Tuesday, September 1, 2009

End of an Era - CKNX TV station went off the air

Yesterday, marked the end of an era. Now, I must admit honestly that I have not been watching CKNX TV much in the last ten years or so. CKNX was based in Wingham, Ontario and it was one of the earliest television stations in Southwestern Ontario. It came on the air on 18 November 1955. I don't know how soon after that we got our first television set.

For many years, CKNX was the only television station that we received in this area. We got to know the various television personalities: Murray Gaunt (agri-news), John Strong (news) and Crawford Douglas (sports) and Ross Hamilton (weather) to name a few.

We watched the local shows such as Circle 8 Ranch (country and western music) with Al Cherney, Tommy Hunter,  and Cora Robertson.  We also liked the music of Earl and Martha (I believe that was her name) Heywood. Sunday afternoon before Walt Disney, we'd watch Singtime. In later years, it was not on as frequently. Here is what is included in The Churches of Grey Presbytery of the United Church of Canada : Historical Highlights that I wrote in 2007.

Several Churches mentioned Singtime in their activities. Singtime was a United Church programme, sponsored by the Presbyteries of Huron, Bruce and Grey, aired on CKNX-TV in Wingham, Ontario. The programme began in the mid-1950s. The planning committee shared in the planning of content, hosting and interviewing. Many recall watching Singtime late Sunday afternoon but in 1979, according to the Grey Presbytery newsletter Koinonia: The life and work of the United Church in Grey, the programme aired on the second Saturday of the month at 6:30 p.m. with a repetition on the following Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m.

One programme in 1979 featured Shallow Lake United Church. Rev. Larry Marshall hosted Singtime on Saturday, March 10, 1979, with the theme, “Step into the Sunshine” and featured “The Sunshine Signers,” children from the Shallow Lake and Hepworth United Churches. Other singers included the Cheer sisters, Margaret Williams and Rev. Marshall. This was a programme for “The Year of the Child.”

The station became affiliated with CFPL in London and the news came out of London. Since 1992 there has only been seven on staff at the Wingham station.

It is sad to see the end of this era of local television. Barrie and Kitchener provide some coverage of Grey and Bruce news and weather.

To read more about CKNX, check this virtual museum entry.

Wikipedia is already updated to list the station as defunct.

© 2009 Janet Iles

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