Robert Torpey, 85, on Jan. 20 at Scarborough Health Network. After graduating with a degree in electrical engineering from Laval University, Torpey started his broadcast engineering career at CBC Montreal. He moved to Toronto in 1966 to work in the engineering department at Richmond Hill Labs and then McCurdy Radio Industries, two years later, as Director of Engineering. In 1975, he founded Torpey Controls and Engineering, designing and manufacturing clocks and timing products for radio, TV and digital. His electronic “Torpey Time” clocks and timing products for TV and radio broadcasters ensured a standard operating reference. In his down time, Torpey was part of amateur theatre company, Stage Centre Productions, where he enjoyed the technical side of sound and lighting. He retired in 2011.
Jim Nunn, 72, on Feb. 19, of cancer. Nunn was born into the broadcast business as the son of J. Clyde Nunn, the founding General Manager of CJFX Radio in Antigonish, NS and Director of Atlantic Broadcasters. Nunn and his brother Bruce both ended up in broadcasting, with Jim eventually joining CBC Nova Scotia where he had a career spanning three decades. Known for his pointed interview style, he hosted programs including CBC Nova Scotia at 6, Land & Sea, First Edition, and Marketplace. Nunn retired from CBC in 2009.
Peter Herrndorf, 82, on Feb. 18. Born in Amsterdam and raised in Winnipeg, Herrndorf started his career as a reporter at CBC Winnipeg in 1965 after graduating from Dalhousie University with a law degree. He joined CBC Edmonton as a current affairs producer later that year, moving to Toronto a few years later as producer of network current affairs show, The Way It Is. After obtaining his MBA at Harvard, he went on to serve as Head of TV Current Affairs from 1974-77, rising to the position of Vice President of English Services and Special Assistant to the VP and General Manager of CBC’s English network by 1979. Among other legacies, he is credited with helping found nightly current affairs magazine, The Journal, and later served a five-year term on the CBC board of directors, starting in 2005. Herrndorf went on to become publisher of Toronto Life from 1983 to 1992 and then Chairman and CEO of TVO from 1992 to 1999, when he stepped down. Later that year, he was appointed President & CEO of the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa where he served until 2018, helping found the NAC Foundation and NAC Indigenous Theatre. Herrndorf’s other contributions to the arts included co-founding the Governor General Performing Arts Awards with entertainment industry executive Brian Robertson in 1992. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993, and upgraded to Companion status in 2017. In 2007, he was awarded the Order of Ontario. Read more here.
John Donahue, 85, on Feb. 7. Donahue was a fixture at CKCO-TV Kitchener for more than 28 years, where he worked as a reporter and cameraman, starting in 1967. Behind the camera, for the most part, for many of the important local and provincial stories of the day, Donahue retired in 1994.
Tom Deacon, 82, on Feb. 5. Deacon’s foray into media began in 1975, when he began freelancing for CBC Winnipeg writing classical concert reviews while teaching at the University of Manitoba. By the late ‘70s, he was working as a producer on “Stereo Morning.” In 1982, he became the producer of his own program, ”Live from Roy Thomson Hall.” Deacon was transferred to CBC Vancouver two years later where he helped create long-running afternoon program “DiscDrive.” In 1989, he headed stateside to take up the role of Program Director at Los Angeles classical station, KUSC. The Netherlands followed in the early ‘90s where Deacon began working with Polygram, applying his encyclopedic knowledge of classical music to creating CD compilations of legendary artists, including executive producing “Great Pianists of the Twentieth Century Edition” encompassing 250 hours of music on 200 discs. In 1998, when Polygram was acquired by Universal Music, Deacon was named VP, Catalogue Development. He returned to Canada in 2001 and retired from Universal Music in 2005.
Arthur Hustins, 85, on Feb. 5 in Halifax. Born in Bedford, NS, Hustins followed in the footsteps of his parents, operating the family’s motels and restaurants, and later developing commercial buildings including Sunnyside Mall and Sun Tower. That eventually led to the founding of Sun Radio (CIEZ-FM) in 1990 with minority investors, Yarmouth broadcaster Michael Trask and Dartmouth businessman Ronald Martin. By the late ‘90s, Sun Radio, NewCap, and CHUM had entered an LMA (local marketing agreement), under which NewCap managed all stations in the group (CHUM’s CJCH-AM and CIOO-FM, NewCap’s CFDR-AM and CFRQ-FM and Sun’s CIEZ-FM). Following CTVGlobemedia’s acquisition of CHUM, Newcap eventually gained control of Metro Radio Group. Hustins’ community service extended to many other notable endeavours including Chair of the Site Selection Committee for Halifax Metro Centre in the early 1970s and serving as Vice-Chair of the Nova Scotia Hospital Foundation from 1997-2000.
Joe Spence, 92, on Feb. 1. Spence’s first media job was at CKSO Radio in Sudbury in 1952. He had been teaching at Lansdowne Public School when he was recruited as a sportscaster. From there, he was briefly hired by CKRM Regina as morning man and sportscaster, before returning to Sudbury by the fall of 1953 when CKSO-TV signed on as the first privately-owned Canadian television station. Among other announcing duties, Spence hosted a sports show. He uprooted to Ottawa in 1964 to work at CJOH-TV and later CBC Radio and TV where he anchored for 18 years and worked on CFL broadcasts. He also did a stint doing play-by-play for Global’s broadcasts of the short-lived Toronto Toros of the World Hockey Association. In 2008, Spence received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Sports Media Category at the Annual Ottawa Sports Awards Dinner. He was inducted into the Greater Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.