Some History for CBC Calgary's 50th Anniversary

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Some History for CBC Calgary's 50th Anniversary

Postby jon » Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:49 am

Harry Sanders: How the CBC came to Calgary
CBC Calgary began broadcasting 50 years ago this week
By Harry Sanders, CBC News
Posted: Sep 30, 2014 11:00 PM MT
Last Updated: Oct 01, 2014 12:34 PM MT

CBC Calgary began broadcasting 50 years ago this week, but the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s history in the city goes much further back.

Then prime minister R.B. Bennett — the member of parliament for Calgary-West — headed the government that established the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission in 1932.

When the commission was reorganized as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1936, Calgary’s longtime city solicitor Leonard W. Brockington became its first chairman.

Instead of creating its own stations in Alberta, the CBC initially recruited private affiliates — CFAC in Calgary and CFRN in Edmonton.

Coast-to-coast coverage

By the late 1940s, Alberta (along with other provinces) had made licence applications for provincially-owned radio stations and Manitoba already had two government-owned stations.

But Ottawa rejected provincial applications and instead expanded the CBC.

In Alberta, the CBC established radio station CBX in 1948 in Edmonton, and ended its relationship with CFAC and CFRN. A new transmitter at Lacombe broadcast provincially on the 1010 AM frequency.

According to the Calgary Herald archives, when CBX started broadcasting on Sept. 8, 1948, it completed the CBC's "coast-to-coast coverage of the Dominion."

In December 1951, CBC board chairman A.D. Dunton told the Commons radio committee that the network hoped to build an extra transmitter for southern Alberta if funds allowed.

The CBC built a relay station at the present studio site in 1960 at 1724 Westmount Boulevard. Still, the network received complaints of poor reception in Calgary, which the CBC later blamed on the city’s industrial growth and increased electrical use.

Push for studio in Calgary

Former Calgary South MP Art Smith championed CBC improvement in southern Alberta in the House of Commons and with the minister.

In February 1960, CBC president Alphonse Ouimet promised improved CBC radio in Calgary “as quickly as finances permit.” Early in 1961, the network announced unspecified plans for improved reception in southern Alberta.

In February, the CBC announced that it would build a $570,000 transmitter and a $350,000 studio that would open in mid-1963.

And in September, the CBC board of directors held its meeting in Calgary, where Ouimet said the network proposed moving its Lacombe transmitter to Calgary with a 50,000-watt broadcast capacity — the most powerful allowed on the continent at that time — pending approval by the Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG).

The BBG approved the application in June 1962, but Prime Minister John Diefenbaker announced spending cutbacks following his victory in that month’s federal election and the plans were shelved. CFAC temporarily resumed its status as Calgary’s CBC affiliate on Oct. 1, 1962.

Studio built in 1964

Finally in February 1963, the CBC announced that it would built its studio on Westmount Boulevard and its 50,000 watt antenna at Shepard, then a hamlet southeast of the city.

Construction on the studio began in March 1964 and it was completed in September. CBR Calgary, as the station was named, assumed CBX’s 1010 AM frequency.

CBR’s 24-hour-a-day broadcasting began Sept. 30, 1964, at 11:59:40 p.m. Twenty seconds later, on Oct. 1, it began its first full day of regular broadcasting.

ref. - http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/h ... -1.2782848

(Thanks to Dan Sys of Canadian Radio News for finding this article)
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Re: Some History for CBC Calgary's 50th Anniversary

Postby jon » Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:53 am

The CBC built a relay station at the present studio site in 1960 at 1724 Westmount Boulevard. Still, the network received complaints of poor reception in Calgary, which the CBC later blamed on the city’s industrial growth and increased electrical use.

I've never heard of a Calgary repeater for Lacombe. Which I assume is what this is saying.

Anyone know or find any info on this?
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Re: Some History for CBC Calgary's 50th Anniversary

Postby radiofan » Thu Oct 02, 2014 8:42 am

From the September 30, 1964 Calgary Herald ...

Image
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Re: Some History for CBC Calgary's 50th Anniversary

Postby radiofan » Thu Oct 02, 2014 8:58 am

A video lookback at CBC Calgary's history from CBC Calgary News.

http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/Ca ... 538741934/

The first host of Calgary's CBC TV News (Sept. 1, 1975) was longtime Vancouver Radio guy Jim Morrison.
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Re: Some History for CBC Calgary's 50th Anniversary

Postby albertaboy4life » Thu Oct 02, 2014 9:51 am

The newspaper article's author is mixing two different things up.

The reception issues of 1010 AM were not related to the relay station referenced in the story. The relay station was for CBC television's tape delay service. CTV did the same thing up the hill at CFCN television for many years.

The link to the video posted by Radiofan makes reference to the tape delay operation.
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Re: Some History for CBC Calgary's 50th Anniversary

Postby jon » Thu Oct 02, 2014 4:21 pm

This October 2, 1964, Calgary Herald editorial confirms what I've always understood: Calgary never had a repeater of Lacombe:

Image

Edmonton did have a repeater, with 250 watts on 740 KHz. Based on the collection of Edmonton Journals that I have immediate access to, I don't have an exact date for the shut down of the 250 watt downtown Edmonton transmitter and, also on 740, the firing up of the 50,000 watt transmitter just East and slightly North of the new Edmonton International Airport (a long way South of the City in those days).

What I do have is Radio Listings for June 30, 1964, which still shows CBC Radio as CBXA, the call letters of the 250 watt repeater in Edmonton. The October 2, 1964, listings shows CBX, the call letters of both the 50,000 watt transmitters in Lacombe (1010) and Edmonton (740). Since they clearly were not listing Lacombe in June, they would not have been in October, which forces me to conclude that CBX-740 in Edmonton was already on the air with 50,000 watts by October 2.

I wonder what the CBC did with the 50,000 watt Lacombe transmitter and towers? Hard to believe that it was nearing the end of its useful life after just over 15 years of service.
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