An early 1960's picture of Rediffusion Wiremen attatching their distribution cables to the poles of Hydro-Quebec Montreal Canada.
1085 Beaver Hall Hill
MONTREAL 1, QUE.
Tel: UNiversity 4601
Cable: Broadrelay Montreal
Did you work for Rediffusion Inc.
in Montreal or can you provide any information about the company which can be added to this page.
Were you one of the 80,000 subscribers ? What are your memories of Rediffusion ? Please let us know.
1969 CATV Equipment Room. Montreal Canada.
In my opinion Rediffusion Inc. had a number of strikes against commencing its operation in Montreal.
First, the extreme climate from -20F below to +90F and 6 feet of snow, second, the language, third, almost complete lack of trained technical help and fourth, direction from overseas. ( A local business man in Montreal realised this shortage of trained people in technical subjects and established a training school called Institute Tecarck.)
Initially Rediffusion comprised three operations in Montreal:
i. Video distribution system (North American Project).
ii. Audio distribution system as in the UK plus
iii. Musak and a Musak service to clubs, bowling alleys etc.
The NAP operated in a square mile downtown comprising large apartments and hotels, the Rediffusion system in the east end of the city and Musak wherever we could find customers.
As no tv stations existed when the NAP commenced we had studios and film chains for developing programmes. A very popular talk show entitled Tant Pauline was run by a talented Pauline Bussiere who had quite a following. We also ran a sporting news programme by a Ron Morrier who some years later became the top Sports Director for a TV station in Vancouver.
The direction from overseas was apparent in many ways but was quickly felt by many employees when it was decreed that only Ford 8 (unheated) vans and Ford Consul cars were to be used. Try driving a Ford 8 van with several feet of snow on the streets!
Also due to the extreme cold at times our outside crews had a large truck fitted with a heater and seats so that after a session on pole lines in extreme cold they could sit in the truck and restore their circulation. Should not be used wasting money was the decision.
We also ran into problems when cables contracted in the extreme cold and pulled out of connectors, some years later we had another problem in extreme heat when aerial mounted equipment could not handle the extreme temperature changes in the summer months.
The language problem became evident when trying to train sales people, remember that most had never seen or even heard of television so trying to explain Rediffusion audio systems was difficult to say the least. They would initially be selling a loudspeaker and audio channels. What they perceived they were going to sell only became apparent when the first Canadian TV station came on air and hundreds of audio subscribers wanted to know where their tv pictures were? Naturally we disconnected a large number of dissatisfied audio customers. However once the tv station started operating we started renting 9" tv consoles as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately the TV sales did not go as expected so we commenced a field test of Cable TV, as it is known today where the subscriber had Rediffusion connected to their own TV, this was carried out in an area known as Outremont and was highly successful, probably the actual birth of Cable TV.
Rediffusion staff were the first to commence an association known as Canadian Cable Television Association in the sixties., with head office in Montreal.
Brian Coyne, was the Asstistant Chief Engineer of Rediffusion Overseas Division and had responsibilities for overseeing the implementation of the Rediffusion wired system in Montreal Canada. Below are some of his memories from Sixty Years Ago.