The medium was still in its infancy at that time, and bringing it to the Peace was a big risk. But like so many others, once H.L.” Hank” Michaud saw television he was hooked.
In 1956, Michaud had returned to Dawson Creek to take over CJDC radio from his father who had passed away. He was so impressed with what he saw while living down south that one of his first orders of business was to apply for a licence to broadcast television.
On Thursday, January 15, 1959, CJDC-TV signed on the airwaves to bring television to Dawson Creek and the surrounding areas. At the start of telecasting, CJDC-TV operated on low power and broadcast only six hours a day, signing on at 5 pm and ending with a sign off at 11:15. Less than a week later, a “late night” movie was added.
Most of the programming was on film, Michaud said, and they were two weeks behind the network when it came to getting the episodes brought in. With the help of two cameras in the studio, all the commercials and newscasts were broadcast live as was a talk show featuring local personalities.
Early staff members included Mike Lavern (manager), Roland Michaud (sales) and staffers: Ethel Emes, Dorothy Condie, Freda Woodhouse, Val Wake, Glenn Cowan, Chuck Mudrak, Max Wald, Mel Lang, Vera Dana, Maureen Keibel, Omer Michaud, Roy Darling, Doug Mason and Miriam Edinger.
Greg Janzer, a contractor from Pouce Coupe, built the original building in 1955, with the former 1935 “Old-timer’s Cabin” left in the centre of the structure.
Transmitting began from a KW Beatty-type antenna which was mounted atop a 50-foot steel tower located next to the studios in downtown Dawson Creek. In 1962 CJDC-TV installed a new transmitting antenna atop Bear Mountain, 1500 feet above average terrain and increased its power to 5,000 watts audio and 10,000 watts video. Colour broadcasting began in 1967.
In 1997 the owners, Mike and Hank Michaud, sold the operation to Okanagan Skeena Broadcasters and soon after a news bureau and sales office was opened in Fort St John.