|Branding||Global Lethbridge (general)
Global News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 7 (VHF)
Virtual: 7.1 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||Global (secondary, 1988–2000; primary, 2000–present)|
|First air date||November 20, 1955|
|Call letters' meaning||Canadian
|Former callsigns||CJLH-TV (1955–1972)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
7 (VHF, 1955–2011)
|Former affiliations||CBC (1955–1975)
|Transmitter power||19.7 kW|
CISA-DT, VHF channel 7, is a Global owned-and-operated television station located in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. The station is owned by Corus Entertainment. CISA's studios are located on 28 Street and 14 Avenue North on the northeastern side of Lethbridge, and its transmitter is located near Highway 25 and Range Road 221, just outside the city. This station can also be seen on Shaw Cable channel 5 and in high definition on digital channel 211.
The station carries the full Global lineup, and its schedule is almost identical to that of sister station CICT-DT in Calgary; CISA's master control is also based out of CICT, along with the remainder of Global's television stations. It is the second-smallest station that is part of the Global network (behind Shaw-owned affiliate CJBN-TV in Kenora, Ontario) and is the only standalone commercial station in Southern Alberta.
The station first signed on the air on November 20, 1955 as CJLH-TV, broadcasting on VHF channel 7 from a 167,000-watt transmitter atop a 638-foot tower located at what was the city limits of Lethbridge. The station was a joint venture between local radio station CJOC (the "CJ" in the call sign) and the Lethbridge Herald (the "LH"). It was managed by CJOC's owners, Taylor Pearson & Carson, and began life as an affiliate of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC) television network. Network programs on kinescope arrived within a few days to a week after they went to air live in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, or the U.S. networks. Three months after CJLH went to air, measurement services showed that the station had a potential audience of 9,400 homes, but within a year, that grew to 19,200, and of those, 16,000 had bought television sets. At the time, CJLH was the only station in the Lethbridge area.
Local programming at the time included: local newscasts; Channel 7 Spotlight, showcasing area talent; Remember When, a series of programs hosted by Harry Baalim using slides, pictures and relics to tell the history of Southern Alberta; and Home Gardener, featuring many experts in the field demonstrating proper horticultural technique. These programs (along with several others) earned the station many awards, including seven Liberty Magazine awards in the 1950s and 1960s.
In 1958, the timeshifting problems the station had with network programming were eliminated when it was able to get a direct microwave link to the CBC network via its Calgary time-delay centre. The problem still existed for live sports events, such as NHL hockey and CFL football telecasts. In 1961, CJLH expanded into the Crowsnest Pass area, by opening a repeater station at Burmis on channel 3. An application from CFCN-TV in Calgary to open a repeater station in Lethbridge was unsuccessful in getting CRTC approval that year.
However, a year later in 1968, an agreement was reached between CFCN and CJLH to share space on the CJLH tower and building for technical equipment. On September 3, CFCN went on the air with a repeater station on channel 13. That same year, the station's first 2-inch black and white videotape recorder was installed, and a repeater in Brooks began operations, transmitting at low power on VHF channel 3.
In 1970, program production was increased significantly when CJLH became a two-camera operation. Two years later, the Herald sold its stake in the station to Selkirk Communications (as Taylor Pearson & Carson had been renamed in 1959), who changed its call sign to CJOC-TV to match the radio station. It became a semi-satellite of co-owned CFAC-TV in Calgary (now CICT-DT). and continued local production with shows such as Time Out, Ski Reports, Our Town, Sunday Hour, Thought for the Day, Focus on University, College Campus and numerous specials. In 1974, CJOC went full colour with two colour cameras and three colour 1" VTRs. CFCN moved out of the CJOC building and into its own during that same year.
On September 1, 1975, CFAC-TV disaffiliated from the CBC and became an independent station when CBC Television put its own station, CBRT (channel 9), on the air. On the same day, CJOC also disaffiliated from the CBC as CBRT had set up a rebroadcaster in Lethbridge. In 1976, it changed its callsign to CFAC-TV-7. Despite its rebroadcaster-like callsign, it was still licensed as a full-fledged station. The station took on the same branding as CFAC-TV in Calgary, adopting the moniker "2&7 Lethbridge Television". In 1979, the station increased its transmitter power to 167,000 watts. In 1988, it added a satellite dish to get video news feeds from Global Television, and also began carrying some of Global's entertainment programming along with its Calgary sister.
Local programming continued to play an important role at the station, with successful shows such as: Ski West, which was syndicated to CHCH-TV Hamilton, BCTV Vancouver and CFCF-TV Montreal, and was also judged best syndicated show in the country at the time; We Won’t Let Him Die, which won the CanPro Founders award in 1983; and Kids Belong Together (1990) and Key to Literacy (1992), both shows won the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Gold Ribbon Award for community involvement.
In 1989, Selkirk Communications merged with CFCN's then-owner, Maclean Hunter, who immediately sold most of Selkirk's television holdings, including CFAC-TV-7, to Western International Communications. One year later, WIC changed the station's calls to the current CISA-TV. Through the years, CISA's commitment to local programming has continued to reap both industry awards, making it one of the country's most awarded stations, and audience numbers in its local area.
In 1998, the Griffiths family sold WIC's assets to Shaw Communications and Canwest. In 1999, agreements were lodged with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to split WIC assets between Canwest, Corus Radio and Shaw. The CRTC approved the purchase in 2000: Western International Communications was sold to Canwest, and CISA-TV became a full-time Global Television Network station under the brand "Global Lethbridge" on September 4 that year. CISA was the last Global station to have its website integrated into the canada.com network.
CISA-DT presently broadcasts 7½ hours of locally produced newscasts during the week; in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the lowest local newscast output out of Global's news-producing owned-and-operated stations. On September 10, 2008, news production for CISA shifted from Lethbridge to Calgary, with the addition of a new virtual set. In 2015, a new local news production model was launched at CISA, eliminating locally produced weekend newscasts.
Notable former on-air staff
- Holly Horton (now co-host of TSN's SportsCentre)
- Jackson Proskow (now as a Washington Bureau Chief reporter for Global Television in Washington, D.C.)
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|7.1||1080i||16:9||CISA-DT||Main CISA-DT programming / Global|
On July 27, 2011, one month before Canadian television stations in CRTC-designated mandatory markets transitioned from analogue to digital broadcasts, the station shut down its Lethbridge analog transmitter and flash cut to digital, becoming the first television station in Southern Alberta to convert to digital. The station's digital signal remained on VHF channel 7.
The following translators will continue to offer the analog signal after CISA's main Lethbridge transmitter is converted to digital.
|Station||City of licence||Channel||ERP||HAAT||Transmitter Coordinates|
(to move to 09 (VHF))
|0.409 kW||128 m|
|CISA-TV-2||Brooks||3 (VHF)||0.01 kW||NA|
|CISA-TV-3||Coleman||12 (VHF)||0.01 kW||NA|
|CISA-TV-4||Waterton Park||12 (VHF)||0.001 kW||NA|
|CISA-TV-5||Pincher Creek||9 (VHF)||0.001 kW||NA|
(All transmitters in Montana are owned either by local governments or television associations.)
|Station||City of licence||Channel||ERP|
- TV listings, Herald Magazine; Calgary Herald, June 2, 1972.
- TV listings, the Herald TV Times; Calgary Herald, September 12, 1975
- RabbitEars TV Query for CISA
- Digital Television - Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA)
- "Shaw — Global channels affected by digital transition - Shaw.ca". Archived from the original on 2011-08-06. Retrieved 2011-08-06.