CHRO-TV

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Coordinates: 45°25′39.1″N 75°41′28.2″W / 45.427528°N 75.691167°W / 45.427528; -75.691167 (CHRO's broadcast location)

CHRO-TV
A logo 2008-present
Ottawa and Pembroke, Ontario
City of license Pembroke, Ontario
Branding CTV Two Ottawa (general)
CTV Morning Live (morning show)
Slogan Ottawa's # 1 Morning Show
Channels Analog: 5 (VHF)
Digital: allocated 7 (VHF)
Translators 43 CHRO-DT-43 Ottawa
Virtual: 43.1 (PSIP)
Affiliations CTV Two
Owner Bell Media
(Bell Media, Inc.)
First air date August 19, 1961
Call letters' meaning CH PembROke
Sister station(s) CJOH-DT, CFGO, CFRA, CJMJ-FM, CKKL-FM
Former callsigns CHOV-TV (1961–1977)
Former affiliations CBC Television (1961–1991)
CTV (1991–1997)
independent (1997–1998)
Transmitter power CHRO-TV: 100 kW
CHRO-DT-43: 50 kW
Height CHRO-TV: 162.9 m
CHRO-DT-43: 177.0 m
Transmitter coordinates CHRO-TV:
45°50′2″N 77°9′49″W / 45.83389°N 77.16361°W / 45.83389; -77.16361
CHRO-DT-43:
45°13′2″N 75°33′49″W / 45.21722°N 75.56361°W / 45.21722; -75.56361 (CHRO-DT-43)
Website CTV Two Ottawa

CHRO-TV, VHF analogue channel 5, is a CTV Two owned-and-operated television station located in Pembroke, Ontario, Canada. The station is owned by Bell Media, as part of a twinstick with CTV outlet CJOH-DT (channel 13). The two stations share studios – alongside Bell's Ottawa radio properties – located at the Market Media Mall building on 87 George Street in Downtown Ottawa's ByWard Market, and its transmitter is located near TV Tower Road/Highway 36 in Pembroke; the station operates a digital-only rebroadcaster on UHF channel 43 in Ottawa. This station can also be seen on Rogers Cable channel 6 and in high definition on digital channel 595.

The station's Pembroke facility, which once housed its entire operation and produced a number of local shows, now employs only about one staff member - an on-call engineer. As of November 2011, the Pembroke transmitter remains in operation, and the otherwise vacant studio building is now occupied by the Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce.

History[edit]

The station first went on the air on August 19, 1961 as CHOV, a CBC Television affiliate owned by Gordon Archibald Ottawa Valley Broadcasting, the owner of AM radio station CHOV. Workers of the station unionized and a labour dispute began. A financial crisis in 1976 led to the station going dark for six days in August of that year. Ottawa Valley sold the station to J. Conrad Lavigne in 1977. Lavigne adopted the CHRO callsign, and opened a sales office for the station in Ottawa. Lavigne's company subsequently became part of the MCTV system in 1980. While most of the MCTV stations used "MCTV", rather than their call letters, as their on-air branding, CHRO continued to use its call sign, although it used the same logo and programming schedule as the other MCTV stations.

CHRO-TV's logo under BBS affiliation, used from 1994-1997. Under the ownership of Baton Broadcasting, the MCTV branding used on CHRO still remained. The previous MCTV logo was dropped in 1994 when all of the other Baton-owned stations adopted a similar logo, the only difference being the call letters. Unlike other Baton-owned stations, the MCTV stations did not use their call signs in their logos. The logo featured multicoloured rings around the word BBS.[1]
Logo used in 1993.

In 1990, Baton Broadcasting acquired the MCTV stations. Because CHRO was carried by cable television companies in the Ottawa market, this was deemed an ownership conflict for Baton, which already owned Ottawa's CJOH, and would therefore have a de facto twinstick in competition with the CBC's CBOT (channel 4). However, the station's carriage in Ottawa was also deemed essential to its survival, since Pembroke was too small a market to support the station on its own. Therefore, CHRO disaffiliated from the CBC, and became a CTV affiliate. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) also ordered strict controls on CHRO's programming, so that Baton could not gain unfair audience advantage in Ottawa by airing shows at different times on CHRO and CJOH. Baton eventually became the sole corporate proprietor of CTV.

As The New RO[edit]

Logo used as The New RO from 1998-2005.

In 1997, CHRO was one of several stations transferred to CHUM Limited in exchange for the ATV stations in the Maritime provinces. CHRO did not have an over-the-air transmitter in Ottawa until it came under CHUM's ownership. After being acquired by CHUM, CHRO was rebranded to "The New RO" in 1998 and joined the NewNet system.

During its first two years under NewNet affiliation, CHRO operated from a small studio at 10 Kimway Avenue, near CJOH's broadcast facility on Merivale Road. In February 2005, CHUM announced plans to consolidate the master control departments for CHRO, CKVR, CFPL, CHWI and CKNX at 299 Queen Street West in Toronto, and to consolidate the traffic and programming departments at CFPL in London, resulting in the loss of approximately 19 staff members from CHRO. On June 3, 2005, at approximately 10:30 a.m., the Pembroke master control signal came to an end, as the new consolidated master control took to air.

As A-Channel Ottawa[edit]

Former A Channel logo, 2005-2008.

The station was renamed A-Channel on August 2, 2005, along with the rest of the NewNet system, and began using the same logo as the rest of the system as well.

On July 12, 2006, CTV owner Bell Globemedia (now Bell Media) announced plans to purchase CHUM Limited for $C1.7 billion, with plans to divest itself of the A-Channel and Access Alberta stations.[2] On the same date, CHRO cancelled its noon-hour lifestyles program and its 12:30 p.m. weekday newscast, citing low ratings and declining advertising revenues. Anchors James Hendricks and Dave Gross were also let go.[3] A plan was announced to almost fully automate the station's news production system, which would see a few dozen staff members laid off by the start of the new year.

On April 9, 2007, Rogers Media announced an agreement to purchase all of the A-Channel stations including CHRO, SexTV: The Channel, Canadian Learning Television and Access Alberta. The deal was contingent on full approval by the CRTC of the CTVglobemedia takeover of CHUM.[4] With CRTC approval being contingent on the sale of the Citytv stations instead, Rogers bought the Citytv stations and CTV kept the A-Channel stations. The takeover transaction was completed on June 22.

With the CHUM acquisition, CTV became the only English-language private television broadcaster offering Ottawa news coverage; it owns both CHRO and CJOH-TV, which compete only with the CBC's CBOT in offering local news. The CRTC's decision to allow the joint ownership of CJOH and CHRO appeared to contradict its own rationale for forcing CTV to sell the Citytv stations, specifically that a single company could not own two stations, in the same language, based in the same large urban centre – however, even before CTV confirmed it would keep CHRO, the twinstick was approved by the CRTC on the basis of CHRO's financial situation and the stations' prior common ownership (until 1997).[5][6]

As A Ottawa[edit]

Former A logo, 2008-2011.

The station was rebranded as A on August 11, 2008, along with the rest of the A-Channel system. The A soft launch began earlier in June 2008 in CHRO-TV's press materials and local newscasts.[7]

Due to a major fire that destroyed the longtime studios of sister CTV station CJOH-TV on Merivale Road in Nepean on February 7, 2010, CJOH integrated its operations with CHRO into the latter station's studios at 87 George Street in Ottawa's ByWard Market (which was already occupied by CHRO). As a result, CJOH's newscasts began to be produced from the facility, becoming the first time since the studios had any nighttime newscasts since the cancellation of CHRO's A News broadcasts in 2009.[8][9][10]

As CTV Two Ottawa[edit]

On May 30, 2011, Bell Media announced that the A television system would be rebranded as CTV Two, with CHRO switching its branding from "A Ottawa" to "CTV Two Ottawa". The official relaunch to CTV Two took place on August 29, 2011.[11] In addition, CHRO's morning show, A Morning was renamed CTV Morning Live. In addition, CHRO started broadcasting in high definition as part of the relaunched system on August 31, 2011.

Digital television and high definition[edit]

Digital channel[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[12]
43.1 1080i 16:9 CHRO Main CHRO-DT programming / CTV Two

Analogue-to-digital conversion[edit]

On August 31, 2011, when Canadian television stations in CRTC-designated mandatory markets transitioned from analogue to digital broadcasts,[13] CHRO's Ottawa transmitter, CHRO-TV-43, ceased analog transmissions and began broadcasting in digital on its former analogue allocation of UHF channel 43. CHRO's main transmitter in Pembroke is not yet required to switch to digital, since the CRTC did not designate Pembroke as a mandatory market.

Programming[edit]

Currently the station's locally produced programs include:

  • CTV Morning Live, 6-10 a.m. weekdays - with Lianne Laing, Kurt Stoodley and Jeff Hopper
  • Bob TV - Sundays 10-11 a.m.
  • Majic 100 Top 20 Countdown - Sundays 11 a.m.-noon

Past programming[edit]

  • Ottawa Senators Hockey (20 regular-season games a year of the Canadian capital city's NHL team, which were usually, but not always, broadcast on Thursday evenings) - with Dean Brown as play-by-play announcer and Gord Wilson as commentator. Games were broadcast through the 2007-08 season, after which games were moved back exclusively to Sportsnet East, and later TSN5 (also owned by CHRO parent company Bell Media)

News operation[edit]

CHRO presently broadcasts 22 hours of locally produced newscasts each week, all consisting of four hours each weekday and two hours on Saturdays of a local version of CTV's local morning news program franchise CTV Morning Live.

CHRO's first anchor team under NewNet consisted of Caroline Redekopp and former CKVR anchor Robert Maxwell, with Ken Evraire on sports, former Weather Channel anchor Elissa Lansdell on weather and entertainment, and weekend anchor James Hendricks covering traffic and crime from the assignment desk. Cyndi Edwards hosted the New RO at Noon, which featured a mix of news, lifestyle and entertainment reports. Reporter Sandra Blaikie, who joined CHRO in 2000, took over from Caroline Redekopp after her departure in 2002. James Hendricks – by now the 11 p.m. anchor – replaced Robert Maxwell after his resignation in autumn 2003. Hendricks also continued to anchor the late news until Cory Atkins (late of CFRN-TV Edmonton) signed on to be the new eleven-oclock anchor in April 2004.[14]

In January 2007, CHRO began producing its newscasts with a new system called "Ross Overdrive" - an automated production system that replaced the need for a switcher, VTR operator, graphics operator and many other staffers. Some 25 staffers were affected by the change, which had been announced some six months earlier.

On March 3, 2009, CTVglobemedia cancelled almost all of CHRO's local news programming except for A Morning, laying off 34 Ottawa employees. CTVglobemedia cited the current recession as a reason for cancelling the local news programming. In contrast, the A stations in Victoria, Barrie and London kept their evening newscasts but instead, had their morning shows cancelled; this was likely because CTV's CJOH-TV also owned by CTVglobemedia (now Bell Media) already produces higher-rated evening newscasts serving the Ottawa market.[15]

In order to comply with the station's CRTC-mandated local programming expectation of 23.5 hours per week,[16] the morning show was extended to four hours a day on weekdays, with a two-hour Saturday edition added as well (CHRO also continues two one-hour weekend music video programs co-branded with local Bell Media Radio stations). Some high-profile CHRO personalities such as Sandra Blaikie, Tony Grace and Bill Welychka were moved to the extended morning show following the March 2009 layoffs.[17] In December 2009, anchor Sandra Blaikie left the station to pursue other interests outside of broadcasting, because of the uncertain future of local television in Canada.[18] In September 2010, late evening anchor and national reporter Tony Grace left the station to assume the 6:00 p.m. anchor position at CKVR in Barrie. In August 2011, Bill Welychka was let go from CHRO. In early September 2011, national reporter Jennifer Madigan left the station as all CTV Two stations began using CTV National News resources for national and international stories.

References[edit]

External links[edit]