Omni Television

Omni Television
Type Broadcast television system
Country Canada
Availability Semi-national (Southern Ontario, Southwestern B.C./Lower Mainland, Alberta)
Owner Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
Key people Leslie Sole - CEO of Television for Rogers Media
Launch date September 16, 2002
Official website Omni Television

Omni Television, corporately styled as OMNI Television, is a Canadian television system owned and operated by Rogers Communications. It consists of the company's conventional television stations which are licensed as multicultural stations. "Omni" is derived from the latin word “omnis” which means “all”. Omni is not an acronym, but the name is written all in capital letters.[1]



Toronto's CFMT launched in 1979 as Canada's first free, over-the-air multilingual/multicultural television station. As its initial format was 100% ethnic, the station experienced financial difficulties, and was on the verge of bankruptcy when Rogers stepped in and purchased it in 1986. Rogers then attempted to launch a similar multicultural station in Vancouver in 1996,[2] 1999[3] and 2002,[4] but none of its applications to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) were successful. It was, however, given a second multicultural licence in Toronto,[5] and launched CJMT as a sister station to CFMT in fall 2002 to provide room for additional multicultural programming. It was at this point that the "OMNI Television" brand was introduced, with CFMT and CJMT branded as "OMNI.1" and "OMNI.2" respectively.

The Omni brand was expanded in 2005, when Rogers acquired two religious TV stations, CHNU in the Vancouver market and CIIT in Winnipeg, from Trinity Television. CHNU was rebranded from "NOWTV" to "OMNI.10" in September 2005, while CIIT went on air as "OMNI.11" on February 6, 2006.

2007 realignment

Several proposed changes to the Omni system were announced, either by Rogers or by the CRTC, during a one-month span in June/July 2007. First, on June 8, the CRTC licensed Rogers to operate new multicultural stations in Calgary and Edmonton, beating out a competing proposal from Multivan Broadcast Corporation (which won the bid for the Vancouver multicultural license in 2002 against Rogers and launched CHNM-TV).

On June 28, Rogers made public its offer to sell the religious-licensed Omni stations in Winnipeg and Vancouver as part of its contemporaneous purchase of Citytv (which the CRTC ordered CTVglobemedia to sell them off as part of the CHUM Limited takeover deal). Rogers indicated, however, that it viewed retaining the multilingual licences in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton as compatible with CRTC policy, since they are licensed to serve a different programming niche than the general interest Citytv stations.[6] (See also twinstick.)

On July 7, Rogers announced an agreement to purchase the aforementioned CHNM, finally securing a true multicultural TV licence in Vancouver.[7] The fact that Rogers had acquired the Calgary and Edmonton multicultural licences, beating out Multivan's competing applications, was cited as a major reason for the sale.

On September 28, the CRTC approved Rogers' takeover of the Citytv stations, giving the company one year to divest itself of the religious Omni stations. A tentative deal to sell the stations to S-VOX, the owner of VisionTV, was announced on November 6. On March 31, 2008, the CRTC approved both Rogers' acquisition of CHNM[8] and its sale of CIIT and CHNU to S-VOX.[9]

CHNU was rebranded as "CHNU 10" on October 31, 2007, a year before the Omni brand was transferred to CHNM. CIIT was rebranded "CIIT11" in July 2008, after S-VOX took control of the station. Both stations rebranded as Joytv on September 1, 2008; CHNM rebranded as "Omni BC" on the same date.

The two new stations in Calgary and Edmonton launched on September 15, 2008 under the call letters CJCO and CJEO.


The Omni stations produce and air language newscasts targeted to their respective community audiences, no less than five days a week as follows:

The news programming consists of both Canadian news translated into the language, and news feeds from countries in which the language is natively spoken (or the Indian subcontinent, in the case of the South Asian edition).

The Toronto-based Omnis are differently licensed with respect to the languages and communities they serve: CFMT airs programming for Europe and Caribbean language communities, while CJMT airs programming for the Pan-Asian and Pan-African audiences. All Omni stations are licensed to air programming in no less than 20 languages to communities encompassing at least 20 cultures.

The Omni stations also must air 60% ethnic programming and 40% English language programming. This business model has served as a template for the industry in addition to contributing to Omni's broadcast longevity—in effect financing the production of their multicultural content. English language content aired on Omni includes syndicated and simulcast versions of many popular series such as The Simpsons and Two and a Half Men, as well as Late Show with David Letterman (on CFMT and CHNM). Generally, these programs offer viewers alternative programming when other Canadian stations air Canadian content and/or local news during the same hours.

While under Rogers ownership, CHNU and CIIT aired many of the same types of programs as CFMT and CJMT, despite the difference in the nature of service of multicultural and religious stations. CHNU and CIIT had previously aired many of the same types of syndicated sitcoms and multicultural programs shown regularly on the Omni stations in Toronto, and the Toronto stations carried some religious teaching programs. The common brand allowed cost savings for promotions and for the acquisition of the general-entertainment programs that all of the Omni stations had used to generate most of their revenues. However, due in particular to Vancouver multicultural station CHNM (while under Multivan ownership) and Toronto religious station CITS, which both opposed Rogers's acquisition of Trinity's religious stations, the Omni stations' core formats remained intact.

Omni Television stations

Call Sign Analogue Channel Digital Channel City/Market
CFMT 47 64 Toronto
CJMT 69 44 Toronto
CHNM 42 20 Vancouver
CJCO 38 -- Calgary
CJEO 56 -- Edmonton

Omni HD

In the fall of 2004, Omni launched high definition (HD) simulcasts of both Toronto stations, CFMT and CJMT. However, at the time both stations were only available through digital cable. In the summer of 2008, both stations began broadcasting digitally over-the-air.

In December 2009, CHNM-DT began broadcasting over-the-air and broadcasts in standard definition (SD).

See also


  1. ^ Network Style Guide
  2. ^ Decision CRTC 97-39, 31 January 1997 - VTV (now CTV British Columbia) was licensed instead.
  3. ^ Decision CRTC 2000-219, 6 July 2000 - CIVI-TV and CHNU-TV were licensed.
  4. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-39, 14 February 2002 - CHNM-TV was licensed.
  5. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-82, 8 April 2002
  6. ^ Rogers offers to sell two stations, Grant Robertson, The Globe and Mail, June 28, 2007
  7. ^ Rogers Media to Acquire Vancouver's 'Channel M' From Multivan Broadcast Corporation, Rogers press release, July 6, 2007
  8. ^ CRTC Decision 2008-72.
  9. ^ CRTC Decision 2008-71.

External links

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