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CBC North is the name for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's radio and television service in the Canadian Arctic. Originally known as the CBC Northern Service, its first operations began in 1958 with radio broadcasts including the takeover of CFYK, originally a Royal Canadian Signal Corps-owned, community-run station in Yellowknifemarker, Northwest Territoriesmarker, which began broadcasting in 1948. About the same time the CBC took over CHFC in Fort Churchill, then an army camp in northern Manitoba; the station had previously run a variety of programs including American AFRS shows. Peter Mansbridge is its most distinguished alumnus.


CBC North Radio carries daily aboriginal language programming in Dene Suline, Tlicho, North Slavey, South Slavey, Gwich'in, Inuvialuktun, and Inuktitut. The shows include news, weather and entertainment, providing a vital service to the many people in Northern Canada for whom English is not their first language.

In the Yukonmarker, a conventional CBC Radio One schedule in English is aired on CFWH. CFWH is, however, the only station in the network which uses the Saturday afternoon local arts program block to air a French language program, as the territory is not served by a Première Chaîne production centre or a local francophone community radio station.

In the Northwest Territoriesmarker, afternoon programming is pre-empted; instead, CBC North airs special afternoon programming in First Nations languages. On CFYK in Yellowknifemarker and the southern part of the territory, the afternoon schedule is as follows:
  • 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. - Tide Godi, Dogrib
  • 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. - Le Got'she deh'', [[Slavey language|Slavey]] * 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. - ''Dene Dayalt'i, Dene Suline
On CHAK in Inuvikmarker and the northern Beaufort Delta area, afternoon programs include Nantaii in Gwich'in from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. and Tusaavik in Inuvialuktun from 3:00 until 4 p.m. The Northwest Territories otherwise hears the conventional CBC Radio One schedule.

In Nunavutmarker, far greater differences occur on CFFB. The Nunavut service is the only local/regional CBC Radio service which covers three time zones (Eastern, Central and Mountain). The local morning program, Qulliq, broadcast in Inuktitut and English segments, airs from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m., and is followed by abbreviated broadcasts of The Current and Sounds Like Canada. At noon, a bilingual program Nipivut airs in Inuktitut and English. In the afternoons, programming is in Inuktitut and includes Tausunni from Iqaluitmarker, Tuttavik from Kuujjuaqmarker and Tusaajaksat from Rankin Inletmarker. These programs air in place of Q. Subsequently, in the evenings, Ullumi Tusaqsauqaujut presents highlights from the day's Inuktitut programs at 10 p.m. Eastern. At 10:30 p.m. Eastern Sinnaksautit features traditional Inuit storytelling, preempting the nighttime edition of Q. Regular CBC Radio One programming is heard again after 11 p.m.

As Nunavut already has an extensive schedule of unique local programming, however, CFFB is the only station in the network not to air its own local cultural magazine at 5 p.m. on Saturday afternoons — instead, the station airs the Ontario regional magazine Bandwidth in that timeslot.

In the Nunavikmarker region of northern Quebecmarker, the program service from Nunavutmarker is heard on a network of community-owned FM transmitters, with some program differences. Weekday mornings from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. Quebec AM from Quebec Citymarker is heard. Some community access programs from the Inuit broadcasting organization Taqramiut Nipingat are heard in some timeslots.

Shortwave services

In northern Quebecmarker, more differences occur. CBC Radio Nord Québec operates a shortwave service, transmitted from the RCI transmitter in Sackville, New Brunswickmarker on 9625 kHz, and programmed from the CBC studios in Montrealmarker.

Radio Nord Québec also airs a hybrid Radio One/Première Chaîne schedule mixed with programming in Cree and Inuktitut to the James Baymarker region.

Two CBC Radio One stations, CFGB in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labradormarker (with call sign CKZN) and CBUmarker in Vancouvermarker, British Columbiamarker (with call sign CKZU) operate shortwave relay transmitters, but neither transmission site has the capability to reach the Arctic with usable signals year round.

Reception issues

Both Radio One transmitters (and CBC Northern Quebec) broadcast 1 kW ERP signals on a fixed frequency.

CBC Radio One and CBC Northern Quebec shortwave relays can be quite difficult to receive due to increased terrestrial noise from modern electrical and electronic systems.


CBC North ident, September 1998

The primary CBC North television production centre is in Yellowknifemarker (CFYKmarker), with smaller production centres in Whitehorsemarker (CFWHmarker) and Iqaluitmarker (CFFBmarker). The CBC North television service is seen through a network of both CBC-owned and community-owned rebroadcasters in virtually all communities in the Northwest Territoriesmarker, the Yukonmarker, and Nunavutmarker.

CBC North airs largely the same programming as CBC Television, with some exceptions. The station airs an hour long evening news program known as CBC News: Northbeat, anchored by Nadira Begg.

A daily newscast in Inuktitut, Igalaaq, is also aired at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time and again at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time in Nunavut; 4:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the Northwest Territories, with anchor Rassi Nashalik. A weekly Cree newsmagazine, Maamuitaau, also airs on CBC North TV. These programs have also aired on APTN, prior to that channel launching its own news operation.

Unlike the other owned-and-operated CBC stations, CBC North airs few local ads — instead airing additional promotions for other CBC programs and public service announcements.

There are two CBC North television feeds — one for the NWT and Nunavut providing a Mountain Time schedule and another for the Yukon on Pacific Time. All local CBC North programs originate from Yellowknife and other Arctic locales. Viewers with C-Band dishes used to enjoy CBC North in the clear until around 2000, when the CBC switched to a proprietary digital system, requiring a $3000 receiver.

Prior to the switch to digital transmission, the two CBC North TV satellite feeds originated in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labradormarker (which was seen in the Eastern Arctic) and Vancouver, British Columbia, (which was seen in the N.W.T. and Yukon). Those channels carried some regional programs originating from those areas to the North. With the new digital transmission system (now centralised at CBC Television's headquarters in Torontomarker), the North no longer sees the regional east coast and west coast programs.

Some US communities offer CBC North on cable or low-powered TV; in Alexandria, Minnesotamarker, for example, a local TV association offers CBC North on one of their LPTV channels.

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