ZNAIMER email@example.com_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2005-03-14 published
Bill CAMERON, Journalist And Teacher 1943-2005
'Thinking-man's anchor' who was one of public broadcasting's true believers seemed destined for greatness until 1999 when he was among Canadian Broadcasting Corporation staffers cut by corporation number crunching, writes Joe FRIESEN
By Joe FRIESEN, Monday, March 14, 2005 Page S9
On the day he had brain surgery, Bill CAMERON, ever the consummate newsman, roused himself from the anesthetic to set the record straight. He had already started an argument with the nurses for taking his books away, and wasn't supposed to be reading or doing anything strenuous. But as he lay there, his head bandaged, listening to his neurosurgeon discuss the day's news, he couldn't help but interject to fill in the missing details.
"They were discussing something that had happened that day, and Bill seemed to know all about it," his wife Cheryl HAWKES said yesterday. "I said, you've been under anesthetic all day. How did you do that? How do you keep up like that?
"Somehow, he must have read the paper."
Originally from British Columbia, Mr. CAMERON spent his high-school years in Ottawa. His father was a prominent oceanographer and his mother died of cancer when he was a teenager. He attended the University of Toronto from 1962 to 1965, and spent much of his energy as a young man trying to forge a career as an actor and writer.
He got his start in journalism doing freelance work for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio, and at 25 was on the editorial board of the Toronto Star. In 1970, he was part of a breakaway group that wrote the Real Poverty Report in response to what they felt was a misreading of the situation by the Senate Committee on Poverty.
He moved to Maclean's magazine before eventually being hired by Global television in Toronto. Bill CUNNINGHAM, who was vice-president of television and current affairs at Global, said Mr. CAMERON came highly recommended. "I've often wondered if by taking him into television I didn't do him a bit of a disservice."
"It's not the kind of thing you win Pulitzer prizes for, turning out copy for an anchor, but he sure did it better than almost anyone I've ever seen," he said. "He could really turn a phrase."
By the mid-1970s, Mr. CAMERON had established himself in television, becoming a reporter and anchor for Global at a time of ambitious expansion at the station.
In 1978, Moses ZNAIMER at the upstart CityTV was looking to add some intellectual weight to his newscast. He leapt at the chance to hire Mr. CAMERON, who brought a natural gravitas with his Walter Cronkite-like delivery.
"Because we had the only 10 o'clock newscast [in Toronto], I wanted to make it more dignified, and Bill was perfect," Mr. ZNAIMER said. "Bill was a guy who believed that ideas matter and who believed that wrapping up the day's events in a pithy and elegant way was worthwhile."
It was not long after that Mr. CAMERON met Ms. HAWKES, a freelance journalist. It was August 15, 1980. She had been assigned to write a profile of the handsome, broad-shouldered anchor.
They met at the Blue Angel restaurant, and as she left at the end of the interview, Mr. CAMERON chased after her and said "I don't need a profile written about me. I need to marry you."
Later, he told her that he knew from the moment they first spoke on the telephone that he would ask her to marry him.
A few days after the interview, she watched him on television, looking for material for her story. She remembers seeing one of the short editorials he used to do at the end of the newscast. That night, he talked about his experiences at summer camp.
"I thought he was handsome, smart and really weird," she said. "I was just intrigued, I guess. He represented everything I thought I wanted in a partner."
It was a whirlwind romance. They were married four months later in December, 1980. The profile Ms. HAWKES submitted was published in Star Week the day of their wedding.
Mr. CAMERON left CityTV in 1983, after station executives decided his formal style was no longer a good fit for the hip urban market they coveted.
He was snapped up almost immediately by Mark STAROWICZ, executive producer of The Journal, and worked there during the heady days when the show was at the forefront of international current-affairs reporting.
He travelled to war zones in Mozambique, Croatia and the Persian Gulf with The Journal, producing work that colleagues said ranked with the best ever done at Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Robin BENGER was a producer at The Journal who worked with Mr. CAMERON on a report on the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. He said Mr. CAMERON exuded a sense of calm even-handedness that allowed him to connect with people from all sides.
"He could interview a peasant in a potato field with the same equanimity and fairness as the president of a country," Mr. BENGER said. At one point, as shelling broke out around them while Mr. CAMERON was taping a direct-to-camera piece, he calmly worked his way into an ad lib, describing the shell bursts as the sound of giants dropping sandbags.
Away from the camera, Mr. CAMERON was a shy and private person who didn't covet the spotlight. He was a voracious reader who constantly had three or four books on the go. His wife said he would often roll out of bed clutching a book, ready to start the day.
"We have a picture of him floating on the Dead Sea, when he was on assignment with The Journal, reading. He could read in the most extraordinary circumstances," she said. "I think he had a great fear of getting caught somewhere without a book in his hand."
She said Mr. CAMERON felt he always had to be prepared for any kind of assignment, and so tried to know as much about everything as he possibly could. "It was like being married to my own Google search engine," she said.
And even with all the travelling his job required, he was always very close to his family. Mr. BENGER remembers his colleague, in the middle of a war zone, being anxious to get back to the hotel to hear how his son had fared on a math test that day.
Mr. CAMERON once described a 1983 documentary he did on the civil war in Mozambique as his best work. But it also raised doubts for him, which he expressed in an essay for the book The Newsmakers: Behind the Cameras with Canada's Top television Journalists.
He wrote about feeling the dreadful suspicion "that we dip into the surface of deep events, paddle with our feet, guard our comforts, patronize our contacts, exploit great tragedies for the good of our careers, and get the story wrong.... Maybe the real reporter is not necessarily the most talented but the one who can survive all this guilt, doubt, shame and suspicion, and get at least some part of the story home."
Mr. CAMERON was also one of the alternate anchors of The Journal who shared time with the late Barbara FRUM. But while Ms. FRUM was given glamorous interviews with the likes of Margaret Thatcher, Mr. CAMERON would be relegated to grilling Alan MacEachen in the show's second half.
Mr. STAROWICZ described him as the "thinking-man's anchor." And he was even given the chance to share his sense of humour in the Journal Diary segments, which Mr. STAROWICZ describes as "a cynical tour d'horizon, or Michael Moore before there was a Michael Moore."
Mr. CAMERON had been chosen to succeed Ms. FRUM as host after her death in 1992, Mr. STAROWICZ said, but the show was cancelled as a result of a power struggle at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Mr. STAROWICZ remembers the Journal staff gathering at a pool hall in Queen Street in Toronto and crowding around the television to hear Mr. CAMERON utter the show's final words: "Thank you for letting us serve you."
Mr. CAMERON considered himself one of public broadcasting's true believers, and was bitterly disappointed when he was eventually pushed out of the network in 1999 by a take-it-or-leave-it contract offer that promised a massive pay cut.
After having accepted assignments to host Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's local news in Toronto, where he won a Gemini award, and for a spell as Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Newsworld's morning anchor, he left the corporation for a short-lived public-relations job with American Gem Corp.
Friends say it's a shame that Mr. CAMERON never got the recognition, or the high-profile anchor job, that he deserved. "If he had a problem, it was that he was very bright, and appeared that way on camera," one former Journal staffer said.
In 2003, Mr. CAMERON became the media ethics chair at Ryerson University in Toronto. It was a good fit, Friends said, for he always took seriously his responsibility to his subjects.
Mr. HENDERSON remembers that Mr. CAMERON, before every televised interview, carefully warned his subjects that the tape was rolling and whatever they said could now be used against them. "He was a guy who was always in search of fairness. He was inquisitive, as every good journalist should be. But if he thought somebody was treated unfairly, it really hurt him."
His latter years were spent mainly on his writing, including a column in the National Post.
He was known as the best documentary writer in the country, and was called in to rescue scripts on some of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's highest-profile successes.
"His writing was just superb. It lifted up anything you were working on," Mr. HENDERSON, a senior producer for Canada: A People's History, said. In 2002, Mr. CAMERON directed his own documentary The Season, chronicling the harvest in Biggar, Saskatchewan.
He also published a novel, Cat's Crossing, a dark, literary portrait of Toronto, and before he died had finished a draft of his second novel, which centres around a freelance travel writer.
Mr. CAMERON, 62, died at his home in Toronto on Saturday, March 12, of esophageal cancer. He was surrounded by his family.
Bill CAMERON was born in Vancouver on January 23, 1943. He died of esophageal cancer at his home in Toronto in the early hours of Saturday morning. He was 62. He is survived by his wife, Cheryl HAWKES, and their children Patrick, 22, Rachel, 21, and Nick A Teacher Full Of Insight And Curiosity
When I walked into Bill CAMERON's class at Ryersen for the first time in the fall of 2003, I was shocked to see that my ethics teacher wasn't just the Mr. B. CAMERON listed on the timetable, but a genuine star of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. More astonishing, was that he lacked the celebrity attitude we've all come to expect from a star. Instead, what we got was a teacher full of insight and curiosity.
He didn't seek the spotlight; he was respectful; and he cared about what his students had to say. And when his class discussed the media business, he was never condescending, despite his wealth of experience. For someone who had been around the world and covered many of the great conflicts of the late 20th century, he was surprisingly interested in what a group of aspirants thought.
Of course, there was plenty of his own wisdom as well. In a discussion of the ethical implications of journalists carrying weapons in war zones, he casually mentioned that he had never thought it was a good idea. In Africa, it had once came up as an option but he dismissed it. He thought that any interview conducted by someone holding a lethal weapon was probably compromised.
I once approached him to ask about the ethics of going undercover to expose a professional essay-writing service used by university students. Bill discussed how it could be done in the most honest, straightforward way. He was adamant that the owners of the service could be persuaded to tell their side of the story, and eventually they did.
On the morning the story was published, Bill had already carefully read the student paper by the time I arrived. He said he thought we had got the ethics just right.
It was a compliment I will always treasure. -- Joe FRIESEN
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ZNAIMER firstname.lastname@example.org_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2005-12-05 published
Businessman established Top 40 radio, MuchMusic
A money-losing station at the outset, CHUM became broadcasting empire
By Fred LANGAN, Special to The Globe and Mail, Monday, December 5, 2005, Page A3
Allan WATERS, who died Saturday at the age of 84, started Top 40 radio in Canada, making a huge success of CHUM, the small money-losing Toronto radio station he bought in 1954. He built his stake in CHUM into a radio and television empire that included Toronto's CITY-TV and other television stations across the country.
CHUM went on the air in 1945 and was Toronto's fifth radio station. It broadcast on a weak signal and only from sunrise to sunset. Mr. WATERS, who had made some money in advertising and the pharmaceutical business, bought the station in 1954 from a man he worked for, Jack PART.
He took his time learning the radio business and the station began to break even. He increased its power to 50,000 watts -- the maximum allowed in North America. He also started to listen to recordings of the kind of radio stations that were making money in the United States. He liked the style of the Storz family of Omaha, Neb., which is credited with inventing Top 40 radio on their U.S. stations.
In a speech in May of 1957, Mr. WATERS told the small staff at CHUM: "I haven't been in the radio business as long as anyone in this room, but if I was in the shoe business and operating a poor shoe store, I think I would find out who is running a good shoe store and copy his style. CHUM is going to be patterned after a Storz station. As Storz owns five stations and is first in each market, it's actually not a bad pattern to follow."
All Shook Up by Elvis Presley was the No. 1 song on CHUM's Top 40 radio when it started on May 27, 1957. Within five weeks, CHUM's slice of the audience went from 5 per cent to 24 per cent. By 1958, its 1050 CHUM was the No. 1 radio station in Toronto. By 1968, CHUM Ltd. was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and Mr. WATERS was a rich man.
He was born in east-end Toronto. At 16, he finished school and went to work as an office boy for $16 a week. Mr. PART, his employer, ran a successful patent medicine operation. Mr. WATERS worked his way up the ladder in sales and advertising. All his life he would say modestly, "I'm just a salesman."
The war interrupted his business career as he served overseas with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1942 to 1946. He returned to work for Mr. PART, who had also started York Broadcasting and established CHUM at the end of the war.
CHUM's success allowed the WATERS empire to expand. He had the rights for Muzak in Canada. In 1963, he started CHUM-FM and later bought a television station in Barrie, north of Toronto. He was frustrated when he was not allowed to move the station's transmitter closer to Toronto to tap into the larger metropolitan market.
Expansion into television came slowly. He bought into the Maritimes, but failed to win regulatory approval to buy CFCF in Montreal. With his television stations he became one of the owners of CTV, the private television network that at the time was a kind of co-operative.
Perhaps his biggest success in television occurred in 1981, when he bought the floundering CITY-TV. He left the charismatic Moses ZNAIMER in charge, but the station was owned by CHUM Ltd. It expanded into pop video with MuchMusic, as successful and innovative as Top 40 radio in the 1950s. This decade, 1050 CHUM.com became the world's first all Internet radio station.
"Everyone criticized him when he [went with the Top 40 format]," his son, Jim WATERS, said on the weekend. "They said: 'Allan, you must be crazy. You're not going to really play that loud music are you?' Even my mother criticized him."
The son, now chairman of CHUM, said his father had a knack for picking winners, whether it was Top 40 radio or a new local television format.
"I think a very significant move that Dad made was buying CITY-TV in Toronto. We weren't in television. The move into specialty television was groundbreaking with MuchMusic," Mr. WATERS said.
Allan WATERS didn't have a gift for picking records or television programs, but he knew how to pick people who did.
"His great talent wasn't as a programmer, but as a salesman. Mr. WATERS was a super salesman. He had a system where he knew what every salesman and every station was doing week by week," said Senator Jerry GRAFSTEIN, who co-founded CITY-TV and worked with Mr. WATERS for decades.
His personal life was the opposite of his business life. While the music was flashy, he was not; while his station thrived on publicity, he was a private person. MuchMusic was hip; he sported a crew cut and glasses. Most entrepreneurs and business people in Canada are listed in Who's Who, but there was never an entry for Allan WATERS. He wasn't interested.
He also thought long hours were a waste of energy. Most days he went home to his wife at 5: 30. "If you work 20 hours [a day], you're doing too much or you're doing something wrong," he told a reporter.
Mr. WATERS was a frugal man. For many years he walked to work from his home in the neighbourhood of Leaside. His office was relatively modest. His companies almost never borrowed to make purchases. And in a business that thrives on global glitz, he never invested outside Canada.
He was generous and loyal to his employees and in a business where hiring and firing was the norm, even some disc jockeys and announcers -- such as Gord MARTINEAU at CITY-TV -- stayed with his stations for decades. Mr. WATERS did part company with announcer Larry SOLWAY after the boss refused to allow him to discuss a sex manual on the air. Later, CHUM Ltd. would own Sex-TV.
At his death, the CHUM empire Mr. WATERS built owned and operated 33 radio stations, 12 local television stations and 21 specialty channels, including MuchMusic and Space. It also controlled other sideline businesses, including Muzak.
When he died peacefully in his sleep Saturday morning in hospital, he was surrounded by family, including his wife of more than 50 years, Marjorie. He also leaves two sons; Ronald, deputy chairman, and Jim, chairman of CHUM Ltd. The funeral is private. A public memorial will be held on Wednesday in Toronto.
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ZNAIMER email@example.com_county.toronto.toronto_star 2005-05-16 published
Friends bid activist farewell
Hundreds jam memorial service
'Hug this tree, for me. Love, Bob'
By Emily CHUNG, Staff Reporter
The Great Hall at the University of Toronto's Hart House was jammed yesterday with hundreds of people inspired by Bob HUNTER's conviction that one person can make a difference in the world.
The event was a memorial service for HUNTER, who died May 2 of prostate cancer but lived for 63 years before that as a journalist and world-renowned environmentalist who co-founded Greenpeace.
The service was attended by all ages. Some were pierced and dyed, others dressed neatly in black. Some wore expensive jewellery, some toted bike helmets.
"There's more trouble in this room than I've ever seen in one place," said HUNTER's friend Gord PERKS.
Trouble like Katrina MILLER of the Toronto Environmental Alliance, one of the many activists whose causes HUNTER publicized during his 15 years as an environment reporter with Citytv.
HUNTER awarded her a title for her work getting pesticides banned in Toronto that she wears proudly.
"There's something very special about Bob HUNTER calling you a Damn Fine Activist," MILLER said.
And there were dozens of fans like Bonnie and Kerre BRIGGS, long-time activists (mostly anti-poverty these days) who admired HUNTER but never met him.
"The Wales and the seals are really going to miss Bob," Bonnie said.
Kerre recalls that as a "schlubby, long-haired" 14-year-old, he started a petition to protest nuclear testing in Alaska the same week HUNTER co-founded Greenpeace. At the time, environmentalism was "a hippie thing of no great consequence," Kerre said, but HUNTER changed that. "He is my role model. He was my inspiration."
In the official program, letters were read from Prime Minister Paul MARTIN, environmentalist David SUZUKI and Toronto Mayor David MILLER. Friends and family, from HUNTER's wife Bobbi and Citytv boss Moses ZNAIMER to Premier Dalton McGUINTY and fellow activist Paul WATSON, shared memories in their eulogies that drew both laughter and tears.
As they followed a bagpiper's "Amazing Grace" out of the hall, people cradled tiny spruce saplings that had been laid out on the forest-green tablecloths for Friends to take home and plant. To each tree was attached a note that read, "Embrace your Friends, Love your family, Celebrate all life, And hug this tree, for me. Love, Bob."
Outside the doors, many paid tribute to HUNTER by continuing his work. A table solicited donations for a memorial environmental studies scholarship at the University of Toronto.
Greenpeace activists took the photos and signatures of supporters for a "virtual march" against whaling in Korea.
WATSON told the crowd that an activists' ship fuelled by alternative energy is getting ready to launch.
"The ship will be called the Robert Lorne Hunter," he said. "Bob will be going back to sea."
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