It’s hard to remember a time before CBC Newsworld, or CBC News Network as we know it now. For years it’s been the first place I turn when I hear about the sort of breaking news that gives me an urge to follow it nonstop, because it’s one of the very few television news outlets that doesn’t leave me feeling either totally gross or less informed than I was when I started.
But for a little while in the 1980s, it sometimes felt like it might not happen. Between carriage disputes, court challenges and mandated changes to how it had to operate, getting it up and running was anything but smooth sailing. But on July 31st, 1989, nearly two years after its license was granted, it finally did get up and running, and this is what it looked like.
Just try getting that bumper music out of your head, I dare you.
Here’s more from the CBC Archives.
When viewers first tuned in to CBC Newsworld on July 31, 1989, they saw a slew of technical hiccups. Satellites lost their signals, audio crackled in and out, and hosts clumsily stumbled through their first demanding day.
That applied only to those who could actually get the channel. Due to a disagreement with cable companies in Nova Scotia, Alberta and Quebec, Newsworld wasn’t universally available.
But, for the first time in this country, Canadians had their own dedicated 24-hour news channel. Designed for on-the-go viewers, Newsworld offered frequent news updates and magazine-style programming. The network had an exhilarating if imperfect debut, as shown in this local Halifax television report.
Newsworld debuted at 6 a.m. on Day 1 with a taped recording of the national anthem and prepared speeches by CBC president Pierre Juneau, CBC TV vice president Denis Harvey, information programming chief Trina McQueen and Newsworld chief Joan Donaldson.
CBC Newsworld’s first year of programming included a current events program titled Canada Live, the cross-country news program This Country, Newsworld Morning, Business World and Fashion File.