Remembered for your contributions to the broadcasting industry
Gary Russell (Norm Vidler), 67, in White Rock, BC. His 41-year broadcast career began at CKYFM Winnipeg, then owned by Moffat Communications, as an operator/booth announcer. He grew at Moffat into programming and management responsibilities. Later, he joined Standard Broadcasting in Vancouver and, when Astral Media purchased Standard in 2007, Russell became VP/GM of Astral’s 95 Crave (CKZZ) and CISL. Late in 2007, he announced that his retirement would take effect Feb. 1, 2008. In 2008, he was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasting’s Hall of Fame. During his broadcast career, Russell also served on the boards of BBM, the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters, the National Advertising Benevolent Society, ABS West, Music BC and on the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s advisory council. His post-radio days included being vice-chair of the City of White Rock Cultural Committee. Gary Russell was the brother of two other accomplished broadcasters, Jeff Vidler and Chuck McCoy.
Paul Dorazio, 74, in Edmonton. Known on-air as Paul Revere, he was a programmer and a rock jock at such far flung locales as St. John’s, NL, Hamilton, Thunder Bay and at CKRM Regina. He was a jock at the old CFGM-AM Toronto, then a powerhouse of country music and located above a Richmond Hill drug store. He rocked at CKPR-AM Thunder Bay in the early ‘70s. Revere owned 10-thousand 45 RPMs and five-thousand LPs. As he delved into the musical past he’d say, “I’ll bring back memories you never thought you had”. Revere had also been active in Regina community radio.
Brian Sawyer, a month short of his 76th birthday, in Montreal. Known on the broadcast technical side countrywide, Sawyer‘s career began in 1962 at Maple Leaf Broadcasting, then the owner of CHML-AM and CHCH-TV Hamilton. Later, he worked in engineering capacities at CFTO-TV Toronto, CFGM Richmond Hill, his own consultancy for nine years, CBC’s engineering headquarters in Montréal, Advanced Transmission Solutions in Montréal and, most recently, Yves R. Hamel and Associates in Montréal.
George Jonas, 80, in Toronto. The author and columnist, who’d been ill for a number of years, emigrated to Canada in 1956 and went to work for the CBC as a producer. He was with the public broadcaster for over three decades. Most recently, Jonas was a columnist for the National Post.
Angus Mackay, 67. The early-days DJ at CHOM FM and, later at Mix 96 in Montreal, introduced listeners to the likes of Van Morrison, Boz Scaggs and Jackson Browne. Mackay was part of the re-invention of FM, taking the frequency from Classical music programming to Rock. He was doing CHOM afternoons when the station was taken over by FLQ extremists who insisted on broadcasting their demands. He and other staffers allowed the takeover. After a few minutes of airing their grievances, they got distracted and started playing music. Said Mackay, “It was just amusing to see the whole disintegration of their political agenda and how it evolved into a teen beat dance party”.
John Harvard, 77, in Winnipeg. The Liberal MP served 16 years in Parliament from 1988-2004, and was Manitoba’s 23rd lieutenant governor from 2004-2009. He was a broadcast journalist from 1957 to 1988, working at CBC for 18 years and as the host of CJOB Winnipeg’s Talk Back. (Eds Note: Incidentally, the late Peter Liba, a senior broadcaster at CanWest, was Harvard’s predecessor as Manitoba lieutenant-governor.).
Jack Mattenley, 99, in Barrie. The CKVR-TV (CTV Barrie) pioneer was there back in the early 50s as operations manager under station owner Ralph Snelgrove. Later, he became the general manager, the vice-president/GM and sat on the board of directors at CHUM Ltd., which purchased CKVR from Snelgrove.
Bev McRae, 70, in Ottawa. The former CFRA Ottawa host, the widow of legendary Ottawa journalist Earl McRae, was a regular fill-in host in the late 90s and early 2000s, and co-hosted The Broad Perspective.
Jack “J.J” Cennon, 93, in Prince Albert. The well-known CKBI Prince Albert host began his career in 1936 at CFQC Saskatoon. In 1941, he began service in the Second World War. Upon return to civilian life, Cennon moved to Prince Albert and became the host of the CKBI Wake Up, Shake Up show, a gig he would hold for 40 years.
James R. Grisenthwaite, 88, in Toronto. He joined CKCK Regina in 1946 as an announcer and became the station’s manager in 1964. Grisenthwaite later managed CKRC Winnipeg and CKOC Hamilton. He was appointed as VP at Armadale Communications in 1970.
Ken Trew, 68, at Barrie’s Royal Victoria Hospital. Trew had been PD and morning show host in the ‘70s at CKBB Barrie and, later, the morning host at CHAY-FM Barrie. He was at CHAY for about 15 years before leaving in 2000. His signature show-closer each day was “Mornin’, mornin’, everybody”. Later, Trew worked at CICX Orillia, then called EZ Rock, as a fill-in host.
Charlie Tuna in Tarzana, CA. He worked in morning drive at more stations and formats than anyone in Los Angeles radio history: Top 40, AC, Hot AC, Oldies, Talk, Sports Talk and Country. In1997, Los Angeles Radio People readers voted Tuna one of the Top 10 L.A. Radio Personalities of All Time. Charlie Tuna is perhaps best remembered as part of the legendary KHJ boss jock line-up.
Brad Cauthard, 59, in his sleep at home. The bulk of his career was in lighting at CHCH-TV Hamilton, eventually becoming lighting director. Cauthard left full-time employment at CHCH in 2002 to become a freelancer which included CHCH as a client.
Richard George Gale at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton. Gale was best known for his CKDS-FM Hamilton program, An Evening with Richard Gale, which ran for more than 28 years.
Thomas Harrison Spaulding, 88, in Napanee, Ont. His broadcast career included being a set designer and art director for CBC Toronto when it launched in 1952, Granada TV Manchester and CJOH-TV Ottawa. Spaulding left television and design to become a filmmaker.
Bob McIntyre, 73, in Barrie. About 13 years ago, he was diagnosed with non Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His optimism about his condition made him a public source of inspiration for others dealing with cancer. The long-time CTV (CKVR-TV) Barrie weatherman had been with the station for a combined 40 years in two periods. His first go-round began in 1972 as an anchor and, later, as news director. He left the station for a few years in the mid-70s/early 80s to become ND at CKBB Barrie. McIntyre’s 50-year on-air career also included CFJR Brockville and CHUM Toronto. He retired November 2015.
David R. Spencer, 75, in London. He was a founding professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario in London. After graduating from Ryerson in Toronto, Spencer moved to CJAD Montreal and, later, to sister CKFM Toronto where he spent a decade as an announcer/producer/production manager. In 1972, he joined the broadcast program at Humber College where he stayed for 15 years before moving to Western.
Ed Boylan, 80, in Halifax. Boylan’s long-time broadcast career began at CKBW Bridgewater in 1956 as a staff announcer. Later, he moved to news and became news director. Boylan retired from CKBW in 1995.
Tammy Moyer, in Vancouver. Most recently she was with News 1130 Vancouver as the morning host. Moyer’s broadcast career spanned two decades with stops in Victoria, Vancouver and Montreal.
George McLean, 92, in Toronto. The CBC-TV journalist began his on-air career at CJRL Kenora in 1946. Six years later, he moved to CKRC Winnipeg. Then to CKOK Penticton and then to CBC Television in 1956. He became known country-wide as the regular back-up for hosting national newscasts, including The National. McLean retired in 1986. HERE is a clip from his last broadcast.
Wally Crouter, 92, in Toronto. He was the top-rated morning man in Toronto for five decades, talking to a CFRB audience that, at the time, was numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Crouter joined CFRB Nov. 1, 1946 and retired Nov. 1, 1996 — 50 years to the day of his start. His only other radio experience was with CHEX Peterborough. Wally Crouter is a member of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Pre-deceasing Crouter were morning show stalwarts Jack Dennett (news), Bill Stephenson (sports) and Bob Hesketh (news & commentary).
Jean Lapierre, 59, in an Îles-de-la-Madeleine plane crash that killed six others including his wife and family members. All had been en route to his father’s funeral. Among his other public endeavours, Lapierre was an editorial contributor to CJAD Montreal and CTV Montreal. Before moving to journalism, he was a politician whose first stop was as a Liberal MP.
Leon Korbee, in Toronto. The former advisor for two Ontario premiers had a 20-year broadcast stint as a CTV Toronto reporter (1983-2003). Korbee served as a senior communications advisor to Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne.
David Proc, 60, in Edmonton. Proc, a 40-year broadcast veteran, had been with ITV (Global) Edmonton for 25 years.
CBC Journalist Jean Martin, 59, in Quebec City. The former Radio-Canada TV anchorman in Quebec, Mauricie and Eastern Quebec until August 2012 was also an actor and former radio performer.
Pat Cardinal, 54, in Edmonton.. He began his radio career at CJRL Kenora in 1979, then moved to CFRW Winnipeg for a six-year stint. In the ensuing years, Cardinal worked in radio at Vancouver, Hamilton, Edmonton and Toronto. In 2003, he was station manager at CISS-FM/CJAQ-FM Toronto. Three years later, he was operations manager at Newcap Radio Group Edmonton. In 2008 he began as PD for Newcap Alberta. In 2012, Cardinal was named GM of Astral Radio’s Edmonton stations (now Bell Media), 100.3 The Bear, 104.9 VIRGIN RADIO and TSN 1260. Cardinal was posthumously inducted into the Broadcast Hall of Fame during Canadian Music Week May 5.
Kathy Gooch, 61, in Toronto. After getting her degree in Radio/Television Arts at Ryerson, Gooch began her broadcast journalism career at CKSO-TV/AM Sudbury, then moved to CBC Radio Sudbury as a producer. Later, she served as a senior political staff member for an Ontario MPP, then an MP and later for a City of Toronto Councillor.
Ralph Colin Ellis C.M., O.Ont., 92, in Oakville. Ellis was a pioneering independent film and TV producer who, for more than 40 years, supported domestic television programming by producing popular wildlife and children’s series. He was among the first to make his work available in both official languages.
Kiviaq aka David C. Ward, 80, in Edmonton. The accomplished Edmonton lawyer, boxing champion, football player, city councillor and CJCA Edmonton talk show host born in Chesterfield Inlet, N.W.T. was the first Inuit called to the bar. Later, he successfully fought Alberta’s name laws (which require a person to have both a first and last name) to restore his original Inuktitut name.
James Carroll, 60, in Huntsville of cancer. The journeyman CBC actor, best-known for his portrayal of Max Sutton on the long-running CBC series Wind at My Back (1996-2001), did the Noon-2 p.m. show on Hunters Bay Radio. He’d moved to Huntsville in 2010 to be close to his daughter.
Harv Stewart, 60, in Halifax. The sportscaster worked in Ontario and Alberta before his career took him to Nova Scotia in 1990. He was part of the Q104 Dartmouth/Halifax morning show from 1990 to 2006. Stewart also was host of a television call-in show called Harv’s Sportsland, broadcast in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. A colleague wrote of him: “His sound was unique, his approach was unique and his path in life was unique. The only man I knew who could swing from having the best of luck and the worst of luck, most likely on the same day.”
Iain Atholl Gray Barrie, 69, in Ottawa. He worked at several private stations in Montreal and Ottawa, and in various capacities. Barrie was also with CBC Ottawa. He finished his career as a professor in radio broadcasting at Algonquin College.
Morley Safer, 84, in Manhattan a few days after his retirement. The Toronto-born Safer made his reputation as a Vietnam War correspondent for CBS and then became a mainstay at 60 Minutes for 46 years. His health had been in decline. Safer spent 61 years in television news.
Dave Cummins, 80, in Florida. Cummins was an on-air personality at CHED Edmonton in the ‘60s and early ‘70s.
Stanley Burke, 93, in Kingston. The former anchor of CBC’s The National from 1966 to 1969 was also a foreign correspondent. He reported from Berlin just after the barricades went up separating East and West Germany in 1961. Burke also launched a campaign to raise awareness of the Biafran civil war, a battle in Nigeria to fight the secession of Biafra as an independent state.
Doug O’Brien, 80, in Flin Flon. O’Brien moved from CJME Regina to CFAR Flin Flon in 1972 to become GM. Later, he purchased the station. Over time, the O’Brien family would buy CJAR The Pas and CHTM Thompson and form the Arctic Radio Network. His son, Tom, who lives in Thompson, became the owner of the three stations in 2000.
Chris Cleaver, 64, in London. He’d been with CTV (CFPL) London for 40-years as an account representative.
Corey Fuchs, 52, in Toronto. He created Media Job Search Canada, a job board. His background includes being a writer/producer/in television creative at CFMT-TV Toronto. Later, he was promotions coordinator at Dougall Media’s Thunder Bay Television. In 1998, he returned to Toronto and founded the job search company.
Frank Fanstone, 65, in St. Catharines. He began his broadcast career at CHSC/CHRE-FM St. Catharines in 1970. In 1998, when CHRE was acquired by CKTB/CHTZ St. Catharines, Fanstone was ND for all three until 2001.
Glen Morrison, 67. His first radio job was in 1972 as the overnight DJ at CHNL Kamloops. Morrison started at CJIB Vernon in 1977 and spent 34 years there as the morning newsman and ND. His 43- year broadcasting career closed upon his retirement in March, 2015.
Peter Fleming, 66, in Prince Edward County (Ontario). Fleming is best remembered for his 25-years at the CRTC in Ottawa where he was Director-General of Radio, of TV and Corporate Services, and of Broadcast Planning. He left the Commission in 1997 and became a broadcast consultant. He leaves his wife, former CRTC Secretary General Diane Rhéaume.
Pierre Lalonde, 75. The singer and television host had been a superstar in French Quebec.
Jeff Cogswell (Thomas Jeffery Harding Cogswell), 43, in Kentville. Most of his on-air career was spent in the Halifax market, at Q104 and at Z103.
Steven “Steve” Sinclair, 55, in Halifax. Sinclair spent the bulk of his career at Seaside FM and CHNS in Halifax as well as CKTO-FM Truro.
Merv Williams, 39, in Ottawa. The former Standard/Astral producer/announcer in Montreal had worked at all three stations there; as part of the CHOM-FM morning show, taking part in a CJAD trivia feature and working at MIX 96. His employment with the stations ended in 2011.
Bert Gordon, 70, on July 13 in Manitoba. Gordon worked at Vancouver’s CFOX in the early 80’s, then CFMI and CKNW. In the 2000s, he was the morning host at CFST Winnipeg.
Jack (Israel) Braverman, 88, in Vancouver. Recognized as the highest billing salesman in Vancouver radio history, he worked first at CJOR and then CKNW. He attributed his 18- year record-breaking radio time sales success to relationship selling.
Tom Gould, 84, in Niagara-on-the-Lake. His 50 year career saw him help launch Canada AM and serve as vice-president of news for CTV News after joining the network in the mid-1960s.
Doug Freeman, 84, on August 2 in New Glasgow, NS. Freeman’s career in radio and television spanned 69 years and at the age of 19 he was the youngest program director in Canada at CKTO-FM radio in Truro. In 1964 he purchased Hector Broadcasting, becoming owner of CKEC-FM Radio in New Glasgow and making public service a key priority for the company over the years.
John Saunders, 61, in New York. The Toronto-born sportscaster joined ESPN in 1986 and hosted “The Sports Reporters” for the last 15 years. Saunders started as news director at CKNS Radio in Espanola, Ontario, in 1978. He worked as sports anchor at CKNY-TV in North Bay and at ATV News in Moncton before he became sports anchor for CITY-TV in Toronto from 1980 to 1982. He jumped to the U.S. in 1982, working as a sports anchor at WMAR-TV in Baltimore until 1986 when he joined ESPN. While at ESPN, he doubled as a play-by-play broadcaster for the Raptors.
William Kittelberg, known on-air as Bill Rodgers, 64, in Ottawa. Among his on-air stops were CKSL London, CFRB Toronto, and CFTO TV Toronto. Later, he became a PC strategist, the Parliamentary bureau chief for Sun Media and, later, worked in a communications role for two federal Conservative ministers, Bill Prentice and Peter Kent.
Errol Bruce Knapp, 73, born in Alexandria, Egypt and brought up in Canada. Knapp got his start in broadcasting at pirate Radio Caroline off the UK coast. Afterwards he returned to Canada and worked at CKFH, CHUM-FM, Q107, CBC and TVOntario in Toronto since the late 60s. Knapp was intrigued by UFOs and had a long-running UFO radio programme, Strange Days…Indeed on CFRB. Upon cancellation, he began producing it in weekly podcast form.
David Cassady, 86. Cassady moved to the Vancouver area from San Francisco in the early ‘70s and immediately made an impact on CKWX 1130 (CKWX-AM) radio where he read news for many years. Cassady later worked in the newsroom of CFAX (CFAX-AM) Victoria before retiring to the Fraser Valley.
Arthur Hiller, 92 in Los Angeles. Born in Edmonton, Hiller worked at CBC Toronto in the early ‘50s, then left for the U.S. where he began directing films in the late ‘50s. In a 50-year career, he directed 33 films with Love Story being the most successful after earning seven Academy Award nominations. Hiller served as president of the Directors Guild of America from 1989-93 and of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences from 1993-97.
George Barr, 83, in Stratford. Barr worked at CFCH Radio in North Bay and was Vice President of Sales for CFRB Radio in Toronto for 21 years. He then became General Manager of CJCS Stratford for 12 years, retiring in October of 1992. Barr also sang professionally.
Dr. Joy Browne, 71. Browne’s long-running talk show was most recently syndicated by Genesis Communications Network. She began in talk radio in Boston but launched nationally from WOR Radio New York in the early 1990s. A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Joy Browne was ranked at #25 on the Talkers magazine 2016 Heavy Hundred – The Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America.
Program Director of CAB-K Broadcasting and Morning Host at 96.5 CKfm (CKLJ-FM) Olds, Brian Stephenson, 54. Stephenson had been with the station since 2004, moving from Fort St. John. Having gotten his start in broadcasting in North Battleford, career stops include 620 CKCK Regina, CKKY-FM Wainwright, Fort Nelson and High Prairie. A memorial will be held Sept. 30 at the Legion in Olds from 1 – 5 p.m.
Tom Mintier, in Thailand. The longtime CNN correspondent started with the cable network in 1980 and became bureau chief in Bangkok and London. He reported live from the scene of a number of major, historic breaking news events, including the 1989 student rebellion in Tiananmen Square; the 1989 opening of the Berlin Wall; and was the only network television journalist who reported the 1986 space shuttle Challenger explosion live.
Lionel Duval, 83, in Boucherville, Quebec. Duval was an interviewer and play-by-play announcer of Montreal Canadiens games on Radio-Canada’s La Soirée du Hockey. Retired for 23 years, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease. Duval started his career in the early 1950s working at CKCH radio while still in school. He switched to TV in the early 1960s with a program devoted to regional sports on CBC in Ottawa. In 1964 he started with La Soirée du Hockey and was a mainstay there until 1992. He also covered several Olympics.
Oscar Brand, 96, in Great Neck, NY. Brand was host of the radio program Folksong Festival for 70 years, becoming a force on the American folk scene. Born in Winnipeg, Brand taped his final Folksong Festival for public radio station WNYC two weeks ago. The show and Brand are listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest-airing radio show with the same host. The program’s mix of song, conversation and humour drew the likes of Woody Guthrie, Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell and a young Bob Dylan. He also recorded some 100 albums, wrote eight books, created TV shows, composed Broadway musicals and made films.
Richard Morochove, 63, in Toronto. The information technology expert appeared frequently on CTV’s Canada AM and Newsnet, Global TV’s evening news, CITY-TV City Pulse News, CHCH-TV News, CFRB, CBC TV and CBC Radio, BNN and CBC News Network. He also was a syndicated computer columnist for the Toronto Star and wrote for The Financial Post.
Peter DeWolf, 63, in Ottawa. He was assistant news director of myFM Broadcasting’s Renfrew, Pembroke and Arnprior, ON, radio stations. With MBC for over seven years, he also worked in print with Metroland Media for 13 years, was station manager at CKOA-AM in Arnprior, ON and also served as a reporter with both the BBC and CBC.
Grace Elizabeth Craft, 86, in Saint John, NB. She started her career in radio at CFBC, while still a student at Saint John High School. Craft was also a radio and television personality with CHSJ and a committed volunteer during the Empty Stocking Fund for 40 years. She co-hosted a half-hour show on CHSJ during the ANE Exhibition Week with Donald Armstrong.
Gerry Acton, 85, in Nepean, ON. Acton joined the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) as a recording operator in 1951. His first job was recording quarter-hour broadcasts by Members of Parliament for the “Report From Parliament Hill” radio series. He retired in 1991 as a vice president of the CAB and was inducted into the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame. He also served as executive director for the Ontario Association of Broadcasters.
Ann “Rooney” Taylor Graham Calderisi, 73, in Victoria, BC. Sister of the late Ted Rogers. Calderisi was former Director of Industry and Community Relations, Rogers Broadcasting. She was a founding director and past president of FACTOR (The Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent On Recordings). She was also a board member of Rogers Media and the Rogers Foundation and a member of the advisory committee of the Rogers Control Trust.
André Maisonneuve, in Ottawa. Better known as Katfish Morgan, he was the longtime morning host at Live 88.5 (CILV-FM) having joined the station when it launched in 2005. Maisonneuve was born in Quebec and raised in Thunder Bay. He attended Confederation College, graduating from their communications program. His career stops included Montreal, Halifax, London, Calgary and Toronto. He was also heard across Canada as the host of a syndicated Top-20 rock-countdown show. Diagnosed with cancer six months ago, Maisonneuve had been off the air since May. Family says there will be no formal funeral service.
Milton ‘Milt’ Conway, 80, in Barrie, ON. He started on radio in Woodstock in 1956 before moving to Barrie in 1959 where he did a number of shows on CKVR-TV. Over 15 years, he worked on Romper Room, Strike It Rich, The Women’s Show, Reach for the Top, Time Out for Recreation, Captain Foghorn and more. Conway returned to radio in 1980 at 93.1 CHAY FM Barrie where he worked daytime for 15 years. He eventually ended up as the weekend newscaster on Classical 96.7 FM where he stayed for 9 years before retiring.
Dave Broadfoot, 90. Best known for his work on the radio version of CBC’s Royal Canadian Air Farce from 1973 to 1993, the North Vancouver native’s memorable characters included hockey player Big Bobby Clobber and Sgt. Renfrew, an RCMP officer who never seemed to get his man. In the 1950s and ‘60s, Broadfoot appeared on the Wayne and Shuster Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Big Revue and Comedy Cafe, as well as CBC Radio’s Funny You Should Say That. His last regular television role was in the short-lived 2004 CBC sitcom XPM. Broadfoot’s many awards include the Juno Award for comedy recording, 13 ACTRA awards for writing and performing for radio and television, and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards for Canadian comedy. He was also named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1983 and was an honorary sergeant major of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Bobby Hales, 82. Hales was the leader of Vancouver’s Bobby Hales Big Band and an intrinsic part of the city’s music scene in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s as an accomplished trumpet player, composer, arranger and conductor. He composed and arranged original music for both television and the movies including The Beachcombers theme and the music for the closing ceremonies of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. He was also a mainstay in the programming department at CBC Vancouver for three decades where he started as music director for the local edition of TV program Music Hop in the 1960s. Hales was inducted into the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame in 1996.
Frank Peers, 98, former head of CBC Public Affairs, was an academic with a passion for public broadcasting. Upon graduation from the University of Alberta, Peers became assistant director of Extension for the U of A, leading to a venture that involved forming public affairs discussion groups around CBC radio broadcasts. Four years later, he joined the public broadcaster and rose to the top of the Public Affairs Department. In 1963, Peers joined the Political Economy Department at the University of Toronto, and in 1969 published The Politics of Canadian Broadcasting on the CBC’s history. He followed that up a decade later with The Public Eye: Television and the Politics of Canadian Broadcasting. Both remain standard references on the history of the public broadcaster. Frank retired in 1983.
Alexander “Alex” Rankin, 89, in Calgary, AB. Rankin started at CKUA Edmonton in 1946 as a recording engineer and doing continuity. A political junkie at heart, he eventually became the local political reporter covering city hall and the legislature. In 1955, he moved to CFCN (now known as CTV Calgary), starting out as the city beat reporter. He rose through the ranks to become news director in the early 1960s, leaving in 1967 to become an editor at Oilweek Magazine until his retirement at age 62. In the pre-internet age, Rankin was passionate about statistics and kept a set of index cards on every oil well in Canada. His job with Oilweek also garnered him invitations to travel including a series of oil exploration tours to The Arctic.
Leonard Cohen, 82, in Los Angeles. The Canadian poet, artist, songwriter and icon attended McGill University in the 1950s where he won his first literary award for poetry and embarked on a career as a writer. CBC’s The Current reports that before becoming a songwriter, Cohen was close to hosting Montreal CBC TV current affairs program Seven on Six, when he called producer Andrew Simon back and told him he had decided to write songs. The year was 1966. Cohen went on to write hundreds of works, including international classics like Suzanne, Tower of Song and Hallelujah. Cohen was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2003 and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2010 and was awarded the Glenn Gould Prize for lifetime achievement in the arts in 2011. His music withstood the test of time, with his 2012 album Old Ideas earning him Junos for Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year in 2013, after a career already spanning five decades. His final and 14th studio album You Want It Darker appeared last month, a carefully-crafted last testament.
Janet Wright, 71, in Vancouver. Best known for her role as ‘Emma’ on the hit comedy Corner Gas, Wright also appeared on shows like King of Kensington, The Beachcombers, Danger Bay and Due South. She was a veteran of the Canadian stage, co-founding the Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon in 1974 and appearing in and directing more than 40 productions with the Vancouver Arts Club Theatre Company. During her seven seasons at the Stratford Festival, she shone as a director and in many key roles as an actress.
Gwen Ifill, 61. The veteran journalist and broadcaster started her career in 1977 when there were few college-educated, black women in newsrooms, eventually carving out a niche for herself as a political reporter. Ifill worked at The Washington Post, The New York Times and NBC News, before being named moderator of PBS’s Washington Week in Review in 1999, becoming one of the first black women to host a national political show. Ifill started co-anchoring the PBS NewsHour in 2013 with Judy Woodruff, thus becoming the first female duo to jointly co-host a national nightly news broadcast. They also shared managing editor responsibilities.
Martin Fossum, 75, in the Comox Valley. Born in Lloydminster, Sask., Martin was a graduate of the London Film School in England. He enjoyed a long and successful career as a sound man for TV, movies, documentaries and commercials. The projects he worked on included CBC series The Beachcombers and Danger Bay. In 2002, he received two nominations from The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Outstanding Single Camera Sound Mixing for a miniseries or movie for Door to Door and Taken.
Israel “Sruki” Switzer, 87, in Scottsdale, AZ. Born in Calgary, Switzer was a pioneer in the Canadian cable television industry and played a pivotal role in building Toronto’s CITY-TV with his first wife Phyllis Switzer, who predeceased him in 1989. Early in his career, Switzer built broadcast systems in Saskatchewan and was a partner in provider CableVision, expanding into Alberta in the early 1960s. He eventually became vice-president of Canadian media firm Maclean Hunter and a consultant on telecommunications projects around the globe. Switzer was inducted into Canada’s Telecommunications Hall of Fame in 2009, which proclaimed him “the most knowledgeable cable technology engineer Canada has ever produced.” He was also credited as an inspiration to fellow Canadian broadcast entrepreneurs like Ted Rogers and Moses Znaimer. Widely regarded as a trailblazer, his understanding and advocacy of cable technology laid the groundwork for the modern Canadian cable industry.
Ron James, 72, in Steinbach, MB. James was heard on Golden West Broadcasting’s Radio Southern Manitoba network (CHSM-AM, CFAM-AM, CJRB-AM) for 34 years. He started his broadcast career right out of high school in 1961, with a short stint at CKX-TV Brandon, moving on to CFAM 950 in Altona in 1964 and then CJOB 680 Winnipeg in 1966. In 1969, he took a break from radio to obtain his teaching certificate from the University of Manitoba and taught sixth grade at General Byng school in Winnipeg before returning to Golden West in 1975. James was the longtime host of Classics Till Dawn and the mid-morning slot on the RSM network. He retired in Jan. 2009.
Mark Lee, 68, Nov. 19, in Saint John, NB. Born Mark Lee Kliffer in Montreal, Lee earned a broadcasting diploma and worked in Montreal radio before going to work for entertainer James Brown at 1480 WRDW-AM in Augusta, Georgia. During his tenure in the U.S., the Vietnam war broke out and Lee opted to head back to Saint John to avoid the draft, starting as an announcer on CFBC-AM and CFBC-FM in 1970. He hosted mid-days for much of his run including popular oldies show Jukebox Jive and was eventually named PD. In 1988, he joined K-100 (CIOK-FM) Saint John as program director, taking the station to number one in the ratings. Lee later hosted a daily interview show called Greater Saint John Today on CJRP-FM. On the side, Lee also promoted concerts with partner Jack Livingston, producing memorable events like 1989’s Beach Boys on the Beach concert at Parlee Beach, NB.
Kelly Boyd, in Edmonton. A longtime general manager with CJOK/CKYX Fort McMurray, Boyd retired in Dec. 2006 during the ownership transition of the stations from OK Radio Group to Rogers Media. He is remembered as a highly professional and passionate broadcaster who clearly believed in the connection between running a radio station and being truly connected to the community.
Russell Oughtred, 69. Russell got his start in radio news in Medicine Hat, AB, then moved into television at the CTV Lethbridge bureau. He later moved to CTV Calgary, where he spent most of the 1980s, before going to CBC Calgary. Russell loved the art of visual storytelling and was a master in the use of natural sound and moving pictures. He had been living in Vancouver since the mid 1990s.
David Valentine, 52, in Edmonton. Born in Swift Current, SK, David started his broadcasting career in 1987 as an announcer and operator at QR77 (CHQR-AM) in Calgary. In 1990, he moved into television, working as a VTR operator at RDTV Red Deer. He went on to A Channel Edmonton (now City) in 1997 where he worked in operations until 2015. Valentine was also involved with Big Valley Jamboree as a member of the production crew from 2010-2015 with Habit Productions.
Kenneth Haslam, in Warkworth, ON. Remembered by his colleagues as the CBC “language god” who would rap broadcasters’ knuckles for bad grammar, Haslam began his radio career with CBC at age 19 in his hometown of Montréal. In 1953, he joined the English Language Division of Radio Nederland in Hilversum, the Netherlands, as a news reader. He eventually returned to CBC Toronto where he was a familiar staple on both the network news desk and the original host of the long-running show “Ideas,” which began airing in 1965. A passionate fan of jazz and the classics, Ken also took a turn at hosting “Afternoon Concert” and “Symphony Hall.” As Broadcast Language Counsellor in Toronto, he coached other CBC news readers and broadcasters on proper pronunciation and other presentation errors that left a lasting legacy beyond his retirement from the public broadcaster in 1990.
Alan Thicke, 69, in Burbank, CA. Born in Kirkland Lake, ON, the actor, writer, producer and composer began his broadcasting career as a copywriter and all-night DJ at CFPL-AM in London, ON while attending the University of Western Ontario. He wrote for CBC television in the 1960s and by 1969 had his first regular role on television as part of the variety show It’s Our Stuff. By 1977, Thicke was working as a producer in American television, earning his first Emmy nomination for The Barry Manilow Special. In the late 70s, he returned to Canada hosting his first Canadian game show on CFCF-TV in Montreal called First Impressions and was a frequent guest host of daytime talk show The Alan Hamel Show. That led to his own talk show The Alan Thicke Show, which ran on CTV from 1980 to ‘83. His attempt to move to late night American television wasn’t as successful with Thicke of the Night cancelled in 1984 after 18 episodes. Thicke became best known for his role as TV dad Jason Seaver on the popular ABC sitcom Growing Pains. He was also an accomplished composer for television, writing the themes for Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life and the original theme for Wheel of Fortune, among other television series.
Robert (Bob) Washington, 82. Born in Wadena, SK, Washington’s broadcast career took him to Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Montreal, then back to Winnipeg. He was a familiar voice on CKRC-AM in the 1960s and by 1975 was program director. “The Wash” as he was dubbed by colleagues, became known worldwide in the 1970s after being drafted as the “Voice of K-Tel” for its television commercials. Starting in 1979, Bob hosted CKND-TV show Bowling for Dollars. He was also heard on 680 CJOB-AM, before retiring. Bob’s accolades include a “Golden Award” from the Manitoba Association of Country Artists in 1983 and he was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003. More than anything, Bob was known for taking time to talk to people and make a difference by just being himself. He leaves a long legacy of volunteer work and community service including Variety Telethons, the Red River Exhibition, Meals on Wheels and the BC SPCA, after he and wife Linda relocated to Vancouver in 2005.
Norris Nathanson, 84, in Toronto. Nathanson was general manager and co-owner of CJCB-AM and CKPE-FM Sydney, along with his brother Marvin, until the stations were sold to Fundy Broadcasting in 1990. The brothers took over the stations from their father, Cape Breton broadcasting pioneer Nate Nathanson, who started CJCB in 1929 in an effort to sell more radios at his Sydney book and music store. The Nathanson family also owned CJCB-TV, the first television station to broadcast in Nova Scotia when it signed on in Oct. 1954. A community-focused businessman behind the scenes, Norris was also the longtime on-air host of the call-in program TalkBack and was known for often going live to air from his car, handing out prizes to listeners.
John Badham, 79. With a broadcasting career that spanned 60 years, Badham’s first broadcasting job, at age 20, was in his hometown of Weyburn, SK. covering the Weyburn Beavers senior hockey team. That led to 10 years of calling Saskatchewan Roughriders games, starting in 1959. He went on to do play-by-play for the Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, BC Lions and Ottawa Rough Riders. Badham interviewed all the big names including Pelé and Muhammad Ali and was present when Bobby Hull signed his famous $1 million dollar World Hockey Association contract in 1972. He covered Olympic Games in Montreal and Sarajevo, Commonwealth Games, a Super Bowl and world curling championships, among other major sporting events. Badham landed in Peterborough, ON in 1988 to work for Corus stations The Kruz (CKRU-FM) and the Wolf (CKWF-FM). He retired from full-time broadcasting in 2011, but returned part-time to host the EXTRA 90.5 FM (CJMB-FM) morning show The Regulars. Badham received the Career Achievement Award from Sports Media Canada just last month.
Tim Morris, 45. Morris was morning show producer and a personality on The Gerry Forbes Show on CJAY 92 (CJAY-FM) Calgary in the mid-nineties before moving to Power 107 (CKIK-FM) in 1997 to produce for host Roger Rhodes. Morris was known for his passion for music and his depth of knowledge. He went on to become director of marketing for Western Canada for Universal Music and VP of business development for Getty Images. He was also co-founder of Mega Music Canada Inc., a dedicated digital platform creating music download stores for radio stations to promote Canadian content.
Bob Moir, 87. Moir spent four decades with CBC Sports as an executive producer and commentator. Hailing from Winnipeg, Moir began his career with CBC in 1952, calling the Grey Cup in 1958. He went on to serve as a commentator at the network’s first Olympics in Tokyo in 1964. During the 1972 Olympics, Moir was in Munich when terrorists took members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage and 11 were later killed. He and late CBC commentator Don Wittman snuck into the Olympic Village, posing as doctors, to report live. Moir went on to executive produce CBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics in Montreal in 1976, Seoul in 1988 and the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France. He closed out his career as executive producer of the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, for which he won multiple Gemini Awards. Over his more than 40 years with the network, Bob recruited and promoted many well-known commentators and analysts and was a mentor to many production and technical staff. He earned induction into the CFL Hall of Fame in 1985 and was also an inductee of the CBC Sports Hall of Fame.
Raymond Mostoway, aka Dan Roman, 75, in New Brunswick. Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Dan was 16 years old and still in high school when he began his radio career at CKSW-AM Swift Current. He soon joined his brother Duff Roman on-air in Toronto at CKEY-AM and CHUM-AM. The brothers also co-founded Roman Records, with their label producing David Clayton Thomas (Blood Sweat and Tears), The Paupers, and Levon and The Hawks who later became The Band behind Bob Dylan. Dan went on to work at CJCH-AM Halifax in the 1970s and became program director at 960 AM CHNS before relocating to New Brunswick. While station manager at CKCW-FM Moncton, Dan met the love of his life Bernice Comeau, a volunteer for charity promotions. They later put down roots in Quispamsis, NB where Dan was General Manager at K100 (CIOK-FM) Saint John until his retirement.
Jeffrey Newfield, aka Scruff Connors, 64. One of the original Canadian shock jocks, Connors’ legacy is the well-remembered stunts he embarked on at numerous stations. His most prominent work was with Q107 in Toronto, where he became morning host in 1980. After broadcasting in other cities, he returned to Q107 in the early 1990s to join the “The Q Morning Zoo.” In between, he did stints at WYSP-FM Philadelphia, CHTZ-FM St. Catharine’s and CFBR-FM Edmonton. He also spent time at CFSL-AM Weyburn, CJKR-FM Winnipeg, and MOJO (CFMJ-AM) Toronto. His stunts ranged from confining himself in the Q107 studio and repeatedly airing Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, to a 1995 contest he announced in Winnipeg where selected listeners could watch Super Bowl XXIX in Miami. Thirty fans were chosen to meet Connors at the airport where they boarded a bus that took them to watch the game on a monochrome television at a lounge in the tiny community of Miami, Manitoba. Scruff also used his popularity for good, responding in 1980 after Terry Fox was forced to abandon his Marathon of Hope. Connors raised $72,000 for cancer research by hosting a 36-hour “Scruff-a-thon” on Q107. Following his layoff from MOJO Toronto in 1995, Connors underwent quadruple bypass surgery and later battled bladder cancer, retiring to Osoyoos, BC.
Beverley “Bev” Wakeman Edwards, 87. Raised in Muskoka, Wakeman is best remembered for producing the “Wally Crouter Show” at CFRB Toronto where he worked for 38 years. Edwards and his wife Bernice were retired to the Skeleton Lake area.
Eileen Olive Forbom, 86, in Sudbury. Born in Oshawa, ON, Eileen grew up in Scotland and moved to Sudbury at the age of 17. She joined CKSO-AM Sudbury in 1948, and worked there for 38 years, retiring as the first female general manager. She also helped start Canadore College.
Gordie Tapp, 94. The legendary Canadian entertainer started out in the golden age of radio in Guelph, quickly getting pulled to CHML-AM Hamilton to develop an evening show called What’s On Tapp?. CHML’s Main Street Jamboree put Gordie on the map, airing on both radio and television in the 1950s. He then moved on to CBC’s Country Hoedown from 1956-1965. That’s where the hayseed character Cousin Clem was borne, which he would later take south of the border to the long-running CBS variety show Hee Haw. Tapp was a member of the Order of Canada and was the first inductee into the Burlington Performing Arts Centre Hall of Fame, the city he lived in for nearly six decades.
Jack Lowe, 82, passed away on Jan. 2, 2017. Jack immigrated to Canada from Barbados when he was in his teens, graduating from Toronto’s Central Tech High School. He started working as an engineer for Foster Hewitt’s radio station CKFH-AM 1430 in 1959 where he spent many a hockey game lugging 1940s equipment up to the ‘gondula’ in Maple Leaf Gardens to broadcast Leafs games with Hewitt. He remained with the station through three ownership changes and one frequency change, moving into semi-retirement in 2002.
Greg Barnsley, 83, on Jan. 2, 2017 after a short illness. Barnsley was one of the first employees at CFQC-TV (CTV Saskatoon) when the station went to air in 1954. A familiar face in Saskatoon media and beloved weatherman, Barnsley retired in 1992. The CTV Saskatoon studio was upgraded and renamed after Barnsley in 2014. His son Jim continues to work at CTV Saskatoon as a camera operator.