CBC Television Networks
CBC Television Networks
Canada's first privately owned television station CKSO-TV (CBC's first private affiliate) came on the air October 25. With infinite ingenuity and lacking a direct source of networked programs, by providing a mixture of locally-produced features, theatrical films and kinescopes (video recordings) of CBC-produced programs shipped by air daily from Toronto, CKSO-TV pioneered a mode of television broadcasting that endured until the microwave system linked the station to Toronto in 1956.
CFPL-TV London, hard on the heels of CKSO-TV, became the second private affiliate on November 28th.
On December 16th, Vancouver's CBUT became the first TV station to be built in western Canada.
Fifteen private affiliates of the CBC came on the air - in Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Sault Ste. Marie, Windsor, Kitchener, Hamilton, Kingston, Quebec City, Moncton, Sydney, Saint John, N.B. and Port Arthur (Thunder Bay) and Rimouski.
With 7 CBC stations and 17 privately owned affiliates, the reach of CBC programming rose in two years to 60%, with the number of Canadians owning receivers climbing from 150,000 to almost one million.
CBOFT-TV came on the air June 25th, the CBC-owned second French language station.
By March, the Bell Telephone microwave connected stations in Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Peterborough, Kingston, Toronto, Hamilton, Kitchener, London and Windsor. The CBC continued to use kinescope recordings to serve all other cities.
The first television broadcast of the opening of Parliament could have been accessed by 66% of all Canadians.
The Report of the Royal Commission on Broadcasting established December 2, 1955 by Order in Council, was tabled on March 15th. The "Fowler Report", so-named for its chairman, Robert Fowler, ranged over a wide number of issues and had a significant impact on policy development. Overriding all other recommendations was the separation of the CBC from the role of regulator, and the creation of a single system. All Canadian radio and television stations (and networks), public and private, would be integral parts - regulated and supervised by an agency representing the public interest and responsible to Parliament.
Live network arrived in Alberta via microwave in time for the World Series Baseball.
The CBC English Television Network, now numbering 46 stations (only 6 of which were CBC-owned) and accessible by 91% of Canadians, celebrated its status as the world's longest television network by broadcasting a July 1 program via microwave from links stretching between Victoria, British Columbia and Sydney, Nova Scotia.
Live network service came to CBHT-TV Halifax thanks to microwave.
The CBC's French Network comprised 8 private stations and CBFT-TV Montreal and CBOFT-TV Ottawa providing the Network programming.
On September 6, Bill C-55 was passed by Parliament as The Broadcasting Act, bringing the regulation and supervision of the network and all future networks - and, for that matter, all broadcasting - under the responsibility of the Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG) which was formed on November 10.
The CBC established CBY-TV in Cornerbrook.
CBHT Halifax added re-broadcast transmitters at Liverpool, Shelbourne and Yarmouth.
The Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG) held hearings for "second" private stations in eight of the largest cities in Canada. The first of these stations came on the air in Calgary and Vancouver.
The arrival of the microwave brought live CBC Network programming to British Columbia.
Efforts began to form a network involving these stations and eventually came to fruition when the BBG granted a licence to CTN the Canadian Television Network to be operated by a consortium headed by Spence Caldwell, a failed applicant for the "second " TV licence in Toronto. (see The History of the CTV Network).
After much negotiation, CTN started in the fall.
The CBC established its own transmitter to serve Edmonton (CBXT-TV) and CFRN-TV switched to CTN.
One private station started in Prince George, B.C.
CBC launched CBNT-TV in St John's Newfoundland, leaving CJON-TV to join CTN.
In July, the CBC was also the host broadcaster for the Pan-American Games, which were held over a two-week period in Winnipeg.
By an act of Parliament (The Broadcasting Act) proclaimed April 1, the Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) succeeded the Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG) as the regulator and supervisor of public and private broadcasting.
The CBC Network's aim to serve Canadians everywhere was re-enforced when Telesat Corporation (Telestat Canada) was created, with a mandate toward providing the first synchronous-orbit satellite designed to add improved efficiency for domestic communications.
CBC bought CHRE-TV Moose Jaw / Regina which became CBKT-TV, with CKCK-TV switching to CTN.
CBC opened its own TV station in Calgary (CBRT-TV), and on September 1, CFAC-TV disaffiliated from the network and became an independent.
As a result, the Corporation opened re-broadcasting transmitters in Chatham, Kitchener, Paris, Wiarton, Simcoe, Sarnia and Wingham, effectively covering all of South-Western Ontario with programming from CBLT Toronto.
All of CBC Toronto's operations moved to the new Canadian Broadcasting Centre at 250 Front Street West.
On August 29, CBC affiliate CHSJ-TV Saint John, New Brunswick ceased to exist. It became CBAT, owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. New Brunswick had been the only province not served by a CBC owned and operated English language TV station. CBAT uses its existing facility in Fredericton as the main studio.
CBAT had re-broadcasters at Bon Accord, Moncton, Chatham/Newcastle, Campbellton, Doaktown and Boisetown.
Between 1984 and 1994, the CBC had suffered 5 major spending cuts representing 30% of its grants from the Federal Government and resulting in staff reductions from 1,200 to just over 9,000. Many of the secondary market owned and operated stations were forced to cut out local production entirely or it was severely restricted.
On that date, CBLT opened three re-broadcasters in Barrie, Huntsville and Parry Sound.
In Saskatchewan the CBC purchased CJFB-TV Swift Current from the Forst family, CKOS-TV Yorkton and CKBI-TV Prince Albert from CTV Inc.
At 12:01am on August 15th, the CBC and Radio-Canada locked out their 5500 employees. Months of negotiations had failed to achieve agreement between the Corporation and the Canadian Media Guild on the key matter of the Corporation's wish to significantly increase the number of contract employees to replace staff as attrition occurred. When the membership ratified a new Agreement early in October, the Canadian Media Guild said that 3,514 ballots were cast and 88.4 per cent voted in favour of ratification.
Under the agreement, wages would increase by 12.6 per cent over the life of the contract, which would remain in effect until March 31, 2009.
The transmitters were at the time operated by the CBC as a radiocommunication distribution undertaking (RDU), which rebroadcast the programming of the CBC Northern Television Service.
The CBC had advised the Commission that improvements in satellite feed technology now permitted it to provide these communities with the full CBNT St. John's program schedule. The CBC noted that it was thus no longer necessary that it hold a separate RDU licence for these transmitters and asked that the licence be revoked.
Accordingly, the Commission revoked the broadcasting licence issued to the CBC with respect to the above-noted RDU.
On November 5th, Hubert T. Lacroix was appointed President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada on November 5, 2007, for a five-year term, commencing on January 1, 2008. He succeeded Robert Rabinovitch.
Before joining CBC/Radio-Canada, Mr. Lacroix had been with Stikeman Elliott, a law firm, and prior thereto, he had acted as Executive Chairman of Telemedia Corporation and of the other Boards of Directors of the various companies in the Telemedia corporate structure. Before joining Telemedia, he had been a Senior Partner at McCarthy Tétrault, a major Canadian law firm.
"It's positively encouraging to see the Committee recognize the value of public broadcasting to Canadians – on all platforms, old, new and emerging," said Hubert T. Lacroix. "In the face of sweeping cultural, technological and industrial change, Canadians need a place for distinctive Canadian content. This report to the Government asserts the meaning and importance of public broadcasting for all Canadians, and shows how it improves our democratic and cultural lives."
From the report itself: "The Committee regards CBC/Radio-Canada as an essential public institution that plays a crucial role in bringing Canadians closer together… The vast majority of the evidence stressed the distinctiveness of CBC/Radio-Canada, reflected in the quality, originality and creativity of its programming. Being distinctive should not however mean being inaccessible. Its services must be accessible to the various elements of the Canadian public."
On June 28th, the CRTC approved an application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to acquire the assets of the French-language television programming undertakings CKSH-TV Sherbrooke, CKTM-TV Trois-Rivières and CKTV-TV Saguenay and its transmitter CKTV-TV-1 Saint-Fulgence, Quebec, from TQS Inc, and for new broadcasting licences to continue the operation of the undertakings under the same terms and conditions as those in effect under the current licences.
"The new agreement is based on the principle that people are the foundation of everything that CBC/Radio-Canada does," said Hubert T. Lacroix. "We're working together to strengthen our ability to deliver as the national public broadcaster."
On September 14th, CBC Television announced that it had joined with other major conventional Canadian broadcasters, CTV, Global and others, to create Local TV Matters, an alliance aimed at informing Canadians about critical issues affecting local television programming specifically and the conventional broadcasting model in general.
The CRTC had announced its intention to set up a framework to permit conventional broadcasters and cable and satellite companies to negotiate a value for local signals.
With the CRTC deadline to receive submissions on these and other related issues becoming due on that day, "the broadcasters, in an unprecedented move, have determined the need to come together to reinforce the importance and value of diversity and choice within the Canadian media landscape", said Steven Guiton, CBC/Radio-Canada's chief regulatory officer.
On November 17th, the CBC appeared before the CRTC to ask for an end to the "free-riding" by broadcast distribution undertakings (BDUs) on conventional television services. The CBC said that the system had become so imbalanced that the CRTC acknowledged that it could not afford to sit idly by, given the threat to the future of high-quality, local Canadian programming.
"The conventional television financial model in Canada is collapsing," said CBC/Radio-Canada President Hubert T. Lacroix. "Without a major correction that will allow conventional broadcasters to get a fair price for their signals, Canadians will have to start getting used to seeing stations shut down and high-quality programming disappear."
The CBC presented the CRTC with a proposed regulatory framework for correcting the current inequities in the system, which it said would ensure the future of conventional broadcasting and the survival of local content for the benefit of all Canadians. As was customary, the Commission reserved its decision.
In its newly announced framework for conventional broadcasting, the CRTC had allowed private broadcasters to negotiate a fair value for their signals with cable and satellite companies, but denied that same right to CBC/Radio-Canada.
On August 6th, with Canada's switch from analogue to digital over-the-air television just over a year away, CBC/Radio-Canada released the details of its plan for the transition.
CBC/Radio-Canada would be installing digital transmitters in all of the markets in which it produced original television programming, for a total of 27 transmitters. Fifteen of the 27 transmitters would be operational by August 2011, with the remaining twelve to be operational by or before August 2012.
The Corporation would continue to offer analogue service beyond the August 31, 2011 shut-off date established by government in all markets not identified by the CRTC as mandatory for digital transmission. It had also filed a request to the CRTC to allow a temporary extension of analogue service in those markets not slated for transition until after the August 2011 deadline.
Also on August 6th, CBC President Hubert T. Lacroix announced the departure of Richard Stursberg, executive vice-president, English services, from CBC/Radio-Canada. Kirstine Stewart, general manager, CBC Television, would take on the position of executive vice-president, English services, on an interim basis.
On August 9th, the CRTC renewed the broadcasting licences for the stations in the CBC Television Network from 1 September 2010 to 31 March 2011, subject to the terms and conditions in effect under the current licences.
On March 21st, the CRTC renewed the broadcasting licences for the CBC Television Network stations from 1 April 2011 to 31 August 2012, subject to the terms and conditions in effect under the then-current licences.
On June 17th, the CRTC announced that it would hold a hearing on September 12th, to consider the CBC's applications for the renewal of all their various English and French radio and television networks. However, on July 8th the CRTC announced that it was postponing the licence renewal hearing for the CBC until June 2012.
The Commission advised that the decision had been made for two reasons. First, it was made further to a request by the Quebec English-language Production Committee (QEPC) for the same data that had been available for the group-based licence renewals for private English-language television, held in April 2011.
Second, the CBC/SRC had that day advised that the federal government had not yet established the future operating budget for the CBC. The CRTC believed therefore that it would be inappropriate to impose licence conditions given this uncertainty. Consequently, the CRTC had decided to postpone the renewal hearing until June 2012. A revised notice of consultation would be issued in due course, with new procedural dates.
On August 16th, the CRTC announced that it would allow the CBC to continue to operate 22 of its analog television rebroadcasting transmitters in cities in Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Quebec and New Brunswick, until August 31st 2012. In announcing their decision, the CRTC said that approval of the CBC's proposal, and its related technical amendments, would provide additional time for affected households that relied on over-the-air service in mandatory markets to find other means to access the CBC's television services. Approval of the proposal would also provide an opportunity for the Commission to discuss the CBC's plans for its over-the-air transmitter system at the time of the CBC's licence renewal hearing, now scheduled for June 2012.
On August 18th, the CBC had its Television Network licence renewed to August 2012, subject to the terms and conditions in effect under the then-current licence.
On December 15th 2011, the CBC filed with the Commission the additional data that had been requested.
On February 1st, the CRTC published a Notice of Consultation that stated that the Commission considered that it would be inappropriate to set a hearing date for the renewal of the CBC’s licences until the CBC had had an opportunity to establish its future operating budget. The Commission was therefore postponing the licence renewal hearing until further notice.
Written by J. Lyman Potts