History of RTA

A Brief History of RTA

RTA television studio circa 1956

RTA television studio circa 1956

1948 – The Ryerson Institute of Technology is founded. It is named after Egerton Ryerson, the founder of public education in Ontario. At that time, its communications arts program was initiated as a nine-month radio broadcasting course within the School of Engineering.

1949 – Ryerson establishes its first radio station, combining a live project for electronic engineers and a place for management and operations training for Radio and Television Arts students. The station eventually would evolve into local public radio station CJRT-FM.

1951 – The Communications Arts course is expanded to a two year program.

1953 – Television facilities are added and Ryerson begins offering a diploma in Radio and Television Arts (RTA) – three years of full-time study.

1960 – RTA moves to modern studio and classroom facilities in the east wing of the newly-constructed Ryerson Quadrangle.

1965 – CJRT-FM separates from RTA and becomes an educational and community service station.

1967 – CJRT-FM moves to facilities at 297 Victoria Street. One of the department’s two large television studios becomes fully equipped for colour program production.

1971 – Recognizing its importance in Communications Arts instruction, Ryerson received its charter as a degree granting institution by an act of the Ontario Legislature in July 1971.

Radio studio circa 1965

RTA Radio studio circa 1965

1973 – In September, the faculty of Radio and Television Arts launches its degree program (predecessor to a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree program that would follow). Since then, thousands of degrees have been awarded to RTA graduates.

1976 – A second colour TV studio is installed.

1991 – The $25-million Rogers Communications Centre, a state-of-the-art facility for the Schools of Journalism, Radio and Television, and Computer Science, opens. The Centre is named in honour of Edward S. Rogers Sr., the late father of Ted Rogers, in recognition of the leadership gift given by Ted and Loretta Rogers.

1992 – The School of Radio and Television Arts moves to the new Rogers Communications Centre.

1993 – Ryerson gains full university status. Ryerson Polytechnic University is established by an act of the provincial legislature, which grants Ryerson a fully-funded research role and the power to develop graduate programs.

2000 – Ryerson launches its first three graduate programs. Ted and Loretta Rogers donate $10 million to establish the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Graduate School for Advanced Communications.

2002 – The name Ryerson University is made official by an act of the provincial legislature.

2006 – On May 11, 2006 RTA hosts one of the largest alumni gatherings to celebrate the official launch of its recently-established high definition (HD) television facilities. These facilities are technically the first of their kind in Canada and remain the first in an academic setting.

2011 – Ryerson University Senate approves the new name “RTA School of Media”

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Along with the new facilities, RTA is also offering two new degrees: a Master of Arts in Media Production and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in New Media.

For more than five decades, the University and RTA program in particular has improved and upgraded its audio, video and multimedia facilities by moving from analog to digital technologies, upgrading their editing to non-linear, and adding 5.1 surround sound production facilities, special effects and post-production facilities that meet the professional standards found in the private sector.

RTA graduates are some of the most respected broadcasting and communications professionals, holding positions with some of Canada’s most recognized industry leaders such as broadcasters CBC, CTV and CHUM.

RTA accepts 165 students each year and enrolment in all four years is over 550 students. The program not only includes Canadian students, but welcomes students from Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, Asia and many other places around the world.