CBMT-DT, CBC-TV, Montréal

Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

StationYearChannelNetwork AffiliateOwner/Info
CBMT-DT20116.1 (21)CBCCanadian Broadcasting Corp.
CBMT-TV19546CBCCanadian Broadcasting Corp.


By the end of the year the CBC had chosen five sites for television stations and the CNR and CPR were working on a microwave relay system. The corporation had proposed two stations for Montreal and one each for Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton. TV programs from the U.S. would be piped into Canada via the Hamilton station. The first station would likely be in Montreal and there would be two outlets in that city because of the two distinct languages – English and French. One difficulty for the establishment of a Toronto outlet would be the use of 25 cycle power service which presented several technical issues. Ontario Hydro had plans for conversion to 60 cycles current to be implemented within a “few years”.


The CBC announced television production centres would be established in Montreal and Toronto, and if possible, would be designed for progressive expansion if and when required. Each of the stations would be equipped with 5,000 watt transmitters with provision for a second one in Montreal to provide French language service. The CBC’s plans for a television network would go ahead as soon as communications companies established links between different centres. The first link would likely be between Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, through either coaxial cables or short wave.

The transmission and development department of the CBC’s engineering division announced the findings of its study on possible television transmitter sites for Montreal. The nine month survey established Mount Royal as the most practical point from which to beam TV signals to local and outlying districts.

Fergus Mutrie and Aurele Seguin, two experienced CBC executives, were appointed directors fo the corporation’s television activities in Toronto and Montreal respectively.


Montreal’s Radio-Canada Building opened May 18. Dr. J.J. McCann cut the ribbon that officially opened the building, before more than a thousand guests. Speeches by Dr. McCann, CBC general manager Dr. Augustin Frigon and CBC Chairman Davidson Dunton were delivered during a 15 minute coast to coast broadcast. The building was the former Ford Hotel, purchased by the CBC in September of 1948. It took over two years to modernize and adopt the building to the demands of radio and television. The 12 storey building would be home to the French network, International Service, CBC Montgreal television, and the national offices of the personnel and administration division, the engineering division and the executive. Over 600 CBC employees and another 600 radio artists were required to produce the 18 hours of programming that would leave the building each day. The programs were in two languages for home listening, and 14 languages for the international service. When finished, the building would have 26 modern radio studios and three for television. Four 50,000 watt transmitters had already been installed – two FM and two for shortwave. The news rooms, recording rooms and large master control were already in place. The control room could handle five transmitters, eight outgoing and seven incoming networks and the 26 studios. It was an automatic operation to a great extent.

The CBC announced that television in Canada would be started sometime in January of 1952 in Toronto. It had earlier been hoped that September would see the first TV transmissions in Toronto. In Montreal, final confirmation of the use of the Mount Royal antenna site came in May. The Montreal station would likely be on the air next spring, but would be subject to change due to building shortages, particularly in steel. Toronto would have two studios – one with 5,000 square feet and one with 2,000 square feet – plus a film library and transmission rooms. The estimated cost was $2,000,000 for studios and equipment in Toronto. Toronto would be the main production centre in English at the outset, producing some three hours of programming per day, of which about two hours would have to be supplied to Montreal. The Montreal station would be bilingual, but most of its originations would be French. In the future, it was hoped that some English productions would be made in Montreal.

The CBC confirmed that it would use Mount Royal for a transmitter site and was submitting its plan to municipal officials. The transmitter building would have a basement and one story and would house the TV transmitter and two FM transmitters. The tower, less than 300 feet high, would have the antenna of the city’s first TV station at the very top. The two FM antennae would be underneath and there would be room for TV expansion. Engineers felt Mount Royal was the only suitable location for TV transmission following almost a year of study of all possible sites. They said the mountain was the only location to guaranty complete coverage of the metropolitan area. Tower height would be limited by civil aviation authorities in order to avoid interference with air traffic.

The CBC and Bell Telephone Co. signed a five year contract for the establishment of a TV network service. The plan called for the extension of the existing co-axial cable in Buffalo to Montreal and Toronto. The project was announced jointly by the New York and Canadian Bell companies. The Canadian phone company would undertake to lay cable between the two cities and a border point, where it would be connected to the Buffalo cable.


The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation announced it would open a second television station in Montreal. CBFT went on the air in 1952 and had been airing programs in English and French. With the launch of the second station (CBMT), CBFT would switch to full-time French language programming. The new station would air English-language programs. A new transmitter had been ordered and would be installed along with the CBFT transmitter in the CBC transmitter house on top of Mount Royal. CBMT would use the same tower and studio facilities as CBFT.

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.


After several delays, the second station for Montreal – CBMT – officially went on the air on January 10. The English-language station broadcast on channel 6. It became Montreal’s first all English-language TV station, taking part of the programming load from CBFT which had been bilingual for the past sixteen months. CBMT was the country’s seventh television station and the CBC’s fifth. Studios and offices were in the Radio-Canada building along with the CBC’s other stations. The transmitter was on the same Mount Royal tower as CBFT’s. CBMT’s programming would be filled largely with U.S. productions, supplied on film or over the microwave relay system from Buffalo through Toronto, and some CBC produced shows from Toronto. A few regular shows would originate in Montreal and be fed to the Ottawa-Toronto network, mainly children’s programs, personality shows and a variety revue.


Gerard Lamarche was appointed CBC director for the province of Quebec. He had been with the CBC since 1942. In 1952, he was named program director of CBF and became provincial program director last year.

Walter J. Blackburn (CFPL-TV) announced the formation of a co-operative organized to exchange TV news film among CBC and private stations. Founding members of the Canadian Television News Film Co-operative were CFPL-TV, CFQC-TV, CKCW-TV and the CBC. Membership was open to all stations.

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


CBMT channel 6 was operating with an effective radiated power of 43,800 watts video and 26,200 watts audio. The transmitter was on Mount Royal.


For the first time, a nation wide audience would be able to watch the CBC’s federal election coverage. CBC-TV was now connected to Calgary and Edmonton in the west and the four Maritime Provinces in the east. U.S. facilities would complete extension to British Columbia.


As of July 26, CBC Montreal had a total of 2,374 employees. TV producers numbered 94, radio, 40. CBC Montreal made use of eight TV studios, including studio 42, one of the largest in the world. There were 21 radio studios.


CBMT’s effective radiated power was now 100,000 watts video and 60,000 watts audio.


CBC Montreal was producing 50 hours of live programming a week for the English and French networks. 

Montreal was said to be the largest television production centre in the world.

The CBC had 22 different owned and rented buildings throughout the city of Montreal. All of these facilities would come under one roof when Place de Radio-Canada was completed and in use by 1972. The building would be a 23 floor office tower, covering an area of 900 by 510 feet on a 25 acre plot of land in east-central downtown. Television facilities would include: six 3-camera production studios, one 4-camera colour production studio with audience capacity of 670, four presentation studios, one film studio, two sound dubbing studios, 15 rehearsal halls, telecine room, VTR room and other operations.


Leo Rampen, who created the CBC-TV network programs “Take 30” and “Man Alive” became director of CBC Television for Quebec.


On March 5, CBMT-4 Thetford Mines was authorized to decrease effective radiated power from 1,300 watts to 1,140 watts.

On March 16, CBMRT Fermont was given an extension of the interim authority to broadcast programs originating from CBNLT Labrador City instead of from CBMT Montreal.

On December 3, CBMT was authorized to add a transmitter at Rouyn-Noranda, on channel 38 with an effective radiated power of 1,100 watts, received via satellite.


On April 29, CBMCT Chibougamau and CBMYT Iles-de-la-Madeleine were authorized to change program source from the CBC Northern Television Service to CBMT, received via satellite.

On May 3, CBMT received permission to operate a transitter at Wakeham, on channel 24 with a transmitter power of 100 watts.


On February 10, CBMGT Fort George, CBMHT Fort Rupert, CBMDT Mistassini Post, CBMNT Nouveau-Comptoir (Wemindji) and CBVW-TV Waswanipi were authorized to change program source from the CBC Northern Television Service to CBMT Montreal, received via satellite. The CBC proposed the change in response to a request for more suitable programming by the Cree residents of these areas.


Denis Trudeau became CBMT’s early evening news anchor after being co-host of CBC Radio’s “As It Happens”.


On April 21, CBVU-TV Maniwaki was given approval to change program source from the CBC Northern Television Service, received via satellite, to that of CBMT Montreal, received via satellite.

On September 13, CBMRT Fermont was authorized to change its program source from CBMT Montreal to CBNLT Labrador City, Newfoundland.


Roch Magnan was appointed senior producer of the evening newscast Newswatch.


Rene Bertrand was named sales manager at CBMT.


On October 7, the CBC received approval to amend the radiocommunication distribution undertaking licence for CBLIT Armstrong (ON), by changing the program source from the CBC Northern Television Service to CBMT Montréal. CBC North operated in the Atlantic time zone, whereas CBMT operated in the Eastern time zone. This proposal would enable viewers at Armstrong to receive the CBC’s network programming in the Eastern time zone, which encompasses that community.


Lynn Desjardins became anchor of “Late Newswatch” on CBMT.

On November 23, CBMT received approval to delete transmitters CBMT-5 Sainte-Adèle, CBMT-6 Bolton-Est, CBMT-7 Ayer’s Cliff and CBMA-TV Rouyn-Noranda.


On November 6, CBMYT Îles-de-la-Madeleine received permission to increase effective radiated power from 2,900 watts to 3,200 watts.


On September 5, CBMT was authorized to add a transmitter at Québec, operating on channel 5 with an effective radiated power of 13,850 watts. The new station was required because of the approved disaffiliation of CKMI-TV.


On May 1, approval was given for the relocation of the transmitter of CBMCT Chibougamau to the existing transmitter site of CBFAT Chibougamau and to decrease effective radiated power from 276 watts to 238 watts. The CBC would replace the existing antennas of CBFAT and CBMCT by a single omnidirectional antenna for both television services. The new antenna would be built on the site of CBFAT’s antenna and use the same channels.


As of 2000, CBMT operated the following transmitters in Quebec: CBJET-1 Alma, CBMIT Baie Comeau, CBMST Blanc Sablon, CBVB-TV Chandler, CBMCT Chibougamau, CBJET Chicoutimi, CBMGT Chisasibi (Fort George), CBVA-TV Escuminac, CBVG-TV Gaspé, CBMUT Harrington Harbour, CBMYT Iles-de-la-Madeleine, CBMLT La Tabatière, CBMET La Tuque, CBVD-TV Malartic, CBVU-TV Maniwaki, CBMDT Mistassini, CBMMT Murdochville, CBVN-TV New Carlisle, CBVR-TV New Richmond, CBMVT Old Fort Bay, CBVP-TV Percé, CBVF-TV Port Daniel, CBVE-TV Québec, CBMPT Rivière-Saint-Paul, CBMXT Saint-Augustin-Saguenay, CBSET-1 Schefferville, CBSET Sept-Iles, CBMT-3 Sherbrooke, CBMT-4 Thetford Mines, CBMT-1 Trois-Rivières, CBVH-TV Wakeham, CBMHT Waskaganish, CBVW-TV Waswanipi, CBMNT Wemindji; Ontario: CBLIT Armstrong; Manitoba: CBDE-TV Brochet, CBDI-TV Poplar River and CBDG-TV Shamattawa.


On February 12, CBMT-1 Trois Rivières was given approval to move its antenna to a site 1.9 km northeast of the authorized site and to increase effective radiated power from 13,000 watts to 14,000 watts.


On October 19, CBMT-1 Trois-Rivières was authorized to increase average effective radiated power from 14,000 watts to 15,200 watts. The change would reflect the actual technical parameters following construction of the transmission facilities.

On November 12, CBMT received a transitional digital television licence for operation from Mont-Royal on channel 20VU with an effective radiated power of 107,000 watts.


CBMT began digital operations on February 21. The inaugural weekend schedule on March 5 and 6 included a premiere of the Nature of Things: Nature Bites Back – The Case of the Sea Otter. CBC HD then broadcast highlights from past and upcoming HD projects, including Hockey: A People’s History (still in production). HD programming is based on the regular network schedule, with HD and wide-screen programming simulcast when available.


On May 12 the CRTC renewed CBMT’s licence, including the following rebroadcast transmitters: CBMT-DT Montreal, CBJET Chicoutimi, CBJET-1 Alma, CBMCT Chibougamau, CBMDT Poste-de-Mistassini, CBMET La Tuque, CBMGT Chisasibi (Fort-George), CBMHT Waskaganish, CBMIT Baie-Comeau, CBMLT La Tabatiere, CBMMT Murdochville, CBMNT Wemindji, CBMPT Riviere-Saint-Paul, CBMST Blanc Sablon, CBMT-1 Trois-Rivieres, CBMT-3 Sherbrooke, CBMT-4 Thetford Mines, CBMUT Harrington Harbour, CBMVT Old Fort Bay, CBMXT Saint-Augustin (Saguenay), CBMYT Iles-de-la-Madeleine, CBSET Sept-Iles, CBSET-1 Schefferville, CBVA-TV Escuminac, CBVB-TV Chandler, CBVD-TV Malartic, CBVE-TV Quebec, CBVF-TV Port-Daniel (Eastern part), CBVG-TV Gaspe, CBVH-TV Wakeham, CBVN-TV New Carlisle, CBVP-TV Perce, CBVR-TV New Richmond and CBVV-TV Maniwaki and CBVW-TV Waswanipi…Manitoba: CBDE-TV Brochet, CBDG-TV Shamattawa and CBDI-TV Poplar River…Ontario: CBLIT Armstrong.


On July 28, the CRTC approved the applications by the CBC to amend the licenses for CBLT Toronto by adding the transmitter CBLIT Armstrong and for CBMT Montréal by removing the transmitter CBLIT. CBLIT will rebroadcast the programming of CBLT instead of that of CBMT in order to adequately serve the population of Armstrong.

On July 30, the CRTC approved the applications by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to amend the broadcasting licences for CBWT Winnipeg and CBMT Montréal in order for CBWT to replace CBMT as the source of programming broadcast by the rebroadcasting transmitters CBDE-TV Brochet, CBDI-TV Poplar River and CBDG-TV Shamattawa. The licensee stated that the proposed licence amendments would allow it to better serve the populations of Brochet, Poplar River and Shamattawa. As a result of the approval granted in this decision, the Commission revoked the authority granted to CBMT to broadcast programming on the rebroadcasting transmitters CBDE-TV, CBDI-TV and CBDG-TV.

On August 9, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence of CBMT-DT and CBMT (and its transmitters) to March 31, 2011.


On March 29, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CBMT-TV until August 31, 2012. The Commission 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. In addition, the Commission imposed the following condition of licence on stations that operated in mandatory markets or on channels 52 to 69 outside the mandatory markets: Unless otherwise authorized by the Commission, the licensee shall not transmit analog television signals after 31 August 2011 in mandatory markets designated as such by the Commission in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2011-184 or transmit television signals on channels 52 to 69. The CRTC also noted that pursuant to Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-69, it did not intend to renew authorizations to operate transitional digital transmitters included in these licences, beyond August 31, 2011.

The CRTC approved the amendment to the licence of CBMT-TV to add a post-transition digital television transmitter, operating on channel 21 with an effective radiated power of 436,340 watts (non-directional). Effective antenna height from Mount Royal would be 297.8 metres. Programming would be received by STL microwave.

On August 16, the CRTC approved applications by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to continue to operate 22 analog television rebroadcasting transmitters until August 31, 2012 in markets that the Commission identified as mandatory for conversion to digital transmission, and to make associated technical changes. With respect to CBMT, this approval included CBMT-1 Trois-Rivieres, CBMT-3 Sherbrooke, CBVE Quebec City and CBJET Chicoutimi. In addition, to maximize coverage while avoiding interference to protected services, the CBC also applied to change the channel and make associated technical changes to CBMT-1 Trois-Rivières. It would operate on channel 13 with an average effective radiated power of 47,000 watts (maximum of 90,000 watts). A directional antenna would be used with effective height above average terrain (EHAAT) of 377.8 metres. CBVE-TV Québec would operate on channel with an average ERP of 33,000 watts
(maximum of 84,000 watts). A directional antenna would be used with EHAAT of 500.1 metres. The CBC further applied to reduce the power of CBJET Chicoutimi so that it would change in status from protected to low-power unprotected while continuing to operate on the same channel: channel 58 with average ERP of 496 watts (maximum of 595 watts). A directional antenna would be used with EHAAT of 183.7 metres. Approval of the CBC’s proposal, and related technical amendments, would provide additional time for affected households that rely on over-the-air service in mandatory markets to find other means to access the CBC’s television services. Approval of the proposal would also provide an opportunity for the Commission to discuss the CBC’s plans for its over-the-air transmitter system at the time of the CBC’s licence renewal hearing, now scheduled for June 2012.

The deadline for the conversion of analog television to digital in mandatory markets was August 31. At 12:01 a.m. on September 1, CBMT-TV channel 6 left the air. It was replaced by the already operational CBMT-DT which was expected to operate at reduced power until December 31. CBMT-DT moved from transitional channel 20 to post-transitional channel 21. The virtual channel was 6.1. CBMT transmitters CBVE-TV Quebec City, CBJET Saguenay, CBMT-1 Trois-Rivieres and CBMT-3 Sherbrooke had authority to continue broadcasting in analog until August 31, 2012.

After 13 years with CTV Montreal, Debra Arbec moved to CBC Montreal to co-anchor CBC News 5, 5:30 and 6 with Andrew Chang. She was expected to debut at CBC in July. Arbec succeeded Jennifer Hall who left the CBC.


On July 17, the CRTC announced that effective 1 August 2012, it would revoke the broadcasting licences for CBIT Sydney and CBKST Saskatoon and their transmitters. The Commission also approved the request to amend the licences for 23 English- and French-language television stations operated by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in order that reference to all analog transmitters be deleted. The CBC planned to cease operation of all these transmitters on 31 July 2012. The licences for the following transmitters were removed from the CBMT-DT licence: CBJET-1 Alma, CBMIT Baie-Comeau, CBMST Blanc Sablon, CBVB-TV Chandler, CBMCT Chibougamau, CBJET Chicoutimi, CBMGT Chisasibi (Fort-George), CBVA-TV Escuminac, CBVG-TV Gaspé, CBMUT Harrington Harbour, CBMYT Iles-de-la-Madeleine, CBMLT La Tabatière, CBMET La Tuque, CBVD-TV Malartic, CBVU-TV Maniwaki, CBMMT Murdochville, CBVN-TV New Carlisle, CBVR-TV New Richmond, CBMVT Old Fort Bay, CBVP-TV Percé, CBVF-TV Port-Daniel (partie est), CBMDT Poste-de-Mistassini, CBVE-TV Québec, CBMPT Rivière-Saint-Paul, CBMXT Saint-Augustin (Saguenay), CBSET-1 Schefferville, CBSET Sept-Îles, CBMT-3 Sherbrooke, CBMT-4 Thetford Mines, CBMT-1 Trois-Rivières, CBVH-TV Wakeham, CBMHT Waskaganish, CBVW-TV Waswanipi, and CBMNT Wemindji.

On August 9, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence of CBMT-DT until August 31, 2013.

CBC News Montreal’s Late Night expanded to 30 minutes from 10 minutes. The 11:00 p.m. local package was anchored by Nancy Wood.


On May 28, the CRTC renewed CBMT-DT’s licence for a five year term, to August 31, 2018.


n the fall, the CBC announced it had selected the Broccolini group to build the new Maison de Radio-Canada in Montreal and Groupe Mach to purchase the western part of the large property (René-Lévesque Blvd. & Papineau Ave.) occupied by the broadcaster’s facilities. The transactions still required Treasury Board approval.


On October 1, ground was broken at the site of the new Maison de Radio-Canada in Montréal. Federal Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and CBC president Hubert T. Lacroix were among those on hand for the ceremony. Expected to be finished by January of 2020, the new building would feature a four-storey atrium and rooftop patio.

The story continues elsewhere…
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