On November 1, Craig Broadcast Systems Inc., on behalf of a company to be incorporated (A - Channel Inc.) was licenced to operate new, independent, television stations in Alberta. One would operate at Calgary on channel 5 with an effective radiated power of 33,600 watts, and would have a transmitter at Lethbridge on channel 2 with an effective radiated power of 51,500 watts. The other station would operate at Edmonton on channel 51 with an effective radiated power of 602,000 watts, and would have a transmitter at Red Deer on channel 20 with an effective radiated power of 368,000 watts. Competing applications by CanWest Alberta Television Inc. were denied. A-Channel would be indirectly controlled (60%) by Mr. A. Stuart Craig of Brandon through CBSI. CBSI owned CHMI-TV Portage la Prairie and CKX-TV Brandon, as well as five radio stations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. It also owns 100% of the company licensed to operate CIRK-FM Edmonton.
A - Channel committed to provide 31 hours and 30 minutes per broadcast week of local programming on each of its Edmonton and Calgary stations. In each case, 17 of these hours would be news programming, 13 hours and 15 minutes would be other information programming, and 1 hour and 15 minutes would be in the form of variety programming. A - Channel indicated that its news programming would be focused "on the urban market as opposed to... the rural and regional market". A - Channel proposed to broadcast a total of 26 original Canadian long-form drama productions in each broadcast year.
Craig Broadcasting announced that its new TV operations in Calgary would be located in the downtown Northstar Building. It would be a high profile location. When operational, the new station planned to employ more than 130 people.
CKAL-TV Channel 5 (Cable 8) officially launched at 8:00 p.m. on September 20. The station set up its broadcasting facilities in the former Norstar Energy office at the corner of 5th Street and 7th Avenue in downtown Calgary. CKEM-TV Edmonton went on the air September 18. Both stations were known as A-Channel.
The first program broadcast on CKAL was a two-hour live concert street party in front of the station, which included Colin James and Spirit of the West.
As part of its mandate, Craig established the A-Channel Drama Fund, with $14 million to be spent over seven years to support Alberta-based independent products for drama, music and variety programming. Along with its sister station, CKEM-TV in Edmonton, CKAL-TV emphasized programming that would not be uncomfortable for 12-year-olds, and fresh, informal coverage of local events, including high school football.
Early local programming introduced "The Big Breakfast," a two-hour early morning show focusing on community events, local issues and volunteers. CKAL also launched "A-Channel News @ Six," a half-hour evening news program anchored by Glen Carter, and "Live @ Five", co-anchored by Kurt Stoodely and Tara McCool. The station's first meteorologist was Darr Maqbool.
On March 15, Craig Broadcast Alberta Inc. received permission to decrease effective radiated power for CKAL-TV-1 Lethbridge from 51,500 watts to 46,600 watts. The transmitter site would be relocated approximately 10.7 kilometres south of the authorized site. The changes would improve the quality of the signal to the south.
Mark Campbell was appointed executive producer of news and entertainment programming for all Craig Broadcast Systems stations. He would also continue his similar role at A-Channel Calgary.
CKAL-TV won a Gold Ribbon Award from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters for community service for a medium market.
The CRTC approved an application by Craig Broadcasting Alberta Inc. to permit more flexible use of funds to support independent program production in Alberta. The amendment permitted CKAL-TV and CKEM-TV to use the A-Channel Drama Fund not only for drama, music and variety programming, but also for “priority programming” (formerly called “under-represented categories”) such as long-form documentaries and Canadian entertainment magazine programs. The fund was renamed the A-Channel Production Fund to reflect these changes.
By fall, 15 completed movie projects, one documentary project, one documentary series and two feature documentaries had been licensed through the fund, and 30 projects were in development.
On April 10, CHUM Ltd. agreed to acquire Craig Media. Craig decided to sell due a financial crisis brought on by weak results at its stations in the West and greater than expected losses for CKXT-TV in Toronto.
On November 19, the CRTC approved the purchase of Craig Media by CHUM Ltd. and the sale of Toronto One (CKXT-TV) to TVA and Sun Media.
On August 2, A Channel Calgary was re-branded as City-tv Calgary "to take advantage of common names, creative elements and promotional opportunities" with other CHUM stations serving major cities.
Allan Waters, the founder of CHUM Limited, passed away at the age of 84, on December 3rd.
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, 21 specialty channels and some 33 radio stations.
Early on the morning of December 2nd, Ted Rogers, founder and former Chief Executive of Rogers Communications, owners of CKAL-TV, died at his home in Toronto, after having suffered from congestive heart failure for some time.
On May 15th, following a hearing that began on April 27th, the CRTC announced a one-year licence renewal, effective September 1st 2009, for the Rogers Citytv stations, including CKAL-TV Calgary, "....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."
Dave Kelly, the long-time co-host of Citytv Calgary's Breakfast Television, left the station after his last show the Thursday after Christmas. He'd been doing mornings since the show originated as The Big Breakfast on the old A-Channel 12 years ago.
On January 19th, CITY-TV head office in Toronto announced that it was "restructuring its operations", with about 60 staffers being laid off across the country. The 6pm and 11pm newscasts would continue, but would be produced only in Toronto. Breakfast Television would be cut back from four hours to three in those cities where it played. The staff cuts represented approximately 6 per cent of the CITY-TV work-force.
On August 20, the CRTC approved the application by Rogers Broadcasting Limited to amend the broadcasting licence for CKAL-TV Calgary in order to add a digital transmitter in Calgary (CKAL-DT). The new transmitter would operate from the existing CKAL -TV tower on channel 49 with an average effective radiated power of 100,000 watts (effective height of antenna above average terrain of 378 metres).
On August 31, CKAL-DT (digital) began testing on channel 49. Broadcasting also continued on analog channel 5.
On October 7, the CRTC denied applications by Rogers Broadcasting Limited to reduce the overall minimum level of Canadian programming that must be broadcast by the Citytv and OMNI stations from 60% to 55%.
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 Commission said it would consider the applications for renewal of the broadcasting licences for the major English-language private conventional television ownership groups, by taking into account the determinations set out in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-167. These applications were announced in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2010-952 and would be heard at a public hearing to be held on 4 April 2011 in Gatineau, Quebec. 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.
The CRTC approved an amendment to the licence for conventional television programming undertaking CKAL-TV Calgary, in order to add a post-transition digital television transmitter in Lethbridge. CKAL-DT-1 would broadcast on channel 46 with maximum effective radiated power of 79,000 watts (average of 41,600 watts), directional. Effective antenna height above average terrain would be 200 metres and the existing Rogers-owned tower would be used. The transmitter would receive programming via microwave.
On July 27, the CRTC renewed the licence of CKAL-DT and its transmitter CKAL-DT-1 Lethbridge, until August 31, 2014.
On August 13, CKAL-TV-1 Lethbridge started broadcasting in digital (CKAL-DT-1) on channel 46 (virtual channel 2.1). The deadline for conversion to digital TV in mandatory markets was August 31. CKAL-TV channel 5 shut down on that date. CKAL-TV-1 Lethbridge (channel 2) was gone by the deadline date.
Doug Reynolds, the morning show anchor at News 95.7 since 2005, moved to become the morning show news anchor at 660News Calgary. He began his 32-year career at CJCB Sydney and later worked for CKDH Amherst and CJCH Halifax. Reynolds began in Calgary September 26. He succeeded Ted Henley who moved to Citytv Calgary as co-Host of Breakfast Television. Henley began at Citytv September 6.
Paula Davies, general manager at Citytv Calgary and Richard Hiron, GM at Citytv Edmonton, were no longer with the company. Paul Williams took on the administrative functions in addition to his sales role at Citytv Calgary, while David Humen did the same thing at Citytv Edmonton (in addition to his sales functions). The Calgary operations of the master control hub for Citytv and OMNI Television in the west would move to Toronto. Those operations had reported to Calgary GM Paula Davies but would now be handled by Virginia Gibberd, VP of Operations in Toronto. Gibberd, responsible for network operations and engineering, also had operational responsibilities for Citytv, OMNI Television, Specialty Television and Sportsnet.
Wally Fong, a 14-year veteran at Citytv/OMNI Calgary, was promoted to Operations Manager, Master Control. He had been Operations Supervisor. Jack Keech was now the Operations Manager (Production) for Citytv/OMNI Edmonton. Operations Manager (Production) for Citytv/OMNI Calgary was added to his duties in Edmonton.
Effective with the start of the new year, Citytv quietly dropped the ‘TV' from the end of its brand name - right across the country. The stations were now simply known as City. Rogers, noting that it wasn't just TV anymore, revamped the on-air imagery, advertising and logos.
Gwendolyn Green-Earl succeeded Rob Twarynski as supervisor, media operations at the City and OMNI stations in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. She began her broadcast career at CKX-TV (then A Channel) Brandon in 2000, transferring to Calgary (within Craig Broadcasting) in 2004.
Most of the staff at
Rogers Radio Calgary joined their TV colleagues at City/OMNI’s downtown
location, 535 7th Avenue S.W.
Bill Dulmage - Updated August 2014