Ontario, Eastern Ontario

CHEX-DT, Peterborough

, Corus Entertainment Inc.

1953
The Brookland Co. Ltd. applied for TV licences in Kingston (CKWS) and Peterborough (CHEX). CKWS would use channel 11 which had been taken from Ottawa in the DOT's frequency shuffle, earlier in the year. CHEX proposed to use channel 22 which would be Canada's first UHF station if approved. The Kingston application (channel 11 with effective radiated power of 99,000 watts video and 54,000 watts audio, with antenna height of 419 feet above average terrain) was approved. The Peterborough application was deferred to allow for the appearance by radio announcer Herb May and Bill Byles of Young & Rubicom (a competing applicant).

The Brookland Peterborough application was heard by the CBC again (channel 22 with ERP 18,300 watts video, 11,000 watts audio and antenna height of 302' above average terrain). It was again deferred.

The CBC Board approved the transfer of CHEX from the Brookland Co. Ltd. to Kawartha Broadcasting Co. Ltd., with no change in ownership.

The CHEX-TV application was deferred again. The CBC wanted to determine if VHF channel 12 could be allocated for use in Peterborough.

1954
Competing applications for a television station at Peterborough (both channel 12) were to be heard at the CBC Board of Governors meeting on January 29. Radio and TV personality Herb May (also a performer on the Wayne & Shuster Show) proposed the use of channel 12 with an ERP of 32,400 watts video and 17,500 watts audio with an antenna 651 feet above average terrain. Kawartha Broadcasting Co. Ltd. also proposed the use of channel 12 with an ERP of 20,200 watts video and 10,100 watts audio from a directional antenna, 396' above average terrain. Kawartha also proposed an alternative power of 102,000 watts video and 61,200 watts audio. It appeared that the use of channel 12 at Peterborough would not be an issue as the nearest assignment on that channel was at Binghamton in southern New York State. Both applications were deferred again. The CBC said it wanted further opportunity for clarification of questions of public support in the community for the respective applicants.

The two applications were heard by the CBC yet again. On April 6, a licence was granted to Kawartha Broadcasting (held 51% by the Davies family and 49% by Roy Thomson). In Peterborough, the group had started CHEX-AM in 1942 and owned the Peterborough Examiner. CHEX-FM began broadcasting in 1947 but left the air around 1954. The Thomson-Davies group also owned the Kingston Whig-Standard, CKWS-AM and FM and by the end of this year, would open CKWS-TV - all in Kingston. The Davies family consisted of Rupert Davies, Robertson Davies and Arthur Davies. With radio stations on the air in both cities, the progression to television was a natural extension of their interest in broadcasting. The May application was denied because the CBC felt May would not have share control of the company operating the proposed station and May showed much less evidence of local support than what Kawartha had.

Bell Telephone Co. of Canada was awarded the contract to extend CBC-TV network service to Peterborough via microwave. Bell had now completed the extension to Kingston for the soon to open CKWS-TV. The addition of the two private stations would bring to ten, the number of points on the network.

       Don Laurie
                     Don Laurie
1955

With Don Laurie as General Manager, CHEX-TV began broadcasting at 8:30 pm on Saturday, March 25. It operated on channel 12 and had an effective radiated video power of 139,000 watts. CHEX-TV was a CBC affiliate. Studios and transmitter were on Vision Hill, Lot 2, Concession 2, Douro Township, just east of the city.

The station had one Pye camera on a wooden tripod with no zoom lense so that changing from long shots to close-ups had to be achieved by trucking in and out. Two Eastman Kodak 16 mm projectors, a slide projector and a telop (for still photos and artwork) completed the equipment for actually putting the programs into the system. The "Trouble is Temporary – Please do not adjust your set" slide was ever present to cover those moments when ‘loops’ weren’t quite sufficient or the projectors stuttered to a frame-rendering halt.

Despite all the problems of learning, the staff of CHEX-TV turned out an amazing amount of local production in those early years. "Callendar", a daily afternoon magazine program with Marie Callaghan, a Saturday afternoon teen "Dance
"Party" hosted by CHEX radio morning man Del Crary, "Romper Room" with Miss Betty", Betty Thompson.

William Straiton was program director. Doug Manning was commercial manager. Bert Cobb was engineer.

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 Interprovincial Football: CBWT, CKX, CKCK, CFQC, CHCT, CFRN and CBUT.

1957
CHEX-TV was operating with an effective radiated power of 102,000 watts video and 61,200 watts audio (also listed with 160,000 watts video and 156,000 watts audio). Ownership of Kawartha Broadcasting Co. Ltd. - W. R. Davies 50.90%, Robertson Davies 0.05%, A. L. Davies 0.05%, R. H. Thomson 1.00%, K. R. Thomson 16.00%, Mrs. I. J. Brydson 16.00% and Mrs. P. A. Campbell 16.00%. Senator W. Rupert Davies was president of the company.

Don Lawrie left CHEX as manager to become director of broadcast operations for parent company, Northern Broadcasting. He was replaced at CHEX by Keith Packer who had been manager at sister station CFCH in North Bay.

Other members of the management team at the time: Del Crary (news director), Bill Spenceley (sports director), Marie Callaghan (women's director) and Bert Crump (director of engineering).

Later in the year, Gord Shale was news director. Lloyd McQuiggin was sports director. Don Alexander and Hugo Tappe were commercial announcers. Geoff Ramsey was weathercaster.

1958
Jim Gibson was named sales manager for CHEX-TV.


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.

1958-59
86% of homes in Peterborough County had television. The national average was 79%.

1960
Equipment for a weather station was installed at the CHEX Radio-TV centre. Previously, Peterborough and the Kawartha's used the forecast issued for the Trenton area.

1964
A new tower was built for CHEX-TV. The 800 foot stick replaced the original 400-footer, greatly increasing the station's coverage area.

Bruce Anderson joined CHEX-AM-TV from CHNO Sudbury.

1965
CHEX-TV had an effective radiated power of 139,000 watts video and 83,400 watts audio. Senator W. Rupert Davies was president of Kawartha Broadcasting Co. Ltd. Wally Rewegan was manager of CHEX-TV.

CHEX-TV was authorized to add a rebroadcast transmitter at Bancroft. It went on the air as CHEX-TV-1 on October 8.

1967
Bruce Anderson left CHEX-AM-TV where he had been news director. His next job was at WHEC-AM-TV in Rochester, New York.

1968
CHEX-FM returned to the air.

Bruce Anderson returned to CHEX-TV as night supervisor and news anchor. He had been at WCIX-TV in Miami, Florida (he went to WCIX after his stint at WHEC).

1969
It was announced that the broadcast interests of Lord Roy Thomson and the late Senator Rupert Davies' families would be sold to Bushnell TV Co. Ltd. of Ottawa (CJOH-TV). The plan was subject to CRTC approval. The sale would include CKWS-AM-FM-TV Kingston, CHEX-AM-FM-TV Peterborough, CFCH-AM-TV North Bay, CKGB-AM-FM Timmins and CJKL Kirkland Lake.

Undated
A rebroadcast transmitter was added at Minden.

1970
On July 6, the Thomson and Davies families were given permission to sell their stations to Bushnell Communications Ltd. of Ottawa, owner of CJOH Television. The sale included stations in Timmins, Kingston, Kirkland Lake, New Liskeard, and North Bay. Kawartha Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (CHEX-AM-FM-TV) was part of the deal. The sale was conditional on the transfer of CFCH-AM-TV North Bay and Cablevue to another party. The sale to Bushnell was never completed.

1973
CHEX-TV received permission to change the channel for the Bancroft (CHEX-TV-1) transmitter from 2 to 4. This was because the new Global Television Network would be using channel 2 at Bancroft.


Graham Hart joined CHEX-TV.

1976
The Thomson and Davies families decided to divest themselves of their broadcasting interests and sold their jointly held broadcasting holdings to Claude Pratte and Paul Desmarais, noted Canadian entrepreneurs.

CHEX-TV received approval to change the channel of the Minden (CHEX-TV-2) rebroadcast transmitter from 10 to 7. This was due to the fact CKCO-TV Kitchener had received approval to add a transmitter at Dwight (near Huntsville) on channel 11.

CHEX-FM became CFMP-FM.

In renewing the CHEX-TV licence, the CRTC commended the station for acquiring new color ENG equipment to meet a schedule over nine hours weekly of local news coverage.

Peter Fialkowski joined CHEX-TV.

Bruce Anderson became CHE-TV's program director.

1977
A numbered company owned by Paul Desmarais, Claude Pratte and J. G. Porteous received CRTC approval to purchase Frontenac Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (CKWS-AM-TV and CFMK-FM) and Kawartha Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (CHEX-AM-TV and CFMP-FM) from the Rupert Davies Estate (51%), and the Thomson Estate (49%). The new owners were to survey the programming needs of each area. 

Don Lawrie became president of Katenac holdings, owner of Kawartha Broadcasting and Frontenac Broadcasting.

CHEX-TV made the leap from using black-and-white 16mm film for its newsgathering straight to electronic newsgathering (ENG). News director Neil Boughen admitted the use of black-and-white film in its news coverage "was becoming an embarrassment" compared to other stations available in the area. CHEX purchased two cameras, two VTRs, and an editing suite.

CHEX-TV received approval to change the channel of the Minden (CHEX-TV-2) rebroadcast transmitter from 10 to 7. This was due to the fact CKCO-TV Kitchener had received approval to add a transmitter at Dwight (near Huntsville) on channel 11.

CHEX-FM became CFMP-FM.

In renewing the CHEX-TV licence, the CRTC commended the station for acquiring new color ENG equipment to meet a schedule over nine hours weekly of local news coverage.

1981
A sales office was opened in Oshawa and a rebroadcaster established at Bancroft on channel 4, and another in Minden on channel 2.

Matt Hayes joined CHEX-TV in June and then left for CHCH-TV in Hamilton at the end of the year.

1984
CHEX-TV sold its 13-part "Canadian Characters" series to the Southern Educational Communications Association in the U.S. The program featured one-person portrayals of famous and infamous Canadians, many of whom gained recognition in the U.S. before becoming known here. The series would be shown in 19 states on public TV stations. CHEX had only recently entered the field of drama production and was also producing two movies for television: "Incident at Purdy's Mills" and "Bodily Contact".

Bruce Anderson was named vice president of programming for CHEX-TV.

1986
CHEX-TV opened a studio in Oshawa to go with the sales office on September 26.

1986-87
News producer Doug Martin left for the Financial Post.

1987
On January 29, the CRTC approved the applications for authority to transfer effective control of Frontenac Broadcasting Company Limited and Kawartha Broadcasting Company Limited through the transfer of 200 common voting shares (100%) of Katenac Holdings Limited from Paul G. Desmarais (90), Claude Pratte (90) and three minority shareholders (20) to Power Corporation of Canada, which was indirectly controlled by Mr. Desmarais. As a result of this transaction, Power Corporation would acquire 100% control of Katenac Holdings Limited which held effective control of Frontenac Broadcasting Company Limited, licensee of CKWS, CFMK-FM and CKWS-TV Kingston and Kawartha Broadcasting Company Limited, licensee of CHEX, CHEX-TV, CFMP-FM Peterborough and two rebroadcasting stations, and CKCB Collingwood and CKBB Barrie.

Jack Ruttle was named president of Kawartha Broadcasting Co. Ltd. He had been executive vice-president at CTV.


1987-88
Former CTV news anchor Wally Macht was named managing editor at CHEX-TV-AM / CFMP-FM. Robert Rudd remained vice president of information.

1988
John Ruttle joined the CHEX-TV news department as a reporter.

Bruce Anderson became executive vice president, programming for CHEX-TV.

Lauren Lee, co-anchor of CHEX-TV's evening news, moved on to CFPL-TV in London. Robert Rudd left as vice president of news and public affairs to take up duties outside the business.

1989
Power Corp. of Canada reorganized its radio and television assets. They would now be held in the new wholly-owned subsidiary, Power Broadcasting Inc. PBI would be based in Montreal. Andre Desmarais was named chairman and chief executive officer of the new unit. Peter Kruyt was president. Before now, Power's seven AM, four FM and three TV stations were held by a number of subsidiaries in Ontario and Quebec.

The CHEX Radio and Television building underwent an overhaul, complete with new equipment. The building was renamed The Donald R. Lawrie Broadcast Centre in honour of the station's first president & general manager who retired earlier in the year. At retirement, Lawrie was president of Katenac Holdings and had been in broadcasting for almost 44 years. Former CTV News anchor Wally Macht joined the CHEX-TV news department.

1990
Donald R. Lawrie was appointed honorary director of Power Broadcasting Inc. The Rt. Hon. Jeanne Sauve and Anthony R. Graham were named directors.

1992
Dennis A. Watson was named vice president of CHEX-TV.

CHEX-AM changed its call letters to CKRU while CFMP-FM changed its name to CKWF-FM.

CHEX-TV received approval to add a transmitter at Oshawa, operating on channel 22 (formerly used by Global at Uxbridge) with an effective radiated power of 2,440 watts.

In the summer, CHEX-TV Oshawa signed on the air. The service was established because the channel 12 signal from Peterborough suffered a shadow effect created by a topographical feature of the area, known as the Great Pine Ridge. Channel 22 would provide improved, over-the-air (non-cable) service to viewers in Oshawa, Whitby and surrounding area.

1993
CHEX channel 22 increased power to 2,445 watts and began airing some local programming in addition to programs received from CHEX Peterborough and the CBC. As a result, CHEX-TV-2 became a separate, CBC affiliated station and was no longer  classified as a rebroadcaster or Peterborough.

Amy Terrill became a CHEX-TV reporter.

1995
Power Broadcasting Peterborough Vice President and General Manager Dennis A. Watson left to take up the same position with CKCO-TV in Kitchener. Bryan Ellis, former General Manager at CHAT Medicine Hat joined CHEX-TV, CKRU and CKWF-FM, succeeding Dennis Watson.

On February 17, the CRTC approved the applications to amend the licences for CHEX-TV Peterborough and its transmitter; CHEX-TV-2 Oshawa, by adding to each 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 CHEX-TV Peterborough and its transmitter CHEX-TV-1 Bancroft, until August 31, 2002. The Commission expected the licensee to adhere to the commitment made in its renewal application to broadcast a minimum weekly average of 9 hours of original local news programming. During the current licence term, CHEX-TV introduced weekend newscasts and had produced annual year-end news specials since 1990. While the licensee indicated in its renewal application that it would continue to produce "Campus Quiz" and "Sportsbeat" and various special programs throughout the year, it made no commitment to produce other programs.

1996
Claude Pratte died in Quebec City on July 15. He had been prominent in several Quebec-based broadcasting companies. Between 1977 and 1987, he was a part owner of Kawartha Broadcasting Co. Ltd.

1997
Bryan Ellis, Executive Vice President and General Manager, was appointed to the same position at CHCH-TV Hamilton. He took up his new job on April 28.

Power Broadcasting named John Tucker as vice president and regional director for Ontario television, responsible for CHEX-TV Peterborough and CKWS-TV Kingston.

1998
A winter ice storm caused concern when the television tower appeared to become unstable during high wind conditions. A tower of similar vintage at sister station CKWS-TV Kingston collapsed in January during the same storm. The Peterborough broadcast centre was evacuated on two separate occasions that winter over fears a similar collapse could occur, potentially falling onto the building. The television station moved to new office and broadcast facilities at 743 Monaghan Road late in the year while radio stations AM 980 CKRUz and The WOLF- 101.5 FM moved moved to a separate downtown location at the corner of George and King Streets a few months earlier.

1999
Master Control facilities for CHEX Peterborough, CHEX Oshawa and CKWS Kingston were centralized in the new Peterborough facility utilizing digital file server technology. Traffic services, Programming and Finance functions had been centralized in Peterborough in the preceding years.

Late in the year, Corus Radio Company purchased the stations of Power Broadcasting, which included CHEX-TV, subject to CRTC approval which was granted on March 24th, 2000.

Air staff included anchors Wally Macht and Amy Terrill; Peter Fialkowski (weather), and Gary Dalliday (sports). Wally Macht, after a broadcast career spanning four decades, retired January 29. Macht, vice president of Information at CHEX Peterborough, was best known nationally for his reporter/anchor duties at CTV News. He was Harvey Kirck's back-up. Macht, 63, said he would involve himself in his video production company.

2000
Corus Entertainment Inc. took ownership of CKRU-AM, CKWF-FM and CHEX Television. The stations had been owned by Power Broadcasting Inc.

Graham Hart was once again a news anchor. The sports team included Dave Marshall.

2001
On the air: news anchors (Amy Terrill, Graham Hart, Linda Farr, Rob Wozny), weather (Peter Fialkowski), and sports (Gary Dalliday and Dave Marshall). Linda Farr left in the fall. Rob Wozny left for Global Winnipeg in November. Michelle McKay anchored "Newswatch" at 6:00 p.m. The 5:30 p.m. "Community Watch" was hosted by Amy Terrill. K.C. Colby left in December for CKVR-TV in Barrie. Bruce Harris and Laura Earl left the CHEX-TV news department for CKVR-TV Barrie.

Bryan Ellis became group vice president for Corus Television, responsible for the company's specialty channels and for CHEX-TV and CKWS-TV.

Geoffrey Dixon became general sales manager at CHEX-TV. He had been with CHRO-TV in Pembroke/Ottawa.

The CHEX Peterborough signal was added to the Star Choice DTH satellite service across Canada on channel 348, CHEX was added to the Bell ExpressVu service in 2003 on channel 217.

2004
A new 1,000 foot transmission tower was erected adjacent to the existing tower which was later dismantled. With increased antennae height, both CHEX Television and The WOLF-FM were able to reduce power output, while maintaining the same effective radiated power and coverage area.

2005
The 50th anniversary year for CHEX was marked with a year-long on-air celebration, featuring clips from old shows and former personalities sharing their memories which was turned into a commemorative DVD. A reunion for staff past and present was held to mark the occasion in the spring.

2006
The original radio and television building on Television Hill was demolished after sitting empty since the stations moved away in 1998. A new transmitter building and the transmission tower are all that remain atop the hill.  

2010
In December, Corus Entertainment announced the appointment of Suzanne Carpenter as general manager of the Corus Toronto radio stations, effective January 3, 2011. She had been vice president and general manager of Corus Radio Eastern Ontario, CHEX TV and CKWS TV.

Corus Entertainment's Channel 12 - CHEX TV Durham and Dan Carter Productions planned relocate in the fall to downtown Oshawa, moving into the new Carter Centre for Media and Cultural Studies. The downtown core location would become a media hub, committed to fostering media innovation, education and creativity. In partnership with Channel 12, Dan Carter Productions produced local television for over a decade.

Len Arminio, after nearly 25 years at Belleville's Loyalist College, retired in the spring from his position as Coordinator of Broadcast Journalism. Before moving to the educational side, Arminio was News Director at CHEX-Radio-TV Peterborough.

There were a number of changes at Corus Entertainment related to its organization review to streamline decision-making and clarify roles and mandates. Among the changes: Reporting to Hal Blackadar, Executive Vice President and interim President of Corus Radio - Suzanne Carpenter, VP/GM, Corus Radio, Eastern Ontario and VP/GM, CHEX TV Peterborough and CKWS-TV Kingston; JJ Johnston, GM, Corus Radio Cornwall, Kingston and Peterborough (was GM at Corus Radio Vancouver) and Michael Harris, GM, CKWS-TV and CHEX TV (was GM of CHEX TV only). Corus Radio-TV Kingston GM Mike Ferguson was no longer with the company. Former Corus Radio Peterborough GM Brian Armstrong became GSM.

2011
On July 27, the CRTC renewed the licences for CHEX-TV-2 Oshawa and its transmitter CHEX-TV-1 Bancroft, and for CHEX-TV Peterborough, until August 31, 2016. Additional condition of licence for CHEX-TV-2 Oshawa: the licensee may broadcast a maximum of 6.5% of the commercial availabilities on the Oshawa station separately from those broadcast on CHEX-TV Peterborough for each hour of original, station-produced programming it broadcasts exclusively on its Oshawa station each week.

Jay Scotland left CHEX-TV Peterborough & Channel 12 Oshawa to handle weekend weather duties with CBC News Network and The National.

2012
Heather Wright left CHEX-TV Oshawa where she had been a reporter. She was now a videographer at CTV Barrie.

As of June 25, Meghan "Kya" Kyer, Interactive Account Manager at Corus Radio Cornwall, added that responsibility at CHEX-TV, 100.5 Kruz-FM and The Wolf 101.5 FM Peterborough. She relocated to Peterborough.

Some middle management changes at CHEX-TV tied to financial efficiencies. As of September 14, Operations Manager Paul Burke, Program and Promotion Manager Judy Carswell and Chief Engineer Paul Ward were no longer with the station. Succeeding Burke in some capacities was Master Control Supervisor Paul Dinsdale, Lynda McCullough took over most of Carswell's responsibilities and CKWS Kingston Chief Engineer Roger Cole took responsibility for both stations. Henry Przbyszewski, as Assistant Chief Engineer, now had expanded responsibilities to keep Peterborough radio and TV running.

2013
On May 10 the CRTC approved the application by 591987 B.C. Ltd. (Corus) to amend the licence for CHEX-TV Peterborough in order to add a digital transmitter to replace its existing analog transmitter serving the population of Peterborough. The proposed transmitter CHEX-DT would operate on channel 12 with a maximum effective radiated power of 20,000 watts (average ERP of 9,400 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 318 metres).

CHEX-TV converted to digital as CHEX-DT (channel 12.1) in May.

The new General Manager for Corus Entertainment's Peterborough-Oshawa and Kingston operations, was Dave McCutcheon. He had been senior account manager at Corus Television Sales in Toronto.

2014
Don Lawrie passed away at 92. He began his career at CJKL in 1946. In 1952 Lawrie moved to CHEX as GM. After Power Broadcasting took over, Lawrie became president and remained as such until his retirement in 1989.

Written by Bill Dulmage with additional information from Bruce Anderson, Ron Johnson - Updated June 2014