CIPA-TV, CTV, Prince Albert

Bell Media Inc.

StationYearChannelNetwork AffiliateOwner/Info
CIPA-TV20119CTVCTV Television Network


Baton Broadcasting Inc. of Toronto announced plans to make two major purchases in Saskatchewan that would give it domination of the province with only one exception – CJFB-TV Swift Current. Baton already owned CFQC-TV Saskatoon and had now agreed to buy (90%) CKCK-TV Regina from Harvard Developments Ltd. Harvard in turn would purchase 10% of CFQC-TV and would participate in the management of both stations. Baton had owned CFQC-TV (and AM) for 14 years. The deal came only two weeks after Baton agreed to buy Yorkton Television (CKOS-TV/CBC and CICC-TV/CTV Yorkton and CKBI-TV/CBC Prince Albert). Joe Garwood, vice president and managing director of Baton, said the purchases would create a large unit capable of taking on new challenges, such as the recent approval for CanWest Broadcasting to operate new TV stations at Regina and Saskatoon (SaskWest Television Inc.). The CRTC had described CKCK-TV and CFQC-TV as being among the most profitable TV stations in Canada.

A CRTC hearing in April was to hear proposals by Baton to acquire Yorkton Television Co. Ltd. and Prince Albert TV Inc. Prince Albert TV had also applied for a new CTV station at Prince Albert (channel 9 with 27,000 watts video ERP), which if licensed, would be part of the Baton purchase. Included in the deal were some 14 rebroadcast transmitters of the three existing stations. The CKCK-CFQC deal was also to be heard. If approved (Baton 90%, Harvard 10%), both stations would be owned by limited partnerships in each city. The Baton subsidiaries involved in the deals were CFTO-TV Ltd. and Russwood Broadcasting Ltd.

The Baton Saskatchewan deals were approved by the CRTC. This included the application for the new CTV affiliate at Prince Albert. The resulting new twin-stick operation in Prince Albert would employ 15 additional staff. Until now, CTV service was only available in the area via cable and through the signal of CFQC-TV, received over-the-air from Saskatoon, some 132 kilometers to the south. Prince Albert Television Inc. had been owned 100% by Yorkton Television Co. Ltd., licensee of the CBC/CTV twin-stick operation at Yorkton (CKOS-TV and CICC-TV). The new station and CKBI-TV would also be operated as a twin-stick facility, sharing staff and studio facilities.

As part of the overall Saskatchewan purchases, Baton planned to spend $5.6 million to upgrade studio and production facilities, $2.8 million for transmitting facilities, $2.3 million for a 2-way microwave system, and over $1 million for drama production. 44 new jobs were expected to be created. There would be increased regional programming, including a major provincial Mon-Fri 6:30 p.m. newscast, and expanded availability of the CBC network. Baton also undertook provisions to ensure the continued viability of CJFB-TV Swift Current, the only independent TV station left in Saskatchewan.

Baton Broadcasting made the following appointments: R.L. Skinner to president of Shamrock Television Systems Inc., Bruce Cowie to president of CKCK-TV Ltd. and Dennis Fisher to president CFQC Radio. Shamrock was the Baton subsidiary that took ownership of the Prince Albert and Yorkton television stations.


CIPA-TV began broadcasting on January 12.

On December 21, CIPA-TV was authorized to increase power (ERP) from 27,000 to 145,000 watts (video).


Leon Brin was named general manager of CKBI-TV / CIPA-TV. He had been news director at CFQC-TV in Saskatoon. Former CKBI-TV / CIPA-TV general manager Howard Cooper was named president and general manager of CFQC-TV.

James Fusnak was appointed executive vice president and general manager of Russwood Broadcasting, the company which managed a number of Saskatchewan television stations owned by Baton Broadcasting. In a related move, Ronald Skinner, president of Shamrock Television of Yorkton, was promoted to executive vice president of Russwood.

Changes at Baton Saskatchewan’s Russwood Broadcasting: James Rusnak, executive vice president and general manager; Ronald Skinner, executive VP; Mel Friesen, general manager of CKCK-TV; Howard Cooper, president and general manager of CFQC-TV; Leon Brin, VP and GM of CKBI-TV and CFQC-TV.


CKBQ-TV Melfort changed its programming source from CFQC-TV Saskatoon to CIPA-TV (it became a rebroadcaster of CIPA).

CIPA-TV / CKBI-TV escaped serious damage on December 27 when fire destroyed two nearby businesses. The building housing the stations suffered water and smoke damage. At the time of the fire, three technical staff were on duty at the stations. On-air programming wasn’t affected.

Baton Broadcasting’s CKCK-TV Regina, CFQC-TV Saskatoon, CKBI-TV and CIPA-TV Prince Albert and CKOS-TV and CICC-TV Yorkton all had their licenses renewed to June 30, 1996. The stations were owned or controlled by Baton’s Russwood Broadcasting, which had spent a total of $16.1 million on the stations, including construction of a microwave system linking the four broadcast centres. The CRTC rejected a bid by the Prince Albert stations to sell local advertising in North Battleford. In addition, CIPA-TV was given approval to add a transmitter at Nipawin, to rebroadcast the programs of that station via CKBQ-TV Melfort. The new transmitter would broadcast on channel 12 with a power of 5,400 watts.

On July 26, Shamrock Television was authorized to add a transmitter at Big River, to rebroadcast the programs of CIPA-TV Prince Albert via CIPA-TV-1 Alticane. The new transmitter would operate on channel 7 with a power of 51 watts.


At BBS Saskatchewan: Shirley Stus became Sales Manager. She had been regional sales rep. Bruce Acton became Director of Communications while keeping his position as CFQC-TV Promotion Manager. David Fisher became Creative Director and CFQC-TV Creative Services Manager. Michael Fulmes became Executive Producer, working out of CKCK-TV.

CFQC-TV General Manager Howard Cooper and Vice President of Programming Bill Stevenson were given early retirement packages. 34 other BBS Saskatchewan employees were laid off: 12 at CKCK-TV, 12 at CICC/CKOS and 10 at CIPA/ CKBI). A change would see the jobs of reporters and camera operators combined into photo journalists.


Deryl Ring was no longer president of Baton Saskatchewan. Managers in the province now reported to Fred Filthaut at CFRN-TV Edmonton.


After purchasing the CTV Television Network, Baton Broadcasting Inc. changed its name to CTV Inc. The name change was effective December 21.


Bell Globemedia (Bell Canada Enterprises, Thomson Canada Ltd., and The Woodbridge Co. Ltd.) purchased CTV Inc.

By this time, CIPA-TV operated the following transmitters: CIPA-TV-1 Spiritwood/ Alticane, CIPA-TV-2 Big River, CKBQ-TV Melfort and CKBQ-TV-1 Nipawin.

On September 1st, CIPA-TV was rebranded as CTV Prince Albert


The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation received CRTC approval to purchase CKBI-TV (it would become a re-broadcaster of CBKST Sasakatoon). CTV held on to CIPA-TV.


On July 21, the CRTC approved an application for ownership restructuring by Bell Globemedia (BGM), parent company of CTV, stemming from a deal in December 2005 that saw two new investors added to the company. Thomson family’s Woodbridge Co. Ltd. increased its stake in BGM to 40 per cent from 31.5 per cent, while BCE Inc. reduced its holding to 20 per cent from 68.5 per cent. Two other investors were added to the deal, including Torstar Corp. and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, each with 20 per cent.

On December 14th, it was announced that effective January 2007, Bell Globemedia would be renamed CTVglobemedia Inc.


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


It was expected that, by summer, CTV Calgary would host master control for most of the Western Canadian CTV stations: four in Saskatchewan, three in Alberta, CTV Vancouver and BC Interior feeds.

On October 7, the CRTC denied an application by CTVglobemedia Inc., on behalf of its wholly owned subsidiary CTV Television Inc., to reduce the overall minimum level of Canadian programming broadcast by its conventional television stations from 60% to 55%.


On March 7, the CRTC approved an application by BCE Inc. on behalf of CTVglobemedia Inc., for authority to change the effective control of CTVgm’s licensed broadcasting subsidiaries to BCE. The Commission concluded that the transaction would be beneficial to the Canadian broadcasting system by ensuring the long-term stability of a significant Canadian television network and advancing the Commission’s objective of providing relevant high-quality Canadian programming to Canadians through conventional and new media distribution channels. BCE was a public corporation and controlled by its board of directors. Before this approval, BCE held 15% of the voting interest in the capital of CTVgm. The other shareholders were 1565117 Ontario Limited (a corporation ultimately controlled by Mr. David Kenneth R. Thomson) (40% of the voting interest), Ontario Teacher’s Plan Board (25% of the voting interest) and Torstar Corporation (20% of the voting interest). Under the transaction agreement dated September 10, 2010, BCE would acquire the remaining 85% of the voting interest in the capital of CTVgm and would therefore exercise effective control.

On March 15, CTV Inc., CTV Corp., CTV Limited and CTVglobemedia Inc. amalgamated to continue as CTV Inc.

On March 29, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for a number of conventional television and transitional digital television stations until August 31, 2011. The CRTC noted that it did not intend to renew authorizations for full-power analog transmitters operating in the mandatory markets or on channels 52 to 69 outside the mandatory markets beyond August 31, 2011. By that time, the Commission expected licensees to have the necessary authority to broadcast in digital.

BCE Inc. announced on April 1 that it had completed its acquisition of CTV and that it had launched Bell Media (replacing CTVglobemedia), a new business unit that would make CTV programs and other Bell content available on smartphones and computers as well as traditional television. In addition to CTV and its television stations, Bell Media now also operated 29 specialty channels, 33 radio stations, Dome Productions, a mobile broadcast facilities provider, and dozens of high-traffic news, sports and entertainment websites, including the portal.

On July 27, the CRTC renewed the licence for CIPA-TV and its transmitters CIPA-TV-1 Spiritwood, CIPA-TV-2 Big River, CKBQ-TV Melfort and CKBQ-TV-1 Nipawin, until August 31, 2016. The Commission noted the licensee’s commitment to broadcast 2.5 hours of local programming per week, averaged over the broadcast year.

The CRTC approved a change to the ownership of Bell Media Inc., from BCE Inc. to Bell Canada. This transaction would not affect effective control of Bell Media Inc. and of its licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, which continued to be exercised by BCE Inc. Bell Media Inc. held, directly and through its licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, various radio and television programming undertakings as well as specialty and pay-per-view television services.


Wade Moffatt, the Vice President & General Manager of CTV Saskatchewan’s four stations (Regina, Saskatoon, Yorkton and Prince Albert), was no longer with Bell Media. Moffatt had been with CTV for 21 years.


David Fisher was the new Vice President/General Manager of CTV Saskatchewan, overseeing the CTV stations in Regina, Saskatoon, Yorkton and Prince Albert. Most recently, he was manager of promotions and advertising for CTV Edmonton and CTV Two Alberta.


When the CIPA licence was renewed in May, CIPA‐TV‐1 Spiritwood, CIPA‐TV‐2 Big River, CKBQ‐TV Melfort and CKBQ‐TV‐1 Nipawin were removed from the licence at the request of Bell Media. The existing licence would expire August 31, 2017.

It was announced in June that CTV Prince Albert would begin airing a 5:00 p.m. weekday newscast in the fall (simulcast from CTV Regina). This move was being made by all CTV stations not already airing news in this time period.

The story continues elsewhere…
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