Former CAB president Michael McCabe passes away at age 82

Michael McCabe, former president and CEO of Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB), on the Nov. 2001 cover of Broadcast Dialogue. McCabe passed away this week at age 82.(Broadcast Dialogue Archive)

Submitted by Howard Christensen, Publisher Emeritus, Broadcast Dialogue

Michael McCabe, a powerful voice for the industry during his tenure as president and CEO of Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) from 1988 to 2001, passed away in Hanoi this week after a long illness. He was 82.

During his 13-year tenure, McCabe’s name and the CAB were practically interchangeable.

Michael McCabe in his CAB office in 2001 (Broadcast Dialogue Archive)

The world of private broadcasting in Canada is richer for his tenaciousness, his determination, his influence and his energies on broadcasters’ behalf. He was a fighter for the industry from the git-go.

McCabe brought the CAB to new heights of governmental and public awareness, he helped influence the CRTC in favourable decision-making (multiple licence ownership, for example), he implemented long term strategies (FuturePlan and Taking the Lead), he put into place the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), launched the Radio Starmaker Fund and Fonds RadioStar, fostered the launch of Canadian Women in Communications, and a number of other initiatives.

As would anyone with a strong sense of self and direction, McCabe alienated some; a natural occurrence. But for whatever criticisms one can attach to Michael McCabe, not in dispute is that he was the right man for the right time. McCabe’s contributions were enormous.

In 2001, McCabe was inducted to the Broadcast Hall of Fame on his retirement in 2001.

There will be a memorial event when such are again permitted, likely next autumn.

For the last 17 years, and via the CIDA-funded Policy Implementation Assistance Project, he contributed his vast experience and knowledge of Canadian public policy to the Office of the Vietnamese Prime Minister and their National Assembly.

On a personal note, I was honoured to have Michael as a monthly columnist in Broadcast Dialogue magazine. BD honoured him on the cover and in our Nov. 2001 edition.


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