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CTV closes its North Bay location

CTV will continue to have a minor presence in North Bay with the three remaining employees working from home
20200529 ctv for lease turl
CTV has left its longtime Oak St. home and the building is up for lease. The three remaining employees will work from home. Jeff Turl/BayToday.

No fanfare today as CTV quietly closed its Oak St. location after more than 50 years.

In its heyday in the late '90s, the building housed 55 employees in what was then Mid Canada Television/CHUR, better known as MCTV. 

Today that number has dwindled to just three, two reporters and a commercial cameraman/editor.

Back in the '70s, it housed CKNY TV, owned by Cambrian Broadcasting (Northern Cable) before being merged in 1980 with Mid Canada owned by Conrad Lavigne of Timmins.

Cambrian held the CTV affiliates in North Bay, Sudbury, and Timmins. Mid Canada was the CBC affiliate in the same cities. In North Bay it was CHNB.

Both companies were near bankruptcy at the time, and the merging was allowed by the CRTC as a way to "twin-stick" the cities and keep television alive in the north.

In 1990, Northern Cable sold MCTV to Baton Broadcasting which promised more employees, better equipment, and increased programming for the north as part of its "promise of performance."

That never happened and the slow decline began.

Bell Media eventually bought CTV from Baton and started slashing costs.

At one tine CTV North Bay had an hour-long 6 p.m. local newscast and a 30 minute 11:30 evening newscast, as well as other local weekly live programs but Bell cutbacks eliminated those and live newscasts for North Bay, Timmins, and the Soo came out of one studio in Sudbury. 

Television was brought to North Bay originally by local businessmen Gerry Alger and Gerry Stanton in 1955, as a CBC affiliate with the callsign CKGN.  The studio was located in Callander The station was later bought by The Thomson Corporation in 1960, and renamed CFCH.

In 1971 the station was acquired by Cambrian Broadcasting and rebranded CKNY, being the first and last letters of North Bay.

CTV will continue to have a minor presence in North Bay with the three remaining employees working from home.

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Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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