Saturday, December 17, 2011

A CKDA Radio and CHEK TV News Pioneer Passes Away


Andy Stephen was his name.

I remember him from when I was a kid, but mostly from the TeeVee though, especially his turns with Dame Ida, given that by the time I was paying attention CKDA had already become Victoria's top (ya, top!) Top-40 station on the AM Radio.

Tom Hawthorn has the best obit for Mr. Stephen I've seen so far:

....In 1953, Stephen was hired as news director of Victoria station CKDA and, three years later, also became the first news director after the launch of television station CHEK, the first privately-owned outlet in the province. At Channel 6 on the dial, it was only the third station available in southwestern British Columbia.

His days began before dawn as he prepared morning news casts for the radio station, then moving on to the television studio, where he anchored the suppertime 6 Star Final News. He later co-hosted a noon-hour show.

Stephen covered the Swiftsure international yacht race from aboard the ocean-going tug Sudbury, delivering hourly reports over a grueling 32-hour broadcast session.

In other summers, he provided dramatic accounts as marathon solo swimmers Marilyn Bell and Cliff Lumsdon each conquered the chill waters of Juan de Fuca Strait.

“It was a clean-living town,” he told broadcast historian Drew Snider in 2004. “If you got a car stolen, it was a big deal.”...

And, if I remember correctly, my Grandad the tugboat guy was part of the support team for the intrepid Ms. Bell's swim - which was her second attempt, this time heading north from Port Angeles to one of the little cove beaches at the foot of Beacon Hill Park.

And if I'm wrong?

Well, my Dad, the other tugboat guy in the family, will sure as shootin' correct me at the Christmas Dinner table next weekend*.


*But only in a nice way, as he always did (and still does)....Like when I almost failed Grade 9 Math until we had a little talk and I stopped playing Nerf basketball, non-stop, in the upstairs hallway (with string nets hanging from coat hangers we made ourselves....where's our patent?!) and instead got back to studying....
It's interesting if you go to THawthorn's post, he has tagged it with CHEK's actual obit. Interestingly, the latter doesn't hold a candle to the print version for information, content and context. Ironic too, given how much AStephen helped push the print media to the side in the capital city (not that that wouldn't have happened, regardless was the 'lectronic guy in the Ledge Press Gallery)....


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