This week has a lot of changes for television both local and nationally. Two main reasons for this: it’s September and the fall season is starting, plus CRTC broadcast licenses for conventional television stations end on Aug. 31.
This week’s Bluffer’s Guide (courtesy of yours truly) looks at the changes happening on the local television dial. The Globe and Mail’s Grant Robertson also has a piece this morning, looking particularly at the upheaval at small money-losing stations owned by Canwest and CTVglobemedia.
Here’s a timeline of what’s going on this week in television:
Today, Aug. 31
- 5:30am: Channel Zero begins airing new programming on CJNT Montreal and CHCH Hamilton, only a few days after the CRTC approved the sale of the stations from Canwest. Channel Zero, which owns some cable channels but no conventional television stations, is supplementing CJNT’s existing programming with foreign-language music videos and films. CHCH, meanwhile, will become all-news during the day (its afternoon schedule will have movies until the infrastructure is ready) with movies in primetime. The license officially changes hands at 12am on Sept. 1.
- Showcase rebrands
- MuchMusic’s digital specialty channels MuchVibe, MuchLOUD, MuchMoreRetro, PunchMuch go commercial-free. MuchMusic and MuchMoreMusic – which still have enough viewers to sell commercials – continue to air ads, as will programs that are simulcasted on the digital specialty channels and Much or MMM.
- CTV-owned “A” channel in Wingham, Ont., shuts down local programming and CKNX-TV becomes a retransmitter of CFPL-TV, the A station in London. The station is part of three that CTV had looked at selling or shutting down. Another, CKX-TV in Brandon, Man., has been sold to Bluepoint Investmestment Corp., and the third, CHWI-TV in Windsor, Ont., was saved from shutdown after the CRTC approved the Local Programming Improvement Fund. All three had received offers from Shaw to buy them, but then Shaw changed its mind.
- The BBM ratings system switches to the “Personal People Meter“, a device that had been tested in the Montreal market, to allow nationwide monitoring of what people watch and listen to on TV and radio. The PPM is a pager-like device worn by sample audiences, and replaces the less accurate diaries that relied on self-reporting.
- 6am: TQS officially becomes V as the broadcast day begins with Le show du matin
- 5pm: CBC Montreal launches its new 90-minute newscast along with other stations across the country. The newscast will be structured as three consecutive 30-minute newscasts, and is part of CBC’s “integration” (read: convergence) strategy of having journalists do stories for TV and radio at the same time (so they don’t have to hire any more journalists). The competition says they’re not worried.
- 8am (6am in Red Deer): CHCA, an E! network station in Red Deer, Alta., goes off the air. (UPDATE: Its last newscast, from last Friday, has been uploaded to YouTube in eight parts)
- 8:30am (5:30am in Kelowna): CHBC, a former E! network station in Kelowna, B.C., is rebranded “Global Okanagan” as the E! network shuts down.
Tomorrow, Sept. 1
- 12am: The CRTC begins billing cable and satellite companies 1.5% of their revenues for a Local Programming Improvement Fund, to help small-market television stations. Bell and Shaw, Canada’s satellite providers, have responded by adding a 1.5% fee to consumers’ bills beginning today. Videotron, Quebec’s main cable provider, hasn’t decided to follow suit yet.
- At the same time, the CRTC lifts the cap on the amount of advertising conventional television stations can air. It had previously been at 15 minutes per hour. The CRTC believes that the market will self-regulate the amount of advertising (after all, a station with too many ads is going to lose viewers).
- 1am (10pm in Victoria): CHEK-TV in Victoria goes off the air. See below.
- 6am: As conventional broadcast stations across the country (at least the ones that are part of large networks like Global, CTV, CityTV and TVA) get new one-year licenses, new local programming requirements come into effect. They require 7 hours of original programming for small markets and 14 hours for large markets (the latter includes Montreal on both the anglo and franco side). TVA’s local programming numbers are defined on a case-by-case basis: 18 hours a week for Quebec City and 5 hours a week for Rimouski, Chicoutimi and Sherbrooke. TQS, because it got special consideration from the CRTC after going bankrupt, isn’t affected by these changes.
- Three stations formerly of the E! network but owned by the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group – CHAT-TV in Medicine Hat, Alta., CKPG-TV in Prince George, B.C., and CFJC-TV in Kamloops, B.C. – begin airing programming secured from Rogers. It includes the Price is Right, the Tyra Banks Show and Judge Judy in daytime, and Hell’s Kitchen and Law & Order: SVU in primetime.
- 6pm: Global Quebec CKMI becomes Global Montreal with a rebranded evening newscast after a CRTC decision this summer allowed them to relicense and accept local advertising. Global Ontario is similarly changing to Global Toronto.
Wednesday, Sept. 2
- 1am (10pm in Victoria): CHEK-TV in Victoria goes off the air. See below.
Thursday, Sept. 3
- 9pm: Fox airs a repeat of Fringe with a live on-screen Twitter stream of commentary from the show’s creators
Saturday, Sept. 5
- 1am (10pm in Victoria): Canwest’s CHEK-TV goes off the air… NOT. Canwest has accepted an offer to sell CHEK to its employees.
Monday, Sept. 7
- 5pm: Dumont 360, a talk show hosted by former ADQ leader Mario Dumont, premieres on TQS V.
Tuesday, Sept. 8
- 5pm: CBC Montreal’s News at Six … err, Five … gets new anchors in Andrew Chang and Jennifer Hall.
Wednesday, Sept. 9
- 9pm: Télé-Québec premieres Voir, a show by the people behind the newspaper of the same name.
Also of note this week are the 25th anniversaries of MuchMusic (video, CP story) and TSN.
Did I miss anything? Suggest additions below.
It’s also 20 years for RDS.
The final CHCA newscast was posted on Youtube this weekend….
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Regarding Global Quebec becoming Global Montreal (and Global Ontario becoming Global Toronto), Check Global’s “Montreal” and “Toronto” websites for a giggle, have your screen capture ready.
They look fine to me. What am I supposed to be looking for?
On Global Toronto’s website, it says Global Montreal in the logo and on Global Montreal’s website, it still says Global Quebec in the logo.
Maybe it’s a caching problem, but I don’t see that from here.
Whats to giggle about?
The mastheads Montreal’s still says Global Quebec, however Toronto’s says “Global Montreal”.
And last night ‘the voice of God’ was still introducing “from the Global Quebec studios in Montreal, the evening news with Jamie Orchard” … Amanda Jelowicki introduced herself instead as usual, but didn’t think to correct the station name.
The fixed panel on the front of the newsdesk had been changed to Global Montreal, however (about the only part of the set that required a physical change) … might be worth keeping an eye out on that part of the set next time you suspect a Toronto or Ottawa newscaster is remotely substituting.
I am curious,
Has anyone in Montreal tried to pick up the US stations using basic rabbit ears on a set top ATSC converter box? Or with newer TV with ATSC tuner included?
If so How is the reception.
Jacques In Laprairie
Digital Home has an entire forum devoted to the topic, which goes back a few years.
Reception depends on geographical location and antenna location/type. Note that for digital stations, you either receive the signal perfectly or you don’t receive it at all.