Welcome to JJ-365 Salutes. Over 2018, we pay tribute daily to one of “The Good Ones”. Today we are shining the light on Ed Torres.
I first met Ed where else but at industry social events, conferences and the like. He is instantly likeable with a warm, professional and friendly demeanour. From day one I have watched him and his brother Frank Torres bring a dream to life that has turned into a number of successful businesses. The Torres lads are quite the entrepreneurs and not afraid to go for it. I have seen them in action at CRTC hearings when they are applying for radio station licences and admired their bold presentations which have turned into sweet rewards. They are competitive but always respectful.
Ed was born in Toronto and attended Danforth Tech High School where he and his brother started the radio club, spinning wax from 6a to 9 am on the schools war-time vintage PA system. Radio always appealed to Ed more than TV. He was fascinated by AM and would try to pull in stations from the U.S. in his room. He was a real fan of CKOC and CHUM and it was the heyday of CFNY. He was hooked. NY was so different from the other stations and the other morning shows, and he says that Pete and Geets appealed to his wacky sense of humour.
Ed says that years later he was lucky enough to be Pete Griffin’s traffic reporter in the later stages of his career in Smiths Falls. He describes Pete as the most humble and gracious person. He also got to work with Geets (David Haydu) who helped them in the initial stages of the Torres Media Uxbridge radio station build. Says Ed “I consider myself fortunate to have been able to work with two of my childhood radio idols. Radio attracts some of the best people, talented, down to earth, humorous, and crazy. I think the highlight of my on-air days was working with Jesse and 356’er Gene Valaitis when they were at Q107.”
On top of his infatuation with radio, Ed was also hooked on aviation. He earned his glider pilot wings at the age of sixteen through the Air Cadet Glider Scholarship program and his Private Pilot licence through the Air Cadet Flying Scholarship program one year later in 1984. He remained active with the Air Cadet flying program for many years after his cadet tenure, serving as a Captain in the Cadet Instructors List and flying tow planes for gliding centres in Borden and Mountainview Ontario.
He pursued his childhood ambition of being a commercial pilot and in 1987 graduated from the Sault College Aviation Program with a Commercial Multi-Engine IFR pilot’s licence. He then became a commercial pilot for Canadian Regional Airlines reaching the position of line Captain. It was a great experience which included flying charters for the Buffalo Sabres, and the occasional seconds of sheer terror that would interrupt the hours of sheer boredom in the cockpit.
In 1991 Ed founded Skywords with his brother Frank, flying traffic aircraft and for 10 years he reported traffic as Chris Taylor with Skywords on stations that included Q107, Energy 108, CHAM, Majic 94.9 and Z103.5. Says ED: “When Frank and I started Skywords our first affiliate was The FAN. Allan A Davis had been brought in to launch Canada’s first sports talk station and gave us our first break. Danny Kingsbury was also a great supporter in the early days as was Bill Evanov, Scott Parsons, Rob Farina and John Ross who brought Skywords to Ottawa and Ted Silver was key in our expansion to Montreal. 365’er Lee Sterry was also one of the first affiliates. Paul Ski, Stu Ferguson and George Gordon were key in bringing Skywords to Vancouver; the late and great Gary Miles was also a great sounding board. Then there is 365’er John Sherratt who has always been helpful and is a great friend. There are so many other radio pros that have helped along the way, too many to mention."
Ed is a community champion being a Past President of the Rotary Club of Etobicoke, a Paul Harris Fellow, and a founding member of the Toronto Ribfest. He has been a Director with the Ontario Independent Radio Group, a past member of the Board of Governors of Albert College, Canada’s oldest co-educational Independent School, and a past member of the board of Directors of Quintevation.
Ed sums up: “I believe radio continues to be relevant and that we are poised for good times ahead. It’s a dynamic business that provides the most important of opportunities, rewarding employment. When I think back to the many broadcasters that started their broadcast careers and where they are now, many of them living great lives with interesting careers it’s gratifying. When I started Skywords, it was just Frank and me. Last year we had our first retirement out of Skywords, Fred Locking. Possibly the last thing on my mind when we started Skywords is that people would retire out of here.”
Today Ed is the President and General Manager of the Torres Media group of companies. The group includes several companies that own and operate the following radio stations: CIDG-FM Rebel-FM in Ottawa, CIUX 105.5 Hits FM Uxbridge, and French language CKOD-FM Valleyfield Quebec. The group also includes Skywords and in July of 2018 was awarded an FM radio station licence to serve the Town of Georgina in York Region.
Ed lives in Quinte West, Ontario with his wife Kathryn and they have two awesome sons.
Ed is smart, determined, professional, talented, creative, entrepreneurial, and has a great sense of humour. I admire what Ed and Frank have built and am happy to be associated with these fine fellows. Atta be!
Thank you, Ed Torres, for being one of “The Good Ones”. Feel free to like and share Ed’s positive story. Who is the subject of tomorrow’s JJ-365 Salutes? As they say, stay tuned.
– Jim JJ Johnston is the CEO, President and Chief Talent/Content Coach for JJIMS INC. and works with talent in many different industries.