CBC North
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CBC North
CBC North
TypeBroadcast radio network
Television system
HeadquartersYellowknife, Northwest Territories
OwnerCanadian Broadcasting Corporation
Key people
Janice Stein, managing director
Launch date
1958 (radio)
1973 (television)
Former names
CBC Northern Service
Official website
CBC North

CBC North (Inuktitut: , romanizedSiiPiiSii Ukiuqtaqtumi; Cree: ?, romanized: SiiPiiSii Chiiwetinuutaahch; French: Radio-Canada Nord) is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's radio and television service in Northern Canada, in particular within the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Nord-du-Québec regions. It began radio broadcast operations in 1958, as the CBC Northern Service. It took over CFYK, a community-run station in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, which began broadcasting in 1948 and was opened by the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (see NWT&Y Radio System).

Shortwave broadcasting to the North began in 1960, from CBC's shortwave transmitter complex in Sackville, New Brunswick. CFFB began operation in Frobisher Bay, now Iqaluit, on February 6, 1961. The service consisted of local programming in Inuktitut, English and French, and news and other programs from the CBC network received via shortwave. With the advent of the Anik series of satellites, Inuktitut and English radio programming from CFFB became accessible in most Eastern Arctic communities.


CBC North Radio carries daily aboriginal language programming in Dene Suline, Tlicho, North and South Slavey, Gwich'in, Inuvialuktun, Inuktitut, and Cree. The shows include news, weather, and entertainment, providing service to the many people in Northern Canada whose first language is not English.


In Yukon, the regular CBC Radio One schedule in English airs on CFWH. CFWH is the only station in the network which uses the Saturday afternoon 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. local arts program block to air the French-language program Rencontres,[1] as the territory outside Whitehorse is not served by an Ici Radio-Canada Première production centre or a local francophone community radio station. Whitehorse is served locally by CFWY-FM 102.1, a repeater of CBUF-FM Vancouver, owned locally by the Association Franco-Yukonnaise.[2]

Northwest Territories

In the Northwest Territories, CBC North airs special afternoon programming in First Nations languages.

On CFYK-FM in Yellowknife, which serves the southern part of the territory, the afternoon schedule is as follows:

On CHAK in Inuvik, which serves the northern Beaufort Delta area, afternoon programs comprise:

  • 1:00-2:00 p.m. MT - Nantaii ("country road"), Gwich'in
  • 2:00-3:00 p.m. MT - Le Got'she Deh ("locality and land"), North Slavey
  • 3:00-4:00 p.m. MT - Tusaavik ("listening place"), Inuvialuktun

On Saturday afternoons there is a summary of the week's news in all the aboriginal languages called Dene Yati from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.


In Nunavut, there are greater differences in CFFB service. The Nunavut service is the only local or regional CBC Radio service which covers three time zones (Eastern, Central, and Mountain).

Bilingual programs in Inuktitut and English:

  • 6:30-9:30 a.m. ET - Qulliq ("oil lamp"), local morning program
  • 12:00-1:00 p.m. ET - Nipivut ("our voices"), local midday program

Inuktitut programs:

  • 1:00-3:00 p.m. ET - Tausunni ("smell of humans") from Iqaluit
  • 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET - Tuttavik ("place of encounter") from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, QC
  • 4:00-6:00 p.m. ET - Tusaajaksat ("things heard about") from Rankin Inlet, Kivalliq Region (CBQR-FM)
  • 10:00-10:30 p.m. ET - Ullumi Tusaqsauqaujut ("heard today"), highlights from the day's Inuktitut programs
  • 10:30-11:00 p.m. ET - Sinnaksautit ("bedtimes") features traditional Inuit storytelling

Furthermore a music request show airs on Sunday afternoons at 3:00 p.m. The Nunavut program service also carried a CBC North regional live music program called The True North Concert Series on Saturday afternoons at 5:00 p.m. TNCS featured concert recordings from across the three northern territories.



In the Nunavik region the program service from Nunavut is heard on a single-frequency network of low-power FM transmitters (main station: CFFB-FM-5 Kuujjuaq),[3] with some program differences: Weekday mornings from 6:00 to 7:00 a.m. Quebec AM from CBVE-FM Quebec City is broadcast, and a repeat of Tuttavik from CBC in Kuujjuaq airs from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Eeyou Istchee

In Eeyou Istchee, CBFG-FM Chisasibi[4] and its repeaters simulcast Ici Radio-Canada Première outlet CBF-FM Montreal in French, except for three hours of regional programming in the Cree language on weekdays, namely Winschgaoug (, "get up") from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m., repeated from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., and Eyou Dipajimoon (? , "Cree news") from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. These Cree programs are to be transferred to the English-language Radio One affiliates (CBMP-FM etc.).[5]

Shortwave service

CBC Radio Nord Québec used to operate a shortwave service, transmitted from the Radio Canada International transmitter (CKCX) in Sackville, New Brunswick, on 9.625 MHz with 100 kW and programmed from the CBC studios in Montreal. This shortwave service was shut down December 1, 2012 and replaced by five low powered FM transmitters broadcasting on 103.5 MHz from Puvirnituq, Kuujjuarapik, Inukjuak, Salluit, and Kuujjuaq.[6][7]

Two CBC Radio One stations, CFGB-FM in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador (with call sign CKZN) and CBU in Vancouver, British Columbia (with call sign CKZU) operate shortwave relay transmitters, but neither transmitter site has the ability to reach the Arctic with usable signals year-round.

The CBC Northern Service featured a mailbag program on Friday or Saturday evenings entitled The Northern Messenger. Since mail delivery was rare in the north, letters were sent to the CBC studios in Montreal and read on the air to listeners in far-flung settlements.[8] The program had been broadcasting every year, since December 1933 when it was started by the CBC's predecessor, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission and included personal messages to RCMP officers, missionaries, trappers, and others from family and friends.[9] The show was made up of listener letters, important messages from family and friends in other parts of the country, news, and recorded music, and would run from November to May on CRBC's stations as well as several Canadian shortwave stations. During its first season, the program relayed 1,745 messages; a figure that increased sixfold within four years. The program would be continued by the CBC into the 1970s.[10][11][12][13]

Reception issues

Both Radio One transmitters broadcast 1 kW Effective radiated power. These shortwave relays could be difficult to receive, due to increased terrestrial noise from electrical and electronic systems. Also, nighttime broadcasting on 9.625 MHz is difficult due to interference from Radio Exterior de España, which uses that frequency at night for transmission to North America.


The primary CBC North television production centre is CFYK-DT in Yellowknife, with local news bureaus located in Hay River, Inuvik, Whitehorse and Iqaluit. The CBC North television service is seen through a network of community-owned rebroadcasters in some communities in the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, and Nunavut. Until July 31, 2012, the CBC owned and operated many rebroadcasters in the Canadian Arctic which, combined with community rebroadcasters, ensured coverage to the vast majority of communities in the North. These rebroadcasters shut down on that date because of budget cuts mandated by the CBC; only the transmitters owned by local governments or community organisations remain in operation.[14][15] Among the rebroadcasters affected by the closure were CFWH-TV in Whitehorse and CFFB-TV in Iqaluit. Although they operated as semi-satellites with their own associated rebroadcasters, they were licensed as rebroadcasters of CFYK. However, most viewers in the Arctic did not lose access to CBC programming because of the extremely high penetration of cable and satellite, which is necessary for acceptable television in much of this region.

CBC North is essentially a television system within the larger CBC Television network, airing the same programming as the main network (with some exceptions). Until 2011, the CBC North stations were not licensed as television stations, but as transmitters used to redistribute CBC North's satellite feed.

The station airs a half hour evening news program known as CBC News: Northbeat, which replaced the weekly Focus North in 1995, and is anchored by Juanita Taylor (2008-2018 by Randy Henderson). It was the sole local newscast that was not merged into Canada Now from 2000 to 2006.

A daily newscast in Inuktitut, Igalaaq (?, "Window", replacing the weekly Aqsarniit in 1995), is also aired at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time, again at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time in Nunavut, and at 4:00 and 5:30 p.m. in the Northwest Territories with anchor Madeleine Allakariallak. Allakariallak took over from host Rassi Nashalik after they retired in 2014. A weekly Cree newsmagazine, Maamuitaau (, "Let's get together", starting 1982), also airs on CBC North TV. These programs also aired on APTN before that channel launched its own news operation.

Unlike the other owned-and-operated CBC stations, CBC North airs few local ads, instead airing additional promotions for other CBC programs and public service announcements.

There are two CBC North television feeds: one for the NWT and Nunavut on a Mountain Time schedule and another for the Yukon on Pacific Time. All local CBC North programs originate from Yellowknife and other Arctic locales. Viewers with C-Band dishes used to enjoy CBC North in the clear until around 2000 when the CBC switched to a proprietary digital system, requiring a $3,000 receiver.

Before the change to digital transmission, the two CBC North TV satellite feeds originated in St. John's (which was seen in the Eastern Arctic) and Vancouver (which was seen in the NWT and Yukon). Those channels carried regional programs originating in those areas to the north. With the new digital transmission system (now centralized at CBC Television's headquarters in Toronto), the north no longer sees the regional east-coast and west-coast programs. Prior to this centralization, the CBC North feed also doubled as the main network feed for CBC Television's owned-and-operated stations and affiliates, with local commercials, news programs, and, in some cases, syndicated programming and other local shows, replacing CBC North programming and material.

Some United States communities can receive CBC North on cable or low-powered TV.[]


The CBC Northern Service was a significant source of musical recordings of Inuit and First Nations artists in the 1970s and 1980s. After beginning Inuktitut- and Cree-language broadcasting in northern Quebec, the service saw the need for more musical content. This was recorded on cassettes, which were of little use to many of the broadcasting stations. The Northern Service began producing vinyl 45 RPM records in 1973. The first session produced singles by Charlie Panigoniak and Mark Etak. A 1975 session recorded singles from Sugluk, from Salluit, Quebec. In the late 1970s, the Northern Service's recording budget was increased. Artists were now flown in for professional recording sessions at the CBC's Montreal offices. Over 120 recordings were made in this period by artists including Morley Loon, William Tagoona, Willie Thrasher, and Alanis Obomsawin. In the mid-1980s, production was moved to Ottawa. The final sessions recorded by the service were in 1986.[16][17]

Some of these recordings were remastered by Kevin "Sipreano" Howes for the 2014 compilation album Native North America, Vol. 1.[18]


  1. ^ "AFY : Association franco-yukonnaise". www.afy.yk.ca.
  2. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2003-534, 4 November 2003
  3. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2020-86, 4 March 2020
  4. ^ Decision CRTC 2001-541, 31 August 2001
  5. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2020-85, 4 March 2020
  6. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-602, CFFB Iqaluit - New transmitters in Puvirnituq, Kuujjuarapik, Inukjuak, Salluit and Kuujjuaq (Fort Chimo), CRTC, October 30, 2012
  7. ^ (CRTC), Government of Canada, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. "ARCHIVED - CFFB Iqaluit - New transmitters in Puvirnituq, Kuujjuarapik, Inukjuak, Salluit and Kuujjuaq (Fort Chimo) - Correction". www.crtc.gc.ca.
  8. ^ Lorna Roth, Something new in the air: the story of First Peoples television broadcasting in Canada. McGill-Queen's Press, 2005, p. 67
  9. ^ Cite error: The named reference crbc was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  10. ^ http://www.ontheshortwaves.com/Wavescan/wavescan180304.html
  11. ^ https://dokumen.pub/the-early-shortwave-stations-a-broadcasting-history-through-1945-9781476604749-1476604746.html
  12. ^ https://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/bush-pilot-rescued-after-58-days-in-nwt-wilderness
  13. ^ https://archive.macleans.ca/article/1937/1/15/voice-over-the-arctic
  14. ^ "April 4 o CBC/Radio-Canada". cbc.radio-canada.ca.
  15. ^ (CRTC), Government of Canada, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. "ARCHIVED - Revocation of licences for the rebroadcasting stations CBIT Sydney and CBKST Saskatoon and licence amendment to remove analog transmitters for 23 English- and French-language television stations". www.crtc.gc.ca.
  16. ^ Keillor, Elaine; Archambault, Tim; Kelly, John M H (2013). Encyclopedia of Native American Music of North America. Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood. pp. 246-247. ISBN 9780313336003.
  17. ^ Linttell, Perry. "The history of CBC Northern Service recordings" (PDF). Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2014.
  18. ^ "Native North America Vol 1 review - a goldmine of forgotten fusions". The Guardian, November 23, 2014.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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