CKBI-TV, Prince Albert

CBC – became a re-broadcaster of CBKST-TV Saskatoon

StationYearChannelNetwork AffiliateOwner/Info
CKBI-TV20025CBC-TVCBC – became a re-broadcaster of CBKST-TV Saskatoon
CKBI-TV19865CBCBaton Broadcasting Inc.
CKBI-TV19845CBCYorkton Television Ltd.
CKBI-TV19585CBCCentral Broadcasting Co.


Ed Rawlinson
Ed Rawlinson

Central Broadcasting Co. Ltd. received a licence to operate a television station at Prince Albert. It would operate on channel 5 and have an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts video and 60,000 watts audio. CKBI-TV would be a CBC supplementary affiliate and serve an estimated 58,000 households. Pye Canada Ltd. supplied and installed all of the equipment. It was hoped the new station would be on the air for December 15.

Central Broadcasting Co. Ltd. also owned CKBI-AM. Ownership of Central: E. A. Rawlinson 51.0%, H. M. Sibbald 33.4% and F. F. Rawlinson 15.6%. Edward A. Rawlinson was president of the company.


CKBI-TV channel 5 made it on the air a little later than planned – January 27.

Ad Slogans: Ready to BLAST OFF! CKBI-TV. Covering Saskatchewan’s third market with E.R.P. 100,000 watts – channel 5 – Antenna height 875 feet (above average terrain) at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. A.M. affiliate – CKBI – 10,000 watts. // Join the Sellibration! In Saskatchewan’s 3rd TV market. With a primary audience of 15,000 TV homes PLUS a bonus audience outside the “B” contour of 18,000 TV homes. CKBI-TV channel 5 Prince Albert. “See us about this BEST TV BUY in Canada. // Covering Saskatchewan’s 3rd market with over 120 cities, towns and villages – CKBI-TV channel 5 – Prince Albert.

Ed Rawlinson was owner-manager. Jerry Johnson was sales manager. Jack Cennon was production manager.

PYE Canada supplied all of the equipment to CKBI-TV, including camera, controls, telecine, transmitter and antenna.

CKBI-TV was a supplementary station of the Prairie Region of the CBC English TV network.


Jerry Johnson left CKBI-TV to be general sales manager at the soon to open CJAY-TV in Winnipeg. His appointment there was effective August 1.

Central Broadcasting Co. Ltd. had two applications (for North Battleford) deferred by the Board of Broadcast Governors. One was for a satellite of CKBI-TV and the other was to operate a new station on channel 10. CKBI-TV got the go ahead. North Battleford’s CJNB Radio had planned for a satellite to rebroadcast CFQC-TV Saskatoon. CKSA Lloydminster had asked the BBG for time so that it could submit an application as well. However, the BBG went with CKBI. Harry S. Hay, president of CJNB said if his application had been approved, revenue would have come from one or two hours a day of locally produced programs. E.A. Rawlinson, president of CKBI-TV, proposed a low-power satellite which would be fed from Prince Albert through an intermediate relay station. Art Shortell, president of CKSA, accused Hay of breaking a “gentlemen’s agreement” under which the three stations were to divide the market between them, and sought to delay things until he had time to submit an application for a satellite. Shortell said he opposed CJNB’s application because of the broken agreement but that Rawlinson had not broken it and he would not oppose that application. If Rawlinson’s application were approved, Shortell said he would still apply for his own satellite.


CKBI-TV opened a rebroadcast transmitter at North Battleford on February 9.


The Greenwater Lake transmitter was opened on May 28.


By this time CKBI-TV was operating with an effective radiated power of 61,000 watts video and 36,500 watts audio. CKBI-TV had rebroadcast transmitters at Alticane (channel 10), North Battleford (7), Nipewin (2) and Greenwater (4). Edward A. Rawlinson was president of Central Broadcasting Co. Ltd. and GM of CKBI-TV. Frank F. Rawlinson was Operations Manager.


The Big River rebroadcaster was opened on December 20.

By this time CKBI-TV was operating with 61,000 watts video and 36,500 watts audio.


CKBI-TV-4 Nipawin was authorized to move from channel 2 to channel 7. It would continue to operate with five watts of power (directional).

CFQC-TV Saskatoon was authorized to add a rebroadcast transmitter at Melfort. It would offer programming from CFQC as well as some programs from CKBI-TV.


CKBI-TV was authorized to add a transmitter at Spiritwood, broadcasting on channel 12.

The Spiritwood transmitter was launched on June 28.


CKBI-TV-2 North Battlefored was granted a power increase to 24,000 watts.


The CRTC called for the improvement of technical operations by CKBI-TV and its rebroadcasters.


When CKBI-TV had its licence renewed, the CRTC told it should establish a rebroadcast transmitter at Tisdale. CKBI-TV applied for such a transmitter and it was approved. The Tisdale rebroadcaster would broadcast with 8.4 watts on channel 13.


A transmitter was added at Tisdale on February 14.


On January 11, the CRTC renewed CKBI-TV’s licence until September 30, 1985.

On November 29, the CRTC approved the sale of Prince Albert Television Inc. (CKBI-TV Prince Albert, CKBI-TV-1 Alticane, CKBI-TV-2 North Battleford, CKBI-TV-3 Greenwater Lake, CKBI-TV-5 Big River, CKBI-TV-6 Spiritwood and CKBI-TV-7 Tisdale), from E.A. Rawlinson, F.F. Rawlinson and Central Broadcasting Co. Ltd. to Yorkton Television Co. Ltd. (Skinner Holdings Ltd.). Central retained CKBI-AM and CFMM-FM. Yorkton Broadcasting already owned CKOS-TV in Yorkton.


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.

On July 4, Prince Albert Television Inc. was given approval to change the program source for CKBI-TV-1 Alticane from CKBI-TV (CBC) Prince Albert to the company’s proposed new CTV station at Prince Albert.

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. 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.


CKBI-TV’s sister station CIPA-TV (CTV) began broadcasting. The stations operated as a twin stick facility.

On July 6, CKBI-TV was authorized to increase effective radiated power from 61,000 watts to 100,000 watts.

CKBI-TV-2 North Battleford was authorized to increase ERP from 24,000 watts to 43,700 watts.


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 Rusnak 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.

CKBI-TV received approval to change the channel of CKBI-TV-5 Big River from 9 to 10.

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.


CKBI-TV / CIPA-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.

Dennis Dunlop was named general manager and general sales manager of CKBI-TV.


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


Baton eliminated the job of president of its Saskatchewan group of stations, leaving Deryl Ring out of a job after four years in that position. 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.


The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation received CRTC approval to purchase CKBI-TV (it would become a rebroadcaster of CBKST Sasakatoon). CTV held on to CIPA-TV. The call letters changed as follows: CKBI-TV became CBKST-9, CKBI-TV-2 North Battleford = CBKST-10, CKBI-TV-3 Greenwater Lake = CBKST-11, CKBI-TV-5 Big River = CBKST-12, CKBI-TV-6 Spiritwood = CBKST-13, and CKBI-TV-7 Tisdale = CBKST-14.

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