CTV Northern Ontario (general)|
CTV News Northern Ontario (newscasts)
|Slogan||News for the North|
Analog: 5 (VHF)|
Digital: allocated 8 (VHF)
3 CICI-TV-1 Elliot Lake|
11 CKNY-TV-11 Huntsville
|Affiliations||CTV (1971–present; O&O since 1990)|
|First air date||October 25, 1953|
|Former callsigns||CKSO-TV (1953-1980)|
|Former affiliations||CBC (1953-1971)|
CICI-TV: 100 kW|
CICI-TV-1: 19 kW
CKNY-TV-11: 325 kW
CICI-TV: 324.2 m|
CICI-TV-1: 122.7 m
CKNY-TV-11: 195.3 m
|Website||CTV Northern Ontario|
Owned by Bell Media, it is the flagship station of the network's CTV Northern Ontario sub-system. CICI produces all of the CTV Northern Ontario stations' local programming, except for some local news inserts in the system's newscast.
The station's studios are located on Frood Road, near Lasalle Boulevard.
The station was launched on October 25, 1953 by Sudbury businessmen George Miller, Jim Cooper and Bill Plaunt. It was the first privately owned television station to launch in Canada, and only the fourth television station overall after CBC Television's owned and operated stations in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. Its original call sign was CKSO-TV. The station was a CBC affiliate, receiving programs by kinescope until a microwave relay system linked the station to Toronto in 1956. The station originally broadcast only from 7 to 11 p.m., but by the end of its first year in operation it was on the air from 3:30 p.m. to midnight.
The station's original owner was CKSO Radio Ltd., which also owned the AM radio station CKSO in the city. It was originally a division of the Sudbury Star, but became a separate radio and television company after the newspaper was sold to Thomson Newspapers in 1955. The company name was changed to Cambrian Broadcasting by 1965.
Reaffiliation with CTV
In 1970, four separate companies simultaneously applied for new stations in Sudbury: J. Conrad Lavigne, who owned the existing CBC affiliate CFCL-TV in Timmins, and Hyland Broadcasting, which owned the existing CBC affiliate CJIC-TV in Sault Ste. Marie, each applied for a rebroadcast transmitter in Sudbury to transmit their existing programming, predicated on the assumption that CKSO would then switch its affiliation to CTV; the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation itself applied for its own owned-and-operated station in the city, also predicated on the same assumption; and a fourth company, North Star Broadcasting, applied to launch a new CTV affiliate.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission rejected all four of the original applications on the grounds that as Sudbury was the only city in the region large enough to support two competing television stations, all of the original applications would have effectively shut down any path for CTV service to ever be extended to North Bay or Timmins; even the mere addition of rebroadcasters of Sudbury's new CTV station would itself destroy the viability of the existing CBC stations in the smaller cities unless they were also paired up to a sister station in Sudbury. It accordingly directed Cambrian and Lavigne, as the incumbent broadcasters, to collaborate on a new plan that would treat all three cities as a single media market, and extend CTV service to all three. Although North Bay's CFCH-TV was owned by another company at this time, its owners were trying to sell the station and thus were not considered to be relevant to the plan. Accordingly, the two companies then resubmitted a revised application under which Lavigne would launch stations in Sudbury and North Bay and become the CBC affiliate in all three cities, while Cambrian would purchase CFCH, launch a rebroadcaster of CKSO in Timmins, and switch its affiliation to CTV in all three cities.
The financial pressures of competing in small markets, however, left both companies losing money and very nearly bankrupt by 1980. As a result, the CRTC approved a full merger into the MCTV twinstick. As part of the deal, Cambrian Broadcasting spun CKSO radio off to new owners, and since the stations no longer had common ownership the television station adopted the new call sign CICI. At this time, the Timmins repeater was converted into a new standalone station, CITO-TV.
In 1981, an Ontario provincial court case against the station, for allegedly failing to satisfy its Canadian content requirements in the 1979-80 season, briefly had the effect of nullifying the entire policy; the judge ruled that because the federal Broadcast Act defined a station as the holder of a license issued under the Radio Act of 1967, but the Canadian content regulations were set down in a later revision of the Broadcast Act, a station was not bound by the regulation as it wasn't present in the 1967 edition. The ruling was subsequently overturned on appeal.
In 1990, the stations were acquired by Baton Broadcasting. Baton bought full control of CTV in 1997, making CICI a fully owned-and-operated station of the network. CKNC was sold to the CBC in 2002, ceasing operations and becoming a full-time rebroadcaster of CBLT in Toronto.
CICI currently also broadcasts on CICI-TV-1 channel 3 in Elliot Lake and CKNY-TV-11 channel 11 in Huntsville. The rebroadcaster in Huntsville was originally a CKCO-TV repeater (CKCO-TV-4), but switched to CKNY-TV  as its source, and then to CICI-TV, but has not changed its call letters yet. This repeater initially aired a very small amount of local programming distinct from its parent station, but ultimately this was phased out, though it still airs a small amount of local commercials specifically for the Huntsville area, just is programmed from CICI-TV's studios.
Both transmitters were among a long list of CTV rebroadcasters nationwide to have shut down on or before August 31, 2009, as part of a political dispute with Canadian authorities on paid fee-for-carriage requirements for cable television operators. A subsequent change in ownership assigned full control of CTVglobemedia to Bell Canada; as of 2011, these transmitters remain in normal licensed broadcast operation.
On February 11, 2016, Bell Media applied for its regular license renewals, which included applications to delete a long list of transmitters, including CICI-TV-1. Bell Media's rationale for deleting these analog repeaters is below:
"We are electing to delete these analog transmitters from the main licence with which they are associated. These analog transmitters generate no incremental revenue, attract little to no viewership given the growth of BDU or DTH subscriptions and are costly to maintain, repair or replace. In addition, none of the highlighted transmitters offer any programming that differs from the main channels. The Commission has determined that broadcasters may elect to shut down transmitters but will lose certain regulatory privileges (distribution on the basic service, the ability to request simultaneous substitution) as noted in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-24, Over-the-air transmission of television signals and local programming. We are fully aware of the loss of these regulatory privileges as a result of any transmitter shutdown."
At the same time, Bell Media applied to convert the licenses of CTV Two Atlantic (formerly ASN) and CTV Two Alberta (formerly ACCESS) from satellite-to-cable undertakings into television stations without transmitters (similar to cable-only network affiliates in the United States), and to reduce the level of educational content on CTV Two Alberta.
One time CKSO employee Judy Jacobson was the first woman in Canadian broadcasting history to work on air as a television weather reporter. She later became a federal Member of Parliament for Sudbury's Nickel Belt riding.
Other past employees of the station include journalists Francis D'Souza, Sarika Sehgal and Susan Hay, all now associated with major market stations in Toronto, as well as sportscasters and former hockey players Cummy Burton and Frank Salive.
Brendan Connor rejoined the station in 2011, after spending many years as a sportscaster and anchor for national and international networks including TSN, CBC Newsworld and Al Jazeera English. He is the son of Michael Connor, a longtime news anchor from the station's days as CKSO. Michael Connor died in December 2008, aged 82.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Inco sponsored a local variety show, Inco Presents, on the station. The program included comedic sketches performed by the duo of Gil Mayer and Norm McGilvary, in which Mayer, a sales manager with the station, performed the character of miner "Marcel Mucker". Marc Mayer, now the director of the National Gallery of Canada, is the son of Gil Mayer.
- C.M. Wallace and Ashley Thomson, Sudbury: Rail Town to Regional Capital. Dundurn Press, 1993. ISBN 1-55002-170-2.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
- "CRTC proposes CBC-CTV partnership for alternative Northern Ontario service". The Globe and Mail, March 6, 1970.
- "Rebroadcast programs: CRTC grants Sudbury licences". The Globe and Mail, August 6, 1970.
- "CRTC approves amalgamation of Northern Ontario TV firms". The Globe and Mail, February 29, 1980.
- "Sudbury Radio History Highlights". Sudbury Living, July 23, 2013.
- "Judge puts CRTC rule on content into limbo". The Globe and Mail, December 1981.
- "CRTC okays acquisitions, but at a price". Financial Post, October 23, 1990.
- Decision CRTC 99-164
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2005-57
- CTV list of transmitters to be shut down Archived 2011-12-24 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-05. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
- Biography of Judy Erola, Canadian Communications Foundation.
- Obituary for Michael Connor, Osprey Media.
- Inco Triangle, May 1976 (p. 21).