– Popular and often outrageous Quebec radio host André Arthur, who tweeted his death notice, died May 8 at age 78.   

Controversial, calling himself a polemicist, he occupied the airwaves in Quebec City since the early 1980s.

Arthur was also an independent Member of Parliament for the federal riding of Portneuf--Jacques-Cartier from 2006 to 2011. – Further details can be found in a Globe and Mail obituary.

– Former broadcast executive Charles “Chuck” George Camroux passed away May 11 at age 81 after a long illness in his adopted hometown in Niagara.

Born in Edmonton, his broadcasting career started as a DJ at age 17 on CJCA using the moniker Bob Stagg and eventually spanned working at 15 radio stations across the country.

His ascent started at CKDA/CFMS Victoria, and in 1970 he joined Rogers as manager of CHAM Hamilton and a year later was elevated to VP of Rogers Radio and GM of CFTR and CHFI-FM Toronto where he entered a fierce battle against then-dominant AM, CHUM Radio and took CFTR’s weekly cume north of 1M listeners. At the time, he was also publishing his own tip sheet, The Camroux Report.

He left the company in 1979 to become CEO/President of CKLW-AM/FM Windsor. In 1983, he formed his own consultancy and moved to Victoria. He went on to found the Canadian Radio Network (CRN), the first licensed satellite network in Canada, which was sold to Rogers in 1993. In 1998, Camroux began a six-year term as President and CEO of CJRT-FM Toronto where he was responsible for rebranding the community station into what is now known as JAZZ.FM91. He ushered in both 24-hour broadcasting at the not-for-profit station as well as its rebrand to all-jazz in 2001. He retired after nearly 50 years in broadcasting in 2004.

Patrick Grierson, founder and president of Canadian Broadcast Sales (CBS), has passed away. Grierson, who was in his 70s, died late last week after battling an undisclosed illness.

With a broadcast career spanning more than 40 years, the radio advertising pioneer retired in 2017 as leader of the largest national radio sales organization in Canada. – To read further, link to Connie Thiessen’s Broadcast Dialogue obit.

Michael Wrycraft, a Juno-winning album cover designer, Toronto concert promoter, and radio producer who operated under the moniker A Man Called Wrycraft, died on May 16, at age 65, of congestive heart failure.

Wrycraft received five Juno Award nominations for Best Album Design, winning in 2000 for his work on Radio Fusebox by Andy Stochansky, and earned wide acclaim for his design contributions to a huge number of albums, most in the roots and world music fields.

A 2017 Globe and Mail profile estimated that Wrycraft had designed nearly 700 album covers by then, and he continued his prolific work after that, despite losing his lower limbs to osteomyelitis in 2017. He chronicled that part of his journey for FYI here.

Extensive work on Bruce Cockburn's albums over the last two decades helped bring him international exposure. In a tribute to FYI, Bruce Cockburn stated that "I’m very much saddened by Michael’s passing, though I expect he would be cracking some wry joke about it if he could. He was the funniest person I’ve ever known, but also sensitive and kind and a pleasure to work with. Gonna miss him."

Bernie Finkelstein, Cockburn's manager and former head of True North Records, posted an eloquent tribute to Wrycraft on Facebook. " Michael designed several of Stephen Fearing and Blackie & The Rodeo Kings album jackets. He also did all of the Bruce packages from Breakfast In New Orleans Dinner in Timbuktu onwards right up to the recently released Greatest Hits. I can't begin to tell you how much we loved working with Michael. And his work speaks for itself. Always super creative and outstanding craftsmanship. And what great fun to work with. There are many who can describe his personality better than me, but he was larger than life.

"There were many highlights of Michael's work with us, but one that stands out at this moment is the display at MOMA in New York of Breakfast In New Orleans Dinner in Timbuktu as part of the celebration of 50 years or was it 100, of the Helvetica font. They used "Breakfast" as a great example of the font's use in modern culture. I made sure to go to New York to see that exhibition and was so proud to have been part of it. Michael will be missed, and I am saddened beyond grief at his passing. Rest well, my friend, and thanks for everything you gave us."

A large number of musical artists, including many former clients, paid homage to Wrycraft and his work on social media. Many of them had also benefited from Wrycraft's passion and skill as a concert promoter, especially his curation and production of roots shows at Toronto's Hugh's Room. That club's manager, Mary Stewart, gave this statement to FYI: "Michael contributed enormously to the quality programming that Hughs Room has been known to offer. He introduced us to countless incredible artists during his 81 Tribute Nights. He knew great music, and he made a great impact in so many hearts. We will dearly miss his presence." Check out his final show, a tribute to Tom Waits, below.

Wrycraft also emceed at major folk festivals (early experience as a standup comic at Yuk Yuk's paid off here) and produced and presented weekly roots music shows  on Sources: Globe and Mail, Roots Music Canada, Facebook


– Ricky Gardiner, a Scottish guitarist and composer, best known for his work with Iggy Pop and David Bowie, died on May 13, age 73, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

After starting out in the Vostoks and  Kingbees and the System, Gardiner formed Beggars Opera in 1969. For Bowie, he played lead guitar on the 1977 album Low and worked on Iggy Pop's acclaimed album Lust for Life the same year. Gardiner composed the music for The Passenger, regarded as one of Pop's best songs.

In October 1977, Gardiner was selected by Tony Visconti to play guitar for the pre-recorded backing of Bowie's performance of Heroes on the BBC's Top of the Pops, where he emulated Robert Fripp's guitar sound by using feedback.

From the 1970s, Gardiner played and composed in a variety of music styles, including ambient, classical, and rock. Sources: Wikipedia, Guitar World

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