Museum and Archive of Canadian Broadcasting

One day, in the late 1990s, in a conversation with book editor, Martin Ahermaa, a long time friend whom I first met as a student at the University of Toronto in the early 1970s, I lamented the lack of history gathering by Canadian broadcasters and their institutions. Martin surprised me with the revelation that he was a member of the Ontario Archivists Association and was personally very interested in the idea of preserving Canada’s significant broadcast history. That was the beginning of the effort to create a Canadian Radio and TV Museum.

The first person I contacted to recruit for a steering committee to start the project was Sandy Stewart, my predecessor as president of the Canadian Science Writer’s Association, a former CBC TV producer and the author of two books on the subject of Canadian radio and TV history. Sandy had been one of the original producers who put CBC TV on the air in the mid-50s and had created many of our familiar children’s programmes, including Razzle Dazzle and Reach For The Top. He also gave Alex Trebec of “Jeopardy” his start in the TV game show format.

Next was Don Adams, a former Rogers TV producer who was now working as a part-time archivist for CBC TV. Don had been the curator of the Rogers memorabilia collection which included the famed Rogers battery-less radio tube invented of Edward Samuel Rogers.
He had become concerned about the lack of interest in preserving the country’s radio heritage. The glass-topped walnut cabinet which he personally commissioned to house the radio tube, had been unceremoniously dumped in the basement of the CN tower. Don found it there with the glass top broken and the glass tube shattered. (Fortunately, he was able to have a new glass tube blown to restore the precious artifact.)

This then was the core group.

Martin then recruited Marc Ritchie, a former McMaster University Archivist, to help us organize our efforts. Within two years it was obvious that despite having obtained charitable status from Revenue Canada, raising money from Broadcasting institutions would be a long and difficult chore. At the sudden death of our president, Sandy Stewart, members of the board decided to disband. Our last decision was to elect Mark Ritchie president and wish him good luck.

Bud Riley, 2010