In May, the CRTC issued a call for applications to provide television service to Northwestern Ontario.
On June 27, Norcom Telecommunications Ltd. received approval from the CRTC to operate a CTV affiliated television station serving Kenora, Dryden, Ear Falls, Fort Frances, Ignace, Red Lake and Sioux Lookout. Norcom, controlled by Carl W. Johnson, also received licences to operate cable television systems in the region.
Norcom’s CJBN Broadcasting Ltd. launched CJBN-TV. It operated on channel 13 with a transmitter power of 10 watts. With a potential audience of only 5,800 households, it was the smallest television market area in Canada. Carl Johnson originally applied for a license to operate a central time zone Satellite Relay Distribution System, and needed a CTV affiliate signal. Winnipeg's CKY signal was not available, so he acquired a licence for CJBN-TV, and affiliated with CTV.
The microwave system required to deliver CJBN’s CTV service was activated in March and the full system was operational by August. Due to a serious lack of funding for CJBN, Bell Canada disconnected the microwave system on December 1st.
On September 20, approval was given for the sale of CJBN (CJBN-TV Kenora, CJBN-TV-1 Dryden, CJBN-TV-2 Fort Frances, CJBN-TV-3 Sioux Lookout, CJBN-TV-4 Ignace, CJBN-TV-5 Red Lake and CJBN-TV-6 Ear Falls) by Mr. & Mrs. Carl Johnson to Leblanc & Royle Communications Inc. L&R manufactured and installed communications towers, microwave equipment and transmission lines, and had been involved with Norcom on a financial and advisory basis since April of 1982. It was through Leblanc & Royle’s involvement that CTV service via microwave to the Kenora transmitter was restored in January of this year. Unfortunately, the CTV service was still not restored to the rebroadcast transmitters. The licences for the rebroadcast transmitters were renewed for two years on September 20 to allow the new owner time to re-establish CTV service to those transmitters.
CJBN-TV received approval on June 22 to increase power. The existing transmitter power of 10 watts would be raised to an effective radiated power of 177.5 watts.
The power increase approved last year was now operational.
The CJBN Broadcasting Ltd. name was eliminated and CJBN-TV was now operated directly by the parent company, Norcom Telecommunications Ltd.
Rick Harrow was appointed general sales manager. He had been with Winnipeg's CKY-TV for seven years.
On September 22, CJBN-TV advised the CRTC that for economic reasons it would not be constructing the six rebroadcast transmitters that were originally granted when the station was licenced in 1979. The transmitters would have been located at Dryden, Fort Frances, Sioux Lookout, Ignace, Red Lake and Ear Falls.
Norcom Telecommunications Ltd. was noted as being controlled by LeBlanc and Royle Communications Inc. CJBN was also noted for its initiatives with respect to native broadcasting, including providing facilities for the production of native programs and training the personnel of Wawatay Television.
On February 1, the CRTC approved the transfer of Norcom Telecommunications Ltd. from LeBlanc & Royle Enterprises Inc. to L&R Investment Partnership (95.37%), the partners of which were LeBlanc & Royle and LeBlanc Enterprises Ltd. Prior to approval, LeBlanc & Royle Enterprises held 94.84%.
Legally, the call sign was still CJBN but the station began calling itself CJTV.
The CJBN signal began to be carried by cable systems in Red Lake, Sioux Lookout and Ear Falls, as well as on satellite systems Bell ExpressVu and Star Choice. Important regional programming provided by the station included a weekly news magazine show, Studio Northwest, a daily two-minute regional update spot called City View, and a summer program aimed at both tourists and area residents, and called Sunset Country's Summer Days.
On November 22, the sale of Norcom Telecommunications Ltd. to Shaw Communications Inc. was approved. The sale included CJBN-TV and Norcom’s cable television systems.
On July 27, the CRTC renewed the licence for CJBN-TV until August 31, 2016. In Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2010-952-1, the Commission stated that it would consider the benefits and other implications of treating Shaw Cablesystems and Shaw Media Inc., both wholly owned subsidiaries of Shaw Communications Inc., as a single designated large ownership group for the purposes of the group-based licence renewals. However, during the proceeding, Shaw Cablesystems requested that the CJBN-TV licence renewal application be considered separately since the station was operated independently from the services owned by Shaw Media and was an affiliate of the CTV television network. In its application, Shaw Cablesystems stated that it intended to continue to operate the station as a CTV affiliate station and was willing to adhere to that affiliation as a condition of licence. Given that CJBN-TV operated as a small stand-alone service that was distinct from Shaw Media's television services and that the Commission did not receive interventions opposing Shaw Cablesystems' request to have its application considered separately, the Commission reviewed this application separately from the applications by Shaw Media. With respect to local programming, CJBN-TV produced a weekly local 30-minute magazine-style program with interviews and stories on issues affecting the residents of Northwestern Ontario. CJBN-TV also produced a daily weather report for the communities of Thunder Bay, Red Lake, Atikokan, Sioux Lookout, Dryden, Fort Frances, Kenora and Winnipeg. Throughout the year, CJBN-TV produced other local programs including local coverage of elections and debates and programs covering local fishing tournaments. In its application, Shaw Cablesystems argued that as a stand-alone independent television station, CJBN-TV did not have the resources to meet harmonized local programming requirements. However, Shaw Cablesystems stated that it would accept a condition of licence requiring the station to broadcast a minimum of 30 minutes a week of local programming.
Written by Bill Dulmage - Updated August, 2011