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The Story Of Radio In Canada...Before TV

...In the early days people expressed wonderment at the simple fact of radio. “Think of it,” wrote one journalist, “broadcasting permits a man living in Quebec City to speak to a man living in Vancouver as if he were visiting him in his very house.” It seemed miraculous.

Leonard Brockington, the first head of the CBC, fancied himself an orator; I once heard him described as “a road-company Churchill.” Offered the chance of addressing the citizens, or at least everyone who had a radio and cared to switch it on, Brockington rose to the occasion: “I would like to thank each one of you for granting me the hospitality of your house, into which, guided by a sense of duty, I enter with somewhat reluctant feet.” Prime Minister Mackenzie King thought radio a fulfillment of ancient principles, when Athenians thought it important that all the citizens could hear the living voices of their leaders.

In sorting out broadcasting law, the Liberal government made one remarkable blunder. It assigned the CBC to regulate private stations. Since the CBC was competing with them for both advertisers and listeners, this arrangement seriously irked the privates. One of their ads read: “The independent stations want an umpire, but one who isn’t in the game. If you think that’s fair, write your Member of Parliament and tell him so...”

‘It seemed miraculous’: How the story of Canada before television is the story of radio, Robert Fulford--National Post