sowny.net | The Southern Ontario/WNY Radio-TV Forum


You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

September 8, 2019 9:31 am  #1


Are These The Only 5-Call Letter Stations In Canada Or The U.S.?

I have no idea why I thought of this and it will certainly be the most irrelevant thing you'll be asked to think about today, but it occurred to me earlier this week how strange the five call letters are for some of the CBC’s French television stations.
 
Clearly the Toronto one was made to incorporate its English counterpart’s CBLT-TV. And that’s how CBLFT was born. That pattern repeats across the country. Moncton boasts CBAFT, Ottawa has CBOFT, Winnipeggers can watch CBWFT, Vancouverites can see CBUFT, while those in Alberta can tune into CBXFT in Edmonton and viewers in Saskatchewan can “parlez view” CBKFT.
 
While there are a few five letter station I.D.s in Mexico, I can’t think of another similar combo anywhere else in this part of North America. It’s a weird anomaly and I’m pretty sure these may be the only ones in either the U.S. or Canada.

Three letter call signs are less common in Canada than the U.S., but the only ones I can think of that are commercial (as opposed to the CBC) are CKX in Brandon, Manitoba and CKY in Winnipeg. CKO was a national all news network that went out of business in 1989. 

 

September 8, 2019 11:43 am  #2


Re: Are These The Only 5-Call Letter Stations In Canada Or The U.S.?

I think there may still be some LPRTs out there with calls like CBF-16 on 990 or CBOF-4 on 1400.   But of course, they never ID as such.  Not to mention the various CBON-FM outlets like CBON-FM-27 in Wawa.



 

 

September 8, 2019 7:29 pm  #3


Re: Are These The Only 5-Call Letter Stations In Canada Or The U.S.?

I don’t think CKX exists any longer and CKY masquerades as CTV Winnipeg. And is there a CBA that CBAFT is connected to?

Last edited by Hamiltonboy (September 8, 2019 7:30 pm)

 

September 8, 2019 8:10 pm  #4


Re: Are These The Only 5-Call Letter Stations In Canada Or The U.S.?

Hamiltonboy wrote:

CKY masquerades as CTV Winnipeg.

And as Kiss 102.3
 


 
 

September 12, 2019 7:45 pm  #5


Re: Are These The Only 5-Call Letter Stations In Canada Or The U.S.?

RadioActive wrote:

viewers in Saskatchewan can “parlez view” CBKFT.

CBKST in Toontown (now off air) had a fun fact:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CBKST

CBKST had ties to the CBC's longest-running import, Coronation Street, according to the 2002 edition of the Guinness Book of Records (and noted in previous editions), CBKST acquired 1,144 episodes of the British soap from Granada Television on May 31, 1971, the largest number of TV shows ever purchased in one transaction.

 

 

September 12, 2019 7:46 pm  #6


Re: Are These The Only 5-Call Letter Stations In Canada Or The U.S.?

Not broadcast related, but the newer upgraded Environment Canada weather radar xmitters have five-letter calls. 

Last edited by patmantim (September 12, 2019 7:47 pm)

 

September 12, 2019 7:49 pm  #7


Re: Are These The Only 5-Call Letter Stations In Canada Or The U.S.?

NW wrote:

I think there may still be some LPRTs out there with calls like CBF-16 on 990 or CBOF-4 on 1400.   But of course, they never ID as such.  Not to mention the various CBON-FM outlets like CBON-FM-27 in Wawa.
 

My favourite call is CBAA-FM near Bathurst NB, a translator of CBAM Moncton (formerly CBA Sackville).

BAAAAAAAA indeed.

 

September 12, 2019 7:55 pm  #8


Re: Are These The Only 5-Call Letter Stations In Canada Or The U.S.?

Mexico has 3, 4, 5, and even 6 letter call signs. XHRIO in Matamoros, Mexico used to be the UPN affiliate in Brownsville, TX, and had the call sign of XHHUPN. 

 

September 12, 2019 9:05 pm  #9


Re: Are These The Only 5-Call Letter Stations In Canada Or The U.S.?

Callsign policy is sort of a mess on both sides of the border. 

The FCC treats the suffix (-FM, -TV) as part of a unique callsign, so "WNEDFM" and "WNEDTV" are considered separate calls, and the full call includes all six letters in both cases. But in the US, you can have an FM or TV station without a suffix, so long as the base call isn't duplicated on another service. For the entire time (1962-2005) that Rochester's channel 13 was WOKR, that was its entire callsign. It was never WOKR-TV - but it had to become WHAM-TV and not just "WHAM," because "WHAM" is the callsign on the once-sister AM station. Channel 21 in Rochester started as simply WXXI, then added the -TV in 1984 when it bought an AM station and put the WXXI calls there. (WXXI-FM began in 1974 as WXXI-FM and has remained ever thus.)

Not that it matters, since they're never heard on the air any longer, at least in English, but the CBC's callsign policy has been weirdly inconsistent as well. When many of the Radio One stations migrated from AM to FM, it was with no rhyme or reason as to how calls would move. In Ottawa, CBO 920 became CBO-FM 91.5, with the former CBO-FM (CBC Stereo/Radio Two) on 103.3 becoming CBOQ. Most everywhere else, the Radio Two station kept the CB_-FM call and the Radio One station changed calls upon moving to FM - CBM 940 to CBME 88.5, CBL 740 to CBLA 99.1, CBE 1550 to CBEW 97.5. Radio-Canada liked to keep the three-letter call on the premiere chaine service, so CBF 690 became CBF 95.1 in Montreal (while CBF-FM 100.7 became CBFX), CBV 980 Montreal became CBV 106.3, etc.

There was little rhyme or reason, ever, to how satellite stations got assigned calls if they weren't production centers. CBF's relays in Quebec seemed to mostly get numbers, as have the more recent relays of CBLA across southern Ontario. Earlier relays got separate calls - CBCP Peterborough, CBCL London (now an independent station), CBCK Kingston. Some TV relays ended up with five letters, like CBLAT Geraldton, while others got suffix numbers. (And most are gone now anyway.) 

And yes, some French stations in English territory ended up with CB_FT calls, like CBLFT, CBOFT Ottawa, CBEFT Windsor and CBUFT Vancouver. There was only one CB_ET like that in Quebec that I know of, CBJET Chicoutimi. There could have been a CBVET Quebec City to go with CBVE, the English-language CBC there, but instead it was CKMI, a privately-owned affiliate (which later became a CBMT Montreal relay with a CBMT-number callsign before going dark.)