UPDATE (May 1): SOLD!
And so it begins. CTV announced today it is not applying for license renewals for two small-market ‘A’ network stations: CKNX-TV in Wingham, Ont., and CHWI-TV in Wheatley, Ont. (which serves Windsor).
This comes a week after CTV said it would not renew the license of CKX-TV in Brandon, which is actually a CBC affiliate and carriest mostly CBC programming in primetime.
A whackload of broadcast stations from CTV and Global have licenses up for renewal this year. Not only is the media meltdown hurting their bottom lines (or, more accurately, their creditors) and the world economic crisis making it worse, but with a forced switchover to digital broadcasting in 2011, this is the ideal time to decide to throw in the towel for small-market stations rather than start investing in new transmitters.
In its press release, CTV implicitly blames the CRTC’s decision to turn down their money-grab for their decision to shut down the station. It also sounds like the network hopes this will prompt the CRTC to change its mind.
Local news is expected to be taken up by London’s A station and Kitchener’s CTV station. It’s unclear if the transmitters themselves would be shut down or converted into rebroadcasters.
It remains to be seen if similar fates will hit Canwest’s E! secondary network, which still doesn’t have a buyer.