Media mogul and philanthropist Allan Slaight, the former CEO of Standard Broadcasting and a past president of Global Television and Slaight Communications, has died. He passed away peacefully at his Toronto home Sunday. He was 90.
Born in Galt, Ont., Slaight was the son of a newspaperman who moved the family to Moose Jaw, Sask., when he bought the Moose Jaw Times-Herald in 1945 and then local radio station, CHAB-AM.
Slaight started his career at CHAB-AM in 1948 at age 17 as a reporter, going on to host late-night jazz program, Spins and Needles. Stops at CFRN, CJCA and CHED Edmonton followed before he headed east to Toronto in 1958 to join CHUM as program and promotions manager, guiding the station through its format transition to rock ‘n’ roll and unseating rival station, CKEY.
He went on to serve as program director and by 1965 was appointed Vice-President of Radio CHUM-1050 Ltd.
The following year, Slaight stepped away from conventional broadcasting and uprooted to England to establish a sales agency for pirate radio station Radio Caroline, which broadcast 12 miles off the English coast in international waters in protest of the BBC’s broadcasting monopoly.
He returned to Toronto in 1967, launching advertising and communications firm Allan Slaight Ltd., which partnered with Stephens & Towndrow to service radio and TV advertising, and where Slaight was appointed president and managing director.
By 1970, he had formed Slaight Broadcasting, raising $2.5 million to buy CFGM 1310 AM in Richmond Hill, ON. He went on to acquire a stake in CFOX Montreal, going on to merge the stations with IWC Communications, which saw Slaight acquire cable systems in Mississauga, Barrie, and Orillia as well-as CHOK Sarnia.
Later that year, he’d also acquire the debt-ridden Global Television Network, which was losing an estimated $1.5M a month.
In 1976, Slaight applied for an FM licence for a sister station to Toronto’s CFGM-AM with Q107 going to air on June 1, 1977, earning him status as the godfather of rock radio in Toronto.
From there, acquisitions like outdoor advertising business Urban Outdoors followed, and a 49% stake in Standard Broadcasting.
After a court battle, he would go on to buy 84.8 per cent of Standard’s shares for an estimated $110 million. The deal required Slaight to sell Q107 and CFGM, but brought CFRB, CKFM, CJAD-AM, CJFM-FM, Capital Radio in London, CJOH-TV, and CKTB and CJQR St. Catharines under his domain.
He continued to grow the company, branching out in the late 1980s into production and program syndication with the launch of Sound Source Networks, Standard Broadcasting’s syndication division.
In 2007, he authorized the sale of Standard Radio to Astral Media in a $1.08 billion deal. After 52 years in broadcasting and creating the largest privately held and solely owned media company in the country, Slaight stepped down as president and CEO of Standard Broadcasting, assuming the position of executive chairman of the board of directors of Slaight Communications.
At the time of his retirement, revenues exceeded $500 million, employing 1,500 full-time and 6,000 part-time employees.
In addition to broadcasting, Slaight was responsible for bringing the Toronto Raptors’ NBA franchise to Canada, holding a 39.5-per-cent share, alongside John Bitove Jr., and at one point owning 79 per cent of the team.
Over the years, the Slaight Family Foundation has also donated millions to causes from founding the Allan Slaight Radio Institute at Ryerson University to furthering music, arts, and cancer research.
Among the many accolades Slaight received over the years was induction into the Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1997. He received an Honorary Doctor of Commerce from Ryerson Polytechnic University in 2000 and was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2001. In 2005, he received the the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award for his contribution to the growth and development of the Canadian music industry.
He was honoured with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame last December.
Article reprinted, courtesy Broadcast Dialogue.
Protesters denounce Netflix over Chappelle transgender comments
About 100 people protested near Netflix Inc’s headquarters on Wednesday against the streaming pioneer’s decision to release comedian Dave Chappelle’s new special, which they say ridicules transgender people.
Netflix staff members, transgender rights advocates and public officials gathered on a sidewalk outside a Netflix office blocks away from the company’s main 13-story Sunset Boulevard building in Los Angeles.
Demonstrators held signs proclaiming, “Trans Lives Matter” and “Team Trans” and chanted slogans like “What do we want? Accountability,” “When do we want it? Now.”
Netflix staff were outnumbered by members of the public, but the precise number was not clear. Netflix employees had called for a walkout.
Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos acknowledged in interviews before the walkout, “I screwed up” in how he spoke to Netflix’s staff about Chappelle’s special, “The Closer.”
Sarandos previously defended the decision to air the show, saying Chappelle’s language did not cross the line into inciting violence. Netflix posted record subscriber numbers on Tuesday,
“While we appreciate the acknowledgement of the screw-up, in his own words, we want to actually talk about what that repair looks like,” said Ashlee Marie Preston, a transgender activist who came out in support of the Netflix employees.
Joey Soloway, creator of “Transparent,” a now-ended streaming series on rival Amazon that had a transgender character, talked about the line that separates edgy jokes and harmful speech.
“People say to me, as a comedian, where’s the line?” said Soloway. “The line is anything that makes it worse.”
Not everyone supported that message. “…The idea that a small, angry mob can shape entertainment and silence people’s speech is terrifying,” said counterprotester Dick Masterson.
While employee protests against corporate policies have become common in Silicon Valley, this is believed to be the first such action at the pioneer streaming video company.
The controversy over “The Closer” is playing out against the backdrop of a company-wide diversity effort that began in 2018, after Netflix’s former head of communications was fired for using a racial epithet in company meetings.
“It doesn’t feel good to have been working at the company that put that out there,” Netflix software engineer Terra Field wrote in a Medium post, referring to “The Closer.” “Especially when we’ve spent years building out the company’s policies and benefits so that it would be a great place for trans people to work.”
(Reporting by Dawn Chmielewski in Los Angeles; editing by Kenneth Li and Cynthia Osterman)
Senior leader at Thunder Bay, Ont., hospital removed after Nazi imagery discovered on his social media – CBC.ca
WARNING: This story contains images, language that may be distressing.
The hospital in Thunder Bay, Ont., has removed a senior official from a leadership council for violating its social media policy after images of Nazi-affiliated items were discovered on his Facebook page.
Keith Taylor is no longer co-chair of the patient family advisory council at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), where he had volunteered for about a decade, a spokesperson confirmed Tuesday, citing the hospital’s social media policy.
In over a dozen posts to his public Facebook page, mostly in 2012, there were images of swastikas, a bronze sculpture of Adolf Hitler and a military badge, among other items.
One post, about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, used a slur toward people of Asian heritage; other posts made jokes about Nazis, including one comment with Taylor calling someone “my little nazi.”
CBC News was first made aware of these posts Sunday when contacted by an employee at the hospital.
“The individual mentioned in your request is not an employee of TBRHSC, and is no longer serving in a voluntary role on the patient and family advisory council,” spokesperson Marcello Bernardo said in an emailed statement Tuesday morning.
Bernardo said it was an internal human resources matter, but cited the hospital’s social media policy in his statement and declined further comment.
It wasn’t until Taylor was contacted by CBC News that he learned he was no longer in the voluntary role at the hospital.
“I’m not happy about it,” he said. “I’ve probably been involved in over a thousand policy developments and changes that would benefit patients.”
He added he understood the decision made by the hospital.
“I’m not a racist. I’m not a Nazi. I’m a man who cares about my community and I’m a history buff.”
Ex-official says he hoped to open museum
Taylor said he was collecting the items found on his social media in hopes of opening a museum to educate people about military history. He said he never got the idea off the ground, and since 2012, has donated or given away most of the items to museums or “valid collectors.”
But several experts in Holocaust education and history expressed concern to CBC about the way the items were posted on Facebook.
During the Second World War, Hitler’s Nazi extermination camps were responsible for the killings of about six million Jewish people and five million non-Jewish people.
Among photos of war memorabilia from a number of countries that the CBC News investigation found, 17 images or videos with swastikas or other items or references to Nazis were posted on Taylor’s social media.
Several photos show Nazi flags with swastikas on them.
On Feb. 22, 2012, Taylor posted his “pic of the day” showing a framed armband used to identify people at the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany.
“Could you imagine if this band could talk, resources were so scarce these bands were sometimes used a few times over,” the caption said.
Another photo put up March 2, 2012, shows what Taylor claims to be a “german panzer kill badge … awarded to tankers that achieve multiple kills.”
He added in his caption, “i wear this on my bike vest.”
Attached to an image of a war-time helmet, Taylor wrote: “hey clem, this one is for you my little nazi, lol.”
Apologizes for harm caused
In the interview with CBC News, Taylor apologized for harm caused by any of the Facebook posts.
He said that when he posted the images, he thought he was sharing them only with a few friends who knew about his intent to open a museum, so people could learn about military history.
The items from Nazi Germany, including flags and pieces with swastikas emblazoned on them, were just a part of his collection that also included historical equipment from America, Italy, Russia and Britain, said Taylor.
“I always went to the spot of education. We need to remember this stuff. We need to never forget the atrocities. Ever.”
When he had these items in his home, Taylor said, he gave tours to friends and told them the history and stories behind them.
“I have no shame in it, honestly. No ill intent there. It was just an educational tool.”
Items carry ‘a moral responsibility’
A Facebook post by Taylor on June 17, 2012, shows a sculpture of Hitler’s head, which he said was from about 1942 and made of solid bronze.
In the caption, Taylor said, “i am not a nazi, just a history buff.”
It’s an argument met with skepticism by Jody Spiegel, director of the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program at the Azrieli Foundation in Toronto, and incoming chair of the education working group for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
“These are triggering images, and a place like a museum is a space for education and discussion,” Spiegel said after viewing the Facebook posts.
“All of these things have a place. They don’t belong in someone’s basement and they don’t belong in social media forums for discussion about how awesome a collection is.”
Daniel Hannah, president of the Shaarey Shomayim Congregation in Thunder Bay, said it’s hard to understand why anyone would want to collect items associated with anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.
“It raises questions about their judgment,” Hannah said in an emailed statement to CBC.
He worried such collections support the business of auction houses that cater to neo-Nazis, and called several of the images “disturbing.”
These symbols do carry a moral responsibility … they can’t be divorced from the history in which they were produced.– Valerie Hébert, associate professor of history at Lakehead University
Valerie Hébert, an associate professor of history with Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and an expert in Holocaust education, also reviewed some of Taylor’s Facebook posts.
“These symbols do carry a moral responsibility,” she said. “They can’t be divorced from the history in which they were produced.”
There is value in showing and understanding items from historical periods along with text to interpret and contextualize them, Hébert said, but called the way in which the Facebook posts displayed the items “rather cavalier.”
“To think you can continue to trade in and display these kinds of symbols and not be responsible for the ideas that they represent is irresponsible. It’s careless and it’s potentially harmful.”
In response to these concerns, Taylor said his intention when posting in 2012 was to share new items he found with the few friends he had on Facebook at the time and who knew about his ambition to start a museum.
He said he posted the images so long ago, he forgot they were still publicly viewable.
“People are uncomfortable with history. They’re very sensitive and I understand that, but I’m a big believer that we need to remember the ugliest parts of our history.”
Hospital refuses to answer more questions
Taylor posted all his photos nine years ago, shortly after he started volunteering at the hospital.
In 2015, Taylor received an honourable mention for the Patient Safety Champion award from the Canadian Patient Safety Institute for his work in the development and promotion of patient and family-centred care.
He was nominated by Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, current president and chief executive officer of the Thunder Bay hospital, according to an article published by the TBRHSC.
The article noted Taylor’s work “has touched many areas of the organization,” including support in “hiring leaders” and sitting on a number of committees at the hospital.
She described Taylor at the time as “an amazing leader,” saying “we are fortunate to have an individual of his calibre engaged in our work.”
A request for an interview with Crocker Ellacott was denied by the hospital, with Bernardo saying: “As the hospital cannot discuss personnel/HR issues publicly, we are unable to grant an interview.”
The hospital also would not say what specific images violated its social media policy or whether a formal complaint was filed. It also wouldn’t comment on who was responsible for appointing Taylor to his position as co-chair of the patient family advisory council and for his inclusion in the senior leadership council.
The hospital also did not say if it would issue an apology to the public.
Western News – Work with Indigenous communities leads to media career for new grad – Western News
CBC Radio had been a constant companion for Colm Cobb Howes during quiet, bitter-cold commutes to work as a teacher in Indigenous communities in northern Canada. Little did he know he would one day be working to tell those stories he enjoyed listening to since he was a child.
A recent Master of Media in Journalism and Communication (MMJC) graduate, Cobb Howes is now associate producer at CBC News Toronto’s Metro Morning radio show.
Cobb Howes is among Western students graduating this fall and will join 328,000 Western alumni from more than 160 countries during virtual Convocation celebrations on Oct 25.
“It’s the reason I came to MMJC, to get into CBC and share the stories of the people I met during my time working in Indigenous communities,” said Cobb Howes.
Although Cobb Howes joined the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and missed many of the in-person learning experiences, he was able to participate in a six-week internship that opened the door for him to work at the CBC – first as an intern and eventually as a full-time associate producer.
“I never assumed or thought that I would be able to work at CBC Toronto, right out of school,” he said. “I thought that perhaps I would get a good reference (from the CBC internship) and then it would help me get in somewhere like in a smaller market. And so I feel incredibly lucky to have that opportunity right now.”
Before joining Western’s MMJC program, Cobb Howes worked for an educational not-for-profit organization as a teacher for Indigenous students, mostly in the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee in Northern Quebec. His work entailed travelling through nine Cree communities as well as the Kuujuarapik Inuit community on Hudson Bay in Quebec. He also had the opportunity to work in a Maliseet Community in New Brunswick, and in an Anishinabek Community in Northern Ontario.
It was during this two-year stint that Cobb Howes developed an interest in storytelling that led him to pursue a postgraduate program in journalism.
“I did teach high school science and math, but at the same time, we also ran programming that was delivered outside of schools. One of the programs is called the cultural mapping program, that’s done in partnership with the community, where it’s like an internship for youth in the community.
This program offered several workshops for the interns on things like camera operation and storytelling.
“I really enjoyed being able to help facilitate it, being out in the community and talking to people and telling stories,” said Cobb Howes. “It was amazing to see how it empowered these kids as they realized they were doing all of this work. And so that’s partly why I wanted to go into storytelling.”
Writing is not a new-found passion for Cobb Howes, however, who completed his undergraduate degree in English literature at the University of Guelph. When considering his postgraduate program in journalism, Western was the only choice for him.
“I really wanted to choose something I would enjoy and not just do it for the sake of getting a degree. I knew this is where I wanted to be. And that was how I chose Western,” said Cobb Howes, whose brother also attended Western for his undergraduate studies.
Work of storytelling
Working as an associate producer for CBC Toronto gives Cobb Howes the opportunity to talk to different people and share their “amazing stories.”
“We had someone on who was an astrophysicist and he was getting ready to retire,” he recalled. “We were asking him things like, ‘Is the universe going to be swallowed by a black hole? What do we need to be worried about? Or, should we be worried about, you know, asteroid hitting earth?’ And it was incredible that I, as a citizen, get to interact with this person who is a leading academic in their field, and have these kinds of conversations. I find it amazing that I get to do that every day for work.”
Asked if he was given the opportunity to choose one story, any story, that can make an impact on listeners, what would it be – and his answer took him back to his experience working with Indigenous communities.
“There’s a lot of stories that happen in the north, that people don’t know about, and oftentimes, they get segmented into categories… and it gets put in the Indigenous category of the news desk,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that those stories don’t just get told because they’re valid. Sometimes, something will happen in the north, and it doesn’t get told in Toronto, because it didn’t happen in Toronto. But people in Toronto need to know about that.
“If we’re serious about making meaningful change in the way that we tell stories, then we need to start thinking outside of the box, because so often stories like that go under reported because they don’t fit into the way that we think they should appear in the news.”
Virtual Convocation details:
- Virtual fall convocation will be available to stream beginning at 7p.m. EST on Friday, October 22.
- There will be three ceremonies, which will be pre-recorded and posted online by navigating through the uwo.ca homepage, allowing graduates and their families and loved ones to choose the ceremony they wish to see when they want to see it.
- Each ceremony will include celebratory music by Convocation Brass, with administration and faculty on stage and with remarks by honorary degree recipients.
- Receiving honorary degrees are: lawyer and community philanthropist Janet Stewart; writer/visual artist Shani Mootoo; historian Natalie Zemon Davis; and medical researcher Tak Mak.
- An orator will read out each graduating student’s name, which will also be featured on individually displayed slides during the ceremony.
- Graduates will receive their parchments by mail.
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