|Victoria, Vancouver Island, and Southwestern British Columbia|
|City of license||Victoria, British Columbia|
CHEK News (news)
|Slogan||Your Island's Own|
|Channels||Digital: 49 (UHF)
Virtual: 6.1 (PSIP)
|Owner||CHEK Media Group
(0859291 B.C. Ltd.)
|First air date||December 1, 1956|
|Call letters' meaning||CHEcK|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
6 (VHF, 1956-2011)
|Former affiliations||CBC (1956-1981)
CTV (secondary 1963-1981; primary 1981-2001)
CH / E! (2001-2009)
|Transmitter power||28 kilowatts|
CHEK-DT is an independent television station in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and serves the southwestern part of the province (including Metro Vancouver). It broadcasts a high-definition digital signal on UHF channel 22 (or virtual channel 6.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter atop Mount Warburton Pike on Saturna Island.
Owned by CHEK Media Group, a consortium of station employees and local investors, its studios are located on Kings Road in Victoria. This station can also be seen on Shaw Cable channel 6, Bell TV channel 255 and Shaw Direct channel 358 on the classic lineup and 7 on the advanced lineup. There is also a high definition feed available on Shaw Cable digital channel 215.
The station has operated since December 1956 and is the first and oldest privately owned television station in British Columbia (only CBC-owned CBUT-DT in Vancouver has been on the air longer). As an independent station, CHEK's programming features a mix of newscasts and other locally produced programs, syndicated programming, movies and infomercials.
CBC and CTV affiliation
CHEK (which changed its call sign from CKTV prior to going on the air) launched on December 1, 1956 as a CBC affiliate, operating from studios on Epsom Drive in Saanich and under the ownership of David Armstrong, who also owned Victoria radio station CKDA. Initially, the radio and television stations shared staff such as Andy Steven (who was CHEK's first news director) and Kieth MacKenzie (sports director). CHEK was the only local television station operating on Vancouver Island before CHUM Limited's CIVI-TV launched in October 2001.
In 1963, CHEK was purchased by businessman Frank Griffiths, who also owned CTV-affiliated CHAN-TV (BCTV) in Vancouver. By September of that year, CHEK's schedule consisted of some CTV programming and simulcasts of CHAN-originated shows mixed in with the CBC network schedule, along with CHEK-based local productions and syndicated programs not aired on CHAN; this setup continued into the late 1960s/early 1970s, when CHAN started to time-shift network shows. CHEK would also air CBC programmes in the afternoon and prime-time while running CTV shows like University of the Air and Canada AM in the morning (simulcast with CHAN).
In 1972, CHEK, which had simulcast CHAN's News Hour since the Griffiths purchase (and would continue to do so until 2001), began producing its own news program, Vancouver Island News Hour. It aired at 5:30 p.m. before the CHAN News Hour, and at 11:15 p.m. following CBC's The National. At one stage, CHEK used the same Pacific dogwood logo as CHAN, but later reverted to its own logo.
Starting around the 1978-1979 season, CHEK gradually added more CTV shows in prime-time (time-shifted from CHAN). On January 5, 1981, when CBUT launched repeater stations at Sooke and Mount McDonald, CHEK disaffiliated from CBC and became a full-time CTV station.
In 1982, Western International Communications (WIC) bought 59% of CHEK and CHAN. WIC bought the remaining 41% from Selkirk Communications in 1989 when that company sold most of its broadcasting assets.
On January 8, 1984, CHEK moved from its original studios in Saanich to its present location at 780 Kings Road, a studio which was to have been used by a proposed Victoria CBC Television station (which ultimately never went to air due to lack of funding).
Prior to 2001, CHEK also broadcast many of the same programs as CHAN on a time-shifted basis; as with CHAN, this was a mixture of CTV network programming and WIC-owned programming (usually drawn from the schedule of CHCH in Hamilton), although the WIC programming usually differed from that aired on CHAN. The launch of Baton Broadcasting's CIVT in 1997 further complicated the distribution of CTV network programming in southwestern British Columbia, with CIVT becoming the area's third station (after BCTV and CHEK) to carry CTV programming. However, after BCTV strengthened its own morning newscast around 2000, CHEK became the only station in B.C. airing Canada AM, as CIVT aired its own local morning program.
Canwest takes ownership
CHEK came under ownership of Canwest in 2000 after that company's acquisition of WIC. This acquisition set off a major affiliation switch among TV stations in southwestern BC in 2001, with both CHEK and BCTV disaffiliating from CTV, and CIVT becoming the sole CTV station in British Columbia. BCTV and CHEK's affiliation agreements with CTV were originally due to end in 2000; they were extended to expire on September 1, 2001 in view of the uncertainty surrounding the local media landscape.
After disaffiliating from CTV, CHEK became part of Canwest's new CH system. It rebranded as CH Vancouver Island, and took on a schedule similar to CHCH in Hamilton. CHEK aired 15–20 hours of news programs a week, and often programs usually shown on CHAN that were moved to accommodate their news programming. It also took Sports Page from former Global O&O CKVU, but the program continued to be produced at CHAN until its cancellation in September 2005.
After 19 years at the station, news anchor Hudson Mack left CHEK in 2004. He joined CIVI as its news director on September 1, and became CIVI's 5 pm news anchor on October 11. As a result, Sophie Lui returned from CHAN-TV and joined CIVT's former Victoria bureau chief Ed Watson as the pair became the station's main anchors.
CHEK celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006; as part of the celebrations, it aired vignettes of station promos from the pre-CH era during commercial breaks. Another short vignette was also introduced consisting of CHEK's logos and station IDs through the years, from its original in 1956 to its then-current logo as CH Vancouver Island. On September 7, 2007; CHEK's news programming adopted the CHEK News brand, a partial reversal of the current trend for Canadian TV networks and systems to use solely network branding for their owned stations as a result of the rebranding of CH to E!. Non-news programming on CHEK were branded simply as E!.
On August 25, 2008, news production for CHEK News shifted from Victoria to CHAN's facility in Burnaby with the addition of a new virtual set, and a launch of a new program, CHEK News: Island 30 focused on news stories outside of Victoria. The program was retweaked months later into a newsmagazine and renamed to simply Island 30. On January 3, 2009, CHEK began simulcasting CHAN's broadcast of Global National at 5:30 p.m., the first time CHEK has simulcast its former sister station's programming since the affiliation switch of September 1, 2001.
Ownership by CHEK Media Group
On February 5, 2009, Canwest announced it would explore "strategic options", including possible sale, for CHEK and its other E! stations, saying "a second conventional TV network is no longer key to the long-term success" of the company.
On July 22, 2009, after failing to find a buyer, Canwest announced it would be closing CHEK as of August 31, 2009, issuing layoff notices to staff. CIVI-TV would then become the sole terrestrial station in Victoria. Shortly after this, the employees of CHEK announced a proposal to acquire 25% of the station and find local investors to own the remaining 75%. They also organized a campaign to support the plan and save CHEK.
On August 27, 2009, CHEK employees announced that they had raised $2.5 million for the buyout plan; however, the following day, Canwest announced that the employee buyout did not meet Canwest's guidelines to keep the station on the air, and the station had no programming and advertising lined up beyond August 31, at which date Canwest would permanently shut down the station. CHEK would have closed down following the late newscast and a retrospective on the station's history.
On its 5 p.m. newscast of August 31, 2009, however, CHEK-TV announced that its shutdown would be put on hold, and that it would continue broadcasting while negotiations between Canwest and the prospective new owners continue. Facing a new deadline of September 4, Canwest announced on that date that it had reached a deal to sell the station to CHEK employees and local investors (known as CHEK Media Group) for $2. Canwest would continue to provide transitional support for CHEK, including some programming, use of its Vancouver studios, and leasing, at "favourable rates," the 780 Kings Road studios to the new owners with the assumption of various station liabilities. The sale was approved by the CRTC on November 9.
After the sale's announcement, station manager John Pollard revealed to CBC News that CHEK would operate as a local independent station, with no plans to simulcast US programming.
CHEK Media Group took control of the station's programming after that announcement on that date, CHEK disaffiliated from E! (which shut down a few days prior), adopted a new schedule includes a mix of movies and older programming (both Canadian and American in origin); syndicated programming; and a greater emphasis on local news, including a new 10 pm newscast that launched on September 1, 2009. and reverted to branding itself as simply CHEK. With no plans to simulcast US programming at some point, CHEK would add, in sparse amounts, additional programming during the 2009-2010 season, including Let's Get It On, a mixed martial arts program; Ed the Sock's This Movie Sucks!, a movie show featuring the former MuchMusic character alongside co-host Liana Kerzner and comedian Ron Sparks; and infomercials.
On December 16, 2009, Tony Parsons anchored his final newscast at CHAN after 35 years of being the anchor of the News Hour. On March 15, 2010; Parsons debuted as the anchor of CHEK's 10 pm newscasts.
In April 2010, CHEK and the CBC started a news sharing agreement, in which CHEK and CBUT would share news stories, staff and resources. Tony Parsons also joined the CBC to anchor CBUT's evening newscast, CBC News: Vancouver, from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm; Parsons will fly to Victoria after that program to anchor CHEK's 10 pm newscast. The 6 pm portion of CBC News: Vancouver will be simulcasted on CHEK. As of June 15, 2012, Parsons now anchors only the 6 PM News on both CBUT and CHEK as he left CHEK's 10 pm newscast to a rotation of anchors and reporters.
In September 2010, CHEK, for the first time since its purchase by station employees and local investors, began airing American network television series; many of the added shows, including Smallville, Supernatural, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Chuck, and 60 Minutes were previously seen in the Vancouver/Victoria market on CHNU-DT and Toronto/Hamilton's CKXT-TV (that station's owner, Quebecor, which is in the process of replacing its licence with one for an all-news cable channel, with CKXT's apparent sign off in 2011). CHEK will also air I Hate Hollywood produced by CHCH-DT, which has picked up all of the shows mentioned above.
On January 25, 2013, CBCV-FM opened a new studio facility in the CHEK building.
- News Hour (1968–2001?; early evening newscast)
- Noon News Hour (1970s?; noon newscast)
- Early News (1980s?; 5 p.m. newscast)
- Morning News (1990s?; morning newscast)
- Wake Up! (1997–2001; morning newscast)
- CHEK-TV News (1997–2001)
- CH News (2001–2007)
- CHEK News (2007–present)
- "Island Television, Channel 6 from Victoria" (1981?)
- "Changing, You Belong!" (1985?)
- "Come on Over! CHEK 6 First" (1986–1997?)
- "It's Here" (1998–2001)
- "CH Has it All" (2001–2005)
- "Closer to You!" (2001–2007)
- "Everything Entertainment" (2007–2009; localized version of E! ad campaign)
- "Your Island's Own" (2007–present)
- Jim Beatty - CHEK News at 5 and CHEK News at 6:30 (weeknights at 5:00 and 6:30 p.m.)
- Dana Hutchings - host of CHEK Point
- April Lawrence - CHEK News at 10 (weeknights at 10:00 p.m.)
- Stacy Ross - CHEK News at Noon (weekdays at noon)
- Skye Ryan - CHEK News at 5 (weekends at 5:00 p.m.)
- Tess van Straaten (fill-in anchor)
- Ed Bain - weather anchor; weeknights at 5:00, 6:30 and 10:00 p.m.
- Gordie Tupper - weather anchor; CHEK News at Noon and CHEK News Update (weekdays from 12:00-12:30, 1:00-1:30, 2:00-2:30 and 3:00-3:30 p.m.)
- Tess van Straaten - weather anchor; weekends at 5:00 p.m.
- Jeff King - sports director; weeknights at 5:00 p.m., and co-host of Game On!
- Paul Haysom - sports anchor; weeknights at 10:00 and weekends at 5:00 p.m., and co-host of Game On!
- Mike Walker - sports reporter and substitute sports anchor
- Jonathan Bartlett
- Vee Cooper
- Mary Griffin
- Kendall Hanson - Mid-Vancouver Island video journalist
- Dana Hutchings
- Bruce Kirkpatrick - senior reporter
- Monica Martinez - VJ
- Andy Neal - fill-in reporter and anchor
- Skye Ryan
- Dean Stoltz - North Vancouver Island video journalist
- Gordie Tupper
- Tess van Straaten
- Keith Vass
- Mike Walker
Past notable on-air staff
- Scott Fee (now at Global Calgary)
- Mi-Jung Lee (now at CTV Vancouver)
- Sophie Lui (now morning anchor at Global BC)
- Hudson Mack (now at CTV Two Vancouver Island)
- Pamela Martin
- Harvey Oberfeld
- Michaela Pereira (now at KTLA-TV in Los Angeles)
- Kristen Robinson
- Judi Tyabji
Past local programming
The following is a partial list of local programs that formerly aired on CHEK:
Notable past foreign programming
- From August 1995 to August 1999, CHEK carried the Late Show with David Letterman weekday afternoons at 4:30 pm. Other channels which have carried the show, including originating U.S. network CBS, have aired the program in the late evening (11:35 pm ET/PT).
Broadcast format and technical information
CHEK-TV on FM
Before the transition from analog to digital, CHEK-TV could be heard on FM radios. The frequency range for analog television channel 6 is at the lower end of the FM broadcast band, making it possible to hear CHEK-TV on 87.7 MHz, though at a slightly lower volume than other FM stations - due to technical reasons. CHEK-TV shut down this analog transmitter on October 26, 2011. CHEK-DT cannot be decoded by radios because digital TV signals cannot be decoded by analog FM radio and because CHEK-DT occupies UHF channel 49, which cannot be normally received by FM radios.
|Station||City of licence||Channel||ERP||HAAT||Transmitter Coordinates|
|CHEK-TV-3||Port Alberni||11 (VHF)||0.01 kW||N/A|
|CHEK-TV-5||Campbell River||13 (VHF)||3 kW||455 m|
|CHWM-TV-1||Whistler||18 (UHF)||0.001 kW||N/A|
Note: On November 18, 2011, CHEK-TV received approval from the CRTC to shut down its Sooke transmitter.
CHEK-TV uses shoots on DVC-Pro tapes for all its programming and pre-recorded parts of its CHEK News broadcasts.
Digital television and high definition
|Broadcasting in Digital||Yes (Victoria transmitter)|
|Programs in HD||Yes|
|News in HD||No|
|PSIP functioning properly||Yes|
After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, which took place on August 31, 2011, CHEK-DT began broadcasting on channel 49 at 28 kW. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display CHEK-DT's virtual channel as 6.1. Due to technical issues with the digital transmitter, the analog transmitter was not shut down until October 26, 2011; it was Vancouver's last analogue station operating over-the-air, making Calgary Western Canada's largest market to have one of the analogue stations operating over-the-air and also unseating Edmonton as Canada's second-largest market to be digital-only. While all Vancouver & Victoria TV stations continued operating analogue signals until August 31, CHEK-TV was the only analogue station in the Vancouver/Victoria market, as all of the other transmitters in these markets shut down by 12:00 am on September 1, 2011, as required. KVOS-TV of Bellingham, Washington ceased channel 12 analogue operations on February 17, 2009; it was the first in Vancouver to do so.
CHEK-TV was not the last analog transmitter shut down as part of Canada's August 31, 2011 digital conversion deadline in mandatory markets. A handful of other transmitters in Canada were also late to shut down, though unlike CHEK-DT, the other stations did not have their digital transmitters on-air by August 31, 2011.
- CRTC approves sale of WIC Western International to CanWest, Leanne Yohemas-Hayes, Canadian Press. Accessed online September 5, 2009 (via Friends of Canadian Broadcasting).
- Public Notice CRTC 2000-94, July 6, 2000. Accessed online September 5, 2009.
- "Canwest may sell TV stations". cbc.ca, February 5, 2009.
- "Canwest closing TV stations in Alberta, B.C.". cbc.ca, July 22, 2009.
- 'A' | NEWS | Victoria's Longest Running TV Station Fades to Black www.atv.ca, July 22, 2009.
- 'A' | NEWS | Reaction To CHEK Closure Comes Swiftly www.atv.ca, July 22, 2009.
- The Victoria Times Colonist: "CHEK TV employee bid fails to save local station", 8/28/2009.
- Employees buy CanWest TV station in Victoria for $2
- "Local investors, staff buy CHEK", from Victoria Times-Colonist, September 5, 2009
- "CHEK employee group has plan to save local TV", from cbcnews.ca, September 9, 2009.
- CHEK signoff - 10 pm PDT - Liveblog
- CHEK TV staying on air for at least one more day
- Tony Parsons and Global News part ways - Vancouver Sun
- Legendary broadcaster Tony Parsons makes his debut as an Island anchor Monday - Times-Colonist
- Tony Parsons joins CBC News Vancouver
- Channel Zero loads up on U.S. network series, THR, 14 June 2010
- ed the sock
- CHEK-TV News @ 5 - Opening 2001
- CHEK - CH News Final - Opening 2001
- CHEK News Open January 24 2009
- Personalities, CHEKNews.ca
- Broadcasting Information Bulletin CRTC 2012-109
- Canadian Communications Foundation - CHEK-DT History
- Vancouver Radio Museum - CHEK-DT
- Query the REC's Canadian station database for CHEK-DT
- Query TV Fool's coverage map for CHEK-DT