Global Television Network

Summary - see individual stations for details.

In the 1960’s, Ken Soble, founder of CHCH-TV in Hamilton, had a dream to launch a super station that would use satellite to reach all of Canada. Unfortunately he passed away in 1966. Al Bruner worked for Soble back then. He too had this super station dream and pursued it.

With Soble’s death, Bruner decided to carry forward his vision and established Global Communications Limited. He started preparations to seek funding, and eventually to apply to the CRTC for a licence.

Al Bruner unveiled his plan. It would not be a national service – for now. It would be a regional Ontario television network – a group of transmitters linked together by satellite, operating from one central studio. He proposed to run eight commercial minutes per hour compared to the twelve that other stations were offering. He felt this would be an incentive to lure Canadian advertisers away from Buffalo stations.

Global Communications was licensed to operate a network of television transmitters across Southern Ontario. Transmitters would be located at Ottawa (channel 6), Bancroft (channel 2), Uxbridge (channel 22), Paris (channel 6), Sarnia (channel 34) and Windsor (channel 26). The decision on a transmitter at Maxville (near Cornwall) was deferred.

The station was expected to launch in January of 1974 and proposed to broadcast only in prime-time hours, from 5 p.m. to midnight. Daytime broadcast hours would be offered to the Ontario Educational Communications Authority (OECA).

Principal shareholders of Global Communications Ltd. were CanPlex Ltd. (the founding company – Al Bruner and Peter Hill), Maclean Hunter Ltd. and Odeon Theatres Canada Ltd. The remaining 57.2% of the shares would be offered to the public.

Some changes to Global’s channel line-up were approved. The Sarnia (Oil Springs) transmitter would operate on channel 29 rather than ch 34 and the Windsor transmitter would broadcast on channel 22 instead of ch 26.

It should be noted that the Maxville transmitter would not be allowed to operate because of its proximity to Montreal.

At 6:00 p.m. on January 6, The Global Television Network signed on the air with six transmitters across Southern Ontario. Studios were in a former factory at 81 Barber Greene Road in Don Mills (Toronto). The call letters for the new station: CKGN-TV, with the "GN" standing for Global Television Network.

Windsor and Sun Parlor region
With a channel 22 transmitter at Cottam, effective radiated power was 218,000 watts video and 33,000 watts audio. Antenna height was 367 feet EHAAT.

Sarnia and Bluewater country
Service from channel 29 transmitter, located southwest of Oil Springs with effective radiated power was 370,000 watts video and 55,500 watts audio. Antenna height was 685 feet EHAAT.

Niagara Peninsula, London, Kitchener, Hamilton and Toronto
Global’s main transmitter operated on channel 6 from a tower located southwest of Paris. It operated with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts video and 15,000 watts audio. Antenna height was 1,037 feet EHAAT.

Eastern Toronto, Oshawa and Mid-Eastern Ontario regions
Canada’s most powerful television transmitter operated on channel 22 from Uxbridge and served the. Effective radiated video power was five million watts. Audio ERP was 750,000 watts. Antenna height was 598 feet EHAAT. The transmitter was located near Goodwood, south of Uxbridge.

Eastern Ontario Kingston and Peterborough
was covered by the channel 2 transmitter, located just east of Bancroft, and operating on channel 2, with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts video and 15,000 watts audio. Antenna height was 949 feet EHAAT.

Canada’s capital city region
received Global programming from the Ottawa transmitter, broadcasting on channel 6. Effective radiated power was 12,600 watts video and 1,900 watts audio. Antenna height was 149 feet EHAAT. The transmitter was located at Camp Fortune, Quebec.

By the spring, Global had been losing about a million dollars a month. Ratings were bad…a 2.5% share in Toronto, compared to CFTO’s 20% and CBLT’s 17.5. Signing on the air in mid-season was a big mistake as advertisers had already committed their money to the existing stations and networks. Global’s bank cut off its credit. It could no longer meet daily expenses. Founder Al Bruner was pushed out of the President’s office.

On March 31, Global accepted a re-financing plan put forward by a group of investors. Izzy Asper and Paul Morton headed Global Ventures Holdings Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Ventures Western Ltd., which bought a 45% interest in Global Communications Ltd. Seymour Epstein (whose Imagineering Ltd. did all of the technical work for Global and was now a creditor) bought 10%, and Allan Slaight's IWC Communications Ltd. took 45%. The new owners took over April 15, 1974. Founder Al Bruner and his group exited.

Izzy Asper established CKND-TV, an independent station in Winnipeg.

Izzy Asper and Gerald Schwartz from Canwest Capital Group Inc. (a venture capital company) and other Global investors, began to roll their shares into Canwest.

On March 22, Allan Slaight triggered a buy-sell agreement and Global Ventures ended up with a 72% interest in the network. The other 28% was held by the public. Global Ventures Western Ltd. (Asper of Canwest Capital Corp.), Morton and Epstein (Odeon-Morton Theatres Ltd.) bought Slaight's interest. This left Canwest with 50% and Epstein & Morton with 50% of Global.

Global had applied to the CRTC to have its signal distributed across Canada via satellite except in markets where third television services already existed (ie: Toronto with CITY, Vancouver with CKVU and Winnipeg with CKND). The application was denied.

Global marked ten years on the air, January 6, by changing its call letters from CKGN-TV to CIII-TV.

Canwest Capital owned 61% of Global Ventures, and Izzy Asper emerged from a reorganization of Canwest Capital as the principal shareholder. Global Ventures Holdings acquired all of the outstanding shares of Global Communications, making it 100% owned by Global Ventures Western, either directly or through its subsidiary Global Ventures Holdings.

On July 17, authorization was granted to decrease ERP at the Windsor-area transmitter from 218,000 to 152,000 watts and to relocate the transmitter site from Cottam to Stevenson. This would reinstate service to the Windsor area. The Cottam transmitter had been off the air a number of years.

Global upgraded all of its transmitters to operate in stereo. The Kitchener transmitter was moved to a new site (still near Paris).

On October 2, CIII-TV-6 Ottawa was given approval to decrease ERP from 14,700 to 8,700 watts and to relocate the transmitter site from an area on the edge of the Gatineau Park to the Camp Fortune transmission tower. 

In October, at the Bancroft site, the tower was raised, a new antenna was installed and effective radiated power increased to the authorized 100,000 watts. The transmitter had been operating at 67,200 watts. The increase would improve signal quality to the Kingston and belleville areas. (this change approved by the CRTC July 17, 1986)

Global opened a transmitter (channel 7) at Midland to serve the Barrie/Georgian Bay/Muskoka area on November 24. The tower was located near Port Severn. Effective radiated power was 325,000 watts video and 48,800 watts audio. Antenna height was 1,131 feet EHAAT.

Al Bruner passed away at age 63. Global was his dream. He got it on the air but was forced out of the picture in the early going, but before his death, he did see his dream realized.

The Windsor transmitter at Cottam was deleted and replaced by a new facility at Stevenson. The Cottam transmitter had been down for some time due to a variety of problems.

The channel 4 transmitter at Owen Sound, went into service June 27. Effective radiated power was 18,400 watts video. The height of the new tower would be increased by the same amount as the decreased ground elevation.

On September 29, CIII-TV-4 Owen Sound was authorized to increase ERP from 18,400 to 20,600 watts, and to relocate the transmitter from the currently authorized site to a nearby location of lower ground elevation. 

The Peterborough-Cobourg transmitter opened October 15, on channel 27. The transmitter was located at the CFMX-FM site at Alnwick Hill and Harwood Roads, Hamilton Township, just north of Cobourg. A new tower was built for both stations. CFMX owned the property and Global owned the new tower. Channel 27 broadcast with an ERP of 1,284,000 watts (average) and 2,535,000 watts (maximum, video). 

On October 22, at 5:30 p.m., the Toronto transmitter opened on channel 41. It broadcast from the CN Tower, 301 Front Street West, with an effective radiated power of 786,000 watts video.

On November 30, the Uxbridge transmitter was pulled out of service. It promoted the new channel 41 Toronto transmitter for a few weeks and was then deleted completely on December 31st.

Global continued to open new stations across Canada with the opening of CFRE-TV Regina and CFSK-TV Saskatoon on September 5th. While Global was not yet a Network, most of the programming was carried on all stations.

Morton & Epstein were "at war" with Asper. They went to court. A Manitoba judge ordered the end of the partnership. Global Ventures Western and subsidiary Global Ventures Holdings were put up for auction with only CanWest Communications Enterprises (Asper) and Seyton Ltd. (Morton & Epstein) being allowed to bid on the shares. On December 14, 1989, Asper emerged as the winner, getting 100% of Global.

Selkirk Communication was purchased by MacLean Hunter and consequentially sold its TV stations, including CFAC-TV, Calgary and it’s interest in CHAN-TV Vancouver. CHEK-TV Victoria and CHBC-TV Kelowna to WIC International of Vancouver.

On October 31, CIII-TV-27 Peterborough was granted a decrease in ERP from 1,284,000 to 836,000 watts. 

On October 22, the CRTC approved the transfer of effective control of Global Communications Ltd. to CanWest Communications Enterprises Inc. Global was owned 100% by Global Ventures Western Ltd., a holding company beneficially owned 60.76% by CanWest.

Global Communications Ltd. began (again) to offer its shares to the public.

On February 6, the CRTC approved Allarcom's sale of CITV and CITV-TV-1 (CITA-TV) Red Deer, as well as CKRD-TV Red Deer and CKRD-TV-1 Coronation, to Westcom TV Group Ltd. In this transaction, Dr. Allard (Allarcom) acquired approximately 22.4% of the issued non-voting class B shares of Western International Communications (Westcom's parent company). The transfer was completed March 22, 1991.

On November 18, CIII-TV-41 Toronto was given approval to decrease effective radiated power from 1,475,000 to 732,000 watts. 

On April 8, Global was given approval to add transmitters at Fort Erie (ch55 / 14,200 watts), Sudbury (ch 11 / 25,000 watts), Timmins (ch 13 / 11,600 watts), North Bay (ch 2 / 3,400 watts) and Sault Ste. Marie (ch 12 / 1,800 watts). The latest proposal to add a transmitter at Maxville (near Cornwall) was denied. The CRTC was concerned that the proposed transmitter would make it more feasible for cable systems in Montréal to pick up the Global signal.

On December 1, Global expanded its coverage area with new transmitters at North Bay (channel 2 with ERP of 3,400 watts video), Sault Ste. Marie (channel 12 with ERP of 18,000 watts video), Sudbury (channel 11 with ERP of 25,000 watts video), and Timmins (channel 13 with ERP of 11,600 watts video).

In February or March, CIII opened a transmitter at Fort Erie, operating on channel 55 with effective radiated power of 14,200 watts video.

After losing an average of $5 million dollars per year since sign-on, CIHF-TV Saint John was sold to CanWest Global Communications Corp. on August 29, 1994, in a three way sale involving the CBC purchasing CHSJ-TV and moving it to Fredericton, renaming it CBAT-TV, as a full CBC station.

Halifax became the operational and business centre for CIHF-TV later in the year.

On August 28, the CRTC gave Global approval to add a transmitter at Cornwall. Global had proposed to use channel 11 but that was awarded to CHCH-TV for use in Ottawa.

On February 27, TVA CanWest Limited Partnership (TVA Regional Inc. and Global Communications Ltd.) was given approval to purchase CKMI-TV Quebec City, from Télé-Métropole inc. (TVA Regional Inc.). The station would drop its CBC affiliation and become a GLOBAL network station.

All of the Canwest-Global stations across Canada began using the GLOBAL name.

The Griffiths family holdings in WIC Western International Communications Ltd. were sold, subject to CRTC approval, to Shaw Communications Inc. and CanWest Global Communications Corp.

Following months of negotiation, agreements were filed with the CRTC on the split of WIC assets between CanWest Global, Corus Radio (formerly Shaw Radio), and Shaw Communications, the sale was approved subject to CanWest Global’s divesting CKVU-TV Vancouver.

Following an April hearing in Vancouver, in July, the CRTC announced the approval of the purchase of WIC Television by CanWest Global, which included BCTV Vancouver, conditional on CanWest Global divesting CKVU-TV Vancouver.

The change in ownership resulted in an unprecedented network shuffle in the Vancouver market, with CHAN-TV becoming part of the Global Network, CTV launching its new Vancouver station CIVT-TV, and CKVU-TV becoming an independent CHUM station effective September 1, 2001.

I. H. “Izzy” Asper passed away on October 7.

Global launched its first Ontario radio station in January – CKBT, serving Kitchener-Waterloo.

On June 9, Global was given approval to operate a transitional digital television undertaking in association with CIII-TV-41 Toronto. The digital undertaking would operate from the CN Tower on channel 65C with an effective radiated power of 3,000 watts.

Global’s Toronto transmitter (channel 41) began digital (channel 65C) operations in mid-October.

On October 27, the CRTC approved the transfer of effective control of CanWest MediaWorks Inc. and its subsidiaries, licensees of various broadcasting undertakings across Canada, from the late Mr. Israel Asper to Mrs. Ruth Miriam Asper, and subsequently from Mrs. Ruth Miriam Asper to the children, through their control of the board of directors of CanWest Global Communications Corp., pursuant to a nomination agreement between them and CanWest Communications Corporation, a corporation controlled by Mrs. Ruth Miriam Asper. (Note: CanWest Mediaworks was now the parent of Global Television)

Written by Ross McCreath & Bill Dulmage - June, 2006