|City of license||Hamilton, Ontario|
CHCH News (news)
|Slogan||Your Superstation (primary)
Great Movies Every Night (secondary)
|Channels||Digital: 15 (UHF)
Virtual: 11 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||Independent (1961–2001 and 2009–present)|
(2190015 Ontario Inc.)
|First air date||June 7, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||C Hamilton's CHannel|
|Former callsigns||CHCH-TV (1954–2011)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
11 (VHF, 1954–2011)
18 (UHF, 2008–2011)
11 (VHF, 2011–2013)
|Former affiliations||CBC (1954–1961)
CH / E! (2001–2009)
|Transmitter power||132 kW|
CHCH-DT, virtual channel 11 (UHF digital channel 15), is an independent television station located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The station is owned by Channel Zero. CHCH maintains studio facilities located near the corner of Jackson and Caroline Streets in downtown Hamilton, and its transmitter is located at 481 First Road West in Stoney Creek.
On cable, the station is available on Cogeco Cable channel 12 in Hamilton and Rogers Cable channels 11 and 121 in the Greater Toronto Area. On satellite, the station is available on Shaw Direct classic lineup channel 345 and advanced lineup channel 41, and on Bell TV on channels 218 (standard definition) and 1057 (high definition). There is also a high definition feed on Cogeco digital channel 707 in Hamilton and Rogers Cable digital channel 521 in the Greater Toronto Area, and on Shaw Direct classic lineup channel 36 and advanced lineup channel 536. CHCH also streams all of its local programming live on the Internet, with no provider or geographic restrictions.
- 1 History
- 2 Programming
- 3 News operation
- 4 Notable on-air staff
- 5 Transmitters
- 6 Digital television and high definition
- 7 References
- 8 External links
- 9 See also
The station first signed on the air on June 7, 1954, originally operating as an affiliate of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC); it is the oldest privately owned television station in the Hamilton-Toronto area. At the time, all privately owned television stations in Canada were required to be CBC affiliates. CHCH-TV was founded by Ken Soble, a leader of Hamilton's urban renewal movement, and owner of radio station CHML (900 AM).
In 1961, CHCH disaffiliated itself from the CBC and became an independent station. The reason for the disaffiliation from CBC was threefold. Hamilton is part of the Toronto market, and Toronto-based CBC flagship CBLT already provided full network service to some of CHCH's viewing area. CBLT was about to increase its transmitter power and change frequencies (from VHF channel 9 to channel 6, and eventually channel 5), resulting in a near-100 percent overlap with CHCH. Additionally, the station's managers wanted to produce a larger amount of local programming, instead of being forced to carry CBC programming.
CHCH became the first (and for over a decade, the only) television station in Canada not be affiliated with any network, as the other private stations (which signed on the air in 1960 or early 1961) that were not affiliated with the CBC had formed the CTV network in October 1961.
Possible flagship of a third network
By 1964, CHCH was the lead station in United Program Purchase, a consortium of Canadian television stations which was purchasing some programming rights separately from the CTV and CBC networks. As early as 1966, UPP was attracting media coverage as the potential foundation for a third Canadian television network.
In the fall of that year, Soble's Niagara Television, the licensee of CHCH, put forward a proposal for a network to be branded as NTV. In the original plan, CHCH would have served as the network's flagship station for the Greater Toronto Area. However, the application faced numerous regulatory hurdles and delays, and its main financial backer, Power Corporation of Canada, backed out in 1969. By 1970, however, the network application was revived by former CHCH executive Al Bruner's new Global Communications corporation, with Niagara Television and CHCH no longer involved in the bid; the Global Television Network network eventually launched in 1974 on the new CKGN-TV.
CHCH became a national superstation on January 1, 1982, when Cancom (now Shaw Broadcast Services) began carrying the station and three others to cable television providers in remote regions of the country that otherwise only had access to the CBC.
In 1990, Western International Communications (WIC) purchased CHCH. Although the station had been available on cable television in many Ontario markets for years, CHCH's broadcast signal coverage was expanded throughout Ontario in 1997 with the launch of several rebroadcasters, in an effort to compete with the reach of Global's Ontario station CIII (channel 6), as well as the Baton Broadcast System, a group of mostly CTV-affiliated stations that served most of the province. In turn, WIC rebranded the station as "ONtv" ("Ontario Television"), in line with the branding conventions of many of the company's other stations (such as CHAN-TV in Vancouver (which was branded as "BCTV"), CITV-TV in Edmonton, Alberta (which was branded as "ITV") and CHCA-TV in Red Deer, Alberta (which was branded as "RDTV")).
Local news programming shifted focus from the station's core market, the Hamilton area, toward Ontario as a whole, in an attempt to challenge what was then a regional news service provided by Global. However, with Hamilton now being largely an afterthought, and other local stations (in Toronto and elsewhere) already strong in the ratings, the shift was unsuccessful, and CHCH's ratings actually decreased. During the ONtv years, the station also aired WIC's nightly Canada Tonight newscast.
In 2000, Canwest purchased Western International Communications's television assets. Since Global had already served the Hamilton area through flagship station CIII-TV's transmitter in Paris, Canwest rebranded the station "CH" (or "CH Hamilton") on February 12, 2001 and subsequently launched the CH television system in September of that year. This move launched a secondary television system for Canwest's stations in medium-sized cities located near larger markets. Local news coverage was revamped and refocused on the Hamilton/Halton/Niagara region.
Despite the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) current television station ownership restrictions (one station per owner, per language in each market), Canwest was permitted to maintain CHCH's coverage of other markets throughout most of Ontario. However, it could not broadcast to Thunder Bay, Peterborough or Kingston because of opposition from local television stations. Some cable providers outside of Ontario also continue to carry CHCH as a form of "superstation". Additionally, its over-the-air signal easily covers Buffalo, New York and Erie, Pennsylvania across the border in the United States.
On June 7, 2004 at 8:00 p.m., CHCH-TV celebrated exactly 50 years on the air. At this precise time, the station aired a documentary profiling the station's history, entitled The First 50 Years: A Half Century of CH, which was hosted by Matt Hayes. It was announced that the CH brand would change starting in 2007; however, it remained in use until September 7, 2007 when Canwest rebranded CHCH's local programming from CH Hamilton to CHCH News following the relaunch of the national CH service as E! under a brand licensing agreement with the E! cable channel in the United States. CHCH's non-news schedule was rebranded on the same day as "E! Ontario".
Acquisition by Channel Zero
On February 5, 2009, Canwest announced it would explore "strategic options", including the possible sale or closure, of CHCH and the company's other stations in the E! system, saying "a second conventional TV network is no longer key to the long-term success" of the company. A grassroots group, fronted by Live @ 5:30 co-host Donna Skelly, surfaced with an intent to purchase CHCH from Canwest and return the station to its former local focus.
In March 2009, paperwork filed with the CRTC for a one-year renewal of CHCH's licence revealed that the station was projected to lose nearly $30 million during the 2010 fiscal year, which began on September 1, 2009 – and would earn a profit of $41 million, but the profits would be outpaced by costs of $69 million. John Douglas, a spokesperson for Canwest, said that CHCH, and its other stations in the E! group, were money losers during the last decade, coupled with the Canadian broadcasters' dependency on American programming for profits.
On June 30, 2009, Channel Zero announced that it would purchase CHCH and CJNT in Montreal from Canwest in exchange for $12 in cash and the assumption of various station liabilities. The CRTC approved the sale on August 28, 2009. Channel Zero took control of the station's programming at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time on the morning of August 31, beginning its tenure with a film from the 1980s. CHCH disaffiliated itself from E! (which shut down at the end of that day), and adopted a new programming format consisting of local newscasts throughout the day on weekdays and movies at night (as well as all day on weekends, outside of limited newscasts, infomercials and other select programs during the morning and evening hours), and reverted to branding itself as simply "CHCH". The first film broadcast in primetime that night was Rocky, signifying the new ownership's come-from-behind spirit. CHCH would add, in sparse amounts, additional programming during the 2009-10 season, including Let's Get It On, a mixed martial arts programme; 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.
In September 2010, CHCH, for the first time since its purchase by Channel Zero, began airing American network television series; many of the programs that were added, including Smallville, Supernatural, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, 48 Hours Mystery, 20/20, Chuck, and 60 Minutes were previously seen in the Toronto-Hamilton market on CKXT-TV (channel 51; that station's owner, Quebecor, was in the process of replacing it with the all-news cable channel Sun News Network). CHCH also debuted additional original local programs Sportsline (hosted by Mark Hebscher and Clint "Bubba" O'Neil), and launched a second series with Ed the Sock, the entertainment newsmagazine spoof I Hate Hollywood. Coinciding with the schedule changes was the introduction of an updated version of CHCH's classic multi-coloured logo used from the 1960s to the 1980s.
On April 10, 2011 Green party leader Elizabeth May participated in a panel interview on CHCH, which she was invited to attend, as were the leaders of the Bloc Québécois, Liberals, NDP and Conservatives, by Channel Zero, whose president was disappointed by May's exclusion from the 2011 election leaders' debates.
On April 18, 2011, CKXT-TV converted from an independent station to a simulcast of the Sun News Network, leaving CHCH as the only independent station in the Toronto/Hamilton area (the station ceased operations approximately seven months later on November 1, 2011). On June 8, 2011 at Channel Zero's upfront presentation for advertisers for the 2011-12 television season, the company announced a programming distribution deal with 20th Century Fox, giving CHCH and CJNT access to show first-run exclusive broadcast movie premieres, most notably Avatar, which first aired in May 2012 on both stations, featuring the director's cut version of the film not shown in theatres. Other debut titles included Crazy Heart, Taken and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
During a broadcast of News Now AM on April 20, 2012, Cogeco's and Shaw Cable's transmissions of CHCH's signal were interrupted for approximately three minutes by the broadcast of a scene from a hardcore gay pornography film from an unidentified adult-oriented specialty channel. The substitution appeared to have been made by a cable operator during repairs of severed cable lines, and not at CHCH, leaving the station's over-the-air viewers and subscribers of other cable and satellite providers unaffected. Channel Zero denied that the programme in question came from any of its adult-oriented Category B specialty channels (Maleflixxx Television, XXX TV and AOV TV). The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission later announced it would be investigating the incident as a cable transmission issue.
In September 2012, CHCH acquired the rights to Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! from CBC Television, after the network's exclusive contract to carry both game shows expired. Both shows were dropped for the fall 2014 season and The Simpsons began airing on Friday nights. In June 2014, CHCH celebrated its 60th anniversary of broadcasting.
As an independent station, CHCH produced local programs such as the children's talent programme Tiny Talent Time (which was revived in September 2014 in honour of the station's 60th anniversary), Jane Gray's Hobby Time and a daily talk show hosted by Elaine Callei. The station broadcast home games from the Hamilton Red Wings (a minor league hockey team in the OHA Junior "A" league that was an affiliate of the NHL's Detroit Red Wings) from the Hamilton Forum (which were both owned by Ken Soble) on Thursday nights in the 1960s, with Norm Marshall doing the play-by-play.
The station also produced a number of important Canadian syndicated series in the 1970s and 1980s, including The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, Me & Max, Party Game, The Baxters and Smith & Smith, and was the original television home of The Red Green Show. Hamilton native Martin Short also made his television debut on the station.
For a time, CHCH broadcast local mid-week telecasts of NHL games from the Toronto Maple Leafs. It also produced a wrestling show called Ringside Wrestling, which was originally filmed in the Telecentre, before later moving to the Hamilton Forum. The station later reproduced World Wrestling Federation programs for Canadian audiences before the company's focus shifted entirely to cable television. For a number of years, CHCH also broadcast Sunday afternoon coverage of regular season games from the NFL's Buffalo Bills because CTV (and later, the Global Television Network) had to choose the Detroit Lions for its Ontario stations as part of that network's NFL coverage (the Bills are now seen primarily on Sportsnet Ontario; the Lions have returned to CTV).
In its current incarnation, in addition to its extensive amount of locally produced newscasts which are geared primarily to the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario, CHCH also runs first-run domestic and American entertainment programs during primetime and the late evening hours, and feature films during the overnight hours and for much of the day on weekends. Some, but not all, of the same imported programs air on CHEK-DT in Victoria, British Columbia, a separately-owned independent station which was formerly CHCH's sister station during the CH and E! eras; upon the initial dissolution of the E! system, the two stations collectively purchased a virtually identical lineup of prime time programming, although their prime time schedules later began to diverge.
|CHCH Television programs (Effective Fall 2015) |
|Access Hollywood (since 2014) | British Drama Night (since 2015) | CHCH at The Movie (since 2009) | Dateline Mystery (since 2015)| Justice With Judge Mablean * (since 2015) | Last Man Standing | Nashville (since 2015) | Raising Hope (since 2015) | Rosewood (since 2015) | Sportsline (since 2010) | Supernatural (since 2010) | The Originals (since 2013) | The Pinkertons (since 2015) | The Watchlist (since 2013) | 20/20 (since 2010) | 48 Hours (since 2010) | 60 Minutes (since 2010)|
|* - Only Daytime or Spacial Weekends, Mostly those programs are come from prime-time only at CHCH-DT.|
CHCH-DT presently broadcasts 77 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 15 hours on weekdays and two hours each on Saturdays and Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output among all broadcast television stations in Canada (surpassing Vancouver's CHAN-DT, which broadcasts 45 hours of local news each week), among all North American broadcast television stations (surpassing Fox affiliate WJW in Cleveland, Ohio, which runs 65½ hours each week, and not counting 24-hour all-local-news stations such as Time Warner Cable News), and among the numerous stations in the Buffalo Niagara Region (significantly more than the 47½ hours provided by the WIVB/WNLO duopoly).
Its heavy weekday newscast total is largely due to a prominent daytime rolling news block on weekdays (airing from 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., along with an hour-long newscast at 6:00 p.m., and 11:00 p.m.). In addition, the station also produces a half-hour sports discussion programme called Sportsline, which airs each weeknight at 5:00 p.m.; and a half-hour political discussion programme Square Off, which immediately follows Sportsline at 5:30 p.m.
In late 2008, Canwest placed CHCH's longest serving news anchors, Connie Smith (whose last day on the air occurred on November 28, 2008) and Dan McLean (who left on December 12) on forced retirement, blaming financial troubles and budget cuts. After their departures, Annette Hamm began handling anchoring duties on a shortened noon newscast, as well as co-hosting Morning Live with Bob Cowan, while Nick Dixon took over anchoring duties on the 6:00 p.m. newscast. Since being taken over by Channel Zero on August 31, 2009, Hamm and Cowan have co-hosted a restored hour-long newscast at noon.
In January 2009, CHCH's Morning Live programme began to be simulcast on former Toronto sister station CIII-TV owing to the cancellation of its own morning newscast Global News Morning. The simulcast on CIII was dropped at the end of August after Channel Zero officially took control of CHCH, with CIII replacing it with lifestyle programming reruns and rebroadcasts of its 11:00 p.m. newscast from the previous night. While the station continued to share helicopter traffic services provided by the Canadian Traffic Network, the arrangement between Canwest and CHCH ended on December 31, 2009 as Canwest held the exclusive rights to CTN services in the Greater Toronto Area. Upon becoming an independent station on August 31, 2009, the station adopted a news-intensive format, replacing acquired programming in the 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. time periods on weekdays with expanded newscasts.
On September 12, 2011, CHCH increased its local news programming by launching a 90-minute extension of Morning Live, titled Morning Live First Edition, airing weekdays from 4:00 to 5:30 a.m.; this made CHCH the first Canadian television station (and the first in the Buffalo-Niagara region; WGRZ would follow with a 4:30 a.m. newscast in 2012) to air a morning newscast that starts before 5:30 a.m. The programme expanded to two hours, extending it from 4:00 to 6:00 a.m. on September 10, 2012. As a result, the station moved the original Morning Live broadcast's start time by a half-hour and its end time by one hour, running it from 6:00 to 10:00 a.m.
Notable on-air staff
Current on-air staff
Former on-air staff
- Heather Hiscox – anchor and executive producer; now news anchor for CBC News Network
- Dan McLean – senior news anchor (1970–2008); later news anchor at CIXK-FM in Owen Sound, Ontario; now retired
- Jennifer Mossop – news anchor and executive producer; later Liberal M.P.P. for Stoney Creek, Ontario, and now a communications consultant
- Sarika Sehgal – news anchor and executive producer; now news anchor for CTV News Channel
On August 28, 1996, CHCH received CRTC approval to add new rebroadcast transmitters across most of Ontario. The launch of the transmitters in 1997 coincided with the rebranding of the station as "ONtv".
|Station||City of licence||Channel||Virtual||ERP||HAAT||Transmitter Coordinates|
|CHCH-DT-1||Ottawa||22 (UHF)||11.1 (PSIP)||25 kW||216 m|
|CHCH-DT-2||London||51 (UHF)||51.1 (PSIP)||190 kW||296.5 m|
|CHCH-DT-3||Muskoka||23 (UHF)||67.1 (PSIP)||63 kW||306.7 m|
|CHCH-TV-4||Sudbury||41 (UHF)||N/A||35 kW||171.9 m|
|CHCH-TV-5||Sault Ste. Marie||38 (UHF)||N/A||5 kW||112.5 m|
|CHCH-TV-6||North Bay||32 (UHF)||N/A||5 kW||116 m|
|CHCH-TV-7||Timmins||11 (VHF)||N/A||3.3 kW||142.2 m|
During the analog television shutdown and digital conversion in August 2011, CHCH's transmitters in Ottawa, London, and Muskoka (serving Barrie, part of the Toronto market) were converted to digital, since the transmitters were in or near markets that were mandated to make the switch. However, the transmitters broadcast in standard-definition 480i since they receive the CHCH signal via Shaw Broadcast Services, which does not carry CHCH's HD feed.
Digital television and high definition
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|11.1||1080i||16:9||CHCH-DT||Main CHCH-DT programming|
The station originally launched its digital signal on UHF channel 18 on April 18, 2008. CHCH shut down its analogue signal, over VHF channel 11, on August 15, 2011, two weeks prior to the official August 31 date in which Canadian television stations in CRTC-designated mandatory markets transitioned from analogue to digital broadcasts. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 18 to its former analogue-era VHF channel 11. The analogue signal was discontinued immediately preceding the switch. CHCH-DT is available on digital cable and over-the-air through digital tuners and converter boxes. As of September 12, 2011, CHCH's HD feed is carried by satellite provider Bell TV on channel 1057.
On March 9, 2012, Channel Zero-operated numbered company 2190015 Ontario Inc. was granted permission to move the station's broadcasts from VHF channel 11 to UHF channel 15 (which had recently been vacated by CKXT-DT-1), in response to poor reception of CHCH-DT along its fringes in the Greater Toronto Area, compared to its former analogue signal on VHF channel 11 and transitional digital signal on UHF channel 18. During the application process, the station also claimed that Mobile DTV services perform better in the UHF band, and this move would allow the station to plan for a potential Mobile DTV feed. Industry Canada stated that this application is technically feasible, though pirate broadcaster VX9AMK ("Star Ray TV"), broadcasts in analogue on UHF channel 15 from a transmitter in The Beaches neighbourhood of Toronto. Tri-State Christian Television's WNYB from Jamestown, New York also has a Buffalo-based translator, WBNF-CD, on UHF channel 15, which would require addressing by the CRTC due to the closer location of CHCH's transmitter to WBNF-CD.
On November 12, 2013, CHCH began transmitting a test signal on UHF channel 15, displaying colour bars and tone with text message reading "CHCH-DT RF15 Testing". On December 2, 2013, CHCH moved its digital signal to channel 15, allowing CHCH to broadcast with a considerably higher power of 132 kW compared to 6 kW on channel 11 and 60 kW from their former transitional digital frequency on channel 18. The station's virtual channel will continue to be mapped as 11.1.
- "Hamilton Spectator: "The Greatest Hamiltonian". (II)". Retrieved 2007-02-11.
- "Backbone of third TV network takes shape in CHCH schedule". The Globe and Mail, March 31, 1966.
- "Soble's pitch". The Globe and Mail, October 27, 1996.
- ONtv trademark data on Canadian Trademark Database
- "CHCH-TV Seeks Ontario Expansion" (Press release). Niagara Television Limited. January 30, 1996. Archived from the original on January 3, 1997. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
- "Canwest may sell TV stations". cbc.ca, February 5, 2009.
- "CHCH staff launch bold bid" The Hamilton Spectator (2009-02-26)
- "Will townsfolk save the House of Frightenstein?" From Toronto Star, March 15, 2009.
- CHCH-TV, Hamilton Projected to Lose $30-million, Broadcaster Magazine, March 18, 2009.
- Channel Zero Inc. agrees to purchase CHCH-TV Hamilton and CJNT-TV Montreal from Canwest CNW Group (2009-06-30)
- Channel Zero Inc. agrees to purchase CHCH-TV Hamilton and CJNT-TV Montreal from Canwest (Video News Coverage) (2009-06-30)
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2009-536
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2009-537
- Channel Zero loads up on U.S. network series, THR, 2010-06-14
- ed the sock
- Source: CHCH Fall 2010 press release
- CHCH 2010 Fall Preview - New shows, new logo and more
- "CHCH-TV to Broadcast "Elizabeth May, For the Record" Live this Sunday, April 10, 2011 - 8 pm ET". CNW Group. CNW. April 8, 2011. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
- CHCH and Metro 14 Announce Fall Line-Up
- Gay Porn Interrupts Canadian Local TV Newscast, The Hollywood Reporter, April 20, 2012.
- Hamilton, Ont., news station broadcasts gay porn, Toronto Sun, April 20, 2012.
- movie interrupts morning news broadcast at Hamilton TV station, The National Post, Apr 20, 2012.
- "Canada's CHCH Buys 'Jeopardy' and 'Wheel of Fortune'". Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- Tiny Talent Time returning to Hamilton channel CHCH, Canada.com, June 11, 2013.
- CHCH-TV To Launch Canada's Earliest Morning Show
- Decision CRTC 96-544
- RabbitEars TV Query for CHCH
- "Canwest Broadcasting Launches Three New High Definition Transmitters In Major Canadian Markets". Canwest Broadcasting. 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
- Digital Television - Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA)
Media related to CHCH at Wikimedia Commons
- CHCH-DT official website
- Canadian Communications Foundation - CHCH-TV History
- Query the REC's Canadian station database for CHCH-TV
- Query TV Fool's coverage map for CHCH