It was an exciting day in local history 60 years ago today when TV came to Sault Ste. Marie.
CJIC-TV signed on the air for the first time and although not a lot of people had tv’s , those who did welcomed friends and neighbours over to view this new technology. Things were pretty rough back then, no network feed meant CBC programming needed to be bused up for airing on the local station.
The very first broadcast was kinescope of the 1955 Grey Cup game, a few days old. Kinescope was the only way to archive “live” programming. It was achieved by using a film camera shooting a video monitor. There was no video tape back then, so most recordings were done this way.
The station was launched by Hyland Radio and TV ltd, that operated CJIC AM radio. The building at 119 east street was purchased and used to house the tv operations and radio.
For the first three or four years CJIC TV channel 2 offered live local shows and news , movies and kinescopes from the CBC. It wasn’t until 1958 that a new microwave system was introduced, meaning live programming was now available to the affiliates from coast to coast. By 1958, CJIC was offering about 7 hours of local programming a day and signed on at noon with a ladies talk show and news.
CJIC TV was the first TV station in the area, including the other side of the border.
In 1966, CJIC began broadcasting in colour and was completely offered in colour by 1970.
Ten years later, Hyland Radio and TV merged with Algonquin broadcasting and a new company was formed, Huron Broadcasting ltd. It operated CJIC TV, CJIC Radio and now CKCY radio along with Lake Superior Cablevision. In 1977, Huron introduced the Sault to CTV and the launch of CKCY TV, CJIC Channel 2 was moved to channel 5 and CKCY TV took over channel 2. Later, Huron sold CKCY radio and CKCY TV was changed to CHBX TV
In 1990, Huron Broadcasting sold it’s assets to Baton Broadcasting. Lake Superior cablevision was sold to McLean Hunter Cable and the two tv stations became part of the Sudbury based MCTV.
In 2001, TV operations were moved to Sudbury and CJIC TV was sold back to the CBC. CJIC TV became a repeater of Toronto station CBLT.
The CJIC TV transmitter went dark on July 31, 2012 due to budget cuts at the CBC.
Today, Sault Ste. Marie is served by the CTV network with a regional broadcast out of Sudbury. 119 east street houses local news and sales offices for the network.