CFCL-TV

CFCL-TV, Timmins

CBC a re-broadcaster of CBLT Toronto

StationYearChannelNetwork AffiliateOwner/Info
CFCL-TV
2002
6
CBC-TV
CBC a re-broadcaster of CBLT Toronto
CFCL-TV
1999
6
CBC
CTV Inc.
CFCL-TV
1990
6
CBC
Baton Broadcasting Inc.
CFCL-TV
1980
6
CBC
Mid-Canada Communications
CFCL-TV
1956
6
CBC
J Conrad Lavigne Ltd.
1955

J. Conrad Lavigne, owner of CFCL-AM (on-air since 1951), was given federal approval to operate a television station at Timmins. It would broadcast on channel 6 with an effective radiated power of 18,500 watts video and 9,250 watts audio. 

CFCL-TV expected to open in the fall of 1956. Conrad Lavigne expected that 75% of the station's activities would be conducted in English and 25% in French. Lavigne was manager of CFCL Radio and would also run the TV station.

Approval was given for CFCL-TV-AM to be operated by J. Conrad Lavigne Enterprises Ltd. CFCL-AM had operated under the licensee name of J. Conrad Lavigne and the television licence was issued in that name - on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated.

1956

The first French language Radio station in Ontario was opened in 1950 by J. Conrad Lavigne and was an instant success. On June 21, J. Conrad Lavigne Enterprises Ltd. brought CFCL-TV Channel 6 on the air as an affiliate of the CBC English and French Networks, running some French programs in the mornings (It would remain with both networks for 30 years). 

With 28 hours of local live programming a week from two studios and one black & white camera, CFCL-TV proved the experts wrong as the local papers had originally called it "Lavigne’s Folly". Being hundreds ofamiles from any other TV signal meant the local audience wanted to see themselves, watch local talent, good bad or mediocre. 

Some of those early programs were; "Rene & Georgette" a musical team (30 min); "Northern Neighbors" (30 min. daily) - from out of town; "Ruff & Reddy" (2 hours Saturday morning for the kids) Hazel & Georgette (a one hour daily cooking show) "Northern Drama" (a half hour weekly play) "Reaching for the Stars" (Sunday Night one-hour amateur show); "Date with Marion" (a weekly puppet show); "Kids on Parade" (one hour weekly allocated to the 40 primary schools within a 60 mile radius - sponsored by five independent dairies); A half hour nightly Newscast - sponsored by 36 druggists from Kapuskasing to Haileybury at a cost of $1.00 each per day; Bands, trios, quartets, strings - by the dozen; "The Accordion" (a half hour once a week with one Italian, one Pole and one Ukrainian - all teachers); Mrs. Dorothy Lewis and her best ballet students (half hour weekly) Sunday morning was all religion with Baptist, Roman Catholics, Finns and Ukrainians, The Salvation Army and the Poles - talk about ecumenism. 

The first French language Radio station in Ontario was opened in 1950 by J. Conrad Lavigne and was an instant success. On June 21, J. Conrad Lavigne Enterprises Ltd. brought CFCL-TV Channel 6 on the air as an affiliate of the CBC English and French Networks, running some French programs in the mornings (It would remain with both networks for 30 years). 

With 28 hours of local live programming a week from two studios and one black & white camera, CFCL-TV proved the experts wrong as the local papers had originally called it "Lavigne’s Folly". Being hundreds ofamiles from any other TV signal meant the local audience wanted to see themselves, watch local talent, good bad or mediocre. 

Some of those early programs were; "Rene & Georgette" a musical team (30 min); "Northern Neighbors" (30 min. daily) - from out of town; "Ruff & Reddy" (2 hours Saturday morning for the kids) Hazel & Georgette (a one hour daily cooking show) "Northern Drama" (a half hour weekly play) "Reaching for the Stars" (Sunday Night one-hour amateur show); "Date with Marion" (a weekly puppet show); "Kids on Parade" (one hour weekly allocated to the 40 primary schools within a 60 mile radius - sponsored by five independent dairies); A half hour nightly Newscast - sponsored by 36 druggists from Kapuskasing to Haileybury at a cost of $1.00 each per day; Bands, trios, quartets, strings - by the dozen; "The Accordion" (a half hour once a week with one Italian, one Pole and one Ukrainian - all teachers); Mrs. Dorothy Lewis and her best ballet students (half hour weekly) Sunday morning was all religion with Baptist, Roman Catholics, Finns and Ukrainians, The Salvation Army and the Poles - talk about ecumenism.

Lavigne actually went on the air once a week. This was not a surprise considering he was a professional night club performer. His ten minute feature aired on Saturday nights and was called "The President's Corner". Lavigne would answer viewers' questions about television. Thousands of letters were the result. 

As of July 1, there were only 16 television sets in Timmins. In the November BBM ratings, there were now 16,000. There were only 150,000 people in the CFCL-TV service area.

1957

CFCL-TV conducted an experiment which allowed gold miners at the Hollinger mines in Timmins to watch television 200 feet below ground. The station's engineers took a 17 inch set down a mine shaft and the miners stopped working for five minutes so that they could see what reception would be like. It was fine. The engineers also tried the set at a thousand feet below the ground but the signal was not decent. Until now, it was felt TV signals would be blocked by solid mass mountains or large buildings. Perhaps the signal made it that low by being "bent" down a forced air vent shaft?

CFCL-TV was the only station north of Sudbury and North Bay. Northern Ontario communities are widely separated. Lavigne was being pressured from all sides to extend the station's signal. He built the first VHF re-broadcasting station in Canada at Kapuskasing. Similar installations would follow at other locations. Conrad Lavgine became known as the "Satellite Kid".

CFCL-TV Channel 6 was operating by this time with an effective radiated power of 18,500 watts video and 9,250 watts audio. (CFCL-TV-1 Kapuskasing - channel 3 - would have an ERP of 34,000 watts video and 17,000 watts audio. CFCL-TV-2 Elk Lake would have an ERP on channel 2 of 3,520 watts video and 1,760 watts audio. The Elk Lake transmitter will be located northwest of New Liskeard. Programming will be picked up directly from the channel 6 Timmins transmitter and be rebroadcast). CFCL-TV was a CBC basic affiliate. The station was owned by J. Conrad Lavigne Enterprises Ltd. (J. Conrad Lavigne 80.0%, Mrs. Marie J. Lavigne 19.9% and A.M. Blain 0.1%). J. Conrad Lavigne was president of the company. Rene Barrette was manager. Betty Shields was news director and Roch Demers was director of engineering.

CFCL-TV Channel 6 was operating by this time with an effective radiated power of 18,500 watts video and 9,250 watts audio. The station was owned by J. Conrad Lavigne Enterprises Ltd. (J. Conrad Lavigne 80.0%, Mrs. Marie J. Lavigne 19.9% and A.M. Blain 0.1%).

In the spring, Bell Telephone announced that it planned to build a microwave link between Ottawa and North Bay. This would help to extend the CBC French network to Timmins. At this point, CFCL-TV received programs from the French network via kinescope recordings. English network service was already provided by the Toronto to Winnipeg microwave chain.

By this time, CFCL-TV had 55 employees. The station was producing 16 hours of live programs each week and still using only one camera.

An ad towards the end of the year, promoted the two new rebroadcasting transmitters: "Three channels are better than one." The Kapuskasing and Kirkland Lake (Elk Lake) transmitters are members of "The Giant channel 6 family!"

CFCL-TV-3 went on the air at Kapuskasing (channel 3) on January 30. CFCL-TV-2 followed at Kearns on August 15.

CFCL-TV-1 Kirkland Lake (channel 2) opened. 

1958 

Ad slogans: CFCL-TV channel 6 Timmins, channel 3 Kapuskasing and soon channel 2 Elk Lake. Blanketing Northern Ontario from Cobalt to Kap. / Northern Ontario's most progressive station! July 1956 - CFCL-TV channel 6. November 1957 - CFCL-TV-1 channel 3. July 1958 - CFCL-TV-2 channel 2. Combined coverage...45,000 homes. Dollar for dollar your best buy in Northern Ontario. CFCL-TV (Your eager BEAVER station!). / Heap Big Coverage. Make your choice....CFCL-TV in Northern Ontario. Cover three markets with only one television. Buy at low cost with channels 6-3-2. 

CFCL-TV was now producing 16 hours a week of live programming with one camera. Jean DeVilliers was program director. Harold Lyon was art director. Rene Barrette was sales manager.

139 microwave units across Canada went into operation on July 1, carrying TV signals 3,900 miles over the longest microwave network in the world. The CBC's Dominion Day program "Memo to Champlain" inaugurated the system. The network linked together Canada's 40 privately owned TV stations and 8 CBC stations, providing live TV to 80% of the Canadian population between Victoria, B.C. and Sydney, N.S. Newfoundland was expected to be on the network in 1959. The CBC, in cooperation with CFRN-TV Edmonton, CKCK-TV Regina, CKLW-TV Windsor and CHSJ-TV Saint John, used the inaugural program as an electronic travelogue to visit 15 Canadian cities. The microwave network was called the Trans-Canada Skyway. 

1960

Ad: CFCL-TV Timmins offers over 30,000 captive television homes throughout the Timmins, Kirkland Lake and Kapuskasing markets.

Mario Cappadocio was production supervisor. Rene Barrette was station manager. Michael Duncan was art director. Harry Charbonneau was advertising manager. Vern Paul and Gus Mallette were in the sales department. 

An ad stated that CFCL-TV's increase to maximum power would provide coverage to over 50,000 households. 

CFCL-TV received permission to increase effective radiated power from 18,500 watts video and 9,250 watts audio to 100,000 watts video and 50,000 watts audio, and to increase antenna height (EHAAT) from 362 to 562 feet. The station expected to boost power and increase antenna height in July. 

Rene Barrette was general manager.

Ads: CFCL-TV Timmins provides the most economical and effective means of covering the entire Timmins, Kirkland Lake and Kapuskasing markets. / CFCL-TV Timmins offers over 30,000 captive television homes throughout the Timmins, Kirkland Lake and Kapuskasing markets. / CFCL-TV's increase to maximum power will provide top coverage to cover 50,000 households. 

1965

CFCL-TV had an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts video and 50,000 watts audio. J. Conrad Lavigne was president of J. Conrad Lavigne Enterprises.

CFCL-TV received approval for a rebroadcast transmitter at Malartic, Quebec. It went on the air as CFCL-TV-5 on December 17.

1967

On April 14, CFCL-TV-6 went on the air at Chapleau.

 

1968

Terry Coles was program director.

 

1969-70

In the fall of 1969, the CRTC considered four competing applications to establish second television service at Sudbury. These specific applications were denied on the grounds that, in view of the market's limited broadcasting base, the licensing of such service, at Sudbury only, would have rendered the extension of second service to other parts of the region unlikely for many years.

Accordingly, the Commission proposed an alternate framework to provide for the early introduction of second television service in Northern Ontario, which was predicated upon co-operation between the region's existing broadcasters and designed to preserve a balance between them. On the basis of this co-operative approach, J. Conrad Lavigne and Cambrian Broadcasting were subsequently licensed to provide CBC and CTV service respectively at each of Sudbury, Timmins, North Bay and other surrounding communities.

1970

On August 5, Cambrian Broadcasting Ltd. was authorized to switch CKSO-TV Sudbury’s network affiliation from CBC to CTV. This was connected with the approval this date for J. Conrad Lavigne Ltd. to operate a new television station in Sudbury which would provide CBC service.

 

1971

CKSO-TV’s rebroadcast transmitters went on the air. The Timmins transmitter – CKSO-TV-2 – was opened on April 1. It provided CTV network service to the region. CFCL-TV remained the CBC affiliate.

CFCL-TV-3 Kapuskasing was authorized to move from channel 3 to channel 2, increase effective radiated power from 75 watts video and 37.5 watts audio to 96 watts video and 19 watts audio, and decrease antenna height from 368 feet to 363 feet. The signal would remain directional. 

1972

To serve a vast area off-air pick up at such distances dictated unaffordable microwave from common carriers. In desperation Lavigne applied for his own microwave licenses and was surprised when approval was granted. The result was that by 1972 the station owned over 2,000 miles of private microwave, reportedly the longest privately-owned microwave in the world at the time, a superb aerial highway.

 

1973

CFCL-TV-2 Kearns was authorized to increase effective radiated video power from 14,600 watts video to 38,500 watts and to increase antenna height from 722 feet to 733 feet.

 

1976 

Cable brought in U.S. signals and the Global television signal.

 

1980

The viability of local services was the focus of a CRTC decision which approved applications whereby the competing CTV and CBC affiliated stations licensed to Cambrian and Lavigne came under the ownership of Mid-Canada, and under the ultimate control of Northern Cable Services Limited which owns 95.8% of Mid-Canada.

The Commission acknowledged the various factors which make Northern Ontario a difficult and unusually expensive market to serve. The marginal profitability and frequent financial losses encountered by Lavigne and Cambrian in the operation of their CBC and CTV television affiliate services provided clear evidence of these difficulties. The relatively slow growth rate of the area's economy, the escalating costs of program production and acquisition, increasing cable penetration and the introduction of additional television services were identified as placing further strains on the viability of over-the-air broadcasting services in the region. 

The Commission said that it viewed the purchase of the CBC related assets by Mid-Canada as being a realistic interim measure towards achievement of the goal of improved television service in the region, and noted the applicant's statement that this was an "in trust" arrangement until the CBC had sufficient funds to purchase the transmitters and associated equipment. The Commission also noted the applicant's commitment to offer the CBC the opportunity to buy or rent surplus equipment for the production of a CBC regional news service. 

As stated above, Mid-Canada is owned 95.8% by Northern. The largest shareholder of Northern is CUC Limited with 48.3% of the outstanding voting shares. CUC Limited has extensive cable television interests across Southern Ontario and is deemed to be controlled by G.R. Conway and its other founding shareholders. The remaining 51.7% of Northern's voting shares are owned by Northern Ontario investors who also form a majority on Northern's Board of Directors. The largest of these is The Sudbury Broadcasting Company Limited, which owns 20.1% of Northern's voting shares and is controlled by F. Baxter Ricard. Mr. Ricard has been involved in broadcasting in Northern Ontario since the late 1940's and is a long-time associate of G.R. Conway.

1981

CFCL-TV’s rebroadcast transmitter at Hearst was sold to the CBC.

 

1982

The CBC aquired CFCL-TV-5 Malartic (Quebec) and CFCL-TV-6 Chapleau.

 

1984

On September 5, the CBC was authorized to change the program source for CFCL-TV-5 Malartic from CFCL-TV Timmins to CBMT Montreal, received via satellite. The change would provide the Malartic area with programming that originates from Quebec.

On December 31, Mid-Canada received approval to change the program source for the microwave feed to CFCL-TV-2 Kearns from CKNC-TV Sudbury to CFCL-TV Timmins. It was felt the local programming of CFCL-TV would be more relevant to the residents of Kearns who identify more with Timmins than with Sudbury.

1989

When CFCL-TV had its licence renewed, it was noted that the CBC affiliate, committed to broadcast an average of 7 hours and 49 minutes of original local programs per week during the new licence term. CFCL-TV, together with local native people, currently produces "Spirit Alive", which the licensee describes as "a program with spiritual values specifically directed at the native population". The Commission notes that this program is also broadcast by the licensee's CBC affiliates in Sudbury and North Bay and by CHRO-TV Pembroke. Programs produced in co-operation with the licensee's other stations or produced by them and broadcast by CFCL-TV are the same as those broadcast by CHNB-TV North Bay.

In its renewal application, Mid-Canada described the area served by its twin stick operation in Timmins as being "rather large because of the rebroads: We go up into Kapuskasing and then we go all the way into Rouyn." For this reason, it noted, "the numbers of the people and staff members that serve from the Timmins station are spread over a much greater area than the others". The licensee stated that, in addition to those in Timmins, it has staff members working out of Kapuskasing, Kirkland Lake and Rouyn/Noranda. 

1990

Baton Broadcasting Inc. of Toronto purchased Mid-Canada Communications (Canada) Corp. from Northern Cable Holdings Ltd. The purchase included CHRO-TV (CBC) Pembroke, CICI-TV (CTV) and CKNC-TV (CBC) Sudbury, CITO-TV (CTV) and CFCL-TV (CBC) Timmins, and CHNB-TV (CBC) and CKNY-TV (CTV) North Bay and their respective rebroadcasters. At the same time, Mid-Canada (Baton) purchased CHBX-TV (CTV) and CJIC-TV (CBC) Sault Ste. Marie from Huron Broadcasting Ltd. The CRTC approved these transactions on October 22. Baton, is controlled by members of the Eaton family of Toronto through their indirect ownership of a majority of Baton's voting shares.

 

1994

On September 1, Nation's Capital Television Inc. amalgamated with CFTO-TV Ltd., South West Ontario Broadcasting Inc. and Mid-Canada Communications (Canada) Corp. to become BBS Ontario Inc. (All were Baton subsidiaries)

 

1995

On January 23, the CRTC approved the application to amend the licence for CFCL-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 May 11, BBS Ontario Incorporated was authorized to relocate the CFCL-TV and CITO-TV transmitters and transmitting antennas and increase in power for CITO-TV. The tower would be located at a site 29 kilometres from the presently authorized location. In support of its request, the licensee stated that, contrary to when it was originally constructed, the tower is now located in a residential area. The licensee claims that the aging tower needs to be replaced. 

Baton Broadcasting laid off 25 employees at MCTV in Northern Ontario. Local news was replaced with regional coverage on weekends. City councillors in Sault Ste. Marie asked BBS to reconsider the layoffs. 

1996-97

Mid-Canada Television's George Lund was named vice president of Baton Broadcasting's Ontario stations.

 

1998

On January 27, the Eaton family sold its 41% interest in Baton. 

John White Hughes Bassett (longtime head of Baton) passed away on April 27. 

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

2000

In February, Bell Canada Enterprises through its subsidiary BCE Media, proposed to purchase CTV Inc. for $ 2.3 billion. 

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 the ownership application was approved on December 7th. 

2001

BCE entered into an agreement with The Woodbridge Company Limited and The Thomson Corporation (owners of The Globe and Mail newspaper). Bell Globemedia Inc. was formed by these companies. Bell Globemedia became the parent of CTV Inc. 

In November, MCTV stations in North Bay and Timmins lost their local newscasts. All news now came from CICI-TV Sudbury. Short local inserts were produced for the other two stations.

2002

On October 10, the CRTC approved the application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to amend the broadcasting licence for the television station CBLT Toronto in order to operate the following transmitters: CFCL-TV-3 Kapuskasing (channel 2 with effective radiated power of 984 watts), CFCL-TV-2 Kearns (channel 2 with ERP of 38,500 watts), CHNB-TV North Bay (channel 4 with ERP of 60,800 watts), CJIC-TV Sault Ste. Marie (channel 5 with ERP of 37,900 watts), CKNC-TV Sudbury (channel 9 with ERP of 115,500 watts) and CFCL-TV Timmins (channel 6 with ERP of 100,000 watts). The transmitters are currently owned and operated by CTV Television Inc. as CBC affiliated stations. Following negotiations with CTV, the CBC has agreed to purchase the transmitters in order to provide the full CBC English-language television network service to the communities noted above. Residents of these communities will continue to receive CTV's original local programs on CTV owned-and-operated affiliated stations.

CFCL-TV (and the others listed above) ceased to broadcast at midnight on October 27, whereupon they became rebroadcasters of the CBLT Toronto signal. The call letters were changed as follows: CFCL-TV-3 Kapuskasing = CBLT-9, CFCL-TV-2 Kearns = CBLT-8, CHNB-TV North Bay = CBLT-4, CJIC-TV Sault Ste. Marie = CBLT-5, CKNC-TV Sudbury = CBLT-6 and CFCL-TV Timmins = CBLT-7.

2003

CFCL Radio and TV's founder J. Conrad Lavigne passed away in April. He was 86.

 

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