The CRTC began public hearings on February 21 to consider applications for new television stations in Vancouver and Victoria. CHUM Limited and Craig Broadcasting Systems Inc. submitted Victoria applications.
On July 6 the CRTC announced approval of the application by CHUM Limited for a new commercial television station in Victoria on channel 53 with an average effective radiated power of 12,000 watts, with a transmitter to rebroadcast the station's signal in Vancouver on channel 17 with a power of 44,000 watts. The CHUM application won out over the competing application by Craig Broadcasting. CHUM made a commitment to broadcast 26 hours per week of original local programming, including 19.5 hours per week of local news. It became Victoria's second TV station after CHEK-TV, which signed on in 1956.
David Kines was vice president and general manager of CIVI-TV. He had been part of the 1984 launch of CHUM's MuchMusic. Clint Nickerson became news director, leaving his senior producer role at CITY-TV in Toronto.
Late in the year, remodeling started on a new state-of-the-art studio at the corner of Broad Street and Pandora Avenue. Victoria architect Francis Rattenbury, who was also responsible for the noted landmarks Empress Hotel and Legislative Buildings, originally designed the building, known as "Pandora's Box", in 1907.
In November, David Kines left CIVI-TV to return to MuchMusic, this time as VP/GM. In December, Kines was replaced as VP/GM at CIVI-TV by Howard Slutsken, who had been National Program Director for CanWest Global.
On July 3, the CRTC granted a four-month extension of the time limit until November 6, for the implementation of the startup of the station. ,
In early August, former CFUN radio and CKVU-TV Vancouver talk show host Pia Shandel was hired by the station as its political specialist.
CIVI-TV started testing its Victoria transmitter August 20 on channel 53 and the following day turned on its Vancouver re-broadcast transmitter CIVI-TV-2 on channel 17.
CIVI-TV, branded as "The New VI", officially launched at 6 p.m. October 4 with a two-hour live party with Moses Znaimer, President and Executive Producer of CHUM TV stations and a performance by jazz diva and Nanaimo native Diana Krall. The following night, its 90-minute "VILand News" debuted, anchored by often-controversial B.C. politician Moe Sihota. He was the former NDP MLA from Esquimalt-Metchosin and the first Indo-Canadian MLA and cabinet minister in Canada. Co-hosting duties went to Tasha Larson, formerly of ACCESS and Canadian Learning Television.
The signal immediately became available on channel 12 on Shaw Cable systems on Vancouver Island and the British Columbia lower mainland, displacing KVOS-TV Bellingham, Washington further up the dial. KVOS had been carried on channel 12 or 13 on southwestern BC cable systems since the 1950s.
Barry Dodd joined CIVI-TV as director of programming and promotion. He had been with BCTV.
Long-time CFAX newsman Drew Snider crossed the street in August to become senior news editor at CIVI-TV.
In March, Howard Slutsken left CIVI-TV to form his own broadcast consulting firm.
In March 2005 CHUM announced that in the Fall, CIVI-TV would be one of six CHUM owned stations to be re-branded as A-Channel stations, to facilitate cross-promotional opportunities.
On August 2, The New VI was re-branded as A Channel (Victoria).
Allan Waters, the founder of CHUM Limited, owner of A-Channel Victoria, 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
Also on July 12, 17 technical support positions were cut at the station, as its “A-Channel Morning” program was eliminated. However, it was announced that a two-hour news program would be produced along with the retention of the station’s “Vancouver Island” report. At sister station “Citytv” CKVU-TV Vancouver, all of the dinner hour, late night, and weekend newscasts were cut, to be replaced by a centrally produced daily half-hour national and international news package. Its “Breakfast Television” program was retained but the change resulted in the layoff of 47 staff members.
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 the 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 CIVI-TV, 21 specialty channels and some 33 radio stations inclding CFAX-AM and CHBE-FM.
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 May 15th, the CRTC announced a one-year licence renewal, effective September 1st 2009, for all of CTVglobemedia's Over-The-Air stations, including CIVI-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."
Jim Blundell joined CHUM Victoria as Vice President and General Manager. He had held the same position at CHUM London.
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.
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 January 7, the CRTC approved the application by CTV Corp. to amend the licence for CIVI-TV to add a post-transition digital transmitter in order to serve the population of Victoria. The transmitter would operate on channel 23 with an effective radiated power of 720 watts (maximum ERP of 1,500 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 99.6 metres).
The CRTC approved an amendment to the licence of CIVI-TV Victoria, to add a post-transition digital television transmitter serving Vancouver, operating on channel 17 with an effective radiated power of 17,000 watts average (35,000 watts maximum), directional antenna with 634.3 metre antenna height, using the existing CTV tower. Programming would be delivered to the transmitter by microwave.
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.
On July 27, the CRTC renewed the licence of CIVI-DT and its transmitter CIVI-DT-2 Vancouver until August 31, 2016.
The /A stations were rebranded as CTV Two on August 29.
The analog to digital conversion deadline for mandatory markets was August 31. On that date, CIVI-TV channel 53 switched to CIVI-DT channel 23 (virtual channel 53.1). CIVI-TV-2 Vancouver made the switch on the same date using channel 17 (virtual 17.1), the same channel it used in analog.
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.
Senior reporter/anchor Meribeth Burton and mid-island bureau chief/reporter Jonathan Bartlett were been laid off from /A Victoria. Burton had been with CHEK-TV Victoria for 12 years before moving to CIVI in 2004. Bartlett moved to CIVI-TV in 2006 after serving for 10 years at CHEK-TV's north island bureau. Jim Blundell, the Vice President and General Manager at Bell Media Victoria (CFAX/ CHBE/CTV2), left the company September 2. He took up the position in 2009. General Sales Manager Kevin Bell took over on an interim basis.
Kevin Bell was appointed General Manager at CTV Two Victoria and of CFAX 1070/107.3 KOOL FM. He remained General Sales Manager at the radio stations and became GSM at CTV Two as well. Bell had been the interim GM at both TV and radio since Jim Blundell left.
Written by Bill Dulmage - Updated October, 2012