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Mon Jun 12 7:45 am  #1

Russ Thompson

In the June 12th Globe and Mail, an "I remember" tribute to Russ Thompson appeared:

Broadcaster. Father. Skier. Gardener. Born Aug. 18, 1934, in Montreal; died Jan. 16, 2017, in Newmarket, Ont., of cancer; age 82.When my Dad, then known as Boris Wegeruk, was 16, he made up his mind to become a radio announcer, and went around to Montreal stations to secure an entry-level job. He was told he was far too young. But his quiet determination drove him to succeed. Eventually, he learned that there was an announcing job vacant at CJBQ in Belleville, Ont. Applicants were asked to mail in a voice recording. Instead, my dad thought he’d go in person. So, his mother helped him create makeshift suitcases and he hitchhiked the 200 miles to Belleville. Somehow, he got the job. But there was one final detail the program director needed to discuss:“What’s your name son?”“It’s Boris Wegeruk,” Russ responded.“Not any longer,” he said. After much debate, his radio name became Russ Thompson.(Five years later, my dad officially changed his name for legal reasons and because it took him that long to muster up enough courage to tell his father.)In 1953, Russ moved to CKOY in Ottawa, where he met and married Joan, the station librarian. Russ served as the morning man until he and Joan moved to Toronto when he landed a radio gig at CKEY. Their son was born in 1956.Later, Russ’s voice was noticed by General Motors of Canada, who asked him to become their spokesman. These were the early days of live TV commercials and Russ’s genuine warmth and boy-next-door good looks led to more commercial work on TV and radio, which occupied a good part of his time.In 1967, CBC Radio asked Russ to host a new live, weekday variety show called The Russ Thompson Show. After a year, he moved to FM radio, landing the prime evening-drive host job at CKFM in Toronto. Over the next 20 years, Russ cultivated an on-air relationship with his listeners as the friendly voice that escorted them home every night.During his career, he worked alongside such broadcasting greats as Gordon Sinclair, Betty Kennedy, Wally Crouter, Fred Napoli, Carl Banas, and sports journalists Bill Stephenson, Brian Williams and Dave Hodge. Russ was well respected by his peers, and the family heard from Brian Williams, who called him a “true gentleman,” while Dave Hodge commented “no one disliked Russ Thompson.”Russ retired in 1992 to cultivate his 300-plus rose garden in Don Mills, Ont. He continued to ski and retired from golf after losing a club in the tree tops. “Rose plants aren’t as temperamental as golf balls,” he said.Russ and Joan later moved to Schomberg, Ont., so they could be closer to family and their two granddaughters, Kaitlin and Megan.Russ provided unconditional love for his family and exuded a positive and at times humorous outlook on life that will be carried on by many of those he touched. He will be missed.Dan Thompson is Russ's son 

Last edited by tvguy (Mon Jun 12 7:46 am)


Mon Jun 12 2:01 pm  #2

Re: Russ Thompson

A great on air talent.  A true gentleman.  I had the pleasure of working with Russ at CKFM 1988-89.
I hope more people chime in on this great broadcaster.  RIP Russ.

Last edited by John D (Mon Jun 12 2:02 pm)