CTV News Barrie (newscasts)
|Slogan||Closer To Home|
|Channels||Digital: 10 (VHF)|
Virtual: 3.1 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||CTV 2 (O&O; 1998-present)|
|First air date||September 28, 1955|
|Call letters' meaning||CK Valerie and Ralph Snelgrove|
|Sister station(s)||TV: CFTO-DT (Toronto), CP24|
Radio: CFRB, CHUM (AM), CHUM-FM, CKFM-FM (Toronto)
|Former callsigns||CKVR-TV (1955-2011)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog: 3 (VHF, 1955-2011)|
|Former affiliations||CBC (1955-1995)|
NTA Film Network (1956-1961)
|Transmitter power||11 kW|
|Website||CTV 2 Barrie|
CKVR-DT, virtual channel 3 (VHF digital channel 10), is the flagship station of the CTV 2 television system licensed to Barrie, Ontario, Canada. The station is owned by Bell Media, as part of a twinstick with Toronto-based CTV flagship station CFTO-DT (channel 9) and is also sister to 24-hour regional news channel CP24.
CKVR's studios are located at 33 Beacon Road in Barrie, and its transmitter is located near Essa Road/Highway 27 on the city's southwest side (which also houses a camera that overlooks the city of Barrie, Lake Simcoe, and its environs; a live feed from this camera is available on the station's website). The station has long been carried on cable providers across the Greater Toronto Area and most of Southern Ontario, and is available on Rogers Cable channel 5 in Barrie and channel 20 in the Greater Toronto Area. There is a high definition feed available on Rogers Cable digital channel 595 in both areas. The station is also available on Bell TV HD channel 1054, and Bell Fibe channel 1202. In addition, VMedia carries the station on channel 10, while Zazeen carries it on channel 19.
The station first signed on the air on September 28, 1955; it was founded by Ralph Snelgrove, whose first initial and that of his wife, Valerie, form part of the station's callsign. It originally operated as a privately owned affiliate of CBC Television. In 1969, the station was purchased by CHUM Limited, becoming one of the first television stations owned by the company.
On September 7, 1977, a private aircraft, flown by "Army" Hollingsworth, dropped altitude to 500 feet (150 m) in dense fog and struck CKVR's 1,000-foot (300 m) transmitter tower, killing all five people aboard the plane and destroying the tower and antenna. The station's 225-foot (69 m) auxiliary tower was also destroyed and there was some damage to the main studio building. The tower also supported the antennae for CHAY-FM (93.1 FM) and a rebroadcaster (on UHF channel 55) of Radio-Canada station CBLFT (channel 25) in Toronto, the studio/transmitter link of CKBB (950 AM, now on 101.1 FM), as well as paging and other communications systems. The CKVR antenna was an RCA six-bay turnstile. On the following morning, the CBC secured the use of a 400 feet (120 m) tower for CKVR. The first sections of the new temporary tower were lifted into place on September 10. On September 19, CKVR's antenna was hoisted into place on the new tower, along with those for CBLFT and CHAY-FM, with the transmission line also being put in place. After work on the tower was completed, tests were made to the transmitter's signal. At 8:35 p.m. that evening, the transmitter was turned on with a colour bar test pattern being broadcast. At 8:55 p.m., CKVR vice president and general manager Jack Mattenley went on the air in a live broadcast with a message of sympathy and words of gratitude to viewers. CKVR returned to the air at a reduced power of 40,000 watts until a new 1,000-foot (300 m) tower was built in 1978.
On May 31, 1985, an F4 tornado, one of the most powerful and devastating tornadoes in Canadian history, struck Barrie, just a short distance from CKVR's studio facility and transmitter tower (the twister was among several other ones that were spawned during a massive tornado outbreak that affected parts of Eastern Canada and the Eastern United States), killing 12 people, injuring 600 people and destroying many homes and businesses in Barrie. CKVR broadcast extensive coverage of the storm's aftermath for several days, and spent that summer helping the people of Barrie recover and rebuild. The station also held a day-long telethon in June of that year to raise funds for the tornado victims.
Once the CN Tower in Toronto was completed in 1976, atop which CBC flagship CBLT (channel 5) transmits from, the signal coverage areas of CKVR and CBLT overlapped considerably. CKVR management began to consider a different course for the station that took several years to become realized. By the late 1980s, programming outside of CBC and local news was mostly classic reruns such as I Love Lucy, Star Trek, The Addams Family and others, to the point where the station was often branded as CKVR Classic Television.
Eventually, the station's financial situation became untenable; then-general manager Doug Garraway explained in a presentation to the CRTC in spring 1994, "the CBC no longer wants us, in point of fact we can no longer afford to remain affiliated with them." CKVR was expected to have lost $5 million by the end of 1995. As a result, the station made the decision to drop CBC programming and go in a new direction.
On September 1, 1995, CKVR ended its affiliation with the CBC and converted into an independent station as "The New VR", and began targeting its programming toward younger viewers. As part of the relaunch, newscasts were overhauled to be similar in format to Toronto sister station CITY-TV, classic shows were dropped in favor of newer programs, and the station became an official broadcaster of the Toronto Raptors NBA franchise (sharing coverage with CITY-TV). Over $1 million was invested into new equipment for the station.
The new direction was successful - as CHUM Limited began replicating CKVR's format on its other stations, including several that it had acquired from Baton Broadcasting in 1997 (including CHRO-TV in Pembroke, CHWI-TV in Wheatley, CFPL-TV in London and CKNX-TV in Wingham), which formed the basis for a television system originally known as NewNet. At various times during the late 1990s and early 2000s, CKVR also broadcast mid-week games from the NBA's Toronto Raptors, as well as games from the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs and Raptors games were carried on all of NewNet's stations across Ontario with the exception of CHRO-TV, which did not carry Maple Leafs games due to the fact that CHRO is in the home market of the Ottawa Senators.
In February 2005, CHUM announced plans to consolidate the master control departments for CKVR, CFPL, CHRO, CHWI and CKNX at 299 Queen Street West in Toronto (which housed most of CHUM's television services including MuchMusic and CP24 and had also housed the operations for Toronto television station, CITY-TV at the time), and to consolidate the traffic and programming departments of the other stations at CFPL's facilities in London, resulting in the loss of approximately nine staff members from CKVR. Those operations were migrated to the Toronto facilities on June 3, 2005.
After CHUM's acquisition of Craig Media, its A-Channel stations in Western Canada were converted to owned-and-operated stations of the Citytv system on August 2, 2005. On the same day, the previous brand was transferred to the NewNet stations, resulting in CKVR rebranding under the A-Channel name.
On July 12, 2006, CTV owner CTVglobemedia announced plans to purchase CHUM Limited for $C1.7 billion, with plans to divest itself of the A-Channel stations and the Access Alberta educational-commercial stations and cable channel. However, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) said it would only approve CTVglobemedia's purchase of CHUM if it sold off the latter company's Citytv stations instead, while being permitted to keep the A-Channel stations (including CKVR). CTVglobemedia took control of the A-Channel stations and the rest of CHUM Limited's assets (excluding Citytv) on June 22, 2007. Richard Gray was named head of news for the A-Channel stations and CKX-TV in Brandon, Manitoba (another station that was included in the CHUM acquisition). Gray reported directly to the CTVgm corporate group instead of CTV News to preserve autonomy in news presentation and management. Gray began to oversee CKVR and the other news departments; CHRO, CFPL, CKX-TV, CKNX-TV, CHWI and CIVI in Victoria, British Columbia. On August 11, 2008, the A-Channel system (and the Atlantic Satellite Network, an independent cable channel in Atlantic Canada which Baton/CTV had acquired from CHUM in 1997) were rebranded as "A".
On September 10, 2010, Bell Canada announced plans to re-acquire 100% of CTVglobemedia, a deal which was approved by the CRTC on March 7, 2011; the deal was finalized on April 1, 2011 with CTVglobemedia being absorbed into Bell Media.
On May 30, 2011, Bell Media announced that the A system would be relaunched as CTV Two effective on August 29, 2011. Along with the relaunch came the rebranding of CKVR's newscasts as CTV News (a brand that was already used for the newscasts on CTV's owned-and-operated stations, including network flagship CFTO in nearby Toronto), and the implementation of an anchor desk for its newscasts as well as the addition of a high definition feed on its new digital signal.
CKVR-DT presently broadcasts 9.5 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with one hour-long show each weekday at 6 p.m., and half-hour shows at 11 p.m. on weekdays, and at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the lowest local newscast output out of any English-language television station in the Toronto market as a whole (of the English stations serving the immediate Toronto area, CBC O&O CBLT-DT produces the lowest newscast output with 11 hours each week). In addition to CKVR's news centre in Barrie, CKVR-DT also operates news bureaus in Collingwood and Muskoka. The station's newscasts are branded CTV News Barrie in line with other CTV and CTV Two owned-and-operated stations which also use similar branding. The station currently produces a one-hour local news programs weeknights at 6:00, and half-hour programs nightly at 11:00 p.m, and on weekends at 6:00 p.m.
During the station's CBC years, their newscasts were branded as CKVR Total News and featured a conventional newscast format. One young reporter, Kevin Frankish, reported for the station on the 1985 tornado, and eventually was promoted to CITY-TV's news operation.
When the station was relaunched in 1995, their newscast underwent a similar overhaul. The station's news now took after CITY-TV's groundbreaking CityPulse, including an open newsroom set where anchors and reporters stood up to present the news. The focus of the newscast was also broadened to include more of the communities around Barrie, resulting in the newscast being dubbed VRLand News, "VRLand" being an all-encompassing term for the station's coverage area.  By 2002, the newscast had been renamed to simply VR News.
During the station's latter years under CHUM ownership, CKVR simulcast the flagship Toronto edition of CITY-TV's morning programme Breakfast Television, with local news inserts incorporated that focused on stories within the Barrie area. In 2008, CKVR debuted a three-hour weekday morning news programme titled A Morning, which was anchored by K.C. Colby (now weather specialist for the station's weekend evening newscasts) and Jennifer Buchanan.
Due to financial difficulties, CTVglobemedia canceled A Morning, and the public affairs programs A News This Week (a pre-recorded wrap of the week's top stories, which debuted in the 1990s) and Ontario News This Week (a review of the week's top stories across the province, which also debuted in 2008) on March 4, 2009, laying off 24 employees at the station as part of a larger series of cutbacks and massive layoffs which resulted in the losses of 118 jobs at A's stations across Canada. The morning programme was replaced by rebroadcasts of CKVR's 11:00 p.m. newscast.
Evening co-anchor Lance Chilton resigned from the station on June 14, 2010, to work in the real estate industry. In August 2010, Tony Grace, who had served as anchor and national reporter for Ottawa sister station CHRO, was named the new Senior News Anchor for CKVR effective September 20, 2010.
In September and October 2015, the station celebrated its 60th anniversary with a special five part news series of in-depth feature reports on the station's history. The week culminated with a live broadcast of CTV News at 6 on Friday, October 2, 2015 from the Barrie waterfront, featuring staff and on-air personalities past and present. The anniversary series examining the station's history was also rebroadcast as a half-hour special hosted by Tony Grace on December 28, 2015.
The current CKVR Television Tower is a 304.8-metre (1,000 ft) high guyed mast for FM and television signal transmission located atin Barrie. It was built in 1978, after a light plane crashed into the smaller incarnation of the tower the previous year.
CKVR previously operated low-power rebroadcast transmitters in the communities of Parry Sound, Huntsville and Haliburton, respectively on VHF channels 11, 8 and 5. The Parry Sound transmitter moved to VHF channel 12 in the mid-1970s before Kitchener CTV station CKCO-TV (channel 13) opened a rebroadcast transmitter in Huntsville on channel 11. The Haliburton transmitter was located very close to another CBC affiliate transmitter, CHEX-TV in Peterborough, located at Minden and broadcasting on channel 7. The channel 5 transmitter was shut down when Toronto's CBLT moved from channel 6 to channel 5, and became largely redundant as a result of CKVR's increased transmission tower height in the early 1970s. The Huntsville transmitter increased to full power in 1991 to better cover much of Muskoka and Haliburton County; it was bought by the CBC in 1995 as part of CKVR's disaffiliation from the CBC, and became a rebroadcaster of CBLT (remaining in operation until CBC shut down its analogue rebroadcasters in July 2012). CKVR kept its Parry Sound transmitter, and CBC established CBLT transmitters in Barrie and Parry Sound at that time, on channels 16 and 18, respectively.
On May 30, 2011, Bell Media announced plans to add a rebroadcast transmitter in Southern Ontario in 2012, to allow new advertising opportunities in the Toronto/Hamilton market. An application was filed with the CRTC and Industry Canada on June 17, 2011, to allow for a digital repeater (CKVP-DT) on UHF channel 42 in Fonthill, serving Niagara Falls, Fort Erie and St. Catharines, and a repeater (CHCJ-DT) on UHF channel 35 on CHCH-DT's tower, serving Hamilton, Oakville, Haldimand County, Caledonia, Brantford, Milton and Cambridge. This application was approved on January 26, 2012. On May 17, 2012, Bell Media had announced to the CRTC that it was unable to negotiate a lease with Channel Zero, owners of CHCH (and its broadcast tower). It requested and received permission to test its signal on one of its own towers, the Bell microwave tower located on Upper Wentworth Street at Fennell Avenue, for a period of one year. In addition to this technical amendment, the station's Hamilton transmitter is to be fed by fibre optic connection, instead of being satellite-fed, rendering it less susceptible to interference during thunderstorms. On July 8, 2013, Bell Media applied for a substantial increase in power for CHCJ-DT, from 5 kW to 150 kW average (390 kW maximum) with a slight decrease in height to 110.0 meters. This was approved on January 15, 2014, despite an objection from Rogers Media, with the addition of the site on Upper Wentworth Street as its permanent transmitter site (to compensate for the loss of CHCH-DT's tower space).
On February 11, 2016, Bell Media applied for its regular license renewals, which included applications to delete a long list of transmitters, including CKVR-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 CTV2 Alberta.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|3.1||1080i||16:9||CKVR||Main CKVR-DT programming / CTV 2|
CKVR shut down its analogue signal, over VHF channel 3, on August 31, 2011, the official date in which Canadian television stations in CRTC-designated mandatory markets transitioned from analogue to digital broadcasts. The station flash cut its digital signal into operation, broadcasting on channel 10. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analogue channel 3.
As part of the A system's relaunch as CTV 2, CKVR began to offer programming in high definition. Its HD signal was added to satellite provider Bell TV channel 1054 on September 12, 2011.