Ralph T. Snelgrove, owner of CKBB Radio, filed an application with the CBC for a television licence. He proposed to use channel 3 with an effective radiated power of 14,000 watts video and 7,000 watts audio. The company that would operate the TV station was to be known as Ralph Snelgrove Television Ltd. Snelgrove's application was objected to by CFOR-AM Orillia and Toronto's CKFH-AM. They wanted the matter deferred so they could have time to file their own television applications. In September, the CBC Board of Governors recommended the Snelgrove application for approval. It was believed by many that one of the reasons the CBC granted Snelgrove a licence for channel 3 (a CBC affiliate) was because it would block out competition to the CBC from Buffalo's channels 2 (WGR) and 4 (WBEN). However, technical experts said channel 3 might block those American channels in the immediate Barrie area but the signals would not likely be affected in the Toronto area. Snelgrove likely had planned to orignally call his TV station CKBB-TV to go along with CKBB-AM. An ad from the Paul Mulvihill sales representation firm congratulated Snelgrove on "CKBB-TV Channel 3". As for Snelgrove himself, he was President of CKVR-TV and CKBB-AM. He started in broadcasting at age 17, fixing radio sets. When he was 21, he was operating his own Truestone Recording Studio. At 24, Snelgrove went to Owen Sound to establish CFOS. In 1949, he moved to Barrie to build and operate CKBB. He was now ready to launch his own television station.
| Ralph Snelgrove
Following last year's approval of Ralph Snelgrove Television Limited's television application by the CBC Board of Governors, the proposal had now received the blessing of the federal Department of Transport. The D.O.T. usually approved CBC recommendations quickly but delayed on this one for some unknown reason. Ralph Snelgrove proposed to have his TV station on the air August 31 - the 6th anniversary of his radio station - CKBB. Proposed call letters for the new station were now CJRS-TV, with the "RS" for Ralph Snelgrove. As the year went along, Snelgrove made it known that the call sign would be CKVR-TV and not CKBB-TV or CJRS-TV. The following advertising slogan proved the point: "CKVR Barrie Channel 3 - Serving The Heart of Ontario". The "VR" in the call sign: the V for Valerie (Ralph's wife), the R for Ralph.
The following people were on CKVR's board of directors: R. Stanley Dilworth, President of Dilworth Equipment Ltd. of Toronto, as Vice President; H.L. Van Wyck, an Owen Sound lawyer, as Secretary. W. Elmer Webster of Barrie, as Treasurer. Paul Mulvihill, head of his own sales representation firm, and former Barrie mayor Peter A. Sinclair were also on the board.
CKVR-TV became a member of CARTB (CAB).
Ground was broken for the new studio building in the spring. Eloise and Toby Snelgrove turned the first sod. Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Snelgrove, and contractor Don Emery were on hand to view the proceedings. An interesting feature of the studio building would be the corridor between the radio and TV studios - it would be wide enough to enable cameras to move along and be used in the radio studios in an emergency. At this time, Snelgrove was aiming for a September 15 opening date with local programs and CBC shows right off the microwave. Installation of the 5,000 watt General Electric transmitter was to commence in the summer. When completed, it would be located in the new studio building being constructed for CKVR and CKBB. The microwave link was now under construction.
Charles "Chuck" Tierney was named CKVR Sales Manager. He had been manager at CJFX Radio in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, for the past 2 1/2 years. His appointment was effective August 1. Claude Baikie was named Production Manager. He had been with CHCH-TV Hamilton. Bill Harrington became News Director. Frank Fogg headed up the art department. Jack Mattenley was Chief Engineer and Operations Manager. Ralph Snelgrove would personally manager CKVR while brother, Bert would manage CKBB and be Assistant Manager and Comptroller for CKVR.
September arrived and Snelgrove was aiming for opening on the 28th with the first World Series (baseball) telecast. In mid-month workers finished painting the inside and outside of the studio building. CKVR Channel 3 did begin broadcasting on the 28th. Studios, offices, transmitter, and 225 foot tower were located just south of Barrie, along Highway 27. CKVR was with the CBC microwave system right from the start. The station's initial coverage area was from Orillia (and into Muskoka District) in the north, Owen Sound in the west, Peterborough to the east, and south, almost to the suburbs of Toronto. Many residents in these areas would now get their first taste of television according to Ralph Snelgrove. The station's first Orthicon was purchased only because they were able to get the Shell people to sponsor the Weather, done by Charlie Tierney.
Canadian Professional Football games, including the Grey Cup final, would be seen live from Vancouver on inter-connected Eastern stations. Delayed telecasts would be seen on all other stations on either the Sunday or Monday following the game. The 10 connected stations in the East were: CBLT, CBOT, CBMT, CHCH, CFPL, CKCO, CKLW, CKWS, CHEX, and CKVR. These stations would carry 20-26 games. Fourteen games would be seen on CKSO, CJIC and CFPA...stations not connected to the microwave. In the West, seven stations would carry kinescopes of the games to be played in Western Inter-provincial Football: CBWT, CKX, CKCK, CFQC, CHCT, CFRN and CBUT.
Ralph Snelgrove was elected chairman of the Barrie Public School Board.
By this time CKVR was operating with an effective radiated power of 26,700 watts video and 13,300 watts audio. The station was a CBC affiliate. Ownership of Ralph Snelgrove Television Limited: R. T. Snelgrove 50.2%, R. S. Dilworth 13.9%, P. Mulvihill 6.6%, P. A. Sinclair 5.6%, A. Webster 5.6%, Mrs. E. V. Snelgrove 9.2%, five other shareholders 8.9%. Ralph Snelgrove was president of the company. Other management at the time: Jack Mattenley (operations manager and director of engineering), Charles Tierney (commercial manager and farm director), Everett Smith (program director), Bill Harrington (news director), Bob McLean (sports director), and Ted Delaney, Sales Manager.
On June 1, CFOR Radio in Orillia lost all of its transmission equipment in a fire. In his bid to help out, Ralph Snelgrove got federal approval to carry CFOR's broadcasts over channel 3's audio frequency. This never took place because with a lot of help, CFOR was able to return to the air the following morning. Some of that assistance came from Snelgrove's brother Gary. He worked for a Toronto firm that made a special job on a new 1570 kHz crystal for CFOR's new transmitter.
In the summer a new 704 foot tower replaced the old 225 footer. A nine ton, 104 foot antenna was raised to the top of the 600 foot tower. Sixty-one CKBB and CKVR employees were evacuated from the studio building during the erection process for safety reasons. When completed, CKVR had the highest TV tower in Canada. An ad that came out before the new tower went up stated, "Soon! Canada's highest TV tower...giving CKVR Canada's Greatest Coverage...giving advertisers Canada's Greatest TV Value. CKVR-TV ch. 3 - Serving the Heart of Ontario from Barrie".
Slogan: CKVR-TV - The Buy-Road to one hundred communities.
CKVR began telecasting all-night on Fridays as of March 14. On the first night the premiere performance showing of Luck of the Irish aired at 11:30 p.m. Feature movies aired right through to sign-off at 9:00 on Saturday morning. If the overnight program was successful, CKVR would consider extending it to other nights of the week. All Night Theatre aired after the network movie every Friday night, screening two feature films and then repeating them. There was a commercial break every 20 minutes which was accompanied by news, weather and sports. They even sometimes showed pictures of Canada's most wanted men. The commercial and information segments of the program were hosted by Don Gray, followed by Bill Bennett. After a time, CKVR started the Night Owl Club, complete with membership card. Because of viewer response, CKVR was able to determine it was getting out to about 75 to 80 miles radius around Barrie...Toronto, Hamilton, Peterborough, Owen Sound, Guelph. The CKVR-TV coverage area was known as "VR-Land".
Charles M. Tierney was appointed general sales manager and promotion manager for CKVR. Ted Delaney became regional sales manager for CKVR and CKBB-AM. Dick Cutler was now regional sales supervisor for TV. Eric Jackson was radio sales supervisor. Robert Hunter continued on as radio manager.
Ad slogan: CKVR is the dominant station for 102,000 TV homes plus a lush captive summer audience upcoming...
CKVR applied for an increase in effective radiated power - from 26,700 watts video and 13,300 watts audio - to 100,000 watts video and 50,000 watts audio. The CBC Board of Governors approved the technical change, stating the power boost would extend service to an area north of Barrie where TV service was not now effectively available. The board said the extended coverage to Canadians outweighed arguments that the increase in power might affect fringe reception of some U.S. stations in some areas. A Midland cable system had said an increase in power on channel 3 would interfere with Buffalo's channels 2 and 4.
Ralph Snelgrove advised Tower TV Ltd. (cable) of Midland against reproducing CKVR's programming. He said failure to heed the warning would mean a lawsuit under the Copyright Act.
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.
A print ad was promoting the fact that CKVR would soon be operating with 100,000 watts video and 50,000 watts audio. The station was scheduled to up its power on November 1.
Dick Cutler left CKVR-TV/CKBB-AM sales after seven years, to be Canadian rep for Romper Room Inc. (producer of the children's TV show). Wendy Hicks hosted a women's show on CKVR.
Ads: Channel 3 Barrie offers the second largest daily circulation of any private Ontario station (Elliott-Haynes). / Two doors to...the heart of Ontario - CKVR TV channel 3 Barrie (100,000 watts) / CKBB Radio dial 950 (soon 10,000 watts).
Allan F. Waters (president of CHUM Toronto) and Ralph Snelgrove (president of CKBB/CKVR-TV Barrie) signed a deal to purchase CKPT which only went on the air last November. The sale was subject to BBG approval. Waters and Snelgrove would take over as controlling managers until the regulatory approval. The BBG recommended the transfer for approval (to Watergrove Investments - Snelgrove was president of Watergrove and Waters was vice president)
H.J. Snelgrove was appointed assistant GM of CKVR and VP of CKBB. Harold Atkinson, former technical supervisor, was named chief engineer for both stations. George Harper was appointed regional sales manager of CKVR. He would be responsible to operations manager Jack Mattenley while Harper would direct all sales activity in the station's coverage area. CKVR general sales manager Charles Tierney would take on expanded duties in the national field. Vern Furber was named local sales manager for CKBB and Donald MacDonald was appointed retail sales supervisor for CKVR. All appointments were effective May 1.
Ads: Canada's only All Night Theatre returns to channel 3 Barrie on July 1. / Daytime and Nightime too, it pays to use the most effective and economical medium north of Toronto. CKVR-TV channel 3 Barrie.
The BBG turned down colour telecasting for now. There was mixed reaction to the decision. Ralph Snelgrove said, "I think the present form in which colour TV finds itself is a dead duck".
Country Junction had been airing on CKVR for four years.
Ad: Remarkable Market. More TV homes than London & Kingston combined. More Retail Sales than Calgary & Lethbridge combined. More Drug Sales than Halifax, Sydney, St. John & Moncton combined. More Food Sales than London, Kitchener & Sudbury combined. 91% viewing in this area is on channel 3. 63,000 TV Homes (Average prime time delivered audience in excess of 40,000 homes). CKVR-TV Channel 3 Barrie.
CKVR established a rebroadcast transmitter at Parry Sound.
Peter Emmerson joined the CKVR staff.
Channel 3’s Huntsville rebroadcast transmitter went on the air.
CKVR-TV had an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts video and 50,000 watts audio. The Parry Sound rebroadcaster operated on channel 11 and had a power of 5,000 watts. Channel 8 was used at Huntsville and power was 115 watts video and 49 watts audio. The Haliburton transmitter operated on channel 5. Ralph Snelgrove was President of Ralph Snelgrove Television Ltd. and general manager of CKVR. H. J. Snelgrove was Assistant Manager. Jack Mattenley was Operations Manager.
Geoff Stirling, owner of such stations as CKWW in Windsor and CKGM in Montreal, and Allan F. Waters, owner of Radio CHUM-1050 Ltd. of Toronto, offered to buy a two thirds interest (each holding a third) in CKVR-TV. Station founder and majority shareholder Ralph Snelgrove would continue to hold a one third interest. Snelgrove’s CKBB-AM would not be affected by the proposal. At the time of the announcement, Stirling stated that there were no plans to relocate CKVR or to establish a transmitter at Richmond Hill, making it more of a Toronto station. He did admit that they had talked about the possibility though.
The Board of Broadcast Governors approved the change in ownership later in the year.
The Board of Broadcast Governors had approved a move of CKVR-TV's antenna to Palgrave. Because of opposition, the application was sent back to the BBG for re-assessment. The proposed antenna site would be about 30 miles south of Palgrave, 20 miles north of Toronto.
In June, CKVR was granted an increase in audio effective radiated power from 12,500 to 13,500 watts. Video ERP remained 100,000 watts. Antenna height would be raised from 820 to 1,267 feet and the pattern would remain omni-directional.
Wayne Bjorgan was named general manager of CKBB-CKCB. He had been with CKBB for six years, the past four as news director of CKBB and CKVR.
There were plans by Ralph Snelgrove, Geoff Stirling and Allan Waters to sell CKVR-TV to Saturna Properties, a subsidiary of Western Broadcasting Co. Ltd. Under the plan, Snelgrove would remain as president. The deal required federal approval.
CKVR introduced an hour-long "Evening Report", covering news, sports, weather and comment. It aired from 6-7 p.m. , Monday to Friday. The expanded format allowed the news and sports departments to present more detailed and in-depth coverage of local, regional, national and international events.
An application was filed to transfer 11,355 shares owned by Ralph Snelgrove Television Ltd. (CKVR-TV Barrie, CKVR-TV-1 Parry Sound, CKVR-TV-2 Huntsville and CKVR-TV-3 Haliburton) to Saturna Properties Ltd., a subsidiary of Western Broadcasting Co. Ltd. The application was later withdrawn because of certain other acquisitions by Saturna (Western). Ralph Snelgrove said there were no further plans to sell the station.
On May 23, CHUM Ltd. announced it would acquire Geoff Stirling's 1/3 interest in CKVR-TV. This would give CHUM control of the station. Ralph Snelgrove (1/3) would continue as president and general manager, and as a director of CHUM Ltd. Earlier, Western Broadcasting's purchase of channel 3 was abandoned because WBC acquired larger interests in CHAN-TV Vancouver and CHEK-TV Victoria.
Canada's first all-nite theatre was introduced by CKVR for stay-up-later's ten years ago when movies were programmed from midnight to dawn each Friday night. The tradition was to continue again this year, as of June 28. Programming featured top rated movies including current productions, concluding at about 6 a.m. Saturday. At regular intervals, CKVR would present brief news and weather reports during the broadcast. Promotion manager Gord Wallace said most cable systems throughout Southern and Central Ontario, including Metro Toronto, now carried CKVR's signal.
On December 2, approval was given for the transfer of 3,785 common shares of Ralph Snelgrove Television Ltd. (CKVR-TV, CKVR-TV-1 Parry Sound, CKVR-TV-2 Huntsville, CKVR-TV-3 Haliburton) from Geoffrey W. Sterling to CHUM Ltd.
Peter Head was a producer. H.J. (Bert) Snelgrove was assistant manager.
CKVR would be staying put in Barrie. The CRTC ruled that channel 3 would continue to be used in its present location in order to maintain local service in the Barrie area. This CRTC decision reversed one by the BBG which gave CKVR permission to move its antenna to Palgrave, 25 miles north of Metro Toronto.
CKVR was affiliated with CHUM Limited's new Canadian Contemporary News System.
Charles M. Tierney was appointed director of marketing, promotion and research. He had been general sales manager and had held a senior position with the station since its inception. John Wood was named general sales manager, responsible for national and retail sales. He was new to the station.
Slogan: Canada's Fastest Growing Television Station.
On March 25, the application to make technical changes to rebroadcast transmitter CKVR-TV-3 at Haliburton was denied because it was in conflict with the CRTC’s new Northern Ontario television policy. CKVR had proposed to change the transmitter’s channel from 5 to 4, increase the effective radiated power from 100 watts video and 50 watts audio (directional) to 2,500 watts video and 500 watts audio (directional), and increase the antenna height from 149 feet to 411 feet using a new antenna site.
On December 23, permission was granted for the transfer of 3,785 common voting shares of Ralph Snelgrove Television Ltd. from the present shareholders to CHUM Ltd. CHUM already had a two-thirds interest. It would now hold 100%. CKVR founder Ralph Snelgrove would become a CHUM Limited board member.
CKVR completed its first full year of colour broadcasting after equipping the studio with colour cameras and video tape equipment.
On March 21, Ralph Snelgrove Television Ltd. was authorized to increase CKVR’s antenna height from 820 to 1,118 feet. Construction of the new tower began.
Connie Smith joined CKVR-TV from CFRB, where she had been a "Good News" reporter.
Susan Hughes headed CKVR's news department.
The new 1,000 foot tower was completed (same site), replacing the old 350 foot tower. Power was 100,000 watts video and 12,500 watts audio. This extended coverage into Parry Sound, Haliburton, Victoria, Dufferin, all of York Region and parts of Toronto. As a result, the rebroadcast transmitters became redundant. The Haliburton transmitter ceased operation almost immediately.
Connie Smith left for CHCH-TV Hamilton.
CKVR Channel 3 Ltd. was authorized to change the channel of CKVR-TV-1 Parry Sound from channel 11 to 12. This was due to CKCO-TV Kitchener being granted a rebroadcast transmitter on channel 11 at Dwight, near Huntsville.
In view of the adequate signal now received from channel 3 in Barrie, the station was authorized to permanently shut-down the Haliburton rebroadcast transmitter.
CKVR had been planning to move the Haliburton transmitter to a new site, reduce power and change the channel from 5 to 6.
At 6:25 p.m. on September 7, a private aircraft dropped altitude to 500 feet in dense fog, struck the 1000 foot CKVR-TV tower, killing all five on the plane and destroying the tower and antenna. The station's 225 foot auxiliary tower was also destroyed and there was some damage to the main studio. The tower also supported the CHAY-FM antenna, CKBB-AM's STL, CBLFT-TV's channel 55 antenna, as well as paging and other communications systems. The CKVR antenna was a six bay RCA turnstile. On the following morning, the use of a 400' tower was secured from the CBC. The first sections of the new temporary tower were lifted into place on September 10. On fall launch day - September 19 - CKVR's antenna was hoisted into place along with those for CBLFT and CHAY. The transmission line was also put in place. Work on the tower was done and tests were made. At 8:35 p.m. on the 19th, the transmitter was fired up and a color bar test pattern was run. At 8:55 p.m., CKVR vice president and general manager Jack Mattenley went on the air with a message of sympathy and words of gratitude. CKVR was back on the air using a temporary 400' tower and reduced power of 40,000 watts.
A new 1,000 foot tower was completed.
Bob McIntyre was CKVR's weatherman and Steve Ruddick joined the station's staff.
In a review of television licenses in the Toronto region, CKVR-TV was told by the CRTC to strengthen its regional news service. It was noted that three programs of local musical talent had been undertaken for the current season.
George Bryson was on at at CKVR.
In renewing television licenses in the Toronto-Hamilton-Barrie area, the CRTC again complained about the failure of the stations to develop quality Canadian programs, particularly drama, musicals and children's shows. The CKVR-TV licence was renewed for two years and nine months.
Ralph Snelgrove sold his radio stations in Barrie and Collingwood to Kawartha Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (Power Corp.).
All CHUM Limited divisions amalgamated, CKVR's corporate name changed from CKVR Channel 3 Ltd. to CHUM Ltd.
On May 31st, a very intense tornado cut a swath through Barrie, just a short distance from CKVR's studio and tower, killing 12 people and destroying many homes and businesses. The station spent that summer helping the people of Barrie recover and rebuild, a very emotional time for all. The station held a day-long telethon in June to raise funds for the victims of the tornadoes.
George Bryson left CKVR to work for CFTO sports in Toronto.
Tony Panacci became news director at CKVR, replacing Terry Field who moved to CBC Windsor.
Suzanne Legue was hosting the public affairs program, "Close Up".
At the request of the CBC, CKVR applied to the CRTC to disaffiliate from the network. The station proposed to operate a twin-stick operation. CKVR would become independent. New transmitters would be established at Barrie and Bala – along with the existing Huntsville transmitter – these would operate as CBC affiliates – offering the complete English network schedule.
CKVR-TV Barrie (and CKVR-TV-1 Huntsville) as an independent station, would offer a new service featuring "documentary-entertainment programming highlighting the areas of nature, science and technology, history, travel, countries and people and human adventure". More than sixty hours per week of such programming would be presented.
CKVR-TV proposed to offer program fare that would be an alternative to viewers in the greater Toronto area, and for this reason, the CRTC was of the view that the station could not operate as an independent station serving the Barrie area without compromising the station's local orientation. This concern outweighed the benefits associated with the extension of full CBC network service to the areas in question. CKVR’s licence was renewed August 4 but disaffiliation from the CBC was denied.
At the CRTC hearing, CHUM stirred up a hornets' nest over the CKVR disaffiliation plan. Allan Waters was attacked by Magna International (45% owner of CKAN-AM), Global, and Multilingual Television (Rogers). They complained that CHUM was trying to sneak a new independent station into the Toronto market through the back door. With the disaffiliation, CHUM was also seeking a second TV licence for Barrie, which would rebroadcast the entire CBC program schedule. Ron Waters, CKVR's general manager, told the CRTC that the CBC approached CHUM about the disaffiliation plan. Magna led the opposition based on the contention that the CRTC should have given other companies a chance to compete with CHUM for what they felt was a new licence to operate an independent station. MTV president James Sward said CHUM's plan to beam the newly independent CKVR into the Toronto market would put CFMT in an extremely precarious position. Global president David Mintz and marketing manager Roger Hone accused CHUM of severely understating the amount of revenue CKVR and the new CBC-only station would generate and belittled CKVR's program spending estimates. They all went as far as arguing that CKVR, which had been carried on Toronto cable systems for 25 years, should be forced out of the city altogether.
Renovations of the CKVR building were completed.
Ralph T. Snelgrove, founder of CKVR-TV and CKBB-CKCB Radio passed away March 27 after a long illness. He was 75. Snelgrove had been a member of the board of the CAB in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1980s, he had been a member of Barrie city council. He had also been on the board of directors of CHUM Limited.
Dennis FitzGerald retired in September as vice president and general manager of CITY-TV in Toronto. Taking over was Ron Waters, VP/GM of CKVR-TV and station manager of MuchMusic.
On November 22, the CRTC approved a power increase for CKVR-TV-2 (channel 8) Huntsville, from 115 watts to 42,000 watts. On December 31st Jack Mattenley reitred from CKVR-TV after 31 years with the station.
Jack Mattenley retired as general manager.
Cindy Burgess joined CKVR to anchor Total News at 11. Jayne Stafford became a reporter at the station.
News anchor Sharon Burkhart marked ten years with CKVR-TV.
Suzanne Legue was named anchor for Total News at 12:30.
Bob McIntyre was CKVR's weatherman.
CHUM Ltd. received approval to disaffiliate CKVR from the CBC Television network and become and independent station. Despite reorganization and layoffs, CHUM projected a plus $5 million loss at CKVR during the period 1990-95. The company estimated that ad revenues would increase by $3.5 million by the fourth year of independent operation, as a result of the sale of time now reserved for CBC programs and a 25% increase in audience in the Toronto market. Some 17 hours a week of programming from CHUM-owned CITY-TV in Toronto would air on the independent CKVR.
On January 23, the CRTC approved the application to amend the licence for CKVR-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 March 24, the CRTC renewed the licence for CKVR-TV Barrie, CKVR-TV-1 Parry Sound and CKVR-TV-2 Huntsville until August 31, 2000. The Commission, during this five-year licence term, intended to assess carefully the licensee's performance in maintaining a local focus in the programming service provided by CKVR-TV to viewers in Barrie, Parry Sound, Huntsville and surrounding areas. The Commission expected the licensee to ensure that the primary focus of the station continue to be the audiences of Barrie and Central Ontario. The Commission noted the licensee's production of such local specials as "Save Our Lake" in co-operation with the Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority, and other specials promoting local talent. In 1994, the Commission approved the disaffiliation of CKVR-TV from the CBC television network. The Commission noted at that time that CHUM Limited, with common ownership of CITY-TV Toronto and a newly-independent CKVR-TV Barrie, would have a potentially unfair competitive advantage in the Toronto market, through its ability to present programming to that audience on two different television stations, only one of which was licensed to serve Toronto as its primary market, although both were available on cable in the market. The Commission carefully reviewed all of the information related to this matter and was satisfied that the concerns raised in 1994 were significant but would be adequately addressed by the imposition of a condition of licence that prohibited CKVR-TV from broadcasting non-Canadian feature films which were not simulcast on CITY-TV, during more than one evening per week.
The soon to be independent CKVR signed with NBC International to carry "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno, "Late Night" with Conan O'Brien and "Later" with Greg Kinnear. In the fall, the station (along with sister station CITY-TV in Toronto) would begin carrying Toronto Raptors NBA basketball games.
On September 1, CKVR-TV ended its 40 year relationship with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. On that date, CKVR-TV became known as "The New VR", an independent television station. CKVR also gave up its rebroadcast transmitters. To fill in the gap in the CBC's coverage area, the network opened rebroadcast transmitters of CBLT Toronto at Barrie, Huntsville and Parry Sound. Moses Znaimer was The New VR's Executive Producer and Doug Garraway was Vice President and General Manager. Before the end of the year, long time Production Manager Gary McIntrye left the station.
Some of the on-air names at this time: Lance Chilton (news anchor), Bob McIntyre (weather), and reporters Roger Klein, Anne Marie Green and Jayne Pritchard.
Broadcast of the Toronto Raptors (NBA) came to an end on The New VR after the four-year contract ran out. The games would now be seen on CTV Sportsnet.
Jack Mattenley was invited to join the CHUM Board, where he served for six years.
The New VR hired three new journalists: Bruce Harris and Laura Earl both came from CHEX-TV in Peterborough; Rob Cooper joined from CKPG-TV in Prince George, B.C.
Peggy Hebden was director of programs and acquisitions for the NewNet stations (including CKVR). Doug Garraway is CKVR's general manager.
Gisele Danis joined The New VR as anchor/reporter. She had been manager of promotions and communications for Walt Disney Canada.
George Bryson was back at CKVR by this time after spending a number of years at CFTO in Toronto.
On August 2, The New VR was re-branded as A Channel (Barrie-Toronto).
On July 12 it was announced that Bell Globemedia would pay C$1.7 billion for CHUM Ltd., in a deal that would see the company become part of the BCE-owned media conglomerate, subject to CRTC approval. On August 31, the two companies announced that BGM had been successful in its offer to acquire approximately 6.7 million common shares and approximately 19.2 million non-voting Class B shares of CHUM. The shares were to be placed in the hands of an independent trustee pursuant to a voting trust agreement approved by the CRTC.
On November 22, the CRTC approved the transfer of effective control of CHUM Limited from Mr. Allan Waters to his estate, following his death in December 2005. The approval represented the preliminary step to enable the transfer of CHUM's shares to a trust, which received approval on July 12. This transfer was not related to the pending sale of CHUM to Bell Globemedia. Prior to his death, Mr. Waters was the sole shareholder of Allan Waters Ltd., which in turn, owned approximately 87% of CHUM's voting shares. The executors of the estate were James Allan Waters, Ronald Allan Waters, Sheryl Bourne and Robert Sutherland.
On December 12th, it was announced that Bell Globemedia would henceforth be known as CTVglobemedia.
A CRTC hearing on the CTVglobemedia application to acquire the assets of CHUM Limited was held on April 30th 2007. On June 8 the CRTC approved the acquisition of CHUM Ltd. by CTVglobemedia, on condition that CTV sell off its five City-TV stations, CITY-TV Toronto, CHMI-TV Portage La Prairie/Winnipeg, CKEM-TV Edmonton, CKAL-TV Calgary and CKVU-TV Vancouver. Rogers Communications announced on June 25th that a deal had been reached for them to buy these stations from CTV, subject to CRTC approval. Among the CHUM assets acquired by CTVglobemedia in the deal were seven television stations, including CKVR-TV, 21 specialty channels and some 33 radio stations.
CTV decided to rebrand the "A Channel" stations as "A". The transition began in June with newscasts (ie: "A News"). The change to "A" officially took place at 6:00 p.m., August 11.
On March 3, CTV confirmed further steps in its on-going efforts to address the grave financial reality facing its conventional 'A' stations by announcing the restructuring of its local program operations and significant staff layoffs. Effective immediately, 'A' Morning, the three-hour local morning show produced separately in Victoria, London and Barrie, would be cancelled. In Ottawa, the evening, late night and weekend newscasts would be cancelled. A total of 118 positions were eliminated at 'A' stations in Victoria, London, Barrie and Ottawa, representing approximately 28% of the 'A' stations' overall staff count.
On April 27th the CRTC began hearings to consider CTVglobemedia's applications for various OTA licence renewals, along with similar applications from several other major broadcasting entities. During the hearing, CTVglobemedia reaffirmed its wish not to renew its Wingham, Wheatley/Windsor and Brandon stations, and its willingness to sell them for a dollar apiece.
On April 30th, in a full-page ad in the Globe and Mail, Shaw Communications CEO and Vice Chair Jim Shaw announced that Shaw was prepared to buy the three CTV stations at $1 each. On the opposite page in the Globe and Mail, in a half page ad, CTVglobemedia announced its acceptance of Shaw's offer, and thanked the cable operator for 'stepping up'. The proposed transaction would of course be subject to CRTC approval.
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 CKVR-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."
/A Barrie's Lance Chilton, after almost 12 years as evening news anchor, left the business.
On August 13, the CRTC approved the application by CTV Corp. for authority to acquire from CTV Limited, as part of a corporate reorganization, the assets of the English-language television programming undertakings CIVI-TV Victoria and its transmitter CIVI-TV-2 Vancouver, CFPL-TV London and its transmitter CKNX-TV Wingham, CHRO-TV Pembroke, CHRO-TV-43 Ottawa, CHWI-TV Wheatley and its transmitter CHWI-TV-60 Windsor, as well as CKVR-TV Barrie and its transmitter CKVR-TV-1 Parry Sound. CTV Corp. was a wholly owned subsidiary of CTV Limited. The latter was a wholly owned subsidiary of CTV Inc., which in turn was wholly owned by CTVglobemedia Inc. (CTVgm). This transaction would be effected through the transfer of the assets of the above-mentioned undertakings from CTV Limited to CTV Corp. As a result of the transaction, CTV Corp. would become the licensee of the undertakings. The applicant stated that this transaction served administrative and tax planning purposes. The Commission noted that the transaction would not affect the ultimate control of the undertakings, which would continue to be exercised by CTVgm.
/A Barrie announced that Tony Grace would assume the senior anchor role at the station. He had been /A News national reporter in Ottawa and would join longtime anchor Jayne Pritchard and weather specialist Bob McIntyre on September 20 for his first newscast.
On October 7, the CRTC denied an application by CTVglobemedia Inc., on behalf of its subsidiary CTV Corp., to reduce the overall minimum level of Canadian programming that must be broadcast by its ‘A' stations from 60% to 55%, to eliminate exhibition requirements relating to priority programming, and to amend requirements related to the provision of described video.
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. Condition: Maintain the local programming that airs on all of CTV's A-Channel stations for at least three broadcast years starting on 1 September 2011.
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 Sympatico.ca portal.
Tony Panacci, the executive producer of /A News Barrie, resigned. His last day was April 29.
On May 5, the CRTC approved the application to amend the licence for CKVR-TV to add a post-transition digital transmitter to serve Barrie. CKVR-DT, would operate on channel 10 with an average effective radiated power of 8,900 watts (maximum ERP of 11,000 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 332.3 metres).
On July 27, the CRTC renewed the licences of CKVR-DT Barrie and its transmitter CKVR-TV-1 Parry Sound until August 31, 2016.
On August 29, the /A stations were re-branded as CTV Two.
The deadline for the conversion of analog television to digital in mandatory markets was August 31. On that date, CKVR moved from analog channel 3 to digital channel 10 (virtual channel 3.1).
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.
Peggy Hebden, station manager at CTV Two Barrie, retired December 23. Her entire broadcast career was with the Barrie station. She began 38 years ago as a traffic clerk then moved upward to become program manager and head of program acquisitions for CHUM Television. Hebden had been station manager at CKVR since 2006.
Murray King moved to sister Bell Media property CP24 Toronto as senior director. For the last eight years he was at /A Barrie as director of news. Before that, he was with /A Calgary.
From CTV Northern Ontario, Courtney Heels joined the CTV Barrie team as anchor of its weekend news. She was also doing videography three days a week. Heels took over the weekend anchoring from Chris Lesage who moved to a regular videography shift.
Mike Boothman became managing producer at CTV Barrie on June 20, succeeding Tony Panacci. Boothman had been with CTV London where he had been a news producer/line-up editor since 2007.
On January 26, the CRTC approved applications by Bell Media Inc. to amend the licence for CKVR-DT Barrie in order to add two digital transmitters to serve the areas of Burlington, Fonthill, Fort Erie, Hamilton, Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Oakville and Welland, Ontario.
The transmitter serving Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville would operate on channel 35 with an average effective radiated power of 10,500 watts (maximum ERP of 25,000 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain (EHAAT) of 248 metres). The transmitter serving Fonthill, Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and Welland would operate on channel 42 with an average ERP of 1,340 watts (maximum ERP of 5,000 watts with an EHAAT of 146 metres). The Commission noted that the addition of the new transmitters would allow CKVR-DT to require simultaneous substitution for its signal in those markets and repatriate advertising revenues from American border stations. The Commission noted the commitments made by Bell Media to maintain a level of 9 hours and 55 minutes of local programming for the Barrie market each broadcast week, which was higher than its existing requirement of 7 hours of local programming; to keep the station in operation for the duration of its licence term; and not to solicit local advertising in the markets served by the new transmitters.
Mark Schembri of CTV London became Regional Manager, Engineering and IT, with input at CTV Barrie, CTV Kitchener, CTV London and CTV Windsor operations, as well as the 13 radio properties. Michelle Wilson became Business Manager at CTV Barrie, with primary responsibilities for managing Human Resources at Barrie, Lindsay, Peterborough, Kingston and Brockville. She would also maintain strong relationships with political, business and community leaders in the Barrie area. Tom Fitz-Gerald, Sales Manager at CTV London and Windsor, became Regional Retail Sales Manager, overseeing all local retail advertising and commercial production at CTV Barrie, Kitchener, London and Windsor. Tom Green at CTV London/Windsor was promoted to Regional Commercial Production Supervisor at CTV (Ontario). John Cordiner, most recently Creative Services Director at CTV London/Windsor, was promoted to Regional Manager, Promotion and Digital Media, focusing on the integration of digital services throughout the four CTV stations (Wingham, London, Kitchener and Barrie). Janet Taylor, the Program Promotion Manager at CTV Kitchener, became Regional Manager, Programming and Community Relations, assuming local responsibilities for sponsorship, public relations, communications, as well as local program production oversight. Michael Melling, the News Director at CTV Kitchener, was appointed as Regional News Director, overseeing the news operations at Barrie, Kitchener, London, and Windsor, as well as effecting the integration of the CTV News brand into the daily newscasts on those four stations. Local Sales Manager Paul Woodhouse and Operations Manager Brian Cathline of CTV Barrie were no longer with CTV.
Heather Wright joined CTV Barrie as a Videographer. Before making the move to Barrie, Wright was a reporter with CHEX TV Oshawa.
CHCJ-DT Hamilton and CKVP-DT Fonthill (CKVR rebroadcasters) began operations in September.
On September 13, the CRTC approved an application by Bell Media Inc. to amend the licence CKVR-DT Barrie in order to add a temporary digital transmitter to serve the areas of Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville.
The temporary transmitter would operate on channel 35 with an average effective radiated power of 13,000 watts (maximum ERP of 26,000 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 107.7 metres). In Broadcasting Decision 2012-51, the Commission approved applications by Bell for new digital transmitters to serve several localities in Ontario. Bell stated that it was not able to come to a lease agreement with Channel Zero for co-location of the transmission tower for CHCJ-DT Hamilton, the transmitter approved in that decision to serve Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville, and was therefore requesting a one-year temporary transmitter until a lease agreement could be reached. The licensee indicated that it did not expect the operation of the temporary transmitter to exceed one year.
Ian Brownlee died three days short of his 70th birthday. He began a long broadcasting career as a newsman at CKBB-AM/CKVR-TVBarrie, then in Toronto radio from the 1960s through the ‘80s at CHUM, CKEY, CKO and CFRB. He also taught broadcasting at Niagara College in the 1970s and was the narrator of TV's Wild Animals of the World.
Written by Bill Dulmage with additional material provided by Jack Mattenley, former CKVR general manager - Updated September 2013