Radio/Television Station Group History

Corus Entertainment Inc.

On August 27th 1987, after many years of successful operation of its various cable systems, Shaw Cablesystems (which was later to become Corus Entertainment) made its first venture into over-the-air broadcast ownership with the acquisition of two Red Deer radio stations, CIZZ-FM and CKGY-FM. Further acquisitions by Shaw during this period included CISN-FM Edmonton (1988), CHAY-FM Barrie (1990), CKCK-FM Woodstock (1991), and CFOX-FM and CKLG-AM Vancouver (1992).

Shaw Cablesystems Ltd changed its name to Shaw Communications Inc., to more properly reflect its diversification into over-the-air broadcasting. Over the next four years, Shaw would acquire several more radio stations, including CHQT-AM Edmonton (1993), CFNY Brampton/Toronto (1994), CKRY-FM Calgary (1996) and CING-FM Burlington (1997).

On September 2nd, former CTV President John Cassaday joined Shaw Communications Inc. as Executive Vice-President of the corporation, as well as President and CEO of Shaw Media. JR. Shaw, Chairman and CEO of Shaw, said that Cassaday's role would be to help the company " position Shaw as a true communications company with significant interests in both content and distribution."

On November 6th, the CRTC approved an application by Shaw Communications Inc for permission to transfer all its shares in various broadcasting undertakings, to a new wholly-owned subsidiary titled Mediaco, and subsequently to a holding company, Holdco.

On September 1st, Shaw Communications Inc announced that the company would be separated into two distinct publicly-traded corporations, Shaw Communications Inc. and Corus Entertainment Inc. Shaw Communications Inc. would continue to carry on Shaw's cable television, internet access, telecommunications and satellite business, while Corus, with Cassaday as President, would assume ownership of the Holdco properties and carry on Shaw's radio broadcasting, specialty television, digital music services and cable advertising service business. Corus thus became owners of the eleven radio stations previously purchased by Shaw, and later the same month the company made a deal with Blackburn Radio to buy CFPL-FM and CFPL-AM London, plus CFHK-FM St. Thomas/London.

Effective March 31, Corus acquired the Canadian broadcasting assets of Power Broadcasting Inc. consisting of 17 radio stations and four television stations for $114 million. The broadcasting assets acquired include 11 radio stations in Ontario, including properties in Guelph (CJOY-AM and CIMJ-FM), Kingston (CFFX-FM and CFMK-FM) and Oshawa (CKDO-AM and CKGE-FM), and six radio stations in Quebec between Montreal and Rimouski. The television stations in Ontario (CKWS-TV - Kingston and CHEX-TV in Peterborough and CHEX-TV in Oshawa) and Quebec (CHAU-TV) were affiliates of the CBC and TVA, respectively.

On July 6th, following almost two years of negotiations, Corus received CRTC approval to acquire control of WIC Premium Corporation. This added twelve more radio stations to the Corus line-up, and a number of pay, pay-per-view and other discretionary television services. As a condition of the approval, Corus was required to sell off the 50% interest in The Family Channel that had been held by WIC Premium.

The radio stations involved were CHED-FM and CKNG-FM Edmonton, CKNW-AM and CFMI-FM Vancouver, CHQR-AM and CKIK-FM Calgary, CJOB-AM and CJKR-FM Winnipeg, CHML-AM and CJXY-FM Hamilton, and CFYI-AM and CILQ-FM Toronto.

The specialty services Corus acquired included Western Canada pay television services SuperChannel Ltd and MovieMax Ltd, and WIC-VC Ltd.'s pay-per-view service, plus a 40% ownership position in the Teletoon English and French specialty services.

On November 14th, in a move that would further diversify Corus's activities, the company completed the acquisition of Nelvana Ltd, a Canadian producer and distributor of children's programming and products. On November 24th, Corus was awarded licences for a number of new category 2 (discretionary) specialty channels, including Edge TV, RAI Canada, Parent TV, Pet TV. The Classical Channel and The Jazz Channel. Not all of them would get launched.

On January 1st, the CRTC announced that it had approved the sale by Corus of the Quebec television station CHAU-TV to Tele Inter-Rèves Ltd.

On February 8th, the CRTC approved a deal which gave Corus ownership of Belcand Mount Royal Holdings Inc., the parent company of Metromedia CMR Broadcasting Inc., which owned directly or indirectly six radio stations, five in Montréal, CKOO-FM (formerly CIEL-FM), CKOI-FM, CINF, CFQR-FM and CINW, and one in St-Jérôme, CIME-FM, as well as the French-language Category 2 (digital) specialty television service "Canal Habitat". The deal brought Corus's radio holdings to 49 stations in five provinces.

On November 16th, Corus added a controlling interest in the Telelatino Network, and ownership of the Women's Television Network (WTN) to its broadcast holdings.

Three days later, the CRTC approved Corus's application to acquire three radio stations in Cornwall, Ontario, through the purchase of Tri-Co Radio Ltd., owners of CJUL-AM, CFLG-FM and CJSS-FM.

On April 15th, Corus relaunched the WTN specialty channel as simply W, with a new program schedule and a separate feed for Western viewers.

On October 16th, Corus Entertainment and Shaw Communications Ltd. announced the introduction of Canada's first subscription-based Video-on-Demand service, Movie Central Express.

On April 23rd, Corus received CRTC approval for the company to sell its Oshawa radio stations CKDO-AM and CKGE-FM to Durham Radio Inc.

In June the company announced its intention to discontinue operating its rock and alternative music video specialty service Edge TV.

In March, Corus and Astral Media Inc announced that they were working on a deal whereby the two companies would exchange groups of radio stations in the province of Quebec. This would involve Corus acquiring the stations of the Radiomedia network.

In November, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters awarded Corus President and CEO John Cassaday the CAB Gold Ribbon, in recognition of his services to Canadian broadcasting.

On January 21st, Corus and Astral received CRTC approval of their application to exchange groups of radio stations. The deal provided for Corus to receive radio stations CKAC-FM Montréal, CHRC Québec, CJRC-FM Gatineau, CKRS-FM Saguenay, CHLN-FM Trois-Rivières, CHLT-FM Sherbrooke and CFOM-FM Lévis, while Astral would receive from Corus the following stations: CFVM-FM Amqui, CJDM-FM Drummondville, CJOI-FM Rimouski, CIKI-FM Rimouski and its transmitter CIKI-FM-2 Sainte-Marguerite-Marie, and CFZZ-FM Saint-Jean-Iberville.

On June 28th, the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) announced that their Gold Medal Award for 2004 would go to Corus President and CEO John Cassaday.

On August 10th, the CRTC gave its consent to Corus selling their two stations in Red Deer, Alberta, CIZZ-FM and CKGY-FM, to Newcap Inc. (Newfoundland Capital Corporation Ltd).

With the closing down of CKTS-AM Sherbrooke, the number of radio stations operated by Corus was reduced to 50.

On May 14th, Corus announced that they had joined forces with Cogeco Inc to form a new company to be called Groupe Force Radio. The new company would act as a national sales agent for 5 Cogeco, 13 Corus and 12 Radio Nord radio stations.

Approval by the CRTC was received on July 6th for Corus to conclude a deal with CanWest MediaWorks whereby Corus would buy two radio stations, CJZZ-FM Winnipeg and CKBT-FM Kitchener.

On August 7th, Corus received approval from the CRTC to launch Cosmopolitan Television, a life-style specialty channel targeted at women 18-34.

As the year ended, the CRTC gave Corus permission on December 24th to acquire radio station CIGR-FM Sherbrooke from Groupe Génération Rock.

On August 22nd, Corus received CRTC approval to acquire effective control of a numbered company, 1708484 Ontario Inc., whose shares had previously been held by CTVglobemedia. With the purchase, Corus acquired ownership of specialty channel Canadian Learning Television (CLT). On November 3rd, the channel was relaunched as VIVA, a speciality channel offering "....programming targeted to Canadian women in the dynamic boomer demographic".

On September 1st, Corus reduced its radio station ownerships to 52 with the sale of CHRC-AM radio to a Quebec City corporation that owned the Hockey Club Les Remparts de Québec.

On September 18th, the CRTC approved two more specialty channel applications from Corus. These were for (a) YTV POW! which would "...offer programming from international markets featuring the latest trends in non-violent action, adventure, superheroes, comedy adventure and interactivity..", and (b) YTV OneWorld "....that would offer programming from around the world targeting children aged 6 to 17 and their families. The schedule would include programs devoted to entertainment, humour, travel, games and science and technology."

On January 8th 2009, the CRTC announced a public hearing to be held in Gatineau, Quebec on March 31st. Corus Entertainment was listed as one of eleven applicants for a new FM radio licence to serve Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec. Corus's application, and those of eight of the other ten applicants, had been denied on August 26th 2008, but an Order in Council had required the Commission to reconsider its decision.

On August 11th, the CRTC reaffirmed its original decision to award licences to Astral and to Frank Torres. However, the published decision included a dissenting opinion by Commissioner Michel Morin, who believed that Corus should have been awarded the licence that went to Torres.

On January 29th, Corus announced that they were closing two Montreal radio stations, CINF-AM and CINW-AM, as of 7pm that evening. "After years of effort," said Corus Quebec Vice-President Mario Cecchini, "it is clear these AM stations are not viable." The decision left Corus with one of only three AM stations in Montreal, CKAC Sports. While some staffers were relocated to other Corus radio properties, ten employees lost their jobs.

On April 30th, Corus Entertainment Inc. announced that they had reached an agreement with Cogeco Inc. for Cogeco to purchase the Corus Quebec radio stations: CKOI-FM, CKAC-AM, CHMP-FM and CFQR-FM Montreal, CFOM-FM102.9 and CFEL-FM Quebec City, CJRC-FM Gatineau , CIME-FM St-Jérôme, CHLT-FM and CKOY-FM Sherbrooke, and CHLN-FM Trois Rivieres. The deal would be subject to CRTC approval.

Following public hearings on September 28 and 29 in Montreal, on December 17 the CRTC approved the transfer of these radio programming undertakings from Corus Entertainment Inc. to Cogeco inc.

On July 27th, the CRTC announced the renewal of the broadcasting licences for the various television services affiliated with the Corus Entertainment Inc. broadcasting ownership group from 1 September 2011 to 31 August 2016.

In announcing this decision, the Commission said that it was implementing its new group-based licensing policy for large private English-language ownership groups. This policy was developed to prepare both the broadcasting industry and the Commission for the new reality of large, integrated broadcasting ownership groups. Under this policy, the Commission would reduce its focus on Canadian exhibition and concentrate to a greater extent on ensuring stable funding to Canadian production through programming expenditure requirements, particularly in regard to programming that continued to be under-represented in the Canadian broadcasting system. In addition, the Commission said it had also introduced a much greater level of flexibility in the manner in which television services would make and account for Canadian programming expenditures.

On November 9th, the CRTC announced a hearing in Calgary on February 7th 2012, at which it would hear an application by Corus Entertainment Inc., on behalf of its wholly owned subsidiary CKIK-FM Limited, to amend the broadcasting licence for the AM radio programming undertaking CHQR Calgary.

The licensee proposed to add an FM transmitter in Calgary to broadcast the programming of CHQR, "in order to adequately serve the population of Calgary".

The transmitter would operate on frequency 106.9 MHz (channel 295A) with an effective radiated power of 1,000 watts (non-directional antenna with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 243.6 metres).

The applicant stated that the proposed FM transmitter would provide a reliable high-quality signal on the FM band to listeners in downtown Calgary who were no longer able to obtain satisfactory reception of CHQR on the AM band.

On January 1st Corus Entertainment announced that its new television service, ABC Spark, would launch across Canada on Monday, March 26. ABC Spark would be based on the successful U.S. brand ABC Family, and would be a multiplatform offering featuring original series and movies, as well as general entertainment programming.

On February 14th Corus Entertainment Inc., on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, filed an application for a broadcasting licence to operate Harmony, a national, English-language specialty Category B service that would be devoted to romance, love and relationships. The programming would include series based on relationships, feature films, mini-series, made-for-television movies and occasional magazine-style shows focusing on this genre and its stars.

On May 24, the CRTC found that the additional FM presence that would result from approval of the application heard on November 9th 2011 to amend the licence for CHQR-AM by adding an FM transmitter in Calgary would undermine the Common Ownership Policy by adversely affecting competitive balance and diversity in this market. The Commission also found that the applicant had not provided sufficient justification to warrant the granting of its application on its own merits. Accordingly, the Commission denied the application.

On December 11th in Gatineau PQ, the CRTC called Corus to a public hearing to discuss concerns that the Corus-owned specialty channel OWN - The Opra Winfrey Network was not complying with the nature of service as defined by its condition of licence. Following a licence renewal hearing in 2011, OWN had been directed to either file a report detailing the measures it had taken to come into compliance or submit another proposal.

Corus had subsequently filed two applications on behalf of OWN, neither of which the Commission felt had been consistent with its directions. As a result, the Commission had not procesed the applications.

Consequently, the Commission had called Corus to a public hearing to discuss its apparent ongoing non-compliance in further detail. Corus was expected to show cause as to why:

  • a mandatory order should not be issued requiring the licensee to comply with its conditions of licence, and

  • its licence should not be suspended or revoked.

On January 9th 2013, Corus rebranded their station CKNG-FM in Edmonton as The New 92.5 Fresh FM.

On January 15th, Canadian Press reported that Corus chief executive John Cassaday had told analysts in the broadcaster's quarterly earnings call that, after the meeting with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission the previous month, Corus would create two more hours of educational programming for its OWN channel schedule.

The CRTC had still not announced its decision on the matter, and declined to comment.

On March 4th, Corus Entertainment Inc. announced that it had entered into a number of agreements with Bell and separately with Shaw Media, which "...extended Corus' portfolio of Radio assets into Ottawa, consolidated Corus' ownership of ABC Spark and TELETOON, and enabled Corus to become a significant media contributor in the Québec and the French-language specialty television market".

Corus said it had reached an agreement with Bell to acquire the 50% remaining ownership interest in TELETOON and two Ottawa-based radio stations, CKQB-FM (The Bear 106.9) and CJOT-FM (boom 99.7), that Bell would acquire as part of the acquisition of Astral Media Inc (for which a new proposal was awaiting the approval of the CRTC, the original having been denied) . With these acquisitions, TELETOON, Télétoon (French), TELETOON Retro, Télétoon Rétro (French), Cartoon Network (Canada) and radio stations, CKQB-FM and CJOT-FM, would be wholly owned by Corus. In addition, Corus had reached an agreement with Bell and Shaw Media to acquire each of their respective 50% interests in the French-language specialty channels Historia and Séries+. Certain transactions were subject to approval by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The Competitions Bureau approved the deal on March 18th.

In a separate transaction, Corus announced that it had entered into an agreement with Shaw Media that would result in Corus acquiring the remaining 49% interest in the successful specialty television service ABC Spark from Shaw Media. As part of the agreement, Corus would sell its 20% interest in Food Network Canada to Shaw Media.

On March 15th the CRTC announced that it was denying Corus' applications to amend its broadcasting licence for the Oprah Winfrey network OWN, by amending the definition of the term "broadcast day" as it applied to its licence so as to mean the 24-hour period beginning each day at 6 a.m., as well as the application by OWN Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a national, English-language specialty Category B service to be known as OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.

In denying the application to amend the broadcast day definition, the Commission said it "... does not consider it appropriate to approve an application for a licence amendment for which the objective appears to be to remedy a licensee's non-compliance."

Regarding the application for a Category B service, the Comission noted that, when questioned on its application at the hearing, Corus clarified that if the Commission determined that the two services would be competitive, it only sought a Category B licence for the OWN service if its Category A licence were revoked. The Commission considered that the specialty Category B service that OWN Inc. described in its application would likely be directly competitive with the Category A service that it currently operated.

In light of this, and given OWN's statement at the hearing that it only sought a Category B licence if its Category A licence were revoked, which was not the case, the Commission denied the application by OWN Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a national, English-language specialty Category B service to be known as OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.

In summary, the Commission reiterated the importance it placed on a licensee's compliance with its conditions of licence and other regulatory requirements. The Commission viewed any non-compliance as a very serious matter. The Commission noted that it might consider recourse to additional measures, including suspension, non-renewal or revocation of the licence under sections 9 and 24 of the Act, should OWN Inc. again breach its nature of service definition or any of its other regulatory requirements.

Further, to ensure that the licensee would comply with its conditions of licence relating to its nature of service and with the Regulations, the Commission directed OWN Inc. to adhere to the monitoring and reporting framework set out elsewhere in the decision.

On July 17th 2013, Corus Entertainment announced a number of changes to its executive team "to more closely align the company's television and business divisions".

Current EVP and president of Corus Television Doug Murphy would become EVP and COO of Corus Entertainment on September 1, reporting directly to president and CEO John Cassaday.

Other executive leadership changes included:

  • Scott Dyer as EVP of strategic planning and chief technology officer, which would include overseeing strategic planning ongoing business transformations and new media strategy, as well as responsibility for Kids Can Press and Toon Boom.
  • Gary Maavara, EVP and general counsel, corporate secretary, with oversight of all legal matters, regulatory affairs and government relations.
  • Kathleen McNair, EVP human resources, corporate communications and chief integration officer; with the latter, McNair would lead the integration of the new services to be acquired from Bell Media, pending regulatory approval, as well as streamlining internal processes
  • Tom Peddie, EVP and CFO

Corus had earlier announced the appointment of Mario Cecchini as head of Eastern Ontario and president of Corus Media. Other appointments were also announced relating to the leadership of the company’s various business units, including:

  • Chris Pandoff, president of radio
  • Colin Bohm, VP Television, head of Corus Kids
  • John MacDonald, VP, head of Corus Women and Family
  • Maria Hale, VP Television, head of Corus content distribution and pay TV
  • Susan Schaefer, VP head of brands, television and radio
  • Gerry Mackrell, VP Television, head of airtime sales
  • Bill Knight, VP Television, head of business development and planning
  • Helen Lebeau, VP Television, production and broadcast operations

On August 28th the CRTC announced that it would hold a hearing on November 5th 2013, at which the applications that Corus had announced on March 4th, to acquire various properties from Shaw Media and Bell Media, would be heard. It would be three months before the Commission issued its decisions.

On December 20th 2013 the CRTC approved, subject to certain modifications and conditions, the application by 8324441 Canada Inc. (8324441 Canada), on behalf of TELETOON Canada Inc. (TELETOON Canada), for authority to effect a change of TELETOON Canada's ownership to 8324441 Canada so that control of the undertakings would be exercised by Corus Entertainment Inc. (Corus).

On the same day, the CRTC approved, subject to certain modifications and conditions, three applications by Corus Entertainment Inc. (Corus), on its behalf and on behalf of 8504644 Canada Inc. and 8504652 Canada Inc., for authority to acquire from Shaw Media Inc. and 8504610 Canada Inc., partners in a general partnership carrying on business as Historia & Séries+ s.e.n.c., the assets of the French-language specialty Category A services Historia and Séries+ and to change the effective control so that it would be exercised by Corus.

On January 24th 2014, the CRTC approved, subject to certain conditions, applications by 8324433 Canada Inc. (8324433 Canada), a Corus Entertainment Inc. (Corus) subsidiary, on behalf of 8504598 Canada Inc., licensee of the English-language commercial radio station CKQB-FM Ottawa, Ontario, and its transmitter CKQB-FM-1 Pembroke, and 8384851 Canada Inc., licensee of the English-language commercial radio station CJOT-FM Ottawa, for authority to effect a change in their ownership to 8324433 Canada so that control of the stations was exercised by Corus.

"These transactions represent a transformative opportunity for Corus," said John Cassaday, President and Chief Executive Officer, Corus Entertainment. "The consolidation of TELETOON and the addition of the popular services Historia and Series+ give Corus the scale to expand into the growing French-language specialty television market. As a well-capitalized company, Corus can contribute to the growth of this market and provide new opportunities for the production community, while adding greater diversity to the system and more choice to French-speaking audiences. The addition of the Ottawa radio stations, CKQB-FM and CJOT-FM, has been a long-standing goal and allows us to bring our skills and passion for radio to another major Canadian market, while delivering exceptional programming and local information to the Ottawa community. Finally, full ownership of ABC Spark, based on the highly successful ABC Family channel in the U.S., and now widely distributed across Canada, represents an excellent growth opportunity for Corus."

On Friday September 4th, John Cassaday, President and Chief Executive Officer and Heather Shaw, Executive Chair of Corus Entertainment Inc. joined Loui Anastasopoulos, Vice President, TSX Company Services, Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange to open the market to mark Corus' 15 years as a Toronto Stock Exchange listed company.

On October 30th, Canada Music Week announced that Corus Entertainment President and CEO John Cassaday would be the 2015 inductee to the Canadian Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame.  He would be so honoured at the Awards Gala on May 7th 2015.

On Monday January 12th John Cassaday announced that he would be retiring from Corus on the expiry of his contract at the end of March 2015. He retired from the firm on March 31st and was succeeded by his Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Doug Murphy.

Updated by Pip Wedge - April, 2015

Corus radio stations owned as of January, 2014
(click on call letters for individual station histories)

CHAY-FM93.1Barrie ON
CIQB-FM101.1Barrie ON
CING-FM107.9Burlington ON
CFGQ-FM107.3Calgary AB
CHQR-AM770Calgary AB
CKRY-FM105.1Calgary AB
CJDV-FM107.5Cambridge ON
CKCB-FM95.1Collingwood ON
CFLG-FM104.5Cornwall ON
CJSS-FM101.9Cornwall ON
CJUL-AM1220Cornwall ON
CHED-AM630Edmonton AB
CHQT-AM880Edmonton AB
CISN-FM103.9Edmonton AB
CKNG-FM92.5Edmonton AB
CIMJ-FM106.1Guelph ON
CJOY-AM1460Guelph ON
CHML-AM900Hamilton ON
CJXY-FM108Hamilton ON
CFFX-FM104.3Kingston ON
CFMK-FM96.3Kingston ON
CKBT-FM91.5Kitchener-Waterloo ON
CFPL-AM980London ON
CFPL-FM95.9London ON
CFHK-FM103.1London/St. Thomas ON
CKQB-FM106.9Ottawa ON
CJOT-FM99.7Ottawa ON
CKRU-AM980Peterborough ON
CKWF-FM101.1Peterborough ON
CFMJ-AM640Toronto ON
CFNY-FM102.1Toronto ON
CILQ-FM107.1Toronto ON
CFMI-FM101.1Vancouver BC
CFOX-FM99.3Vancouver BC
CHMJ-AM730Vancouver BC
CKNW-AM980Vancouver BC
CJGV-FM99,1Winnipeg MB
CJKR-FM97.5Winnipeg MB
CJOB-AM680Winnipeg MB
CKDK-FM103.9Woodstock ON

Corus television stations owned as of January, 2014
(click on call letters for individual station histories)

CKWS-TVKingston ON
CHEX-TVPeterborough ON

Corus specialty channels as of January, 2014
(click on channel names for individual profiles)

Channel NameInfo
Canadian Sportsmen's Network
Cartoon Network
CMT Canada
Cosmo TV
DIY (Do It Yourself)
Food Network
OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network)
Teletoon Retro
Treehouse TV
W Movies

Corus premium networks as of January, 2014
(click on channel names for individual profiles)

Channel NameInfo
Movie Central
Encore Avenue