CKAL also operates a rebroadcast transmitter in Lethbridge, broadcasting on UHF channel 46 (or virtual channel 42.1). This station can also be seen on Rogers Cable (corporate sister through parent company Rogers Communications) channel 140; and Shaw Cable channel 8 and in high definition on digital channel 213. On Shaw Direct, the channel is available on 328 (Classic) or 018 (Advanced), and in high definition on channel 017 (Classic) or 517 (Advanced).This station is also available on Bell TV channel 246 and in high definition on channel 1133.
The station launched on VHF channel 5 on September 20, 1997 under the ownership Craig Media, two days after its A-Channel sister station CKEM-TV in Edmonton went on the air for the first time. It billed itself as a station with a very deep connection to Calgary, and whose schedule was not determined by interests in Toronto. Its slogan was "Very independent, very Calgary!" CKAL's opening was marked with a street party and its main studio was easily visible from passersby on 7th Avenue; during the station's first year it even operated a small cafe near its main entrance.
CKEM's master control operations were moved to CKAL's facility in Calgary in 2003. Nine employees working at CKAL were laid off on May 19, 2004 in addition to a 28-employee layoff at Craig Media's CKXT-TV in Toronto. Craig Media said the cuts were made to "further rationalize its operations and control costs".
On July 12, 2006, it was announced that CTVglobemedia would acquire CHUM Limited and its assets, including the Citytv system. As a result of this merger, CKAL added CHMI-TV to its master control duties. The following year, the CRTC announced its approval of CTVglobemedia's purchase of CHUM, but added a condition that CTVglobemedia must sell off CHUM's Citytv stations (including CKAL) to another buyer, although the company was allowed to keep the A-Channel stations since they have CFCN-TV in the same area. On June 12, Rogers Media announced that it would acquire the five Citytv stations (including CKAL) from CTVglobemedia. As a result, effective August 29, the station took over master control duties for sister Citytv station CKVU-TV in Vancouver. The Rogers transaction was approved by the CRTC on September 28 and was officially completed October 31.
CKAL-DT presently broadcasts 15 hours of locally produced newscasts each week, all consisting of three hours each weekday of a local version of City's local morning news program franchise Breakfast Television.
On July 12, 2006 as a result of the CTVglobemedia/CHUM Limited merger, CKAL's local newscasts (with the exception of the noon newscast) were immediately discontinued; the local newscasts were replaced by a half-hour news magazine program called Your City at 6 and 11 p.m., along with CityNews International (produced at the CityNews studios in Toronto, Ontario).
On January 19, 2010, Citytv laid off many additional news personalites as part of restructuring operations. This resulted in Your City, The City Show and Citytv's national and international newscast, CityNews International being cancelled. Since then, the only remaining local program produced by CKAL is the morning show, Breakfast Television.
CKAL began testing its digital signal on August 31, 2010, on UHF channel 49. On August 31, 2011, when Canadian television stations in CRTC-designated mandatory marketstransitioned from analogue to digital broadcasts, the station's digital signal remained on UHF channel 49. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display CKAL-TV's virtual channel as 5.1. On August 13, 2011, the Lethbridge retransmitter started broadcasting CKAL-DT on channel 46 (virtual channel 2.1).
Citytv Restructures Television Operations To Improve Business and Better Serve Audiences Rogers Media press release via CNW Group, published January 19, 2010.
Breakfast Television Calgary homepage
RabbitEars TV Query for CKAL-DT
Digital Television - Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA)
Canadian Communications Foundation - CKAL-TV History
Query the REC's Canadian station database for CKAL-TV