Darren “Dude” O’Donnell, 48, on Feb. 28, of cancer. A member of the C103 (CJMO-FM) Moncton crew for the last few years, O’Donnell lost a six-year battle to cancer on Thursday. O’Donnell, who grew up in Fredericton, studied broadcasting at NBCC Woodstock. He moved to Moncton in the early 1990s and earned the nickname “Dude” while working in the local bar and restaurant scene. He eventually started volunteering as the co-host of “Pirate Radio” on C103, which led to more work on other dayparts, even during his cancer treatments. O’Donnell, who just on-air the weekend before he died, succumbed to a bout of sudden onset pneumonia at Moncton Hospital on Feb. 28, with his family and friends by his side.
Sandra Faire, on Feb. 27. Faire, initially was a producer with CBC Television, where she created and produced a number of variety programs including The Joyce Davidson Show, Video Hits and Comics! She founded her own production company, SFA Productions Inc., in 1997. SFA went on to produce numerous series and specials, primarily for CTV and The Comedy Network, including The Rankin Family Reunion (2008), Rita MacNeil’s Celtic Celebration(1998), Amanda Marshall (1997), and more than a dozen original comedy specials. Faire also produced Canadian comedy showcase Comedy Now!, which aired for 15 seasons, and Comics Inc., on which she served as executive producer, showrunner, story editor and contributing writer. In 2008, SFA Productions produced the first season of reality competition series So You Think You Can Dance Canada, which earned a Gemini Award for Best Variety Program or Series. In 2000, SFA incorporated its own distribution company, Leopard Distribution Inc., which facilitated the sale of Comedy Now! to Comedy Central in the U.S., and Comedy Inc. to Spike TV. Many of SFA’s musical specials were also sold to PBS. Along with her husband, Ivan Fecan, executive chair and producer, Thunderbird Entertainment, and former CEO of the CTV network, the couple were known for their philanthropic activities, particularly in arts and medicine. Their causes included the National Ballet of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, York University and Toronto General Hospital.
Michael Webber, 51, on Feb. 26, after a battle with brain cancer. The longtime vice-president of Legal for Rogers Communications, Webber is best known as the legal architect behind several key deals including Rogers’ 12-year, $5.2-billion licensing deal with the NHL in 2013 – the largest media rights deal in league history – encompassing broadcast rights across all technology platforms and languages. At the time, the precedent-setting agreement was called “transformational” by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Webber also helmed the 2012 Bell and Rogers joint ownership arrangement to purchase a 75 per cent stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) from the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, and Rogers acquisition of Score Media Inc. for $167 million that same year. He was named Dealmaker of the Year in 2014 at the Canadian General Counsel Awards. A graduate of St. Andrew’s College, Queen’s University and Western, where he finished his law degree in 1993, Webber joined Rogers in April 2001 as an in-house lawyer after leaving corporate law firm Blakes, Cassels and Graydon. Webber was the first associate assigned to the growing Rogers Media division, managing the legal affairs of the company’s radio, television, and digital assets, in addition to publishing and sports entertainment.
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