CFTO-DT

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CFTO-DT
CFTO's logo as a CTV station, also the network logo.
Toronto, Ontario
Canada
Branding CTV Toronto or CTV (general)
CTV News Toronto (news)
Slogan Toronto's #1 Newscast
Channels Digital: 9 (VHF)
Virtual: 9.1 (PSIP)
Translators see below
Affiliations CTV (1961–present; O&O since 1998)
Owner Bell Canada
(Bell Media, Inc.)
First air date December 31, 1960
Call letters' meaning Canada '​s Foremost, Toronto '​s Own
Sister station(s) TV: CP24, CKVR-DT (Barrie)
Radio: CFRB, CHUM (AM), CHUM-FM, CKFM-FM
Former callsigns CFTO-TV (1960–2011)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
9 (VHF, 1960–2011)
Digital: 40 (UHF, 2004–2011)
Former affiliations Independent (1960–1961)
Transmitter power 10.2 kW
Height 467.0 m
Transmitter coordinates 43°38′33″N 79°23′14″W / 43.64250°N 79.38722°W / 43.64250; -79.38722
Licensing authority CRTC
Website CTV Toronto

CFTO-DT, VHF channel 9, is a CTV owned-and-operated television station located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada that serves as the flagship station of the broadcast network. The station is owned by Bell Media, as part of a twinstick with Barrie-based CTV Two owned-and-operated station CKVR-DT (channel 3) and is also sister to 24-hour regional news channnel CP24. CFTO maintains studio facilities located at 9 Channel Nine Court in Agincourt (near the junction of Highway 401 and McCowan Road in the suburb of Scarborough), and its transmitter facilities are located atop the CN Tower in downtown Toronto.

Overview[edit]

The station shares the Agincourt studio complex with CTV's headquarters, which includes studios for the network's news programming (Canada AM, CTV National News and the CTV News Channel), along with most of Bell Media's specialty channels (the area surrounding the studio grounds was temporarily renamed "Dave Devall Way" throughout 2009 to honor the retiring reporter). CTV News has in fact been based at CFTO's studios for most of its history, dating back to the days when the network was a cooperative (CFTO's parent company later acquired most of the other affiliates, eventually becoming the present-day Bell Media).

CFTO is the largest CTV owned-and-operated station, in terms of market size, whose studio facilities are not located in its main city of service's downtown area (Montreal is the largest CTV O&O with studios in a downtown area as CFCF has been based in downtown Montreal since 2003).

History[edit]

The station first signed on the air at 10:00 p.m. on December 31, 1960; its first official day of programming was on January 1, 1961. The inaugural programme broadcast on CFTO was a telethon hosted by Joel Aldred, complete with a fireworks ceremony. The telethon was for what was then known as the Ontario Association for Community Living (now Community Living Ontario). The station was founded by Baton-Aldred-Rogers Broadcasting, a joint venture between Telegram Corporation (owned by the Bassett and Eaton families), Aldred-Rogers Broadcasting (owned by Joel Aldred & E.S. Rogers) and Foster Hewitt Broadcasting (owners of radio station CKFH (1430 AM, now CJCL on 590 AM)).

A version from the early 1990s of CFTO's longtime multicoloured iris logo (designed by art director Joern Dressel), first introduced during the transition to colour television in 1965. It was unused for much of the 1980s in favour of a blue "circle 9" design before returning c. 1987. This version was later used as the basis for the logo used by the Baton Broadcast System.

American television network ABC held a minority share in the partnership, which it sold to each of the partners shortly before CFTO-TV went on the air. Ted Rogers' uncle J. Elsworth Rogers was a minority (and originally primary) owner of Western Ontario Broadcasting, Ltd., owners of CKLW-TV (now CBET) in Windsor, Ontario (which was mostly owned by RKO General). The station's original studio and transmitter facilities were located at 1550 McCowan Road.

CFTO's BBS logo.

In March 1961, Aldred sold his interest in the station, and on October 1 of that year, CFTO became a charter affiliate of CTV, as well as the network's flagship station. In 1970, Ted Rogers sold his interest in CFTO and the Bassett-Eaton group sold their interest in Rogers Cable in an exchange of assets. On May 31, 1976, CFTO began transmitting its signal from the CN Tower, while its studios remained in Agincourt. CFTO began broadcasting in stereo in 1985. In 1991, the station joined with several other Ontario stations to form Ontario Network Television, which evolved into the Baton Broadcast System, a subsystem within the CTV network. In 1995, CFTO began operating rebroadcast stations at Orillia (on UHF channel 21) and Bobcaygeon (near Peterborough, on UHF channel 54).

CFTO-TV logo used from 1998 to 2005. In October 2005, logos with the stations' callsigns were discontinued from use on CTV's stations, instead opting to use the main CTV logo.

When CTV's stations proposed to buy the network and run it as a cooperative in 1966, the Board of Broadcast Governors initially balked at the proposal. CFTO was by far the largest, richest and most profitable station (it was more than double the size of the next-largest station, CFCF-TV in Montreal). This led to fears that CFTO would dominate a station-owned network. The BBG was only appeased when the station owners promised that each owner would have an equal vote, regardless of how large it was. As it turned out, though, Baton gradually grew powerful enough that it was able to buy controlling interest in CTV in 1997, changing its name to CTV Inc. in 1998.

On January 27, 1998, the Eaton family sold its 41% interest in CTV. On that same day, the Baton Broadcast System merged into CTV. With rumours of an impending takeover, Bell Canada proposed to buy CTV Inc. for $2.3 billion; this was approved by the CTV board in March 2000. The deal still required approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, but with the promise of the largest benefits package ever presented to the regulators, the deal was approved on December 7 that year. By February 2005, the station stopped using its call letters in its on-air branding (opting to use the "CTV" name), a branding convention that became official on several CTV stations throughout the country in October 2005. BCE later sold most of its interest in CTV, with the parent company being renamed CTVglobemedia. BCE Inc. later reacquired 100% control of CTVglobemedia's assets for $1.3 billion in 2011, with the parent company being renamed once again to Bell Media.

Programming[edit]

As CFTO serves as the flagship station of CTV, its schedule reflects virtually the entirety of the CTV network schedule. A largely identical schedule is used on the other CTV stations in Southern Ontario, as CFTO acts as the master control operations for these stations. Any discrepancies with other stations would generally be limited to local infomercials and religious programming on Sunday mornings. In regards to the latter, CFTO currently airs Mass for a Television Community and Living Truth, which are not seen on other CTV stations.

CFTO is one of several television stations in Toronto that utilizes a descriptive video service audio track for the blind on the second audio programme feed.

Other station productions[edit]

Under CTV's original cooperative structure, CFTO, through Baton's in-house production company Glen-Warren Productions, was one of the network's main contributors of Canadian programming, such as The Littlest Hobo, Circus and The Uncle Bobby Show. Indeed, the amount of programming originating at CFTO was often a source of tension with the network's other major-market affiliates. However, as with most local stations in North America, such locally produced non-news programming has become increasingly rare.

For much of its history, CFTO's Channel Nine Court studios have also served as the home for network-produced programs such as CTV National News, Canada AM and W5. The studios are now also used by a number of CTV's specialty channels, for productions such as the cable news channel CTV News Channel, TSN's SportsCentre, and Discovery Channel's Daily Planet.

Over the years, the studio complex has also been rented out for third-party productions, such as the studio scenes in the 1976 film Network. The Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Super 7 (now Lotto Max) drawings were also held at the CFTO studios until 2008. Since 2010, CFTO and CP24 have been the television broadcasters for the Toronto Santa Claus Parade.

News operation[edit]

Michelle Dubé doing a report during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

CFTO-DT presently broadcasts 15½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 2½ hours on weekdays and 1½ hours on weekends). The station brands its newscasts as CTV News, in line with all of CTV's other owned-and-operated stations as well as the CTV Two stations, using generic CTV News graphics. The station's 6:00 p.m. newscast is the highest-rated local newscast in Toronto, drawing approximately 500,000 viewers each night. Known beginning in the 1970s as World Beat News (for its early evening newscast), Noon Beat News (for its lunch hour newscast) and Night Beat News (for its late evening newscast), the station's newscasts were rebranded as CFTO News in early 1998, and as CTV News in 2005.

CTV Toronto operates a large fleet of vehicles for reporters and camera operators as well as three microwave trucks ("Cypress", "Dart" and "Bullet") for live broadcasts, and two satellite trucks ("Chaos" and "Bird") for broadcasts from locations in Southern Ontario.[citation needed] CFTO is one of the few stations in Canada to lease a news helicopter – Bell 206L-4 Long Ranger (using the callsign C-FCTV) – which can broadcast live at 1,500 feet above land;[citation needed] the only other CTV station currently making use of such a helicopter is Vancouver sister station CIVT. CTV's helicopter is painted with their colours and logo, however it moonlights under the name "Chopper 24" when feed is used on CFTO's sister cable news channel CP24.

CFTO's CTV News operation has the most advanced weather technology compared to other Canadian stations, which incorporates WSI's TrueView technology and real-time Doppler radar with zoom and pan capabilities.[citation needed] Moreover, CFTO operates news bureaus at Toronto City Hall, Queen's Park, and Downtown Toronto (at 299 Queen Street West). Finally, as the network's flagship station, CFTO is able to take advantage of live remotes from other CTV stations and bureaus nationwide and internationally. CFTO-DT is the only remaining CTV owned-and-operated station that airs morning news updates during Canada AM, since all of the network's other O&Os had cancelled theirs in March 2009.

In December 2008, CP24, a 24-hour news channel which primarily focuses on Toronto, began airing a simulcast of CTV News at Six, displacing its simulcast of the 6:00 p.m. edition of CityNews. This change occurred because the long-standing association between CITY-TV (channel 57) and CP24 (which were previously both owned by CHUM Limited) abruptly came to an end after the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced the approval of their application by Rogers Media, owners of Citytv, to launch its own 24-hour local news channel which would be focusing on the Greater Toronto Area, CityNews Channel;[1][2] like CFTO, CP24 is operated by Bell Media, although the operations between the two remain otherwise separate. The station's late evening newscast, CTV News at 11:30, was later added to the CP24 schedule in May 2009. On May 12, 2009, CFTO began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition; with the change, the station introduced a renovated studio.

Notable current on-air staff[edit]

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

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Digital television[edit]

Digital channel[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[3]
9.1 1080i 16:9 CFTO Main CFTO-DT programming / CTV

Analogue-to-digital conversion[edit]

The station began providing a digital signal on satellite on November 17, 2003, and on January 30, 2004, CFTO was granted an over-the-air digital television signal, transmitting on UHF channel 40 at an effective radiated power of 17,400 watts. In mid-2005, CFTO upgraded its digital signal to transmit programming in high definition. CFTO shut down its analogue signal, over VHF channel 9, on August 31, 2011, the official date in which Canadian television stations in CRTC-designated mandatory markets transitioned from analogue to digital broadcasts. The station's digital signal was relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 40 to its analogue-era VHF channel 9 for post-transition operations.[4]

Transmitters[edit]

Station City of licence Channel ERP HAAT Transmitter Coordinates
CFTO-TV-21 Orillia 15 (UHF) 207.6 kW 171.3 m 44°52′4″N 79°35′41″W / 44.86778°N 79.59472°W / 44.86778; -79.59472 (CFTO-TV-21)
CFTO-DT-54 Peterborough 35 (UHF)
Virtual: 54.1 (PSIP)
38 kW 176.3 m 44°26′44″N 78°31′59″W / 44.44556°N 78.53306°W / 44.44556; -78.53306 (CFTO-TV-54)

CFTO-TV-21 and a long list of CTV rebroadcasters nationwide were to shut down on or before August 31, 2009, as part of a political dispute with Canadian authorities on paid fee-for-carriage requirements for cable television operators.[5] A subsequent change in ownership assigned full control of CTVglobemedia to Bell Media; as of 2011, these transmitters continue to be licensed and remain in operation.[6]

Cable and satellite coverage[edit]

CFTO is carried on cable and satellite throughout southern Ontario; on cable, CFTO is available on Rogers Cable channel 8 in the Greater Toronto Area. On satellite, the station is also available on (corporate sister through parent company Bell Canada) Bell TV channel 212. There is a high definition feed available on Rogers Cable digital channel 518 and Bell TV channel 1051.

In addition to Bell and Rogers, the station is carried nationally on digital cable through virtually all providers and on satellite on Shaw Direct channel 313 and in high definition on channel 293. In the United States, Atlantic Broadband and Time Warner Cable carry CFTO throughout Western New York including the cities of Buffalo, Dunkirk, Fredonia, Westfield and Jamestown.

References[edit]

External links[edit]