Gary McLaren Remembers – The Early Days of News Gathering & Reporting
CKCO-TV, CKKW-AM & CFCA-FM Employees
How It Began
Broadcasts began on March 1, 1954 from a transmitter on the Baden Hill, just west of Kitchener. The 700 foot transmitting tower has become one of the most identifiable landmarks for those who live in the area. Originally, like all private television stations in Canada from 1953 to 1959, CKCO was an affiliate of the CBC. It changed its affiliation to CTV in 1964. It still broadcasts, on channel 13, from the Baden tower, although it increased signal power in the early 1960s to reach London, from which Kitchener then received CBC affiliate programs on CFPL-TV).
The station’s founder was Carl Arthur Pollock. CKCO was originally owned by Central Ontario Television, a consortium that included the Famous Players theatre chain (today owned by Cineplex Entertainment) and businessman Carl Arthur Pollock president of the family owned television manufacturer Electrohome.
Electrohome acquired control of CKCO in 1970 when Canadian broadcasting laws required domestic ownership of stations, ending the involvement of American-owned Famous Players, which at the time was owned by Paramount Pictures.
In the 1990s, Baton Broadcasting had owned competing local stations in southwestern Ontario (CFPL-TV London, CHWI-TV Windsor, CKNX-TV Wingham). A deal between Electrohome and Baton in 1996 resulted each company owning half of these stations, plus CKCO-TV, among other Canadian stations.
The following year, another deal gave Baton control over CKCO-TV, while CHUM Limited took control over the other southwestern Ontario stations (today operating under the “A” brand). CTVglobemedia reacquired CFPL, CHWI and CKNX in 2007 as a result of a takeover of CHUM Limited.
Baton became CTV, replacing the decades of co-operative ownership of the network. In 2000, BCE purchased CTV. The network is now owned by CTVglobemedia.
As of October 3, 2005, CKCO no longer identifies by its call letters, and its newscasts are branded as “CTV News”.
|CKCO-TV Chronological Time-Lines|
The following chronological history of CKCO was prepared by Bill Dulmage. This website has now been archived as of August 1st 2022, and no further information is being added beyond the last dates show in each section. Newer information will no doubt be available elsewhere on the Internet, and a list of some of the possible sources (as at August 1st 2022) is available here.
There were some 3,000 television sets owned by the 65,000 or so people living in Kitchener and Waterloo at this time – and only two TV stations available – CBLT Toronto and WBEN Buffalo.
Central Ontario Television Ltd. was formed by Famous Players Canadian Corp. (owned by U.S. based Famous Players Corp.), Carl A. Pollock, President of local manufacturer Electrohome Ltd., and Kitchener-Waterloo Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (owner of CKCR Radio. Famous Players had a 50% interest in the company, with Pollock and Kitchener-Waterloo Broadcasting each holding 25%.
In November, the CBC Board of Governors approved Central Ontario’s application for a new television station at Kitchener. They beat out a competing bid by Grand Television Ltd., which was put together by a number of local politicians and businessmen.
On December 24, CKCO transmitted its first test signal – the Indian Head test pattern. In these early days, CKCO used a 5,000 watt transmitter and broadcast on channel 13. The old CFCA-FM tower at Baden Hill was used to transmit the signal.
CKCO was in a race to be the first privately-owned television station in Canada but was beat out by CKSO-TV in Sudbury and CFPL-TV in London.
The call letters stood for: Canada, Kitchener, Central Ontario.
At 6:00 p.m., March 1, CKCO aired its first regular broadcast from studios in the Concordia Club building at 864 King Street West. Power at the Baden transmitter site was now 16,500 watts. Antenna height was 250 feet with effective height of about 500 feet. CKCO operated as a CBC affiliate and was on the air only from six to eleven p.m.
CKCO went on the air just in time for the NHL playoffs and engineer Joe McIntyre became a hero when he climbed a tower during an ice storm to adjust the microwave antenna that brought the games in from Toronto.
The club continued to rent the basement at 864 King W. until the end of the year. Until that time, it was not unusual for a partier to stumble into the TV studios during a live broadcast.
CKCO increased power to 57,500 watts and antenna height to 653 feet (1,000′ ehaat) from the same site.
By the end of the year, CKCO was feeding programs to the CBC network on a regular basis and produced some 75 live shows each week. The station had a staff of 66 by this time. CKCO had now produced more than 4,000 live shows in its studios.
CKCO was a CBC affiliate, listed with an effective radiated power of 31,400 watts video and 16,900 watts audio (power increased in 1956 though). Ownership of Central Ontario Television Limited: Famous Players Canadian Corp. Ltd. 49.4%, A. MacCunn 0.1%, R. W. Bolstad 0.1%, J. J. Fitzgibbons 0.1%, E. E. Fitzgibbons 0.1%, N. S. Robertson 0.1%, J. E. Motz 0.1%, Kitchener-Waterloo Broadcasting Co. Ltd. 24.7%, Mrs. E. Mitchell 0.1%, J. J. Wintermeyer 0.1%, C. A. Pollock 24.8%, H. L. Guy 0.1%, H. C. Krug 0.1% and Mrs. E. Watt 0.1%.
Carl Pollock was president of the company. Eugene Fitzgibbons was manager. William McGregor was operations and commercial manager. Other management members were Bruce Lawson (production supervisor), Don Martz (program director), Alan Hodge (news director), Tom Rafferty (sports director), and Alexander (Sandy) Day (director of engineering).
On September 16, CKCO-TV began telecasting at 11:15 a.m. following a trend toward more daytime television in Canada. This brought the stations broadcast day closer to twelve hours.
Gary McLaren joins the news staff.
CKCO increased effective radiated power to 100,000 watts video and 54,400 watts audio with no change in antenna height.
Since the beginning, News had been a keystone of the station’s programming along with foreign and locally produced programs. As the years progressed news was aired at 12 noon, 6 o’clock and 11 o’clock in the evening, and for 25 years each Newscast has been delivered in three versions, each tailored to the different parts of the station’s coverage area.
Local talent was a feature of the station with such shows as “Silver Bar Ranch” hosted by Bob McKeown, the Sales Manager, and featuring a band led by Don Reinhart. Over the years other local programs were added to the CKCO-TV line-up including notables such as “Polka Time” hosted by Grammy winner Walter Ostanek; the K-W Symphony did several seasons of concerts and many children’s shows such as “Tree House” featuring Danny Coughlan; “Oopsy”, a puppet show that ran for more than 10 years featuring Bob McNea as Oopsy the Clown; “Romper Room” with many hosts over the years including “Miss Grace” Lawson, “Miss Betty” Thompson and “Miss Fran” Pappert. Many service and interview shows were featured over the years, and a two hour feature of the week’s stories hosted by Gary McLaren called “Sunday AM”. For over 40 years there was a weekly church service from a local church on Sunday mornings.
Carl Pollock assumed the obligations of Kitchener-Waterloo Broadcasting Ltd. in Central Ontario Television Ltd., and the company became locked with Mr. Pollock and Famous Players each owning 50
CKCO increased effective radiated power to 325,000 watts. The tower height remained the same, but the antenna was increased in overall height to 715 feet above ground at the same site, for an EHAAT of close to 1,000 feet.
From its inception, CKCO-TV employed remote units for the broadcasts of local events throughout the station’s coverage area, and for events such as Junior “A” hockey, and Santa Claus Parades from Kitchener, Galt, London, Windsor and Brantford. Oktoberfest Parades, Golf and Curling Tournaments, and the International Plowing Matches were covered
CKKW-AM was purchased by Central Ontario Television Ltd.
CKCO-TV switched networks, from CBC to CTV.
CKCO-TV had an effective radiated power of 325,000 watts video and 160,000 watts audio. Carl A. Pollock was president of Central Ontario Television Ltd. and William D. McGregor was manager of CKCO-TV.
Central Ontario Television Limited opened CFCA-FM.
On April 17, the CRTC denied the application by Famous Players Canadian Corp. to transfer its Canadian broadcast interests to a new corporation – Teltron Communications Ltd. The Commission denied the application because effective effective ownership of Teltron would have remained essentially the same as before. Famous Players Canadian Corp. became an inelligible licence holder under the new foreign ownership regulations – it was a controlled subsidiary of Paramount International Films Inc. Famous had interests in Television de Quebec Ltee, Central Ontario Television Ltd., British Columbia Television Broadcasting System Ltd., and numerous cable companies.
On July 20, the sale of Central Ontario Television Ltd. (CKCO-TV, CKKW-AM and CFCA-FM) by Famous Players Canadian Corp. to a company to be incorporated, represented by Carl .A. Pollock was approved. Under the proposed structure, a public company to be known as Electrohome Communications Ltd. would own 100% of Central Ontario Television Ltd. Electrohome Ltd. would own apx. 55% of the holding company (Electrohome Communications Ltd.). Electrohome Ltd. was a large manufacturer of radio and tv sets. Approx. 54% of the shares of the new company would be owned by the Pollock family.
On December 21, CKCO-TV was awarded a licence for a rebroadcast transmitter at Wiarton (Georgian Bay region), operating on channel 2 with effective radiated power of 100,000 watts video, 13,500 watts audio, and antenna height of 943 feet (omnidirectional). The transmitter would be located near Lion’s Head, about 15 miles north of Wiarton. A competing application by CFTO-TV Toronto for a transmitter at Owen Sound was denied.
W.D. (Bill) McGregor became president and director of Central Ontario Television Ltd.
On July 19, CKCO was given approval to operate a transmitter at Oil Springs (near Sarnia) on channel 42 with effective radiated power of 527,000 watts.
On May 16, CKCO was authorized to operate a transmitter at Huntsville on channel 11 with effective radiated video power of 20,560 watts. It would rebroadcast CKCO-TV-2 Wiarton, but offer two hours a week of local news programming. A competing application by Tel-Ad Co. Ltd. of North Bay was denied. As a result of the addition of this transmitter, CKVR-TV-1 at Parry Sound would have to move from channel 11 to 12 and CHEX-TV-2 Minden would change its channel from 10
On November 5 CKCO-TV-3 serving the counties of Lambton, Kent and Essex went on the air. The 985 foot tower was located near Oil Springs.
CKCO-TV-4 serving the Muskoka-Haliburton area signed on the air on February 25. The 600 foot tower was located at Dwight, about 15 miles east of Huntsville.
When CKCO-TV had its licence renewed, it was told by the CRTC that it must move immediately to meet its commitment for a separate feed to rebroadcasters on the late evening news and to staff regional news bureaus accordingly. The station was also told that separate commercials are to be scheduled on the rebroadcasters only during separate programming.
W.D. McGregor, president of Central Ontario Television, also became vice president of Electrohome Ltd.
In a review of television licenses in the Toronto region, the CRTC told CKCO-TV that more emphasis should be given to community affairs coverage throughout the region. The station should also play a greater role in CTV programming. It was noted that $1 million was being spent to upgrade studio facilities.
The on-air team included news anchor Ron Johnston and weatherman Dave MacDonald.
Construction began on the expansion of the Central Ontario Television building on King Street West. The projected was expected to cost over a million dollars and be completed by the fall. Additions would include a new 50′ x 45′ production studio, dressing rooms, administration, storage and property areas for CKCO-TV. Space would be doubled for news, public affairs, sports and program offices. TV’s control room would be completely revamped and five Ampex VPR-2 one-inch machines had already been installed.
New microwave facilities were constructed to improve the signal of the Huntsville TV rebroadcaster. Until now, the off-air signal from the Wiarton transmitter was picked up at Rosseau and relayed to Huntsville. Both transmitters were now served by the microwave network which consisted of three hops to Markdale, where the feed was split to cover the additional hop to Wiarton and five hops to Huntsville.
On July 3, Central Ontario Television Ltd. was renamed C.A.P. Communications Ltd., in honor of founder Carl A. Pollock, who died in 1978. This followed the amalgamation of Central Ontario Television Ltd. with parent company, Electrohome Ltd.
CKCO channel 42 Oil Springs changed to an omnidirectional pattern to better serve the Windsor area. Also, a system was installed so that separate commercial and program feeds, such as the regionally-edited newscasts could be sent to any of the CKCO transmitters at any given time.
The CRTC held a hearing about Canadian content and CKCO’s Bill McGregor noted that revenues from U.S. shows helped to pay for Canadian production, and that Canadian programs outside of prime time sometimes win larger audiences than those in the more competitive prime time hours.
On June 1, the official opening ceremonies took place to mark the completion of the expansion project at 864 King Street West. CAP Communications doubled the size of the facilities to more than 100,000 square feet at a cost of $2.2 million. Supervisor of engineering Joe McIntyre said the building was virtually gutted and rebuilt to accommodate CAP’s staff of 168 – recently increased by about 30, mostly in production and engineering. Radio space was doubled and a new TV production studio (50 x 60 x 18) was added, along with production control rooms and enlarged newsroom facilities.
Some on-air names: Ron Johnston (anchor), Bill Inkol (sports), Dave MacDonald (weather), Art Beaumonk (reporter), Betty Thompson and Johnnie Walters (program hosts).
Chief engineer Paul Turchan and his crew upgraded and enlarged the CKCO-TV transmitter building. The upgrade included a concrete floor to replace the old wooden one. Six transmitters (main and standby for CKCO-TV, CFCA-FM and CKGL-FM) had to be moved three times in order to do the construction work. All was done while keeping the three stations on the air.
CAP president Bill McGregor was named to the Wilfred Laurier University board of governors for a three year term.
Fire hit CKCO-TV’s Wiarton rebroadcaster transmitter building on December 31. The transmitter was off the air for 18 hours while clean-up and repair work was done. Channel 2 was back on the air at 8:30 a.m. the next day with five per cent power. The interior of the building suffered extensive fire and smoke damage, caused by severe hydro problems, causing the failure of the high voltage power supply. The building was constructed of clay brick and had a concrete roof, so was fire-proof.
On December 31, CKCO converted all of its transmitters to stereo.
In addition to Ron Johnston, Brent Hanson and Jeff Hutchison were news anchors. Dave MacDonald handled weather. Steve Young joined the team of news reporters.
Following the end of 1987 fire at the Wiarton transmitter site, CKCO-TV-2 was operating at 50% power as of January 28. On March 8, a new Harris TV-30L transmitter was put into operation and things were pretty much back to normal.
J.A. Pollock, president, chairman and CEO, Electrohome Ltd., announced the appointment of W.D. McGregor to a newly established position, president of Electrohome Communications Inc. and vice president of Electrohome Ltd. D.L. Willcox would be the new general manager of CAP Communications Ltd. Willcox had been program manager of CKCO-TV.
CKCO-TV was the first television station in Canada to broadcast local news closed-captioned.
R.H. McKeown, manager and general sales manager of CKCO-TV, announced the appointment of Alan G. Brooks as program manager. Brooks had been with Direction Video Inc. Before that, he spent nine years with Mid Canada Television in Timmins, where he served as manager of programming and promotion.
C.A.P. Communications purchased CFRN Radio & Television in Edmonton from Sunwapta Broadcasting Ltd.
Don Wilcox, general manager of CAP Communications announced the appointment of Peter Jackman as station manager and general sales manager of CKCO-TV. Jackman had been with CKO Radio.
CAP Communications received approval to increase effective radiated power of CKCO-TV-4 Huntsville from 20,560 watts to 178,900 watts.
CKCO completed two transmitter projects. The main Baden site was upgraded with the addition of a 30 kW Larcan solid state transmitter. At Dwight, an extensive rebuild increased power more than eight times to 325,000 watts (178,900 watts average). This vastly improved and extended the service of the Muskoka rebroadcaster. The Huntsville power increase happened on July 29.
The anchor team included Ron Johnston, Colleen Walsh, Jim Haskins, Brent Hanson, Frank Lynn, Janine Grespan, Daiene Vernile, Julie Marie Innes and Laverne Atkinson. Sportscasters included Bill Inkol, Jeff Hutchison, Randy Steinman, Don Cameron and Wayne Kooyman. The weather team included Dave MacDonald, Olaf Heinzel and Linda Richards. Steve Young was among the team of reporters and David Imrie was farm editor.
Pat Fitzgerald was appointed manager of operations and production while Henning Grumme was named supervisor of operations and production.
Don Wilcox, general manager of CAP Communications, announced the appointment of Joe Brenner to the position of manager of engineering, effective June 1. Brenner started his career with CAP in 1970 on a part-time basis while attending college.
Long-time on-air personality Betty Thompson was named to the newly created position of community relations co-ordinator.
CKCO-TV celebrated 40 years on the air. The station was noted for its live production work – everything from parades to “Polka Time”. The station also produced the longest running program on the CTV network – “Romper Room”. It ran for 20 years. Long-time personality Bill Inkol made note of one story. He was at a public event when a viewer came up to him and said, “Aren’t you the guy who does Bowling for Dollars?” At the time, Inkol was sitting next to Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward!
CKKW-AM and CFCA-FM moved out of the CKCO-TV building to their own facility in Waterloo. The radio stations had earlier been purchased by CHUM Limited.
Electrohome promoted news director Ron Johnston to program manager. He succeeded Alan Brooks who moved to the same position at co-owned CFRN-TV in Edmonton.
To comply with the Broadcasting Act, CKCO changed its transmitters at Oil Springs and Wiarton from rebroadcasters to television programming undertakings. This was to reflect the separate programming that was assembled in Kitchener and split-fed to Oil Springs and Wiarton, in addition to programming originating from Kitchener.
After 35 years with the company, Don Willcox, VP & GM of CKCO-TV, retired in June. He was replaced by Dennis Watson.
Baton Broadcasting changed its name to CTV Inc.
The CKCO re-broadcasting transmitter at Huntsville, covering Muskoka-Parry Sound area on channel 11, was switched to become a re-broadcaster for CHNB-TV North Bay also owned by CTV.
Rumours had many of the big media companies eyeing CTV. In a surprise move, late in February, BCE (Canada’s telephone giant) through its subsidiary BCE Media, proposed to purchase CTV Inc., the largest transaction in Canadian broadcasting. In March the CTV board approved the deal, which required CRTC approval.
In June BCE submitted their brief to the CRTC with the largest “benefits package” ever presented to the regulative body. The benefits, money allocated over the proposed seven year licence term, were almost entirely to be spent on new Canadian programming. Ivan Fecan agreed to stay with the network under BCE ownership. The CRTC hearing was held in September and the purchase of CTV was approved on December 7th.
News anchor team: Darryl Konynenbelt, Daiene Vernile, Brent Hanson, Janine Grespan, Aphodite Salas, and Julie-Marie Innes. Sports: Randy Steinman, Greg Ross and Norman James. Weather: Dave MacDonald, Tony Bitonti, Tom Knowlton and Olaf Heinzel. Julie-Marie Innes and Nancy Richards handled entertainment.
On October 3rd, CKCO-TV was rebranded as CTV South-Western Ontario.
On July 21, the CRTC approved an application for ownership restructuring by Bell Globemedia (BGM), parent company of CTV, stemming from a deal in December 2005 that saw two new investors added to the company. Thomson family’s Woodbridge Co. Ltd. increased its stake in BGM to 40 per cent from 31.5 per cent, while BCE Inc. reduced its holding to 20 per cent from 68.5 per cent. Two other investors were added to the deal, including Torstar Corp. and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, each with 20 per cent.
On December 14th, it was announced that effective January 2007, Bell Globemedia would be renamed CTVglobemedia Inc.
On May 15th, the CRTC announced a one-year licence renewal, effective September 1st 2009, for all of CTVglobemedia’s Over-The-Air stations, including CKCO-TV, “to give these broadcasters some flexibility during the current period of economic uncertainty.” Group-based licence renewals would then be addressed in the spring of 2010. The Commission also stated that it recognized the impracticability of imposing any conditions relative to 1-1 ratios between Canadian and non-Canadian programming in the ensuing year, given the programming commitments that were already in place.
The Commission would however continue to explore various regulatory measures “…to ensure that English-language television broadcasters devote an appropriate proportion of their expenditures to Canadian programming.”
Andy Leblanc left his CTV Southern Ontario news director’s job to move to Fredericton. Before he took that position in 2005, Leblanc was assignment editor and assistant ND at ATV Halifax.
Michael Melling was promoted to News Director at CTV Southwestern Ontario. He’d been with the station since 2005. He succeeded Andy LeBlanc who returned to his Maritimes roots and was completing the final editing of his book.
On October 7, the CRTC denied an application by CTVglobemedia Inc., on behalf of its wholly owned subsidiary CTV Television Inc., to reduce the overall minimum level of Canadian programming broadcast by its conventional television stations from 60% to 55%.
The CRTC approved an amendment to the licence for CKCO-TV Kitchener to add a digital transmitter (post transitional). CKCO-DT would operate on channel 13 with an effective radiated power of 11,000 watts, non-directional. Effective antenna height above average terrain would be 291.9 metres and the existing CTV tower would be used. Programming would be received via microwave.
On March 7, the CRTC approved an application by BCE Inc. on behalf of CTVglobemedia Inc., for authority to change the effective control of CTVgm’s licensed broadcasting subsidiaries to BCE. The Commission concluded that the transaction would be beneficial to the Canadian broadcasting system by ensuring the long-term stability of a significant Canadian television network and advancing the Commission’s objective of providing relevant high-quality Canadian programming to Canadians through conventional and new media distribution channels. BCE was a public corporation and controlled by its board of directors. Before this approval, BCE held 15% of the voting interest in the capital of CTVgm. The other shareholders were 1565117 Ontario Limited (a corporation ultimately controlled by Mr. David Kenneth R. Thomson) (40% of the voting interest), Ontario Teacher’s Plan Board (25% of the voting interest) and Torstar Corporation (20% of the voting interest). Under the transaction agreement dated September 10, 2010, BCE would acquire the remaining 85% of the voting interest in the capital of CTVgm and would therefore exercise effective control.
On March 15, CTV Inc., CTV Corp., CTV Limited and CTVglobemedia Inc. amalgamated to continue as CTV Inc.
On March 29, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for a number of conventional television and transitional digital television stations until August 31, 2011. The CRTC noted that it did not intend to renew authorizations for full-power analog transmitters operating in the mandatory markets or on channels 52 to 69 outside the mandatory markets beyond August 31, 2011. By that time, the Commission expected licensees to have the necessary authority to broadcast in digital.
BCE Inc. announced on April 1 that it had completed its acquisition of CTV and that it had launched Bell Media (replacing CTVglobemedia), a new business unit that would make CTV programs and other Bell content available on smartphones and computers as well as traditional television. In addition to CTV and its television stations, Bell Media now also operated 29 specialty channels, 33 radio stations, Dome Productions, a mobile broadcast facilities provider, and dozens of high-traffic news, sports and entertainment websites, including the Sympatico.ca portal.
Longtime CTV Southwestern Ontario, weatherman Dave MacDonald retired June 30.
On July 27, the CRTC renewed the licences of CKCO-DT and its transmitters CKCO-TV-2 Wiarton and CKCO-TV-3 Oil Springs, until August 31, 2016. With respect to CKCO-TV-3 Oil Springs, the licensee may broadcast no more than 6.5% of the commercial availabilities on this station separately from those broadcast on CKCO-TV Kitchener for each hour of station-produced programming broadcast exclusively on the Oil Springs station each week.
The deadline for the conversion of analog television to digital in mandatory markets was August 31. CKCO-TV became CKCO-DT on that date and continued to use channel 13 (virtual channel 13.1).
The CRTC approved a change to the ownership of Bell Media Inc., from BCE Inc. to Bell Canada. This transaction would not affect effective control of Bell Media Inc. and of its licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, which continued to be exercised by BCE Inc. Bell Media Inc. held, directly and through its licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, various radio and television programming undertakings as well as specialty and pay-per-view television services.
Dennis Watson, vice president & general manager of CTV Southwestern Ontario, retired December 30. He had been responsible for the station’s day-to-day operations since 1995. Watson began his career with CHUM Ltd. and rose through the sales organization to become general sales manager at CKVR-TV Barrie and then at Citytv Toronto before becoming VP/GM of CHUM Group Television Marketing Services. Before moving to Kitchener, Watson was Executive VP/GM at CHEX-TV/CKRU-AM/CKWF-FM Peterborough. He was also a former VP of TVB.
Bob McKeown died at 81. He worked at CKCO-TV from the station’s 1954 beginnings right through until his retirement in 1988. The former CKCO-TV General Manager served two years at President of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.
Mark Schembri of CTV London became Regional Manager, Engineering and IT, with input at CTV Barrie, CTV Kitchener, CTV London and CTV Windsor operations, as well as the 13 radio properties. Tom Fitz-Gerald, Sales Manager at CTV London and Windsor, became Regional Retail Sales Manager, overseeing all local retail advertising and commercial production at CTV Barrie, Kitchener, London and Windsor. Cameron Crassweller, Sales Manager at CTV Kitchener, became Assistant Regional Retail Sales Manager. Tom Green at CTV London/Windsor was promoted to Regional Commercial Production Supervisor at CTV (Ontario). John Cordiner, most recently Creative Services Director at CTV London/Windsor, was promoted to Regional Manager, Promotion and Digital Media, focusing on the integration of digital services throughout the four CTV stations (Wingham, London, Kitchener and Barrie). Janet Taylor, the Program Promotion Manager at CTV Kitchener, became Regional Manager, Programming and Community Relations, assuming local responsibilities for sponsorship, public relations, communications, as well as local program production oversight. Michael Melling, the News Director at CTV Kitchener, was appointed as Regional News Director, overseeing the news operations at Barrie, Kitchener, London, and Windsor, as well as effecting the integration of the CTV News brand into the daily newscasts on those four stations. Dave MacNeil, the Operations Manager of CTV Kitchener, was no longer with the station.
New News Director at CTV Kitchener was Kristin Wever. She moved from CTV in Toronto where she was Senior Assignment Producer at Canada AM.
Bob McLean died at 81. He hosted shows for CBC-TV, CFRN-AM, CFRB, CKCO-TV and wrapped up his career at CKWR. On July 24, the CRTC approved the deletion of transmitter CKCO-TV-2 Wiarton.
James Glenn “Jim” Smith died at 82. His broadcasting career began at the CBC before moving to CKCO-TV where, for the next 25 years, his career took him to the position of operations manager. Smith was a cameraman for the first CKCO News broadcast in 1954, and a cameraman for the first televised Toronto Maple Leafs game and Grey Cup.
Former CKCO newscaster Jeff Hutcheson retired in the summer. After leaving CKCO, he did sports and weather on CTV’s Canada AM.
Reg Sellner died in March. He was one of the first on-air personalities at CKCO-TV when it signed on in 1954. Over the years he was a promotions manager, news anchor, morning show host, game show host and one of the hosts of Canadian Bandstand.
CTV stations, including Kitchener saw cuts to local sports and other programming in the spring. More layoffs were expected countrywide.
It was announced in June that CTV Kitchener would begin airing a 5:00 p.m. weekday newscast in the fall. This move was being made by all CTV stations not already airing news in this time period.
In November all Direction, Switching, Audio, and Video Playback done out of CTV Agincourt by fibre optic lines. Also robotic cameras are preset and controlled from Toronto. Three positions eliminated.
Following the changes made in November 2017, in April additional modifications were made in Operations with the alteration of job descriptions and duties from Technical Operators to Production Coordinators.
Bill McGregor died at the age of 96 on November 28. He started his career at CFRB in 1947 as an operator. In 1950, he moved to CKFH as chief engineer. He later joined CBLT-TV, and it was around this time that he met Jack Fitzgibbons, who with his brother Gene, were preparing to startup CKCO-TV. Bill joined CKCO in 1953 as Operations Manager, and the station went on the air March 1, 1954. Much later, McGregor was promoted to GM, then VP and GM, and eventually president and director of the parent company, Electrohome. In 1993, he became senior VP of the company. With many awards and achievements, McGregor was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1990.
On July 30, the CRTC gave Bell Media permission to delete 28 analog rebroadcasting transmitters across the country. Bell stated the transmitters did not generate any incremental revenue and generally attracted little to no added viewership. CKCO-TV-3 Oil Springs would be closed on May 2, 2020.
Nancy Richards, who was with CTV Kitchener for 32 years, left to join Conestoga College as a full-time instructor. Richards had been teaching part-time for the last three years. She had held many roles at the station, most recently as producer and anchor of local news updates for CTV Your Morning and anchoring the local News at Noon.
Written by Bill Dulmage – Updated 2019