CTV Regina marked two milestones Monday as the station officially began broadcasting in high definition while celebrating 60 years on the air.

All local content — including CTV Morning Live, Indigenous Circle and CTV News at Noon, Six and 11:30 — will now be broadcast in high definition.

“This really is a historic day for CTV Regina,” said Bell Media Saskatchewan vice-president and general manager David Fisher.

“This transition is not just an upgrade; an entirely new TV station was installed. To pull this off while continuing to produce all of our newscasts in standard definition speaks to the amazing team of staff and managers here in Regina.”

Fisher was joined in studio by Regina Mayor Michael Fougere and House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer for a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the HD launch.

News director Carl Worth welcomes the introduction of HD and the possibilities it offers the news team for storytelling, but he emphasizes that, “the viewer can be assured the technology which accompanies HD will not undermine the core values and principles that make CTV Regina the market leader in local news.”

Crews have spent the past few months preparing for this switch. A brand new set was built in our studio, tens of thousands of feet of cable were run through the building, the newsroom was revamped with several renovations, new software systems were installed and countless behind-the-scenes upgrades occurred.

Monday also marked the 60th anniversary of CKCK-TV, which signed on the air during the late afternoon of July 28,1954. The first show was the News with Jim McLeod.

“He knew the news inside-out and backwards – what makes a good package; what makes a good presentation,” said former news director Frank Flegel.

CKCK was Western Canada's first privately owned television station. No one knew what television programing was supposed to look like, so station staff experimented with what the audience might enjoy. Jean Freeman was one of the early program producers.

“Back then, because it was such a brand-new medium, nobody knew what we could do and what we couldn’t do,” Freeman said.

“It was like having the biggest sandpile in town – you got to do all sorts of things.”

Local programming was live during the early years. Videotape hadn't been invented yet. It meant trucking everything from cars to appliances into the studio for commercials.

Former program director Carm Scott started working on the studio floor in 1960.

“Water heaters and furnaces, we had to carry all that stuff in and out while the interviews were going on the air. It was quite a challenge,” Scott said.

CKCK built its reputation on community service and the news – a tradition continued daily for 60 years.

The update to HD is the most meaningful evolution for the station since it launched local colour broadcasting in the late 1960s. Millions of dollars were spent on the transition and the upgrades represent a significant investment by Bell Media in the Regina market.

“We were really proud of what we were starting, and I think we’re really proud of the way things have turned out today,” said Freeman.

Over 50 staff currently work at CTV Regina, producing 30 hours of local news and community coverage each week.

With a report by CTV Regina's Wayne Mantyka