Dick Smyth, Legendary CKLW, CHUM and CFTR Newsman passes

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Dick Smyth, Legendary CKLW, CHUM and CFTR Newsman passes

Postby radiofan » Sat Mar 06, 2021 6:47 pm

Dick Smyth, Canadian maestro of news radio commentary, dies at 86
David Friend / The Canadian Press MARCH 6, 2021 05:03 PM

TORONTO — Radio and television personality Dick Smyth, whose booming commentary filled Canadian airwaves for decades with hot takes on the day's topics, has died at 86.

His daughter Tracy Smyth said he died Saturday afternoon in Huntsville, Ont.

"He was a mentor to many, many people in the business, and I know that he's left a hole in many people's hearts with his passing," she said by phone from Nova Scotia.

The veteran broadcaster was a familiar voice to radio listeners who tuned in for his trademark introduction: "Here's how things look to Dick Smyth this morning."

His career spanned an array of influential stations, such as CKLW-AM in Windsor, Ont., when it was known as "the Big 8," and 1050 CHUM in Toronto.

And his face was known to viewers during the early days of Citytv's news broadcasts where he offered unapologetic and animated opinions on political leaders, the economy and local issues.

"He could eviscerate; he could be kind. He could make you think; he could make you angry," said George Gordon, a friend and CHUM colleague.

"If you got into a conversation with him, he wasn't short on opinions, and if you wanted to argue with him, you better have done your homework."

Those characteristics came across in person, Gordon said, and they translated wonderfully to the radio where Smyth became a bridge between news and fiery editorials — an authoritative voice that rang louder than most others.

A Montreal native, Smyth was fascinated with radio programming in his youth, and it led him to join a children's theatre group that performed live on the air. He usually played the giants and ogres, he once recalled.

The experience helped land his first official radio gig at a station in Cornwall, Ont., where he met his wife.

But it was being hired at the legendary Windsor station "the Big 8,"named for its powerhouse 50,000-watt signal at 800 on the AM dial,that offered Smyth a serious opportunity to build his reputation as a standout morning newscaster and reporter.

When the 1967 Detroit Riots were sparked by a police raid of an illegal after-hours club for Black Americans, Smyth sprang into action as one of the few Canadian reporters on the scene.

Venturing across the Windsor border, his reports captured the fear gripping Motor City as martial law went into effect. Each update offered vivid descriptions of the scene and colourful interviews with locals.

The news pieces earned much acclaim. Smyth was the first Canadian to receive the International Award of the Radio Television News Directors Association.

It set the stage for the years that followed. He stayed at the Windsor station until 1969 when he moved to Toronto's CHUM as news director. His other outposts included CFTR-AM and 680 News.

Read the full story at: https://www.timescolonist.com/dick-smyt ... 1.24291153
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