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.