Remembered for their contributions to the broadcast industry
*Printed here in order of their publication in Broadcast Dialogue’s Weekly Briefing and including notices from Dec. 2019.
Don Brown, 84, on Dec. 18. Brown had a 53-year broadcasting career, mostly with CBC Sports, producing and/or directing seven Summer Olympics, five Winter Olympics, seven Commonwealth Games and two Pan Am Games. He worked on 17 seasons of Hockey Night in Canada and behind-the-scenes on seven seasons of Montreal Expos baseball broadcasts. Brown was also a vocal advocate of broadcast support for the Canada Games in the event’s early years. He was inducted into the CBC Sports Hall of Fame in 2010 and awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2013.
Walter Cownden, 99, on Dec. 20. Cownden served in the Royal Canadian Navy aboard the destroyer HMCS Restigouche during WWII. He left the Navy in 1947 and went to study at the Lorne Greene Academy of Radio Arts. He returned to Victoria to work as an announcer at CJVI Victoria, later joining CFAX Victoria as production manager, and CKDA/CFMS-FM where he rose through the ranks to vice-president.
Peter Head, 82, on Dec. 5. Originally from Regina, Head started his broadcast career at CFRB Toronto where he hosted a recreational show called “Ask Peter Head.” He later moved over to CKVR-TV, hosting sports program “HeadStart.” After leaving media, he went on to work for Ontario Tourism and finally director of communications for Metro Toronto and Regional Conservation Authority from 1975, until his retirement in 1991.
Robert Frederick, 70, on Dec. 10. A graduate of the University of British Columbia, Frederick also received a Master of Fine Arts from New York University before joining the CBC in 1979. He started as a producer on the series Ritter’s Cove that followed the adventures of a family air taxi service that used a DHC-2 Beaver seaplane. He went on to direct 90 episodes of The Beachcombers before moving over to Paramount Pictures to produce 108 episodes of MacGyver. He later established his own production company MVP Entertainment Inc., which helped developed the France-Canada co-production treaty.
Ralph Lockwood, 80, on Jan. 12 in York, PA. Lockwood got his start in radio in his home state of Pennsylvania hosting a nightly polka show. He first entered the Montreal market in 1968 at CFOX, briefly leaving to take a morning show job in West Palm Beach, FL before returning to Montreal in 1972 to do mornings at CKGM. “The Birdman,” as he was nicknamed, quickly established himself as a wise-cracking, high-energy presence. From there, he went to afternoons on CFCF Radio and later CFCF-TV where he’d host a daily morning show. Lockwood also dabbled as a play-by-play announcer for Montreal Concordes’ football broadcasts on CJAD. He was re-hired by CKGM in 1985 to revive the station’s morning show, but had his contract cut short amidst underperforming ratings two years later. In addition to his hosting, he was known for appearing in quirky local television commercials for businesses like Dorion Suits and the Bar-B-Barn, among others. Lockwood returned to the U.S. in 1988 and spent the next decade at WSBA York, PA, before going on to work as a radio consultant.
Ross Willson, 94, on Jan. 9 in Shediac, NB after a lengthy battle with cancer. Born in Sault -Sainte-Marie, ON, Ross spent his entire 34-year broadcast career at CHML Hamilton as the station’s Chief Operator. He was responsible for hundreds of live broadcasts of “Meet Me At The Brant Inn” from the 1950s through ’70s, featuring live big bands like Count Basie, Guy Lombardo, Les Brown and Ella Fitzgerald. The CHML was also fed to CBC Radio and networked across the country Saturday nights. Wilson retired in 1982.
Peter “Cam” Kjellbotn, 69, on Dec. 30. Born in New Westminster and raised in Coquitlam, BC, Kjellbotn started his television career at BCTV in Vancouver before moving to Edmonton in 1974 for the launch of ITV (now Global Edmonton). Kjellbotn started in Master Control and worked on station productions of the day including the In Concert music series and sketch comedy show SCTV, on which he served as studio director. Kjellbotn retired in 2013 after 38 and a half years with the station in various roles.
Tommy Wolski, on Jan. 20 in Naples, Florida. Wolski had a career as a jockey, starting in the U.S., and later was a well-known fixture at Hastings Park Racecourse in Vancouver in the 1970s and ’80s. He forayed his popularity into a media career, hosting “Track Talk” on CJOR and later a horse racing show on CKO-FM, as well as cable TV show “Sport of Kings” on CKVU-TV. He also penned a column in The Vancouver Province from 1985 to 2015. Wolski was an inductee of both the B.C. Horse Racing Hall of Fame and Canadian Thoroughbred Society Hall of Fame.
Gordon Lyall, 91, on Dec. 26. Lyall, a lawyer by trade, was part of the entrepreneurial group that started up CKVU-TV Vancouver (now CityTV). Lyall was part of Western Approaches Ltd., which was awarded the city’s third broadcast licence in 1975. Western Approaches was controlled by DKL, which included Lyall, TV producer Daryl Duke, and writer Norman Klenman. The other 45% of the stock was held by a group of more than 40 Vancouver businessmen. CKVU-TV went to air on Sept. 1, 1976. Canwest later purchased a controlling interest in the station, which DKL was unsuccessful in blocking. Canwest obtained 100% ownership of CKVU in 1988.
Christopher “Kit” Hood, 76, suddenly at his home in West Lawrencetown, NS, on Jan. 20. Hood emigrated to Canada from England in his mid-20s in 1969 after working as a film editor with Walt Disney Productions in London. He went on to a career as a writer, producer, and director, best known for co-creating The Kids of Degrassi Street (1979-86), Degrassi Junior High (1987-89), and Degrassi High (1989-91) with Linda Schulyer, his partner in prodco Playing With Time Inc. The Kids of Degrassi Street won an International Emmy Award, with Hood and Schulyer also claiming five Gemini Awards for Degrassi Junior High.
James Deacon, 65, on Jan. 20, following a battle with cancer. After earning his journalism degree from Langara College in Vancouver, Deacon embarked on a career as a reporter, features writer and editor, establishing himself as a sportswriter and editor for special projects at Maclean’s magazine. Deacon was a regular contributor to the Fan 590’s PrimeTime Sports with Bob McCown, in addition to appearances on TVO. Deacon left Maclean’s in 2005, before joining The Globe and Mail in 2006. He was also a long-serving board member of the Michener Foundation, which annually recognizes public service journalism.
Hank Imes, 71, suddenly of a heart attack on Jan. 20. Following his graduation from SAIT, Imes started his career as a cameraman with CKRD Red Deer in 1975. From there, he did a two-year stint with CKCK-TV Regina (CTV), before landing at ITV (now Global) Edmonton in 1979. He went on to work for the station for 27 years, up until his retirement in Oct. 2006. Among the awards Imes was recognized with over the years was an AMPIA (Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association) honour for Best News Video in 1982 for his footage of Eva Pocklington’s escape from her home during the hostage taking of her husband, former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington. Imes, along with reporter Tim Spelliscy, was the first and only camera on the scene when she made her escape.
Kevin Horner, 61, suddenly on Feb. 2. Horner was a news photographer with CTV Calgary (CFCN) for 33 years. He retired from the station just over two years ago. Horner is remembered by colleagues as a tech enthusiast and early adopter, whose generosity was legendary.
Cecil William Browne, 90, on Jan 2. Browne grew up in Ottawa where his father worked in the federal government communications department, responsible for granting TV and radio licenses. Following Browne’s graduation from Ryerson Polytechnic, his own broadcasting career spanned 40 years, starting at CBC-TV Ottawa. Browne was a cameraman on one of the first live TV broadcasts in Canada and went on to produce and direct sports telecasts for CBC Sports, ranging from CFL, Major League Baseball and Hockey Night in Canada games to curling, track and field, and skiing. Browne worked on eight Olympic Games, in addition to Pan Am and Commonwealth Games. He also produced documentaries, including the series, Bytown Sketches, showcasing Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley.
Christie Blatchford, 68, on Feb. 12, of cancer. Blatchford was born in Rouyn-Noranda in northwestern Quebec, moving to Toronto with her family while in high school. She followed in the footsteps of her grandfather, Andy Lytle, a sports writer at the Toronto Star and Vancouver Sun, and uncle Tommy Lytle, a former Toronto Star editor. While still attending Ryerson University, she started writing part-time for the Globe and Mail in 1972, and joined the paper a year later as a sports reporter and eventually a columnist. She moved on to the Toronto Star as a features writer in 1977, and then the Toronto Sun in 1982, where she penned a humour column before going back into hard news. In 1988, she joined the newly-launched National Post, earning a National Newspaper Award for column writing. She returned to the Globe and Mail in 2003 and then back to NP in 2011 where she finished her career. Over the years, Blatchford penned five books, including Fifteen Days: Stories of Bravery, Friendship, Life and Death from Inside the New Canadian Army. Based on a series of trips Blatchford took to Afghanistan, the book won the 2008 Governor General’s Literary Award in Non-Fiction. She was also a regular contributor to Toronto’s Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM), heard on roundtable discussions on Moore in the Morning and The Rush. Blatchford was inducted into the Canadian News Hall of Fame last November. Newstalk 1010’s Jim Richards delivered an impassioned tribute to Blatchford, celebrating her authenticity and influence. Listen here.
Pamela Glass, 90, on Jan. 24. Born in Ireland, Glass emigrated to Canada in 1952, working as a clerk for the Royal Bank and teaching drama and phys ed before moving into a media career as a producer on the Dave Abbott Talk Show on CJOR Radio in Vancouver. A year later, she joined the BCTV production staff under Jack Webster. Glass would go on to an appointment as media assistant to Members of Parliament, and was later appointed Judge of the Citizenship Court of Canada. Among her many community causes, Glass was an elected Surrey School District trustee for three terms. Her media background went on to serve her well when she began working as the Press Box coordinator at the Vancouver Whitecaps Soccer Club. Over the years, Glass also served on the executive of the Irish Women’s Network, was president of the South Surrey Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of White Rock, vice-president of the Kwantlen University College Foundation, and served as a board member of Vancouver Community College, Pacific National Exhibition director, member of the Motion Picture Appeal Board, and director of the United Way, among other endeavours.
David Humiski, 65, on Feb. 5. Humiski grew up in Manitoba, moving to Toronto in 1982 where he was hired as a director at multicultural station, Channel 47. In 1988, he joined CFTO (CTV Toronto) and would go on to a three- decade career with the network. Humiski is seen here displaying his trademark Che Guevara-adorned camera battery as he waited to go live with reporter Natalie Johnson at the Ford family home for the late Rob Ford’s 2014 re-election campaign launch.
Ray Wittrock, 64, on Feb. 7. Wittrock joined CBC Vancouver as a Senior Broadcast Technologist in May 1981, the start of a 34-year career with the public broadcaster. Wittrock retired from CBC in 2015.
Gary Michaels, 77, on Feb. 26. Born Gary Zahab, Michaels grew up on Ottawa’s Fairmont Avenue above the busy family business, George’s Corner Store. The Zahabs owned a 50-acre farm in Carlsbad Springs where they grew their own produce and where Michaels spent summers. He opted not to go into the family business and pursued radio, landing a job with CJET Smiths Falls. He would go on to become a staple of the Ottawa radio scene, with subsequent stints as a midday and morning host at CFGO 1440 and CIWW-AM (now 1310 News). Michaels retired from radio in 2011 after helping launch CHIN Radio (CJLL-FM) Ottawa as program director and later operations manager. He continued to do voiceover work under the Gary Michaels Agency.
Robert H. Lee, 86, on Feb. 19. Born in Vancouver’s Chinatown in 1933, Lee went on to graduate from the University of British Columbia’s Commerce program in 1956. He pursued a career in real estate, founding the Prospero Group in 1979. Lee was one of the entrepreneurs who won the licence to launch ethnic station Channel M in 2002. Now branded as OMNI Television, it was acquired by Rogers from Multivan Broadcasting Corporation in 2008. Lee was a long-serving member of the UBC Board of Governors and chancellor between 1993-96. Known for his philanthropy, numerous facilities at UBC and in Vancouver bear his name including The Robert H. Lee Graduate School (in recognition of a $5 million gift in support of graduate education), the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre, the Robert and Lily Lee Family and Community Health Centre, and the Robert Lee YMCA. Lee was an inductee of the Order of British Columbia, the Order of Canada and was named businessman of the year in 1990 by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.
Finlay Johnson Payne, 93, on Feb. 14. Born and raised in Orillia, Payne was hired right out of high school at CFOR. He joined CBC Vancouver in 1946 in the mailroom, going on to work as a host, editor, and parliamentary and public affairs liaison. He retired from CBC Ottawa as head of program policy. Payne was one of the founding board members of the ARTEC union (Association of Radio and Télévision Employées of Canada) formed to help secure overtime pay for production staff.
Peter Puttonen, 76, on Feb. 13 in Nanaimo, BC. Puttonen had a long career in broadcast and consumer electronics, including several stints with CBC Vancouver, starting in 1970. He held roles including Maintenance Technician, Supervising Technician at the Mount Seymour transmitter site, and Systems Technologist for ENG in Vancouver. Puttonen also served as the Regional Technical Manager for Philips Consumer Electronics. He retired in 2000.
Leonard Ewert, 85, on Jan. 30. Originally from Saskatchewan, Ewert worked in the oil patch for several years before enrolling in the Radio College of Canada in Toronto. After graduation in 1961, he travelled to Edmonton to look for work when he received two calls on the same day offering him a job. One call was from CKBI Prince Albert and the other from CBC Radio in Edmonton. Ewert would take the CBC job and stayed with the public broadcaster for 35 years, retiring as Radio Technician Supervisor. In addition to working at CBC, Ewert was a 25-year member of the Richard Eaton Singers and Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
Ada Kangyal, 95, on Feb. 6. Kangyal was a longtime CBC costume designer. She worked on well-known series throughout the 1970s and 80s, including the King of Kensington and Seeing Things.
Bill Evanov, 77, on Feb. 28. The son of Bulgarian immigrants, the Evanov Radio Group and Dufferin Communications President and CEO started his radio career in 1967 when CHIN-FM Toronto owner Johnny Lombardi gave him a shot at a sales position. He moved quickly through the ranks of the multicultural station to become VP of sales within 18 months and went on to spend 13 years with the company. In 1980, he left for CING-FM Burlington as station manager. Facing financial difficulties, Evanov and CHIN colleague John Dukelow convinced ownership that they could turn the station’s fortunes around, in exchange for a 35% stake. While still managing CHIN, Evanov was among a group of people who purchased a partial ownership in CKMW-AM, on the basis that it would adopt a multi-language, ethnic licence, similar to CHIN. CKMW became CIAO, the first in what would grow to 19 stations under his purview. Evanov’s legacy includes the launch of several risk-taking formats. PROUD FM (CIRR-FM) Toronto went to air in 2007 as the world’s first LGBTQ radio station. Evanov was also behind the Rhythmic CHR sound of Z103.5 (CIDC-FM), the company’s flagship station, in addition to The Jewel Adult Contemporary format which is now heard on eight stations across the country. Evanov was presented with the Allan Waters Broadcast Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 at Canadian Music Week. Read more here. Former ERG consultant and CHUM Radio VP Duff Roman has also penned a tribute to Evanov, you can find here.
Earl Pomerantz, 75, on Mar. 7 in Los Angeles. Hailing from Toronto, Pomerantz wrote a weekly column for the Toronto Telegram in the late 1960s before breaking into television writing on The Hart & Lorne Terrific Hour, which starred his brother Hart Pomerantz and Lorne Michaels. Pomerantz moved to Hollywood in 1974, where he began writing scripts for shows including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and Taxi. He went on to develop and executive produce Major Dad and Best of the West, in addition to screenwriting credits on Cheers, Newhart, and The Cosby Show. He later served as a creative consultant on It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, The Larry Sanders Show, Lateline and According to Jim. Pomerantz earned two Emmy Awards over the course of his career – one as part of the writing team on The Lily Tomlin Special (1976) and another for The Cosby Show in 1985. He was also honoured with a Writers Guild of America Award, the Humanitas Prize and a CableACE Award. As recently as 2014, Pomerantz also contributed several commentaries to NPR program All Things Considered.
Vern McNair, 91, on Mar. 11. Raised on a farm near Shoal Lake, MB, McNair was a pioneer in Canadian farm broadcasting. Starting his career as an ag rep with Manitoba Agriculture in Carberry, McNair joined CBC Winnipeg in 1955. Among the television programs he worked on were Country Calendar, which later became Country Canada, and weekly show FarmScene. On the radio side, the Country Comment series saw five-minute information briefs aired by nine radio stations across the province. McNair returned to Manitoba Agriculture in 1959 to develop the department’s radio and television strategy. Under his leadership, Canada’s first electronic distance education short course for farmers, This Business of Farming, was developed in collaboration with the Faculty of Agriculture, CBC and Manitoba Agriculture. He went on to become Chief of Information Services and then Director of Communication Services, retiring in 1989. McNair was inducted into the Manitoba Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2013.
JR Shaw, 85, on Mar. 23. The founder and Executive Chair of Shaw Communications, JR Shaw developed an interest in television during his youth in southwestern Ontario, sharing in a 2013 interview with NAIT – where he served as chair of the Board of Governors from 1990-97 – that an episode of The Lone Ranger was his first introduction to the then new medium. He moved to Edmonton with his family in 1961 to expand his father’s pipe-coating business, going on in 1966 to found Capital Cable Television Co. Ltd. The start-up connected its first cable customer in Sherwood Park, AB in 1971. From there, the company built a substantial radio and television broadcasting group that was eventually spun out into the publicly-traded Corus Entertainment. In 1996, Shaw helped introduce Western Canadians to the internet, and in 2005 launched home phone residential service. In 2016, Shaw acquired WIND Mobile (now branded as Freedom). JR Shaw stepped down as CEO of Shaw Communications in 1998 when his eldest son, the late Jim Shaw took over, but remained active in the company. Shaw was a passionate supporter of Canadian art and artists, and numerous charitable causes, including Edmonton’s Stollery Children’s Hospital. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Alberta Order of Excellence, and held honorary degrees from University of Alberta, University of Calgary, and Graceland University in Iowa. He was also an inductee of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame and the Cable Hall of Fame. Shaw was instrumental in the creation of the Shaw Charity Classic, Calgary’s stop on the PGA TOUR Champions that has raised over $48 million for Alberta charities since 2013.
Mike Bezzeg, 66, on Mar. 23. Bezzeg is considered by many to be Canada’s first VJ, launching his Calgary music cable show FM Moving Pictures in 1979, before the dawn of MTV and MuchMusic. The interview and music video show ran until 1984. In late 2019, after a 35-year hiatus, Bezzeg launched YouTube series InnerView with Mike Bezzeg, featuring interviews with guests ranging from musician Art Bergmann to Olympic swimmer Mark Tewksbury. Bezzeg died of injuries sustained in a car accident after delivering food to friends in quarantine.
Larry Steinman, 71, on Mar. 20. Steinman started his career in politics after serving as student president at the University of Western Ontario where he met future Ontario Premier Bill Davis. He went on to become a youth organizer for the Ontario PC party and subsequently worked as executive assistant to the premier when Davis was elected in 1971. Steinman went on to work in satellite communications and long-distance learning. He was a founder of the Canadian Telecommunications Network (CTN), served as vice-president of Canadian Satellite Communications (Cancom), and founded satellite teleconferencing business network Business Television (BTV+) in 1981, serving as its president.
Shirley Douglas, 86, on Apr. 5, due to complications from pneumonia. Born in Weyburn, SK in 1934 to Irma May and Tommy, Douglas showed an interest in acting early, attending the Banff School of Fine Arts at age 16. Her acting career began with a role in the Regina Little Theatre entry at the Dominion Drama Festival competition in 1950, where she won the best actress award. She went on to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, returning to Canada in 1957 after working in British theatre and television. She went on to appear as Mrs. Starch in Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita (1962), among other film and TV roles. After marrying actor Donald Sutherland, Douglas moved to California in the late 1960s and became an activist, getting involved in the civil rights movement, protests against the Vietnam War, and helped establish “Friends of the Black Panthers.” She was subsequently denied a work permit and forced to leave the U.S. in 1977. Her activism continued in Canada where she co-founded a chapter of Performing Artists for Nuclear Disarmament. Douglas’ acting career also resumed with roles in David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Street Legal, Wind at my Back, Robson Arms and Corner Gas, in addition to appearing on stage including a 1997 run of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie with son Kiefer Sutherland at the Royal Alexandra and National Arts Centre. Douglas won a Gemini Award for her supporting role in TV movie Shadow Lake in 2000 and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2003. She received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2004.
Logan Williams, 16, on Apr. 2. Williams, who was born and raised in Greater Vancouver, landed his very first audition at age 10, winning the role of Jack Spehn in Hallmark movie “Color of Rain.” He was best known for appearing as young Barry Allen in The Flash TV series from 2014-15. He also appeared as Miles Montgomery in more than a dozen episodes of When Calls The Heart from 2015-16, in addition to roles on Supernatural and The Whispers.
Thomas Charles O’Neill, 75, on Apr. 3, following a sudden stroke. The former BCE Inc. and Bell Canada Chair from 2009-16, retired after serving as a Director from 2003. O’Neill, who served as CEO and Chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, was key to the launch of the Bell Let’s Talk mental health initiative in 2010. Among the other boards he served on were Scotiabank, from which he retired as Chair in 2019; Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan; The Adecco Group; Loblaw Companies Limited, and Queen’s University, where he served as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees and was a member of the Advisory Board of the Smith School of Business. O’Neill was also dedicated to St. Michael’s Hospital, serving on that board for 14 years, and as Chair for four. He received special recognition from Catalyst Canada for his role in advancing the careers of women leaders in Canadian business. He was also the recipient of the Peter Dey Governance Achievement Award in recognition of outstanding and achievement in the area of corporate governance.
Graham Brown, 71, on Apr. 1, following a long illness. Brown was raised in Sydney, NS where he began his career in print journalism. He took up radio in the late 1970s and moved to Saint John in the late 1980s. Over the years, he worked for Acadia Broadcasting, where he served as news director at CHSJ-FM; former Rogers’ station News 88.9 (CHNI-FM); and independent station Legends 103 (CJRP-FM), among others.
Larry Michael Mandziuk (aka Larry Michaels), 76, on Mar. 21. Known as Larry Michaels on-air, Mandziuk worked as an announcer at CJIC 1050 and 920 CKCY in Sault Ste. Marie, in addition to stints in CJLX Thunder Bay, Swift Current, and Winnipeg. Following his broadcasting career, Mandziuk taught at Sault College and went on to launch digital publication, Soozine. He was also an avid ham radio enthusiast and photographer.
Greg Bohnert, 67, suddenly of a heart attack on Mar. 27. Bohnert had a long career in radio news that spanned several provinces and decades. Early on, he worked with Standard Broadcast News – the Slaight-owned newswire service that originated out of CFRB Toronto. He went on to stints as a talk show host with Harvard Broadcasting in Regina, and later was news director at CFAX 1070 Victoria. In 2006, he moved to Calgary, producing and hosting documentary series “The Calgary Files” and guest hosting on QR77 (CHQR-AM). From 2009-11, he hosted and produced syndicated show YourMoneyRadio.ca, a financial literacy show heard on the Corus network in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Vancouver. Most recently, he’d been anchoring weekend news for CBC Radio in Calgary (2012-14) and working as a freelance communications consultant.
Ron East, 86, on Mar. 17. East started his career in 1955 as an announcer at CKPG Radio Prince George and by 1960 was managing the station. In 1963, he and partner Stan Davis founded CFBV Radio in Smithers, adding CFLD Burns Lake, and later CJCI Prince George. From there, CIVH Vanderhoof and other re-broadcasters were added under the banner of Central Interior Radio Network. East served as president and managing director until the stations were sold to Vista in 2005. East also led an effort to bring cable TV to the B.C. Interior and in 1973, Central Interior Cablevision established service in Prince George, followed by Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House. The company was sold to Shaw in 1989. East was a past president of the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters (BCAB) and was named BCAB Broadcaster of the Year in 1976. He also served a three-year term as a director for the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance.
Barry Allen Rasmussen, 74, on Apr. 4. Born and raised in Edmonton, Barry Allen (as he was known professionally) started his music career when he joined locally established band Wes Dakus and The Rebels. With no recording studio in Edmonton, the group ended up working with producer Norman Petty (Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison) who liked Allen’s backing vocals. That led to a solo deal with Capitol Records and several nationally charting hits, the biggest being the title track from his sophomore album, Lovedrops, in 1966 which rose to #10 on the RPM Magazine chart. After forming his own backing bands Southbound Freeway and Coloured Rain, Allen moved to Calgary to host “Come Together,” a TV show recorded by CFCN at the city’s Apollo Club, that featured up and coming local and international talent. It ran for three seasons. Allen later toured with the show’s house band, Cheyenne Winter, opening for acts like Steely Dan and Dr. John. In 1977, Allen put his time behind the soundboard at Tommy Banks’ Century II Studios to use at 630 CHED in Edmonton where he was hired as the production manager. After a few years, he went on to buy Bumstead Studios, where k.d. Lang’s first records were recorded, and renamed it Homestead Recorders. Corb Lund, Wide Mouth Mason, and Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar are among the acts that went on to record there. Allen joined the Board of Directors for the Alberta Recording Industry Association in the 1990s, and went on to receive two Prairie Music Alliance Awards for Engineer of the Year. Homestead also won Studio of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards in 2003.
Claude Beauchamp, on Apr. 12. Considered a pioneer in financial journalism in Quebec, Beauchamp was responsible for helping establish an economic section in the La Presse newspaper where he started his career as a financial writer. He went on to serve as assistant publisher and editor-in-chief of Le Soleil in the late 1970s. Following the company’s acquisition of business journal Les Affaires, he became president and general manager of Publications Les Affair and relaunched the journal as a tabloid. He also oversaw the company’s purchase of smaller, niche papers like Quebec Construction, Revue Commerce, Quebec Yachting, Ski Quebec, and Sports Marketing Canada, among others. Under his leadership, corporate revenues rose from under $1 million in 1980 to $13 million in 1985. The launch of This Week in Business and Good Times, The Magazine for Successful Retirement, followed. Beauchamp resigned from Publications Les Affaires Inc. in 1990 and became involved in several political endeavours, including constitutional reform. He was also briefly a candidate for Mayor of Montreal in 1994. He returned to journalism in 1995, hosting the program, Capital Actions, on RDI until 2004. Beauchamp was a past president of the Professional Federation of Journalists of Quebec (FPJQ) and contributed to the founding of the Press Council in 1973. Among other accolades, the Association des economistes québécois recognized his career with an award of excellence in 2012.
Giles Walker, 74, on Mar. 23 after a 10-year battle with brain cancer. Originally from Scotland, Walker received a B.A. from the University of New Brunswick and later an M.A, from Stanford Film School. He began his career in 1974 as a documentary filmmaker with the National Film Board of Canada, based in Montreal and was considered a pioneer in the docufiction movement. After making the switch to scripted drama, his short film Bravery in the Field earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Live Action Short in 1979. Among the feature dramas that followed were Princes of Exile (1990) about young people with cancer. Walker also directed Ryan Reynolds in his first film Ordinary Magic in 1993. Among his TV directing credits were episodes of Emily of New Moon, Cold Squad, Sirens, Fries with That, and a miniseries on Rene Levesque. Over the years he earned five Genie Award nominations, with one win for Outstanding TV Drama for Bravery in the Field in 1980. Donations can be made to the Giles Walker Memorial Scholarship in Film Studies at the University of New Brunswick.
Brian Langston, 64, on Apr. 17 after a hard fought battle with ALS. Langston started his career as an announcer, working at stations in Red Deer, Vancouver and Quesnel, before landing the GM/GSM role at CINL Princeton, BC in 1980. He went on to hold the same role at CHQB Powell River and CFWB/CJGR Campbell River, before heading to North Wales to head up a five-station network for the Marcher Radio Group in 1999. He returned to Vancouver two years later and worked in broadcast software sales, holding roles at Iris Ink/MT&T, Finale Editworks, and Canadian Time Systems. Langston returned to radio in 2005 as GM/GSM for the Bell Media BC North cluster, based in Terrace, managing EZ Rock (CFTK-AM), CJFW-FM and CFTK-TV for a decade. After four decades in radio, he retired last fall as GM/GSM at 104.7 Heart FM (CIHR-FM) Woodstock, ON, following his ALS diagnosis.
Robin Seymour, 94, Apr. 17, of a heart attack in San Antonio, TX. Seymour, who was born in Detroit, began his radio career as a child actor on The Lone Ranger Show. After a stint with Armed Forces Radio during WWII, he joined WKMH Dearborn as a DJ. He was the station’s most popular personality with his “Bobbin’ with Robin” show featuring a mix of music spanning R&B, pop, and early rock, paving the way for the Top 40 format. He was named Disc Jockey of the Year in 1953 by Billboard and received a similar honour in 1954 from Hit Parade. An organizer of sock hops in the area, Seymour went on to host “Teen Town”, a TV show similar to American Bandstand in the 1960s that visited local high schools. The show was picked up by CKLW-TV Windsor in 1965 and redubbed “Swingin’ Time” featuring Motown acts like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. After 18 years, Seymour left the station to devote himself to Swingin’ Time full-time and went on to host a radio show on CKLW AM800. He left the Detroit/Windsor area in 1980 and moved to L.A. where he ran a video production company. Seymour published a book last fall called The DJ That Launched 1,000 Hits: The Story of Robin Seymour.
Johnny Williams, 78, on Apr. 16, in Dearborn, MI, of complications from COVID-19. Williams, whose real name was Tom DeAngelo, is best known as a CKLW Windsor personality from 1968-83. He went on to replace Alan Almond on WNIC Dearborn’s late show “Pillow Talk.” In the 1990s, he was one of the first DJs to make the transition to Sirius satellite radio as a programmer and voice talent. In more recent years, he’d hosted a show on OTT service, XUMO.
Carol Thorbes, 63, on Apr. 14. Thorbes started her radio career as the all night/evening DJ at CKEG Nanaimo in 1981, followed by similar stints at CJVI Victoria, and CKIQ Kelowna. In 1984, she made the move into news, first at CJVI and then as an anchor and reporter at CFAX Victoria and CKWX Vancouver. She joined CBC Vancouver in 1991 where she spent the next eight years. In 1998, Thorbes made a move into communications and went on to work as an information officer for Simon Fraser University for 16 years. She made a brief foray back into radio as a talk show host on Vancouver independent station Roundhouse Radio (CIRH-FM) in 2015.
Doug Franks, 79, on Apr. 13 at Royal Columbian Hospital. Franks started his career at CBC Vancouver as a cameraman, before going to work at CHCH Hamilton for many years. He eventually returned to Vancouver to join BCTV (now Global) and later turned to freelance documentary work. Toward the end of his career, he worked as both a Field Rep for IASTE 669 and taught film at BCIT.
William (Bill) Kuziw, 84, on Apr.12. Kuziw was a studio cameraman at CFRN-TV Edmonton before he joined CBC-TV Edmonton (CBXT) in Studio 2 in the late 1960s. During his career with CBC, he held roles including Studio Technician, Film Sound Recordist, and ENG editor. He worked as a camera operator during the Montreal Summer Olympics in 1976, among other big productions, including travelling the country working on Stompin’ Tom’s Canada, which aired in 1974-75. Kuziw would go on to marry CBC production and script assistant Sylvia Gerke and in retirement they travelled the world, visiting every continent including Antarctica.
Marke Raines, 93, suddenly on Apr. 10 at his home in Toronto. Born in Calgary, Raines began his broadcasting career as a continuity writer at CJCJ Calgary in 1945 and moved on to news reporting. In 1951, he moved to Vancouver and began working as a copywriter and announcer at CKMO. He joined CKNW in 1952 and became the station’s first beat reporter. On weekends, he co-hosted weekly comedy show, Just for Fun, with Warren Barker. In 1964, Raines moved to CJOR to host open line public affairs show, Pipeline, moving the show to CHAN-TV a year later and then returning to CJOR in 1968. He also started hosting nightly news show Night Beat on CHAN-TV, which became News Hour Final and continued through the station’s rebrand to BCTV. In 1974, Raines successfully ran as the Liberal Party candidate in Burnaby-Seymour and served five years as an MP in the Trudeau government. During his term, he was a member of the Standing Committee on Broadcasting, Films and Assistance to the Arts and an ardent critic of how the CBC was funded. He was appointed to the CRTC in 1981 and served a five-year term.
Russ Peake, 80, on Apr. 27 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Peake was in broadcasting for nearly five decades, starting in radio in Red Deer at age 17, hauling equipment to various remotes and operating, before moving into announcing. He eventually moved over to CHQR Calgary as sports director from the mid-1960s until 1971 when he joined CFCN where he became sports director until his retirement in 2006. Peake also acted as the PA announcer for both the World Hockey Association (WHA) Calgary Cowboys in the 1970s and continued as the arena voice of the Calgary Flames until 1996. He was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 1984.
Dian Duthie, 68, on Apr. 14. A former CBC and CTV television reporter, Duthie is best known for her many years at CBC Ottawa where she hosted and produced The Health Beat, a weekly CBC TV feature on health, medicine and fitness. Duthie’s coverage earned many awards over the years including a 2011 Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Media Award for Health Reporting and recognition from the Canadian Nurses Association.
Dave Budgell, 68, suddenly on Apr. 6. Originally from Toronto, Budgell joined CBC Toronto right out of college as a cameraman. In 1976, he did a brief stint volunteering as a teacher in the West Indies before moving to British Columbia where he would go on to a 35-year career with BCTV/Global BC. Starting as a cameraman, he retired as technical director, overseeing news broadcasts for both Global Vancouver and Montreal. Budgell retired from Global five years ago. Watch Global BC’s video tribute, here.
John (Jack) Sinclair, 83, on Mar. 27 after a battle with Alzheimer’s. Sinclair was an early pioneer on the Toronto film production scene. In addition to working in post-production at CFTO and CBC, Sinclair co-founded the Toronto-based Motion Picture Video Company. He was also involved in early green screen development. Among other career highlights, Sinclair helped design the network broadcast facilities for both the Atlanta and Vancouver Olympic Games, in addition to the new CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto.
Susan Cardinal, 65, on Mar. 24, of cancer. Cardinal’s journalism career spanned print, radio and television, including hosting, reporting and producing both for CBC Calgary and nationally for CBC Radio. Cardinal produced many award-winning documentaries, including several that aired on CBC Sunday Morning and CBC Ideas. She went on to independently produce The Thirsty Traveler, which explored the world of wine and spirits, and originally aired from 2002-06 on Food Network Canada and later more than 70 countries. Among other credits, Cardinal also wrote and directed 2006 documentary Dream Makers, which had its debut on Bravo. Narrated by Tantoo Cardinal, the film told the story of Aboriginal people in the Canadian film industry, from substituting Mexicans and Italians in Indigenous roles to fighting stereotypes.
Rudy Morelli, 86, on May 1, of brain cancer. In addition to being a respected member of the legal community, Morelli was one of the original six partners in NL Broadcasting, which started in 1970 with the founding of CHNL-AM Kamloops and CJNL-AM Merritt. Morelli was the only remaining original shareholder when NL Broadcasting, which expanded to include CJKC-FM and CKRV-FM Kamloops, was sold to Newcap in 2017.
Ron Hill, 87, on Apr. 27. Born in Port Credit, ON, Hill had his own radio program on CJRT-FM Toronto called “Rhythm with Ron” while attending the Radio & TV Arts program at Ryerson. Having studied piano and voice from the age of five, Hill would play the piano to accompany his announcing. He went on to work at CHAT Medicine Hat where he hosted “Rambling with Ron” and “The Mayfair Melody Time.” He would go on to showcase his musical talent and knowledge again on CKCO-TV Kitchener where he hosted early morning show “This Morning” in 1959-60. Hosting roles at CFCF-TV in Montreal followed including shows “Coffee Break” and “You’re Going to Expo,” celebrating Expo ‘67. In 1973, Hill joined CBC Radio and TV in Halifax, presenting the news during “Information Morning” and “Daybreak” on radio, and hosting “Sunrise” and “Atlantic Week.” He also did a turn as weatherman during the supper hour newscast. He retired from the public broadcaster in 1997. He went on to work as a background performer on locally shot television productions including “Haven,” “Trailer Park Boys,” “Jesse Stone,” and feature film “Hobo with a Shotgun.”
Joyce Davidson Susskind, 89, on May 7, at Meighen Manor in Toronto, as a result of complications from COVID-19. Originally from Saskatoon, Davidson grew up in Hamilton with her first foray into television in 1954 when she was hired by CHCH-TV as an assistant on a cooking show. She was soon appearing on television commercials and by 1956 was a fill-in host on CBC current affairs program, Tabloid. She resigned from the show amid controversy in 1959 after expressing her indifference to an upcoming visit by Queen Elizabeth II during an NBC interview. Davidson then headed stateside where she became a contributor to The Today Show and was later hired in the early 1960s on PM East/PM West, a five-night-a-week show, co-hosted by Mike Wallace. Davidson returned to Canadian television in 1977 as host of weekday afternoon talk show, The Joyce Davidson Show, produced by CFTO-TV. In 1980, she went on to host Authors, a CBC interview series featuring Canadian writers.
Nevin Grant, 80, on May 6, after a battle with Parkinson’s. Grant established Hamilton’s CKOC as “a hitmaker” over his 37 years at the station. He started working at CKOC in 1966 following his graduation from Ryerson’s Radio and Television Arts program after leaving law school to pursue broadcasting. Starting out as a copywriter, he worked his way up to creative director, music director, assistant program director and eventually program director. During most of Grant’s tenure, the station played Top 40 with CKOC earning a reputation as a leader in breaking new hits and artists. Over the years, he helped launch the careers of many broadcasters including Roger Ashby, Ronald J. Morey, Gord James, Dave Charles, Brent Sleightholm, Bob Steele, Mike Jaycock, Peter Jaycock, Franklyn Cooper, “Rock ‘N’” Ray Michaels and Bob Bratina. Grant also chaired the Program Advisory Committee for Radio Broadcasting at Mohawk College. He retired in 2003 and went on to pen memoir, Growing up with the Hits!: Reliving The Best Time of Your Life – 1955-1989. Grant was set to be inducted into the Canadian Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame during Canadian Music Week as the 2020 recipient of the Allan Waters Lifetime Achievement Award. Read more here.
Shaun Clarke, 62, on May 5 of cancer. A longtime Nova Scotia film locations manager, Clarke’s career spanned 35 years, including involvement with N.S.-shot productions The Lighthouse, Titanic, The Healer, Trailer Park Boys, Mr. D, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Two If By Sea, The Shipping News, and Black Cop, among others. Clarke was also a background actor. In addition to helping scout the location for Oscar-nominated The Lighthouse, which filmed at Cape Forchu in Yarmouth, NS, Clarke had a brief on-screen role as one of the lighthouse keepers relieved by the film’s stars, Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. He also had small parts on Trailer Park Boys and Mr. D.
Richard (Dick) Glunz, 90, on Apr. 30 at University of Alberta Hospital. Glunz, originally from Buffalo, New York, was part of the Photographic Arts class of 1954 at Ryerson. He went on to a 31-year career as a television technician at CBC, working in both Toronto and Edmonton.
Capt. Jenn Casey, 35, on May 17, in Kamloops. Originally from Halifax, Casey was hired right out of the University of King’s College Journalism program in 2009 as a producer and lineup editor at Rogers’ News 95.7 (CJNI-FM). After four years there, she went on to work briefly as a reporter and anchor at Quinte Broadcasting’s stations in Belleville, ON before joining the Canadian Armed Forces as a public affairs officer in 2014. She had been with the Snowbirds since late 2018. Flying with the Snowbirds as part of Operation Inspiration, a cross-country tour aimed at boosting the spirits of Canadians while they shelter-in-place during the COVID-19 pandemic, Casey’s family said in a statement that she died while “supporting an important mission that seemed to be designed for her.” Read one of the more personal tributes to Casey, penned by former News 95.7 colleague Meghan Groff, here.
Monique Mercure, 89, on May 17, of throat cancer. Over her six-decade career, Mercure starred in over 100 productions spanning film, TV and stage. She trained both in Paris at l’École Jacques-Lecoq and in Montreal at the Actor’s Studio, going on to star in at least 30 feature films, including Jean Beaudin’s J.A. Martin photographe, which earned her the award for Best Actress at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival and the Canadian Film Awards that year. She also starred in David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch, which earned her a Genie Award for Best Supporting Actress (1992). She later won a Best Supporting Actress honour in 1999 for her role in Conquest. Mercure was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1977 and promoted to Companion in 1994. She received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, among other accolades.
Ken McKissock, 72, on May 7 of cancer. Born in Ontario, McKissock moved to Vancouver and worked in the music industry before going on to a career in broadcast sales. McKissock worked at BCTV (now Global BC) where he was a salesman and sales manager, in addition to CFUN Vancouver. He went on to found advertising agency, AIM Communications, in 1992.
David Hayman, 42, on May 19. After graduating from York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Film, Hayman produced several short films, which led to work as an independent music supervisor. His early credits included CTV’s “The Eleventh Hour,” ABC’s “Rookie Blue”, and HBO’s “Less Than Kind.” He joined Toronto audio production house Vapor Music Group as Head of Music Supervision & Licensing in 2005 and went on to found Supergroup Sonic Branding Co. in 2012. Serving as the company’s chief music supervisor and creative director, more recent credits included “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band,” “Born To Be Blue,” “Utopia Falls,” “Nirvana The Band The Show,” “Kim’s Convenience,” “Northern Rescue,” and Hubert Davis Documentary “Giants of Africa” about Toronto Raptors’ General Manager Masai Ujiri. Hayman was also the current Vice-President of the Guild of Music Supervisors of Canada.
Doug Hepburn, 79, on May 18. Hepburn, not to be confused with the 1953 World Weightlifting Champion of the same name which he enjoyed sharing, embarked on a broadcast sales career following a brief stint with the Edmonton Eskimos before he was sidelined with knee injuries. He started in radio sales at CHQT-AM Edmonton and then CITV-TV. When Superchannel launched, Hepburn moved with the company to Vancouver, going on to become sales manager at CKNW. He later partnered with fellow broadcast sales veteran Gerry Gerling in their company, Adtel.
Ferdy Baglo, 93, on May 15. Baglo’s broadcasting career started at age 16 at CKMO (CFUN) Vancouver. When CKNW launched in 1944, Baglo was the station’s first music director and met his future wife there, Magda Johansen, who was part of weekly live musical segment “Fireside Harmonies with the Johansen Sisters.” In 1947, Baglo took a break from radio and hopped a freighter as a crew member working his way to the Far East. He moved his family to Saskatoon a few years later, working at CKOM radio, while attending the Lutheran Theological Seminary. After leading a handful of parishes in rural Saskatchewan, Baglo was offered an opportunity to go to East Africa in 1960. Relocating to Moshi in the Kilimanjaro region, Baglo oversaw construction of a production studio where music and educational programs (usually performed in Swahili) were recorded for broadcast. The family eventually returned to British Columbia and Baglo briefly worked again in radio at CJJC Langley in 1970 while completing his Masters Degree in Sacred Theology. After leading congregations in Burnaby, Langley, and Edmonton, he became editor of the church’s monthly national magazine, The Canada Lutheran, in 1985. He retired in 1991, but continued to serve as editor of national devotional publication “Eternity for Today” and contributed as a Canadian correspondent to Ecumenical News International Geneva.
Johathan Hachey, 41, on May 16 after a short battle with cancer. After graduating from high school in Moncton, NB, Hachey studied radio broadcasting at NBCC Woodstock, in addition to acting at Vancouver Film School. He went on to land a job with YTV in Toronto as a junior website coordinator and then moved into viewer relations for Corus Entertainment specialty channels, YTV, Scream and DK Canada. Hachey returned to his home province in 2010 and took a job with Astral Radio’s stations in Fredericton – The Fox (CFXY-FM), Capital FM (CIBX-FM) and KHJ (CKHJ-AM) – as promotions coordinator. In 2013, he moved over to K94.5 (CKCW-FM) and Max 103.9 FM (CFQM-FM) Moncton to head promotions for both stations.
Glenn Lemchuk, 63, on May 4. Lemchuk’s interest in television started early. During his final year of high school in Yorkton, SK, he produced and hosted a TV talk show entitled “Of Interest to Youth,” which aired on local CBC affiliate, CKOS. Lemchuk joined CKCK-TV (CTV Regina) as a promotions coordinator in 1976 and five years later went to work with CBC Saskatchewan in Communications, the start of a 16-year run with the public broadcaster. Among the programs he worked on as a publicist were “Country West,” “What on Earth,” and CBC’s coverage of the CFL’s first Grey Cup game in Regina (1995). Lemchuk went on to pursue strategic communications with Brown Communications Group for more than a decade with one of the highlights leading the media campaign for Saskatchewan’s centennial celebration for which he was recognized with the Premier’s Centennial Leadership Award. Lemchuk later spent five years as a strategic communications consultant at SaskPower.
Richard Avery, 76, on May 31, in Oshawa, ON after a brief illness. Avery began his career with Broadcast News in 1960, at age 16, in a messenger’s position on Parliament Hill. He would go on to work as a parliamentary reporter, known for his booming delivery, and later an editor. He retired from the wire service in 1996. In a wire message following his final editing shift, shared with Broadcast Dialogue, he wrote, “I received an education over the final four decades of the 20th century that no amount of money could buy. It has been a magnificent ride!”
Allen Baekeland, 61, on May 23, after a battle with cancer. Baekeland was a former CJSW station manager, the University of Calgary’s campus radio station, with his first show in 1976 exploring the emerging punk and new wave scenes. Baekeland was part of a group in the early 1980s that helped propel the station to notoriety, famously locking himself inside CJSW’s studios to prevent the Student Radio Society from being forced out of its space by student government. He went on to earn a Masters degree in Television, Radio and Film from Syracuse University’s Newhouse College and moved to Toronto in 1985. He worked briefly in those fields, but music became his focus and he decided that being a letter carrier for Canada Post would be more conducive to the lifestyle. Among the bands he played with were Lost & Profound, The Rembetika Hipsters, and The Now Feeling. He also volunteered at the University of Toronto’s CIUT-FM, where he met fellow volunteer Jennifer Norfolk, who would become his wife. They returned to Calgary in 1995 and Baekland resumed hosting at CJSW with country music program, The Boot Heel Drag, from 1996-2002. He continued to be an active member of the CJSW Programming Committee.
William (Bill) Draper, 83, on Apr. 19, at St. Jerome Hospital, from complications following cancer treatment. Draper’s interest in journalism started as a teen in Montreal, following up on happenings he overheard on the police scanner and filing photos and stories that sometimes made it into the local papers. He was hired by CFCF Radio & TV in 1961. He went on to serve as the longtime assignment editor for CFCF-TV’s Pulse News. Draper retired in 1997.
Greg Simpson, 71, on June 10, following a series of strokes. Simpson devoted his life to music early on, starting out managing local bands while still in high school in the 1960s. He began his radio career in 1969 as the music director at CJOE London, ON. From there, he went to work in promotions for A&M Records in Toronto, and then did several stints as a manager for Sam the Record Man and Records on Wheels. He returned to radio in 1979 as the music director at FM96 London, while teaching radio and music programming at Fanshawe College. In 1993, he founded Mindbenders Music, an artist management, music consulting and radio promotions firm. Among the artists he worked with were Kim Mitchell, Holly Cole, Lee Aaron, Strange Advance, Carole Pope, Luciano Pavarotti, and Lighthouse, while also consulting for radio, nightclubs, record labels, and industry events, including coming onboard to help manage Canadian Music Week.
Peter Leo, 64, suddenly on June 6. Following his graduation from Carleton University in 1979, Leo joined CHEZ-FM Ottawa as a reporter. After a decade there, he joined CBC in 1989. Leo spent most of the next 30 years working behind-the-scenes with CBC Radio. Among those shows were World at Six, World Report, and The World This Hour, as well as helming election and other special, national network programming.
Janis Lockwood, 65, on June 5, following a short battle with cancer. Lockwood started volunteering at Carleton University campus and community station, CKCU-FM, in the 1970s, with a commitment that went beyond hosting her weekly one-hour music program. “On June 5, we lost a towering figure in the station’s 45-year history,” CKCU’s Jordan David wrote on the station website. “Janis was here from early days, helping to pull a fledgling campus-based community radio station up by the roots. Her on-air presence showed all of us how radio should be done. Her support for local artists showed many a musician that it could be done…Off-air, too, Janis represented the best of CKCU. More than a trusted volunteer and host, she was instrumental in keeping us going through times both good and bad. As funding drive coordinator. As a former member and chair of the Board of Directors. As a tireless advocate for the station and, during those bad times, the driving force behind a decisive effort to save us from ruin.” Outside her volunteer efforts, Lockwood worked over the years with the Ottawa Folklore Centre, National Archives of Canada, and was a past coordinator of the Ottawa Folk Festival.
David Liddell, 85, on May 24, following several strokes. Liddell worked for both CBC Radio and Television in Vancouver, before joining Vancouver Cablevision in 1970 as program manager. When the station was later purchased by Rogers, he was named VP, Programming. Liddell also helped establish Ghana’s first television station as part of a federal Canadian delegation. Among his professional affiliations were involvement in the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE); the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television; and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).
Alan Gadsby, 84, on Mar. 16, of cancer. Gadsby joined CBC Vancouver in the early 1960s as a clerk in TV Traffic and rose through the ranks to become TV Traffic Manager, before transferring to TV Production as Unit Manager. He left CBC in the early 1980s to pursue freelance photography. Gadsby was a long-time member of the CBC 20 Year Association.
Stuart Smith, 82, on June 10, following a two-year struggle with Lewy body dementia. A former president of the McGill University Student Society and debating champion, Smith’s interest in public speaking led him to work in television as co-host of early 1960s CBC Montreal program “Youth Special” with his future wife, Paddy Springate. He later anchored CBC’s “The New Generation.” Smith went on to obtain his degree in medicine from McGill with a major in psychiatry. He entered politics in 1965, seeking the Liberal nomination for the Montreal riding of Mount Royal, but eventually withdrew his nomination in favour of a then unknown Pierre Trudeau. In 1967, Smith left Montreal for Hamilton to become a professor of psychiatry at the new McMaster University Medical School and hosted weekly series “This is Psychiatry” on CHCH-TV. In 1975, he ran as a Liberal in the Ontario provincial election in Hamilton West and became Leader of the Official Opposition, serving alongside Premier William Davis and NDP leader Stephen Lewis. He led the Ontario Liberal Party through the 1978 and ’81 elections before retiring from politics.
Ray Orchard, 89, on June 19. Orchard’s radio career began at CJVI Victoria in the 1940s, while he was still a teenager. Orchard moved over to CKWX Vancouver in the 1950s, before heading for England where he was a DJ on Radio Luxembourg and made guest appearances as a panelist on BBC television show Juke Box Jury, where celebrities would judge the potential of new record releases. Orchard eventually returned to Victoria and the CFAX newsroom before moving into a job with the B.C. Government.
Sid Kozak, 77, on June 13. Kozak, who grew up in rural Alberta, was introduced to theatre while studying at the University of Alberta. After a few years in England, he returned to Canada in the mid-1970s, working in Toronto and Vancouver in stage management and production. He founded talent agency Act 4 in the 1980s, but moved into casting for the CBC and by 1990 was the public broadcaster’s head of casting for Western Canada. Among the productions he worked on were The Beachcombers, Northwood, Sliders, Max Glick, The Odyssey, Police Academy: The Series, and TV movies like My American Cousin, American Boyfriends and The Diary of Evelyn Lau, among many others. He retired in the early 2000s.
Serafine Crawley, 76, on June 5, after a short battle with cancer. Crawley started in CBC Vancouver’s Finance Department in 1975, assigned to financial reporting for television programming, including TV News, and later took on additional duties maintaining Capital Assets for the B.C. Region. Crawley transferred to Audience Relations in 1997 and remained there until her retirement in 2002. She also volunteered with the public broadcaster’s EAP (Employee Assistance Program) for 10 years.
Don Jackson, 66, on July 12 of cancer. Jackson was a longtime broadcaster and host of syndicated evening radio show “Lovers and Other Strangers” which aired across Canada and later in the U.S. Of her late colleague, Erin Davis told Broadcast Dialogue “He was a longtime staple of CHFI’s lineup, gracing the evening airwaves with a combination of poetry, wisdom and song, all woven together with a deft and artistic touch that I think has been unparalleled since.” Jackson’s most recent project involved producing inspirational webcasts under the “Heartbeat of the Internet” banner.
Michael McCabe, 82, on June 27 in Hanoi, Vietnam. McCabe started his political career as an executive assistant to former Liberal Finance Min. Mitchell Sharp, running his unsuccessful 1968 leadership campaign. He went on to hold many senior government positions, including Assistant Deputy Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs; Chairman of Policy Research for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation; and Executive Director of the Canadian Film Development Corporation (which became Telefilm Canada). He was appointed President and CEO of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) in 1988 serving as a powerful voice for the industry and championing numerous initiatives, including the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), the Radio Starmaker Fund and Fonds RadioStar, and Canadian Women in Communications, among others. Upon his retirement in 2001, he was inducted into the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame. He concluded his career as resident director of the CIDA-funded Policy Implementation Assistance Project in Hanoi, as an advisor to both the Office of the Prime Minister and senior committees of the National Assembly of Vietnam. Read Broadcast Dialogue Publisher Emeritus Howard Christensen’s tribute to McCabe, here.
Lawrence “Larry” Stout, 81, on June 27, following a battle with Alzheimer’s. Stout’s career in journalism started at CKOC Hamilton in 1960. He moved on to CKEY Toronto the following year, and then the Toronto Star, going on to work for CBC in 1964. Among the world events he covered for the public broadcaster were the 1973 Chilean coup, civil wars in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Lebanon, among other conflicts, and Prince Charles wedding to Lady Diana Spencer. He also hosted CBC’s coverage of Pope John Paul II’s 1984 Papal Tour of Canada. After a brief foray into public relations, Larry joined CTV in 1989 as Toronto Bureau Chief and senior writer, also contributing to radio, CTV News and CTV Newsnet. He retired in 2005.
Gerri Barrer, 73, on June 23. Barrer was CBC Montreal’s longtime health reporter and a mainstay on the station for nearly three decades, starting in 1981. She retired in 2009. Watch one of Barrer’s 1991 reports, exploring Montreal’s Metro, here.
Garth Dawley, 86, on June 1 of ALS. Dawley was best known as the longtime anchor of CBC Winnipeg’s “24 Hours” supper hour newscast from 1970 to 1983. He started his career at CKX-AM Brandon in 1952, ascending to the role of news director and later joining CKX-TV when it launched in 1955. He moved to CKCK-TV Regina in 1957. Dawley joined CBC Winnipeg in 1966. In 1988, he took a leave from the public broadcaster to run as the PC candidate in Winnipeg South Centre. Unsuccessful in his attempt to enter politics, he returned to the CBC until the Mulroney government appointed him to the CRTC in the early 1990s as the first regional commissioner for Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He retired in 1998.
Brett Dakin, 46, on July 17. After earning his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Guelph, Dakin went back to school in 2003 to take the Humber College post-grad Radio Broadcasting Sales & Marketing program. That led to account rep positions with Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) and Astral Media’s Toronto radio and digital cluster, working his way up to General Sales Manager through the Bell Media ownership transition over a 13-year period. Among other endeavours, he briefly hosted ‘Real Life Radio with Brett Dakin’ on Newstalk 1010 in 2017/18 and taught in the School of Media Business Studies at University of Guelph-Humber. He’d been Director of Sales at Indie88 (CIND-FM) Toronto since the fall of 2018.
JC Sparkman, 87, on July 16. Sparkman served on Shaw Communication’s Board of Directors, starting in 1994, most recently on Shaw’s Human Resources and Compensation Committee and Executive Committee. He’d also served as a director of Liberty Global, Inc., Universal Electronics Inc., TSX Corp., and Comcast Cable Holdings LLC. Sparkman’s career started in 1959 with cable equipment manufacturer Jerrold Electronics. He joined the operations department at Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI) 10 years later and stayed with the company for 26 years, overseeing cable operations, and construction and expansion of new and existing networks He served as Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer from 1987 to 1995 and then on the TCI board of directors from 1996-99, leaving the company as the largest multi-system cable operation in the U.S. with over 18 million subscribers. He went on to co-found Broadband Services, Inc., a provider of asset management, logistics, installation and repair services for telecommunications service providers and equipment manufacturers, serving as co-CEO and Chair until 2003. Sparkman was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame in 2015.
George Elroy Boyd, 68, on July 7 in Montreal. Boyd was attending Saint Mary’s University when he left to enroll in Broadcasting at the Nova Scotia Institute of Technology. Boyd went on to work in print and radio, including a stint reading news at Halifax rock station Q104 (CFRQ-FM) in the 1980s, before joining CBC as part of the original on-air team when CBC Newsworld launched in 1989. He would become Canada’s first Black, national TV news anchor as co-host of CBC Morning. He eventually left broadcasting to write for radio, television, and the stage. His debut play, Shine Boy, was produced in 1988 at Halifax’s Neptune Theatre, making him the first African Nova Scotian to have a play professionally produced there, and in 1995 served as the theatre’s Writer-in Association. The productions that followed garnered award nominations and critical acclaim, including Consecrated Ground (2000) and Wade in the Water (2005). In 2010, his play, Gideon’s Blues, was adapted into an hour-long TV drama. He received an honorary diploma from Nova Scotia Community College in 1998 and an Atlantic Journalism Award in 1988.
Peter Ray (Rakobowchuk), 71, on Aug. 2, of cancer. After attending Loyola College, Ray started his radio career in 1970 working at commercial stations in Northern Ontario, Hamilton and a stint as news director at CFOX Montreal, before joining the CKO (Canadian All-News Radio) network in Calgary and Vancouver. He moved on to Broadcast News (BN) in 1979 and would go on to work for the wire service for the next 40 years (through its transition to the Canadian Press), with posts in Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal. His distinctive sign off was arguably one of the most recognizable associated with the wire service. Read more here.
Tim Dancy, 68, on Aug. 1, of cancer. Dancy, who holds the distinction of being the first TV play-by-play voice of the Edmonton Oilers, started his broadcasting career in 1974 at CJGX Yorkton. That was followed by stints at CKCK Regina, CKRD Red Deer and CBC Edmonton. In 1979, he joined CITV-TV Edmonton as Sports Director and Oilers play-by-play host. Dancy called the first goal in Oilers franchise history and Wayne Gretzky’s 50 goals in 39 games, among other historic moments. He continued in that role until 1983 when he moved on to do play-by-play for the Saskatchewan Roughriders on CKRM Regina. He returned to Edmonton in the late 1980s and went on to a three-decade career with QCTV, and later Shaw TV, as a reporter, host and producer, covering sports and entertainment, among other local stories. Read Global Edmonton’s tribute, here.
Robert (Bob) Simpson, 75, on July 10, of cancer. Simpson spent five decades in broadcasting, starting at CJDV Drumheller, AB, CJOC Lethbridge, CHAB Moose Jaw, CKRM/CJME Regina, CISV Morden, MB, CJVR Melfort, CKST Langley/Vancouver, CKDA Victoria, Central Island Broadcasting in Nanaimo, CIVL Abbotsford, CFSI Salt Spring Island, CKAY Nanaimo and finally CHLY Nanaimo. Over the years, he held every position from announcer to farm director, programmer, sales, general manager, and consultant. Most recently, he’d been hosting weekly show “Bobby Be Cool” featuring rock n’ roll music of the 50s & 60s on community station, CHLY 101.7 FM Nanaimo. He retired in May of 2017.
Benoit Pariseau, 87, on July 25. Pariseau, who defined himself as a Franco public radio influencer in Alberta over his 35-year career, initially went to work for Northern Alberta Railways (NAR) after college, before getting his start in radio at French-language station CFRG Gravelbourgh, SK in 1960. In late 1972, he became program director at CHFA Edmonton, later going on to a long career as an on-air personality. CHFA, which started as a not-for-profit to bring French-language radio to Edmonton, was directly acquired by Radio-Canada in 1974. Pariseau’s career with the public broadcaster would expand into television news and sports, including covering the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. He retired in 1995.
Genevieve Westcott, 65, on July 10, from breast cancer. Westcott began her career as a financial reporter for the Vancouver Sun, and then joined The Province as an editorial page writer. The Western grad later made the move into television, working for Canwest, CBC, and as the West Coast bureau chief for CTV News. Along the way, she met New Zealand cameraman Ross “Rosco” Kenward and moved to New Zealand in 1984 where she began working for TVNZ’s Eyewitness News. She returned to CTV in 1987 as an anchor and reporter for W5, reporting from destinations around the globe. In 1989, she joined New Zealand’s TV3 for its launch, also reporting for the channel’s offerings of 60 Minutes, 20/20 and A Current Affair, as well as at Newstalk ZB. Westcott moved into communications in 2013, joining Auckland’s Massey University in external communications. Over her career, she was recognized with numerous awards, including three for investigative reporting at the New York Film and Television Festival, and eight New Zealand media awards.
Richard Gwyn, 86, on Aug. 15, following a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Gwyn started his journalism career as a radio reporter in Halifax, moving on to Ottawa in 1957 where he worked for United Press International, followed by stints as a parliamentary correspondent for Time magazine, and later Thomson Newspapers and Maclean-Hunter, where he served as editor of its business publications. In 1968, he started a five-year run as a communications staffer in Pierre Trudeau’s government, serving as director-general in the department from 1970-73. Gwyn went on to accept a national columnist position with The Toronto Star, moving into international affairs from 1985-92. He continued to freelance for the paper until 2016. Over the years, he also penned three political biographies and hosted TVO’s “Realities” with Robert Fulford, served as a panelist on “Studio 2” and “Diplomatic Immunity,” and was a frequent guest on “The Agenda with Steve Paikin.” Gwyn was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2002.
Sonny Fox, 74, on Aug. 13, of liver failure. Hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Fox was the frontman for 1960s rock n’ roll group, Jay Walker And The Jay Hawkers, before getting a job as a disc-jockey on WKNX Saginaw while promoting a record. Fox went on to join CHUM Toronto in middays in 1970 under the on-air handle, Johnny Mitchell. In 1972, he joined KHJ Los Angeles and then moved on to program director stints at both WYSP Philadelphia and WKTU New York. While doing mornings in Miami, Fox created syndicated stand up comedy show, The Comedy Hour, featuring comics of the day like George Carlin and Lenny Bruce. He was also behind comedy programming syndicator, The Mp3 Comedy Network, which he launched in 1999. Fox joined XM Satellite Radio in 2002, overseeing operations of both XM Comedy (Channel 150) and Laugh USA (Channel 96), and hosting XM morning show “Funny In The Morning” as well as comedian interview show “Stand-Up Sit-Down.” He hosted his last weekday morning show for SiriusXM last November.
Lorraine Thomson, 90, on Aug. 13. Thomson’s five-decade career in the entertainment industry started with her successful audition for the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes in 1951. She soon returned to Toronto and was hired as a chorus line dancer for CBC-TV variety show, The Big Revue, in addition to performing on Wayne & Shuster, The Barris Beat, The Denny Vaughn Show, and Hit Parade. In the early 1960s, Thomson moved from variety shows to current affairs, acting as an interviewer on Tabloid and Seven-O One, in addition to appearing as a frequent guest panelist on Front Page Challenge. In 1970, she took a behind-the-scenes role as program coordinator for Front Page Challenge, also hosting V.I.P., starting in 1973, where Front Page Challenge guests were interviewed at greater length. Among other accomplishments, Thomson, along with Pierre Berton, co-founded the ACTRA Awards in 1972. Along the way, she married legendary CBC anchor Knowlton Nash in 1982. Thomson retired from broadcasting in 1989 to become a judge for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.
Scott Phillips, 59, on Aug. 27, following a sudden illness. Born into the “family” business, Phillips’ father Merv was the Vice-President and General Manager of Monarch Broadcasting. Scott started his career at CFFR Red Deer, later moving to CJXX Grand Prairie and then CISN Edmonton. He landed at Country 105 (CKRY-FM) Calgary in 1990, where he would go on to a 29-year career that included many years as midday host, music director, and assistant program director. An 11-time Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Award nominee, he was named Music Director of the Year – Major Market in 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014. He also helped launch Country 105’s Caring for Kids Radiothon, in support of Alberta Children’s Hospital, which has gone on to raise $35 million. Phillips retired from Corus Radio earlier this year, with his last afternoon drive shift on Feb. 17.
Robert Scussolin, 62, on Aug. 20 after a brief fight with cancer. Scussolin worked at YourTV/Cogeco in Windsor-Essex for 38 years and was the Programming and Community Relations Director at the time of his passing. He was involved in organizing and broadcasting many local events over the years, including the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup, 2015 CHL Canada Russia Series, 2014 Ontario Summer Games and 2012 World U-17 Hockey Challenge. He also assisted in the design and installation of broadcast components in the WFCU Centre in Windsor, which opened in 2007.
Lyndon Grove, 88, on Aug. 21. Grove started his radio career as a disc jockey at CHAB Moose Jaw in 1949 at the tender age of 15. In 1956, he moved on to Vancouver, working as a copywriter and writer on weekend comedy show “Just for Fun” at CKNW. A gag writing gig with CKLG Vancouver followed and then a five-year stint with CHAN-TV. Grove went on to work with CHQM Vancouver, served as an editor at Vancouver Life, The Westender and the Vancouver Courier, and wrote and did voice work for “The Dilettante” and “Show Me the Good Parts” on CFMI-FM Vancouver. He also taught copywriting at BCIT and Langara College in the 1960s and early 1970s. In addition to working in advertising and communications with Palmer Jarvis and Torresan Communications, Grove was an avid writer, authoring several books including “Pacific Pilgrims,” a history of the New Westminster Anglican diocese.
Rick Ouston, 64, on Aug. 31. Ouston started his journalism career with The Vancouver Sun after graduating from Langara College. One of the highlights of his career was bringing four Nazi war criminals to justice through his investigative reporting, covering the cases right through to their war crimes trials in Europe. Ouston later taught journalism at Langara College, and worked as a reporter and assignment editor with CBC and Global TV. He eventually returned to the Sun as a convergence editor. He also authored two books, Finding Family, which documented his search for the mother who left him in an orphanage at birth, and Getting the Goods, a journalism handbook on navigating B.C.’s information systems.
Linda Moore, 66, on July 29. Originally from Regina, Moore initially pursued teaching after graduating from the University of Alberta in 1975. She returned to Regina in 1979 to be closer to family, starting her television production career there with CKCK-TV. She went on to a three-decade career in television, joining CBC Sports, working in both Calgary and Toronto, as a television sports producer. The job afforded her the opportunity to travel the world covering multiple Olympic, Commonwealth, and Pan-Am Games; World Cup Skiing; Formula 1; in addition to the NHL and NBA, among other events.
Dave Ross, on Sept. 13, after a battle with lung cancer. Known on-air as Mike Austin, Ross started his radio career in the 1970s as a DJ for CKPG Prince George, going on to serve as a longtime staff announcer. He’s remembered as a superb storyteller, who loved the Classic Hits and Classic Rock formats. He eventually left radio to pursue gardening, finding success with the founding of his own business.
Kay Alsop, 100, on Sept. 6. Alsop began her journalism career as a freelance writer for the Winnipeg Tribune, which led to a job hosting CBC-TV Winnipeg afternoon show “Ladies First,” from 1962-65, in addition to co-hosting the nightly news. Alsop was also a frequent guest panelist on CBC’s “Front Page Challenge” and “Flashback.” Raising a family alongside her broadcasting career, Alsop transferred with her husband to Vancouver in 1967 where she signed on as a staff reporter with The Vancouver Province. Her coverage of women’s, First Nations issues and family law reform earned her the YWCA “Women of Distinction” Award in 1987. Alsop went on to be appointed Fashion Editor in 1979, travelling internationally to cover the collections in Paris, Milan, Rome, New York and Los Angeles. She retired in 1985, but continued freelancing for Chatelaine, Western Living, Canadian Living, and The Financial Post, among other publications.
Suzanne Hansen (aka Mary S. Johnston), 77, on Sept. 15. Hansen was a reporter with CFAX Radio in Victoria in the 1970s, before turning her eye to real estate and eventually politics, successfully running for a city council seat in the late 1980s. She retired from politics in the early ‘90s after unsuccessfully running as a provincial candidate for the Social Credit party in Victoria-Beacon Hill. She went on to run a successful commercial day lily growing business, based in Mill Bay.
Bill Anderson, 98, on Sept.9. Anderson started his career in broadcasting in his hometown of Saint John at CHSJ Radio, while still in high school, prior to enlisting in WWII. He saw action in Belgium, Germany, Holland France, and following the war, chose to stay in the army to work with the press liaison office, leaving the military with the rank of Lt. Colonel. Among the wartime correspondents he worked closely with were Walter Cronkite and the CBC’s Matthew Halton. He eventually returned to Saint John and became a fixture as an on-air personality at CFBC Radio. In the late 1950s, he left the Maritimes for Toronto where he worked in communications and public relations. Since 1993, he and his wife had been living in Goderich, ON. In retirement, he volunteered for over two decades as an audio book reader for the CNIB.
Freeman Roach, 81, on Sept. 6, of cancer. Roach started his broadcasting career in his hometown of New Glasgow at CKEC in 1958. From there, he went to CFNB Bathurst, NB from 1960-66, and then landed at CJCB Sydney in Cape Breton (1967-75) where he would endear himself to listeners as host of popular request show “Roach’s Ranch.” He moved on to CHER Sydney in 1976 and then CJFX Antigonish in 1977, where he served both on-air and as program director. In 1985, he took a decade-long break from radio, starting back at The Coast (CKOA-FM) Glace Bay in 1995. He retired from broadcasting in 2005.
Takashi “Tak” Negoro, 86, on Sept. 19. Negora graduated from the University of British Columbia (UBC) with a B.A.Sc. in Electrical Engineering in 1960. He joined Vancouver-based broadcast engineering consultancy Hoyles, Niblock & Associates in 1964 and was appointed Vice-President of Engineering at BCTV (now Global BC) in 1979. By 1981, he was promoted to VP of Engineering. Negoro was awarded the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Gold Ribbon for Lifetime Achievement in Engineering. He was also inducted by the Western Association of Broadcast Engineers (WABE) into the Bob Lamb Roll of Honour.
Rob Zittlau, on Oct. 11, in a crash north of Edmonton, with his wife Grace. Following his graduation from the NAIT Radio & Television program in 1980, Zittlau started his broadcasting career with Edmonton’s QCTV in master control. He did a short stint as a lighting assistant for SCTV, which was filmed at the time at the ITV studios (now Global Edmonton), before signing on with CFRN in 1984. Zittlau started out as a part-time videotape editor in news, and eventually moved into a similar role for CTV National News. He left the station in 1997 to start ICU Productions. The company worked with many local sports teams, including the University of Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas, Canada West, Football Alberta, and the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association, among many others. Read more here.
John Valenteyn, 73, on Oct. 4, of complications from Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). Hailing from Port Colborne, ON, Valenteyn was on an engineering track at Queen’s University in Kingston when he got turned on to radio at the local campus station and moved over to the Ryerson Radio and Television Arts program. He started a weekly blues program on CJRT-FM (now JAZZFM) in 1974. “The Blues Hour” went on to run for 20 years. That was followed with “John Valenteyn’s Blues” on University of Toronto campus and community station CIUT-FM, which most recently was heard Friday afternoons. Valenteyn was also a co-founder of the Toronto Blues Society, which he formed in 1985 with Derek Andrews and David Barnard, to ensure blues had a continued presence in Toronto. He was a contributing editor to the organization’s monthly publication Maple Blues and continued to serve as a member of the Blues Society’s board of directors, as well as the Maple Blues Awards Steering Committee. Amassing thousands of blues recordings and an avid historian, Valenteyn also worked at one time on the Blues, Jazz & Classical floors of HMV and Sam the Record Man.
Arnold DeRoy, 57, on Sept. 29, 2020 after a brief battle with cancer. DeRoy graduated from St. Clair College in Windsor as an Electronics Technician in 1982. He worked in a number of IT roles with the Windsor Public School Board and Ford Motor Company, before joining Bell Media in Sept. 2009 where he oversaw the day-to-day engineering needs of the CTV Windsor studio and transmitter sites. DeRoy was a dedicated professional that loved what he did and will be sorely missed by the Bell Media team.
Ray Zinck on Oct. 14. Originally hailing from LaHave in Lunenburg County, NS, Zinck started his 45-year news radio career at CFDR Dartmouth in 1971, before moving to Yarmouth to join CJLS Radio. After a brief return to CFDR, he crossed the country to work as news director at CKKC Nelson, BC in 1973. Two years later, he returned to CJLS, starting as a reporter and then news director, before eventually becoming co-owner, President, and General Manager in 1998. Zinck and fellow broadcaster and co-owner Chris Perry announced the sale of Radio CJLS to Acadia Broadcasting, along with their respective retirements, in 2015. Among the accolades Zinck earned over the years was the RTNDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Earl Green, 86, on Oct.12. Green’s 50-year journalism career started with the Oshawa Times in the late 1950s. He moved on to the Toronto Telegram, and in 1969 went to London to write for The Guardian. He eventually returned to Canada and joined the Ottawa Citizen, rising to the position of city editor. The last three decades of his career were spent at CBC News Ottawa where he held various roles from assignment editor to online writer. He retired at age 78.
Cory O’Kelly, 73, on Oct. 8. O’Kelly got his start in journalism in the mid-1950s, at age 16, at the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal. He later moved over to CBC Radio Thunder Bay in the late 1970s and in 1984 joined CBC TV Ottawa as a city hall reporter. Known for his trademark humour, among the programs he hosted was current affairs program, Metro, which included a segment called “Open Your Purse” where unsuspecting women were asked to dump out their purses and talk about the contents. Upon his retirement from CBC in 2014, it was found O’Kelly had filed more than 5,000 stories.
Alex Trebek, 80, on Nov. 8, of pancreatic cancer. Trebek’s broadcasting career started at the CBC where he worked nights while pursuing a philosophy degree from the University of Ottawa. He made the jump from radio and TV news to hosting in 1963 with Music Hop, followed by hosting turns on high school quiz show, Reach For The Top, and Canadian game show, Strategy. Moving stateside in 1973, he established himself as a game show host on programs including NBC’s The Wizard of Odds, High Rollers, CBS show Double Dare, and syndicated series The $128,000 Question. He began hosting Jeopardy! in 1984 and more than 8,000 episodes later holds the Guinness World Record for “the most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter (same program).” He won his sixth and seventh Daytime Emmy Awards for Jeopardy! in 2019 and 2020, respectively, in addition to a 2011 Lifetime Achievement Emmy. Also an inductee of the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and the Library of American Broadcasting, Trebek was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017. Read more here.
Howie Meeker, 97, on Nov. 8. Meeker’s NHL career saw him play eight seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs (1946-55) and win four Stanley Cups, followed by a short coaching stint from 1956-57. The right winger concurrently spent one term as a Progressive Conservative MP, representing Waterloo South, ultimately deciding not to seek a second term in 1953. Meeker’s foray into broadcasting started in the 1970s as an analyst and colour commentator on Hockey Night in Canada, also serving as the colour analyst for the 1972 Team Canada-Soviet series. “Howie Meeker’s Hockey School”, a weekly instructional series, also ran on CBC-TV from 1973-77, based on Meeker’s summer hockey camps. Meeker later served as a Vancouver Canucks play-by-play announcer on BCTV (now Global BC) alongside Bernie Pascal from 1977-85, and Jim Robson for the 1985-86 season. Meeker joined TSN in 1987 when they acquired the broadcast rights, staying with the network until his retirement in 1998. That year Meeker was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a broadcaster, and honoured with the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for Excellence in Hockey Broadcasting. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2010.
Len Lauk, 87, on Oct. 30. Lauk started his broadcasting career with CBC-TV (CBUT) Vancouver in 1955 as a script assistant and worked his way up to producer of the evening news. He was also part of early efforts to keep production of scripted drama on the west coast. Among the dramas Lauk produced and directed for CBUT drama anthology “Studio Pacific” was 1967’s “Moose Fever” which marked an 18-year-old Margot Kidder’s first major role. Kidder also acted in Lauk’s production “The Club Man.” He also produced several episodes of “Cariboo Country”, the first film drama series produced by CBC and shot on location where the stories were set. Lauk eventually made a move to CBC Halifax as Director of Television and Radio, followed by a promotion to Director of English Language Radio and Television in Toronto. In 1976, he returned to Vancouver to take up the position of Director for the Pacific Region.
Lito Taruc, 62, on Nov. 17, following a heart attack. Taruc was the longtime co-anchor of “Good Morning Philippines” on Evanov Radio Group’s CKJS 810AM Winnipeg. Following the lead of his brother Resty, who pioneered a one-hour program on the station called “Radyo Pilipino” in the mid-1970s, Taruc joined CKJS in 1997. He was with the station for over 20 years, becoming news director for CKJS Filipino programming in 2003. Taruc was also a well-known community leader, and president of the Philippine Association of Manitoba, as well as the Philippine-Canadian Centre of Manitoba. He unsuccessfully ran for a city council seat in the inner-city ward of Daniel McIntyre in 2010.
Doug Laite, 81, on Nov. 13. Laite’s presence was a staple on CBC radio and television in Newfoundland and Labrador for 30 years. Best known as the host of variety TV series “All Around the Circle”, which aired from 1964-75 and helped make many local performers household names, he also hosted the CBC St. John’s radio morning show, “Radio Noon”, “On the Go” and “Country Jamboree”, among other programs over the years. Laite was also called upon to officiate numerous important events in the province, including the funeral service following the 1982 Ocean Ranger disaster, and several royal visits.
David Hemblen, 79, on Nov. 16. Born in England, Hemblen grew up in Toronto and was recruited for a season at the Royal Alexandra Theatre while still in university. He went on to work in film and television as both an actor and voiceover artist, including roles in Atom Egoyan films Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter, Where the Truth Lies, and Family Viewing, for which he received a Genie Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. Recurring TV roles included “George”
on La Femme Nikita, “Lewis Hewitt” on A Nero Wolfe Mystery and “Jonathan Doors” on Earth: Final Conflict. He also voiced the character of Magneto in the X-Men animated series and the vaultkeeper in Tales from the Cryptkeeper, among other characters for television, film, and games.
Tony Luciani, 90, on Nov. 7. Luciani had a long career in radio throughout Southern Ontario, starting at CKTB St. Catharines before moving to CHML Hamilton in 1949. Luciani worked in the music library, eventually becoming the station’s Chief Librarian, succeeding Ed Preston. Luciani was one of the few library staff trusted to select music for the station’s relatively new FM station CKDS. After getting caught up in staff cuts in the late 1980s, he moved to the Kitchener-Waterloo area, working at the Waterloo community radio station where he hosted a weekly big band show, as well as CKKW.
Patricia Pleszczynska, 67, on Nov. 27 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. Pleszczynska joined CBC in 1984 as a researcher, going on to produce current affairs programming in Quebec City, before being promoted to oversee radio services for the entire Quebec City region. After a stint in Toronto as Assistant Programming Director in the late 1990s, she was appointed Managing Director of Quebec’s English Services in 2003. She crossed over into French Services in 2009, rising to the position of Directrice Générale for Radio-Canada, overseeing the integration of radio and television operations, as well as digital news. Pleszczynska retired in 2017, founding the Maison des Arts St-Laurent, a cultural and event space in Compton, Que.
Paul ‘Lonnie’ Boucher, 72, on Nov. 10. Originally from Wingham, ON, Boucher got his start in broadcasting with CKNX-TV as “Ranger Paul.” His naturally commanding voice led him to radio, initially in Ottawa, before he took over mornings at CFCA-FM in Kitchener-Waterloo, and later CKPR-FM Thunder Bay. In 1975, Boucher left broadcasting and started his own business, which evolved into Walkers Marine, selling and servicing LUND boats, Bombardier and Arctic Cat snowmobiles. In 1991, he and wife Judy founded Ogoki Frontier, a fly-in fishing and moose hunting outfitting business.
Michael Ihnat, 82, on Sept. 28. Ihnat is best known as the co-founder of the Women’s Television Network (WTN), along with Ron Rhodes, which launched in Jan. 1995. The channel made history as the only women-based television network in North America. Ihnat had previously been the Vice-President of All-Canada Radio & Television Ltd. (which merged with United Broadcast Sales to become Canadian Broadcast Sales in 1992) and a former VP with Selkirk Communications.
Jack Kellum, 77, on Dec. 4. Kellum developed as a singer-songwriter early and after playing the Northern Ontario and Toronto bar circuit and graduating from the Ryerson University Radio and Television Arts program in 1966, he landed a contract job scoring music for CBC-TV show “This Land.” In 1973, he left Toronto to take a job at CBC in St John’s, NL where he founded musical variety show “Ryan’s Fancy” which would go on to air nationally. “The Wonderful Grand Band” regional comedy and music show followed, and then national comedy series CODCO, and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. During his time in Halifax, Kellum also developed the Halifax Comedy Festival and the East Coast Music Awards as national programs. Kellum retired from the CBC in 2003, but continued as executive producer of This Hour Has 22 Minutes for Alliance Atlantis until 2011. In recent years, he’d been retired to Fergus, ON.
Paul Richard Von Richter, 80, on Nov. 17, after a long illness. Known as “Von R” to colleagues, Von Richter was a longtime TV producer, cameraman and tape editor with CHSJ-TV Saint John, MITV/Global, and Rogers. Von Richter is remembered for his dedication to community involvement with both the Lions Club and as a cameraman on the long-running Saint John “Empty Stocking Fund” broadcast. He retired after 45 years in television.
Charlotte Bell, on Dec. 12, after a battle with cancer. Bell started her broadcasting career with the CRTC in 1987, holding a variety of analyst positions, including the Public Affairs Directorate. She was recruited by the Chairman’s office in 1994 to the position of Chief of Staff/Policy Advisor. In 1996, she joined Canwest as a senior executive and Director, Regulatory and Governmental Affairs. She spent 17 years with the company through its sale to Shaw Communications. Bell also served as the Chair of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Board of Directors from 2007-09, after filling numerous roles on the CAB Board and various committees. In 2012, she left broadcasting to work in corporate affairs and consulting roles with the Atlantic Lottery Corporation and Capital Hill Group, before joining the Tourism Industry Association of Canada as President and CEO in 2015. The CAB will be making a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society in Bell’s honour.
Dick Abbott, 85, on Dec. 2, following a stroke. Raised in New Westminster, BC, Abbott started working at CKNW in the music library at age 16 in 1951. He went on to become a recording engineer and rose to the position of production manager, responsible for producing the station’s iconic three-tone news sounder. While still working at CKNW, he produced for The Spot Shop with David Hoole and served as a recording engineer at Vancouver’s Little Mountain Sound Recording Studio. Over the years, he worked with many talented actors and announcers including Jim Conrad, Raymond Burr, Jack Palance, Martin Sheen, and Gene Hackman. After retiring from CKNW in 1998, he went on to co-found Dick and Roger’s Sound Studio with Roger Monk in 1990, to meet the demand for digital audio post-production.
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