CITS-TV, Yes, Burlington

Crossroads Television System

StationYearChannelNetwork AffiliateOwner/Info
CITS-TV201436.1YES TVCrossroads Television System
CITS-DT201136.1 (36)CTSCrossroads Television System
CITS-TV199836Religious/HumanitarianCrossroads Television System


Crossroads Christian Communications Inc. began construction of a new facility near the QEW/403 highway intersection in Burlington. Crossroads was able to pay the $800,000 cost of the site in full, thanks to donations from contributors. The religious broadcaster had to move from 100 Huntley Street in downtown Toronto because the lease was expiring in 1992. The new facility would have three studios. Studio A would house the program 100 Huntley Street, Kingdom Avenue would be produced in Studio B, and Studio C would be used for foreign language programs.


Crossroads applied for a licence to operate a television station to serve the population of 5.6 million in the Toronto/Hamilton area. The application was made through subsidiary, Crossroads Television System (CTS). David Mainse was chairman of the board of CTS and host of the company’s long-running “100 Huntley Street” program. Studios and offices would be at the existing Crossroads Centre in Burlington. 

On December 4, the CRTC denied the application by Crossroads Television Network for a new television station at Burlington, operating on channel 36 with an effective radiated power of 486,000 watts. Crossroads had proposed to broadcast religious programming from local studios and other Canadian sources as well as programming originating from foreign sources


After failing to obtain a licence in 1996, Crossroads Television System was succesful in obtaining a licence for a new TV station on April 9. A competing application by Trintiy Television Inc. was denied. The new Crossroads station would serve the Hamilton, Burlington, St. Catharines and Toronto area on channel 36 with effective radiated power of 473,000 watts.

Crossroads Television System launched CITS-TV on the evening of September 30 with a live, gala broadcast from Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall. Linden Soles (CNN news anchor and native of Manitoba) was the MC. Guests for the variety special included singers Susan Aglukark, Debby Boone and Tom Jackson. Glen Campbell was scheduled to appear but was unable to make the event. CITS-TV (also known as CTS) was to sign-on September 14, but that was pushed back to allow area cable companies to make changes to some of their channel designations.

Studios and offices were at the Crossroads Christian Communications centre at 1295 North Service Rd. (at the QEW/403 interchange) in Burlington. The facility housed three main studios, a new virtual reality studio; and state of the art sound, recording and editing equipment, as well as satellite links. The transmitter and antenna were located at the CHCH channel 11 tower site at Stoney Creek. CITS operated independently from Crossroads Communications but rented space and equipment from it. Crossroads on the other hand, bought airtime for 100 Huntley Street (which continued to air on Global and Vision).

David Mainse, known for his long-running TV show, “100 Huntley Street,” was the founder and chairman of the board of directors of Crossroads Christian Communications. The president of CTS was Dick Gray, a former CHCH-TV news director. CTS began operations with 47 full-time employees. The station had a small sales staff and had contracts with Global Television and Rogers Cable to assist in the search for national and local sponsors.

As for programming…it was not all-Christian, all the time as some might have feared. At least twenty hours a week had to be devoted to non-Christian programming. The station’s program promise was for “all-solid, all-moral, all-family-value-oriented entertainment all the time.” Re-runs of old American shows included Highway To Heaven, The Andy Griffith Show, My Three Sons, Happy Days, Little House On The Prairie, The Waltons, and Dr. Quinn Medicine 
Woman. Controversial syndicated columnist and radio talk-show host Michael Coren hosted a weeknight program.


On January 25, CITS-TV was granted an increase in effective radiated power, from 473,000 to 514,000 watts. The increase was necessary due to the installation of a new type of transmitting antenna.


An application by CITS-TV to add rebroadcasting transmitters at London and Ottawa was denied by the CRTC on November 16.


On December 17, CTS was given approval to operate rebroadcast transmitters at Ottawa (channel 32B with ERP of 54,000 watts) and London (channel 14B with ERP of 7,700 watts). CTS had originally proposed to operate the Ottawa transmitter  on channel 14C with an effective radiated power of 109,000.


On January 30, CITS was given permission to operate a transitional digital television station at Hamilton. The station had proposed the use of channel 21VU with average effective radiated power of 5,000 watts. The CRTC directed CITS to submit an application for the use of channel 35VU instead.

The CITS channel 14 London transmitter signed on the air at 8:00 p.m., April 6.

May 4 was the launch date for the channel 32 transmitter in Ottawa.

Crossroads was given approval on October 29 to decrease ERP from 7,700 to 2,600 watts for CITS-TV-2 London.


On January 12, the CRTC approved the application by Crossroads Television System to change the authorized contours of CITS-TV-1 Ottawa, by decreasing the average effective radiated power from 54,000 watts to 26,000 watts and by increasing the antenna height from 150 metres to 202.3 metres. The licensee advised that there would be a slight reduction in the service contours and that the technical changes were the result of a change to the antenna system.

On February 2, the CRTC approved the application by Crossroads to operate its transitional digital television programming undertaking CITS-DT Hamilton at channel 35VU with an average effective radiated power of 5,000 watts. The applicant had originally proposed to operate the digital undertaking at channel 21VU with an average ERP of 5,000 watts. However, the CBC filed an intervention opposing Crossroad’s proposal because its use of channel 21VU in Hamilton would be technically mutually exclusive with channel 20VL in Toronto, for which the CBC had applied. Crossroads agreed to change the channel and to use channel 35 instead. Accordingly, the Commission directed Crossroads to file an application proposing the use of channel 35 and specifying the power to be used by the digital undertaking in Hamilton.


CITS-TV and CITS-DT received approval to make minor technical changes so that the digital services of both CITS and CHCH could share a common antenna (on the CHCH tower at Stoney Creek). In order to facilitate the DTV operations, the existing CITS-TV pylon antenna would be replaced with a broadband panel antenna. 


Layoffs in April at CTS involved 10 people in support positions, mostly on the ministry side.

CTS Burlington had, concluded the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, violated provisions of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code. The CBSC received complaints about Word TV and its treatment of different issues such as homosexuality, Islam, Haiti and euthanasia. A complainant said the program included discriminatory comments. 

On December 8, the CRTC approved the application by Crossroads Television System to amend the licence for CITS-TV Hamilton to add post-transition digital transmitters to serve Hamilton, Ottawa and London.

The transitional digital transmitter CITS-DT Hamilton would continue to operate under the same technical parameters as the previously licensed transitional DTV undertaking – channel 35 with an average effective radiated power of 4,700 watts (maximum ERP of 10,000 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 338.2 metres). The Hamilton post-transition digital transmitter would operate on channel 36 with an average ERP of 9,500 watts (maximum ERP of 20,000 watts with an EHAAT of 335 metres). The Ottawa transmitter would operate on channel 42 with an ERP of 18,500 watts (maximum ERP of 37,000 watts with an EHAAT of 203 metres). The London transmitter would operate on channel 14 with an ERP of 2,300 watts (maximum ERP of 4,000 watts with an EHAAT of 266 metres).

Derek Cross joined CTS Burlington in Sponsorship & New Media Sales. His previous broadcast background included CHUM Television in Toronto and iCraveTV.


The deadline for the conversion of analog television to digital in mandatory markets was August 31. On that date, CITS-TV Hamilton-Burlington moved from transitional digital channel 35 to the post-transition channel 36 (virtual 36.1) once analog channel 36 was shut down. CITS-TV-2 London shut down analog channel 14 and started up digital channel 14 (14.1) on August 31. CITS-TV-1 Ottawa made its change to digital on August 30 – shutting down analog channel 32 and continuing operations on digital channel 42 (virtual channel 32.1). 

CTS partnered with ComStar Media of the U.S., which included an investment in ComStar’s broadcasting arm, ComStar Networks. The deal provided CTS with Canadian rights to the media libraries of U.S. cable channels Family Net and American Life.


On January 31, the CRTC approved the application by Crossroads Television System to change the authorized contours of CITS-DT by increasing the average effective radiated power from 9,500 to 221,000 watts (maximum ERP from 20,000 to 473,000 watts). Crossroads indicated that it requested this power increase in order to fully restore coverage to its licensed regional market. The licensee argued that coverage in that area had been insufficient since the digital transition occurred.


In the fall, CITS rebranded from CTS to YES TV and began offering a dramatically different programming line-up with such shows as American Idol, X Factor UK, Biggest Loser, America’s Funniest Home Videos, Wheel of Fortune, JEOPARDY!, Judge Judy, and Hot Bench. 


Rev. David Mainse passed away at age 81, on September 25. He was the founder of Crossroads Christian Communications Inc., which started in 1962 as a weekly 15 minute broadcast that aired after the nightly news on CHOV-TV Pembroke. Many years later, Mainse founded CTS (now YES TV), with TV stations in Burlington, Calgary and Edmonton. Mainse stepped down as CEO of Crossroads and host of 100 Huntley Street in the summer of 2003.

The story continues elsewhere…
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