In that same year, American industrial and communications firm General Tire and Rubber purchased a controlling interest in Western Ontario Broadcasting. This move, done through General Tire's broadcasting subsidiary RKO Teleradio, made the CKLW stations perhaps the only stations in Canada to be owned by an American company. In 1959, RKO Teleradio was renamed RKO General. In 1963, RKO bought out Western Ontario Broadcasting's other shareholders and gained full ownership of the CKLW stations. CKLW-AM-FM-TV was now fully integrated with RKO General's American broadcast interests, located in New York City, Memphis, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Connecticut, among other cities.
Under RKO's ownership, CKLW-TV aired only the minimum block of CBC programming. During this period, the CBC carried a number of U.S.-originated shows that were also broadcast on the Detroit stations; these programs, however, were blacked out on CKLW-TV because Windsor was considered part of the Detroit market for the purposes of territorial rights. The blackout of American network shows allowed RKO General an opportunity to reach the more lucrative American audience across the border. Outside of network programming, most of channel 9's schedule consisted of the standard fare of independent stations in the United States. Much like its radio counterparts (especially CKLW-AM, which became a Top 40 powerhouse in the Detroit market in the mid-1960s), the station looked more American than Canadian.
There was some local programming and personalities during this era, including Toby David as Captain Jolly, Art Cervi as Bozo the Clown (who would later move to WJBK-TV), and Bill Kennedy hosting Bill Kennedy's Showtime (which would soon relocate to WKBD-TV). Another popular show on CKLW-TV during the 1960s was Swingin' Time, a local teenage dance-party show similar to American Bandstand, hosted by local WKNR personality Robin Seymour (and also, for a time, CKLW radio's Tom Shannon). The show featured recording acts, both nationally and locally popular, lip-synching to their latest releases while teenagers showcased the latest dances on the show's huge dance floor. Due to the show's connection to Detroit's popular rock-and-roll AM radio stations, Swingin' Time was used by many artists, especially local acts such as Diana Ross and the Supremes, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, the MC5, and Mitch Ryder, to reach a substantially larger teen audience than they could have achieved through solely working the record hop circuit.
Two Canadian companies, Maclean Hunter Ltd., and Baton Broadcasting (the owners of Toronto's CTV affiliate CFTO-TV), made a joint offer to purchase the stations, but were turned down by the CRTC. Baton was undeterred in its quest and reapplied again, and with a new partner -- the CBC. Baton and CBC formed a holding company, known as St. Clair River Broadcasting Ltd., which was 75 percent owned by Baton; the CBC held the remaining 25 percent. This time, the CRTC approved the application, and in 1970 the CBC/Baton alliance took control of CKLW-TV. St. Clair River was granted a five-year licence by the CRTC to operate the station, after which the CBC would gain full ownership of CKLW-TV. Meanwhile, Baton took sole control of CKLW-AM-FM, operating them until they were sold to CUC Broadcasting in 1984 and to CHUM Limited in 1993; they are now owned by CTVglobemedia.
When CBC/Baton took over, more Canadian content was added to channel 9's schedule, including programs from CTV, such as Here Comes the '70s, The Pig and Whistle and The Starlost. The CTV programming was mainly seen in place of CBC's American programming as a result of border protection rules prohibiting the broadcast of American programs carried on the CBC network, CTV's midweek telecasts (and when CTV had rights to the NHL playoffs up to and including the Stanley Cup finals for several years in the 1970s) of NHL hockey. Before the sale, and especially before Detroit's WKBD-TV went on the air in the mid 1960's, CKLW-TV was often likely to preempt the Leafs if the Montreal Canadiens hosted the Detroit Red Wings on Hockey Night in Canada.
After its sale, CKLW-TV also produced a significant amount of local programming that ranged from music and variety to daytime talk, sports, agriculture, current affairs and documentaries. CKLW-TV was the first CBC station (and maybe the only station) to produce a 90 minute local, national and international newscast over the supper hour.
The station also sometimes purchased rights to sports programming, such as Toronto Maple Leafs hockey games from CHCH-TV in Hamilton in the early 1980s, who picked up the midweek rights from CFTO-TV after Baton sold the Leafs. CBET was known as CBET 9 when it first adopted the new call letters, and later TV 9 Windsor.
The 90 minute supper hour news program Newsday remained as well as late and weekend news programs, but the music, variety, daytime talk and the popular Reach for the Top were all gone. In 1990, CBC closed down the entire Windsor news operation. The Windsor community was up in arms. A large rally of about 5,000 plus citizens marched down Riverside Drive West to the station in protest.
A "Save Our Station" committee was begun and politicians on every level lobbied both CBC and the Canadian government to preserve the Windsor operation. Only 3 reporters were left and they produced stories for CBLT Toronto's Newscast which was broadcast at the supper hour. First came 5:30 Live, which was followed by CBC Evening News with Bill Cameron (which earlier was known as CBC at 6 on CBLT).
The Windsor Council was also formed. This group made up of managers and union reps oversaw the progress of the "experiment" and dealt with issues that arose on an almost weekly basis. The new methods of the operation paved way for some of the new language in the collective agreements reached in 1996-97.
Windsor was not only in the spotlight in the CBC, but was also of interest to many other broadcasters and union leaders across the country. Two local half hour news programs were produced when CBET presented the Windsor Evening News, anchored by Carole MacNeil, at 5:30 p.m. and the Windsor Late News at 11 p.m..
In the mid-1990s, CBC stepped up its Canadian content. However, the few American shows left on CBC had disappeared from CBET some years before. They were replaced with older CBC programs or shows from other Commonwealth countries, such as the popular British TV drama Coronation Street (a national CBC program) and the Australian drama, Neighbours (exclusive to CBET at first, later national).
CBET continues to preempt American shows on the CBC schedule of which stations in the Detroit market claim exclusive rights to them.
The station had also moved its transmitter tower from Downtown Windsor to near McGregor, Ontario in 2002, by dismantling the top 600 feet and erecting it up as a new structure. The bottom 400-feet still remain for the analog signal on channel 9, while the new tower houses CBET's digital signal (Channel 35 / 9.1), as well as for CICO-TV-32 (Channel 25 / 32.1) (TVOntario) and CBEFT-TV (Channel 69 / 54.1).
Carole MacNeil would move to Toronto to anchor the Toronto segment there; currently, she co-anchors (with Evan Solomon) the CBC network's Sunday morning news program, CBC News: Sunday, and its nighttime complement, CBC News: Sunday Night (formerly Sunday Report).
As a result of the dinnertime news change, CBC's local news operations faced some layoffs -- especially CBET, where its news staff was reduced from 29 to 19 people. Prior to the 2006 retransformation, Canada Now was last locally anchored by Susan Pedler with Tony Doucette from a state of the art news studio inside the CBET newsroom.
On January 9, 2006, under the CBC's local programming expansion initiative, CBET's newscasts were renamed CBC News at Six, with the national half hour remaining as Canada Now. Most CBC owned and operated stations are also offering expanded local newscasts under the CBC News at Six name.
On November 30, 2006, CBC announced plans to scrap Canada Now in February 2007, in favor of a full-hour local suppertime newscast on its stations. While CBC Prince Edward Island decided to name their new supper hour newscast Compass and CBC Vancouver kept Canada Now, CBET stayed with the CBC News at Six name rather than returning to its original Newsday name. Susan Pedler continues as lead anchor,with Jim Lagogians on sports and Tara Weber reporting on weather.
During the CBC's original run of Toronto Blue Jays telecasts (before Rogers Sportsnet's 2004 takeover), Jays games were often subject to blackout on CBET in order to protect Detroit Tigers home games available on broadcast stations. During 2007, CBC carried eight Jays games; CBET was able to air all Jays games that season. However, blackouts returned during the 2008 season.
Conversely, CBC's National Hockey League coverage is not subject to local blackout, but CBET will generally air any Detroit Red Wings game the CBC makes available in preference over the default national broadcast. For example, CBET aired all of the 2006 Western Conference Quarterfinal games between the Edmonton Oilers and the Red Wings, although some games were only initially designated to air in the Northern and Central Alberta (CBXT/Edmonton) region.
CBET is carried on Detroit cable systems, as well as on cable systems in much of Southeast Michigan. In Northwest Ohio, Toledo-based Buckeye Cablesystem carries CBET on its system, which serves areas as far east as Sandusky. Time Warner Cable's Bowling Green and Findlay systems also carry CBET.