City (TV network)
|Type||Broadcast television network|
parts of the northern U.S. via digital cable
|Founded||by Channel Seventy-Nine Ltd.
(Phyllis Switzer, Moses Znaimer, Jerry Grafstein and Edgar Cowan, among others)
(Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.)
|Key people||Scott Moore - President of Broadcasting, Rogers Media
Sam Dynes - Director of In-House Productions, Rogers Media
|Launch date||September 28, 1972 (independent Toronto station)
July 22, 2002
(first national expansion)
February 4, 2013
(current national footprint)
|Former names||Citytv (1972–2012)|
The Biography Channel
City (occasionally branded as "City Television" and formerly known as "Citytv") is a Canadian English language broadcast television network that is owned by the Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. division of Rogers Communications. It is Canada's third most-watched private-sector television network after CTV and Global and consists of seven owned-and-operated television stations located in the metropolitan areas of Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and the province of Saskatchewan, as well as three independently owned affiliates serving smaller cities in Alberta and British Columbia. The Citytv brand has also been licensed to television stations outside of Canada.
City stations originally had an intensely local format based on newscasts aimed at younger viewers, nightly movies, and music and cultural programming. Moses Znaimer, who developed the original format, once described the system's philosophy by saying, "It's not the show, it's the flow". Since the 2000s, and particularly since its acquisition by Rogers, City has expanded its national reach and has moved towards a series-based primetime schedule much like its competitors, albeit one still focused on younger demographics.
- 1 History
- 2 Programming
- 3 CityNews Channel
- 4 City stations
- 5 City HD
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The licence of the original City station, granted the callsign of CITY-TV by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), was awarded in Toronto on November 25, 1971 and began broadcasting for the first time using the "Citytv" brand on September 28, 1972 under the ownership of Channel Seventy-Nine Ltd. with its studios located at 99 Queen Street East near Church Street. The station was in debt by 1975. Multiple Access Ltd. (then-owners of CFCF in Montreal) purchased a 45% interest in the station, and sold its stake to CHUM Limited three years later. CHUM Limited acquired the station outright in 1981. Broadcasting on UHF channel 79 during its first decade, the station moved to channel 57 in 1983, until moving to channel 44 with the digital transition (though mapping as virtual channel 57.1). In 1987, the station moved its headquarters to 299 Queen Street West, formerly known as the Ryerson Press Building (then known as the CHUM-City Building); one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. On September 8, 2009, CITY moved to its current location at Yonge-Dundas Square at 33 Dundas Street East.
Citytv gained a second station in Vancouver when CHUM bought CKVU from Canwest Global Communications in 2001. The station became known as "Citytv Vancouver" on July 22, 2002. Prior to CHUM's acquisition of CKVU, some Citytv programming was syndicated to KVOS in nearby Bellingham, Washington.
In 2004, CHUM bought Craig Media, parent of the A-Channel system in Manitoba and Alberta. The Craig-owned A-Channel stations were relaunched as Citytv on August 2, 2005; the same date that CHUM's NewNet stations, including CKVR, CHWI and CFPL, were rebranded under the A-Channel banner.
CHUM Limited announced plans to sell its broadcasting assets to CTV parent CTVglobemedia on July 12, 2006. CTVgm intended to retain CHUM's Citytv system while divesting CHUM's A-Channel stations and Alberta cable channel Access to get the CRTC to approve the acquisition. On the same day that the takeover was announced, Citytv cancelled its supper hour, late night and weekend newscasts at its local Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg stations, laying off hundreds of news department staff.
In October 2006, Citytv launched a daily national newscast, CityNews International, which was produced in Toronto for broadcast on the western Canadian stations and on CHUM's Toronto news channel CP24. The Edmonton and Calgary stations also began broadcasting a daily 30-minute magazine show, Your City, instead of a full-fledged newscast. The Vancouver news operation, which had operated for 30 years under various owners and station identities, was not maintained aside from Breakfast Television. In the same month, Citytv Toronto became the first television station in Canada to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
The following year on June 8, the CRTC approved the CTV takeover of CHUM. However, the CRTC made the deal conditional on CTV divesting itself of Citytv, because there were already CTV owned-and-operated stations serving the same cities (CFTO Toronto, CIVT Vancouver, CFCN Calgary, CFRN Edmonton, and CKY Winnipeg). Without the divestment, CTV would have exceeded the CRTC's concentration of media ownership limits. CTV announced on June 11, 2007, that it would retain the A-Channel stations, and sell the Citytv stations to Rogers Communications for $375 million. The transaction was approved by the CRTC on September 28 and was completed on October 31, 2007.
On December 6, 2010, CityNews Tonight Toronto anchor/Citytv continuity voice-over, Mark Dailey died after a long battle with cancer. The Citytv system began to phase in a modified branding in October 2012, with a new logo consisting only of the name "City", and some promotions using the verbal branding "City Television" (later also switched to simply "City") instead of Citytv. The change marked the first major alteration to the Citytv brand since its introduction in 1972. The new City branding was launched on December 31, 2012 during its New Year's Eve special.
Expanding into a national footprint
The Jim Pattison Group announced in July 2009 that its three television stations in western Canada (CKPG, CFJC, and CHAT), formerly affiliated with E!, would join Citytv starting on September 1, 2009. These stations do not carry the City branding; instead, the stations continue to use the same branding and logos they used as affiliates of the E! system. The Pattison-owned Citytv affiliates produce local newscasts, but do not produce their own versions of Breakfast Television nor title their midday and evening newscasts under the CityNews brand like the City owned-and-operated stations do. Through a long-term affiliation renewal agreement on May 3, 2012, the Pattison stations began to carry 90% of Citytv's primetime programming and the majority of its morning and daytime programming from the programming grid of CKVU-DT, including simulcasts of the Vancouver edition of Breakfast Television. Unlike CKVU, the Pattison stations continue to produce midday and evening local newscasts.
Meanwhile on December 20, 2011, Bluepoint Investment Corporation announced an affiliation agreement with Rogers Communications to air Citytv programming on the Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN) from 3 p.m.-6 a.m. CT daily, beginning on January 2, 2012. This program block followed the national program grid of Citytv and was known on-air as "Citytv on SCN". Shortly after, on January 17, 2012, Rogers announced its intent to acquire SCN from Bluepoint. The deal gave the Citytv system stations in all provinces west of Quebec and south of the federal territories of Northern Canada. The sale was approved in late June 2012 by the CRTC and Rogers relaunched SCN as Citytv Saskatchewan on July 1. Rogers plans to invest in the station's infrastructure, and also launch a high definition feed.
In Montreal, Rogers announced its intent to acquire multicultural station CJNT-DT from Toronto-based Channel Zero on May 3, 2012 and announced an affiliation agreement with the station, effective June 4, 2012. This gave Citytv stations in all provinces west of Atlantic Canada as well as the system's first television station located east of the Greater Toronto Area. On December 20, 2012, the CRTC approved the acquisition of CJNT and Rogers' request to convert the station from multicultural to a conventional English-language station. The station began carrying the full City schedule on February 4, 2013, officially turning City from a television system into a network. Rogers will produce 15.5 hours of local programming a week for CJNT (including a local edition of Breakfast Television), and will contribute funding and programming to a new independent multicultural station in Montreal.
City is well known for its unconventional approach to news and local programming. There is no news desk (anchors read the news standing up, or on stools), and cameras are sometimes hand-held. Citytv also pioneered the concept of videojournalism, where reporters often carry their own cameras and report and videotape their own stories. Citytv calls its videojournalists "videographers", but unlike many stations in American television markets that try to conceal the fact that reporters are so-called "one-man bands", Citytv embraced the use of video journalism by highlighting the use of technology; Citytv videographers often carry a second home video camera to record images of them videotaping on the scene. The low-grade video is then incorporated into the final story to show viewers how the story was recorded.
At one time, City's Toronto flagship CITY-TV produced more local programs than any other television station in Canada, and more local programming than any other station in North America other than Boston's WCVB-TV. Citytv produced shows such as Speakers' Corner, CityLine and was the original home of FashionTelevision, SexTV and MediaTelevision. Citytv also airs The Quon Dynasty, a reality restaurant show based in Edmonton, Alberta. Many of these series were not strictly focused on Toronto – FT, for instance, consisted largely of foreign runway footage – and are easily syndicated to other outlets. The latter three shows are owned by CTVglobemedia as a result of its takeover of CHUM and subsequent divesting of the City stations.
CITY also prominently broadcast feature films during primetime, in late night and on weekends as part of the Great Movies block; as City transitioned to a primetime lineup consisting of mainly domestic and American series during the 2000s, Great Movies was scaled back, only to be dropped entirely in 2008 and replaced with either reruns, reality shows or infomercials.
The station also attracted attention and controversy by airing Baby Blue Movies, a softcore pornography film showcase on Friday nights after midnight. Although this programming block was discontinued in the 1980s, it was reinstated on CITY and CKVU for short time in the early 2000s. This, along with the 'hide away' place on the UHF dial formed the basis of fictional station "CIVIC TV" (Channel 83, Cable 12) in David Cronenberg's Videodrome, which is set in Toronto.
Citytv was one of the first television stations in Canada to implement a diversity policy in hiring its on-air staff, actively seeking out people of colour, people with disabilities, and other minority groups to work as on-air journalists. Znaimer originally described the policy as wanting the station to "look like Toronto".
Beginning in 1983, Citytv began to produce a New Year's Eve special live from Nathan Phillips Square in Downtown Toronto. Currently known as the City New Year's Eve Bash, the yearly concert special expanded to include a second event in Calgary, Alberta for its 2012 edition.
City Toronto's CityNews, formerly known as CityPulse, had developed a large following since its debut in 1975. Other stations around the world have imitated its format to varying degrees of success. However, Citytv itself was unsuccessful in expanding its audience to other Canadian markets, as evidenced by the eventual cancellation of the other stations' traditional newscasts. Flagship station CITY-DT, along with Jim Pattison Group-owned affiliates CFJC-TV, CKPG-TV and CHAT-TV are the only City stations producing midday or evening newscasts (though the Pattison stations brand by their individual callsigns, instead of branding under the City name and do not the CityNews title for their weekday newscasts), Four of City's five other owned-and-operated broadcast stations (CKVU-DT, CKAL-DT, CKEM-DT and CHMI-DT) only produce localized versions of the morning program franchise Breakfast Television. City Saskatchewan, meanwhile, does not carry any local programming due to it being licensed as a cable channel.
Due to the ongoing structural problems facing the conventional television industry in Canada and the global economic crisis, Rogers Media announced cost-cutting measures at the City stations on January 19, 2010, which included massive layoffs and the cancellation of the following newscasts:
- CityNews at Noon in Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto
- Lunch Television in Vancouver
- Your City in Calgary and Edmonton, which was an evening replacement for previous CityNews programming that was cancelled in 2006.
- The satirical news program The CityNews List in Vancouver
- CityOnline, CityNews at Five and all weekend news programming in Toronto (the latter two were restored in 2011)
- City's national and international newscast, CityNews International
City continues to produce Breakfast Television and CityLine for all markets, and CityNews at Six and CityNews Tonight in Toronto only (the evening newscasts in Toronto excluded weekend broadcasts until March 2011; the 5 p.m. newscast, meanwhile, would return in September 2011). In total, 60 Citytv employees (including long-time Toronto news anchor Anne Mroczkowski) were laid off across Canada.
Sports broadcasts on the City stations have been sparse over the years, with the predominant sports property in recent years being games from the National Football League.
Craig Media (then-owners of the current Citytv stations in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary) owned the rights to Monday Night Football in the early 2000s, and these rights moved to Citytv for MNF's final season on ABC in 2005, before being moved again to TSN in 2006. Following the sale to Rogers, CKVU carried Sunday afternoon "late window" (4:00/4:15 p.m. ET, 1:00/1:15 p.m. PT) games during the 2007 season (as did Omni Television station CJMT in Toronto), under sublicence from Sportsnet. Since the 2008 season, all Citytv stations have carried Sunday late-window games. The local Sportsnet channel carries a different game than the game broadcast locally by Citytv.
On September 11, 2012, Citytv carried its first-ever national soccer broadcast, a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification group-stage match between Canada and Panama, in simulcast with Sportsnet One. It has also broadcast supplementary coverage of two tennis events primarily broadcast by the Sportsnet channels: the 2012 Rogers Cup and the 2012 Davis Cup World Group Play-off between Canada and South Africa.
- In addition to NFL regular-season games, CITY also airs selected Buffalo Bills preseason games (including those held at the Rogers Centre).
- The City stations in Alberta (while still branded "A-Channel") carried some regional NHL games during their first few years of operation. More recently they occasionally carried regional broadcasts in the event of conflicts with other Sportsnet programming (Sportsnet West being the regional rightsholder to both the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames), most recently in December 2009. Similarly, CKVU Vancouver carried two regional Vancouver Canucks broadcasts during the 2009-10 season, again due to programming conflicts on Sportsnet Pacific. However, this practice has since been deprecated in favour of using the Sportsnet One regional feeds.
- CITY-TV Toronto broadcast some regular-season basketball games during the inaugural season of the Toronto Raptors.
- On March 2, 2008, CITY-TV aired its first known baseball game, a Toronto Blue Jays spring training game, against the Cincinnati Reds. The Blue Jays, like City, is owned by Rogers.
- CKVU has occasionally carried broadcasts of Major League Soccer's Vancouver Whitecaps FC as part of Sportsnet's regional broadcast deal with the team.
Shortly after Rogers' takeover of the City stations was complete, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission published an application under which Rogers would have acquired 20% of CP24, which was sold to CTVglobemedia as part of its $1.4 billion takeover offer of CHUM Limited in 2007. It is not clear from the available evidence whether this was directly tied to the sale of CHUM, as opposed to any pre-existing rights Rogers may have had. In any event, the application was withdrawn prior to the scheduled hearing.
In July 2008, Rogers filed a new application with the CRTC to launch a separate 24-hour cable news channel to be known as "CityNews Toronto". That application was approved by the CRTC on December 10 of that year. The new channel was scheduled to begin broadcasting in late 2009, but was delayed for financial reasons.
The channel, now officially named CityNews Channel by this time, was launched on October 3, 2011 on Rogers Cable systems in the Toronto and Ottawa markets. The channel incorporated resources from other Rogers-owned news properties including Toronto all-news radio station CFTR (680 AM; known by its brand "680 News") and Maclean's, in addition to Citytv Toronto. The channel ceased operations on May 30, 2013.
Individual stations are normally branded on-air as "City" (prior to the 2012 rebranding, the stations were referred to as "Citytv"); the location may be added if disambiguation is necessary. The list also mentions which stations had been owned by either CHUM Ltd. or Rogers depending on affiliation.
|City of license/market||Station||Channel
|Calgary, Alberta||CKAL-DT||5.1 (49)||2005||2004||Former A-Channel station|
|Edmonton, Alberta||CKEM-DT||51.1 (17)||2005||2004||Former A-Channel flagship station|
|Montreal, Quebec||CJNT-DT||62.1 (49)||2012||2013||Former multicultural station as well as former CH/E! station|
|Portage la Prairie/Winnipeg, Manitoba||CHMI-DT||13.1 (13)||2005||2004||Former A-Channel station|
|Regina/Saskatoon, Saskatchewan||City Saskatchewan||Cable-only||2012||2012||Licensed as an educational television service for the province of Saskatchewan, educational programming airs daily from 6 a.m.-3 p.m. CT.|
|Toronto, Ontario||CITY-DT||57.1 (44)||1972||1981||Original Citytv station, flagship|
|Vancouver, British Columbia||CKVU-DT||10.1 (33)||2002||2001||Former Global station|
Prior to 1997, CHUM owned two television outlets in Atlantic Canada: the ATV system of CTV affiliates, and cable-only channel ASN. Many Citytv programs were aired on either ATV or ASN during this period. Both ATV and ASN were acquired by Baton Broadcasting (now CTVglobemedia) in 1997; ASN continued to air much of the Citytv schedule until it became part of the A (now CTV Two) television system in 2008. This means that Atlantic Canada is now the largest gap in City's local coverage area, and there are few remaining realistic options for Rogers to purchase or affiliate with existing stations in the region. This had led Rogers to attempt, unsuccessfully, to request simultaneous substitution privileges for City Toronto on its cable systems in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador. Prior to the CRTC's decision to refuse the request, Rogers had hinted that a similar agreement had been tentatively reached with EastLink, the main cable provider in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Other such gaps include parts of the B.C. interior and Northern Ontario. However, like most Canadian networks, Citytv stations are generally available as distant signals on most cable and satellite providers nationwide.
In the past, local rights to individual City programs were sold to stations outside of the Toronto station's coverage area. In Vancouver, programs were split between KVOS in Bellingham, Washington, which is close to Vancouver, and CTV-owned CIVT, during the 1990s and early 2000s when City did not have a station in Vancouver. The WIC stations in Alberta (including CITV and CICT) bought provincial rights to some City programs prior to the launch of CKAL and CKEM in 1997.
Affiliates and international franchises
The City brand has been licensed to local television stations in Bogotá, Colombia and Barcelona, Spain. Toronto's CITY-DT is broadcast on a number of cable television providers in the Caribbean. In Barbados, City is carried on channel 507 of the terrestrial subscription service known as Multi-Choice TV.
|City of license/market||Station||Analog
|Kamloops, British Columbia||CFJC-TV||4||43||2009||Jim Pattison Group|
|Medicine Hat, Alberta||CHAT-TV||6||40||2009|
|Prince George, British Columbia||CKPG-TV||2||34||2009|
|Bogota, Colombia||Citytv Bogotá||21||N/A||1999||Casa Editorial El Tiempo|
1 Italicized channel numbers indicate a digital channel allocated for future use by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
|City of license||Station||Year of affiliation||Year of disaffiliation||Notes|
|Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain||Citytv Barcelona||2001||2006||Licence agreement expired in 2006, station was renamed TD8 (now 8TV).|
|Fajardo, Puerto Rico||WRUA-TV||2006||2007||Rogers Media discontinued the licensing for WRUA after it took over Citytv, and the station now serves as a translator for WECN in Naranjito. Was the first Citytv franchise in America.|
|Halifax/Atlantic Canada||ASN||1997||2008||Carried some Citytv programming. Now known as CTV Two Atlantic and owned by Bell Media.|
In 2003, CHUM Limited launched an high definition simulcast of its Toronto station CITY-TV. In October 2006, Citytv installed a new control room, becoming one of the first fully HD broadcasters in Canada. On March 2, 2010, CKVU-TV in Vancouver launched its HD simulcast. CKEM in Edmonton began testing its digital signal on May 26, 2010 and began regular HD broadcasts on June 29, 2010. CITY-DT-3 in Ottawa began testing its digital feed on June 12, 2010 and regular digital broadcasts on June 18, 2010. CKAL began testing its high definition signal on August 31, 2010. By August 31, 2011, all Citytv owned-and-operated stations had their primary transmitters and most retransmitters broadcasting exclusively in digital.
City HD is available nationally via satellite and on digital cable. It is also available for free over-the-air using a regular TV antenna and a digital tuner (included in most new television sets) via the following stations and retransmitters:
|City||Station||OTA digital channel
|Calgary, Alberta||CKAL-DT||49 (5.1)|
|Edmonton, Alberta||CKEM-DT||17 (17.1)|
|Lethbridge, Alberta||CKEM-DT-2||46 (2.1)|
|Montreal, Quebec||CJNT-DT||49 (62.1)|
|Ottawa, Ontario||CITY-DT-3||17 (65.1)|
|Toronto, Ontario||CITY-DT||44 (57.1)|
|Vancouver, British Columbia||CKVU-DT||33 (10.1)|
|Victoria, British Columbia||CKVU-DT-2||27 (27.1)|
|Winnipeg, Manitoba||CHMI-DT||13 (13.1)|
|Woodstock, Ontario||CITY-DT-2||31 (31.1)|
- Genesis, Genius and Tumult at Citytv Recalled 40 Years On, Broadcaster Magazine, October 1, 2012.
- "Citytv On The Move Pt. 1". Citytv. 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2009-09-09.
- "Bell Globemedia makes $1.7B bid for CHUM". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2006-07-12. Retrieved 2006-07-12.
- Byers, Jim (June 12, 2007). "Rogers buys Citytv stations". The Star (Toronto). Retrieved 2007-06-12.
- "Rogers Communications Inc, Official News Release: Rogers buys Citytv Stations". 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
- A Legend Lost: Toronto Mourns The Death Of Mark Dailey
- "Citytv drops two letters from its station identification after 40 years". Canada.com. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- "Jim Pattison Broadcast Group solidifies Program Supply agreement for three independent stations serving BC and Alberta" (Press release). Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. 2009-07-14. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
- Citytv and Pattison Group Sign Affiliate Agreement, Broadcaster Magazine, May 3, 2012.
- Citytv and SCN Sign Affiliate Agreement
- Rogers to buy SCN, launch Citytv Saskatchewan
- Citytv expanding into Quebec & Western Canada, CityNews, May 3, 2012.
- Rogers Media TV Access (2013-01-11). "City Release: City Montreal Debuts Feb. 4 with Full City Schedule". Retrieved 2013-01-11.
- Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (2012-09-05). "Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2012-475". Retrieved 2012-09-10.
- CRTC increases the diversity of voices in the Montreal market CRTC 2012-12-20
- Layoffs, Cancelled Shows At Citytv citynews.ca, published January 19, 2010
- Citytv Restructures Television Operations To Improve Business and Better Serve Audiences Rogers Media press release via CNW Group, published January 19, 2010.
- Citytv In Response to Citytv layoffs Citytv.com
- Canadian Soccer Association (2012-09-10). "Canada set for hostile Qualifier in Panama". Retrieved 2012-09-10.
- Sportsnet (2012-07-19). "Rogers Media Hits the Court for Multiplatform Coverage of the 2012 Rogers Cup". Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- Sportsnet (2012-09-13). "Sportsnet & Citytv Present Multiplatform Coverage of Davis Cup Featuring Canada vs. South Africa, Sept. 14 to 16". Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- CRTC Notice 2007-12
- CRTC Notice 2007-12-8.
- CRTC Grants Citytv Licence For All News Channel CityNews Toronto 2008-12-10
- Rogers unveils CityNews Channel, fall lineup & debut of ‘Canada’s Got Talent’ CityNews Toronto 2011-05-30
- Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (2012-10-10). "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-551". Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- Sturgeon, Jamie (2012-05-29). "In bid to attract Canada’s big advertisers, Rogers focuses on expanding TV distribution". National Post. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
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