CKCO-DT, CTV, Kitchener
Bell Media Inc.
|CKCO-DT||2011||13.1 (13)||CTV||Bell Media|
|CKCO-TV||1998||13||CTV||CTV Television Network|
|CKCO-TV||1997||13||CTV||Baton Broadcasting Inc.|
|CKCO-TV||1953||13||CTV||Central Ontario Television Ltd.|
There were some 3,000 television sets owned by the 65,000 or so people living in Kitchener and Waterloo at this time – and only two TV stations were available – CBLT Toronto and WBEN Buffalo. The CBC had 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.
An application for a television station was filed under the name Central Ontario Television Ltd. and proposed the use of channel 6 with an effective radiated power of 55,400 watts video and 33,200 watts audio through an antenna 740 feet above average terrain. The application was denied. The CBC Board said the station as proposed with very wide coverage would to a large extent duplicate service from other stations. The board did not believe it would be justified in recommending the transfer of a channel allocated to the Toronto area. The board said it did not believe it would be desirable to have a station serving more immediately the area around Kitchener. At the same time it wished to point out that cognizance must be taken of channel availabilities. Foreign ownership was also a hot topic at the board’s meeting. Famous Players Canadian Corp., which proposed the granting of TV licenses in Kitchener and Quebec City in which it would hold a 50% interest – was said to be 65% American owned. N.S. Robertson, counsel for Central Ontario Television Ltd., made the case for his company at the board meeting. He said 50% of the company would be held by Famous Players while the remaining shares would be offered for sale to Carl Pollock, general manager of Dominion Electrohome and owner of CFCA-FM, which went off the air a year ago, and Gilbert Liddle, part owner of CKCR radio. Robertson said his company was in a position to finance and operate a TV station and that it would not have a monopoly on films, but would use as much live talent as necessary. He said his company would not oppose the granting of TV licenses in London, Brantford, Hamilton or St. Thomas, since it believed the best TV service would come as the result of competition.
The Kitchener television application was opposed by CKEY and CFRB Toronto, CKPC Brantford, CFOR Orillia, Toronto Mayor Allan Lamport and Corey Thomson of CKVL in Verdun, QC. Joseph Sedgwick, Q.C., speaking on behalf of the Toronto radio stations, said they objected only because of the proposed use of channel 6, a channel intended for use at Toronto. CKPC and CFOR wanted the application deferred until a later date so that it could be considered along with their proposals for stations in Brantford and the Orillia-Barrie area. Toronto’s mayor telegraphed the meeting to protest the granting of a licence for a station in Kitchener on channel 6, since it meant depriving his city of a valuable channel which had been established there through international agreement. The Department of Transport had Toronto listed with channels 6, 9, 11, 19 and 25 – with channel 9 already in use by CBLT. Kitchener was given only UHF channel 45. Corey Thomson was opposed to both the Kitchener and Quebec City applications because Famous Players was said to be foreign controlled. Even though the CBC Board denied Central Ontario’s application for Kitchener, it did approve new, privately-owned stations for Hamilton, London, Quebec City, Saint John, Sudbury, Sydney and Windsor.
Central Ontario Television Ltd. would have to try again. The company was owned by Famous Players Canadian Corp. (controlled by U.S. based Famous Players Corp.), Carl A. Pollock, president of local manufacturer Dominion Electrohome Ltd., and Kitchener-Waterloo Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (owner of CKCR Radio). Famous Players had a 50% interest in the company, with Pollock and Kitchener-Waterloo Broadcasting each holding 25%.
The application for Kitchener was to be reheard by the CBC Board after being deferred at the last meeting. This time the applicant applied for the use of channel 13. The CBC again deferred the application. The board said it wanted to allow an opportunity for any prospective applicants for the area to submit applications for channel 13. (Transport Canada had re-arranged some television channels across the country. CHCH Hamilton had been authorized to use channel 13 but would now use channel 11).
Final financing and organizing arrangements for Central Ontario Television Ltd. was made in August, in hopes the CBC would approve their television licence. Carl Pollock was president of the company. He said $500,000 to $750,000 would be available to underwrite the station. John J. Fitzgibbons, Sr. (head of Famous Players Canadian Corp.) was vice president. Kitchener lawyer John Wintermeyer was secretary and R.W. Bolstad of Toronto was treasurer.
In November, the CBC Board of Governors approved Central Ontario’s 4th application for a new television station at Kitchener. They beat out a competing bid by Grand Television Ltd. which was put together by a group including Senator W.D. Euler, Senator Arthur Hardy, Senator Rupert Davies and Roy Thomson interests. (channel 13 – 17,900 watts video / 10,270 watts audio – directional – antenna height of 202′ above average terrain).
On December 24, CKCO transmitted its first test signal – the Indian Head test pattern. In these early days, CKCO used a 5,000 watt transmitter. The old CFCA-FM tower at Baden Hill (7 miles west of Kitchener) was used to transmit the signal. The main antenna was not ready yet so the station had to operate in the early going from a temporary antenna. CKCO engineers and Canadian General Electric TV specialists set a Canadian record in installation for a TV station. Transmitter facilities were designed and completely installed for test pattern runs from the temporary antenna in only a few weeks. All equipment to be used by CKCO was from CGE – from cameras to antenna. CKCO was also in a race to be the first privately-owned television station in Canada but was beat out by CKSO-TV in Sudbury and CFPL-TV in London. The call letters stood for: Canada, Kitchener, Central Ontario.
In January CFPL-TV became the fourth and newest link in Canada’s network of TV stations as the microwave relay system constructed and operated by Canadian National-Canadian Pacific was completed to the city. The network now stretched from Toronto to Montreal, via Ottawa, servicing CBC TV stations in each city, and four new microwave transmitters (Milton, Galt, Woodstock and London) completed the span from Toronto to London. The new transmitters would carry long distance phone calls and some 22 hours of network TV programs a week to CFPL-TV. Plans called for the extension of the system with short hops to CHCH-TV Hamilton and from the Galt unit to Kitchener’s CKCO-TV. From London the system would also be extended to CKLW-TV in Windsor. UPDATE: The link to Kitchener was to be completed on February 21. On this date it was expected that CKCO-TV would begin telecasting as a basic station in the CBC’s mid-eastern TV network. Completion of the link to CHCH-TV Hamilton was expected in April, and to CKLW-TV Windsor, early next year. There were also plans to link Montreal with CFCM-TV in Quebec City.
At 6:00 p.m., March 1, CKCO aired its first regular broadcast from studios in the Concordia Club building at 864 King Street West. Power at the Baden transmitter site was now 16,500 watts. Antenna height was 250 feet with effective height of about 500 feet. The main antenna was a 3-bay directional batwing. CKCO operated as a CBC affiliate and was on the air only from six to eleven p.m. A print ad from just before station launch: on the air – March 1st – CKCO-TV Channel 13 Kitchener – Serving 7 cities in the Heart of Ontario.
CKCO – Canada’s third privately-owned TV station was on the air with a regular schedule of over 40 hours of programming per week. It was still operateing at below normal power and would go to full power when the Baden Hill site work was completed – hopefully in April. The studio facilities were still not complete at this time. The main studio would be 35 feet by 45 feet. Like the transmitter site, it was hoped the studios would be operational in April. For first few weeks, programming was entirely microwave relayed or filmed. The station was a Bacic CBC affiliate. Slightly over half the programming came from Toronto over the new CN-CP microwave network. Another two hours was news programs and some sports, about half of it was local events shot with film cameras. CKCO went on the air only 20 days after it was licensed – with test pattern, and started regular programming just two months later.
The station was on the air just in time for the NHL playoffs and engineer Joe McIntyre became a hero when he climbed a tower during an ice storm to adjust the microwave antenna that brought the games in from Toronto.
The Concordia club continued to rent the basement at 864 King W. until the end of the year. Until that time, it was not unusual for a partyer to stumble into the TV studios during a live broadcast. The club, on King Street (the main street), was almost on the city’s boundary with Waterloo.
Gene Fitzgibbons left Famous Players Canadian’s Windsor motion picture interests to take over at CKCO. He was the son of John J. Fitzgibbons, head of FPCC which owned part of Central Ontario Television. Other partners: Carl Pollock, president of local receiving set manufacturer Dominion Electrohome Industries. Gib Liddle, partner in CKCR Radio was also a partner in CKCO. Bill McGregor was operations manager. He left CFRB to take over as engineer of CKFH when it went on the air 3 years ago. He was latterally a technician at CBLT. His wife, Ellen, handled traffic and continuity at CKCO. She had also worked at CFRB. Ken Horne was maintenance engineer. Chief engineer was Dominion Electrohome’s Alexander Day. Don Hildebrand (formerly of CKNX) and George Montgomery (formerly of CKFH) were staff announcers. Mrs. E.R. Grengross was film editor. There was a staff of 22.
Gib Liddle, president and general manager of CKCR Radio died in March at age 64. He was one of the partners in Central Ontario Television ltd. (CKCO).
By beaming a junior BOHA game from Waterloo in May, CKCO became the first private Canadian TV station to stage a remote telecast.
Slogans: Your key channel to Central Ontario & it’s tremendous buying power. / CKCO-TV brings top programs to over 1,000,000 viewers in 17 central Ontario counties.
CKCO made the first live telecast of a Canadian Senior “A” hockey game using its new mobile unit.
Sandy Day was chief engineer. Al Hodge and Jack Phillips were in the news department (Al was news director). Directors (of program productions) at CKCO included Bruce Lawson and Harold Mantey. Tom Rafferty did sports. Elaine Cole hosted “Women and the News”. Jack Lanthier was publicity director. Reg Sellner was an announcer. Joe Carlo was the station’s organist. Violet Scriver was director of homemaking. “Come Into the Kitchen” was hosted by Violet Scriver.
With the production of a half hour comedy, “The Dear Departed”, CKCO claimed to be the first independent Canadian TV station to air a live drama.
CKCO received approval to increase effective radiated power from 16,000 watts video and 8,450 watts audio to 29,000 watts video and 14,600 watts audio. Average antenna height would increase from 501 to 928 feet and the station would continue to use a directional antenna.
Ad: CKCO-TV first in sales for you in Central Ontario…Canada’s pioneer TV station. First in…telecasting a complete golf tournament – Ontario Amateur Golf Tournament (July 9, 1955) … drama by independent television – “The Dear Departed” (May 29, 1955) … Senior Canadian Hockey Finals – Allen Cup Semi-Finals (April, 1955) … Harness Racing – Canadian Pacing Derby (August 10, 1955). Slogan: Low cost. High interest. High ratings. CKCO-TV Channel 13 Kitchener. Local news is big news in central and western Ontario.
Ad dealing with power increase: Effective October 30th, CKCO-TV will increase its power to 54,000 watts maximum and transmit from a new tower 650 feet high and 2,090 feet above sea level. This increase will enable CKCO-TV to bring within its coverage area 1 1/2 million people with over a 1/4 million sets. This population represents over one-tenth of Canada’s population. (For the record, the new 680 foot tower had now replaced the old 230 foot tower and power had increased from 29 kW to 54 kW).
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 Inter-provincial Football: CBWT, CKX, CKCK, CFQC, CHCT, CFRN and CBUT.
CKCO-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.
Slogan: Central and Western Ontario’s best seller is channel 13 Kitchener.
CKCO increased power to 57,500 watts and antenna height to 653 feet (1,000′ ehaat) from the same site.
By the end of the year, CKCO was feeding programs to the CBC network on a regular basis and produced some 75 live shows each week. The station had a staff of 66 by this time. CKCO had now produced more than 4,000 live shows in its studios.
CKCO was a CBC affiliate, listed with an effective radiated power of 31,400 watts video and 16,900 watts audio (power increased in 1956 though). Ownership of Central Ontario Television Limited: Famous Players Canadian Corp. Ltd. 49.4%, A. MacCunn 0.1%, R. W. Bolstad 0.1%, J. J. Fitzgibbons 0.1%, E. E. Fitzgibbons 0.1%, N. S. Robertson 0.1%, J. E. Motz 0.1%, Kitchener-Waterloo Broadcasting Co. Ltd. 24.7%, Mrs. E. Mitchell 0.1%, J. J. Wintermeyer 0.1%, C. A. Pollock 24.8%, H. L. Guy 0.1%, H. C. Krug 0.1% and Mrs. E. Watt 0.1%.
Carl Pollock was president of the company. Eugene Fitzgibbons was manager. William McGregor was operations and commercial manager. Other management members were Bruce Lawson (production supervisor), Don Martz (program director), Alan Hodge (news director), Tom Rafferty (sports director), and Alexander Day (director of engineering).
On September 16, CKCO-TV began telecasting at 11:15 a.m. following a trend toward more daytime television in Canada. This brought the stations broadcast day closer to twelve hours.
Ad: CKCO-TV Serves 7 major cities – Kitchener, Waterloo, Brantford, Galt, Stratford, Woodstock, Guelph.
CKCO-TV was now originating 75 live productions every week and fed programs and ads to the CBC network almost daily.
CKCO increased effective radiated power to 100,000 watts video and 54,400 watts audio with no change in antenna height.
Since the beginning, News had been a keystone of the station’s programming along with foreign and locally produced programs. As the years progressed news was aired at 12 noon, 6 o’clock and 11 o’clock in the evening, and for 25 years each Newscast has been delivered in three versions, each tailored to the different
parts of the station’s coverage area.
Local talent was a feature of the station with such shows as “Silver Bar Ranch” hosted by Bob McKeown, the Sales Manager, and featuring a band led by Don Reinhart; “Polka Time” hosted by Grammy winner Walter Ostanek; the K-W Symphony did several seasons of concerts and many children’s shows such as “Tree House” featuring Danny Coughlan; “Oopsie”, a puppet show that ran for more than 10 years featuring Bob McNea as Oopsie; “Romper Room” hosted by Fran Pappert for CTV. Many service and interview shows were featured over the years, and a two hour feature of the week’s stories hosted by Gary McLaren. For over 40 years there was a weekly church service from a local church on Sunday mornings.
“Canadian Bandstand” started on CKCO-TV. It was hosted by CFRB Toronto morning man Wally Crouter. Telescope was hosted by Elaine Cole.
Ad slogan: In the CKCO-TV area everyone goes home to watch Noon Time Television.
Under the new Broadcasting Act (that saw the creation of the Board of Broadcast Governors), a broadcasting station had to be 75% Canadian owned but the restrictions would not apply to existing stations such as CKCO-TV.
W.D. McGregor was director of operations.
D.L. Willcox joined CKCO-TV.
Ownership changes were approved affecting CKCR Radio and CKCO-TV. The changes involved the sale of interests by two elderly windows – Mrs. Clyde Mitchell and Mrs. G. Liddle. They owned Kitchener-Waterloo Broadcasting Co. (CKCR) and that company held 25% of CKCO-TV. Famous Players Canadian held 50% and Carl Pollock (president), held 50% of CKCO-TV. Pollock would acquire the 25% held by the widows. This would create a 50% ownership between Pollock and by Famous Players for CKCO-TV. The BBG approved the sale of CKCR to J. Irving Zucker of Hamilton who was licenced last year to operate new station CHIQ.
The BBG approved a power boost for CKCO-TV. That same board also turned down colour telecasting for now. There was mixed reaction to the decision. CKCO’s Bill McGregor said, “It would require an expenditure of probably $15,000 to put in the bare minimum of equipment which would allow us to carry network colour”.
Print Ad: TOP tower – 954 feet high … power – 325,000 watts … channel – TV 13. CKCO-TV Kitchener-Waterloo. Now serving you better.
CKCO increased effective radiated power to 325,000 watts. The tower height remained the same, but the antenna was increased in overall height to 715 feet above ground at the same site, for an EHAAT of close to 1,000 feet.
From its inception, CKCO-TV employed remote units for the broadcasts of local events throughout the station’s coverage area, and for events such as Junior “A” hockey, and Santa Claus Parades from Kitchener, Galt, London, Windsor and Brantford. Oktoberfest Parades, Golf and Curling Tournaments, and the International Plowing Matches were covered.
Ron Hill took over as host of Canadian Bandstand.
CKKW-AM was purchased by Central Ontario Television Ltd.
CKCO-TV switched networks, from CBC to CTV.
CKCO-TV had an effective radiated power of 325,000 watts video and 160,000 watts audio. Carl A. Pollock was president of Central Ontario Television Ltd. and William D. McGregor was manager of CKCO-TV.
Peter Emmerson joined CKCO to do news and weather. Reg Sellner became host of Canadian Bandstand.
Peter Emerson was now hosting Canadian Bandstand. He was replaced later in the year by Grant Hoffman.
Central Ontario Television Limited opened CFCA-FM.
Gary McLaren was news director.
CKCO purchased two Phillips Plumbicon colour cameras to complete their ultra modern colour facilities, enabling the station to colour telecast all local programs, including, The Minister’s Study, Romper Room, Big Al, The Elaine Cole Show, Scan, the late News, Weather and Sports, File 13, Gary Buck, Canadian Bandstand, and others.
Famous Players Canadian Corporation applied to the CRTC to sell its interests in CFCM-TV/CKMI-TV (50%) Quebec City and CKCO-TV-CFCA-FM-CKKW-AM (48%) Kitchener to Famous Communications Ltd., a new public company to be incorporated. There was also a pending deal that would have Famous Players acquire a small, additional interest in CHAN-TV Vancouver and CHEK-TV Victoria.
On April 17, the CRTC denied the application by Famous Players Canadian Corp. to transfer its Canadian broadcast interests to a new corporation – Teltron Communications Ltd. The Commission denied the application because effective effective ownership of Teltron would have remained essentially the same as
before. Famous Players Canadian Corp. became an inelligible licence holder under the new foreign ownership regulations – it was a controlled subsidiary of Paramount International Films Inc. Famous had interests in Television de Quebec Ltee, Central Ontario Television Ltd., British Columbia Television Broadcasting System Ltd., and numerous cable companies.
Dave MacDonald joined the CKCO news team in June as weatherman. John B. German was appointed national sales supervisor.
Carl A. Pollock announced his family was offering to buy the Famous Players interest in Central Ontario Television Ltd. The Pollock’s would increase their holdings in the company from 48 to 96%. The remaining 4% would be held by individual Canadians.
On July 20, the sale of Central Ontario Television Ltd. (CKCO-TV, CKKW-AM and CFCA-FM) by Famous Players Canadian Corp. to a company to be incorporated, represented by Carl .A. Pollock was approved. Under the proposed structure, a public company to be known as Electrohome Communications Ltd. would own 100% of Central Ontario Television Ltd. Electrohome Ltd. would own apx. 55% of the holding company (Electrohome Communications Ltd.). Electrohome Ltd. was a large manufacturer of radio and tv sets. Apx. 54% of the shares of the new company would be owned by the Pollock family.
On December 21, CKCO-TV was awarded a licence for a rebroadcast transmitter at Wiarton (Georgian Bay region), operating on channel 2 with effective radiated power of 100,000 watts video, 13,500 watts audio, and antenna height of 943 feet (omnidirectional). The transmitter would be located near Lion’s Head, about 15 miles north of Wiarton. A competing application by CFTO-TV Toronto for a transmitter at Owen Sound was denied.
George McLaren was news director. Robert “Bob” McKeown was sales manager. CKCO news was called “Scan”. Slogans: Kitchener-Waterloo – your commercial will find friends here…CKCO-TV. / Reaching and selling the Kitchener-London market.
W.D. McGregor became president and director of Central Ontario Television Ltd.
“Canadian Bandstand” was one of the longest running dance party shows in North American television. It went on the air in 1958.
On July 19, CKCO was given approval to operate a transmitter at Oil Springs (near Sarnia) on channel 42 with effective radiated power of 527,000 watts.
On May 16, CKCO was authorized to operate a transmitter at Huntsville on channel 11 with effective radiated video power of 20,560 watts. It would rebroadcast CKCO-TV-2 Wiarton, but offer two hours a week of local news programming. A competing application by Tel-Ad Co. Ltd. of North Bay was denied. As a result of the addition of this transmitter, CKVR-TV-1 at Parry Sound would have to move from channel 11 to 12 and CHEX-TV-2 Minden would change its channel from 10
On November 5 CKCO-TV-3 serving the counties of Lambton, Kent and Essex went on the air. The 985 foot tower was located near Oil Springs.
CKCO-TV-4 serving the Muskoka-Haliburton area signed on the air on February 25. The 600 foot tower was located at Dwight, about 15 miles east of Huntsville.
When CKCO-TV had its licence renewed, it was told by the CRTC that it must move immediately to meet its commitment for a separate feed to rebroadcasters on the late evening news and to staff regional news bureaus accordingly. The station was also told that separate commercials are to be scheduled on the rebroadcasters only during separate programming.
W.D. McGregor, president of Central Ontario Television, also became vice president of Electrohome Ltd.
In a review of television licenses in the Toronto region, the CRTC told CKCO-TV that more emphasis should be given to community affairs coverage throughout the region. The station should also play a greater role in CTV programming. It was noted that $1 million was being spent to upgrade studio facilities.
The on-air team included news anchor Ron Johnston and weatherman Dave MacDonald.
Construction began on the expansion of the Central Ontario Television building on King Street West. The projected was expected to cost over a million dollars and be completed by the fall. Additions would include a new 50′ x 45′ production studio, dressing rooms, administration, storage and property areas for CKCO-TV. Space would be doubled for news, public affairs, sports and program offices. TV’s control room would be completely revamped and five Ampex VPR-2 one-inch machines had already been installed.
New microwave facilities were constructed to improve the signal of the Huntsville TV rebroadcaster. Until now, the off-air signal from the Wiarton transmitter was picked up at Rosseau and relayed to Huntsville. Both transmitters were now served by the microwave network which consisted of three hops to Markdale, where the feed was split to cover the additional hop to Wiarton and five hops to Huntsville.
On July 3, Central Ontario Television Ltd. was renamed C.A.P. Communications Ltd., in honor of founder Carl A. Pollock, who died in 1978. . This followed the amalgamation of Central Ontario Television Ltd. with parent company, Electrohome Ltd.
CKCO channel 42 Oil Springs changed to an omnidirectional pattern to better serve the Windsor area. Also, a system was installed so that separate commercial and program feeds, such as the regionally-edited newscasts could be sent to any of the CKCO transmitters at any given time.
The CRTC held a hearing about Canadian content and CKCO’s Bill McGregor noted that revenues from U.S. shows helped to pay for Canadian production, and that Canadian programs outside of prime time sometimes win larger audiences than those in the more competitive prime time hours.
On June 1, the official opening ceremonies took place to mark the completion of the expansion project at 864 King Street West. CAP Communications doubled the size of the facilities to more than 100,000 square feet at a cost of $2.2 million. Supervisor of engineering Joe McIntyre said the building was virtually gutted and rebuilt to accommodate CAP’s staff of 168 – recently increased by about 30, mostly in production and engineering. Radio space was doubled and a new TV production studio (50 x 60 x 18) was added, along with production control rooms and enlarged newsroom facilities.
Some on-air names: Ron Johnston (anchor), Bill Inkol (sports), Dave MacDonald (weather), Art Beaumonk (reporter), Betty Thompson and Johnnie Walters (program hosts).
Chief engineer Paul Turchan and his crew upgraded and enlarged the CKCO-TV transmitter building. The upgrade included a concrete floor to replace the old wooden one. Six transmitters (main and standby for CKCO-TV, CFCA-FM and CKGL-FM) had to be moved three times in order to do the construction work. All was done while keeping the three stations on the air.
CAP president Bill McGregor was named to the Wilfred Laurier University board of governors for a three year term.
Fire hit CKCO-TV’s Wiarton rebroadcaster transmitter building on December 31. The transmitter was off the air for 18 hours while clean-up and repair work was done. Channel 2 was back on the air at 8:30 a.m. the next day with five per cent power. The interior of the building suffered extensive fire and smoke damage, caused by severe hydro problems, causing the failure of the high voltage power supply. The building was constructed of clay brick and had a concrete roof, so was fire-proof. On December 31, CKCO converted all of its transmitters to stereo. In addition to Ron Johnston, Brent Hanson and Jeff Hutchison were news anchors. Dave MacDonald handled weather. Steve Young joined the team of news reporters.
Following the end of 1987 fire at the Wiarton transmitter site, CKCO-TV-2 was operating at 50% power as of January 28. On March 8, a new Harris TV-30L transmitter was put into operation and things were pretty much back to normal. J.A. Pollock, president, chairman and CEO, Electrohome Ltd., announced the appointment of W.D. McGregor to a newly established position, president of Electrohome Communications Inc. and vice president of Electrohome Ltd. D.L. Willcox would be the new general manager of CAP Communications Ltd. Willcox had been program manager of CKCO-TV. CKCO-TV was the first television station in Canada to broadcast local news closed-captioned. R.H. McKeown, manager and general sales manager of CKCO-TV, announced the appointment of Alan G. Brooks as program manager. Brooks had been with Direction Video Inc. Before that, he spent nine years with Mid Canada Television in Timmins, where he served as manager of programming and promotion. C.A.P. Communications purchased CFRN Radio & Television in Edmonton from Sunwapta Broadcasting Ltd. CKCO’s Bil McGregor was chairman of the CTV board of directors. Lisa LaFlamme started her broadcast career at hometown CKCO-TV.
Don Wilcox, general manager of CAP Communications announced the appointment of Peter Jackman as station manager and general sales manager of CKCO-TV. Jackman had been with CKO Radio. CAP Communications received approval to increase effective radiated power of CKCO-TV-4 Huntsville from 20,560 watts to 178,900 watts. Ron Johnston was news director.
CKCO completed two transmitter projects. The main Baden site was upgraded with the addition of a 30 kW Larcan solid state transmitter. At Dwight, an extensive rebuild increased power more than eight times to 325,000 watts (178,900 watts average). This vastly improved and extended the service of the Muskoka rebroadcaster. The Huntsville power increase happened on July 29. The anchor team included Ron Johnston, Colleen Walsh, Jim Haskins, Brent Hanson, Frank Lynn, Janine Grespan, Daiene Vernile, Julie Marie Innes and Laverne Atkinson. Sportscasters included Bill Inkol, Jeff Hutchison, Randy Steinman, Don Cameron and Wayne Kooyman. The weather team included Dave MacDonald, Olaf Heinzel and Linda Richards. Steve Young was among the team of reporters and David Imrie was farm editor.
Reporter Steve Young left CKCO. Pat Fitzgerald was appointed manager of operations and production while Henning Grumme was named supervisor of operations and production. Don Wilcox, general manager of CAP Communications, announced the appointment of Joe Brenner to the position of manager of engineering, effective June 1. Brenner started his career with CAP in 1970 on a part-time basis while attending college. He became a full-time staff member in 1973 (maintenance technician) and in 1978 he was appointed maintenance supervisor. Long-time on-air personality Betty Thompson was named to the newly created position of community relations co-ordinator
CFRN-AM and CFBR-FM in Edmonton were sold to Standard Broadcasting Corp. Electrohome retained CFRN-TV. Baton Broadcasting of Toronto moved to acquire CFPL-TV London and CKNX-TV Wingham. A deal was reached in early May to buy the stations from Blackburn Group Inc. CRTC approval was still required. Baton had decided in January to become an affiliate of the CTV network after decades of being a key member of the eight member cooperative. Baton and CTV couldn’t agree on how much Baton would be paid for the 40 hours of station time it agreed to sell each week to the network. The purchase of the Blackburn stations would strengthen Baton in Ontario where it had been operating a provincial network with CKCO-TV for the past 18 months. The ONT network broadcast 10.5 hours of programming a week, including Blue Jays baseball. Baton planned to boost that schedule to 17 hours a week in the fall, increasing to 35 hours over the next couple of years. The proposal to buy CFPL/CKNX would put CKCO out of the ONT network. Baton’s bid to buy CFPL-TV/CKNX-TV was approved. South Western Ontario Broadcasting Ltd. would also be allowed to build a TV station at Wheatley – to serve the Windsor-Chatham area. CFPL/CKNX would now be part of the ONT network and CKCO would be out.
CKCO-TV celebrated 40 years on the air. The station was noted for its live production work – everything from parades to “Polka Time”. The station also produced the longest running program on the CTV network – “Romper Room”. It ran for 20 years. Long-time personality Bill Inkol made note of one story. He was at a public event when a viewer came up to him and said, “Aren’t you the guy who does Bowling for Dollars?” At the time, Inkol was sitting next to Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward! CKKW-AM and CFCA-FM moved out of the CKCO-TV building to their own facility in Waterloo. The radio stations had earlier been purchased by CHUM Limited. Electrohome promoted news director Ron Johnston to program manager. He succeeded Alan Brooks who moved to the same position at co-owned CFRN-TV in Edmonton.
On January 23, the CRTC approved the application to amend the licence for CKCO-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 March 24, the CRTC renewed the licence for CKCO-TV until August 31, 2002. The Commission approved the licensee’s request for broadcasting licences for English-language television programming undertakings at Oil Springs, and at Wiarton, with a transmitter at Huntsville (CKCO-TV-4), using the already approved facilities to broadcast separate programming assembled in Kitchener and split-fed to Oil Springs and Wiarton, as well as programming originating from CKCO-TV Kitchener. The Commission noted that CKCO-TV would continue to reflect the local community through new episodes of children’s programs such as “Magic Circus” and “Big Top Talent”, and through a weekly church service, an information and interview program “Maclean and Company”, and other programs such as “Sunday A.M.”, “Inside Entertainment”, “Country Life” and “Provincewide”. The Commission noted that the licensee proposed to continue the current programming arrangements on the Oil Springs undertaking which included separate local news inserts in Canada A.M., plus separate portions of CKCO-TV’s daily newscasts at 6:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. The Commission expected the licensee to fulfil its commitment to provide 4 hours 38 minutes weekly of separate first-run news programming and to continue to reflect the Sarnia, Chatham, and Windsor areas also through the broadcast of interview, public affairs and sports review programs. With respect to the Wiarton undertaking, the Commission expected the licensee to broadcast a weekly average of 3 hours and 13 minutes of separate original news for the Wiarton and Huntsville areas, which, under the existing programming arrangements, were inserted during CKCO-TV’s daily newscasts at 6:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. After 35 years with the company, Don Wilcox, Vice President & General Manager of CKCO-TV, retired in June. He was replaced by Dennis Watson who had been with CHUM Group Television, the Television Bureau, and most recently was Vice President and General Manager of Power Broadcasting’s Peterborough stations (CHEX). Reg Sellner, manager of public relations and special projects at CKCO took early retirement at the end of August. He joined the station in 1955, left in 1968 and returned in 1974. 1996 On June 21, the CRTC approved Rogers Communications’ sale of CFCN-TV Calgary to Baton Broadcasting Inc. and Baton’s sale of 50% of CFCN and a half interest in six of its Saskatchewan stations to Electrohome. As well, Baton traded 50% of CFPL-TV, CKNX-TV and CHWI-TV (all in Western Ontario) to Electrohome in exchange for 50% of Electrohome’s CKCO-TV stations. A 50-50 joint venture company was formed.
Bruce Cowie was named executive vice president and COO at Baton Broadcasting. He had been president of Electrohome Broadcast Group which had merged with Baton earlier. Baton Broadcasting cut 154 jobs as part of a restructuring of its Ontario operations.
On August 28, CRTC approval came for a swap of stations between the Baton-Electrohome alliance and CHUM Ltd. Baton swapped 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). The deal also gave Baton the 14.3% interest in CTV held by CHUM – giving Baton control of the network with 57%. The next largest shareholder was Western International Communications with 28.6%. General sales manager Peter Jackman, program manager Ron Johnston, chief engineer Joe Brenner, promotions manager Sandy Clarke and operations manager Henning Grumme were all let go by CKCO-TV. Mike Tierney was named General Sales Manager, succeeding Peter Jackman. Tierney had held the same title at CKWS-TV in Kingston. Sports director Jeff Hutcheson (also CTV’s “Canada AM”) crossed the street to join CKGL / CHYM-FM radio.
CKCO’s Jeff Hutcheson became a full-time addition to CTV’s Canada AM, succeeding Rob Faulds who went to CTV Sportsnet. After purchasing the CTV Television Network, Baton Broadcasting Inc. changed its name to CTV Inc. The name change was effective December 21.
The CKCO re-broadcasting transmitter at Huntsville, covering Muskoka-Parry Sound area on channel 11, was switched to become a re-broadcaster for CHNB-TV North Bay also owned by CTV. Norman James was a sportscaster at CKCO-TV. Long-time CKCO employee Joseph McIntyre passed away January 27. He joined the station in 1958 after working at Kingston’s CKWS-TV. He retired in 1992. CTV cut 131 full-time jobs (199 people and 12 vacant positions), about 6% of its workforce. Most were from local stations, including CJOH, CKCO, CFRN and CFCN-5 (Lethbridge). About 65% were in management, administrative, and operations.
Rumours had many of the big media companies eyeing CTV. In a surprise move, late in February, BCE (Canada’stelephone giant) through its subsidiary BCE Media, proposed to purchase CTV Inc., the largest transaction in Canadian broadcasting. In March the CTV board approved the deal, which required CRTC approval. 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 purchase of CTV was approved on December 7th.
News anchor team: Darryl Konynenbelt, Daiene Vernile, Brent Hanson, Janine Grespan, Aphodite Salas, and Julie-Marie Innes. Sports: Randy Steinman, Greg Ross and Norman James. Weather: Dave MacDonald, Tony Bitonti, Tom Knowlton and Olaf Heinzel. Julie-Marie Innes and Nancy Richards handled entertainment.
Marvin Stroh passed away. He joined CKCO-TV shortly after it went on the air. Marvin spent 35 years at the station, working mainly on the technical side. For many years he was technical supervisor and retired from broadcasting in 1989.
On October 3rd, CKCO-TV was rebranded as CTV South-Western Ontario.
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 CKCO-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.”
Andy Leblanc left his CTV Southern Ontario news director’s job to move to Fredericton. Before he took that position in 2005, Leblanc was assignment editor and assistant ND at ATV Halifax.
Michael Melling was promoted to News Director at CTV Southwestern Ontario. He’d been with the station since 2005. He succeeded Andy LeBlanc who returned to his Maritimes roots and was completing the final editing of his book. 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%. The CRTC approved an amendment to the licence for CKCO-TV Kitchener to add a digital transmitter (post transitional). CKCO-DT would operate on channel 13 with an effective radiated power of 11,000 watts, non-directional. Effective antenna height above average terrain would be 291.9 metres and the existing CTV tower would be used. Programming would be received via 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. 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. Longtime CTV Southwestern Ontario, weatherman Dave MacDonald retired June 30. On July 27, the CRTC renewed the licences of CKCO-DT and its transmitters CKCO-TV-2 Wiarton and CKCO-TV-3 Oil Springs, until August 31, 2016. With respect to CKCO-TV-3 Oil Springs, the licensee may broadcast no more than 6.5% of the commercial availabilities on this station separately from those broadcast on CKCO-TV Kitchener for each hour of station-produced programming broadcast exclusively on the Oil Springs station each week. The deadline for the conversion of analog television to digital in mandatory markets was August 31. CKCO-TV became CKCO-DT on that date and continued to use channel 13 (virtual channel 13.1). 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. Dennis Watson, vice president & general manager of CTV Southwestern Ontario, retired December 30. He had been responsible for the station’s day-to-day operations since 1995. Watson began his career with CHUM Ltd. and rose through the sales organization to become general sales manager at CKVR-TV Barrie and then at Citytv Toronto before becoming VP/GM of CHUM Group Television Marketing Services. Before moving to Kitchener, Watson was Executive VP/GM at CHEX-TV/CKRU-AM/CKWF-FM Peterborough. He was also a former VP of TVB. Bob McKeown died at 81. He worked at CKCO-TV from the station’s 1954 beginnings right through until his retirement in 1988. The former CKCO-TV General Manager served two years at President of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.
Mark Schembri of CTV London became Regional Manager, Engineering and IT, with input at CTV Barrie, CTV Kitchener, CTV London and CTV Windsor operations, as well as the 13 radio properties. Tom Fitz-Gerald, Sales Manager at CTV London and Windsor, became Regional Retail Sales Manager, overseeing all local retail advertising and commercial production at CTV Barrie, Kitchener, London and Windsor. Cameron Crassweller, Sales Manager at CTV Kitchener, became Assistant Regional Retail Sales Manager. Tom Green at CTV London/Windsor was promoted to Regional Commercial Production Supervisor at CTV (Ontario). John Cordiner, most recently Creative Services Director at CTV London/Windsor, was promoted to Regional Manager, Promotion and Digital Media, focusing on the integration of digital services throughout the four CTV stations (Wingham, London, Kitchener and Barrie). Janet Taylor, the Program Promotion Manager at CTV Kitchener, became Regional Manager, Programming and Community Relations, assuming local responsibilities for sponsorship, public relations, communications, as well as local program production oversight. Michael Melling, the News Director at CTV Kitchener, was appointed as Regional News Director, overseeing the news operations at Barrie, Kitchener, London, and Windsor, as well as effecting the integration of the CTV News brand into the daily newscasts on those four stations. Dave MacNeil, the Operations Manager of CTV Kitchener, was no longer with the station. New News Director at CTV Kitchener was Kristin Wever. She moved from CTV in Toronto where she was Senior Assignment Producer at Canada AM.
Priya Mann joined CTV Southwestern Ontario January 7 from CTV London where she did weather and was a reporter. Her last day in London was January 6.
Bob McLean died at 81. He hosted shows for CBC-TV, CFRN-AM, CFRB, CKCO-TV and wrapped up his career at CKWR. On July 24, the CRTC approved the deletion of transmitter CKCO-TV-2 Wiarton.
James Glenn “Jim” Smith died at 82. His broadcasting career began at the CBC before moving to CKCO-TV where, for the next 25 years, his career took him to the position of operations manager. Smith was a cameraman for the first CKCO News broadcast in 1954, and a cameraman for the first televised Toronto Maple Leafs game and Grey Cup.
Former CKCO newscaster Jeff Hutcheson retired in the summer. After leaving CKCO, he did sports and weather on CTV’s Canada AM.
Reg Sellner died in March. He was one of the first on-air personalities at CKCO-TV when it signed on in 1954. Over the years he was a promotions manager, news anchor, morning show host, game show host and one of the hosts of Canadian Bandstand.
CTV stations, including Kitchener saw cuts to local sports and other programming in the spring. More layoffs were expected countrywide.
It was announced in June that CTV Kitchener would begin airing a 5:00 p.m. weekday newscast in the fall. This move was being made by all CTV stations not already airing news in this time period.
Bill McGregor died at the age of 96 on November 28. He started his career at CFRB in 1947 as an operator. In 1950, he moved to CKFH as chief engineer. He later joined CBLT-TV, and it was around this time that he met Jack Fitzgibbons, who with his brother Gene, were preparing to startup CKCO-TV. Bill joined CKCO in 1953 as Operations Manager, and the station went on the air March 1, 1954. Much later, McGregor was promoted to GM, then VP and GM, and eventually president and director of the parent company, Electrohome. In 1993, he became senior VP of the company. With many awards and achievements, McGregor was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1990.
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. CKCO-TV-3 Oil Springs would be closed on May 2, 2020.
Nancy Richards, who was with CTV Kitchener for 32 years, left to join Conestoga College as a full-time instructor. Richards had been teaching part-time for the last three years. She had held many roles at the station, most recently as producer and anchor of local news updates for CTV Your Morning and anchoring the local News at Noon.
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.