Television can influence people in the short term and culture in the long term.

Television relies on electronic technology, in contrast to movies, a chemical medium.

The structure for television was built around local over-air stations.

Radio was a role for early television programming.

Television has evolved into an efficient purveyor of information.

The four primary sources of television programming are networks, motion picture companies, independent production companies, and local stations.

New technologies and programming services are cracking the big networks' monopoly.


Television is entrenched as a mass medium. It continues to take readers and advertisers from newspapers.

For Canadians, TV ranked the number one medium for entertainment, excitement, information, education and believability.

Books: Publishing houses know look at manuscripts for books in terms of potential for screenplays for television and how the author will come across in television interviews.

Newspapers: Newspapers continue to loose advertisers to television and have over the past decade lost half of their readers to evening newscasts, subsequently eliminating afternoon newspapers.

Magazines: Magazines continue to shift to smaller catered audiences to reach an audience that mass media television can not serve.

Recordings: The success of recorded music today depends a lot on videos shown on MuchMusic or YTV's Hit List.

Movies: Just as magazines demassified after television took away its advertiser, Hollywood demassified after television stole its audience. Savy directors plan movies for the big screen for aftermarkets such as television and video sales.

Radio: Radio too demassified with the arrival of television and has geared music to narrower and narrower audiences.



There are 111 television stations in Canada, 23 are publicly owned, 88 are privately owned.

98% of Canadian households have at least one television set. 60% have two or more television sets.

The average Canadian views about 23 hours of television per week.

Teens watch the least amount of television. 17.1 hours per week.

Albertans watch the least amount of television per week (20.3 hours per week).

Francophones watch the most amount of television (26.6 hrs per week).

Television has changed lifestyles by drawing people away from other diversions that once occupied their time.

Churches, lodges and neighbourhood pubs are all showing less attendance.

26 million people watch 60 minutes every Sunday night.

Revlon was an obscure cosmetic company until it sponsored the $64,000 Question in the late 1950s.

Fictional television characters can capture the imagination of the public

  • Due South did wonders for the reputation of the RCMP
  • Ellen DeGeneres coming out on network television was a milestone for lesbian and gay rights.
  • 1990 Bart Simspon's bratty irreverance toward authority sent quivers through parents and teachers, as did Beavis and Butt-head.
  • 1997 SouthPark dealt with the perverse memories of growing up.


Television can be effective in creating short-term impressions.

Can also be effective in creating long-term effects at a serious level.

Television is a molder of the soul's geography.

It incrementally builds up a psychic structure of expectations, much the same way that school lessons influence a child slowly over the years.

What of the cultural impact of U.S. television on Canadians?

Are Canadians being taught to "think American"?

Media scholar George Comstock believes television has become an unavoidable and unremitting factor in shaping what we are and what we will become.


1920S Vladimir Zworykin, a Westinghouse Physicist devised a vacume tube that could pick up moving images and then deisplay themn electronically on a screen.

The picture quality was not sharp. Electrons were being shot on only 30 horizontal lines compared to 525 lines today.

The British introduced another type of system 3 years earlier.

Soon 10 commercial television stations were licensed, until energies were diverted into the WW11 war effort.


Not until 1952 did the U.S. Federal Communications Commission settle on a comprehensive licensing and frequency allocation.


1955 The Fowler Commission was formed to analyze Canadian broadcasting from the points of view of culture and regulation.

Its report, tabled in 1957, formed the basis of the Broadcasting Act.

  • The forming of the Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG), which would oversee the granting of broadcast licenses.
  • Official government recognition of private broadcasters in Canada.
  • 45% of programming had to be Canadian in nature. That percentage rose to 55% by 1962.

(Private broadcasters did not appreciate the Canadian percentage content requirement).


  • The Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) replaced the BBG and had the power to regulate broadcasting in Canada.
  • The CBC was given its mandate to provide national broadcasting in both languages.
  • Television broadcasters should provide 60% Canadian content.
  • Canadian broadcasting should be owned and operated by Canadians.


1975 The CRTC became the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

  • 1991 a New Broadcasting Act was issued to help further define broadcasting and cultural issues in Canada.
  • Stressed the importance of programming that was Canadian in content and character.
  • Redefined CBC's role to help foster "Canadian consciousness".
  • That cable companies should efficiently deliver Canadian services and stations at a reasonable cost.


Cable TV, direct to home satellites and funding changes have all had an impact on Canadian Television

In the new millenium we will see a change in the ideology and structure of the Canadian television industry.

The CRTC is looking for ways in which to make Canadian television as competitive as possible.

Challenges include:

  • What type of programming will Canadians watch?
  • What's the best model for the creation and distribution of Canadian programming?
  • How can Canadian programming become more competitive and global in nature?