Bell Media shuts down CTV transmitter in Wiarton, Ont., after spat with neighbour over trees

There’s no longer a CTV television transmitter in Wiarton, Ont. And all because of a dispute with a neighbour that started with an apparent misunderstanding over the cutting of trees.

The story is contained in an application owner Bell Media filed with the CRTC on July 10 to revoke the broadcasting licence of CKCO-TV-2, a 100kW transmitter in Wiarton, which is on the Bruce Peninsula separating Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. It’s one of two retransmitters of CKCO-DT in Kitchener. The other is in Oil Springs, Ont., covering Sarnia.

As Bell tells it, it has had trouble accessing the transmission tower, even though it owns the land the tower sits on, because the access road to it is on property owned by a neighbour. For years, there was a verbal agreement with that property owner to access the site using his road (which leads to a street officially called Tower Road). But three years ago, the property was sold. The new owner had a falling out with Bell after “Bell Media rightfully prevented the new owner from cutting trees located on our property.” In January 2014, the new owner demanded Bell pay $1,000 a month to use his road, plus $34,000 in back pay going back to when he originally purchased the land.

Naturally, Bell thought this was a ridiculous sum and offered to pay $5,000 a year, with no back pay. The owner refused, and so Bell could no longer get a vehicle to its tower.

The next month, the power went out at the tower. Bell discovered a serious fault in the electrical system which required a series of repairs, but again the owner of the road denied access. Bell’s only access to the tower was through a tiny strip of land connecting its land to the road. Which meant travelling on foot. And since this was February in rural Ontario, this meant going by snowshoe.

Without the ability to fix the electricity, the diesel backup generator stopped working and CKCO-TV-2 went off the air.

Other than the TV transmitter, there’s only one other tenant, Spectrum Communications, a company that provides two-way radios and other specialized communications for businesses and institutions. It pays $14,000 a year until its lease expires in August 2015, which isn’t enough to justify the $91,000 a year it costs to run the tower and its transmitters.

So Bell has decided to give up on the 230-metre-high tower and hand back the licence for CKCO-TV-2. It’s unclear if they plan to sell the tower, dismantle it or do something else.

The Bell tower in Wiarton, Ont., and the dirt road to it that Bell can no longer use to maintain it. View Larger Map

What is clear is that there are no plans to move the transmitter elsewhere. Bell said the station received fewer than 30 calls about CKCO-TV-2 being off the air for almost half a year, and that the number of residents who don’t have access to subscription television is so low there’s little reason to jump through so many hoops to keep it running.

But didn’t they promise?

What’s interesting about this to me is that, as part of Bell Media’s commitments to the CRTC in its acquisition of Astral Media, the company promised to keep its conventional TV stations on the air until 2017:

BCE stated that local television stations continue to struggle, particularly in smaller markets, and committed to keep open until 2017 all of its current conventional television stations as well as the two television stations acquired from Astral (CJDC-TV Dawson Creek and CFTK-TV Terrace), and to maintain the current levels of local programming for all of these stations. The Commission is of the view that the continued operation of these conventional television stations is critical to providing Canadians with access to a significant amount of locally relevant programming, to the overall benefit of the Canadian broadcasting system. These are important commitments from BCE given the many financial and operational challenges faced by conventional television stations. But for these commitments, the Commission would not have approved the transaction. As a result, the Commission directs BCE to adhere to these commitments.

Now, CKCO-TV-2 isn’t a television station. It’s a transmitter. And CKCO Kitchener is still running. So Bell is respecting the letter of this commitment. But I wonder if the CRTC shouldn’t have exceptionally opened this request to public comment in light of that commitment, so that others could argue whether or not Bell is respecting the spirit of its engagements.

That said, you can hardly argue that Bell didn’t try in this case (though I haven’t talked to the neighbour, who might have a different side to this story). $1,000 a month to access 450 metres of dirt road once in a while is ridiculous, and a tower that costs six times what it earns is even more so.

Full text of Bell’s application:

CKCO-TV-2 is an analog rebroadcasting transmitter for CKCO-DT Kitchener, and is located near Wiarton on the Bruce Peninsula. Bell Media owns the property on which the transmitter is located.  We have one tenant on our tower – Spectrum Communications – whose lease expires in August 2015. The annual revenue generated from the lease is $14,000.  The annual expenses associated with the property and the transmitting tower is $91,000. There is no incremental revenue generated through the operation of this transmitter. Furthermore, due to hydro issues, the transmitter has not been operational since 26 February 2014. The grounds for our application to revoke the licence are set out below.

The property directly adjacent to the transmitter site is owned by a resident of Wiarton, purchased three years ago from the original owner.  The only road access to the transmitter site is via the adjacent property. Bell Media had a long-standing verbal agreement in place with the previous owner to access the transmitter site via the adjacent property.

However, access to our transmitter site has become virtually impossible due to an ongoing dispute with the new owner of the adjacent property. Beginning in January 2014, as a result of a dispute in which Bell Media rightfully prevented the new owner from cutting trees located on our property, the new owner demanded that Bell Media pay fees in order to access the road to the transmitter site–$12,000 annually. In addition, the new owner demanded “back rent” to the time when the property was purchased in August 2011—an additional $34,000. While Bell Media felt the payment requested by the new owner was excessive, as a gesture of good faith we proposed to offer the new owner the sum of $5000 annually going forward, with no retroactive payment. The owner refused the offer, and informed Bell Media that we would no longer have access to the road leading to the transmitter site.

Due to a general power outage in the area that occurred in February 2014, hydro was cut to the transmitter site. On 24 February 2014 the new owner granted Bell Media permission to access the site via his property to investigate the hydro situation.  On 25 February 2014, ascertaining that we needed to schedule visits from electricians as well as the power company and inspectors, we requested permission from the new owner to schedule a future visit for tradespeople to cross his property.  The new owner denied the request, and therefore the transmitter could only operate on a diesel backup generator. On 26 February 2014, the backup generator ceased to function and again the new owner denied access to the transmitter via his property.

On 27 February 2014 Bell Media technicians accessed the transmitter site via a strip of land connecting it to a county road; the only way to access the site was via snowshoes traversing through deep snow.  Upon examination, we discovered a serious fault in the hydro system limiting the amount of electricity reaching our facility.  While we now receive enough hydro to heat the building and maintain operation of our tenant’s low power wireless system, the significant loss of electricity no longer allows us to operate the CKCO-TV-2 analog rebroadcasting transmitter.

Subsequent to 27 February 2014, the new owner demanded that Bell Media build a fence along the property line and applied to the municipality to have an audit conducted on the property. This audit was conducted in May 2014, and Bell Media was notified that we are legally required to build and pay for fencing along 50% of our property line bordering the adjacent property at a cost of more than $60,000.

Finally, we would like to point out that the number of people who actually watch CKCO-DT over-the-air via this analog rebroadcasting transmitter is very small, as evidenced by the limited correspondence received as a result of the transmitter shut down (less than 30 telephone calls). In light of the limited number of calls received coupled with the costs to operate and an absence of revenue associated with this transmitter, and the almost non-existent ability to access the transmitter site combined with the ongoing lack of hydro power as set out above, Bell Media respectfully requests that our application to revoke the licence of the rebroadcasting transmitter CKCO-TV-2 Wiarton be approved.

34 thoughts on “Bell Media shuts down CTV transmitter in Wiarton, Ont., after spat with neighbour over trees

  1. Media Man

    Speaking of transmitters Steve,when is the work on Mount Royal gonna be finished..for us OTA users..that get shut down at midnight or so….!

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Speaking of transmitters Steve,when is the work on Mount Royal gonna be finished..for us OTA users..that get shut down at midnight or so….!

      It isn’t already? I haven’t heard any updates.

      Reply
  2. Media Man

    Weekends didn’t go off. but I know Monday and Tuesday went off..usually halfway during the Seth Myers gig…Wasn’t around last few days..guess I’ll find out on Monday..

    Reply
  3. Dilbert

    Welcome to the future – and it’s not OTA.

    This is a perfect example of what was a good service 20 or 30 years ago that is just no longer needed. The number of people complaining is so low, there is no real justification to keep the transmitter on the air.

    … and so it goes. 2017 should be VERY entertaining.

    Reply
  4. Andy Reid

    I have a feeling Bell will be shutting down many of these analog repeaters in 2017. They have not upgraded any of them since the digital transition. Further, quite a few are on low VHF channels. To convert them to higher ‘in-band’ channels would be expensive as a new antenna would be needed. These facilities are very old, some being on the air since the ’60s.

    Then there is Global’s only analog station left in Ontario, ch. 2 Bancroft on that big 1000′ tower there. No plans yet for its future.

    Reply
  5. ATSC

    I think Bell had provided some sort of list of the analog re-transmitters that they would be shutting down, until the deal was reached for 2017. I remember seeing the list having all of the CJOH’s re-transmitters on it.

    Honestly, I would prefer that these re-transmitters be put to rest, and Bell boost up the main stations transmitter power to cover a larger area. Also, any shutdown saving should be allocated towards turning main station transmitters to digital. Example, Sudbury’s CTV station is still analog i believe.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CICI-TV

    The other thing that would be good is for Bell to look into is codec advances by 2017, in order to run two HD signals on their main CTV transmitters, and add CTV on their x.2.

    I think a combination of good public interest policy would soften the blow in the public perception of the analog re-transmitter shutdown.

    And if Bell want’s to exit certain markets, then they show some good sense and allow independent owned stations to affiliate with CTV & CTV 2. CKPR in Thunder Bay is suppose to drop CBC and affiliate with CTV in September.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CKPR-DT

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I think Bell had provided some sort of list of the analog re-transmitters that they would be shutting down,

      CKCO-TV-2 was first threatened for shutdown two years before Bell bought CTV, as part of the fee-for-carriage debate.

      Honestly, I would prefer that these re-transmitters be put to rest, and Bell boost up the main stations transmitter power to cover a larger area.

      I’m not sure what advantage that would give. People in the Georgian Bay region likely wouldn’t be able to watch CTV Kitchener directly even if it put out a megawatt of power.

      And if Bell want’s to exit certain markets, then they show some good sense and allow independent owned stations to affiliate with CTV & CTV 2.

      I don’t think Bell wants to exit any markets with its CTV stations. It may decide to shut down some retransmitters, but the stations themselves would probably keep going. With CTV Two, the situation is more complicated. That network loses a lot of money, and independents aren’t very likely to want to affiliate with it. The stations can’t be converted to CTV stations or affiliates because of conditions in their CRTC licenses preventing duplication of programming.

      If someone wanted to buy the CTV Two network outright, Bell Media would probably be willing to listen, particularly if the hearings this fall don’t result in improvements to the business model of conventional television.

      Reply
      1. Dilbert

        I don’t think Bell wants to exit any markets with its CTV stations.

        When 90% plus of the viewers get their signals via cable or sat TV, CTV will never completely exit the market. In this case they will no longer run the transmitter, but in other places they may even seek to drop the local requirements altogether by terminating the local signal.

        You have to remember that at this point, CTV as an OTA network is not very profitable, and the only thing generally happening in the local markets is the news programming. Everything else (and I mean everything) is done in the CTV main offices, including controlling what goes on air and doing all the switching.

        Replace those local channels with CTV BC, CTV “west”, CTV Ontario, CTV Quebec, and CTV “east” and their entire coverage needs are taken care of. They can maintain the transmitters in the largest markets in order to main sim-sub (if that is even an issue going forward) and provide the appropriate regional feed to cable operators. Done deal, they can get rid of more than 50% of their transmitters and a sizable amount of their expensive workforce related to maintaining an OTA presence.

        This concept is even more likely if the sim-sub rules are changed such that an OTA transmitter is not required – or equally if sim-sub gets dropped. The very reasons to maintain an OTA presence are quickly falling away.

        Reply
  6. Andy Reid

    Regarding CTV2, they should just convert most of these stations to the regular CTV network, then sell or close the others where there is already a CTV station.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Regarding CTV2, they should just convert most of these stations to the regular CTV network, then sell or close the others where there is already a CTV station.

      All CTV Two stations operate in the same markets as CTV stations, or in markets close enough that it would make little sense to make such a conversion.

      As for selling the stations, few of them would be of any interest to CTV’s main competitors, who already have stations in these markets or markets adjacent to them. The Windsor station and CTV Two Atlantic might be of interest to City (which still needs something in Atlantic Canada to be considered a national network), and Global might be interested in Windsor (though Global Toronto has a transmitter there). Or perhaps a group like Channel Zero might expand into Ottawa or Alberta.

      But remember the Windsor station and others were already put on the block. And CTV couldn’t sell them for $1.

      The reality is that these stations are losing a lot of money, and unless the business model for conventional television changes drastically, or someone has some brilliant new idea to revitalize them, these stations will probably eventually be shut down once Bell’s generosity runs out.

      Reply
  7. Andy Reid

    “All CTV Two stations operate in the same markets as CTV stations, or in markets close enough that it would make little sense to make such a conversion.”

    I don’t agree. Barrie, London, Windsor and Pembroke could all be made regular CTV stations and air mainstream CTV programming. If Kitchener can have hold on to and maintain a CTV station, why not these other communities?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I don’t agree. Barrie, London, Windsor and Pembroke could all be made regular CTV stations and air mainstream CTV programming.

      But why bother? Pembroke is served by CTV Ottawa, Barrie is served by CTV Toronto. London and Windsor might make sense, but they wouldn’t really increase the footprint of CTV, and making this conversion would reduce the number of channels of alternative programming that Bell Media has available to it in Canada’s most populous province.

      Reply
  8. Bill Lee

    What had likely been the most widely DX’ed analogue television station of the last few years has now gone off the air for good. 3 years earlier than expected.
    Most of the remaining analogue television stations in Canada had been relatively low powered, but this one was 100,000 watts. Analogue Channel 2 has skip characteristics just short of what you would expect on shortwave.

    Reply
  9. Shawn Colley

    Actually, CHWI-DT (CTV2 Windsor) can’t become a CTV affiliate, becuase of CKCO’s repeater in Wiarton, which is close enough to give a watchable signal to those with rooftop antennas, and is carried on cable.

    The problem with CHRO-TV (Pembroke) is that it has a digital repeater in Ottawa, and CJOH-DT (CTV) has a repeater in Pembroke.

    Barrie is close enough to recieve CFTO-DT (CTV) from the CN Tower, and CKVR-DT’s signal pushes pretty deep into the Greater Toronto area. In the analog era, I remember some people saying how they could pull it in with rabbit ears from their downtown apartments or homes in the city.

    CFPL-DT (London) and CKCO-DT (Kitchener) are close enough to serve each other…

    The situation just goes on and on for the other CTV2 stations. Too close to other CTV stations to allow for duplication.

    sure, in most areas, it would make sense to have two HD feeds on digital transmitters like in the USA, but that would require regulatory approval for each subchannel or for the station as a whole (the CRTC treats this on a case-by-case basis)…

    I like the idea of CHWI flipping to City or OMNI, though… *that* could work!

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I like the idea of CHWI flipping to City or OMNI, though… *that* could work!

      The problem is that both City and OMNI are losing a lot of money, and probably aren’t that interested in picking up another money-losing station.

      Reply
  10. Ken W. English

    I watched this station for two entire days, back in June of 2009, from Salt Lake City, Utah.
    There were two weather systems between the transmitter and my location. Signal was almost completely stable, in color, and I measured almost “local” RF levels with a professional field strength meter.

    Reply
  11. Craig

    Could CTV just move CTV2 to x.2 on their digital stations and shut down all their CTV2 transmitters? They could even do that in markets with no CTV2 station.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Could CTV just move CTV2 to x.2 on their digital stations and shut down all their CTV2 transmitters? They could even do that in markets with no CTV2 station.

      Possibly. It would require CRTC approval. The big issues would probably be whether these feeds would need to meet local programming requirements and whether they would benefit from simultaneous substitution of advertising.

      Reply
  12. Rod

    I would watch CTV 2 but they so graciously decided not to convert the Calgary transmitter to digital, and thus shut it down. Since I dont subscribe to cable i am not able to watch it. Maybe this is why CTV 2 is losing money. They dont have it available to all Canadians.If they were to operate CTV2 on a sub channel from all the regular CTV transmitters, they could potentially increase the amount of viewers, and the amount of advertising revenue they receive.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Since I dont subscribe to cable i am not able to watch it. Maybe this is why CTV 2 is losing money.

      No. It’s been losing money for years. It’s a second-rate network filled with also-ran series that has nothing original beyond local newscasts.

      Reply
      1. Chris Sobieniak

        Seemed like it was a failure even before it started to me, not that these can’t be run like indie stations again (of course the one in Alberta was meat to serve as a provincial-wide educational network originally).

        Reply
  13. pat

    i could see chro being sold to rogers as well as there market media mall property, because those studios are designed identical to city tv

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      City already has a transmitter in Ottawa, which gives it local cable carriage while not requiring them to provide local programming in the Ottawa area. I suspect they’re relatively happy with that arrangement, even though it means no local advertising.

      Reply
  14. Simon

    Most of problems lie within the CRTC fault for allowing so many foreign American Superstations to broadcast across Canada, without providing any local Canadian content. These invasive channels south of the border also infringe on the broadcast rights of many Canadian broadcasters who currently paid for the broadcasting rights for American programming and shows aired in Canada. The only protection the CRTC provides for local Canadian Television is the Simultaneous substitution act, which only works if the local Canadian television and the American station are broadcasting identical programming simultaneously. Most American television channels only hold the broadcast rights to their particular market in the USA, which does not include the Canada wide rights to their shows. Most of the programming shown on cable in Canada from the American television channels shown below are held by CTV, Global, and City. The CRTC should require all American broadcast channels to obtain all applicable programming rights in Canada, not just use their local American broadcast license to distribute programmes which the rights are actually held by the Canadian broadcasters, not the Americans. The CRTC should forced to American channels listed below to provide alternate programming if they do not hold the Canadian broadcast rights for the all the programmes they broadcast in Canada or delete the channel if that channel content is to compromise a Canadian broadcasters rights to their programme line up. This is what is making many television stations revenue dry, most American channels do not make a penny into the advertisement on Canadian Cable as most ads are geared towards their local market they serve. If nothing is done to bring Canadian television model fair for Canadian broadcasters, many rural CTV television stations that have not converted to digital could go dark by 2017, along with every analogue television rebroadcaster still in service. The trend with CKCO-TV-2 surrendering it’s rebroadcast television license is just the beginning to what is about to come to Canadian Television. To make this more interesting many cities in America do not have one single Canadian on their Cable or Satellite channel line up, except those within 50 kilometres of the Canadian border, and yet their is at least three American channels on every Cable and Satellite package. Many of the television problems and revenue shortfalls that face local television broadcasters in Canada was created by the CRTC for allowing allowing American channels on many cable and satellite systems, this impeded the development of Canadian content and local programming on many television stations across Canada.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      The CRTC should require all American broadcast channels to obtain all applicable programming rights in Canada

      Or what? Keep in mind many of those U.S. border stations don’t even want their channels distributed in Canada because they get no revenue from it. There’s even a coalition of stations seeking changes to the free ride Canadian cable providers are getting.

      Reply
      1. Simon

        If many cross border stations do not want their signals disturbed across Canada, then why not delete these channels. These channels are keeping all local channels Canada from developing local distinct Canadian programming. The only logic reason why Canadian cable and satellite providers only keep these channels on their systems and line-up is to make a profit on the expense of Canadian broadcasters. American television stations and programming is very lucrative for every Canadian television system to make significant profit. So keeping these invasive channels has allowed Canada to have one of the highest amount of subscribers of subscription television compared to the United States. There is a trend of many Americans cutting cords of television subscription, many are switching to the internet and reverting back to terrestrial television. The simultaneous substitution act only protects the Montreal television station rights to a television show on cable or Satellite to replace the foreign signal with a Canadian one, if the same programme and episode was running at the same time on the foreign channel.

        A Vermont television contested the Simultaneous substitution act due to the fact this Vermont tv station WFFF-TV which has significant viewership in the Montreal market. The simultaneous substitution only protects a Montreal television station rights on cable or Satellite to replace the foreign signal with a Canadian one, if the same programme and episode was running at the same time on the foreign channel.
        As the American channel frequently changed its schedule to keep its advertisement from being blocked by viewers in Montreal. In response to this American television channel programming shuffling, the local Montreal channel was forced to change its schedule in order for that television station revenue protected from audience fragmentation from that market. The game of changing programming schedules every few weeks leaving viewers confused between a Quebec and a Vermont channel. Despite that Vermont station has the television rights to that particular show only in Vermont.

        This is one of the few American channel who want their signal distributed in Canada, so WFFF-TV has played a game of Cat and Mouse with CJMT due to the close distance to Montreal. The simultaneous substitution act only protects the Montreal television station rights to a television show only, if the same programme and episode was running at the same time on the foreign channel.

        Syndication exclusivity act in America protects American channels from such cat and mouse game. For instance, when a Toronto station airs a television programme that is also exclusively licensed to the Buffalo market. That particular American television show or programme airing on the Canadian channel such as CFTO, CIII, CITY, or CBLT is normally blacked out from the local cable or satellite provider in Buffalo at the request of the local Buffalo television station.

        If the CRTC would adapt the Syndication exclusivity act from America and replace the Simultaneous substitution with this broadcasting act . You would see many American channels having more half of their programming being blocked by local channels. Even majority of programming from time shifting channels origination from other Canadian markets would be ultimately blocked from local stations.

        Many of the time shifting and American channels are designed to make a profit for the Canadian cable and satellite provider at the expense of the local Canadian broadcaster, as many purchased these plans for content.

        Now south of the border, the Americans do not offer local broadcast channels on any sort of time shifting package, due to Syndication exclusivity act. Which the Syndication exclusivity act prevents duplicate programming on many channels in America and audience fragmentation which could hurt many television stations.

        Many local television stations across Canada are losing advertisement revenue from time shifting packages, and American channels, this due to audience fragmentation from television providers trying to make a profit at their expense.

        The CRTC should protect Canadian channels from American channels and time shifting packages designed and packaged by Cable and Satellite industry. CRTC should adapt a similar act to the Syndication exclusivity act, which would keep duplicate content and audience fragmentation to a very minimum to the Canadian broadcaster. If such act was passed then we would see more local Canadian channels flourish as the audience fragmentation and revenue loss is almost eliminated altogether.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          If many cross border stations do not want their signals disturbed across Canada, then why not delete these channels.

          Because they don’t have a choice. Permission is not required to rebroadcast these stations in Canada.

          If the CRTC would adapt the Syndication exclusivity act from America and replace the Simultaneous substitution with this broadcasting act . You would see many American channels having more half of their programming being blocked by local channels.

          And that’s basically why that hasn’t happened yet. The CRTC is exploring how to handle this issue as part of its Let’s Talk TV proceeding, but at this point there isn’t much of a strong push away from simultaneous substitution.

          Reply
  15. Garry McLay

    It’s too bad that this iconic (CKCO) tower on the Niagara Escarpment of the Bruce Peninsula cannot continue to be used for broadcasting. The latest news is that Bell Media has sold the tower property to someone with the condition that the purchaser dismantle the tower.
    When I heard that Bell Media had put the tower and the property it owned around it up for sale I contacted Xplornet and asked them if they would consider buying the tower and property to extend their tower internet service north beyond the Wiarton area to serve perhaps the whole Bruce Peninsula. This tower, even though it is sometimes described as being in Wiarton, is actually somewhat north of Wiarton and southeast of Lion’s Head near Hope Bay on Georgian Bay at the highest point on the Bruce Peninsula, about 260 metres above sea level, with a tower height of 286 metres above that. It is because of this height and the maximum allowed transmitter ERP of 100,000 Watts that this channel 2 transmitter was able to serve such a large coverage area with its analog signal for 43 years, and it is possible that an internet transceiver at the top of this tower with enough power could provide good quality and affordable internet service for all of the people on the Bruce Peninsula, which is sorely lacking presently. (Xplornet’s satellite internet service, while the best of its kind and available almost everywhere, has its limitations due to the latency problems and limited speed and bandwidth available that all satellite internet services suffer from.) Unfortunately I did not receive a reply from Xplornet regarding this possibility, and it seems that no other tower internet service was interested in it either, which is a shame considering that Bell Media would probably have offered a good deal to any enterprise interested in buying the tower. As far as TV broadcasting is concerned, this is the future – TV services, interactive included, over the internet. Of course, who would want to own the tower and the land associated with it given the incredible greed of the landowner who tried to impose such ridiculous financial conditions upon Bell Media and probably anyone else who might purchase the tower and the land around it; he/she should be ashamed of himself/herself!
    I know that I’m dreaming in technicolour here, but what Bell Media could have done and what the CRTC should have allowed them to do, was to allow this tower to be used to transmit a DIGITAL signal on channel 2 at 100,000 Watts ERP instead of the usual paltry and pathetic maximum of 10,000 Watts ERP presently allowed for low-band VHF TV channels 2 to 6 broadcasting digital signals, the few of them that exist presently. (Only a handful of TV stations are broadcasting digital TV signals on channels 2 to 6 in all of Canada and the U.S.) Bell Media could have transmitted digital signals on channel 2 for the several TV networks it owns using sub-channels. (I have tuned in U.S. digital TV channels with as many as one main program and 5 sub-programs in the same channel, albeit with reduced picture quality for that many programs in one channel.) They could also have done this with the other VHF low-band TV channels 3 to 6 broadcasting digital signals from the same tower, also at 100,000 Watts ERP each, leased to other broadcasters; doing this would perhaps have made the continued operation and maintenance of the tower profitable. These signals broadcast at 100,000 Watts ERP on each of the low-band channels could have put clear-channel signals into much of the Lake Huron and Georgian Bay areas (because there are no other VHF low-band digital TV signals being transmitted anywhere for a long distance from the transmitter), including part of western Michigan in the U.S., where terrestrial TV signals are still used much more for TV reception than in Canada, not that many cottagers in the Bruce Peninsula area wouldn’t also like to have free TV rather than paying for a satellite subscription for their cottage!
    This could in a small way turn the tables on U.S. broadcasters who have been taking advantage of us by using their border stations to advertise to Canadians, and just in case a lot of people think that OTA terrestrial TV is dead, let me tell you that a TV antenna installer in Toronto told me recently that he can’t keep up with the demand for terrestrial TV antenna installations in that area! Yes, everything old can be new again; provide the signals, and as in the U.S., people will buy the equipment to once again get free TV.
    As for you DXers out there, imagine from how far away you might get a DIGITAL channel 2 operating with an ERP of 100,000 Watts if the sporadic E propagation conditions are just right!
    Oh well, it’s nice to dream anyway.

    Reply
    1. Chris Sobieniak

      We all dream, if only the CRTC had let subchannels in. Seems like the US already found a use there with the amount of new digital networks we have lined up.

      Reply
  16. nick

    On manitoulin island in the 80’s and 90s I was brought up with ckco channel 2 came in clear providence bay manitoulin island that was on station that was clear in my younger years

    Reply
  17. Marko

    I was in Hope Bay Bruce Peninsula this past weekend and seen the tower still standing with its beacon lights flashing

    Reply

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