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CKCO-TV

CKCO-TV is a television station broadcasting on channel 13 in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. It is an owned and operated station of the CTV Television Network, and has been branded CTV Southwestern Ontario since 2005.

History

Broadcasts began on March 1, 1954 from a transmitter on Baden Hill, near Baden, just west of Kitchener. The transmitter 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. At one time CKCO was owned by CAP Communications (named after Pollock's initials).

As of October 3 2005, CKCO no longer identifies by its call letters, and its newscasts are branded as "CTV News".

(CKCO was formerly a callsign of a radio station out of Ottawa, Ontario from the 1920s to the 1940s and is known today as CIWW (AM)).

Viewing area and transmitters

In addition to the Baden tower, CKCO has two additional rebroadcast transmitters to extend its viewing area to cover most of Southwestern Ontario, with some exceptions such as Essex County and Windsor (which does not have a CTV station of its own, being served only by the former CTV-turned-A-Channel station CHWI), where it is available on Cogeco on Cable Channel 13.

CKCO's Sarnia rebroadcaster CKCO-TV-3, on Channel 42 and actually located at Oil Springs, was established in 1975. It can be seen over the air and on cable in extreme eastern and southeastern Michigan in such towns as Port Huron to St. Clair Shores, and is on the channel lineup in Detroit-area TV Guide listings. Its target audience is Sarnia, Chatham and most of Lambton and Kent counties.

The station also has a news bureau in Chatham, Ontario.

CTV also broadcasts to the Georgian Bay region on channel 2 from the CKCO-TV-2 transmitter, which has operated since 1971 in the town of Wiarton, Ontario. Its terrestrial footprint reaches as far east as Toronto, where it is carried on digital cable (until recently, it was available on analog basic cable, but high up on the UHF dial).

Prior to 1999, the station also broadcast on channel 11 to the Muskoka and Parry Sound districts of Ontario from the CKCO-TV-4 transmitter near Huntsville. That year, that transmitter was changed to a rebroadcaster of CKNY in North Bay. (It has since become a rebroadcaster of Sudbury's CICI.)

The station also had a news office in Windsor, at the corner of Park Street and Victoria Avenue, at the ground floor of the Victoria Park Place apartments, but closed up in 1994, shortly after the launch of Independent station/Semi-BBS affiliate, CHWI. The spot was abandoned for several years, still showing the faded "CKCO TV 42" banners atop its storefront for a few years. It is now a convenience store.

Transmitters

Station City of licence Channel ERP HAAT Transmitter Coordinates
CKCO-TV-2 Wiarton 2 (VHF) 100 kW 286.1 m
CKCO-TV-3 Sarnia 42 (UHF) 846 kW 303 m

Ownership

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-Channel 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.

Programs

At present the flagship newscast is called CTV News, replacing CKCO News. Prior to 1998, when Baton Broadcasting rebranded all the CTV stations identically, CKCO's newscast was called CKCO Action News. In the past, newscasts titles on CKCO included Scan NewsHour and Ontario Report.

The station continues to produce a limited amount of local programming in addition to its local newscasts. On Saturday evenings at 6:30 p.m., they broadcast a program called What's Your Point?, which features a four-member panel debating current issues, and is hosted by Brent Hanson. CKCO also broadcasts a current affairs program called ProvinceWide, hosted by Daiene Vernile, on Sundays at 6:30 p.m.

Before CKCO was a CTV owned-and-operated station, the station produced considerably more local non-news programming:

  • Canadian Bandstand (1958-?)
  • Bowling for Dollars (1970s?–1992)
  • Camp Cariboo (1985–1990)
  • Romper Room, a children's program, was broadcast nationally on CTV from the mid-1960s to 1992
  • Polka Time (originally Gemütlichkeit), hosted by Grammy Award winning polka musician Walter Ostanek
  • Sunday AM
  • Provincewide (1985 - present)
  • Tree House (children's program)
  • several programs hosted by Big Al, including the noon-time Big Al's Cartoon Capers, Big Al's Talent Showcase, and Big Al's Ranch Party in the late afternoon

CKCO was known for many years for the red jackets worn by news anchors on their newscasts, a practice that began in 1967 with the emergence of colour television and continued until 1989.

Personalities

News veterans who had their start at the station include Jeff Hutcheson, Lisa LaFlamme and Ron Johnston.

Bill Inkol was a long-time sportscaster for not only the station, but often for CTV's national sports broadcasts. He was also a host of Bowling for Dollars.

"Big Al" ('Al' Elwood Jones) was the long-time host of after-school Big Al's Ranch Party, Big Al's Talent Showcase, Big Al's Cartoon Capers, Big Al and the Flintstones, as well as other children's programs at the station.

Oopsy the Clown, a children's performer portrayed by Bob McNea (1929-2005), moved to CKCO after appearing for several years on Detroit, Michigan NBC affiliate WWJ-TV (now WDIV-TV).

Gary McLaren worked in the news department for 39 years (1957-1996), spending most of that time in an on-air role, and also hosted Canadian Bandstand in the 1960s.

Daiene Vernile has anchored/produced the weekly program "Provincewide" since its launch in 1985, making it the longest, continuous-running locally produced news magazine show in Canada.

Other personalities in the station's history included local daytime show hosts such as Elaine Cole, Betty Thompson and Johnnie Walters. Thompson was also a long-time host of Romper Room. Bob Bratina hosted Polka Time with Walter Ostanek and replaced "Big Al" as host of Talent Showcase prior to Oopsy the Clown.

Present-day 6:00 o'clock newscasters Kyle Christie and Nancy Richards, weatherman Dave MacDonald and sportscaster Randy Steinman have a combined 80+ years experience working for CKCO.

Slogans

  • 1960s - The Big, Bright Thirteen
  • 1970s - Turn to Us, We're Thirteen
  • 1988 - The Best Place to Be!
  • Early 90s - Great Things are Happening
  • Early 90s - Everyday
  • 1996 - Here for You
  • 2004 - Your Community First

Logos

From the 1960s (at latest) through the early 1980s' CKCO's logo included a Conestoga wagon drawn by a four horse hitch. Designed by staff artist Percy Runnels, the horses showed thirteen legs for CKCO's channel number. From the early-1970s, the logo also incorporated the logo for CKCO's then-parent company, appliance manufacturer Electrohome.

External links

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