CFCM-DT, TVA, Quebec City

Groupe TVA Inc.

StationYearChannelNetwork AffiliateOwner/Info
CFCM-DT20114.1 (17)TVAGroupe TVA Inc.
CFCM-TV19904TVAGroupe TVA Inc.
CFCM-TV19644TVAFamous Players
CFCM-TV19574SRCFamous Players
CFCM-TV19544CBC/SRCFamous Players


A joint application by Famous Players Canadian Corp. and radio stations CHRC, CJNT and CKCV, for a television station at Quebec City was filed. They proposed using channel 4 with an estimated effective radiated power of 923 watts video and 554 watts audio on an antenna 457 feet above average terrain.

The CBC had opened Canada’s first television stations in September of 1952 – CBFT Montreal, followed two days later by CBLT in Toronto. The corporation had plans for a number of additional stations of its own, across the country. In March, the CBC, which was also the broadcast regulator, recommended for approval (to the Department of Transport), television licenses for the private sector at Hamilton, London, Quebec City, Saint John, Sudbury, Sydney and Windsor. An application for Kitchener was denied. Famous Players would hold 50% with the remaining 50% optioned by CHRC and CKCV. Because of a pending change of ownership of CJNT, it was not certain if that station would still be part of the TV plan. The board recommended the application for approval on the condition that options on shares be taken up, and local participation in the company so confirmed as stated to the board, before the license was issued. 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. Foreign ownership was also a hot topic at the board’s meeting. Corey Thomson of CKVL Verdun was opposed to both the Quebec City and Kitchener, Ontario, applications because Famous Players was said to be foreign controlled (65% American owned). Corey Thomson of CKVL Verdun (and would soon become connected with CJNT / CJQC) was opposed to application because Famous Players was foreign controlled. His opposition also applied to the Kitchener applications because Famous Players was also involved in the ownership of that proposed outlet.

In May, it was announced the target launch for the station would be before the New Year.

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.

The Bell Telephone Company’s Adelaide Street office in Toronto was the terminal point in the new 407 mile microwave relay system – the recently inaugurated heart of Canada’s three station TV network. Rising 392 feet above the street (compared with the Bank of Commerce’s 400 feet and the tower of CBLT at 500 feet), this was one of 15 such units constructed by Bell to carry television programs and telephone conversations from Buffalo to Montreal via Toronto and Ottawa or any points in between. Engineering plans for a Montreal-Quebec City expansion were already prepared and others were being worked out to reach London. The Buffalo-Toronto hop needed only one relay site – at Fonthill, near Welland. The Toronto-Ottawa section had 8 stations (Uxbridge, Bethany, Hastings, Stirling, Enterprise, Westport, Smiths Falls and Stanley Corners). Three stations connect with Montreal – at Leonard, Maxville and Rigaud. The Ottawa installation is also on top of the Bell building there. Mount Royal was chosen for the Montreal station.

A contract for the installation of DuMont Television equipment was signed by Television de Quebec Ltee president Gaston Pratte in July. DuMont would supply studio and transmitter equipment through Canadian Aviation Electronics Ltd. Manager Henri LePage expected the station to be on the air with test pattern on November 15, with regular telecasts before Christmas. 

Ad: Quebec’s first privately-owned TV station.


The building of Quebec City’s first television station got underway. A construction award for new studios and buildings was made. Television Quebec Ltd. or Television de Quebec (Canada) Ltee, licensee, was building its transmitter building and studios on St. Jean Boscoe Street, near Cite Universitaire. The tower contract had been let to Cobra Industries Inc. Total estimated cost of TV station and building was $500,000. The building would be two stories, 65′ by 42′, with reinforced concrete floor and stone walls. The antenna tower would be 440 feet high.

It was announced that CFCM-TV would become part of the Quebec Region of the CBC TV network on or about June 19 (launch date). It would be linked to the network by microwave. The station would broadcast on channel 4 and have an effective radiated power of 1,270 watts video and 635 watts audio. Antenna height would be 473 feet above average terrain and 685 feet above sea level. The 440 foot tower would give the station a 50 mile coverage radius. CFCM proposed a 35 hour a week program schedule.

CFCM-TV signed on the air July 16 bringing television to Canada’s fifth largest market and penetrating 11 counties. Chief Justice Antonin Galipeaut cut the ribbon at the inauguration ceremony. The station’s licence was granted a year earlier but the opening was delayed by legal action taken by Laurier Avenue residents who objected to the proposed 350 foot tower being built in their area. The station settled on a 265 foot tower at Ste-Foy. The microwave link connecting Montreal to Quebec City was completed just a week before CFCM went on the air. Claude Garneau was station manager and program director. He had been with the CBC. E.W. (Ernie) Miller was technical supervisor. The full official opening for CFCM Television was set for early September. CFCM was the first private station in the province and broadcast in English and French. It had a staff of 18, one small studio, a 500 watt transmitter and a studio-office building of 11,800 square feet. Famous Players was a major shareholder in Television de Quebec (Canada) Ltee. That company, part of a consortium, also launched CKCO-TV in Kitchener, Ontario, earlier this year. 


CFCM-TV aired Meli-Melo (a musical quiz show) with Jacques Larochelle and Colette Sequin. 

Ads: A la bonne franquette – Canada’s most successful kitchen show with Charlotte Fortin. / Bonhomme 4 says: CFCM-TV Channel 4, Quebec, serves eleven counties in Central Quebec area where 131,400 families buy over $331,567,000 (in) merchandise per year. CFCM-TV can sell your products in English and French. 

CFCM’s local cooking show was A La Bonne Franquette.

CFCM-TV aired Meli-Melo (a musical quiz show) with Jacques Larochelle and Colette Sequin.


The CBC Board recommended for approval, CFCM-TV’s application for an increase in effective radiated power. Channel 4 proposed to up its power from 1,270 watts video and 635 watts audio to 12,650 watts video and 6,330 watts audio.

CFCM was preparing an application for submission to the CBC for the operation of a new English-language television station at Quebec City. CFCM-TV had been placed on the CBC’s French network and was now unable to carry direct, any of the English Canadian and American network shows. Prior to this fall CFCM was able to schedule a large number of English network TV programs under CBC policy which then allowed optional use of French or English programs on Quebec stations.


On March 17, CFCM-TV switched to French-only programming when Television de Quebec (Canada) Ltee opened English-language CKMI-TV on channel 5. CFCM was now linked only to the French Radio-Canada network.

Jean Adelard Pouliot

J. A. Pouliot was appointed general manager of Television de Quebec (Canada) Ltee. He had been with Famous Players Canadian Corp. Ernest Miller was CFCM-TV’s director of operations. Arthur P. Fitzgibbons was named to that post for CKMI-TV.

By this time, CFCM-TV Channel 4 was operating with 1,270 watts video and 635 watts audio. Ownership of Television de Quebec (Canada) Ltee: A. C. Picard 10.0%, Gaston Pratte 0.1%, Henri Lepage 0.1%, Paul Lepage 0.1%, J. J. Fitzgibbons 0.1%, R. W. Relstad 0.1%, Angus McDunn 0.1%, E. E. Fitzgibbons 0.1%, CHRC Ltee 19.9%, CKCV Ltee 19.8% and Famous Players Canadian Corp. Ltd. 49.6%. Gaston Pratte was president of the company.

By the end of the year, CFCM-TV had an effective radiated power of 12,600 watts video and 6,300 watts audio, using a 15,000 watt transmitter. 22,000 square feet had been added to the studio/office building. The station also became the first in the country to purchase a VTR. 

CFCM had a mobile unit that it made available for rent on any type of mobile telecast in Quebec or Ontario. It came complete with micro-wave facilities, trained personnel, two RCA field cameras with a choice of lenses. 


Arthur P. Fitzgibbons was appointed director of operations for CFCM-TV/CKMI-TV. He had been CKMI’s sales manager. Fitzgibbons joined Television de Quebec in 1954 as sales manager of CFCM, following almost 24 years with Famous Players. He would also continue on as sales manager for both stations. Ernest W. Miller, with the company since it opened in 1953, resigned as station and sales manager to assume a new position. Andrew N. McLellan was appointed public relations and publicity manager for Television de Quebec (Canada) Ltd., operator of CFCM-TV and CKMI-TV. He had been publicity and promotion manager for CKMI-TV. 

Ad slogan: CFCM-TV / CKMI-TV – It takes two languages to cover a bilingual market…offering advertisers combined selling power in Canada’s 5th largest market – Quebec City. 


Jacques Filteau was appointed program director for Television de Quebec (Canada) Ltd. He would be responsible for all CFCM-TV and CKMI-TV programming. He had been program director for CFCM-TV only.  


CFCM-TV added the French version of Romper Room (La Jardiniere) on January 18. 

Ads: Quebec’s selling combination – CFCM-TV (French) / CKMI-TV (English). / Two big guns in a market of stature – French CFCM-TV / English CKMI-TV. Quebec’s selling combination. 

Manic Breton was named traffic manager of CFCM/CKMI. Jean A. Pouliot was general manager. Gerrard Fortin was chief engineer.

CFCM and CKMI now had an Ampex VR-1000B VTR. 

Ad: Smooth sailing all year – in a market of stature. There’s smooth sailing year-round with Television de Quebec delivering 206,000 TV homes at low cost per thousand with a combined rate card. French CFCM-TV / English CKMI-TV / Quebec’s Selling Combination. 

Jean A. Pouliot, P. Eng., general manager of Television de Quebec (Canada) Ltee announced these appointments: Louis Leclerd as program manager for CFCM-TV. He had been production manager. J. P. Riopel as publicity and public relations manager for CFCM-TV and CKMI-TV. He had worked in the TV business in Western Canada. George Lovett as program manager for CKMI-TV. He had been chief announcer for CKMI-TV and had a lengthy background in show business. 

John Riopell was public relations director for CFCM-TV/CKMI-TV. Arthur P. Fitzgibbons was general manager. 

The BBG turned down colour telecasting for now. There was mixed reaction to the decision. Jean Pouliot said, “In a nutshell, I would say that we are definitely in favour of the introduction of coloured television in Canada as soon as the public can really benefit from it”.


CFCM-TV now had a staff of 145 – up from 18 when it signed on in 1954. 


CBC/Radio-Canada opened its own station – CBVT – in September. As a result, CFCM-TV became an independent. CFCM-TV added another 9,000 square feet to the studio-office complex to handle increased local production. The station increased effective radiated power to the maximum of 100,000 watts video.


CFCM-TV/CKMI-TV had three studios (25′ x 25′, 24′ x 36′ and 75′ x 50′), five studio cameras, three video tape recording facilities and one kinescope recorder.


Colour transmission facilities were added in July.  


Jean A. Pouliot was managing director. Jean Lionel Crevier was named director of publicity, promotions and public relations. Jacques Filteau, executive assistant to the general manager of CFCM-TV/CKMI-TV left for CJRC in Ottawa. 


France Fortin was director of public affairs. 

Famous Players Canadian Corporation applied to the CRTC to sell its interests in CFCM-TV/CKMI-TV (50%) Quebec City and CKCO-TV-CFCA-FM-CKKW-AM (48%) Kitchener to Famous Communications Ltd., a new public company to be incorporated. There was also a pending deal that would have Famous Players acquire a small, additional interest in CHAN-TV Vancouver and CHEK-TV Victoria.

Jacques Filteau left CFCM-TV as general administrator to manage the new CJRC-AM in Ottawa. 


Famous Players Canadian Corp. was a controlled subsidiary of Paramount International Films Inc. To get around the new foreign ownership regulations, Famous wanted to transfer its broadcasting operations to a new corporation – Teltron Communications Ltd. The CRTC denied this application on April 17 because effective ownership of Teltron would have remained essentially the same as before. Famous had interests in Television de Quebec Ltee, Central Ontario Television Ltd., British Columbia Television Broadcasting System Ltd., and numerous cable companies.

Colour origination capability was added in December.


On July 20, Television de Quebec (Canada) Ltee had its licences for CKMI-TV and CFCM-TV renewed to March 31, 1971. This company wass not an eligible corporation because 50% of the shares were owned by Famous Players Canadian Corp. Ltd. which was a U. S. corporation. This was a license extension to give the company time to comply with foreign ownership regulations. 


On March 4, Television de Quebec (Canada) Ltee, owner of CFCM-TV and CKMI-TV, was given permission to transfer 3,000 class B common shares from Famous Players Canadian Corp. Ltd. to CHRC Ltee (1,200 shares), CKCV (Quebec) Ltee (1,200 shares), Jevlam Inc. (600 shares) and to redeem 2,250 Class B preferred shares from Famous Players Canadian in order to reduce its holdings to 20%. This would bring Famous in line with the foreign ownership regulations. 
The TVA network began operations on September 12, linking CFTM Montréal, CFCM-TV Québec and CJPM-TV Chicoutimi.

CFCM-TV now had a staff of over 200.


The corporate name for CFCM-TV and CKMI-TV became Tele-Capitale Ltee. 


On July 15, Radio Laval Inc. was given approval to purchase CFCM-TV and CKMI-TV from Tele-Capitale Ltee.


Enterprises Tele-Capitale Ltee received approval to operate new television stations at Rimouski (142,000 watts on channel 11) and Sept-Iles (3,800 watts, channel 11). Rimouski would originate at least 6:45 hours weekly of local news and public affairs, with most of its programming coming from CFCM-TV Quebec City and the TVA network. Sept-Iles would rebroadcast Rimouski, with local studios to be established in the near future.


CFCM-TV’s licence was renewed only to the end of 1980 and the station was told to submit a new promise of performance within six months. Despite previous demands from the CRTC to increase production, there has been a steady decline from 56 hours per week in 1969-70 to 26 hours in 1978-79. The commission called for quality programs using local talent, and a greater contribution to the TVA network. CFCM was described as being among the most lucrative private TV stations in the country. The CRTC also expressed concern that the board of Tele-Capitale does not adequately reflect the ownership of the company, and that the president considers himself to be an administrator rather than a broadcaster. On the plus side of things – the station had extended TVA service to Rimouski and Sept-Iles, and had plans to provide service to Gaspe, Chaleur Bay and northeaster New Brunswick.

On August 7, approval was granted for the transfer of indirect control of (A) Enterprises Tele-Capitale Ltee (CKLM, CFCM-TV, CKMI-TV, CFER-TV and CFER-TV-1); (B) CHRC Ltee (CHRC-AM and CHOI-FM) – through the transfer of not less than 50.5% of Class B common voting shares of Tele-Capitale Ltee (the parent company) from Claude Pratte and one or both of the other major shareholders, Jevlam Inc. (J. A. Pouliot) and Baribeau & Fils Inc. (Baribeau family) to Corporation de Gestion La Verendrye. This was conditional on Corporation de Gestion LaVerendrye doing a public offering within 21 days to acquire Class A common non-voting shares of Tele-Capitale. J. Conrad Lavigne was among the new directors of Tele-Capitale. The company undertook to make the following improvements at CFCM-TV: spend $350,000 for new cameras, $600,000 for transmitter renovation, increase local production, including five new series this season. Local production would be increased for CKMI-TV.


Changes were approved in CFCM-TV’s promise of performance. The changes would place the station among the top five in Canada in terms of local production.

CFCM-TV’s licence was renewed for a five year term. The station promised to improve quality and extend distribution of its programs, participate more actively in the TVA network, and develop new ideas such as televising performances of local theatrical productions.


Pierre Duhaime who was vice president and general manager of CFCM-TV and CKMI-TV was now v. p. and general manager of parent company Tele-Capital Enterprises Ltd. Long-time staffers Gilles Gregoire and Paul Leclerc were also promoted. Gregoire became VP and GM of CFCM/CKMI and Leclerc was named commercial director. 


Tele-Capital Enterprises started construction on a new $4 million production centre for CFCM-TV and CKMI-TV. The 22,000 square foot building was expected to be completed by the end of the year and fully operational by June of 1983. 


Gilles Gregoire was promoted to president of Tele-Capitale while retaining the position of chief operating officer.

Tele-Capital Ltd. was sold by Corporation de Gestion La Vérendrye to CHEM-TV Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pathonic Communications Inc. CHEM-TV Inc. then amalgamated with Tele-Capital Ltd. The amalgamated company became Tele-Capital Inc. (a subsidiary of Pahtonic).


Télé-Capitale Inc. was granted approval to operate a French language television network (Réseau Pathonic) consisting of CFCM-TV, CFER-TV Rimouski, CFER-TV-2 Gaspé-Nord, CHLT-TV Sherbrooke, CHEM-TV Trois-Rivières and CIMT-TV Rivière-du-Loup and its re-broadcasting stations. These stations also operated as affiliates of the TVA network. 

Bob Dawson became vice president and general manager of CFCM-TV. He had held the same position at co-owned CKMI-TV.


Groupe Vidéotron Ltée. Acquired Télé-Métropole Inc. from the Estate of J.A. DeSève, the J.A. DeSève Foundation and Ciné-Monde Inc. 


Télé-Métropole Inc. acquired control of Pathonic Network Inc., including CFCM-TV. Le Groupe Vidéotron Ltée owned 99.7% of the voting shares and 40.8% of all of the outstanding shares in Télé-Métropole at this time. 


The corporate name was now Groupe TVA Inc. 


On August 13, Télé-Métropole Inc. was given approval to acquire 75% of Le Réseau de télévision TVA Inc. from Radio Nord Inc., Télé-Inter Rives Ltée and Télévision de la Baie des Chaleurs Inc. (25% each). This purchase gave Télé-Métropole 100% of the network.

The corporate name was now TM Multi-Régions Inc.


Télé-Métropole Inc. acquired CFCM-TV (and other stations) from its subsidiary, TM Multi-Régions Inc. 


On January 23, the CRTC approved the application to amend the licence for CFCM-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 February 24, the CRTC renewed CFCM-TV’s licence to 31 August 1997. At the same time, the Commission denied the licensee’s request to decrease local production from 21 hours to 17 hours 23 minutes a week. This short-term renewal reflected the Commission’s serious concerns regarding the non-compliance by the licensee with the existing condition of licence stipulating the minimum local production requirements for CFCM-TV. As discussed at the hearing, this two-year term would also enable the Commission to consider the next renewal of this licence at the same time as that of the other television stations in Quebec City. 


Quebecor inc. subsidiary Quebecor Média inc. acquired Le Groupe Vidéotron ltée. Because Quebecor would now own two networks – TVA and TQS – the company was told to divest itself of TQS inc. Later in the year, TQS was sold to Cogeco Radio Television Inc. and Bell Globemedia Inc. 


On May 15th, following a hearing that began on April 27th, the CRTC announced a two-year licence renewal, effective September 1st 2009, for the TVA Group stations, including CFCM-TV Quebec City, “….to give these broadcasters some flexibility during the current period of economic uncertainty.” Group-based licence renewals would then be addressed in 2011. 


On February 12, the CRTC approved in part an application by TVA Group Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a transitional digital television programming undertaking associated with CFCM-TV. TVA Group Inc. proposed to simulcast the programming aired on CFCM-TV on the new digital station. The new transmitter would operate on channel 17 with an average effective radiated power of 12,500 watts (maximum ERP of 21,200 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 117.1 metres). In Revised licensing framework for over-the-air digital television services, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-69, 10 February 2010, the Commission announced that it would no longer issue separate broadcasting licences for DTV programming undertakings. Instead, the operation of DTV transmitters would be authorized by way of an amendment to the broadcasting licences of existing services, authorizing the simulcast, on a digital transmitter, of the programming broadcast by the associated station.

The CRTC approved the change to the ownership of Quebecor Media Inc. through the transfer of the shares held by Capital d’Amérique CDPQ inc. in QMI to CDP Capital d’Amérique Investissement inc., another CDPQ subsidiary. This transaction does not affect the effective control of QMI and of its licensee subsidiaries. QMI owns, through TVA Group Inc. and Videotron Ltd., broadcasting distribution undertakings, television programming undertakings, a pay-per-view undertaking, specialty services and a video-on-demand undertaking.

On October 27, the CRTC approved the application by TVA Group Inc. to amend the broadcasting licence for CFCM-TV Québec in order to add a digital transmitter in Québec. In CFCM-TV Québec – Licence amendment, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2010-81, 12 February 2010, the Commission approved in part an application to operate a transitional digital television programming undertaking associated with CFCM-TV Québec, authorizing the simulcast of the programming broadcast by CFCM-TV. The undertaking approved in that decision was not in operation. TVA Group inc. was now requesting an amendment to the licence for CFCM-TV Québec in order to add a digital transmitter at Québec to replace the transmitter approved in Broadcasting Decision 2010-81. The new transmitter would operate on channel 17 with an average effective radiated power of 122,500 watts (maximum ERP of 210,000 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 117.2 metres).


On July 12, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CFCM-DT until August 31, 2012.

The deadline for the conversion of analog television to digital in mandatory markets was August 31. CFCM-DT signed on the air on channel 17 (virtual channel 4.1) earlier in the month. On August 31, analog CFCM-TV channel 4 left the air.


On April 26, the CRTC renewed the broadcasting licences for the national, French-language television network TVA and the conventional television stations associated with that network, to August 31, 2015. In its application, QMI proposed to maintain the current level of five hours per week of local programming broadcast by CHEM-DT Trois-Rivières, CFER-DT Rimouski, CHLT-DT Sherbrooke and CJPM Saguenay, and their respective transmitters. In addition, QMI declared that the licensee intended to maintain the current broadcast level of 18 hours of local programming per week for CFCM-DT Québec, while also requesting increased flexibility to be able to broadcast programs produced locally by CFCM-DT on the network. To that end, QMI proposed the deletion of the requirement that nine hours of local programming broadcast by CFCM-DT focus exclusively on the local Québec market. The Commission considered that QMI’s proposal to broadcast at least 5 hours and 30 minutes of locally produced news, including two newscasts on weekends, was commendable and would contribute significantly to the reflection of the Québec market. In response to concerns expressed by interveners from this community regarding the loss of local flavour in CFCM-DT programming and news, the Commission would continue to require that, of the 18 hours of local programming per broadcast week, 9 hours must focus specifically on the Québec region, including the 5 hours and 30 minutes of local newscasts. However, the Commission considered it unnecessary that the remaining 3 hours and 30 minutes be broadcast exclusively in the local Québec market and considered that it may be broadcast on the TVA network. In addition, if the newscasts were rebroadcast in full, the Commission required that the licensee not count these rebroadcasts when calculating the number of broadcast hours set out in the conditions of licence for each station.


On February 22, the CRTC approved CFCM’s application to relocate the transmitter site, change the antenna’s radiation pattern from directional to non-directional, decrease the maximum ERP from 210,000 to 80,000 watts and the average ERP from 122,500 to 80,000 watts, and increase EHAAT from 117.1 to 174.6 metres. CFCM planned to relocate its antenna to allow for residential expansion.

The story continues elsewhere…
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