JR Shaw, 85, on Mar. 23. The founder and Executive Chair of Shaw Communications, JR Shaw developed an interest in television during his youth in southwestern Ontario, sharing in a 2013 interview with NAIT – where he served as chair of the Board of Governors from 1990-97 – that an episode of The Lone Ranger was his first introduction to the then new medium. He moved to Edmonton with his family in 1961 to expand his father’s pipe-coating business, going on in 1966 to found Capital Cable Television Co. Ltd. The start-up connected its first cable customer in Sherwood Park, AB in 1971. From there, the company built a substantial radio and television broadcasting group that was eventually spun out into the publicly-traded Corus Entertainment. JR Shaw stepped down as CEO of Shaw Communications in 1998 when his eldest son, the late Jim Shaw took over, but remained active in the company. He was a passionate supporter of Canadian art and artists, and numerous charitable causes, including Edmonton’s Stollery Children’s Hospital. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Alberta Order of Excellence, and held honorary degrees from University of Alberta, University of Calgary, and Graceland University in Iowa. He was also an inductee of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame and the Cable Hall of Fame. Read more here.
Mike Bezzeg, 66, on Mar. 23. Bezzeg is considered by many to be Canada’s first VJ, launching his Calgary-based music cable show FM Moving Pictures in 1979, before the dawn of MTV and MuchMusic. The interview and music video show ran until 1984. In late 2019, after a 35-year hiatus, Bezzeg launched YouTube series InnerView with Mike Bezzeg, featuring interviews with guests ranging from musician Art Bergmann to Olympic swimmer Mark Tewksbury. Bezzeg died of injuries sustained in a car accident after delivering food to friends in quarantine.
Larry Steinman, 71, on Mar. 20. Steinman started his career in politics after serving as student president at the University of Western Ontario where he met future Ontario Premier Bill Davis. He went on to become a youth organizer for the Ontario PC party and subsequently worked as executive assistant to the premier when Davis was elected in 1971. Steinman went on to work in satellite communications and long-distance learning. He was a founder of the Canadian Telecommunications Network (CTN), served as vice-president of Canadian Satellite Communications (Cancom), and founded satellite teleconferencing business network Business Television (BTV+) in 1981, serving as its president.
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