CTC (TV station)

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Southern Cross Ten.svg
Southern Cross Ten play-out centre.jpg
Southern New South Wales & ACT
Branding Southern Cross Ten
Slogan Various
Channels Digital: see table below
Affiliations Ten
Network Southern Cross Ten
Owner Southern Cross Austereo
(Australian Capital Television Pty Ltd)
Founded 19 May 1958
First air date 2 June 1962
Call letters' meaning Capital
Former affiliations Independent (1962–1989)
Transmitter power see table below
Height see table below
Transmitter coordinates see table below
Website http://www.southerncrossten.com.au/

CTC is a television station in Canberra, the capital city of Australia. The station was the tenth to begin transmission in regional Australia, and the 26th station in Australia as a whole.[1]



The station's history can be traced back to 19 May 1958, when Canberra Television Limited (or CTL), a public company, was formed by executives of The Federal Capital Press of Australia Pty. Ltd. (owner of The Canberra Times newspaper) and Canberra Broadcasters Pty. Ltd. (owner of local radio station 2CA).[2] Both companies injected GB£45,000 (A$A90,000) into the business in order to apply for the Canberra-area commercial television licence.[2] The first chairman of the newly formed company was Arthur Shakespeare, founder of The Canberra Times.

Alongside four other applicants, CTL submitted their licence application to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board in April 1959. The company went public in September of the same year, on the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney, offering 100,000 shares which were immediately oversubscribed, ending up with a total subscribed capital of GB£300,000 (A$600,000).[2] The two key shareholders in CTL made an agreement with all other shareholders that all shares were to be bought back in the event that they were unsuccessful in their licence bid — they need not have worried, since after a hearing of considerable length, the ABCB decided to grant CTL the licence in November 1960. The callsign for the station was to be CTC and the new service was to transmit on VHF7.[2]

Prior to the acquisition of the licence, CTL needed to find suitable sites for both a studio and a transmitter. Initially, Mount Ainslie (approximately 10 km north-east of Canberra's city centre, at an elevation of 842 m above sea level) was considered as a potential transmitter site.[3] It was turned down, however, because it was already under the control of the Department of Civil Aviation (who would be unwilling to surrender or lease the site due to its proximity to the Airport and the Air Force base).[3] It was also determined that a transmitter located atop Mount Ainslie would not provide ample coverage of the entire Canberra area (notable black-spots would have included the Woden and Belconnen districts), nor would there be enough room for the ABC's television transmitter (whose service was due to commence in December 1962) as well as CTC.[3] Other sites considered included Mounts Gray, Bowning, Ginini and Bull's Head.[2]

Ultimately, the site chosen for both the transmitter and the studio was Black Mountain, approximately 5 km west of the city centre at 812 m above sea level. Extensive tests from the site proved that it was the ideal location for the transmitter, with signals adequately covering the Canberra area. The ABC also decided to place their transmitter atop Black Mountain — both would be perched atop guyed masts (as opposed to towers) with each rising to 126 metres and 152 metres, respectively.[4] ABC's studio would be located in Canberra city proper. In order to access the transmitters and studio, a road needed to be built up to the summit — construction commenced in July 1961. CTL were granted the lease to the Black Mountain site on 26 September 1961.[4]

The studio complex, which, in later years, would be affectionately known as 'the tin shed' was planned, designed and constructed by Civil and Civic Pty. Ltd. over a period of 28 weeks (from September 1961 – March 1962) at a total cost of £77,912 (A$155,824). Occupying a 9400 square metre (101,000 square feet) site, the complex featured a 140-square-metre studio area and was fitted out with RCA equipment — two 4½" image orthicon cameras were purchased for use in the studio at a cost of £8,000 (A$16 000) each. The transmitter (whose mast was erected in March 1962) was custom-designed by Co-El of Italy, and the mast EPT Limited in Sydney.[2]

Opening Night[edit]

By April 1962, both the studio and transmitter was completed and the first test patterns were transmitted. On 23 May 1962 at 5:45 p.m., the first live test transmission took place with the Safety Bureau Officer, Senior Constable T. A. M. Cooper presenting a 13-minute public service announcement on the proper use of fireworks.[5]

Although CTC7 commenced transmission at 6 p.m. on 2 June 1962 with various program promotions and a documentary on the construction of the CTC studios, the official opening was not to take place until 7 p.m. — as well as Postmaster-General Davidson, CTL chairmen A. T. Shakespeare, Sir Patrick McGovern and station manager George Barlin also assisted with the opening proceedings.[6] An introduction to CTC's on-screen personalities was followed by a news summary. Viewers were then treated to a film of the Queen's Birthday Procession from the military barracks at Duntroon (filmed earlier that day), followed by an hour of variety with The B.P. Super Show hosted by Margaret Fonteyn.[6] The detective series Michael Shayne made its premiere on CTC then a kinescope of the opening ceremony was screened. The first night's programming concluded with an epilogue and a preview of the following day's programmes before ending transmission at 10:30 p.m.[6]

1980s to 1990s[edit]

Current Seven Network chairman Kerry Stokes owned the station until 1987, when he sold it to Charles Curran. Curran changed the station's name from Capital 7 to Capital Television in 1988, and used a version of Network Ten's logo of the time, and prepared for aggregation. Southern NSW and the ACT were the first licence area that was aggregated, and this took place in two stages during 1989. The first stage saw Capital begin transmission in Wollongong and South Coast, and the second stage, which was caused by technical programs in the Orange and Wagga areas, took place later in the year.

Capital took on an original logo in 1990, with a modified version of Network Ten's identification. This remained until 1994 when Southern Cross Broadcasting purchased the station and renamed it Ten Capital.

News & Current Affairs[edit]

Australian Capital News was the station's local news service, aired on the station for almost 40 years until its axing at the end of 2001. For a time, the bulletin was also shown across the entire southern NSW licence area, before it was scaled back to Canberra due to low ratings. Local news was reintroduced to the station in 2004 in the form of three-minute updates at various times of the day. The Updates are produced by Southern Cross News.

Main Transmitters[edit]

Region served City Channels
First air date ERP
Transmitter Coordinates Transmitter Location
Canberra Canberra 7 (VHF)2
6 (VHF)
2 June 1962 200 kW
50 kW
345 m
335 m
35°16′32″S 149°5′52″E / 35.27556°S 149.09778°E / -35.27556; 149.09778 (CTC) Black Mountain
Central Tablelands Orange 33 (UHF)2
43 (UHF)
30 December 1989 2000 kW
570 kW
627 m
628 m
33°20′32″S 148°59′1″E / 33.34222°S 148.98361°E / -33.34222; 148.98361 (CTC) (analog)
33°20′31″S 148°58′59″E / 33.34194°S 148.98306°E / -33.34194; 148.98306 (CTC) (digital)
Mount Canobolas
Central Western Slopes Dubbo 35 (UHF)2
46 (UHF)
30 December 1989 1000 kW
150 kW
648 m
653 m
31°20′32″S 149°1′22″E / 31.34222°S 149.02278°E / -31.34222; 149.02278 (CTC) Mount Cenn Cruaich
Illawarra & Regional Sydney Wollongong 62 (UHF)2
37 (UHF)
31 March 1989 950 kW
250 kW
619 m
600 m
34°37′23″S 150°41′39″E / 34.62306°S 150.69417°E / -34.62306; 150.69417 (CTC) (analog)
34°37′8″S 150°41′49″E / 34.61889°S 150.69694°E / -34.61889; 150.69694 (CTC) (digital)
Knights Hill
South Western Slopes and Eastern Riverina Wagga Wagga 35 (UHF)2
51 (UHF)
30 December 1989 1600 kW
600 kW
525 m
540 m
34°49′13″S 147°54′5″E / 34.82028°S 147.90139°E / -34.82028; 147.90139 (CTC) Mount Ulandra


  • 1. HAAT estimated from http://www.itu.int/SRTM3/ using EHAAT.
  • 2. Analogue transmissions ceased as of 5 June 2012 as part of the national shutdown of analogue television


  1. ^ "How And Why The A.C.T. Licence Was Determined". The Canberra Times. 1962-05-28. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Station Came Into Being In Nine Months". The Canberra Times. 1962-05-28. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  3. ^ a b c "Canberra's Highest Building Finished In Record Time". The Canberra Times. 1962-05-28. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  4. ^ a b "Black Mountain Ideal As Site Of TV Transmitter". Goulburn Evening Post. 1962-06-05. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  5. ^ "First Live Transmission". The Canberra Times. 1962-05-24. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  6. ^ a b c "CTC-7 Station Opened". The Canberra Times. 1962-06-04. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 

See also[edit]