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CHCH-TV, channel 11, is a television station in Hamilton, Ontariomarker, Canadamarker, with additional transmitters throughout Ontariomarker, and the oldest private television station serving the Torontomarker area. The station is owned and operated by Channel Zero, and airs a rolling news format primarily for the Hamilton, Haltonmarker, and Niagaramarker regions throughout the day, and movies in the evening and overnight.

History

CBC affiliation

CHCH-TV was founded by Ken Soble. A leader of Hamilton's urban renewal movement, and owner of CHMLmarker radio, Soble was regarded as a pioneer in all of his endeavours.

The station began broadcasting in 1954 as a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) affiliate from the CHCH Television Towermarker, a transmitter located at 481 First Road West in Stoney Creekmarker. At the time, all private stations were required to be CBC affiliates. In 1961, CHCH disaffiliated from the CBC; the reason for the disaffiliation from CBC was twofold, as Toronto's CBLTmarker already provided full network service to CHCH's viewing area, and the station's managers wanted to produce a larger amount of local programming, instead of being forced to carry CBC programming.

Superstation CHCH

CHCH-TV's logo from the 1960s to the late 1980s
CHCH became the lone television station in Canada to have no network affiliation, as the other private stations (which signed on the air in early 1961 or 1960) that were not affiliated with the CBC had formed the CTV network in 1961. CHCH became a nationwide superstation on January 1, 1982, when Cancom began carrying the station and three others to cable television operators in remote regions of the country that had access only to the CBC.
This was the last logo used by CHCH before rebanding to ONtv
The station also produced a number of important Canadian syndicated series, including The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, Me & Max, Party Game and Smith & Smith, and was the original TV home of The Red Green Show. Hamilton native Martin Short also had his television debut on the station. CHCH also produced local broadcasts such as Tiny Talent Time.

For a time, CHCH broadcast local mid-week telecasts of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs. It also reproduced World Wrestling Federation programming for Canadian audiences before the company's focus shifted entirely to cable.

ONtv

In 1990, Western International Communications (WIC) purchased CHCH. Although CHCH had been available on cable in many Ontario markets for years, the station's broadcast signal coverage was expanded throughout Ontario with repeaters in 1997, in an effort to compete with the reach of Global (CIIImarker) and Baton Broadcast System. In turn, WIC renamed the station ONtv, as in "Ontario Television", in line with the naming pattern of many of its other stations (such as BCTVmarker, ITVmarker, and RDTVmarker).
CHCH-TV's logo as "ONtv", (1997-2001)


Local news shifted focus from the station's core market, the Hamilton area, toward Ontario as a whole, in an attempt to challenge what was then a regional news service provided by Global. However, with Hamilton now being largely an afterthought, and other local stations (in Toronto and elsewhere) already strong in the ratings, the shift was unsuccessful, and CHCH's ratings actually dropped. During the ONtv years, the station also aired WIC's nightly Canada Tonight newscast.

CH

In 2000, Canwest purchased WIC's television assets. Since Global already served the Hamilton area through flagship CIII-TVmarker's transmitter in Paris, Canwest rebranded the station CH on February 12, 2001 and subsequently launched the CH television system in September of that year. This move launched a secondary television system for Canwest's stations in medium-sized markets near larger markets. Local news coverage was revamped and re-focused on the Hamilton/Haltonmarker/Niagara region.

Despite the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)'s current TV station ownership restrictions (one station per owner per language per market), Canwest was permitted to maintain CHCH's coverage of other markets throughout most of Ontario. However, it could not broadcast to Thunder Baymarker, Peterboroughmarker, or Kingstonmarker due to opposition by local stations. Some cable systems outside of Ontariomarker also continue to carry CHCH as a form of "superstation". Additionally, its over-the-air signal easily covers Buffalo, New Yorkmarker and Erie, Pennsylvaniamarker.On June 7, 2004, at 8:00 p.m., CHCH-TV celebrated exactly 50 years on the air. At this precise time, the station aired a documentary profiling the station history, entitled The First 50 Years: A Half Century of CH and hosted by Matt Hayes.

E!

On September 7, 2007, following the relaunch of the national CH service as E!, CHCH's news programming was re branded as "CHCH News."

The logo used for newscasts since 2007.
It was used as the de facto branding of the station from 2007-2009
In late 2008, Canwest retired CHCH's longest serving news anchors, Connie Smith (last day on air November 28, 2008) and Dan McLean (last day on air December 12, 2008), blaming money troubles and having to cut budgets. After their departures, Annette Hamm began handling anchoring duties on a shortened CHCH News at Noon, as well as co-hosting Morning Live with Bob Cowan, while Nick Dixon took over anchoring duties on CHCH News at 6:00. Since being taken over by Channel Zero on August 31, 2009, Annette Hamm and Bob Cowan have co-hosted a restored hour long newscast at noon.

In 2009, CHCH's Morning Live program began to be simulcast on former sister station CIII-TVmarker due to low ratings leading to the cancellation of its own morning news. The simulcast on CIII-TVmarker was dropped at the end of August due to CHCH's sale to current owner, Channel Zero. While the station continues to share helicopter traffic services provided by the Canadian Traffic Network, Canwest has determined this arrangement will end on Dec. 31, 2009 as it holds the exclusive rights to CTN services in the GTA.

Threatened Closure and sale to Channel Zero

On February 5, 2009, Canwest (CHCH's former parent company) announced it would explore "strategic options", including possible sale or closure, for CHCH and its other stations in the E! system, saying "a second conventional TV network is no longer key to the long-term success" of the company. A grassroots group, fronted by Live @ 5:30 co-host Donna Skelly, surfaced with an intent to purchase CHCH from Canwest and return the station to its former local focus.

In March 2009, paperwork to the CRTC for a one-year renewal of CHCH's licence revealed that the station is projected to lose nearly $30 million during the 2010 fiscal year, which begins September 1, 2009—the station would make $41 million, but the profits would be outpaced by costs of $69 million. John Douglas, a spokesperson for Canwest, said that CHCH, and its other stations in the E! group, were money losers during the last decade, coupled with the Canadian broadcasters' dependency on American programming for profits.

On June 30, 2009, Channel Zero announced that it would purchase CHCH and CJNTmarker in Montrealmarker from Canwest in exchange for $12 in cash and the assumption of various station liabilities. The CRTC approved the sale on August 28, 2009.

Channel Zero took control of the station's programming at midnight EDT on the morning of August 31, beginning its tenure with a film from the 1980s. The first film broadcast in primetime that night was Rocky, signifying the new ownership's come-from-behind spirit. CHCH disaffiliated from E! (which shut down at the end of that day), adopted a new format consisting of local news all day and movies at night, and reverted back to branding itself as simply CHCH.

CHCH currently airs 72 hours of local content every week, more than any local television station in Canada or the United States, beating CHAN Vancouvermarker's 45 hours and WSVN Miamimarker's 54.5 hours respectively. The stations airs 14 hours every weekday (5:30 AM-7 PM, 11 PM-11:30PM) and 1 hour (6 PM-6:30 PM, 11 PM-11:30 PM) on the weekends.

Transmitters

On August 28, 1996, CHCH received CRTC approval to add new transmitters across most of Ontario. Their launch in 1997 coincided with the rebranding to ONtv.

Station City of licence Channel ERP HAAT Transmitter Coordinates
CHCH-TV-1 Ottawamarker 11 (VHF) 60 kW 190 m
CHCH-TV-2 Londonmarker 51 (UHF) 1300 kW 300 m
CHCH-TV-3 Muskoka 67 (UHF) 2572 kW 305 m
CHCH-TV-4 Sudburymarker 41 (UHF) 35 kW 171.9 m
CHCH-TV-5 Sault Ste.marker Mariemarker 38 (UHF) 5 kW 112.5 m
CHCH-TV-6 North Baymarker 32 (UHF) 5 kW 116 m
CHCH-TV-7 Timminsmarker 11 (VHF) 3.3 kW 142.2 m


Local programming and personalities

Morning Live
  • 5:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
    • Bob Cowan - Co-Host
    • Annette Hamm - Co-Host
    • Brian Wood - Weather and Traffic
    • Lesley Stewart - Weather and Traffic (on leave)
    • Lori DeAngelis - Community Reporter
    • Amanda Blitz - Reporter


CHCH News Now
  • 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    • Bob Cowan - Anchor
    • Annette Hamm - Anchor
    • Brian Wood - Weather and Traffic


CHCH News at Noon (repeats at 1:00 p.m.)
  • 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m.
    • Bob Cowan - Co-Anchor
    • Annette Hamm - Co-Anchor
    • Matt Hayes - Weather & Community Reporter


CHCH News Now
  • 2:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
    • Taz Boga - Anchor
    • Donna Skelly - Anchor (3:30-4:30)
    • Kate Stutsman - Weather and Traffic
    • Michelle Jobin - Weather and Traffic
    • Steve Ruddick - Weather and Traffic


Live @ 5:30 (repeats at 11:30 p.m.)
  • 5:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
    • Mark Hebscher - Co-Host
    • Donna Skelly - Co-Host
    • Lawrence Diskin - Producer / Backup Co-Host


CHCH News at 6:00
  • 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
    • Nick Dixon - Anchor
    • Matt Hayes - Weather and Entertainment
    • Ken Welch - Sports
    • Mark Hebscher - Commentary (Mark's Rant)


CHCH News at 11:00
  • 11:00 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.
    • Nick Dixon - Anchor
    • Matt Hayes - Weather
    • Ken Welch - Sports


CHCH News at 6:00 & 11:00
  • Weekends, 6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.
    • Maria Hayes - Anchor
    • Steve Ruddick - Weather
    • Clint 'Bubba' O'Neil - Sports


Reporters
    • Adam Atkinson
    • Cindy Csordas
    • Damian Goddard - backup Sports Anchor
    • Lisa Hepfner
    • Lisa Knap
    • Natalie Marconi
    • Melanie Ng
    • Alex Reynolds - Entertainment Reporter/Film and Theatre Critic
    • Lauran Sabourin - Niagara Bureau Reporter
    • Kate Stutsman
    • Al Sweeney
    • Cristina Tenaglia
    • Scot Urquhart


Digital television and high definition

CHCH currently broadcasts a digital signal as the station's over-the-air digital transmitter on channel 18 in Hamilton was launched on April 18, 2008 by previous owners Canwest. CHCH-DT is available on digital cable as well as for free over the air using a regular TV antenna and a digital tuner, included in most new TVs.

After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, which is tentatively scheduled to take place on August 31, 2011 , CHCH-DT will move from its current pre-transition channel number, 18, to the channel position occupied by its analog channel, 11.

References

External links




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