CHEK brought local TV to Victoria in 1956

An early CHEK control room. When CHEK launched in 1956, it was the first station to take to the airwaves on Vancouver Island and the first independently owned station in British Columbia.
Photograph By CHEK

by Diane Dakers

Times Colonist

Originally Published: July 24, 2016

Victoria’s CHEK-TV has long been a trailblazer in the television industry, setting records as the first independently owned TV station in B.C., the first station in Canada to introduce colour telecasting, and — as of 2009 — the first employee-owned TV station in North America. In the excerpt below, Victoria writer Diane Dakers captures the excitement of CHEK’s first years and profiles some of its early programs and personalities.

‘At 11:25 Thursday night, the great moment came. Engineers flipped the switch and the Channel 6 test pattern was witnessed by Victorians who had sat up late to witness the historic event. After years of planning, disappointments and reverses, CHEK-TV was on the air.” — Daily Colonist, Nov. 30, 1956.

In 1950, Victoria radio broadcaster David Armstrong launched CKDA-AM radio (with the “DA” in the call letters standing for David Armstrong). Four years later, he was awarded British Columbia’s first FM radio licence. In 1956, he made history again, when he was awarded British Columbia’s first independent television licence.

On March 29, 1956, the Victoria Daily Times announced: “Armstrong Gets City TV Station: CKDA Gets Licence for Channel 6.” The article reported that the 36-year-old had won the licence over another applicant, International Television Corp. Ltd., a New Westminster company owned by Armstrong’s mentor (and CKNW radio founder), William Rea.

Read More HERE

Ida Clarkson, third from the right, Reg Stone at the key board


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