CKXT-DT, Sun News, Toronto
Craig Broadcast Systems Inc.
On April 8, Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. was awarded a television licence for Toronto, with a re-broadcasting transmitter in Hamilton. The new station operated in Toronto, on channel 52 with an effective radiated power of 59,000 watts, and in Hamilton on channel 45 with an effective radiated power of 10,000 watts.
After a short period of on-air testing, CKXT-TV Toronto-Hamilton signed on the air at 7 p.m., September 19. The station was known as “Toronto One”. The call letters reflected Craig’s roots with its CKX stations in Brandon, Manitoba.
On September 15, Toronto One Inc. (Craig) was given approval to decrease power for CKXT-TV Toronto, from 59,000 to 27,000 watts.
On April 10, CHUM Ltd. agreed to acquire Craig Media. Craig decided to sell due to a financial crisis brought on by weak results at its stations in the West and greater than expected losses for Toronto One. Because of its ownership of CITY-TV Toronto and CKVR-TV in nearby Barrie, CHUM would then sell Toronto One to another party.
On August 20, CHUM entered into an agreement for the sale of Toronto One to TVA Group Inc. (75%) and Sun Media Corp. (owner of the Toronto Sun – 25%).
On November 19, the CRTC approved the purchase of Craig Media by CHUM Ltd. and the sale of Toronto One (CKXT-TV Toronto, CKXT-TV-1 Hamilton, CKXT-DT Toronto and CKXT-DT-1 Hamilton) to TVA and Sun Media. Both TVA and Sun Media were controlled by Quebecor Media Inc., a corporation ultimately controlled by Les Placements Péladeau inc.
In August 2005, it was reported that Quebecor planned to rebrand Toronto One as SUN-TV, to identify the station with the Quebecor-owned Toronto Sun newspaper.
At the end of August, Toronto One became known as SunTV. The new name reflected the station’s ties with sister company (and part owner)…The Toronto Sun newspaper.
On September 14, Sun TV Company received approval to add analog transmitters for CKXT-TV at Ottawa and London. The Ottawa transmitter would operate on channel 54 with an average effective radiated power of 80,000 watts, and the transmitter in London would operate on channel 26 with an average ERP of 310,000 watts.
On the same date, CKXT-DT was authorized to add transitional digital television transmitters at Ottawa and London. The Ottawa transmitter would operate on channel 62 with an average effective radiated power of 4,600 watts, and the transmitter in London would operate on channel 19 with an average ERP of 4,300 watts.
CKXT was authorized to make technical changes to its London DT transmitter on channel 19. Maximum DTV ERP power was 8,100 watts with the average being 7,200 watts. Average would now be 7,000 watts. The original proposal called for a directional antenna. It would now be non-directional. Antenna height would increase from 281.7 metres to 313.6 metres. The same antenna site would be used. The studio to transmitter link would change from microwave to fibre-optic.
On June 17, the CRTC approved the application by Sun TV Company to change the channel of its Ottawa digital transmitter from 62C to 20C, and to increase the average effective radiated power from 4,600 watts to 5,100 watts. The licensee indicated that the changes were the result of it sharing the TV Ontario antenna instead of installing a separate new antenna system.
On May 15th, following a hearing that began on April 27th, the CRTC announced a one-year licence renewal, effective September 1st 2009, for several stations and groups of stations, including CKXT-TV, "....to give these broadcasters some flexibility during the current period of economic uncertainty." Further 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."
On June 15th, Quebecor Inc. announced that it would be asking for CRTC approval to launch a new 24 hour news channel on January 1st 2011. As part of the process, Toronto SunTV station CKXT-TV would be converted from a broadcaster to a national Category 1 digital speciality channel, with a requirement for cable and satellite distributors to carry the channel on at least one tier of their services.
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.
Michael Poelman became Sales Manager at Sun TV Toronto November 15. He had been Account Manager.
Jean Neveu died at the age of 70. He was chairman of the board at Quebecor, chairman of TVA Group and a director of Quebecor Media Inc. He joined Quebecor in 1969 as controller and occupied several management positions, including senior vice president. Jim Nelles, long-time vice president and general manager of SUN TV, was no longer with the Quebecor organization. SUN TV was now headed by vice president Kory Teneycke. Also gone from SUN: Don Gaudet, the general manager, programming and other programming staff.
On March 29, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for a number of conventional television and transitional digital television stations (including CKXT-TV) until August 31, 2012. The CRTC noted that it does 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. In addition, the Commission imposed the following condition of licence on the stations that operate in mandatory markets or on channels 52 to 69 outside the mandatory markets: Unless otherwise authorized by the Commission, the licensee shall not transmit analog television signals after 31 August 2011 in mandatory markets designated as such by the Commission in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2011-184 or transmit television signals on channels 52 to 69. The Commission also noted that, pursuant to Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-69, it does not intend to renew, beyond 31 August 2011, authorizations for the transitional digital transmitters included in the broadcasting licences of the licensees set out in the appendix to this decision. (CKXT-DT was renewed to August 31, 2011)
SUN News Network debuted at 4:30 p.m., April 19. On-air personalities included: Charles Adler, David Akin, Theo Caldwell, Jacqui Delaney, Krista Erickson, Ezra Levant, Brian Lilley, Alex Pierson and Heelam Verma.
On April 29, the CRTC approved the applications by Quebecor Media Inc, on behalf of TVA Group Inc., to amend the licence for CKXT-TV Toronto to add transitional and post-transition digital transmitters to serve Toronto and Hamilton. The post-transition digital transmitter serving Toronto would operate on channel 40 with an average effective radiated power of 16,000 watts (maximum ERP of 16,000 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 458 metres). The post-transition transmitter serving Hamilton would operate on channel 15 with an average ERP of 4,300 watts (maximum ERP of 9,100 watts with an EHAAT of 193.1 metres). The Commission noted that the licensee already operated two transitional digital transmitters. The existing transitional digital transmitters would continue to operate under the same technical parameters as the previously licensed transitional DTV undertakings: CKXT-DT Toronto operated on channel 66 with an average ERP of 3,000 watts (maximum ERP of 3,000 watts with an EHAAT of 458 metres); CKXT-DT-1 Hamilton operated on channel 15 with an average ERP of 4,100 watts (maximum ERP of 8,800 watts with an EHAAT of 193.1 metres).
Bryn Weese became Sun News Network's first foreign correspondent, opening a bureau in Washington.
It was announced that SUN News would discontinue its over-the-air broadcasting in October.
The deadline for the conversion of analog television to digital in mandatory markets was August 31. CKXT-TV went ahead with the conversion in Toronto and Hamilton. Analog channel 52 Toronto (CKXT-TV) was shut down and operations continued on CKXT-DT channel 66 - the transitional digital channel (virtual channel 52.1). Because over-the-air operations for CKXT were to end in October, the Toronto transmitter was to remain on this channel until shut down. CKXT-TV-1 channel 45 (analog) was shut down. It was replaced by digital channel (CKXT-DT-1) 15, which was already operational (virtual channel 45.1). CKXT Ottawa and London had been digital only as the licensed analog transmitters never went on the air. It was decided to shut down CKXT-DT-3 Ottawa at this time. It had been operating on transitional digital channel 20. CKXT-DT London carried on its operations on channel 19 (19.1).
The CRTC approved amendments to the licence of CKXT-TV Toronto in order to add transitional digital transmitters and new post-transition digital television transmitters at London and Ottawa. CKXT-DT-2 London would broadcast on channel 19. Effective radiated power would increase from 7,000 to 13,000 watts. A non-directional antenna would be used at the existing Byron antenna site. Program service would be provided by fibre optic cable. CKXT-DT-3 (PT) Ottawa would move from channel 20 to 33. Average ERP would increase from 5,100 to 6.700 watts (maximum from 9,300 to 13,000 watts). A directional antenna would be used. The existing antenna site would be used and programming would be fed by fibre optic. Effective antenna height would increase from 332.9 to 391.9 metres.
On October 31, over-the-air operation of CKXT-TV came to an end. SUN News Network carried on as a specialty television service only - available to cable and satellite subscribers only.
TVA Group Inc. requested the revocation of its broadcasting licence for CKXT-TV Toronto, and its related rebroadcasting transmitters CKXT-TV-1 Hamilton, CKXT-TV-2 London and CKXT-TV-3 Ottawa. The CRTC revoked the licence on November 18.