EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dr G.E. Young a pioneer in cable television in Canada

If someone asked you who the pioneers of cable television were in Canada, immediately you may be inclined to say Rogers or Shaw, the giants of the industry in English Canada today. And to a great extent, you are right.

But although most Canadians have likely never heard of him, Dr G.E, Young who practised medicine in the small isolated northern Ontario community of Chapleau for more than 50 years, deserves a place right up there among the giants of the cable industry. In the 1960s Dr Young placed microwave towers on the top of a hill, originally called "Slaughterhouse Hill" and later "Dr Young's Hill" and started his "clothesline" cable system with poles and wire in all the back lanes of the town, with dishes atop his medical and apartment complex in downtown Chapleau.

In the early years reception was limited and snowy, and the stations few, but Dr Young's efforts brought cable television to a community that would otherwise have likely been limited to the CBC affiliate station in Timmins for many years.

Dr Young also waged many battles with the CRTC, the regulatory agency, as he had little patience for the bureaucracy. However, in 1982, when his licence was up for renewal, once again Dr Young made history. He comvinced the CRTC that the people of Chapleau had a right to be heard live at the hearing, but as the hearing was in Toronto, very few would be able to attend.

So, an audio link was established over phone lines from Dr Young's office in Chapleau to the CRTC hearing in Toronto, and Chapleau citizens were able to make their case live. And I was so privileged to host the Chapleau end of the hearing and broadcast it live with video over the system's community channel. It was the first time in Canadian history that the CRTC had permitted a hearing of this kind where everyone was not physically present in the room

Graham Bertrand assumed responsibility for all the technical aspects of the production. Dr Young and Tony Byvank were in Toronto.

When I visited Dr Young in 2001 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of Chapleau, he had recently sold the cable system, bringing to an end about 40 years of his involvement in providing television to the community.

Dr G.E "Ted" Young, born and raised in Chapleau, graduated from Queen's University in medicine and never planned to return home. He interned at Columbia University in New York and went home to replace a doctor for six months and he stayed making Chapleau a better place for being a true visionary who despite many challenges worked for his people.

At 94 years of age, Dr Young lives in retirement in Chapleau.

NOTE: I am aware that A.J, Grout the president of Smith and Chapple Ltd, also started a cable system in Chapleau in the 1950s. In fact, I had a weekly program on CHAP TV in 1958, but the system was closed down in the early 1960s and it was Dr Young who carried on to bring us television.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Internet now provides 24/7 fix for news junkie

Peter Bernier gave us this link to article on Huffington Post blog dated April 9, 2009 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/the-debate-over-online-ne_b_185309.html Thanks Peter.

Less than 10 years ago I wrote a piece declaring that in my view the National Post was "a great daily read." I added it to my daily newspaper fix which at the time consisted of The Globe and Mail. Today, it is very seldom that I buy either newspaper but check their online editions daily along with the Toronto Star, http://realpolitics.com/ and http://cnn.com/. If a major story breaks that interests me I go the local newspaper's web site or CTV or CBC sites for details. However, for a lifelong news junkie like me, I can get all the news, features, sports, gossip, editorials, entertainment to fix my addiction daily with a click of the mouse on the internet. And it is updated 24/7.

BREAKING NEWS: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is closing down its print version on Thursday, it was reported today. Details at http://www.thestar.com/business/article/603111

I started my newspaper career when I was in high school writing for the long gone Mid North news in Chapleau, Ontario and continued at Wilfrid Laurier University (then Waterloo Lutheran University) as editor of the student paper The Cord for two years. After university I worked as a reporter and editor at several dailies across Canada before becoming a teacher.

Anyone who knows me well will confirm that newspapering is in my blood, and always will be, but it seems to me that the days for us to sit back with our local paper are coming to an end. In recent weeks I have seen several articles expressing concern about the situation facing print dailies in North America -- for example, the San Francisco Chronicle may close and others may not be far behind. There are many reasons and in later piece I will address some of them.

Last week, The Globe and Mail ran an unscientific online poll asking readers if it is important to have a local newspaper. The results certainly did not reflect my view that the days of the print daily may end. Forty six percent said yes, it was important as a way to keep people informed, while 26% said they keep government accountabale and only 18% agreed with my view that online content fills the gap.

I would be very interested in hearing your views on this one. For me, over the past nine years it has been a gradual shift from the traditional print newspaper to internet news junkie, and I realized it had happened during the American presidential election in 2008. And let me be clear, the newspaper has been an integral part of my life, and my experience as a reporter and editor led to employment and enjoyment, and provided the opportunity for me to meet some of the best hard working people I know. However, the change is here.

Comment here or email me at mj.morris@live.ca

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


click on image


Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE