Former ZoomerMedia and Rogers executive George Grant has died at age 76.
Grant passed away Monday, Sept. 17 at Toronto General Hospital as a result of complications from chemotherapy treatments he was undergoing for prostate cancer.
Grant spent 50 years in the broadcast industry as a host, sales manager, programmer, and operations executive and played an integral role in the growth of ZoomerMedia.
“He had done everything there is to do in the industry from being a morning man to program director, sales guy, helicopter traffic reporter…he had worked in every aspect of the business and that’s what was most admirable about George,” Dan Hamilton, ZoomerMedia’s EVP of Broadcast and Chief Revenue Officer, told Broadcast Dialogue. “He understood every department and facet of a radio operation.”
Grant started in radio in 1964 at CKAR-AM Huntsville, ON as both morning show host and salesman. A stint at VOCM-AM in St. John’s, NL followed where he assumed program director duties in addition to hosting.
Upon returning to Toronto, he joined Rogers Broadcasting and CHFI-FM in a sales role and acted as the station’s helicopter traffic reporter. Grant quickly moved up to VP of Sales and general manager. During those years, he also produced “On the Slopes” – a skiing show that aired on Citytv and a number of Ontario radio stations.
In 1979, Grant branched out on his own, acquiring CKQT-FM and CKAR-AM Oshawa, which he re-branded “On The Quiet Side” and “Motor City Music” respectively. He grew and operated the stations up until 1990 when he sold them to Power Broadcasting.
“He was very proud of owning and operating two independent stations,” said Hamilton. “That was probably his proudest moment. It was family-run business and he was connected to all of the people that worked there and ran it like a family. That was probably his proudest accomplishment, outside his children.”
Grant took a break from broadcasting and moved into sports ownership, starting in the early 1990s. He became a founding partner of the Ottawa Senators in 1992 and invested in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats a year later, as part of a Limited Partnership formed to rescue the team. He subsequently became co-owner of the Ti-Cats from 1995-2003. He was awarded the CFL Turnaround Franchise of the Year Award in 1996 and received the Keys to the City of Hamilton in 2000, a year after the team took the Grey Cup Championship in 1999.
In 2004, Grant rekindled his relationship with Moses Znaimer. What was supposed to be a three-month consulting contract led to Grant becoming the founding president and CEO of MZ Media, ZoomerMedia’s radio division, until 2013. He helped orchestrate the purchase of The New Classical 96.3 (CFMZ-FM) Toronto and helped grow sister station 103.1 FM (CFMX-FM) Cobourg, as well as oversee the smooth transition of Oakville’s CHWO into downtown Toronto station Zoomer Radio AM 740 (CFZM-FM). He also played a key role in the CRTC application for a fourth radio station, The New Classical 102.9 FM (CFMO-FM) Collingwood.
Grant retired in 2013, but continued to work on new projects. Most recently he had been involved in helping launch APTN’s new Indigenous radio stations in Ottawa and Toronto.
Over the years, Grant sat on the boards of Brock University, ZoomerMedia, Quetzal Energy, Adriac Resources, and Creative Wealth Media, among other organizations.
Subscribe Now – Free!
Broadcast Dialogue has been required reading in the Canadian broadcast media for 25 years. When you subscribe, you join a community of connected professionals from media and broadcast related sectors from across the country.
The Weekly Briefing from Broadcast Dialogue is delivered exclusively to subscribers by email every Thursday. Itís your link to critical industry news, timely people moves, and excellent career advancement opportunities.
Letís get started right now.