Legendary CKNW news director and Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Hall of Fame inductee Warren Barker passed away Tuesday. He was 92.
Originally from Okotoks, AB, Barker’s broadcast career began at CJCA Edmonton in 1947. 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.
According to J. Lyman Potts of the Canadian Communications Foundation, Barker was a big believer in leading by example, with his work day starting at 8 p.m., prior to a midnight to 8 a.m. desk shift. He also instituted the station’s venerable file archive on ongoing stories that pre-dated the computer era.
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 CAB Hall of Fame in 1998. Barker was inducted into the Radio Television Digital News Association of Canada (RTDNA) Hall of Fame in 2003.
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