CHCH-DT, Hamilton

Channel Zero

StationYearChannelNetwork AffiliateOwner/Info
CHCH-DT201315 (11.1)Independent2190015 Ontario Inc.
CHCH-DT201111.1 (11)Independent2190015 Ontario Inc.
CHCH-TV200911Independent2190015 Ontario Inc.
CHCH-TV200811“E”CanWest Global
CHCH-TV200011IndependentCanWest Global
CHCH-TV199811IndependentShaw Communications/CanWest
CHCH-TV199411IndependentWestern International Communications
CHCH-TV198911IndependentMaclean Hunter Ltd.
CHCH-TV197011IndependentSelkirk Communications Ltd.
CHCH-TV196111IndependentNiagara Television Ltd.
CHCH-TV195411CBCNiagara Television Ltd.


Ken Soble first approached the CBC in 1948 about a television licence for Hamilton. The CBC Board of Governors turned him down, stating one channel had been allocated for the city and any such station would be owned and operated by the CBC. He tried again in 1949 and was turned down. In 1952, the federal government announced that private stations would be allowed in cities where the CBC had no TV operations. The CBC opened Canada’s first television stations in September of 1952 – CBFT Montreal, followed two days later by CBLT in Toronto. The corporation had plans for a number of additional stations of its own, across the country. 


Niagara Television Ltd. filed an application for the operation of a TV station at Hamilton, operating on channel 13 with an estimated effective radiated power of 80,600 watts video and 48,360 watts audio. A directional antenna was proposed, with height of 442 feet above average terrain. Niagara Television was a consortium consisting of CHML Radio (Kenneth D. Soble’s Maple Leaf Broadcasting Ltd.), CKOC Radio (the Sifton family’s Wentworth Radio Broadcasting Ltd.) and CJSH-FM (Southam’s The Hamilton Spectator). 

Ken Soble (CHML) and St. Clair Balfour (CJSH-FM) appeared at the CBC Board meeting. Soble said that he would manage the television station if it were approved. He estimated it would cost $1,000,000 to put the station into profitable operation, a cost based on the expenditure of $721,000 for physical facilities, including studios in Brantford and St. Catharines, and $247,000 for talent and program fees during the first year. He believed the station could reach the break even point some time during the second year of operation. Soble added that the applicant company was willing to wholeheartedly cooperate with the national television system of the CBC. Balfour said Hamilton was a logical centre for a TV station. Mrs. F.M. Buchanan, owner of CKPC radio in Brantford, asked for deferment of the Hamilton TV application because she said CKPC wanted to make a formal application for a TV station at Brantford that would cover some of the same area.

On March 30, the CBC Board of Governors approved Niagara Television Limited’s TV application for Hamilton. In announcing its plan for preliminary TV coverage of Canada, the Department of Transport recommended that only one TV station be considered for serving an area bounded by Niagara, St. Catharines, Hamilton and Brantford and that a TV station for Hamilton alone should not be considered since CBLT Toronto covered the area. In approving the application, the CBC said the application was satisfactory and the station would extend national service coverage as well as provide local service. The proposed station would provide an adequate service to the region it was intended to serve. The CBC also announced that private stations would be required to carry programs produced by the CBC. The stations would be paid by the CBC part of the revenue the corporation received from commercial programs, while sustaining and other programs would be supplied free of charge. When the Hamilton application was approved, the CBC also gave the go-ahead for new TV stations at London, Quebec City, Saint John, Sudbury, Sydney and Windsor. An application for Kitchener was denied (but eventually approved).

The first advertising contract in privately owned Canadian TV was signed in April when Robin Hood Flour Mills agreed to sponsor a nightly news show over the proposed Niagara Television Ltd. station. Material for the show would be supplied under a joint agreement with British United Press and Movietone Newsreel.

In May, the target on-air date for the Hamilton station: before next Christmas.

Just a short time after being licensed, Ken Soble announced the purchase of Hamilton’s Barton Street arena, with a seating capacity of 6,000. Also thrown into the deal was the OHA franchise, the Hamilton Tigers. Of the $1 million the company expected to spend in launching CHCH, $750,000 would go to modernizing the arena, and installing and equipping the studios in it. Soble expected the inside to have a modern ice surface, auditorium and gym floor – all interchangeable. CHCH was aiming at between 60 and 70 hours a week of programming when the station goes on the air. About 37 of those hours would be live during the first year. The main studio would be located at the transmitter tower about 5 miles west of Hamilton, where microwave relays would be linked with St. Catharines and Brantford.

The Department of Transport did some channel shuffling across the country and CHCH had its channel changed from 13 to 11.

Brian Doherty was named CHCH’s first program director. He was a veteran Canadian playwright and theatrical producer. Bill Jaynes was chief engineer. Jaynes had worked for the BBC in the past.

Plans for the development of a national TV network composed of privately-owned and CBC stations were tentatively agreed to in June. Present licensees agreed to carry a minimum of 10 1/2 hours of CBC-produced programs weekly.


Kenneth Soble
Ken Soble

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. 

Tentative program schedule as of January: 3:00 p.m. News, 3:05 Mon-Fri. Homemaker’s Show with Mrs. Balantyne, 4:00 Jane Grey (will answer problems and interview guests), 4:30 Western Film, 5:00 Commercial Program, 5:30 Howdy Doody (Canadian version), 6:00 Musical Show (with featured personalities), 6:30 Sports, 6:40 Weather, 6:45 Local News, 6:50 CBC News, 7:00 Music & Interviews, 7:30 Syndicated Films, Feature Films and network, 11:00 Local & National News, 11:10 Weather, 11:20 Sports, 11:30 p.m. To be scheduled Later.

CHCH was expected to begin testing in January or early February. When it signed on, it would be the first Canadian station to compete with the CBC’s CBLT Toronto, where the largest TV audience in Canada was concentrated. The owners of Hamilton’s three radio stations were spending about $1 million on the TV station.

The launch of CHCH-TV was delayed due to a shortage of transmitters. Suppliers were unable to keep up with the demand with so many new stations going on the air across North America. The location of a transmitter site was also a problem. The station had wanted to place the tower at Southam Park on Upper James Street but that did not sit well with those already in the area. The 540 foot tower was finally built on the 900 foot Niagara escarpment, near Stoney Creek, five miles east of Hamilton.

In late April, CHCH adopted a dry run schedule, simulating the regular schedule of 11 1/2 hours of programming per day which would be adopted when the station opened.

The antenna tower was being built in May to meet the now, May 31 target date.

At around 9 p.m. on June 3, CHCH-TV sent out its first (test) signal…a test pattern that featured the call sign and recorded music.

At 8 p.m. on June 7, Lucky Channel 11 officially began broadcasting with a two hour program telling the story of Hamilton. Jack Burghardt was the announcer on that first broadcast. His first words on the air were, “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. This is Hamilton. And this is Hamilton’s own TV station on the air.” The gala event featured over 100 performers…from the Dofasco Male Choir to the Hamilton Public Schools Festival Choir. Almost all of the station’s employees managed to appear in front of the camera that night. CHCH also showed its first movie – “Guilty Bystander” – starring Zachary Scott.

CHCH-TV operated as a CBC affiliate with 42,900 watts video, 25,750 watts audio. In addition to receiving CBC programs, CHCH also obtained originations from the American networks NBC, ABC and Dumont. Take either “CH” in the call sign and it represented “Canada, Hamilton.”

The station broadcast many local shows such as “The Ken Soble Amateur Hour”, which had become very popular on CHML radio.”The Jane Gray Show”, an afternoon women’s program, “Dance Party” – bringing school dances into the studio and “Jamboree” with Gordie Tapp as well as the News, Weather and Sports. The Fall of 1954 marked the start of twenty years of OHA Hockey broadcasts live from the Hamilton Forum. In the early days, CHCH was only on the air from 1:00 p.m. to midnight.

CHCH-TV’s home at 163 Jackson Street West (at Caroline Street) had a history of its own. John Bickle, a druggist, built the stone house in the 1840’s and called it “Pinehurst”. He lived there until 1875. Years later, the home was purchased by William Southam, founder of the Hamilton Spectator. After World War II, The Spectator’s radio station – CJSH-FM 102.9 – was housed here and the stables out back had been turned into a garage for the newspaper’s delivery trucks. When CHCH moved to this location, the garage became the station’s main studio. Offices were in the house. Over time, CHCH had other studio sites, including the largest television studio in Canada: The Hamilton Forum (200′ x 95′) on Barton Street, which was owned by Soble. There were also studios at the Kenmore Theatre on King Street West. It was turned into the “TeleCentre”. The Jackson Street building’s 1st floor housed the engineer’s quarters, test rooms, film editing room, master control, telecine room, studios and storage. Executive offices were on the second floor and the dark room was on the third floor. There was lots of expansion room.

Some equipment: two 250 Eastman Kodak projectors, two complete film camera chains, three studio camera chains, teleprompters, special effects generators…all was RCA equipment except the projectors. There was also a mobile unit complete with an RCA microwave link. The antenna tower was tubular. The antenna was a two-slot RCA Victor wavestack model. The transmitter was an RCA 10,000 watt unit.

As mentioned above, Jack Burghardt was the first voice heard on CHCH-TV. He had been an announcer at CHVC Radio in Niagara Falls. Daryl Wells joined the station from CHML-AM. Some other early personell: Dave Southwood, producer-director (formerly with the BBC). Tom Sutton, executive-producer (formerly with WWJ Detroit). Miriam Lyons, art department (formerly with the Walt Disney Co.). William Garrett, cartoonist. Dave Rogers joined CHCH as news director. He had held the same position at CFCF Radio in Montreal. Barry Gordon and George McLagen were cameramen. Ray Arsenault was floor manager. Gerry Bennett was boom mic operator.
Many Canadian television stations were now entering into daytime programming. CHCH expected to start its day at 1:30 p.m. and was aiming for a 7:00 a.m. start to the day within the next year.

Dave Wright joined CHCH-TV from CKBB Radio in Barrie.


A tour of the CHCH facility described the studios. Studio A was the main studio. Most live programs came from here. Studio B was used mostly for newscasts. Studio C was an extension of studio A, and was mainly used as a client’s viewing area for productions taking place in A. CHCH had a telecine room which had two iconoscope-type film camera channels, each used in conjunction with a 16 mm film projector. At this time, the station was doing about 85 live shows a week, including commercials and weather reports.

Cooking expert Joyce Davidson appeared on the “Teddy Foreman Show”. Bill Stoeckel joined the national sales department. Cluade Baikie left CHCH to become production manager at the new CKVR-TV in Barrie. J.R. Peters was commercial manager. Doug Gale joined the staff. On September 20, Roy Ward Dickson’s show “Fun Parade” moved from Toronto radio to CHCH-TV. On August 28, Whadda y’ Know went before the channel 11 cameras. Two other Dickson productions – Turnabout and Claim to Fame, were also being considered for the CHCH schedule.

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.

CHCH received approval to increase effective radiated power from 16,900 watts video and 10,050 watts audio to 100,000 watts video and 60,000 watts audio. Antenna height would increase from 622 to 641 feet. The station would continue to transmit a directional signal. The power increase took place on October 15. Ad to promote the increase: Now! 100,000 watts to kick-off the season. Your host Mr. Eleven brings a brighter, sharper picture to Canada’s richest market.


Theatre Properties Hamilton Ltd. joined the consortium of owners.


Ownership of Niagara Television Limited: The Southam Co. Ltd. 33.2%, St. Clair Balfour, Jr. 0.05%, Alex G. Muir 0.05%, Wentworth Radio Broadcasting Co. Ltd. 33.2%, Kenneth D. Soble 33.3% and Frances R. Soble 0.1%. The first three listed represented Southam, owner of the Hamilton Spectator. Wentworth Radio owned CKOC-AM and was controlled by the Sifton family. Ken and Frances Soble owned CHML-AM (Maple Leaf Broadcasting). 

Ken Soble was president of the company. Syd Bibby was manager of CHCH. Other management: Ray Peters (commercial manager), Jim Purvis (program director), Dave Rogers (news director), Norm Marshall (sports director), Doug Gale (film editor) and Bill Jeynes (director of engineering). CHCH was a CBC basic affiliate. Ted Delaney, later to be part of the senior management group at Toronto’s CFTO-TV, was the company’s sales representative in Toronto.

Power increased to 150,000 watts video and 90,000 watts audio.

In the first few months of operation in 1954, CHCH was very dependent on the CBC for programming. Live shows consisted mainly of news, weather and sports, delivered at 6:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. The newscasts still air at those times in 1957. Jack Alexander was the station’s first newscaster and still holds that job now2. Jack Burghardt and Bill Lawrence3 were now established weathermen. Burghardt was also the station’s chief announcer. Norm Marshall4 was now well known for his sportscasts. The broadcast day now began at 1:30 p.m. and the station had a lot more live, local programming. The station’s registered trade mark – “Mr. 11” – appeared in every piece of station advertising by this time. 

Ron Ellis joined CHCH as assistant news director. Dave Rogers was news director – the station’s first. Ellis had done some news work for CKOC-AM and CFCF-AM.


Robert C. Dawson joined the CHCH staff. Ray Peters was commercial manager.

According to Elliott-Haynes CHCH reached a total of 498,701 viewers every day. 

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. 


CHCH applied to the Board of Broadcast Governors to increase power from 150,000 to 325,000 watts, and antenna height from 540 to 1173 feet. 

Newscaster Harvey Kirck joined CHCH from CHUM Radio in Toronto. 

CHCH added an off-shoot of Ken Soble’s Amateur Hour – Tiny Talent Time, January 17 (Sunday’s at 2:00 p.m.). 

The station added Romper Room as of February 1. The show aired at 9:00 a.m. and was hosted by Lois Jamieson. 

CHCH received permission to increase effective radiated power from 150,000 watts video and 90,000 watts audio to 325,000 watts video and 182,000 watts audio and to increase antenna height (EHAAT) from 654 to 1,173 feet. 

Ad: CHCH-TV – Channel 11 – on the go … all the time! Serving Hamilton, Toronto and the Niagara Peninsula.

Ken Soble was part of a group that formed Ottawa Telecasters, which was unsuccessful in its bid for a second television station in Ottawa. The licence was awarded to Ernie Bushnell for what would become CJOH-TV. At the BBG hearings it was noted that William Jeynes was chief engineer of CHCH , James Purvis was program manager, Joseph Carlo was music director and William Elliott was in the production department. It was also noted that Soble owned CHML-AM and 25% of CHCH-TV.

Ray Peters left CHCH-TV where he had been commercial manager. He moved to the yet to sign-on CHAN-TV in Vancouver where he would be station manager. With him went Traffic Manager Lloyd Colthorp.  Harold G. Burley, Toronto account executive with CHCH, returned to the Hamilton headquarters as commercial manager, succeeding Ray Peters. Jack Burghardt was production supervisor. Ted Delaney left CHCH to become retail sales manager at the yet to open CFTO-TV in Toronto. 

Sam Pitt left CHCH-TV for CJLH-TV Lethbridge where he would be production manager. S.F. Habberfield was appointed account executive for CHCH’s offices in Toronto’s Park Plaza Hotel. He was succeeded in Hamilton as promotion manager by Hugh T. Trueman.


Bill Walker
Bill Walker

Ken Soble felt Hamilton was no longer being served well with CHCH operating as a CBC affiliate. When he pulled the plug on the network, many had expected the station to join the new CTV network. Instead, on October 1, CHCH became Canada’s first independent television station.

This made time available for many new shows, both Canadian and American. “The Pierre Berton Show”, “Under Attack” with Fred Davis, “Smith & Smith”, “Tiny Talent Time” (hosted by Bill Lawrence5 for 35 years), Roy Ward Dickson game shows, “Party Game” hosted by Bill Walker with Dinah Christie, Billy Van and Jack Duffy. Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey on Wednesday nights was another first for CHCH, the first move of major league hockey telecasts away from the traditional Saturday Hockey Night in Canada. And after the CBC had taken their pick of the top US series, CHCH would pick up some of the remaining programs such as “All in the Family”, “Knot’s Landing”, “L. A. Law”, “Entertainment Tonight”, “Hill Street Blues” and “48 Hours”.

 However, with the advent of the new private stations, and the formation of the CTV Network, CHCH would soon find itself in third place when it came to buying US shows, because the two networks could offer bigger licence fees for national rights.

On the other hand, and thanks to movie buff Sam Hebscher’s L.A. contacts, CHCH was still able to acquire many major movies for their Great Movies time period, despite keen competition from CTV and CBC. 

Alan (Al) Bruner joined the station as Marketing Director. News director Dave Rogers left CHCH in mid-year to become general news editor at Canadian Press. He was succeeded by assistant news director Ron Ellis. 


W. John Holden (Waldo’s son) joined CHCH as director of advertising, promotion and public relations. 


CHCH-TV had an effective radiated power of 230,000 watts video and 143,000 watts audio. Kenneth D. Soble was President of Niagara Television Ltd. and manager of CHCH. Sydney J. Bibby was assistant manager.


Ken Soble started planning for a new National TV Network to be connected by satellite from a central station to repeater stations across Canada. Unfortunately he died at his home of a heart attack on December 166. Sydney Bibby was appointed General Manager. (see 1968 for more)


Mrs. Kenneth D. Soble was elected President of Niagara Television Ltd. by the board of directors.

Ron Ellis left CHCH in mid-year. He spent 10 years with the station – four as assistant news director and six as news director. He was succeeded for about three months by Jack Burghardt and then by Dick Gray. Al A. Bruner, VP, corporate development. Bill Davidson was head of marketing.

Slogan: Turn to Eleven for Turned-on TV.

A 19-ton mobile unit was designed by chief engineer Bill Jeynes. It had 4 colour cameras (can extend to 6), one VTR and another for instant replay, 10 complete inputs for switching, communications systems, can handle 30 mics at one time…only unit of its kind in Canada.


NTV Communications Corp. Ltd. was formed to pursue a new national TV network to be fed by a domestic Canadian satellite. Al Bruner was president. The history went back to October of 1966 when Ken Soble, representing Niagara Television (CHCH), backed by Power Corp. of Canada Ltd. appeared before the BBG with a proposal for a Canadian synchronous satellite system to serve all of the country’s communications needs and a new private national television network broadcasting in English and French. NTV was incorporated in October of 1967, jointly and equally controlled by NTL (CHCH) and Quebec Telemedia (CHLT-AM-TV/CKTS-AM Sherbrooke). Quebec Telemedia was controlled by Power Corp. Executives: Mrs. K.D. Soble, president of CHCH; S.J. Bibby, vice president and general manager of CHCH; Philippe de Gaspe Beaubien, president of Quebec Telemedia; Jean-Louis gauthier, president and general manager of Radio-Television Sherbrooke; Lloyd Crittenden, vice president and member of the management committee of NTV.

Gary Zivot was director of research. Don Pilcher was promotion manager.

D.F. Martin was named assistant general manager. He had been production manager and would likely retain that position as well. D.C. Gale was appointed station manager. He had been program director and was to likely retain that title. Both had been with the station since 1954.

Don O’Hearn had been CHCH political commentator for the past ten years. 


On July 3, approval was granted for the transfer of 2,750 common shares of Niagara Telvision Ltd. from Wentworth Broadcasting Co. Ltd. to Phoenix Management Ltd. and the subsequent transfer of 2,234 common shares from Phoenix to Selkirk Holdings Ltd. and 1,516 common shares from Phoenix to Southam Press Ltd. 

Frank Hurley, former CHCH retail sales manager left for CHLO Radio in St. Thomas to become sales manager.


On June 15, the following share transfers of Niagara Television Ltd. were approved: 3,749 common shares from Frances Soble to the Canada Trust Co. (executors of the estate of K.D. Soble); 1 common from Frances Soble; 5,266 common from Southam Press Ltd. and 3,750 common from Theatre Properties (Hamilton) Ltd. to Selkirk Holdings Ltd. Frances Soble, Sidney James Bibby, David Goldberg, Frank Thomas, William Nash and John Stuart MacKay would each hold 1 common share (beneficially owned by Selkirk Holdings Ltd.) A further transfer of 200 class B shares (10% of Selkirk Holdings Ltd.) from Gerald Gaetz to Frances Soble and the Canada Trust Co. (executors of the Estate of Kenneth D. Soble) and Theatre Properties (Hamilton) Ltd. (100 Class B shares each). Before this decision, both Southam and Selkirk held shares separately in Niagara. Now, Selkirk became sole owner of Niagara. Southam’s position in Selkirk: South Press Ltd. received 421,280 Class A non-voting shares in Selkirk Holdings Ltd. for its 5,266 common shares in Niagara Television Ltd., which was an increase from approximately 30% to about 33%. The Class B voting shares held by Southam in Selkirk remained unchanged. Southam could still buy more Class A non-voting shares in Selkirk in the public market, without the approval of the CRTC.

Al Bruner left to follow Ken Soble’s dream of a Satellite Network. He eventually settled for an Ontario license for the Global Television Network (went on the air in 1974).

Gary Buss took over as Marketing Director of CHCH. 

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission gave CBS permission to continue delivering its radio and television programs to Canadian stations. Buffalo’s WBEN-TV opposed this on the grounds that some U.S. programs were being broadcast by Canadian stations and heard/viewed in the U.S. prior to their broadcast in that country. WBEN-TV referred to competition from CHCH, CBLT and CFTO but did not seek to bar the broadcast of CBS programs on Canadian stations, but sought prohibition of the pre-release practice so it could compete on an equal basis. The FCC said available data did not indicate that pre-release had any impact on WBEN-TV or any other American station. The FCC also said the CRTC’s new 60% prime time Canadian Content regulations would likely reduce the percentage of U.S. audiences watching Canadian stations. 


Jack Burghardt left for CFPL-TV in London. Dan McLean joined CHCH news.


Bill Lawrence left CHCH for CBLT in Toronto.

On  January 6th, the Global Network began operations, and with its extended Ontario coverage and later with the advent of other independent stations across the country who would take Global programs, it became yet another competitor for the top U.S. shows. This made it even harder for CHCH to retain the successful U.S. series it had been lucky enough to acquire, or to be competitive in the annual buying trips that Canadian broadcasters made to Los Angeles to buy the new American network series.


Connie Smith joined the CHCH news department from CKVR Barrie.


In renewing the CHCH-TV licence, the station was told by the CRTC that it has made a valuable contribution to Canadian programming since becoming an independent in 1961. This contribution was especially noted in the area of co-financing. The Commission further stated that Hamilton needed a local television service and CHCH must fill this need, particularly in the areas of news and public affairs.


In a review of television licences in the Toronto region, the CRTC found CHCH-TV was in a very strong financial position, but said it would need to provide resources, including studio improvements, if necessary, to develop high quality programs. The Commission also said that a $6 million investment in a Canadian feature film was not a substitute for quality TV production.


Dick Beddoes became channel 11’s full-time sports director. He also left his job at the Globe and Mail. Vic Cummings was at the station. John Best joined CHCH in September from CKPC Brantford.


Frank DeNardis
Frank DeNardis

Syd Bibby died. Doug Gale succeeded him as President with Frank DeNardis as Vice-President. Both Doug and Frank had been with the station since day one.

In renewing television licenses in the Toronto-Hamilton area, the CRTC again complained about the failure of the stations to develop quality Canadian programs, particularly drama, musicals and children’s shows. The CHCH-TV licence was renewed for two years and nine months. 

Matt Hayes joined CHCH at the end of the year from CHEX-TV in Peterborough. Jennifer Mossop also joined the staff. Other on-air names included Dick Beddoes, Dan McLean and Connie Smith.

John Best became news director in September.


CHCH-TV committed to a new integrated production facility to be built in downtown Hamilton.

CHCH gained national coverage via satellite.

Harold Graves, transmission engineer for CHCH-TV retired after more than 20 years with the station. Operations engineer Marcel Speakerman passed away in September. He had been with the company for more than 26 years.


Because of government concerns over media cross-ownership, Southam established a voting trust that gave Selkirk’s (CHCH’s owner) independent directors control of the company.

On July 21, approval was granted for the transfer of 200 Class B voting shares of Selkirk Communications Ltd. from Southam Inc. to John T. Ferguson, and subsequently, the transfer of these shares from Mr. Ferguson, together with 200 Class B shares from each of seven other individual shareholders, to the Canada Trust Co., pursuant to a voting trust agreement. Southam held 20% of the voting shares and approximately 28% of the non-voting shares of Selkirk Communications. Selkirk owned the following TV broadcast companies: Selkirk 
Broadcasting Ltd., Lethbridge Television Ltd., Calgary Television Ltd., and Niagara Television Ltd. 

CHCH-TV was operating out of seven separate buildings. Plans got underway a few years earlier for an expansion to be added to the existing main building, with an upgrading of all facilities. These changes would allow CHCH to have all operations under one roof. The addition featured 47,000 square feet of space on three stories, plus the basement. Channel 11 signed on from the new facility on September 12. It was completed on time, at a cost of seven million dollars. 


With the new addition complete, work continued through winter of 1983-84 on the restoration of the old Southam House. All work was completed and the official opening by Premier William Davis took place on June 7 – the station’s 30th anniversary!

Debbie Walker joined CHCH’s “Cherrington” team. She had been at CHAM Radio. Debbie was the daughter of Bill Walker, who had spent years hosting various programs on CHCH, and was now with CFRB Radio in Toronto.


Brian Wood joined in May. Ken Welch joined CHCH in October as a reporter. Other people on the air: Dick Beddoes (sports). Dan McLean, Connie Smith, Matt Hayes, Jennifer Mossop.


After five years as Niagara bureau chief Jennifer Mossop left for university.

Rose M. Stricker was director of publicity and information.

Don Cherry’s Grapevine entered its fifth season on CHCH. The show was taped before a live audience at Don’s restaurant in Hamilton.

On November 7, CHCH began broadcasting in stereo. Chief engineer Jim Mercer said a minimal amount of conversion was necessary in the studio and master control because the CHCH building was only three years old and planned with stereo in mind. About a dozen of the programs carried by the station were produced in true stereo, with the remainder being broadcast in synthesized stereo. 

CHCH’s Dan Rath was re-elected president of the Ontario Press Gallery.


CHCH launched a 5:30 p.m. newscast – Newsroom First Edition. The Six O’Clock Report, a 33-year tradition, would continue on, right after the new program. CHCH broke its 6 p.m. newscast into two distinctive programs – one at 5:30 and the second at 6:00 p.m.

John Best was news director.

Norm Marshall ended his news anchor duties at CHCH on June 7. He had been associated with the station since 1954. He would continue doing play-by-play of college football and other assignments for CHCH. He was replaced as weekend anchor by Jennifer Mossop. 

CHCH was now in its 22nd season of covering Ontario University Athletic Association football games. Paul Hendrick was host, Norm Marshall did play-by-play and Wes Hicks handled colour commentary.


Selkirk Communications moved Gary Buss from VP and director of sales and marketing for CHCH to VP and general manager of Niagara Ventures, a new division of Niagara Television. 

Mike Krizanc became news director at CHCH. Former news director John Best became vice president of news and public affairs.

After 15 years with the station, Vic Cummings resigned from CHCH-TV. 


Douglas Gale stepped down as President of CHCH. Reg McGuire was appointed vice-president and general manager of CHCH. A 27-year veteran of the station, he spent 13 years as technical director. McGuire also served as manager of operations and facilities and most recently was vice-president of production and operations. 7

Donna Soble Kaufman became the new chairman of the board of Selkirk Communications Ltd., succeeding John Fisher of Southam Inc. A communications lawyer in Montreal, she was the daughter of the late Ken Soble, founder of CHCH-TV. Her appointment followed that of George Meadows as president and CEO of Selkirk. 

Dick Beddoes (sports) left CHCH-TV. He would wind up at CFRB Radio in Toronto.

After 11 years, CHCH decided to drop the mid-week games of the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

CHCH became the Toronto area’s second television station to program 24 hours a day.
Keven Byles joined CHCH as vice president of programming. He had been with All-Canada Radio & Television. Byles replaced Larry Schnurr who was named vice president of production. 


Beverley Ostafichuck was appointed to the newly created post of closed-caption co-ordinator. Replacing her as program publicist was Kathy Rupcic.

On September 28, the CRTC approved the takeover of Selkirk Communications Ltd. (including CHCH) by Maclean-Hunter Limited. A related transaction to sell CHCH-TV to CFPL Broadcasting Limited of London was denied.

Maria Hayes joined CHCH-TV.

John Best was vice president of news and public affairs.


The Blackburn Group and Maclean Hunter were negotiating a partnership to run 
CHCH-TV, CFPL-TV (London) and CKNX-TV (Wingham). A bid last year by Blackburn to buy CHCH was turned down. CFPL and CHCH had worked together for years in areas such as program acquisition and news.

Former president Doug Gale returned to CHCH, assuming duties as vice president of programming.

On October 19, Kenwal Communications – a partnership of Maclean Hunter Ltd. (CHCH) and The Blackburn Group Inc. (CFPL) – had its bid to purchase CHCH-TV, CFPL-TV (London) and CKNX-TV (Wingham) turned down. Maclean Hunter would have held a 65% interest in the company with Blackburn holding 35%.

Maclean Hunter said CHCH was still for sale but it was prepared to keep the station if it didn’t receive adequate offers. Two previous offers by the Blackburn Group of London were turned down by the CRTC. The Commission gave MH until March to come up with another business plan for the station or a proposal for another buyer.

Adam Panchyshyn was named vice-president of sales and marketing.


Paul Osborn was appointed executive producer, national and international productions.

WIC Western International Communications became Canada’s 4th largest private TV operation in terms of viewing and revenue with the CRTC’s ok for the company to purchase Allarcom. The company was now awaiting approval to acquire the money-losing CHCH-TV from Maclean Hunter. The price of $46 million was considerably below that expected by industry analysts and MH president Ronald Osborne admitted he wasn’t happy about selling the station now because of low market values. CHCH was believed to have lost $23 million in the previous four years.
On October 18, the CRTC approved the sale of CHCH-TV by Maclean Hunter to Western International Communications – provided Westcom TV Group Ltd. (Western) sold either CHAN-TV (Vancouver) or CHEK-TV (Victoria) within two years.

Dick Beddoes died August 24. He joined CHCH in 1980 as sports director but was let go 8 years later because he was “too expensive for a station that was losing money”. He had been in the newspaper business before joining CHCH. In January, 1990, he began doing a talk show on CFRB Toronto, three times a week.

WIC wanted a new hearing to argue against a CRTC decision that it sell either CHEK or CHAN within two years if it wanted to buy CHCH. WIC’s board decided not to accept the CRTC’s conditions, calling them unacceptable in light of financial implications to the company and reduced service consequences to the viewing public.

WIC announced that it planned to file a new application with the CRTC for transfer of ownership of CHCH and ask for another hearing. WIC president Doug Holtby said the company would abandon the deal if the commission insisted on the sale of either of its B.C. stations. The CRTC decision said CHEK and CHAN served the same market and having two stations with the same ownership in one market was against commission rules. A CRTC spokesperson said the situation was one the regulator had wanted to rectify for some time.


WIC submitted a new application to the CRTC for permission to purchase CHCH – while retaining the two British Columbia television stations. The commission approved the purchase on December 23. WIC would spend some $9 million over the next five years in its benefits package attached to the purchase of CHCH. Included was $3.5 million to upgrade news facilities, acquire a new SNG vehicle, expand its bureau at Queen’s Park, and establish a bureau in Montreal.

Steve Ruddick joined CHCH.


Westcom TV Group (Western Broadcasting) took ownership of CHCH-TV on January 1. 

The Red Green Show and four other local productions were dropped by CHCH. Five full-time and 23 part-time employees were also laid off. Poor retail sales were blamed for the losses. 

CHCH moved “Canada Tonight” from the 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. time slot to the new time of 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. 

James B. MacDonald became president of CHCH-TV. He succeeded Steve Harris who resigned as of December 31.


Cheryle D. Heaney was promoted to the position of vice president of programming.


On January 23, the CRTC approved the application to amend the licence for CHCH-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 CHCH-TV’s licence until August 31, 2002. The Commission noted, that, in addition to local news, CHCH-TV provided for local reflection by broadcasting special events for the citizens of the area, such as parades, church services, summaries of regional events, and election coverage. CHCH-TV also produced two local programs, namely “Gardener’s Journal” and “University Game of the Week” and intended to undertake, over the new licence term, other initiatives that were distinctly local. The Commission expected the licensee to adhere to the commitment made in its renewal application to broadcast a minimum average of 17 hours per week of original local news during the new licence term, and to ensure that CHCH-TV’s primary focus continued to be the audience of Hamilton and the Niagara Peninsula.

Robert Dilworth became a vice president at CHCH-TV. He had been director of research services.

Thirteen Canadian TV stations aired “Canada’s 1995 Rock Awards” between April 29 and May 6. The 90 minute show was produced by CHCH-TV and Toronto’s Q107 radio in conjunction with Westcom’s Rock Radio Network, and taped during Canadian Music Week.

Bill Walker passed away on June 25. He had hosted the long running “Party Game” on CHCH-TV. At the time of his death, his daughter Debbie was working for the station. His son Scott was working for CBC Radio at this time. Bill Walker was 72.

Jane Hawtin Live! was launched on Westcom-owned TV stations in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario on August 28. CHCH president Jim MacDonald said the show was in the “Larry King” style with studio guests interacting with callers on an 800 phone line. Hawtin had been working for sister radio station AM640 in Toronto and the TV show was simulcast on that station.

CHCH-TV was now offering “The Evening News” on the internet, 30 minutes after air time. President Jim Macdonald said the station’s website would ultimately offer full motion video and synchronized audio.


CHCH laid off 20 full-time and 18 part-time employees – almost 20% of its workforce. General Manager Reg McGuire blamed weak advertising revenues during the fall and the absence of the usual Christmas upturn in sales.

On August 28, 1996, the CRTC approved the expansion of CHCH-TV across Ontario. Rebroadcast transmitters were approved for Ottawa (channel 11 – 25,000 watts of effective radiated power), London (channel 51 – ERP of 715,000 watts), Muskoka (channel 67 – ERP of 702,000 watts), Sudbury (channel 41 – ERP of 19,200 watts), Sault Ste. Marie (channel 38 – ERP of 5,000 watts), North Bay (channel 32 – ERP of 5,000 watts) and Timmins (channel 11 – ERP of 1,500 watts). Transmitters at Peterborough, Kingston and Thunder Bay were denied. President Jim Macdonald said the opportunity remained for CHCH to re-apply for these markets at a later date. He added that CHCH’s commitment to local news would not be affected by the expansion.

“Jane Hawtin Live! Moved from Westcom TV to the WTN channel as of September 9. The program would also be simulcast on some radio stations in eastern Canada.

CHCH-TV president Jim MacDonald was promoted to the post of president and CEO of Westcom TV (formerly WIC Television).

John Best left CHCH-TV (news director) to start a PR business.


At 6:00 p.m., February 17, CHCH-TV became known as “ON-TV”8, as its new Ottawa transmitter (located at Manotick) took to the air. These events were marked by live festivities from Ottawa, Toronto and at the CHCH Hamilton studios.

On April 23, the CRTC approved an increase in effective radiated power, from 702,000 to 757,000 watts for CHCH-TV-3 Muskoka (not yet on air). The transmitter site may also be changed from a tower that was to have been built in Severn Township, to an existing tower owned by Global Communications Ltd. near Bala.

The CHCH London (Alvinston) transmitter went on the air in May. CHCH-TV-3 Muskoka began broadcasting at 6:00 p.m. on August 11. To mark the event, The Evening News was broadcast from the Lake Joseph Club in Muskoka. A live broadcast from Sudbury’s Science North on August 13 marked the launch of the CHCH transmitter in that city. The Timmins transmitter went on the air August 15 with a live broadcast from the Hollinger Gold Mine. Service to the North Bay area began August 18 with a live broadcast from Lake Nipissing. On September 10, the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre hosted ONtv’s launch in Sault Ste. Marie. With the new rebroadcast transmitters on the air, ONtv now had 90% coverage of Ontario. As CHCH, the station had earlier developed its potential audience to 61% coverage through carriage on 307 Ontario cable systems and the CANCOM satellite service.

Westcom TV Group Ltd. became WIC Television Ltd.

Brian Ellis became executive Vice President and General Manager of CHCH as of April 28. He had held the same title at CHEX-TV in Peterborough and succeeded Reg McGuire, who was set to retire on September 1, after 37 years with CHCH. Ellis actually took up his new position on April 28. Dan Rath left ONtv on April 30 after only a few months as News Director. Cheryle Heaney was back at CHCH as Vice President of Programming and Promotions. Neil MacLean, Vice President of Finance, was promoted to VP of Finance / CFO at Connexus, formerly WIC’s Cellularvision. Gayle Hunt became Traffic / Accounting Manager. She added extra duties after the retirement of Leo Volpato, who had been Traffic Manager. Joe Zenobio was appointed VP of Finance for ONTV (and Toronto’s Talk 640/Q107 Radio) effective May 5.

Emily Griffiths, president of Western Broadcasting and controlling shareholder of WIC, retired on the third anniversary of her husband Frank’s death. She said she had always intended to leave at age 75. Mrs. Griffiths remained with the company as chairman emeritus. She was succeeded on the board of directors by Edmondo Giacomelli.


The Griffiths family holdings in WIC Western International Communications Ltd. were sold, subject to CRTC approval, to Shaw Communications Inc. and CanWest Global Communications Corp.


Following months of negotiation, agreements were filed with the CRTC on the split of WIC assets between CanWest Global, Corus Radio (formerly Shaw Radio), and Shaw Communications. 

After 10 years as promotion and public relations manager at CHCH, Rob Brignell left for CFOS Radio in Owen Sound.

ONtv launched its new supper newscast, billed as “the first live news program in Canada to be produced from a computer-generated virtual set.” The new 6:00-7:00 p.m. package, cautioned news director John McFadyen, was not meant to dazzle viewers with the latest gadgetry. That’s not what news is about, he said. Viewers, however, would “see” a richly colored, three-dimensional, two storey set, with sophisticated and expansive graphics. Unfortunately, because of related changes seven jobs would be lost. ONtv’s eight-month-old Toronto bureau would be closed in August. Both ONtv’s First Edition local news at 5:30 and the Canada Tonight national newscast at 6:30 p.m. would end their run May 14. Canada Tonight would continue to air in other markets. Over the past several weeks, WIC had cut nine jobs at CHEK-TV Victoria, 19 at CISA-TV Lethbridge, and 13 at RDTV Red Deer.


Following an April hearing in Vancouver, in July, the CRTC announced the approval of the purchase of WIC Television by CanWest Global, which included CHCH-TV. CanWest Global committed to operate CHCH-TV as a local independent station, not as part of the Global Television Network. 

Wendy Wolfe joined CHCH in May. Peter Emmerson joined. 

Patrick O’Hara became general manager of ONtv (CHCH-TV). He had been general sales manager at Global Quebec (CKMI-TV). Bryan Ellis, who had held the position moved to Corus Entertainment in August.


On February 12, CanWest Global took CHCH-TV back to its roots. The station was relaunched as “CH” TV. Programming would concentrate on the original coverage area of Hamilton-Wentworth, Halton and Niagara. 

On the air: News Anchors: Maria Hayes, Heather Hiscox, Nicola Jones, Dan McLean, Connie Smith, Jennifer Mossop. Sports: Steve Ruddick, Ken Welch. Weather: Peter Emmerson, Matt Hayes, Nicola Jones, Brian Wood. Local program hosts: Rob Cowan, Lori De Angelis, Bill Kelly, Catherine Wegner. Reporters: Jee-Yun Lee (Health), Lesley Stewart (Traffic), Dean Stolz, Wendy Wolfe (Entertainment). Notes: joining the staff in January: Hiscox, Jones, Cowan, De Angelis, and Stewart. Mossop left in January. 

Director of programming Lori Rosenberg left for Corus Entertainment to be vice president and general manager of its digital TV channels, “Scream” and “EdgeTV”.

One-time vice president of sales and marketing for CHCH, Gary Buss, passed away. He was the son of Bob Buss, well-known in Winnipeg for his years at CKRC Radio.

Jamie West, after 10 years as a reporter/anchor at CHCH, left for WDTV, an independent production company in Hamilton.

Mike Katrycz became News Director.


Former CHCH newsman Harvey Kirck passed away February 18, at the age of 73.

Former CHCH newsman Jack Burghardt died September 29. He was 73.


Former CHCH personality Daryl Wells (The Voice of Racing – aka Daryl Frederick Wille) died December 12. He was 81.


In June, CH celebrated its 50th anniversary with a television special. Current and former CHCH staffers went on-air to reminisce about the station’s history, and to recall some of the station’s achievements and personalities from the past half-century9, 10.


On April 21, CHCH was authorized to operate a transitional digital television transmitter, operating from the existing CHCH-TV tower on channel 18VU with an average effective radiated power of 30,000 watts (60,000 watts maximum). Antenna height would be 338.2 metres and the existing CHCH-TV tower would be used.


Frank DeNardis died in January at age 74. He started at CHCH when the station first went on the air. He started as a cameraman, and over the years, rose through the ranks, ending his career in 1987 as vice-president and station manager. He was part of the team, with former president Doug Gale, and movie buff Sam Hebscher, that brought first-run Hollywood movies to CHCH in the 70s and expanded and improved its nightly news show in the early 80s.

Approval was granted for the transfer of ownership of CanWest MediaWorks Inc. through the transfer of the beneficial ownership of CanWest Global Communications Corp., the parent corporation of CMI, from Mrs. Ruth Asper to David, Gail and Leonard Asper, holding together, through their personal holdings, 88.95% of the voting rights of CGCC.

 Following the conclusion of a content-sharing agreement with the U.S.-based E! Networks, on September 7th the CHTV brand was finally retired, with CanWest MediaWorks rebranding all its six local stations as E!,  for Entertainment, and with them all being identified as part of the Canadian E! Network.  However, the Hamilton station revived its original call letters to identify CHCH News as a key element in its local programming.


Canwest Media Inc. received approval to change the authorized contours of CHCH-DT. Average DTV power would decrease from 30,000 watts to 27,000 watts. Maximum DTV power would remain 60,000 watts. Antenna height would remain unchanged at 338.2 metres. 

CHCH-DT began operating on transitional digital channel 18 on April 18.

Former and long-time CHCH sportscaster Norm Marshall died on November 5. He was 89. Marshall had been associated with the station for over 30 years. He joined CHCH the year the station signed on and had been associated with CHML-AM over the years. Marshall had also done play-by-play for Tiger Cat games on both CHML and then CHCH. 

On November 28, after 32 years with the station, Connie Smith said good bye to the channel 11 audience. 

Long-time news anchor Dan McLean left CHCH on December 13, 2008 (officially Feb. 13, 2009). He had been with the station since 1971. 


The early months of the year saw CanWest needing to renegotiate many of its lending agreements in an effort to avoiding having to seek creditor protection, as the Canadian economy weakened, and economies had to be effected.. On February 5th, CanWest said it was exploring the possibility of selling off some its stations, including CHCH.

On April 27th the CRTC began hearings to consider CanWest’s applications for various OTA licence renewals, along with similar applications from several other major broadcasting entities.

On May 15th, the CRTC announced a one-year licence renewal, effective September 1st 2009, for all of CanWest’s Over-The-Air stations, including CHCH-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.” 

CHCH reporter Randy Steele died on May 22.

On June 30th, it was announced that Canwest Television Limited had entered into an agreement to sell CHCH-TV Hamilton and CJNT-TV Montreal to an affiliated company of television broadcaster Channel Zero, subject to CRTC approval and to the willingness of CH-TV’s employees collective bargaining unit to agree to provide a minimum of one year of labour stability for the new owners. This would involve discussions with the Communications, Energy & Paperworkers Union of Canada. The offer to purchase included commitments to maintain 13.5 hours of local ethnic programming per week in Montreal, and 36.5 hours per week of local programming at CHCH-TV Hamilton. The proposed price to be paid was $12, given that Canwest was finding it uneconomical to continue to operate the stations.

The applicant was 2190015 Ontario Inc., a corporation owned by 2185220 Ontario Limited (30% of the voting shares), by a corporation equally owned by Christopher J. Fuoco and Kimberly S. Train, and by three other shareholders, namely Christopher J. Fuoco, Romen Podzyhun and C.J. (Cal) Millar (respectively holding 23.4%, 23.3% and 23.3 % of the voting shares).

Channel Zero were the owners of the specialty channels Movieola and Silver Screen Classics.

On August 1st,  CEP local 1100 voted to support the proposed sale.

On August 28th the CRTC approved the acquisition of CHCH-TV, as well as CJNT-TV, by the Channel Zero group, through a numbered company, 2209005 Ontario Inc , and renewed the station’s licence through to August 31st 2016.  This renewal was “…conditional on the applicant presenting itself at a public hearing to be held in 2012 to discuss issues the Commission deems appropriate.” 

In announcing their approval, the Commission noted that the transaction was negative (because the agreed price for the two stations was only $12), and said that in the circumstances there would be no requirement for a tangible benefits package. Channel Zero Chief Executive Cal Millar was quoted as saying “We’re prepared to suffer some early going losses”.

 In view of the financial background to the transaction, CHCH-TV was relieved of some of its obligations regarding the provision of priority Canadian programming, but was expected to “make best efforts to broadcast priority programming whenever possible”.

In August 2010, when announcing their new fall schedule, CHCH also announced the reintroduction of their original iconic logo:

CHCH logo


Taz Boga, formerly of A Ottawa, joined the CHCH Hamilton “All-news, all-day” team to anchor weekday afternoons.

Rhonda Messieh was the new Marketing Manager at CHCH News. Prior to that she’d been Marketing Manager for Corus Entertainment’s CMT.

The late Norm Marshall received posthumous honours at the Sports Media Canada Achievement Awards in October. Marshall was the voice of the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats and also worked as a sports Anchor on CHML and CHCH-TV. Marshall and Larry O’Brien served as commentators on the first TV telecast of the Grey Cup in 1952 where the Toronto Argonauts defeated the Edmonton Eskimos 22-11 at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium. Marshall died in November of 2008 at the age of 89. 


Douglas Clinton Gale passed away on February 24. He had been with CHCH-TV for over 33 years, retiring after 11 years as President. Gale joined CHCH in 1955 as a commercial film splicer and retired in 1988. He returned in the 1990’s to program the station and retired for good in 1993.

On March 2, the CRTC approved the application by 2190015 Ontario Inc. to amend the licence for CHCH-TV Hamilton to add a post-transition digital transmitter to serve the population of London. The transmitter would operate on channel 51 with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 115,000 watts (maximum ERP of 190,000 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 296.5 metres).

The CRTC approved the amendment to the licence for CHCH-TV Hamilton, to add a post-transition digital television broadcasting transmitter at Muskoka, on channel 23 with a maximum effective radiated power of 63,000 watts (21,700 watts average). A directional antenna would be used at the existing site with effective height of 300 metres. Programming would be received by satellite feed.

The deadline for conversion from analog to digital in mandatory markets was August 31. CHCH-TV Hamilton made the switch to digital on August 15. Analog channel 11 was shut down in mid-morning and CHCH-DT moved from transitional channel 18 to post-transitional channel 11 (the old analog dial position). The virtual channel was 11.1. CHCH-TV-2 London (Alvinston) turned off analog channel 51 on August 24 and it was replaced by digital channel 51 (virtual 51.1). CHCH-TV-3 Ottawa moved from analog channel 67 to digital channel 23 (virtual channel 67.1) on August 26. CHCH-TV-1 Ottawa moved from analog channel 11 to digital channel 22 (virtual 11.1) on September 1. 

Mike Katrycz became Vice President of News. He had been News Director.


On March 9, the CRTC approved the application by 2190015 Ontario Inc. to change the technical parameters of CHCH-DT Hamilton by changing the channel from 11 to 15 and increasing the average effective radiated power from 4,500 to 59,000 watts (maximum ERP from 6,000 to 132,000 watts with the average effective height of antenna above average terrain from 361 to 355 metres).

All other technical parameters would remain unchanged. The applicant noted that channel 15 was recently vacated by CKXT-DT-1 Hamilton when the Sun TV station ceased operations and stated that the proposed change was necessary for the following reasons: the station’s DTV coverage on channel 11 proved to be significantly less than when the station broadcast in analog; the station lost many viewers who previously tuned to the channel 18 transitional DTV channel, which was shut down at the end of the DTV transition; and mobile DTV operated better on UHF channels (channel 14-51) than on VHF channels (channels 2-13). The Commission received interventions in support of this application, which argued that the technical change would improve reception of CHCH-DT. The Commission also received interventions that commented on or opposed the application. The concerns of those interveners generally related to potential interference resulting from CHCH-DT’s proposed use of channel 15 with U.S. stations and an unlicensed station operating in the Toronto area. The Commission noted that the resolution of interference was the responsibility of the Department of Industry and that the Department had deemed the proposal to be technically acceptable. The Commission further noted that the Department’s rules did not afford protection to U.S. television services received in Canada.


John McFadyen died at age 73. His early days in broadcast news included CKPC Brantford before he moved to CKFM Toronto where he served as News Director from the mid 1970s through the early ‘80s. He also became ND at sister station CFRB. Later, he was in news management at the CKO news network, CKWS-TV Kingston and CHCH-TV Hamilton. 

Lawrence Diskin retired from CHCH-TV after 33 years. He began as producer of the Cherrington Show and wrapped up the last 20 years as producer and sometimes co-host of Square Off.

By this time, Mike Katrycz was overseeing more than 80 hours a week of news programming – more than any other conventional station in Canada.

In November, CHCH-DT began testing its channel 15 Hamilton signal.

On December 2 at 1:00 p.m., CHCH switched to higher power UHF channel 15. 

Bill Elliott died in December. The former VP production at BCTV in Vancouver helped to sign on CHCH-TV Hamilton in 1954. In 1960 he made the move west to BCTV. 


Jim Cooney died at age 66 in February. He had been a producer and floor manager at CHCH-TV for 32 years before retiring in 2002. 

On Friday June 6th, CHCH-TV marked its 60th anniversary on the air.


In December, 129 full-time and 38 part-time employees at CHCH-TV saw their jobs eliminated. Channel 11 L.P., the entity that had created local news for the station since 2009 and which did the dismissals, filed for bankruptcy. Right after the terminations, 58 of the full-time and 23 part-timers were given offers of employment for comparable positions and wages. It was hoped these moves would allow CHCH to remain on-air and to deliver local news.


Channel Zero sold the historic CHCH-TV building, where the station had been located since it went on the air in 1954. The deal on the designated historic home (built in 1850) was to close on November 15.


In February, Mike Samples announced he would be retiring from CHCH. He joined the station in 1988 after working at CKCK-TV Regina and an 11 year career with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Saskatchewan Roughriders.

On March 22, CHCH premiered the new weekly half hour program “andPOP”. The show covered the latest media and pop culture trends.

Bryan Ellis died August 7. He was general manager at both CHEX-TV Peterborough and CHCH-TV before spending 13 years with Corus Entertainment.

In the fall, Channel Zero announced it had purchased a new home for CHCH-TV, located at 4 Innovation Drive in Flamborough. Design and construction of the building would get underway in 2019, with opening set for the Spring of 2021. The development plan also included the creation of a local news bureau n the heart of downtown Hamilton.

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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