CKOS-TV, Yorkton

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

StationYearChannelNetwork AffiliateOwner/Info
CKOS-TV20023CBC-TVCBC – became a re-broadcaster of CBKST-TV Sakatoon
CKOS-TV19863CBCBaton Broadcasting Inc.
CKOS-TV19583Yorkton Television Ltd.


Ron Skinner and his family, along with a number of investors, established Yorkton Television Ltd. The group applied for a television licence. By the end of the year, the CBC Board of Governors had approved the application but Department of Transport approval was still pending. The new station would broadcast on channel 3 with an effective radiated power of 5,000 watts video and 2,500 watts audio.


CKOS-TV was aiming for a June opening. It expected to cover a population of 248,000. The nearest television station before CKOS-TV was 120 air miles from Yorkton. Norman Roebuck was president. Harold Olson was vice president and general manager. Ronald Skinner was station manager. Kristin Olson was production director. George Skinner was chief engineer. CKOS would commence as a CBC supplementary station, with films and kines. Microwave facilities were expected in 1959. Wilbur “Wib” Arnold Westby was the first employee hired at CKOS-TV – as a cameraman. 35 years later, as General Manager of the station, he retired. Wib passed away in 2010 at age 78. At that time, his son, Marc, was Manager, Production & Programming at CHAT-TV Medicine Hat. CKOS-TV – The Voice of the Wealthy Prairies – officially signed on the air at noon on June 19. The opening ceremonies featured Mayors and Chamber of Commerce people from several communities within the coverage area. CBC Network kinescopes arrived daily via Trans Canada Airlines, and live news, weather and sports along with filmed programs made up the daily schedule. An editorial in the Yorkton Enterprise – A Salute to CKOS-TV – appeared in the paper’s June 12 edition. Not yet on the microwave network, CKOS-TV installed a temporary microwave unit on its 500 foot tower which enabled the station to broadcast the World Series.


In mid 1959, the microwave link brought “live” network programming from the CBC. During the year, CKOS-TV expanded coverage into Manitoba, by establishing the transmitter for a sister-station CKSS-TV on channel 8 at Baldy Mountain, the highest point in Manitoba, at 2,727 feet above sea level, thus bringing service to the northwest part of the Province, including the Dauphin and Swan River areas. The station built a private three-hop microwave system, and on a part time basis, programmed separate shows to the area with items of local interest.


CKOS-TV expanded again, this time with a four-hop microwave link to Carlyle Lake in Saskatchewan where they put CFSS-TV on the air on channel 7. Ads: CKOS-TV Yorkton, Saskatchewan – “Centre of the Prairie Market” – Channel 3. Situated in the centre of the Prairie Market, we take pride in providing the best of both local and metropolitan service to our listeners. While they like to have time and temperature given on station breaks, they also enjoy our top-rated shows and movies. / CKOS-TV – We have new and extended program hours now – and our network shows include every big-time program from Benny to Welk. Too, we now feature – feature length movie and afternoon matinee shows five days a week. The transmitter was on Mount Baldy in northwest Manitoba.


Another three-hop microwave was built, to Wynyard, Saskatchewan, where CHSS-TV joined the group on channel 6. (officially opened on January 19, 1962)


Yorkton Television Ltd. commenced marketing the group as The Shamrock Stations, as their coverage map of the four stations resembled a shamrock.


CKOS-TV, in association with the CBC, expanded their coverage to the north, building repeater stations CKOS-TV-1 at Norquay and CKOS-TV-2 at Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan. Again, microwave links were used. At this time, CKOS-TV had an effective radiated power of 5,000 watts video and 2,500 watts audio. R. L. Skinner was President of Yorkton Television Co. Ltd. and George S. Skinner was Vice President and General Manager of CKOS-TV.


Yorkton Television Ltd. applied for a licence to operate a CTV outlet in Yorkton, to serve the area with both CBC and CTV on a twin-stick basis. The new channel opened in the Fall.


CTV repeaters were added for all their re-broadcasting sites to give equal coverage to their total area of both CBC and CTV. The CKSS-TV Baldy Mountain re-broadcaster was sold to the CBC.


Two colour studio cameras were purchased from CFTO-TV Toronto, and studio videotape equipment to go to full colour.


CKOS-TV received approval for a transmitter at Arabella, operating on channel 13 with directional effective radiated video power of 3,700 watts. A transmitter was also granted for Hudson Bay to rebroadcast the Arabella signal.


CKOS-TV-1 Norquay was authorized to increase video ERP from 3,700 watts to 15,000 watts.


The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. received approval to acquire the CKOS-TV rebroadcast transmitters at Hudson Bay and Norquay. The CRTC called for the extension of CTV service to the Carlyle Lake area by Yorkton Television and the improvement of technical operations by CKBI-TV Prince Albert, and its rebroadcasters.


CKOS-TV was authorized to move from channel 3 to 5, and to operate a rebroadcast transmitter at Warmley (channel 3 with effective radiated video power of 56,000). The existing rebroadcaster at Carlyle Lake would switch to CTV (ex CICC-TV). Yorkton Television Co. Ltd. received approval on December 4 to decrease effective radiated power for CKOS-TV from 15,000 to 14,000 watts.


The Warmley transmitter signed on the air on November 30.


CICC-TV received approval to add rebroadcast transmitters at Esterhazy (channel 13 with 5.5 watts) and Humboldt (channel 32 with 6.7 watts).


On August 12, a reorganization of the share structure of Yorkton Television Ltd. was approved by the CRTC. 34.5% of the common shares held jointly by G. S. and R. L. Skinner, and ten common shares held by G. S. Skinner, would be transferred to R. L. Skinner, L. R. Skinner, K. D. South and R. A. Skinner. Indirect control would then change with the transfer of 50% of the voting shares of Skinner Holdings Ltd. from G. S. Skinner to R. L. Skinner. Skinner Holdings held 63% of Yorkton Television. As a result of these transfers, R. L. (Ron) Skinner increased his ownership of Yorkton from 32% to approximately 81%.


Yorkton Television’s Carlyle tower fell in a winter storm.


On January 11, the CRTC renewed CKOS-TV’s licence until September 30, 1985. Yorkton Television purchased CKBI-TV and CIPA-TV Prince Albert.


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. 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.


Elizabeth Popowich became news director at CKOS-TV. After 30 years in management at CKOS-TV, Linus Westberg left for CKDM-AM in Dauphin.


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.


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.


At BBS Saskatchewan: Shirley Stus became Sales Manager. She had been a 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: 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.


Deryl Ring was no longer President of Baton Saskatchewan. Operations in the province now reported to Fred Filthaut at CFRN-TV Edmonton. Ring had held the position for four years.


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


Rumours had many of the big media companies eyeing CTV. In a surprise move, late in February, BCE (Canada telephone giant) through its subsidiary BCE Media, proposed to purchase CTV Inc. for $ 2.3 billion, the largest transaction in Canadian broadcasting. Later in March the CTV board approved the deal, which required CRTC approval. In June BCE submitted their brief to the CRTC with the largest “benefits package” ever presented to the regulative body. The benefits, money allocated over the proposed seven year licence term, were almost entirely to be spent on new Canadian programming. Ivan Fecan agreed to stay with the network under BCE ownership. The CRTC hearing was held in September and was approved on December 7th.


In October 2002, the CBC received CRTC approval to purchase the CKOS Yorkton (channel 5, effective radiated power of 54,600 watts), CFSS-TV Warmley (channel 3 with ERP of 56,000 watts) and CHSS-TV Wynyard (channel 6, ERP of 11,000 watts) from CTV Inc. The purchase also included CKBI-TV Prince Albert. These transmitters ceased to broadcast at midnight on October 27, whereupon they became rebroadcasters of CBKT-TV Regina. CKOS-TV Yorkton became CBKT-6. CFSS-TV Warmley became CBKT-7. CHSS-TV Wynyard became CBKT-8.

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