Meech Kean, 27, on Aug. 18. After graduating from the University of King’s College in Halifax, Kean joined the VOCM St. John’s, NL news team three years ago as a reporter and soon became the station’s legislative reporter. Former VOCM news director Fred Hutton, who hired Kean, paid tribute to the young journalist on Facebook calling him a “news person through and through.” “Despite his size and presence, he disarmed people with his wide smile and sense of humour. He was direct, but fair. Firm, but compassionate. He was respectful, but still did his own thing. I liked all that about him,” Hutton wrote. VOCM Open Line host Paddy Daly took to the airwaves Tuesday, saying Kean’s unexpected death is an opportunity to open conversation around mental health in the workplace. “Meech died by suicide. It’s a shock, needless to say, to everyone here in this building and we’re deeply saddened by it.”
Jodi Taylor Orr, 53, suddenly on Aug. 18. Known as Jodi Taylor on-air, Orr had been doing fill-in swing and news at Bell Media London stations BX93 (CJBX-FM) and CJBK-AM for the last two and a half years. From 2001 to 2014, she was the midday host at 102.3 BOB FM (CHST-FM) London, and prior to that was marketing and promotions director at CFPL-AM 980. Over the years, Orr served on several boards, including as chair of the Southwestern Ontario chapter of Women in Communications (2009-13) and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southwestern Ontario (2010-17).
Sandra Carusi, Aug. 13, from cancer. The longtime Corus Toronto sales rep and host of Inside Jokes on AM 640 (CFMJ-AM) lost her battle to breast cancer on Apr. 13, following a 2014 diagnosis. Carusi joined Corus Toronto in 1999 as an account executive for Q107 (CILQ-FM), 102.1 The Edge (CFNY-FM), 95.3 Fresh Radio (CING-FM), and AM640. It was while Carusi, a stand-up performer herself, was undergoing cancer treatment that she came up with the idea of hosting a talk show on the world of comedy and in 2015 became executive producer and host of Sunday evening show Inside Jokes on 640, as well as a comedy correspondent for the stations. Over the show’s run, Carusi welcomed guests like Russell Peters, Trevor Noah, Sugar Sammy, Jessica Holmes and Scott Thompson. Inside Jokes eventually led to Carusi producing two other shows for AM640, The Parenting Show with mommy blogger Pina Crispo, and The Dating & Relationship Show, hosted by matchmaker and relationship coach Laura Billota. Read more here.
Bryan Ellis, on Aug. 7. Ellis held the title of general manager at both CHEX-TV Peterborough and CHCH-TV Hamilton before 13 years with Corus Entertainment. Working closely with CEO John Cassaday as a member of his senior executive team, Ellis was involved in corporate development, conventional TV and radio, regulatory, Nelvana, and a wide variety of special projects. His experience and keen interest in technology and operations made him a vital part of the planning ahead of the opening of the new Corus Quay in early 2011 on the Toronto waterfront. His responsibilities included information technology planning and management, broadcast operations, and leadership on the overall media management strategy that would underpin the operation of the new broadcast facility. As part of the shared services group, he also managed the digital storage of content broadcast across Corus channels. As a testament to his hard work, planning, and strategizing – the media management teams operated without major incident and Corus’ waterfront broadcast facility continues to deliver more than 40 channels to Canadian viewers. After a successful career in broadcast and technology, Ellis retired to Mulmur, ON in 2013 where he put the same focus and attention to detail into the Dawn Brook Lavender Farm which he ran with wife, daughters and son-in-law.
Marc Charbonneau, 61, on Aug. 4 of cancer. Charbonneau was a host and station manager of CHOD 92.1 FM EST ONTARIEN for the last 15 years, which is licensed to Cornwall, but has its studios in Casselman, ON. His broadcasting career started at the former CFML-AM Cornwall and then CJRC-AM (now CKOF-FM) and the now-defunct CKCH-AM in Hull. From there, he worked as a reporter for The Canadian Press in Sherbrooke and Montréal, then returned to Hull to work at CIMF, better known as Rouge FM. Charbonneau also did a stint in radio and TV with Radio-Canada before joining CHOD in 2003. During his time as manager, the station marked a return to financial stability.
Don LeBlanc, 92, on July 25 in Halifax. The longtime program director of CJOY-AM/CKLA-FM Guelph, LeBlanc’s interest in radio started early. LeBlanc grew up next door to CJLS-FM Yarmouth, NS and was able to look out his bedroom window to watch the announcers while listening to them on his crystal radio set. In 1945, he enrolled in Lorne Greene’s Academy of Radio Arts in Toronto and landed a job in 1948 as PD of new radio station CJOY Guelph, owned by future cable pioneer Fred Metcalf. LeBlanc worked alongside Gordie Tapp, Lloyd Robertson and Bob McAdorey, among others, then moved to CFRB-AM Toronto in 1966, where his colleagues included broadcast legends Pierre Berton, Charles Templeton, Gordon Sinclair, Betty Kennedy and Wally Crouter. He returned to Guelph in 1972 and retired as PD of CKLA-FM in 1991.