.


CJIC-TV joined the CBS Television Network as a secondary affiliate.

Canadian Professional Football games, including the Grey Cup final, would be seen live from Vancouver on inter-connected Eastern stations. Delayed telecasts would be seen on all other stations on either the Sunday or Monday following the game. The 10 connected stations in the East were: CBLT, CBOT, CBMT, CHCH, CFPL, CKCO, CKLW, CKWS, CHEX, and CKVR. These stations would carry 20-26 games. Fourteen games would be seen on CKSO, CJIC and CFPA…stations not connected to the microwave. In the West, seven stations would carry kinescopes of the games to be played in Western Interprovincial Football: CBWT, CKX, CKCK, CFQC, CHCT, CFRN and CBUT.


Grant Hyland died leaving both the radio and TV holdings to his family. Hyland Radio-TV Ltd. had been owned as follows: J.G. Hyland 98.6%, Eileen M. Hyland 0.7% and Mina Brown 0.7%.

Russ Ramsay became General Manager.


CJIC-TV was now operating with an effective radiated power of 28,000 watts video and 15,000 watts audio. The station was a CBC basic affiliate. Mrs. J. G. Hyland was president of the company. Russ Ramsay was manager, operations manager and sports director. Gene Plouffe was commercial manager and program director.

Ad: CJIC Radio – for over 23 years / CJIC-TV – now in its 3rd year / synonymous with service and entertainment in Canada’s fastest growing industrial and mining area.


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.

As of the fall CJIC-TV was now signing on the air at 11:30 a.m. with local programming. The early sign-on was called Operation High Noon and featured special shows for ladies, and a 15 minute summary of news, weather and sports. The station now programmed more than six hours of live shows each day.


Eileen Hyland was president of Hyland Radio-TV Ltd.


Hyland launched an FM station.


CJIC-TV had an effective radiated power of 25,000 watts video and 15,000 watts audio. Mrs. J. G. Hyland was president of Hyland Radio-TV Ltd. and R.H.(Russ)Ramsay was manager.


Saw the arrival of colour Network programming and a colour VTR machine came into use the following year with complete colour facilities available in the early 70s.


Sports director John Rhodes was elected mayor of the city on December 2. He had served as an alderman for the past five years. Rhodes joined the CJIC stations eleven years ago. In addition to being AM-FM-TV sports director, Rhodes was also CJIC-AM morning man and host of that station’s popular “Hot Line” program.


Steve Ray joined CJIC-TV as news anchor and political correspondent. He had been with CKCY-AM.


Steve Ray left for CFCH-AM in North Bay.


Applications were submitted to the CRTC by Huron Broadcasting Ltd., a new syndicate headed by Carmen Greco, owner of CKCY, to acquire all of the broadcast facilities in the Sault Ste. Marie area. The new company would purchase Hyland Radio-TV (CJIC-AM-FM-TV and CJWA Wawa) and Algonquin Radio-TV (CKCY-AM-FM, CJNR Blind River, CKNR Elliot Lake and CKNS Espanola).
Huron would then sell CJIC-AM-FM to a group headed by Russ Hilderly, the present program director of CKCY. CJIC-AM-FM would assume new call letters while CJWA would become part of the CKCY network. CJIC-TV would continue as a CBC affiliate and Huron would seek a twin stick operation with a new station to be known as CKCY-TV to bring CTV service to the area.

The CRTC approved the applications by Huron for changes in broadcast facilities in the Soo. The approval was conditional on Huron agreeing to provide CTV service no later than September 1, 1978. Huron was warned it must meet its commitments to provide better TV news and public affairs programming. CJWA was to become a full CBC affiliate with separate programming from Wawa.


Gilder Broadcasting Ltd. was authorized to purchase CFYN-AM and FM from Huron Broadcasting. Gilder was headed by longtime CKCY personality (and most recently, program director) Russ Hilderly. CJIC-AM became CFYN, CJIC-FM changed to CHAS-FM, and CKCY-FM became CJQM-FM.

Huron received permission to operate a new television station (to be known as CKCY-TV) on channel 2 with an effective radiated video power of 100,000 watts, to provide CTV service to the area. CJIC-TV (CBC) would move from channel 2 to channel 5, increase effective radiated video power from 28,000 watts to 100,000 watts and operate from a new transmitter site.

Huron opened its CTV affiliate – CKCY-TV – in November.

The power for CJIC-TV was amended to 52,000 watts and not the 100,000 watts previously announced by the CRTC.


Huron Broadcasting Ltd. received approval July 27 to decrease effective radiated power for CJIC-TV from 52,000 watts to 37,900 watts. The station would also increase antenna height.

Work was underway on new combined TV-FM site for CJIC-TV, CKCY-TV and CKCY-FM. A 400 foot tower and 100 foot antenna mount were completed. A specially built EMI antenna was being designed to transmit both channels 2 and 5. The transmitter building was now completed and ready for the new CCA TV and FM transmitters. It was hoped CKCY-FM would be ready in March with TV to follow in the late spring or early summer.


Huron Broadcasting employees became unionized in June.


On March 21, the CRTC approved the transfer effective control of Huron Broadcasting Ltd., licensee of CJIC-TV, CKCY-TV, CJQM-FM, CKCY Sault Ste. Marie, CKNR Elliot Lake, CKNS Espanola, CJNR Blind River, CJWA Wawa, and its Sault Ste. Marie cable operation, through the transfer of 1,000 common shares (16.7%) from each of J.S. Hinds, J.O. Hinds and P.D. Edwards to Soo Mill Holdings Limited, the transfer of 1,000 common shares from C.P. Greco and 400 common shares from G.E. Nori (16.7% and 6.7% respectively) to James R. McAuley Investments Inc. and the transfer of 600 common shares (10.0%) from G.E. Nori to James F. Kelleher (in trust for a company to be incorporated), Patrick J. Mahon and Joseph Anthony Martella. As a result of these proposed share transfers, Huron would be owned as follows: Soo Mill Holdings Limited 50.0%, James R. McAuley Investments Inc. 23.3%, W.A. Elgie 16.7%, F. KelLeher, OBCI 5.8%, Patrick J. Mahon 2.1% and Anthony Martella 2.1%. Soo Mill Holdings Limited was owned by three trusts, each having an equal interest and having as its beneficiary one of three brothers, Fremlin Simpson Hollingsworth, Edward Hollingsworth and Ian Woolner Hollingsworth, all of whom were residents of Sault Ste. Marie. James R. McAuley Investments Inc. was effectively controlled by James R. McAuley of Sault Ste. Marie. The Commission considered that approval of these applications would result in a substantial increase in the amount of local ownership in Huron from 50 to 100 per cent.

The Commission noted the applicant’s plans to expand local and national news coverage on CJIC-TV and CKCY-TV by introducing 30-minute newscasts at noon Monday to Friday and 15-minute newscasts at 11:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, in addition to the five-minute newscasts being offered on these stations Monday to Friday at 5:00 p.m.




Bill Schofield became director of engineering. He had been with the CKSO stations in Sudbury. Schofield replaced Stan Corbett who had retired.


The CRTC approved a stock transfer that would ensure local ownership of Huron Broadcasting Ltd., licensee of CJIC-TV and CHBX-TV. The plan provided for 30.3% of the common voting stock held by nine minority shareholders to be purchased by a company controlled by the Hollingsworth family, who already held 50% of Huron’s shares. The remainder of the Huron common voting shares would continue to be held by four local shareholders. The stock transfer plan resulted after a bid by an outside company to purchase the shares.


When CHBX-TV and CJIC-TV had their licences renewed, the CRTC noted that Huron Broadcasting Ltd. was 100% locally-owned and is ultimately controlled by members of the Hollingsworth family. CJIC-TV was one of the oldest privately-owned television stations in Canada. According to the licensee, CJIC-TV broadcast approximately 90% of the CBC network schedule, supplemented by some Canadian and non-Canadian acquired programming and an average of 71/2 hours per week of original local production. CHBX-TV was a supplementary CTV affiliate. As such, it shared in neither the costs nor the revenues of the CTV network. The licensee complemented its CTV network programming with a certain amount of Canadian and non-Canadian acquired programs, and an average of 13 hours 45 minutes per week of original local programming. The licensee noted that CHBX-TV and CJIC-TV competed for this potential audience against the three major U.S. commercial television networks, the signals of which “can be received off-air with a modest antenna”.


On July 26, Pelmorex Broadcasting Inc. was given approval to acquire effective control of Mid-Canada Radio Inc. through the transfer of 100% of that company’s issued and outstanding common voting shares from Northern Cable Holdings Limited. Mid-Canada was a company formed from the amalgamation of CKCY 920 Ltd. with The Ottawa Valley Broadcasting Co. Ltd. in January 1990. It was licensee of 14 radio stations in northeastern Ontario. Northern was also the 100% shareholder of Mid-Canada Communications (Canada) Corp. the licensee of 7 television stations and their rebroadcasters in northeastern Ontario, including CBC and CTV twin-stick operations at Sudbury, North Bay and 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.

The Sault Ste. Marie TV stations would now operate as part of the Mid-Canada TV system which included most of the TV stations in Northern Ontario.


The city’s two AM stations – CFYN and CKCY – left the air.


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 CJIC-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.

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.


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.


Randy Ravlich, a news producer for MCTV Sault Ste. Marie, was killed in a two-car crash on the Trans-Canada Highway near Surgeon Falls.


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 application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to amend the broadcasting licence for the television station CBLT Toronto in order to operate the following transmitters: CFCL-TV-3 Kapuskasing (channel 2 with effective radiated power of 984 watts), CFCL-TV-2 Kearns (channel 2 with ERP of 38,500 watts), CHNB-TV North Bay (channel 4 with ERP of 60,800 watts), CJIC-TV Sault Ste. Marie (channel 5 with ERP of 37,900 watts), CKNC-TV Sudbury (channel 9 with ERP of 115,500 watts) and CFCL-TV Timmins (channel 6 with ERP of 100,000 watts). The transmitters are currently owned and operated by CTV Television Inc. as CBC affiliated stations. Following negotiations with CTV, the CBC has agreed to purchase the transmitters in order to provide the full CBC English-language television network service to the communities noted above. Residents of these communities will continue to receive CTV’s original local programs on CTV owned-and-operated affiliated stations.

CJIC-TV (and the others listed above) ceased to broadcast at midnight on October 27, whereupon they became rebroadcasters of the CBLT Toronto signal. The call letters were changed as follows: CFCL-TV-3 Kapuskasing – CBLT-9, CFCL-TV-2 Kearns – CBLT-8, CHNB-TV North Bay – CBLT-4, CJIC-TV Sault Ste. Marie – CBLT-5, CKNC-TV Sudbury – CBLT-6 and CFCL-TV Timmins – CBLT-7.

CHBX-TV remained in the hands of CTV.

The story continues elsewhere…
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