Stuart McLean, 68, Feb. 15, after battling melanoma. The humorist, best-selling author, journalist and long-running host of The Vinyl Cafe was born in Montreal to Australian immigrant parents. McLean’s radio career began in the 1970s when he started with CBC as a researcher on Cross Country Checkup. In 1978, he started producing documentaries for CBC Radio program Sunday Morning and from 1982 until 1984, also acted as the show’s executive producer. During the 1980s and 90s he was a frequent guest and fill-in host on Morningside with Peter Gzowski. McLean created The Vinyl Cafe in 1994 as a summer replacement show and by 1997, it was airing every Sunday. Featuring a mix of storytelling, essays and musical performances, stories from The Vinyl Cafe were spun-off into a series of books, which won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour three times. The show also became a touring production, visiting communities in both Canada and the U.S. McLean announced in December he was suspending the program to focus on treatment for melanoma, which he was diagnosed with in late 2015. McLean was an officer of the Order of Canada and a professor emeritus at Ryerson University in Toronto. CBC says a public tribute will be announced at a later date.
Rudy Hartman, 99, Feb. 9 in Victoria, after respiratory complications. Hartman’s radio career started in the 1930’s at CJAT-AM in Trail, BC. After enlisting in WWII, he worked with the BBC and Canadian Forces radio stations in Europe during the war. When WWII ended, he returned to radio at CJVI-AM Victoria, moving on to manage Victoria’s first FM station, CFMS-FM. He later helped launch CKLG-FM Vancouver as program director and host of Symphony Hall. Hartman’s career continued into the 1980s at CHQM-FM and multicultural station CJVB-AM, where he was also PD.
Charles Mudrack, 82, Feb. 1 at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria. Mudrack started working at CJDC in Dawson Creek in the early 1960s as a young sports announcer and also voiced “Hospital Bulletins” over each supper hour. In some phoneless, rural communities, the bulletins were the hospital’s only means of communication with patients’ relatives. The bulletins would involve messages like “Ralph, your wife is ready for discharge and can be picked up tomorrow.” Charles or “Chuck” as he was often known on-air moved on to CKDA Victoria by 1963, before ending his radio career at CFAX Victoria in the mid-1970s. He later retired from the provincial postal branch.