Pat St. John, RB Communications President, to retire

Pat St. John

Pat St. John, President of RB Communications, Niagara has announced his retirement from 91.7 GIANT FM (CIXL-FM) and COUNTRY 89 (CKYY-FM). His departure is planned for the end of February/March, following the pending sale of the stations.

Originally hailing from Brantford, Pat’s broadcast career took him coast-to-coast starting with CHAM Hamilton in 1970 under the on-air pseudonym of Paul Allen. While in Hamilton he gained experience as a copywriter, producer, sales rep and on-air while earning his diploma in Communication Arts from Mohawk College.

After working his way up from all nights to the afternoon drive slot, he was offered the opportunity to join CHUM Toronto where his on-air name changed from Paul Allen to Pat St. John. It was during his tenure at CHUM that he caught the programming bug and after a few years accepted a transfer to CJCH Halifax for his first programming opportunity.

Next, he transferred to the CHUM group stations in Winnipeg as the program director for CFRW, enjoying the high energy of the CHR format for the next five years. This was also his introduction to real Canadian winters.

In 1980, following a stop at CFUN Vancouver as program director, he moved back to Ontario joining CHYM and CKGL in Kitchener as PD of CHYM and Operations Manager for both stations. Naturally, Pat became very involved in the community, joining the Chamber of Commerce and the Oktoberfest Marketing Committee.

After eight years in Kitchener he was transferred to 590 CKEY in Toronto to help assemble a new management team, research format options and launch the new 590.  Following the launch, he transferred to Sarnia to become Vice President & General Manager/VP Programming for Bluewater Broadcasting with CKTY and the FOX, CFCO in Chatham and CHYR in Leamington.

Once those brands were re-launched, in 1989 he returned to Halifax as Vice President and General Manger of CHNS and CHFX, also taking on the role as Vice President of Programming for Maritime Broadcasting. This time he was officially screeched in.

He eventually returned to Ontario to join Power Broadcasting as Vice-President and General Manager of CJOY/Magic 106.1 in Guelph and CIAM in Cambridge. Following the re-launch of those stations, he was appointed Vice President and Regional Manager for all of Power Broadcasting’s stations in Ontario.

In 1997, he joined Conestoga College as Chair of Media Studies and the following year was appointed Vice-President of Media Studies, Continuing Education and Training & Development. While there, he revamped the curriculum for the media programs and secured an FM radio license for the college.

In addition to his college duties, he also worked as a consultant with the Government of Poland as they transitioned their state broadcasting system to a public and private system, similar to Canada. He also spent two years as President and CEO of Shad Canada, an educational organization that partners with top universities across Canada to deliver an award winning summer program for high achieving high school students.

In 2004, a headhunter representing David Holgate, a successful entrepreneur with an interest in broadcasting, approached Pat, leading to a partnership as a minority shareholder in purchasing CHOW-FM Welland from Suzanne Rochon-Burnett.  CHOW was transformed into 91.7 GIANT FM, with the later addition of COUNTRY 89.

In addition to radio, Pat worked closely with Holgate as an executive producer at Holgate Productions. The documentaries The Trouble with Dying and China:  The Miraculous Transformation were seen across Canada and Asia.

Pat received recognition early in his career winning a Toronto Star Journalism Scholarship and a Rogers Broadcasting Scholarship. More recently, he received two Premier’s Awards and in 2000 was named an Alumni of Distinction from Mohawk College in Hamilton.

Pat is a proud member of the Metis Nation of Ontario and pleased to serve on the Board of The Grand River Metis Council. Most recently, he accepted another volunteer role as President of the Board for the new Tesla University, under development in Aruba. He looks forward to regular winter meetings.

One of Pat’s most memorable community experiences was being a founding Board member for The River Run Performing Arts Centre in Guelph. This started with a challenging vision, moved to fundraising, construction and culminated with the opening night gala. He still takes great pride in attending events at the River Run.

Pat attributes his success over the past 50 years to everyone he had the opportunity to work with and would like to express his sincere gratitude.

“Absolutely nothing would have been possible without the amazing people that made everything possible.”

Pat salutes these outstanding people who taught him about personality radio, true community involvement, programming, branding and management: 

  • Russ Tyson, Terry McPhail, Dave Melynick, Gil Harris, Dick Joseph, Gord James, Gary Chalk
  • J. Robert Wood, Dave Charles, Roger Ashby, Mike Cooper, Warren Cosford, Dave Foreman
  • Jack Schoone, Merv Russell, Steve Harris, Sandy Gillis, Mark Lee, Jerry Lawerence, Nancy Hitchie
  • Ron Able, Lee Marshall, Gary Aube, Tim Bradley, Steve Young, Steve Jackson, Pat Holiday, Donna Martin, Rick Hallson, Bob Laine, Gary Miles
  • John Larke, George Michaels, Dave Schnider, Val Corcoran, Rob Wreford, Glen Pelletier, Mark Burley, Bob Thompson
  • Don Chamberlain, John Harada, Ron Dann, John Divinski, Sherry Flick
  • Yvon Chouinard, Peter Kruyt, Guus Hazelaar, Paul Osborne, Peter Allen, Ron Fitzpatrick, Scott Jensen, Wayne Ens, Randy Redden, Lee Sterry
  • Michael Haberer, Peter Morena, Dave Macoretta
  • Mark Lewis, Ray Carnovale, Nick Foster

And last but not least – a very special thanks to David Holgate and Dave Young.

Pat can be reached at pstjohn@giantfm.com or pstjohn@country89.com.