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. 2020.
Larry Green, 80, on Jan. 2. Green grew up in Toronto’s multicultural Kensington Market area, studying and playing music as a jazz saxophonist in his early years. Friend Del Mott, a host at CBC, helped Green land his first radio job at CHVC Niagara Falls. Stops in Guelph, Vancouver, Penticton, Winnipeg, and Toronto followed with Green eventually hired to host afternoon drive at CHUM-FM where he was also appointed creative director for the CHUM group. Green then made the leap to television, hosting a music show on CITY-TV and co-hosting national CBC-TV children’s show After Four, with Jan Tennant. He later moved into the music business as marketing director for GRT Records, and then National Promotion Manager for WEA Music (Warner Bros. Elektra and Atlantic Records). Green went on to host jazz programs for CFNY-FM, JAZZ.FM91 (CJRT-FM), and CBC Radio, as well as an online show on theiceberg.com. He also did a stint in program management with Telemedia. In addition to teaching in the Humber College Broadcasting Program, he created a Learning Annex offering called “Putting Your Voice To Work,” designed to teach techniques for developing voice talent for commercials, animation and announcing.
Wilma Pelly, 83, on Dec. 28 in Calgary. Hailing from Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, Pelly’s acting career started when she answered an ad in the newspaper for extras for Haruki Kadokawa period samurai film Heaven and Earth, which was partially shot on location in Calgary in 1989. She went on to appear as Elsie Tsa Che on North of 60 for six seasons and a number of subsequent TV movies. A recurring role on the series Mixed Blessings followed in addition to playing the Native American housekeeper in the second season of Fargo (2014), outliving dozens of other characters. Her last starring role was in Rueben Martell film “Don’t Say Its Name” which is currently in post-production.
Robert Whyte, 80, on Dec. 21. Whyte’s career as a news cameraman and photographer started at CKVR-TV Barrie, before he landed a job with the CBC. His work would take him from covering former Canadian Prime Ministers John Diefenbaker and Pierre Trudeau to documenting events in Vietnam, the Middle East, the Arctic and Africa, among other destinations.
Jo-Ann Silverstein, 81, on Dec. 21 after a battle with cancer. A trailblazer for women in radio sales, Silverstein was a single mother and working as a Registered Nurse, before being recruited into radio sales. She went on to account executive roles with CKO, CFGM, CJCL, CKEY, and later CFRB where she had an award-winning 25-year career with the station. She semi-retired in 2009 and worked with Spike Advertising. She’d been independently consulting since 2015. Silverstein was honoured with the Radio Trailblazers’ Rosalie Award during Canadian Music Week in 2016.
Grant Hudson (Jim Reese), 76, on Dec. 16, after a lengthy battle with cancer. Reese, who grew up in Hagerstown, MD, landed his first radio job at age 15 at one of his father’s stations. He took the on-air name of Grant Hudson in 1971 upon joining the CKLW Windsor newsroom. Having just decided on using “Hudson” as his last name, the news director of the day, Byron MacGregor, yelled “Try using Brent” just as Reese went in to read the news. Having misheard him, Grant Hudson was born. He left CKLW in 1982 to serve as program director at WNOE New Orleans, before returning to Detroit and CBS. Among other stops, Reese also worked as a host on WVAM Altoona, PA; WNBC New York; WOWO Fort Wayne, IN; WFLA Tampa Bay, FL; and WSRQ Sarasota, FL. He was also co-owner for a time of WJRB Bradenton, FL and WTZR Virginia Beach.
Loran Fevens, 76, on Dec. 7. Fevens joined the staff at CJLS Yarmouth, NS in 1963 as an announcer and news reporter, moving over to CKEN Kentville in 1964. He spent 11 years in the Annapolis Valley, also producing recorded music for local acts as a sideline. In 1974, he joined CHTN Charlottetown, PEI at station launch. He stayed there until 1982 when he moved into an audio/video production role with Veterans Affairs Canada, but didn’t leave radio behind, also co-hosting classical music program “Osborg’s Choice” with Dr. Bernd Osborg. Later renamed “The Music Box” after Osborg’s retirement, the program aired on several community stations in Canada and the U.S. from 1984-2010. Fevens retired from Veterans Affairs and returned to Yarmouth in 2002, starting syndicated program “Sentimental Journey” – a radio show featuring music from the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. The show aired for 17 years on more than 20 radio stations across Canada and the U.S.
Connie Kennedy, 92, on Jan. 4. Kennedy has the distinction of being the first woman salesperson at CFRN-TV in Edmonton where she was mentored by Sunwapta Broadcasting owner Dr. Dick Rice. Eventually, Kennedy went into real estate, founding Kennedy Realty in 1970, featuring an “all girl” team. She joined Re/Max in 1982 going on to win many awards, including induction into the Re/Max Hall Of Fame, Re/Max Circle of Legends, Re/Max Chairman’s Award, as well as the Edmonton Real Estate Board’s 2005 Realtor of the Year honour.
Norm Jary, 91, on Jan. 8. Jary arrived in Guelph in 1954 from CJCS Stratford, following the lead of former colleague Lloyd Robertson, a CJCS operator who Jary had suggested get behind the mic and who had moved to the city a few months earlier. In 1965, Jary was offered the job of TV play-by-play voice for the New York Rangers on the recommendation of the team’s general manager, who’d been a Guelph coach earlier in his career. Among Jary’s more famous calls was Bobby Hull’s record-breaking 51st goal in 1966. Jary ultimately decided to stay at CJOY. Alongside his four decades in broadcasting as CJOY’s news and sports director, Jary sat on Guelph City Council for 35 years and was the city’s longest-serving mayor from 1970 to 1985. Jary was an inductee of the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame and was a lifetime member of the Guelph-Wellington Community Living and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington. His annual golf tournament raised more than $700,000 in support of those with intellectual disabilities. Jary retired from CJOY in 1992.
Michael Hooey, 69, on Jan. 3. Hooey started his career in the 1970s a a cameraman at Citytv. He went on to join CFTO-TV in the early 1980s, acting as a director on shows that taped at the Toronto studio, including kids game show “Just Like Mom” and eventually working behind-the-scenes on the CTV National News with Lloyd Robertson. Hooey went on to direct Canadian series, including “What’s For Dinner?”, “Christine Cushing Live” and Anna Olson show “Sugar,” among other Canadian productions.
Erv Wegwitz, 75, on Dec. 13. Originally from the Regina area, Wegwitz attended De Vries Technical School in Toronto before returning to Saskatchewan to work for CKCK-TV in Regina. He made the move to CBC Winnipeg in 1967, also doing work for Videon as cable TV was being introduced to the city. Wegwitz and his wife moved west to Vancouver in 1970 where he was hired by CTV and then CBC as a Television Technician. Among his career highlights were working on no less than 10 Olympic Games. He retired in 2002.
John Copsey, 53, on Jan. 24. Originally from Manitoba, Copsey’s broadcasting career started with a brief stint at CFAR 590 AM in Flin Flon in 2007, holding multiple roles from morning show host to news. That same year, he joined 680 CJOB Winnipeg as a weekend news and sports announcer. In addition to holding several sales roles, Copsey briefly filled in as a news anchor on 100.7 The Breeze (CFJL-FM) Winnipeg during ‘The Morning Breeze with Don Percy’ in 2012. He relocated to Vancouver in 2015, anchoring at News 1130 (CKWX-AM) until 2018, before joining the Global News Radio Network. Based out of Global BC in Burnaby, Copsey anchored national newscasts across the Global News Radio network during the Charles Adler Show and The Shift.
Warren Woods, 66, on Jan. 20 of complications from COVID-19. Growing up in Sudbury, “Woodsy’s” future in broadcasting was decided upon his introduction to play-by-play at age 12 when he attended his first game at Maple Leaf Gardens during the Toronto Maple Leafs’ championship 1966-67 season. By the time he was in high school, he was working as a board op at CKSO-FM. While majoring in radio in the Communication Arts program at Mohawk College, he was offered full-time work at the station. He went on to join CFCL-TV in Timmins four years later, and then Thunder Bay Television. In the late 1980s, he joined Regina’s STV as host of ‘Sportsline’, through the station’s transition to become part of the Global TV network. He covered sports for the station, including the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Regina Pats, for 25 years. He went on to work with Rawlco Radio newstalk station CJME in various roles. He also served as the longtime voice of the provincial Tankard and was inducted as a member of CURLSASK’s “Legends of Curling” in 2014.
Allan Anaka, 85, on Jan. 14. Anaka’s radio career started in 1963 at CKLG Vancouver. He was appointed General Sales Manager a year later, going on to hold similar positions at CJOR and CKNW. In 1985, Anaka made the move to CHQR Calgary, starting in the position of General Sales Manager and moving up to take on the role of President. He saw WIC Calgary through its acquisition of CKIK-FM in 1996 and was recognized that year with the Western Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcaster of the Year award. The following year, he left Alberta to return to Vancouver as GSM at CKNW/CFMI-FM before retiring at age 65.
Blair Daggett, 67, on Jan. 29 following a battle with Parkinson’s. Daggett’s nearly 40-year career in broadcasting included several years as a General Manager for Newcap Radio’s stations in Grand Falls-Windsor, Cornerbrook, and Gander, NL. In 2000, he became a station owner, acquiring CD 98.9 (CHCD-FM) Simcoe, ON, along with business partner Jim Macleod. In addition to serving as GM and Vice-President of Radiocorp in charge of day-to-day operations, Daggett hosted a six-hour Saturday Night Oldies show on the station. My Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) acquired an interest in 98.9 in 2012 and it was rebranded to myFM in 2013. Daggett was also a past board member of both the Atlantic Association of Broadcasters and Ontario Association of Broadcasters.
Dan Muise, 68, on Jan. 28. Muise worked in radio at CHOM Montreal and Q104 (CFRQ-FM) Halifax, among other stations, alongside a music career that ranged from band management to record company promotion with A&M Records. Muise went on to manage the Crazy Horse Cabaret in Dartmouth, NS in the late 1980s, responsible for bringing acts to the city like Johnny Winter, BB King and Uriah Heep. In 2002, he penned “Gallagher, Marriott, Derringer & Trower: Their Lives and Music” – a tribute to guitar legends Rory Gallagher, Steve Marriott, Rick Derringer and Robin Trower, featuring conversations with the artists, their band members, producers, studio engineers, and others. More recently, Muise had been working as a supervisor with Research In Motion (Blackberry) in Halifax.
Torben Wittrup, 91, on Jan. 26. Wittrup’s first job in broadcasting was in his hometown of Timmins at CKGB, following graduation from high school. Starting as an office boy, he was eventually asked to go on air, working his way up to Assistant Program Director and Lead Announcer. In 1954, he moved on to anchor news at CKWS Radio and TV in Kingston, and later CKEY and CHFI in Toronto, before landing at CFRB. Wittrup went on to a 32-year career with CFRB, retiring in 1991.
Larry Giesbrecht, 73, on Jan. 11 after a battle with cancer. Giesbrecht’s five-decade career in media started at Golden West Broadcasting and CFAM Altona. Stints in news with CKX-TV in Brandon and CKY Radio & TV (CTV) Winnipeg followed. In 1991, Giesbrecht branched out into independent television and documentary production under the banner of his own Winnipeg-based production company, CLG Communications. In addition to numerous production credits, Giesbrecht also served as narrator on several projects, including the 2010 TV movie “As Close As Brothers.” Most recently, he’d served as a researcher on Farpoint Films TV docuseries “The Day My Job Tried To Kill Me.”
Jennifer Campbell-Palmateer, 43, on Feb. 6, after an eight-month battle with cancer. Originally from Charlottetown, P.E.I., Campbell was working at a bar in Midland, ON when Paul Larche recruited her to work at CICZ-FM when she was just 19. A 1998 graduate of the Humber College Radio Broadcasting program, Campbell went on to a 16-year career with Rogers where she was most recently one-third of Mornings with Campbell, PJ and Billie on Country 106.7 (CIKZ-FM) Kitchener. She also did a stint as a talk show host with sister station 570 News (CKGL-AM), served as a talent mentor, and annually covered the CMA Awards in Nashville for the Rogers’ country network. A GoFundMe fundraiser has been organized for the family. Read more here.
Mike LeBlanc, on Feb. 5. LeBlanc’s broadcasting career ranged from filling in as a weather announcer on CFCN-TV in Lethbridge in the 1990s to several stints as a station manager. While serving as Operations Manager at CKVN Lethbridge, LeBlanc concurrently served as the in-game announcer for the Western Hockey League’s Lethbridge Hurricanes for more than a decade, up until 2012 when he was transferred with Golden West Broadcasting to Fort Saskatchewan, AB. LeBlanc was the founding station manager of Mix 107.9 FM (CKFT-FM), eventually moving into a consulting and sales role in 2015. LeBlanc was heavily involved in the community, acting as president of the Fort Saskatchewan and District Chamber of Commerce in 2017-18 and volunteering with the Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital Foundation, local Rotary Club and the NCHL Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs. He also served as the PA announcer for the Edmonton Eskimos Football Club for the 2019 season.
Jim Bay, 79, on Feb. 4, after a two-year battle with bone cancer. Originally from Mount Royal, Bay had experience at CFCF (CTV Montreal) and CBMT-TV Montreal, before landing at 980 CKGM as sports director in 1977. With his booming baritone and 6’4” physique, he earned the nickname “Big Jim.” CKGM decided not to renew his contract in 1982 in a move to reduce sports coverage. Bay went on to work with CJAD throughout the ‘80s, as well as CBC 6 Television. Bay’s five-decade broadcasting career also included work as a narrator and commercial announcer, in addition to pursuing directing and acting.
Robert (Bob) Cameron, 71, on Jan. 31, due to Covid-related respiratory complications. Cameron began his broadcast career in 1971 when he was hired as Master Control Operator at Sask Alta Broadcasting’s CKSA-TV Lloydminster, after completing the two-year diploma program at Confederation College in Communication Arts. Owned and operated by Arthur and Mary Shortell, Cameron spent his entire 46-year television career with the company, working his way up to retire as Manager of Television Programming for both CITL-TV and CKSA-TV in 2017. Cameron was well regarded in the industry for his depth of knowledge from CRTC policy to local program development, but his interests expanded well past television with a passion for food, sports, music and literature.
Mike Benny, 58, on Feb. 12, of lung cancer. Benny grew up in Thompson, MB, getting his start in radio there without any formal training. He went on to work at CKCK Regina and in Kitimat before landing in Prince George and 550 CKPG Radio in 1986. Starting as the afternoon announcer, Benny went on to a nearly 35-year career with the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, including many years as the host of mornings on 101.3 Hits FM, later rebranded as 101.3 The River (CKKN-FM). Benny also did several turns on television as the host of CKPG-TV kids’ game show “Quiz Me” and “Spruce Capital Rocks”, a half-hour music video show in the 1990s. Benny was diagnosed with lung cancer in the summer of 2019 and went on disability leave from the station. Watch CKPG-TV’s tribute to Benny, here.
Derek Mazur, 73, on Feb. 11, following a battle with lung cancer. Mazur was a founder of the Credo Group in the mid-1970s, a Winnipeg-based production company credited with helping launch Manitoba’s commercial film industry. Among Credo’s credits were films like Lost in the Barrens (1990) and The Diviners (1993), where many Manitoba crew members got their first introduction to feature film. After Credo folded in 2001, Mazur went on to produce for the National Film Board (NFB), and later became CEO of the Nunavut Film Development Corporation (NFDC) in 2011. He retired in 2017. In addition to his work with Credo, Mazur was active in the Manitoba Motion Picture Industry Association (now OnScreen Manitoba) and helped lobby for industry tax incentives. He also sat on the board of the National Screen Institute (NSI).
Warren D. (Skip) Snair, 77, on Feb. 10. Snair’s first foray into media was as a dancer on CFCF-TV Montreal’s answer to American Bandstand, Like Young, in the 1960s. Best known for his time in promotions and marketing with CHOM 97.7 from 1996 – 2009, the Montreal legend had previously spent time as part of the Rolling Stones tour entourage from 1972-86, landing the gig after lining up replacement speaker cones and saving their 1972 Montreal Forum show following a bomb blast. He also worked as a concert promoter for Donald K. Donald, among other roles. Snair often used his celebrity connections to help prop up the annual CHOM Rock Auction for the Montreal Children’s Hospital. The Montreal Gazette’s Bill Brownstein and CHOM morning host Terry DiMonte reflected on Snair’s passing.
Tony D’Archi, 50, on Feb. 8, of a sudden heart attack. D’Archi graduated from the Ryerson University Radio and Television Arts program and started his career interning with TSN. A passionate sports fan, he started as an associate producer on shows like Molson That’s Hockey and Sportscentre. He went on to produce In This Corner with Russ Abner, and served as the studio producer for the World Jr. Hockey Championships and the CFL on TSN for 12 years. He also worked on several Olympic Games, including Sydney in 2000, London in 2012, and Sochi in 2014. Caught up in cutbacks in 2015, D’Archi reinvented himself in his 40s, heading back to Ryerson to study public relations. In addition to independent consulting, he’d most recently been working with The iPR Group, among other communications roles.
Ted Randal, 95, on Feb. 5. Born in southern California, Randal served as a flagman on a troop carrier in the U.S. Navy during WWII, before enrolling in Radio Broadcasting and Drama in 1947 at the University of Oregon where he started working at KASH-AM as a student DJ. He went on to work at numerous stations, even making a foray into TV as a dance show host at KPIX-TV San Francisco in 1958. From there, he moved to Hollywood and launched radio consultancy, Ted Randal Enterprises, also publishing the “Tip Sheet” DJ guide which he would mail every week to over 350 radio stations. At his peak, he was programming 33 Top 40 radio stations in four countries, including consulting for 1050 CHUM. In 1970, he partnered with Dick Clark to offer stations a “hits library” service. He left Hollywood for Toronto in the mid-1970s, taking the position of program director at CHFI Toronto in 1977 and later becoming general manager. He left the station in 1982 and after retiring from teaching at Humber College, embarked on a second career as an artist. Randal and his wife Anne retired to Victoria, BC in 2012.
Kevin Cotter, 40, suddenly on Feb. 17. After finishing both an Associate of Arts degree in Communication & Media Studies and going through the BCIT Radio Broadcasting program, Cotter joined Vista Radio’s 94.3 The Goat (CIRX-FM) in Prince George, BC as an on-air personality in 2008. He had a 12-year run with the station, working his way up to Program Director in 2012, while also hosting mornings. In July 2020, he moved over to Jim Pattison Broadcast Group’s 103.1 The River (CKKN-FM). Cotter served as Program Director in addition to co-hosting Mornings with Vilma and Cotter.
Brian Fraser, 26, on Feb. 25 after a two-year battle with leukemia. Originally from Brockville, ON, Fraser joined Ottawa’s 580 CFRA as a technical producer in 2015, while still a student in the Algonquin College Radio Broadcasting program. He worked behind-the-scenes on various talk shows and was one of the voices heard on The Morning Rush with Bill Carroll. Following his diagnosis in May 2019, Fraser frequently documented his cancer journey on Twitter, including advocating for blood cancer awareness and blood donation. In addition to his time with CFRA, he served as a play-by-play and colour commentator for the CJHL Nepean Raiders on Algonquin College campus station, CKDJ-FM, from 2013-16. Read more here.
Jeff Ansell, 65, on Feb. 23, of cancer. Ansell got his feet wet in broadcasting at age 17 at ethnic radio station, CFMB-AM Montreal. He moved on to CKGM and CFCF, before relocating to Toronto and CFTR. After two years there, he moved over to CHUM Radio where he anchored in addition to working on the “In Toronto” program. It was at CHUM that Ansell became interested in investigative journalism. In 1980, he and fellow CHUM reporter Tim Laing went undercover, posing as drug addicts to expose doctors illicitly prescribing narcotics. The resulting radio documentary “Pillars of Parkdale” won an RTNDA Award. Ansell went on to conduct an investigation that exposed two Nazi war criminals living in Canada. He later joined Citytv Toronto where his documentary, Nursing Homes: The Promise of Age, led to legislative amendments to the Ontario Nursing Homes Act. He left the station in 1987 to found media training and video production company, Public Eye Network, which produced shows for CHCH-TV and TVO. Ansell joined Hill+Knowlton as Senior Vice-President in 1989, providing media training to CEOs at Pepsi and Procter & Gamble, among other companies. He left in 1995 to start Jeff Ansell & Associates, providing strategic communications counsel and serving as an instructor in the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program. In 2010, he and Jeffrey Leeson co-authored “When the Headline is YOU: An Insider’s Guide to Handling the Media.”
Glen “Moose” Scott, 75, on Feb. 19. A builder in the Prince George sport community, Scott was sports director at CJCI-AM Prince George for eight years in the 1970s, before going on to work with Pitney Bowes, Investors Group and P.G. This Week. He also served as a city councillor from 2002-05 and again from 2005-08. As a volunteer, Scott was the founder of the Prince George Senior Lacrosse Association and served as its commissioner for 24 years, in addition to serving on the executive of the B.C. Lacrosse Association for eight years. He was inducted into the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame in 2014 and received a Sport BC Community Sport Hero Award in 2011. He retired in 2013 due to health concerns.
Wes Saunders, 92, on Feb. 17. The longtime radio and television news anchor was known as “the voice of Lloydminster” as one of the fixtures on CKSA-TV for more than three decades. Prior to joining CKSA-TV in the 1960s, Saunders spent nearly a decade in Edmonton radio, first at CFRN from 1955-58 and later CHED. Newcap renamed its Lloydminster newsroom after Saunders in 2013 to mark his 37-year contribution to radio and television in the community.
Joanne Sutton, on March 7, after a battle with cancer. After graduating from the BCIT Broadcast program, Sutton’s first foray into radio was in Whitehorse, before joining Vancouver’s CJJR-FM in 1990. In 1991, she joined Fred and Cathy Latremouille’s morning show on 97 KiSS FM (CKKS-FM) Vancouver as the morning traffic reporter. That ended in 2000 and she went on to read morning news and traffic part-time with Newcap’s Vancouver stations, Zed 95.3 (CKZZ-FM), 650 CISL, and LG 104.3 (CHLG-FM). Sutton made a brief move into marketing and communications in the late 2000s, before starting The Little Fruit Pie Company, supplying fresh-baked and frozen pies for commercial sale and distribution.
Dick Smyth, 86, on March 6. Growing up in Montreal, Smyth’s first foray into radio started in his youth as part of a children’s theatre group that performed plays on-air. Landing his first radio job in Cornwall, ON, that led to work with CKLW-AM Windsor, known at the time as “the Big 8.” Smyth would go on to join 1050 CHUM as news director in 1969 and later 680 NEWS when the station launched in 1993. He also provided commentary for and contributed to Citytv newscasts in the station’s early days. Among Smyth’s notable achievements, he was the first Canadian to receive an International RTNDA Award for his coverage of the 1967 Detroit Riots. He retired from broadcasting in 1997.
Chris Schultz, 61, on March 4, following a heart attack. Following an NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys as a sixth round 1983 draft pick, in addition to nine seasons with the Toronto Argonauts, Schultz joined TSN in 1998 as a CFL ON TSN panelist and TSN Football Expert. Among his regular segments was sports betting feature “Risky Business” on SPORTSCENTRE, in addition to serving as TSN’s spokesperson throughout the season for the Purolator Tackle Hunger food drive program, encouraging fans to donate non-perishable food items on game days. Schultz was named to the All-Time Argos team in 2007. A native of Burlington, ON, he was inducted into the Burlington Sports Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
Jahmil French, 29, on March 1. An alumnus of Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts in Scarborough, French was a stage and screen actor as well as a dancer. He landed his first recurring role in 2009 as part of the cast of the Degrassi: Minis series and then reprised his role as Dave Turner in 149 episodes of Degrassi: The Next Generation from 2009-13. He went on to work on WE tv series, The Divide; Global TV medical drama Remedy; and Pop TV sitcom Let’s Get Physical, among other shows and feature films. Most recently, he’d been part of the cast of Netflix series Soundtrack. French was twice nominated for a Canadian Screen Award, once for Best Performance in a Children’s or Youth Program or Series for his work on Degrassi and again in 2018 as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Darren Curtis film, “Boost.”
Michael O’Brien, 71, on Feb. 17, after a lengthy battle with cancer. A broadcaster, media critic, entrepreneur, and author, O’Brien’s media career began in 1970 at CFOM Québec City. From there, he did mornings at CFUN Newcastle (now Miramachi), NB; afternoons at CKWW Windsor; and then mornings at CJFM Montreal while also working in promotions at Reader’s Digest. In 1978, he joined the morning show at CFPL London, before briefly returning to Montreal and CJAD in 1981. He joined CJSB Ottawa later that year as program director and eventually joined the morning show. O’Brien moved over to CFRA Ottawa in 1985, handling CHUM Network news out of CFRA from 1993 until 2004. In 2007, he joined Lake 88 (CHLK-FM) Perth, ON as the voice of morning news and the station’s first news director.
Margaret Jones, 83, on Feb. 16, following a lengthy illness. Jones was the longtime news director at CKAP AM 580 in Kapuskasing, ON. Alongside her 28-year career with the station, Jones was an avid volunteer, working with the Red Cross for over 25 years and the Kapuskasing Food Bank for more than a decade.
Bill Inkol, 92, on March 15. Inkol was hired at CJCS Stratford in 1951 and quickly ascended to the position of sports director, before moving into TV in London in 1962. He went on to join CKCO-TV Kitchener as sports director in 1967 (now CTV Kitchener) where he would spend the rest of his career, up until his retirement in 1994. Among other programs, Inkol was known for co-hosting “Blue Jays Banter” and “Bowling for Dollars.” He also contributed to CTV national sports broadcasts and covered five Olympic Games, in addition to many other events.
Norm Wright, 82, on March 15. Wright’s career began in 1957 when he was hired at age 17 as an announcer at CFCO Radio in Chatham. He went on to work at CFJR Brockville, CKSF Cornwall and then mornings at CFRA Ottawa. In 1961, he moved into television at CKMI-TV Quebec City as a news anchor and host of the popular “Teen Club” show – a precursor to American Bandstand. In the early 1970s, he became owner and operator of CFOM Quebec City, while also earning agency experience as a Marketing Director with Pierre Tremblay Publicitee. Wright and his wife moved to Otty Lake just outside of Perth, ON in 1974 after being invited to join the faculty of Algonquin College’s Media Division in Ottawa, where he taught for 25 years in the Radio and Television Broadcasting program. While there, he also worked as a news, sports and weather anchor at the Ottawa CBC affiliate, CBOT-TV, from 1979 until 1992. Wright and business partner Brian Perkin, went on to secure a broadcast licence for Perth, founding Lake 88.1 (CHLK-FM) radio and teaming up with news announcers Michael O’Brien and later Ian Sutton to host Lake 88’s morning show in the early days of the station. Wright retired in 2014.
Donnie Verge, 80, on March 15. Hailing from Halifax, Verge began his television career with ATV (now CTV Atlantic) in 1966. In 1988, he moved over to Global Television as Operations Manager, until his retirement in 2005. Alongside his broadcast career, Verge was a Certified Master Guide and avid sportsman.
Bill McVean, 94, on March 21, following complications from multiple strokes. Born in Windsor, McVean served with the RCAF spitfire squadron in France, Belgium and Holland, ending the war editing an armed forces newspaper and managing a radio station. He returned to Canada and studied journalism, starting his broadcast career in news with CKNX Wingham. McVean moved on to CKOC Hamilton in 1949 where he became the first aerial traffic reporter to broadcast from a plane he also piloted. He moved over to CHML in 1955 and then CFRB Toronto in the early 1960s where would remain a staple on the airwaves through to the mid-1980s. McVean’s last weekday show aired in 1985 and he retired from the station in 1996. Alongside his work with CFRB, McVean narrated and hosted for CBC Television, among other commercial television work. For more than two decades, McVean was also the emcee and later director of the Canadian International Air Show. In retirement, he and wife Catherine produced syndicated travel segment ‘Trips n’ Tips’ which aired on 23 stations across the country. They were also founding members of the Travel Media Association of Canada.
Linda Dawe, 72, on March 20. Originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Dawe left her journalism studies at Lake Superior State University and headed for Toronto where she got her start in the music business with Beetle Magazine in 1971. Rising to the position of assistant editor, then-president of RCA Records Ed Preston went on to recruit her as the first female promotions manager in Canada. After spending nearly 10 years with major labels like RCA/BMG, MCA/Universal and CBS/Sony, Dawe went out on her own in 1980, launching Music Solutions, a marketing and consulting firm for artists that also handled radio promotion and publicity activity. Among the artists the company worked with were Blue Rodeo and Roch Voisine. Dawe was also an advocate for the under-represented in the music industry, founding advocacy organization Women In the Music Business (WIMB) in the 1980s.
Chris Straw, 62, following a construction accident at his home on Gabriola Island, BC. Straw worked coast-to-coast with CBC from Yellowknife to PEI and Vancouver, eventually becoming a CBC Radio executive and holding roles as Director of Network Program Development and Senior Director of Network Talk. He semi-retired in 2014 to pursue his passion for photography and art.
George Morris, 78, on March 14, of cardiovascular issues. Morris was born in Poland during WWII as Jerzy Delman, emigrating with his mother to Winnipeg toward the end of the war and eventually relocating to Montreal. Morris quickly learned English and by age 12 had appeared on CBC kids’ show Small Fry Frolics where he was invited for repeat appearances. He left home at 15 and headed for Toronto, taking his first radio gig in Blind River, ON. More stations followed including CFUN Vancouver where he did overnights as “Late Daddy G.” He returned to Montreal in 1963 as “Buddy G” on CKGM 980 AM. He went on to found commercial production studio Listen Audio Productions in the late 1960s where he established himself as a voice actor with his work ranging from the newscaster on best selling X-Box video game “Splinter Cell” to the grandfather on PBS Children’s program “Caillou.” Morris also lent his voice to projects like IMAX film “Adrenaline Rush” and “Great Train Stories” for the History Channel. He also served as the imaging voice for radio stations like Classical 96.3 FM Toronto, FM Country CJVR Saskatchewan, and Contact FM in France. Morris made a return to radio in the early ‘90s as host of “Sunday Morning Gold” on CJFM-FM Montreal.
Colin Watson, 79, of acute leukemia. After studying Engineering at the University of British Columbia and receiving an MBA from the University of Western Ontario, Watson started a career in the cable industry and eventually assumed the position of Vice President of Operations for Canadian Cablesystems Limited (CCL). After Ted Rogers acquired CCL in 1979, Watson was appointed President of Rogers Cable and went on to lead the division for nearly 20 years, working closely with Phil Lind to expand the cable business into the U.S. After selling the U.S. Cable business a few years later, the venture resulted in raising more than $1 billion, allowing Rogers to fund wireless in Canada. In the 1980s, Watson and Lind started a live call-in program on Rogers Cable 10 called “Ask Us” where they would take live calls from customers, addressing their issues and answering their questions on TV. Watson left Rogers in 1996 to become President and CEO of Spar Aerospace Limited, but remained a Company Director for several years.
Ed Kay on April 5. After graduating from the Radio College of Canada in Montreal, Kay joined Edmonton’s CFRN-TV in 1956 as a control room operator. He was promoted to junior announcer after one night neither announcer showed up. By 1961, he had worked his way up to the position of chief announcer. For two decades, Kay was a host on The Noon Show, alongside George Lund and Doug McFarland, that featured everything from skits to cooking tips. Kay also interviewed guests on Alberta A.M. and filled in on both the news and weather desks. After 33 years, he retired in 1989.
Tom Gibney, 84, on April 5. Originally from Yorkton, SK, Gibney was working in the Alberta oil patch when he applied for and landed a job in radio. Initially on-air as Gary Gibney, he worked at CFCN Radio and TV in Calgary, including hosting a daily talk show, in addition to a stint with AM 770 (CHQR-AM), among other stations. Gibney arrived in Toronto and CFTO-TV in 1973 where he would spend the next three decades. Gibney’s supper hour newscast was a ratings leader with the popular anchor also hosting the Lotto 6/49 draws, which were syndicated across Canada. Gibney entered semi-retirement in 2001 and officially retired after years of fill-in announcing in Nov. 2007. Among other career highlights, Gibney had an uncredited cameo as an announcer in the 1976 feature film, Network.
Jon Crossland, 68, suddenly. Crossland spent his formative years in Hood River, OR and while studying at the University of Oregon and Washington State University, he began his career in radio in Pullman, WA. He went on to work in radio sales at stations in Tacoma, WA and Edinburg, TX. Over his 42 years in radio, Crossland held positions in management at Entercom in Seattle; spent 12 years as Regional Sales Manager with CBSI-Wicks Broadcast Solutions-Marketron; and served as Senior Sales Manager at WideOrbit for 13 years. Last April, he joined SDS (Specialty Data Systems) in Toronto as Vice President, Sales.
Howard Barker, 82, on March 29, after a long battle with cancer. Born in Glenboro, MB, Barker enrolled in a broadcasting course at the Brown Institute in Minneapolis, MN in 1963 and landed a job with CFRY in Portage la Prairie, MB after graduation. Barker would go on to a four-decade career with the station, many of those years as the Farm News Director, providing live coverage at fairs in the region from June to August every year. He retired from the station in 2003.
Matthew Fisher, 66, on April 10. The son of federal politician and print and broadcast journalist Douglas Fisher, Matthew developed an interest in travel and war correspondence early, parlaying that into a 45-year career that would see him visit 174 countries and cover more than 20 wars and civil conflicts, including Somalia, the Rwandan genocide, Chechnya, the Balkan Wars, Israel in Gaza and Lebanon, the two Gulf Wars and Afghanistan. He got his start in journalism at age 16 when he won a Montreal Expos Junior Broadcaster contest. He went on to work as a high school sports reporter for CBO Radio in Ottawa, and then joined CJOH-TV. After travelling the world reporting on Canadian amateur athletes and co-writing a book, he went on to work for newspapers including The Globe and Mail, National Post, Canwest News Service, and Sun Media. Among the historic events he had a front row seat to were Nelson Mandela’s election, the death of Princess Diana, the Hong Kong handover to China, and the fall of Eastern European Communism. More recently, Fisher had joined independent international relations think tank, the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.
David Miller, 47, on April 6. After studying Communications at Simon Fraser University, Miller’s first introduction to the film industry was at the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television where he landed a public relations role. He went on to work for the National Film Board where he led an Oscar-winning PR campaign for the animated short “Ryan” in 2004, based on the life of Canadian animator Ryan Larkin. Miller then took a turn into programming as Director of Creative and Business Development at Channel Zero. In 2010, he became a partner in A71 Entertainment. His executive producer credits included The Child Remains, Becoming Burlesque, and Sadie’s Last Days on Earth, among many other films. Miller was also an active member of the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA).
Margaret Thomson Collier, 88, on April 11. Collier earned her education in Scotland before immigrating to Canada. A champion of Canadian screenwriting, she started serving as the National Executive Director of the Toronto Writers Branch of ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) in 1977. She went on to be named the first Executive Director of the Writers Guild of Guild of Canada (WGC). Among her achievements was helping secure and implement the Independent Production Agreement (IPA) securing guaranteed rates for Guild member film and television writers. In recognition of her efforts, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television has awarded the Margaret Collier Award since 1986 to a Canadian writer for their outstanding body of work in film or television.
Bruce Yaccato, on April 26, following a long illness. A journalist, writer, and filmmaker, Yaccato wrote for the Toronto Star and National Post, in addition to time spent with CTV News as a Parliamentary correspondent and Quebec City Bureau chief. He also did work with CBC as a documentary reporter for The Journal, most recently in 2009, working as a features producer on programs including Power & Politics. He rejoined CTV as a senior producer from 2011-12, before founding WordsPerfect Communications, and turning his storytelling talents to producing marketing videos and editorial content. Yaccato was a longtime contributor to Historica Canada’s online Canadian Encyclopedia. He also authored 2006 book “Screen Legends.” Inspired by City Lights host Brian Linehan, it explored the role Canadians played in early film and television.
Jack Ruttle, 84, on April 29. Ruttle had a nearly 50-year broadcasting career that began in 1956 as a staff announcer at CKBB-AM Barrie, ON. He had moved up to the position of program manager and was also doing on-air work for CKVR-TV when he was offered the chance to join CFTO-TV ahead of its launch in 1960. He became the station’s promotion manager and later program manager, before Baton Broadcasting appointed Ruttle Vice-President of Programming in 1970 for both Baton and CBC affiliate CKLW-TV Windsor. He moved with the company to Ottawa in 1973 as president of CFGO Radio, joining Standard Broadcasting two years later to take the position of VP and General Manager of CJOH-TV Ottawa. In 1977, he joined Maclean Hunter as VP of Calgary’s CFCN-TV and by 1979, was EVP of the CTV network. After eight years there, his final executive move was with Power Corporation of Canada as president of Kawartha Broadcasting’s CFMP-FM, CHEX-AM radio and CHEX-TV in Peterborough. Ruttle returned to Toronto in the early ‘90s to establish a consulting business. He also spent four years in the early 2000s teaching media management to students at his alma mater, Ryerson University.
Gord Atkinson, 94, on April 26, following a recent stroke. Atkinson began his career as a publicist at Decca Records in the 1940s. He transitioned into radio in 1948 with stints at CHUM and CFRB Toronto. He was hired at CFRA Ottawa in 1954 where he served as Entertainment Editor and hosted variety programs, “Gord Atkinson’s Showbill” and “Campus Corner.” Among other highlights, he introduced Elvis Presley to Ottawa in 1957 at the Ottawa Auditorium. In 1967, he was appointed Station Manager of CFMO – a position he held for 22 years – in addition to continuing to host his weekly Showbill entertainment program. Atkinson was also an avid writer, publishing his column “The Platter Poll” in the Ottawa Citizen for 12 years and writing several books, including 2016’s “The Golden Years of Entertainment” which consisted of profiles based on 40 years of radio interviews he’d conducted. An avid pop culture fan, among other projects, Atkinson narrated, wrote and produced the award-winning “The Crosby Years” – a 14-hour musical anthology on Bing Crosby that won him a U.S. National Radio Award. Atkinson counted many celebrities among his friends and in 1981 organized a benefit with Rich Little and Frank Sinatra that raised millions for the Ottawa Hospital. In 1998, Mayor Jim Watson proclaimed May 23rd Gord Atkinson Day in Ottawa, with Little roasting Atkinson at a gala for the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club.
Barry John Hamelin, 82, on May 11, of COVID-19. Hamelin started his broadcast career with CKPG Radio & TV in Prince George, BC before going on to spend upwards of 27 years in various management roles with Broadcast News in Toronto, working alongside Broadcast Dialogue founder Howard Christensen. Hamelin’s input was instrumental to the publication’s conception in the Spring of 1992 on how to serve Canada’s broadcast community with more timely and relevant industry news. That led to a determination to produce the weekly newsletter. Later, when Broadcast Dialogue extended efforts into the publication of a glossy 48-page monthly magazine, Hamelin served as its Editor.
Stephen Vrlak, 79, on May 2, following a battle with Parkinson’s and dementia. Vrlak got his start working for Procter & Gamble, before joining Vancouver radio stations, CKNW and CJOR, as an advertising rep. He later joined Dixon Advertising and then partnered with local radio personality Red Robinson, who had been program director during Vrlak’s tenure at CJOR, in Vrlak Robinson Advertising. The agency grew with the mergers of Spectrum and later Hayhurst Communications. Vrlak would go on to start the Vrlak & Company agency with his son, Mike, which counted the Vancouver Canucks and BC Lions, among its clients.
Eric Lipka, 80, on April 29. With a love of theatre that developed during his high school years in Kelowna as part of the Radio Drama Club and Mission Players, Lipka began working as a set designer at age 19, after school, when he was hired at CHBC-TV Kelowna to build and paint sets and do camera and boom mic work for shows like “Your North Okanagan” and “Okanagan Farm and Garden.” He eventually left for a set designer position at CKSO-TV Sudbury, before arriving at CBC Toronto in 1966 where he worked on shows from Front Page Challenge and The Tommy Hunter Show to Marketplace and Country Canada. Lipka also worked on CBC specials featuring Glenn Gould, The National Ballet, Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, and other performers. He retired in 2001.
Charles Harris, 101, on April 19. Harris started his career as a reporter for the Globe and Mail in 1937, before enlisting in the RCAF in 1941. Following the war, he earned a B.A. in Modern History at the University of Toronto and joined CBC as a radio producer in 1947. In 1950, he was appointed Assistant to the Director of Television in Toronto. He moved into public relations two years later, joining the PR department at CN in Montreal where he rose through the ranks to Director of Public Relations and in 1970 was named Vice President. He moved to join Bell Canada in 1972 as Vice President, Public Affairs, before partnering with Douglas Heal in consulting firm, Harris Heal Ltd., in the early ‘80s. Harris was a past president of the Canadian Public Relations Society and received its National Award of Attainment in 1966, recognizing outstanding achievement and service to public relations.
Mike Woodworth, 64, on May 14, following complications from a heart attack. Woodworth had a 39-year media career that started at the age of 15 1972 in Campbellton, NB. By the time he was 20, he had worked his way to the morning news anchor position. He moved on to CFBC in Saint John where he was eventually made news director and in 1982 arrived at CKPG-TV and Radio in Prince George. Woodworth went on to spend 26 years with the station, most of that as news director. Woodworth retired from CKPG-TV and its sister radio stations in July 2008. He was recognized with the RTDNA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
Nicolas Wry, on May 7, from complications from COVID-19. Wry graduated in 1972 from Ryerson Polytechnic University’s Radio and Television Arts Program and began his career in broadcasting at CityTV, first as master control operator and then technical producer in the station’s first two years. Wry moved on to ITV Edmonton shortly after the station’s launch, holding positions from Supervisor of On-Air Operations to Production Manager for the Tommy Banks Show and Producer on SCTV. One of his career highlights was attending the 1982 Emmy Awards, with SCTV nominated for Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Program. Wry eventually moved up to Vice-President of Creative, Business and Industry Affairs and then VP of Business Affairs for Allarcom, with his scope widened with the company’s merger with WIC. Wry went on to produce 2004 comedy “Intern Academy”, shot entirely in Edmonton and written, directed and starring Dave Thomas, along with Dan Ackroyd Maury Chaykin, Dave Foley, Matt Frewer, and others. Wry went on to head creative development for Super Channel and retired in 2008. In addition to the Canadian Television Fund, Wry was a vocal industry advocate and served as Chair of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Canadian Production Committee, was a Director of the Banff Television Festival, and a longtime Board Member and Past President of AMPIA (Alberta Motion Picture Industry Awards). He received AMPIA’s Friend of the Industry Award in 2000.
Tony (Antonio) Sorgiovanni, 49, on April 25. Sorgiovanni who was the program director at Edmonton multicultural station World FM. He joined the station in 2007, holding positions over the years from music director to promotions coordinator and Italian programming producer.
Jack Schoone, 82, on April 5. Schoone’s first foray into radio was in 1959 following his discharge from the Canadian Armed Forces. He joined Irving Zucker’s Kitchener stations as a controller and quickly became manager of CKCR AM and FM at the age of 23. Schoone soon took on responsibility for CHIQ Hamilton, and arranged the sale of the three stations. In 1969, he embarked on a career as an owner with the purchase of CKNB Campbellton, NB, marking the birth of Eastern Broadcasting. The company expanded rapidly with the addition of CFCY Charlottetown and CKCW Moncton, and in each market added an FM frequency even though AM was still dominant. Eastern soon acquired the Roy Thomson group of stations in northern Ontario and later the Countryside group in southern Ontario. Telemedia eventually purchased the Ontario operations, while MacLean Hunter acquired Eastern’s Atlantic stations. Announcing his retirement in 1988, by 1993 Schoone had returned to broadcasting under the Radiocorp banner with the purchase of K Lite FM and CKOC in Hamilton, as well as CJBX FM and CJBK in London. Once again, his ability to lead turnarounds saw Telemedia come knocking to acquire the stations in 2000. Schoone was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Hall of Fame in 2003.
Peter Klein (aka Peter Kaye) on April 10. Klein started his radio career in 1988 as an operator at CKO 99.1 Toronto at age 16. From there, he joined CJCL 1430 as an operator, starting in the early 1990s, staying with the station through its transition to The Fan 1430 and The Fan 590. In total, Klein spent 12 years with Telemedia Radio, holding roles from producing Toronto Raptors, Toronto Blue Jays, and TSN Bullpen features to serving as a Telemedia Network Radio producer and voicing commercials and other production. Klein went on to hold several part-time announcer roles at AM 96 in Cambridge, ON and The Edge 94.9 (CKGE-FM) Oshawa. From 2002-07, he was the weekend overnight and morning host on EZ Rock 97.3 (CJEZ-FM) Toronto.
Paul Soles, 90, on May 26. Soles’ 70-year broadcast career started with part-time stints at CHLO and CKEY, before landing a full-time position at CFPL Radio in London and transitioning into TV in 1953. Commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the RCAF Auxilliary at Station Crumlin, Soles detoured to Zweibrücken, Germany where he spent 1956-57 running the radio station at 3 Wing. He returned to Canada in the early 1960s where he hosted CFPL game show “Take Your Choice” for a year before signing on to host CBC current affairs program “Take-30” for 18 seasons, among other shows. Soles also had a stage and voiceover career, best known for portraying the title character in the original 1967 Spider-Man cartoon and voicing Hermey the Elf in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964). Soles was recognized with a 2006 Gemini Award for his role in Canadian mini-series, Terminal City, and won a Canadian Screen Award in 2017 for Best Performance by an Actor in a Digital Production for CBC Comedy web series, My 90-Year-Old Roommate.
Gary Maavara, 68, on May 24, after a five-year battle with cancer. Maavara practiced law with Borden & Elliot, Toronto, before embarking on a 40+ year broadcasting career. He spent nearly 10 years at CTV, starting in 1988, holding roles including Group Vice-President, Programming and served in executive roles during several Olympic Games, including VP of Sports. Maavara joined CanWest Global in 1988, working in Toronto and then Winnipeg, spending six years in various executive roles including Director of Special Projects at Global TV, COO Interactive, and Senior VP Specialty Television. Maavara returned to Toronto in 2004 to serve as Executive Vice-President and General Counsel for Corus Entertainment and was named Corporate Secretary in 2017. He stepped away from Corus in 2019 and formed Maavara Creative Group. Among other industry organizations, he was a past director of Advertising Standards Canada (Vice Chair), the Canadian Digital Media Network, Telelatino, Cosmopolitan Television Canada, Country Music Television, and the Banff World Media Festival.
Ray Waines, 83, on May 24. Waines was part of the team that built the “Electronic Skyway” Trans Canada Microwave system enabling live, coast-to-coast television transmission, before joining CBC Vancouver as a cameraman in 1960. Waines would go on to a 30+ year career with the public broadcaster working on productions from Hockey Night in Canada and the CFL to Vancouver-shot productions like Cariboo Country, Reach for the Top, Some of Those Days, Let’s Go, Beachcombers, and The Irish Rovers. Waines was among those who consulted on BC Place stadium, prior to its 1983 opening, to ensure good locations for television cameras. Waines retired from CBC in 1991, but continued working as a freelance cameraman for the next two decades, well into his 70s.
Cecile Hebert, 67, on May 13. Hebert graduated from the Mount Royal College Broadcasting Diploma program in 1974 and later went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of Ottawa. Hebert’s early radio career took her to Williams Lake and a stint with 570 CKEK-AM Cranbrook as news director in the late 1980s, in addition to working with CBC affiliate CFPR-AM Prince Rupert. She went on to work with CBC and Radio-Canada as an announcer, writer and reporter in both Edmonton and Vancouver.
Cam Cathcart, 83, on June 5, unexpectedly at home. Cathcart spent 25 years with CBC as a reporter, foreign correspondent, producer, and on-air host. As foreign correspondent he served in Washington and at the UN, covering a wide range of stories from Watergate to the 1976 Presidential Election. After returning to Canada, he was News Director at CBC-TV Toronto for four years, before returning to BC in 1985 and co-hosting CBC network show “The Best Years.” Cathcart was appointed head of the International Press Centre for the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games and went on to work with CKST, CKNW and CJNW as an announcer. He joined Stanton Associates as a media trainer in 2002. Among other volunteer endeavours, Cathcart chaired the Vancouver Remembrance Day Committee at Victory Square and held the honorary rank of Major in the B.C. Regiment (DCO).
Gino Belmonte, 61, on May 29 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. After graduating from the University of Toronto, Belmonte started his career as a media buyer with Foster Advertising before moving into broadcast media research. Belmonte joined Rogers Media in 1998 as Director of Research, Television. In 2012, he founded his own consultancy, Belmonte Insights. He joined thinkTV Canada as Director of Research in 2018.
Peter “Joe” Kobluk, on May 26. Kobluk began his radio career in 1942 as a student announcer with CJAT Trail in 1942. He became a full-time announcer in 1944 and rose to the position of General Manager in 1960 and Managing Director in 1965. Kobluk left CJAT in 1976 and joined the corporate office of the Trail Kootenay Savings Credit Union where he stayed into his 80s.
Rick Rice, 87, on May 17. Rice started his career as a cameraman for the CBC, following his graduation from Ryerson’s Radio & TV Arts Program. Over the years, Rice worked on programs from arts to news and live sports in Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto, eventually becoming producer and director of “The National” and “Hockey Night in Canada.” Among his career highlights was the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble. Rice and his late wife Joanie, who met working at the public broadcaster, retired to Victoria in 1989.
Warren Barker, 92, on June 15. Originally from Okotoks, AB, Barker’s broadcast career began at CJCA Edmonton in 1947 at the age of 18. The young broadcaster made stops at CKRD Red Deer and CKDA Victoria, before landing at CKNW New Westminster in 1952. Barker initially joined the station as a back-up host for CKNW founder Bill Rea on the program “Ranger’s Cabin,” but by the following year had joined the newsroom and by 1959 was promoted to news director. Barker went on to hold the position for the next 32 years, building the newsroom’s reputation for both competitive news coverage and developing young journalism talent. Barker retired in 1991, but continued to contribute as an editorial commentator. He received the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contribution to journalism in British Columbia in 1993 from the Jack Webster Foundation, and was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Hall of Fame in 1998. Barker was inducted into the Radio Television Digital News Association of Canada (RTDNA) Hall of Fame in 2003. Read more here.
David Larsen, 62, on June 11, after a battle with cancer. Larsen’s career in radio started at age 19, working in Squamish, BC where he was heard on three different stations under three different on-air handles. Larsen went on to work in Lethbridge and Calgary, before landing at SILK FM (CILK-FM) Kelowna as program director where he also put together a successful morning show that he co-hosted for the next eight years alongside Tony Peyton and Kelly Abbott Church. Larsen eventually left to join Rogers Radio in Vancouver and Chilliwack, before he and Peyton reunited in 2009, reigniting their morning show on K96.3 (CKKO-FM) for a decade, up until Peyton’s retirement in 2019. Larsen subsequently joined JACK 103.1 (CHTT-FM) Victoria as PD for the brand re-launch in the market and morning show co-host. Read more here.
Rod Stephen, 86, on July 7. Stephen began his broadcast career in his hometown of Yorkton, SK at CJGZ in 1954. He went on to hold roles with CKRD Red Deer and CHED Edmonton, before returning to CKRD and eventually assuming the position of General Manager for the AM, FM and television stations. In 1972, he was awarded a licence to start CKGY-AM Red Deer, the city’s second radio station which had immediate success with its country format. He went on to become an original partner in CISN Edmonton and develop CIZZ-FM (Z99) Red Deer. Stephen’s stations were eventually acquired by Shaw Radio, which he served as president of and was subsequently appointed to the Board of Directors of Shaw Cable. He retired in 1989. Stephen also served as a director with the Radio Bureau of Canada and the Alberta Association of Broadcasters.
Ken Davis, 90, on July 4 of complications related to cancer. Davis is best known as one of the owners of CKOK and CKMG Penticton, part of Okanagan Radio, from 1974 until 1990, which also included CKSP Summerland, CKGF in Grand Forks, CKOO in Oliver-Osoyoos and stations in Princeton and Yellowknife. Davis, alongside Gerald Pash and Dennis Barkman, acquired Okanagan Radio from Fraser Valley Broadcasters in Sept. 1974 with Davis named President. In 1988, Okanagan Skeena Group acquired the interest of Barkman and Pash, and later Davis’ shares in 1990. Following his career in broadcasting, Davis went on to become the owner and captain of the Casabella Princess paddle wheeler and Okanagan Boat Charters. In the mid-1980s, he also served one term on Penticton City Council.
Jill St. Louis, 66, on June 21 after a battle with metastatic lung cancer. A former Vancouver bureau chief at The Canadian Press, St. Louis was first hired in 1975 as an editorial assistant. She retired from CP in 2009.
David Blair, 56, unexpectedly on July 12. Originally from Winnipeg, Blair lived and worked in Toronto and then London, England before settling in Montreal where he began a career with the public broadcaster in 1995, working for Radio Canada International. He went on to report on business for CBC Radio, providing business updates to morning programs across the country in addition to appearing as a regular contributor to Quebec AM and Daybreak in Quebec City and Montreal. Blair was also the co-founder of the Montreal chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association in the late 1990s.
Wilf Ray, 94, on July 11. Ray started his radio career as a disc jockey at CKMO 1410 Vancouver in 1944 where he hosted in various dayparts, including popular evening show, The DX Prowl, where he interviewed big band leaders and performers of the day, including Mel Torme and Stan Kenton. A natural born promoter, Ray’s wedding to station music librarian Marion McDonald, was planned as a promotional event to take place at the Pacific National Exhibition, but stirring up controversy with local clergy, the couple were married on the lawn of their home and escorted to the event by a 60-car police escort out to the P.N.E. The bride wore $1M dollars worth of loaned crown jewels, and Ray gave his wedding speech in front of a crowd of 10,000. Ray went on to found his own real estate company, returning to radio around 1965 with a Sunday night gospel program that ran on CJOR, and later CJJR-FM and CKBD. From the late 1960s through 1980, Ray served as Director of Corporate Communications for the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group before suffering a stress-induced heart attack. He served one term as an alderman in Maple Ridge, starting in 1981, before re-entering real estate, joined by his daughters Robin and Leeann.
Alfie Scopp, 101, on July 24. Scopp’s broadcast career started during WWII while part of the RCAF in Newfoundland at local station CBG-AM. After the war, he attended the Lorne Greene Academy of Radio Arts, alongside Gordie Tapp, Fred Davis and Leslie Nielsen. He went on to numerous television credits, including creating the Clarabelle the Clown character on the Canadian Howdy Doody TV show; voiced the Scarecrow in the 1960s animated version of Tales of the Wizard of Oz; and was part of the voice cast for iconic 1964 Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He also appeared in six feature films, including playing the part of Avram in Norm Jewison’s Fiddler on the Roof. Scopp went on to hold the role of Program Manager for Front Page Challenge, and helped writing partners Frank Peppiatt and John Aylward mount the Hee Haw series and Global’s Everything Goes, among other voice and acting roles.
Peter Trueman, 86, on July 23, after a brief battle with cancer. Trueman began his media career in Ottawa in the mid-1950’s at the Ottawa Journal and went on to become a columnist for the Montreal Star in New York and later the Toronto Star. He got his feet wet in broadcasting in 1970 as a producer for The National, notably during the FLQ crisis. In 1974, he was hired as the first Global News anchor, known for ending his nightly newscasts with “That is not news. But that, too, is reality.” Trueman briefly left Global in 1977 to work for CTV, but soon returned going on to anchor for the network for another decade. In semi-retirement, he hosted series for Vision TV and Discovery Channel, including “Great Canadian Parks,” and worked on several documentaries for History Channel. In 1980, he also penned Smoke and Mirrors: The Inside Story of Television News in Canada. Trueman was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2001.
Donn Kirton, 87, on July 20. Kirton started his career in radio in 1951 with an eight-month stint at CFPA Port Arthur in Northwestern, ON after applying to an ad in the Winnipeg Free Press. Eager to get back to his hometown of Winnipeg, he joined CKY where he ended up hosting the morning show, alongside Jack Wells. Kirton took a detour to help launch new station, CFOB Fort Frances, bought by the owners of Winnipeg’s CJOB, before returning to CKY as Promotions Manager until 1970. He moved east to Saint John, NB to take up the role of Operations Manager at one of Irving’s stations, before returning to Winnipeg once again and CJOB where he signed on to produce Peter Warren’s show. Kirton went on to work with the station until his retirement in 1996. In addition to his work with CJOB, he served as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers field announcer for 25 years and the Winnipeg Jets rink announcer for five years. He also lent his voice to numerous commercials, including Oreck Vacuum Cleaners and Granny’s Poultry.
Georges La Fleche, 85, on July 9. Born into a musical family in Winnipeg, La Fleche started his broadcast career in the 1950s, making his CBC Radio debut in Winnipeg and later TV in Montreal. Fully bilingual, he went on to host shows in both mediums in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Montreal, including the “BA Musical Showcase” which featured guests like Petula Clark and Frankie Laine; “Music Album” and “In the Round.” He also appeared with sister Gisele MacKenzie and his son Michel on Tommy Common’s “It’s a Musical World.” La Fleche later pursued a career with CBC Vancouver as a sports writer and anchor. He retired as Director of Television for Western Canada.
Wayne Harrett, 60, on Aug. 14, after a lengthy battle with cancer. Harrett started volunteering in community radio in the mid- to late ’80s at Dalhousie University campus station CKDU Halifax, before starting Seaside FM in a room in his home in 1998 with a low-watt transmitter. CFEP-FM Eastern Passage, NS officially hit the airwaves in August 2002 with Harrett holding roles from general manager and program director to announcer. The not-for-profit station quickly grew a loyal following with Harrett recruiting retired radio talent like CHNS and CBC veteran Frank Cameron, CFDR and MITV host Gail Rice, and CKBW and CJCH personality Blain Henshaw, among others. Seaside’s eclectic playlist also struck a chord with listeners, featuring a unique mix of b-sides, oldies and homegrown talent, that spans the tunes of local rocker Joel Plaskett to Anne Murray, Elvis Presley, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder and lesser known artists from the ’60, ’70s, and ’80s. That combination found a generationally wide-ranging audience, with Plaskett and other local musicians often participating in station fundraising events, which have consistently exceeded their targets over the years, including a 2015 campaign for a new tower that saw the station get a power boost from 900 to 2,500 watts. Read more here.
Geoff Scott, on Aug. 5 after a short illness. Scott studied journalism at Carleton University and went on to become a household name as a Parliament Hill correspondent on Hamilton’s CHCH-TV during the 1960s and 70s. While still in school, he worked with best friend, Rich Little, performing comedy shows in the Ottawa area. He started his own company, Geoff Scott Communications, in the 1970s and was the first journalist to report news from Ottawa and Parliament Hill tailored to local markets. In 1978, Scott won a by-election in Hamilton-Wentworth, and served as the Conservative MP for the riding for 15 years.
Lisa Laco, 64, on Aug. 20, after a battle with ALS. Best known for her 23-year run hosting Superior Morning (formerly The Great Northwest) on CBC Thunder Bay, Laco arrived in Northwestern Ontario in 1992 after producing the CBC morning show in St. John’s and Corner Brook, NL. Laco retired from CBC Thunder Bay on Dec. 31, following her ALS diagnosis. A bursary has been established in her name. Donations can be made to the Lisa Laco Bursary Fund at the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council.
John Bartrem, 90, on Aug. 13, in Oakville, ON. Born in Montreal in 1931, Bartrem was one of the original Mad Men working at Foster Advertising in Montreal. He transitioned into a broadcast career in the mid-1970s when he was hired by CJAD 800 and CJFM-FM Montreal as General Sales Manager. He went on to work with W1310 (CKOY-AM) and CKBY Ottawa in the mid-1980s and later Country 59 in Toronto, prior to his retirement in the 1990s.
Mike Wolowich, 79, unexpectedly on Aug. 23. Wolowich started his broadcast career in 1964 with Thunder Bay Electronics, which later became Thunder Bay Television. Starting out as a photographer, he worked his way up to producer and director working on shows like Reach For The Top, The Rick Smith Show, Rock’n ‘n Reel’n, Auction Bonanza, the annual Kinsmen Mother’s Day Cystic Fibrosis Telethon, and numerous PSAs and commercials. Wolowich was known for his eagerness to mentor young talent. He was also a member of the Lakehead Amateur Radio Club and named Amateur of the Year in 2017.
Robert Breen Murray, 79, on Aug. 14 after a brief battle with cancer. A recognizable media personality in the Ottawa Valley, Breen was the voice of sports for CKOY-CKBY for much of the 1970s and early ‘80s, from play-by-play to hosting and serving as sports director. When TSN was established in 1984, Breen was the network’s first hire in Ottawa. Murray opened Raven Street Studios in 1992, which remains one of Ottawa’s largest and most-established recording studios, welcoming artists from Avril Lavigne to Snoop Dogg through its doors. He also founded The Audio Recording Academy (TARA), a recording school focused on giving students practical studio experience.
Bruce Cowie, 83, on Sept. 7 in Kelowna. Cowie’s broadcasting career began in 1953, at age 15, with CKOM Saskatoon. After three years, he made the move into television at CKCK-TV Regina and by 1972 was General Manager of the station. Following CKCK-TV’s sale to Baton Broadcasting, he joined Electrohome Limited to head CFRN-TV Edmonton and after Bill McGregor’s retirement, was appointed President and COO of the Electrohome broadcast group, encompassing both CFRN and CKCO-TV Kitchener. When Electrohome’s assets were acquired by Baton, Cowie transferred to Toronto where he rose to the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of CTV. He eventually returned to Alberta where he went on to serve as Vice-President of Harvard Broadcasting and remained a Special Advisor to the President. Over the years, he served as president of the North American Broadcasters’ Association; chair of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Board of Directors; and president of the Saskatchewan Association of Broadcasters and Western Association of Broadcasters, in which he received an honorary lifetime membership. Cowie was inducted into the CAB Hall of Fame in 2001. Read more here.
Norm Macdonald, 61, on Sept. 14, after a private battle with cancer. Born and raised in Quebec City, Macdonald got his start in comedy performing at clubs like Yuk Yuk’s in the Ottawa area in the mid-1980s, which led to a spot at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. After appearing as a contestant on Star Search in 1990, he went on to work as a writer on Roseanne during the 1992-93 season before leaving the show to join the cast of SNL. With SNL until 1998, among Macdonald’s more memorable impressions were Larry King, David Letterman, Burt Reynolds, and Republican senator Bob Dole. Macdonald went on to star in his own comedy series, The Norm Show, from 1999 to 2001. Starting in 2013, he hosted podcast, Norm Macdonald Live, for three seasons, which led to Netflix talk show, Norm Macdonald Has a Show, which ran for one season in 2018. More recently, Macdonald had a recurring role on ABC sitcom The Middle. He also served as a consulting producer on the Roseanne reboot in 2018, among other voiceover, television and feature film credits. Read more here.
Allan Slaight, 90, on Sept. 19. Born in Galt, ON, Slaight was the son of a newspaperman who moved the family to Moose Jaw, SK when he bought the Moose Jaw Times-Herald in 1945 and then local radio station, CHAB-AM. Slaight started his career at CHAB-AM in 1948 at age 17 as a reporter, going on to host late-night jazz program, Spins and Needles. Stops at CFRN, CJCA and CHED Edmonton followed before he headed east to Toronto in 1958 to join CHUM as program and promotions manager, guiding the station through its format transition to rock n’ roll and unseating rival station, CKEY. He went on to serve as program director and by 1965 was appointed Vice-President of Radio CHUM-1050 Ltd. The following year, Slaight stepped away from conventional broadcasting and uprooted to England to establish a sales agency for pirate radio station Radio Caroline, which broadcast 12 miles off the English coast in international waters in protest of the BBC’s broadcasting monopoly. By 1970, he had formed Slaight Broadcasting, raising $2.5 million to buy CFGM 1310 AM in Richmond Hill, ON. He went on to acquire a stake in CFOX Montreal, going on to merge the stations with IWC Communications. Later that year, he’d also acquire the debt-ridden Global Television Network. In 1976, Slaight applied for an FM licence for a sister station to Toronto’s CFGM-AM with Q107 going to air on June 1, 1977. From there, acquisitions like outdoor advertising business Urban Outdoors followed, and a 49% stake in Standard Broadcasting. After a court battle, he would go on to buy 84.8% of Standard’s shares for an estimated $110 million. The deal required Slaight to sell Q107 and CFGM, but brought CFRB, CKFM, CJAD-AM, CJFM-FM, Capital Radio in London, CJOH-TV, and CKTB and CJQR St. Catharines under his domain. In 2007, he authorized the sale of Standard Radio to Astral Media in a $1.08 billion deal. Among the many accolades Slaight received over the years was induction into the Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1997. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2001. In 2005, he received the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award for his contribution to the growth and development of the Canadian music industry. He was honoured with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame last December. Read more here.
Robert Linney, 86, on Sept. 14. Following his graduation from Winnipeg’s St. John’ s High School, Linney went to work for CN Rail as an apprentice while also working on his radio certification, via correspondence, through the Radio College of Canada. He continued to work at the CNR, finally getting his first job in television in 1959 with Dow Television. After a short stint at Eaton’s TV repair, he landed a job with CBC Winnipeg as a TV Maintenance Technician in 1961. During his tenure there, he had the opportunity to travel as part of CBC’s Olympic and Commonwealth Games production crew to Columbia, Japan, Germany and New Zealand. Linney retired in 1992 as the Manager of Regional Engineering.
Murray Dobbin, 76, peacefully on Sept. 8 at his home in Powell River. Originally from Saskatoon, Dobbin had a 40-year journalism and broadcast career that included producing several programs for CBC Ideas, columns for The Winnipeg Free Press, Hill Times, and the Financial Post, and authoring five books, including “Preston Manning and the Reform Party,” “The Politics of Kim Campbell,” and “The Myth of the Good Corporate Citizen.” An “advocacy” journalist, Dobbin was a past board member with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Canadian for Tax Fairness, and an advisor to the Rideau Institute on International Affairs. More recently, he’d been a contributor to iPolitics, The Tyee, and a senior editor at Rabble.ca.
Ed Mason, 75, on Sept. 28. Mason started in radio as a host at “Club 590″ CFAR Flin Flon, MB in 1963. He quickly ascended to morning drive at CHTM Thomson, making stops at CKSA Lloydminster, CHAT Medicine Hat, CFPA Thunder Bay, and CHOV Pembroke throughout the remainder of the ’60s. In 1970, he joined CKDA Victoria where he rose to the position of news director. The CHUM newsroom in Toronto followed in 1974 where he only stayed a year before heading back west to Edmonton where he would go on to spend the remainder of his career. Mason joined the morning drive show at CHQT Edmonton in Feb. 1975, also serving as news director. After the station was acquired by Corus Entertainment, Mason eventually moved over to become the morning voice of news on sister station, 630 CHED, in 2005. Over the years, Mason earned the nickname “Uncle Eddie” or “Uncle Ed.” In addition to anchoring, he was a long-serving police reporter, known for his vast inside contacts. Notably, Mason landed an exclusive interview in 1979 that went worldwide after he was able to get through to the U.S. Embassy in Tehran where staff were being held hostage. Mason retired from Corus Radio in Aug. 2014 after nearly 50 years on-air. In 2013, he was recognized with the RTNDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dennis O’Neill, 63, on Sept. 24. O’Neill began his broadcast career at CKEK Cranbrook in 1977. From there he went on to hold on-air and production roles at CFJC Kamloops, CFRW Winnipeg, CHIQ-FM Winnipeg, and then CKXY, CKLG, and CKKS-FM Vancouver. He started as a part-time instructor in the radio program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in 1994, while also working at Vancouver’s Wordnoise Studios and CFOX-FM Vancouver in production. He’d been a full-time instructor at BCIT since 2011.
Peter Silverman, 90, on Oct. 7. Silverman started his television journalism career in 1974 as a reporter for Global Television in the network’s early years. He moved over to Citytv in 1981 reporting for CityPulse and hosting the “Silverman Helps” consumer protection segment from 1989 to 2008. After his release from Rogers, later that year he joined CFRB-AM Toronto as host of the Saturday morning, Peter Silverman Show. Over the years, Silverman received numerous accolades including the RTNDA’s Edward R. Murrow Award in 2005 and the RTNDA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. He was also a two-time Gemini Award nominee and was recognized by both Toronto Police and the Toronto chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners for his work fighting fraud.
Dave Kotyk, on Oct. 31 after a brief illness. A cameraman for nearly four decades in the Toronto market, Kotyk worked with CBC News and CTV (CFTO), before joining the Global Toronto newsroom in an ENG camera role. He’d been with Global part-time for more than 20 years.
Richard (Rick) Bray, 72, on Oct. 3. After graduating from Carleton University, Bray started his career with the Ottawa Citizen, joining CBC in 1978. He was with the public broadcaster for two decades as a writer and editor with CBC Toronto and producer of “Sunday Morning.” He eventually went freelance to write for publications like Vanguard and Defence Magazine. Indulging his interest in tech and the military, Bray’s work took him to Germany, Bosnia, Afghanistan and the Canadian Arctic, among other destinations.
Brad McNally, Nov. 6, after a five-and-a-half-year battle with brain cancer. Born in Canada, but also raised in Australia and the UK, McNally started his on-air career at 4SB in Australia in 1972, in spite of his Canadian accent. He returned to Toronto in the late 1970s and worked around Ontario, including CFOR Orillia, before hearing CFNY and knowing that’s where he wanted to be. He joined the station, then located in Brampton, ON, in 1979. Eventually McNally left Canada, becoming group program director at SBS Broadcasters in Stockholm, Sweden in 1998. Other stops included JAZZ FM London, UK, 96FM Perth, and Sea FM and Hot Tomato 102.9 on Australia’s Gold Coast, in addition to stints at Rock 104 Dublin, Ireland and Helsinki, Finland. Following his brain tumour diagnosis in 2016, McNally returned to Perth to focus on his health. Over the past few years, he’d also been part of the weekly schedule on David Marsden and Igor Loukine’s Toronto-based alt online station NYTheSpirit.com. Read more here.
Cam Gardiner, 71, on Oct. 19, after a long battle with diabetes and kidney disease. Often referred to as “Mr. Windsor,” Gardiner started his radio career in Windsor, establishing himself as the voice of mornings for Windsor-Essex residents from 1987 to 2003, as co-host of “The Cam and Lisa Show,” alongside Lisa Williams for 16 years – first on AM580 CKWW and then AM800 CKLW. Gardiner was celebrated by family, close friends and former co-workers at an Oct. 1 ceremony where he was awarded the Key to the City by Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens.
Mike Power, in Labrador City, NL. While he started out in commercial radio, Power spent nearly 40 years with the CBC, becoming synonymous with the public broadcaster in western Labrador. Based in Labrador City, Power retired from CBC seven years ago, but continued to write for The Aurora and Labrador Voice newspapers.
Kathy Keefler, 88, on Nov.12, of complications from a stroke. Keefler first joined CBC Montreal in 1967, working as a radio news anchor and documentary producer, among other roles. She’s credited in the 1980s with helping break the glass ceiling for women anchors when she began hosting the supper-time newscast for CBC Montreal as part of a three-person presenter team. The first woman anchor on English television in the city, eventually Keefler anchored Newswatch alone, until 1987. She left the CBC after 26 years in 1993 and continued to do voiceover and narration work for film, television and radio, up until 2014.
Rosalie Trombley, 82, on Nov. 23, of complications from Alzheimer’s. Originally hailing from Leamington, ON, Trombley was initially hired at Windsor-Detroit Top 40 powerhouse CKLW-AM “The Big 8“ as a switchboard operator and receptionist in 1963. She eventually accepted a position in the station’s music library and by 1968 had moved into the role of music director. Trombley quickly established herself as “the girl with the golden ear,” because of the influence her playlist additions had on a single’s success. Due to the station’s 50,000 watt reach, which saw CKLW attract an audience beyond Windsor-Detroit into southwestern Ontario, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Indiana, her name became synonymous with hit radio with a 1973 Globe and Mail article dubbing her “Queen of the Top 40 Charts.” She is credited with helping break acts like Bob Seger, Kiss, Alice Cooper, The O’Jays, Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire, Parliament–Funkadelic, Queen, and Aerosmith into the Top 40 CHR charts. She also helped Canadian artists gain recognition in the U.S., including Gordon Lightfoot, The Guess Who, Paul Anka, Bachman Turner Overdrive, and Burton Cummings. One of the few women to hold a music director role at the time, Trombley’s run with CKLW extended from 1968 to 1984, through the station’s format transition away from Top 40. She went on to work with WLTI-FM Detroit and CKEY Toronto. In 2005, the Radio Trailblazers established the Rosalie Award, annually presented to a Canadian woman who has blazed new trails in radio. Trombley was its inaugural recipient. Among other accolades, she was inducted into Detroit’s Motor City Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame. She was honoured with the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award at the JUNO Awards in 2016. Read more here.
Peter Aykroyd, 66, on Nov. 20. Alongside his older brother, Dan Aykroyd, Peter was part of the Second City comedy troupe in Toronto. After early acting appearances on SCTV, The New Avengers and Tom Schiller short, Java Junkie, Akyroyd went on to join the cast of Saturday Night Live in its fifth season in 1979-80. During his one-year stint with the show, he received an Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program Emmy nomination, along with several other writers. He continued to act throughout the 1980s and early ‘90s, embarking on several projects with his brother, including co-writing 1991 feature film, Nothing But Trouble. He went on to co-create PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal, which had an 88-episode run. He also provided the voice of Elwood Blues for the 1997 The Blues Brothers: Animated Series adaptation, alongside Jim Belushi, in addition to small roles in Spies Like Us, Dragnet and Coneheads.
Sally Gardner, 75, on Nov. 20. A former CBC Vancouver script and continuity supervisor, Gardner served as script supervisor on 36 episodes of The Beachcombers. Among the other series she worked on was Vancouver-shot 1970s sitcom Leo and Me. Gardner was one of four people – along with director Don S. Williams and actor Michael J. Fox, in addition to a cameraman – who worked together between 1976 and 1980 and were all diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s. The cluster was the subject of CBC documentary “The Parkinson’s Enigma” in 2002. Gardner lived with the disease for 39 years. Her husband was retired CBC Vancouver technical director and producer Derek Gardner.
Bill Hughes, 96, on Nov. 15. Growing up in New Westminster, BC, Hughes dreamed of being on the radio. He managed to get hired by CJAT in Trail, BC at age 19, working in the record library and signing the station on in the morning, among other tasks, before returning to Metro Vancouver and CKWX. He joined CKNW a year later as a newsreader and host, and eventually took over the station’s “Roving Mike” segment which saw Hughes engage with strangers, many times aboard local transit or tour buses, six times a week from 8:45 – 9 a.m. By the time Hughes retired in 1994, he had produced more than 15,000 Roving Mike segments. About a decade into his career, in 1954, Hughes was named General Manager of CKNW, one of the youngest people in the country to hold a GM position, which he remained in for 14 years. In the late 1950s, he joined Frank Griffiths (who went on to found Western International Communications (WIC)) and lawyer Walter Owen, in the purchase of CKNW from original licensee Bill Rae. Hughes sold his six per cent interest in the station in 1970 for $4 million.
Phyllis Webb, 94, on Nov. 11, on Salt Spring Island. Born in Victoria, BC, Webb studied English and Philosophy and was a published, contemporary feminist poet prior to joining the CBC in 1964. Alongside William A. Young, she co-created long-running CBC Radio One program, Ideas. She served as the program’s executive producer from 1967-69. She went on to create CBC Television program, Extension, a series about Canadian poetry. She continued to freelance for the public broadcaster throughout the 1970s, before moving on to teach creative writing at the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria and the Banff Centre. Webb won the Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 1982. In 1992, she became an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Robin Piercey, 84, on Nov. 18. Growing up in St. John’s, NL, Piercey started writing a local sports column for the Evening Telegram while still in his teens. He started his broadcast career with CBC Radio in St. John’s, moving from there to open the radio news bureau in Ottawa. Eight years later, he made the move to Vancouver to manage the newsroom there, before returning to Toronto to serve as Deputy News Editor, National News. Piercey returned to the West Coast as Manager of the Western Provinces in 1986. After a 31-year career with the public broadcaster, in 1990 he joined the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) as the interim Associate Dean of Broadcast Communication and stayed for the next 11 years teaching in the Broadcast Journalism program.
Rich Elwood, 67, on Dec. 2. A radio personality, actor, stand-up comedian and comedy club owner, Elwood was a Vancouver comedy scene staple with his Punchlines Comedy Theatre. Among the comedians that headlined at Punchlines were Robin Williams, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Norm Macdonald, and Howie Mandel, in addition to opening the door to many up-and-coming comics. Among Elwood’s acting roles over the years was a part in Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore in the mid-1990s. His radio career included stops throughout the 1970s at C-FUN as a disc jockey and CKNW as a talk show host. He would also step in for Red Robinson on CISL-AM.
Malcolm Barrie, 89, on Nov. 20. While Barrie hailed from Perth, ON and graduated from Ryerson, he began his broadcasting career in radio in Nassau, Bahamas in 1955. Following CHEX-TV’s opening in Peterborough, he joined the station as the producer of interview shows like the Doug Hall Show and Summer Scene. Among other shows he created and produced were Campus Quiz, which saw grade eight students from various schools compete against each other; 80s variety show Silver Basketball, starring Ron Oliver; and the popular Dance Party. Barrie was also responsible for producing the station’s annual Easter Seals Telethon for children.
Serge Plaisance, on Dec. 12, after a battle with cancer. Originally from Ville de Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Plaisance’s radio career began at CFLV-1370 Valleyfield and went on to include on-air and programming stops at Montreal stations CJMS 1280 AM, 96.9 CKOI, CKVL 100,1, CKAC, and Planète Jazz. He was perhaps best known for his run on CHOM from 1974-80. More recently, he had held various roles at Montreal French-language station Radio Ville-Marie (CIRA-FM) and Evanov’s AM 980 (CHRF-AM). Plaisance also lent his voice to numerous commercials and television programs, including Surprise sur prize, Action-Réaction and Double jeu.