CTV Northern Ontario

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CTV Northern Ontario
Type Broadcast television system
Country Canada
Availability Most communities in Northeastern Ontario, also available nationally via satellite
Owner Bell Media
Parent Bell Canada
Launch date
1953
Former names
MCTV (1980 - 2005)
Official website
CTV Northern Ontario

CTV Northern Ontario, formerly known as MCTV, is a system of four television stations in Northern Ontario, Canada, owned and operated by the CTV Television Network, a division of Bell Media.

These stations are:

All four stations refer to themselves on air as CTV, not by their call letters, and have common local programming; however, they remain legally licensed as separate stations. Station information and history is discussed on each station's own page. All four stations are available on Bell TV as of November 2012.

  • CICI (CTV Sudbury) on Ch. 221
  • CKNY (CTV North Bay) on Ch. 588
  • CITO (CTV Timmins) on Ch. 589
  • CHBX (CTV Sault Ste. Marie) on Ch. 590

History[edit]

MCTV's BBS logo, used from 1994-1997. Under the ownership of Baton Broadcasting, the MCTV branding still remained. The previous MCTV logo was dropped in 1994 when all of the other Baton-owned stations adopted a similar logo, the only difference being the call letters. Unlike other Baton-owned stations, the MCTV stations didn't use their call signs on their logos. The logo featured multicoloured rings around the word BBS.[1]

Background[edit]

Each of the four cities served by the CTV Northern Ontario system saw the launch of a locally owned television station in the 1950s: Sudbury's CKSO-TV was launched by the owners of the Sudbury Star in 1953, Sault Ste. Marie's CJIC-TV was launched by Hyland Broadcasting in 1955, North Bay's CKGN-TV was launched by Gerry Alger and Gerry Stanton in 1955, and Timmins's CFCL-TV was launched by J. Conrad Lavigne in 1956. All four stations were CBC Television affiliates at the time, as CTV did not yet exist.

Each station continued to operate separately until 1970, when applications were filed with Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to launch a second television station in Sudbury;[2] the application process ultimately resulted in a major realignment in Sudbury, North Bay and Timmins. Cambrian Broadcasting, the Sudbury station's owners at this time, acquired the North Bay station and launched a repeater of CKSO in Timmins, serving as the new CTV affiliate in all three cities, while Lavigne launched new stations CKNC-TV in Sudbury and CHNB-TV in North Bay, and retained the CBC affiliation.[3] Although Hyland Broadcasting was one of the original applicants for a new Sudbury station, CJIC remained unaffected by the final outcome at the time.

Through the 1970s, however, the North Bay and Timmins markets proved too small to support competition between multiple stations; although the Sudbury stations were nominally profitable on their own, the losses in North Bay and Timmins left both companies nearly bankrupt by 1980.[4]

MCTV[edit]

As a result of the stations' precarious financial situation, the CRTC permitted Northern Cable, the region's primary cable television provider, to purchase both companies;[5] it established the Mid-Canada Communications division, which operated all of the stations under a twinstick model.[4] In its decision, however, the CRTC explicitly communicated the expectation that this would exist only as a temporary arrangement, to end as soon as the CBC could afford to directly acquire MCTV's CBC affiliates. At this time, CKSO-TV adopted the new callsign CICI, and its repeater in Timmins became a new standalone station, CITO-TV.

All six stations were referred to on air as MCTV — the station pairs were distinguished from each other by use of their network affiliation (i.e., "MCTV-CTV" and "MCTV-CBC"). As well, MCTV owned CHRO in Pembroke, a market with no other television stations. CHRO used the same logo and programming schedule as MCTV's other stations, but it always used its own callsign, rather than MCTV, as its on-air identification.

Due to CTV's status at the time as a cooperative of its affiliated stations, MCTV itself held a 2.1 per cent share in the network.[6]

Hyland/Huron Broadcasting[edit]

Through the 1970s and 1980s, the Sault Ste. Marie stations remained a separate operation and were not part of Mid-Canada Communications. In 1976, Hyland Broadcasting merged with another local company to form Huron Broadcasting, and in 1978 the company launched CKCY-TV as the city's CTV affiliate under the same twinstick model.

Huron Broadcasting did, however, sell most of its radio stations in Sault Ste. Marie and other Northern Ontario communities to Mid-Canada Communications in 1988.

Baton Broadcasting[edit]

MCTV logo under CTV ownership from late 1990s to 2005.

Baton Broadcasting acquired both Mid-Canada and Huron in 1990, and the Huron stations were converted to the MCTV branding at this time.[7] As well, Baton reaffiliated CHRO with CTV.[7] Baton eventually became the sole corporate proprietor of CTV, making the MCTV stations fully owned and operated stations of the network, and sold CHRO to CHUM Limited in 1998; at the time CHUM acquired CHRO, it disaffiliated from CTV and became an independent station for a short time before joining the NewNet system (now CTV Two).

Baton retained the CBC twinsticks until 2002, when it sold them to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.[8] Politicians in the area, most notably Sault Ste. Marie MP Carmen Provenzano, expressed the hope that the sale would result in the CBC launching new local newscasts,[9] but when the deal was finalized in early 2003, the CBC simply converted them to full retransmitters of CBLT, Toronto's CBC owned-and-operated station.[10] All four stations surrendered their old call letters. In 2003, MCTV's master control operations were transferred to the CTV facilities in Toronto.

News operations[edit]

In November 2001, CTV merged the news production facilities of the MCTV stations into a single regional newscast, with only short inserts for each city's local coverage.[11] The regional newscast is produced at CICI. This created extensive controversy, with many public interest groups across Canada raising concerns about the disappearance of local news coverage in small markets.[12] Some groups lobbied for the CBC to produce new local newscasts in the cities on MCTV's CBC stations in cooperation with CTV, but this model was not pursued.[13]

Organizations in Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay and Timmins began to call for a boycott of MCTV news, and local companies began offering web-based sources of local news, weather and sports information, most notably the Village Media network of internet properties.[14] A local video news website called LTVnews.com was launched in Sault Ste. Marie by former CHBX news director Craig Huckerby in 2003;[15] it launched a daily news program on the city's cable community channel in 2005,[16] before being acquired by Village Media.[17]

In late 2003 and early 2004, following some resident complaints that MCTV's coverage of the city's municipal election had been inadequate, Sault Ste. Marie City Council debated a motion requesting that the CRTC direct MCTV to sell a station in the city to a local buyer who would relaunch a fully local newscast,[10] although the motion was criticized in part because it rested on the mistaken belief that MCTV still had ownership and control of the CBC stations.[10]

In October 2005, MCTV News was renamed as CTV News, in line all other CTV owned-and-operated stations. CTV News uses WSI's TrueView Max Weather Technology to broadcast weather reports during all its newscasts.

References[edit]

  1. ^ BBS logo on Canadian Trademarks Database
  2. ^ "CRTC proposes CBC-CTV partnership for alternative Northern Ontario service". The Globe and Mail, March 6, 1970.
  3. ^ "Rebroadcast programs: CRTC grants Sudbury licences". The Globe and Mail, August 6, 1970.
  4. ^ a b "CRTC approves amalgamation of Northern Ontario TV firms". The Globe and Mail, February 29, 1980.
  5. ^ "Northern Cable seeks control of TV systems". The Globe and Mail, September 20, 1979.
  6. ^ "CTV enriches owners by making no profit". The Globe and Mail, November 14, 1986.
  7. ^ a b "CRTC okays acquisitions, but at a price". Financial Post, October 23, 1990.
  8. ^ "CBC takes over MCTV transmitter". Sudbury Star, July 12, 2002.
  9. ^ "CBC to buy CTV assets in Sault, North". Sault Star, July 12, 2002.
  10. ^ a b c "CBC should handle local news, councillor says". Sudbury Star, January 6, 2004.
  11. ^ "CRTC will not halt MCTV cuts". Sault Star, November 8, 2001.
  12. ^ "Local news a right, advocacy group says: Opponents point to profits; MCTV says revenue down". Sault Star, November 15, 2001.
  13. ^ "CBC still waiting to hear MCTV proposal". North Bay Nugget, December 19, 2001.
  14. ^ "Sootoday.com a hit". Northern Ontario Business, April 1, 2004.
  15. ^ "Web site will feature local news, sports coverage". Sault Star, August 26, 2003.
  16. ^ "LTVNews takes to the airwaves: Media outlet to add daily Shaw cable broadcast to Webcast". Sault Star, February 12, 2005.
  17. ^ "SooToday will now be home to all the great programming from LOCAL2". Soo Today, April 8, 2016.

External links[edit]