Former colleagues are remembering veteran journalist Peter Ray (Rakobowchuk), who arguably had one of the most recognizable Broadcast News/Canadian Press sign offs during his 40-year career with the wire service.
Recently retired, Ray passed away Sunday. He’d been undergoing treatment for cancer.
He started his career in private broadcasting in 1970, working at stations in Northern Ontario and Hamilton, with a stop as news director at CFOX Montreal, before joining the CKO (Canada All-News Radio) network in Calgary and Vancouver.
In 1979, he joined Broadcast News, holding positions over the next four decades (through its transition to Canadian Press), in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal.
Jonathan Montpetit, who worked alongside Ray in CP’s Montreal bureau, posted to Twitter that he was “a legend in the bureau.”
“Loved to tell me stories of how he started as an overnight rock ‘n roll DJ. Will never forget his voice, or the kindness he showed to me as a young reporter,” wrote Montpetit.
In a post this past May to the National Press Club Facebook group, Ray recalled the competitive wire service environment in his early years with BN.
“When I worked in Ottawa…there were a half-dozen very competitive and aggressive radio news services. Along with BN, there was Newsradio, Standard Broadcast News, CBC Radio News, CHUM Contemporary News and the small Selkirk radio service. CKO All-News was also in the mix at one point,” Ray wrote.
“The competition was fierce and the radio peeps really hustled to get their material out fast – to move it out before the top-of-the-hour newscasts. This was during the late 1970s and 1980s. Money was no object at the time and expense accounts seemed bottomless. (More than 40 years later, Broadcast News is still standing, but with reporters now signing off The Canadian Press.) All the other services did not survive. Some SBN radio people ended up at The Canadian Press and are still around. The disappearance of the radio services came even before the days of Facebook, Twitter and the Internet. Maybe it was a sign of things to come in the battle over audiences and advertising dollars,” he continued. “I never thought I would see the day that newspapers – and the media in general – would be struggling to survive.”
The Canadian Press,
— Ted Raymond (@TedFriendlyGuy) August 5, 2020
Rest In Peace Peter Rakobowchuk (aka Peter Ray). What a distinctive voice & delivery. Heard tons of his BN (Broadcast News) voicers in our national audio feed & played some on longer newscasts on CIHI & CKHJ
“Peter Ray, Quebec City!”.
“Peter Ray, The Canadian Press, Montreal!”
— Andrew Holland (@Andrew__Holland) August 5, 2020
Nous avons perdu un autre collègue. J’ai travaillé pour Broadcast News comme correspondant quand Peter Ray était là. Un des meilleurs de sa profession. Bon voyage Peter, and thank you for your passion for journalism. https://t.co/fdGP9XMlko
— jeremy Filosa 🎙 (@JeremyFilosa) August 5, 2020
LOVED this man’s read and storytelling.
RIP “Peter Ray. Broadcast News. Montreal.” 👊🏼✌🏿 https://t.co/Acq2W9Y79q
— Charles Wayne Becken’s son, Bob (@BobBecken) August 5, 2020
The guy was a legend in the bureau. Loved to tell me stories of how he started as an overnight rock ‘n roll DJ. Will never forget his voice, or the kindness he showed to me as a young reporter. RIP Peter Ray, Broadcast News. https://t.co/uUyD9qpUxm
— Jonathan Montpetit (@jonmontpetit) August 5, 2020
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