CTV Ottawa is, sadly, the lead story on its own, and every other, newscast around eastern Ontario today. A massive fire early this morning destroyed the newsroom as well as the station’s extensive archives. That is a particularly poignant loss as longtime news anchor, and public servant extraordinaire, Max Keeping retires in April after an almost unheard of thirty-seven years with the station.
When CTV outlets used to be known by unique call letters, e,g, CFTO in Toronto, the Ottawa station was known as CJOH and a rebroadcasting station near Cornwall was called CJSS. CJOH was channel 13 and CJSS was channel 8 but you’d never know the difference as programming was identical. Growing up in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield we tuned in to Channel 8 (with rabbit ears!) for most of my early years.
CTV Ottawa’s evening newscasts, thanks mostly to Max Keeping, have been number one in the area ratings for generations, a mainstay of Mom’s day in Perth.
Many years ago, when I was in grade two, my cousin Nancy appeared on a talent show put on each week by the station. I believe it was called “Let’s Take a Bow” and was hosted by Bill Luxton. Nancy, who went on to take formal vocal training, was an excellent singer and won for her efforts on the show. I dare say the recordings of that went up in smoke today. It made for a great “Show and Tell” story at school, I do remember that.
I feel terrible for everyone who works there, none more than Max Keeping. You can well imagine how those archives would have been called into service for his retirement send-off.
A big cyber-hug of sympathy to everyone there!
Quick update: Fortunately, not all archival footage was lost.