sowny.net | The Southern Ontario/WNY Radio-TV Forum


You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

October 12, 2021 11:17 am  #1


Why Doesn't Canada Have Its Own Broadcasting Museum?

New York has one. So does Chicago. The question is why don't we? I'm talking about a Museum of Broadcasting, a place dedicated to radio and TV in this country, that stretches back into the 1920s. 

Chicago's MBC (Museum of Broadcast Communications) is holding a major exhibit over the next few months honouring a century of radio. Most of the stuff will be recalling local Illinois history, including an entire studio from legendary AM station WGN and a transmitter that dates back all the way to 1912. There will also be audio exhibits and even old radios on display.

They also have props and costumes from the old Bozo Show, a legendary local kids TV program that was on the air for decades. And other artifacts from a storied Chicago broadcast history.  

I can't understand why Canada doesn't have anything like this. We certainly have the history. And outside of Moses Znaimer's MZTV Television Museum (which is more dedicated to TV sets than what was broadcast on them) there's almost nothing here. 

The CBC had a museum in Toronto dedicated to its own artifacts, but it moved to Ottawa in 2017 and it's unknown if it's still there. (An article about the place on the CBC's website contained this admission from the network's own media operations manager. "I didn't think we were doing a very good job of running a museum, to tell you the truth." She called the effort "dismal.")

A few years ago, a group tried to set up something called the Aireum - a combination of a museum and on air. As a guy well known here over the years for never throwing anything out, I contacted them at the time, offering them a plethora of tapes, radio station memorabilia and TV collectibles I've amassed over several decades in the biz as well as collected on my own. They were very interested but never got back to me. And now their website brings up a message saying the IP address can't be found. 

For all my complaints about CanCon, this country does have an incredible broadcast history, ranging from the CBC and CFRB to CHUM in Toronto, and other great stations in B.C., Winnipeg, Nova Scotia and across Canada. It would be great to have a place that honours those pioneers. We don't and it's a concept that someone with a lot more talent - and money - than I'll ever have should address.

Before more of it disappears forever.

 

October 12, 2021 11:28 am  #2


Re: Why Doesn't Canada Have Its Own Broadcasting Museum?

Wow. What a great idea. You should start one. 
 


RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.

 
 

October 12, 2021 11:41 am  #3


Re: Why Doesn't Canada Have Its Own Broadcasting Museum?

The CBC museum had the Casey and Finnegan's treehouse from Mr. Dressup


https://www.thestar.com/content/dam/thestar/news/gta/2017/12/22/farewell-to-the-cbc-museum-a-faded-gem-that-will-be-missed/cbc_museum_2.jpg

Last edited by grilled.cheese (October 12, 2021 11:42 am)

 

October 12, 2021 12:56 pm  #4


Re: Why Doesn't Canada Have Its Own Broadcasting Museum?

It is a great idea, but to do a whole museum for Canada to start would be a bit ambitious.  Maybe just start with Toronto/Hamilton or Southern Ontario broadcasting.  If you were planning a national museum similar to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in Calgary, corporate sponsors would be necessary and involvement with a national group like the CAB.  They could even run the facility. 

But to have a Toronto or Southern Ontario broadcasting museum or Hall of Fame would work too, at least to start off.  I wonder if any cities like Vancouver or Montreal already have something regional? About 15 years ago I toured CBC on Front St and the museum they had set up.   Very small, but it did have  a 1960's crane camera with a RCA TK-41 B&W camera set up in a mock studio. They also had video and audio of news bulletins over the years, that was pretty cool.


 

 

October 12, 2021 1:18 pm  #5


Re: Why Doesn't Canada Have Its Own Broadcasting Museum?

So there's some good news on this front. I just heard from iconic producer Doug Thompson, who wrote me off board. He tells me that the Aireum (part of the Canadian Broadcast Museum Foundation) is still a thing, albeit a slow project in the making. They're working on updating their website, which is why it remains offline for now. 

The plan is for it to be a free online museum and if and when it eventually launches, it should track as much of the country as possible. Doug tells me that Bob Laine's widow has offered to donate a large collection of his old radios, as an example. That would be fun to see. 

So at least it's still in the offing. Hopefully, Mr. Thompson will give us updates as events warrant. 

In the meantime, here's a video I found from back in 2014, when this thing got going, asking for donations. I'm sure it's out of date, but it gives you an idea of what they're looking to do. At the time, it claimed to already have some 60,000 items collected. Hopefully, they have even more now. 

     Thread Starter
 

October 12, 2021 1:40 pm  #6


Re: Why Doesn't Canada Have Its Own Broadcasting Museum?

From Doug Thompson's email:

"The CBMF (Canadian Broadcast Museum Foundation) has over 70,000 items - tapes, memorabilia, vinyl, physical SFX (doors, window sashes etc) from the CBC Drama Department, Gordon Sinclair scripts, photo albums, books...and on and on."

Hopefully, they will soon have a place to display it all. I'm really excited to see it!

     Thread Starter
 

October 12, 2021 8:40 pm  #7


Re: Why Doesn't Canada Have Its Own Broadcasting Museum?

Anything with Doug Thompson's involvement will be first class. Our broadcast history is in good hands - just check out his CHIUM Tribute site!

http://chumtribute.com

http://chumtribute.com/chumtribute14.jpg

 


"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram
 

October 12, 2021 8:45 pm  #8


Re: Why Doesn't Canada Have Its Own Broadcasting Museum?

Thank you Dale. 
rockradioscrapbook.ca is a testament to your love and dedication to radio.
It's an honour to work with you on chumtrbite.com.

 

October 12, 2021 9:16 pm  #9


Re: Why Doesn't Canada Have Its Own Broadcasting Museum?

In pre-internet days I used to spend time at New York's Museum of Broadcasting (since renamed the Paley Center for Media) and watch tapes of old broadcasts I'd only read about. Lots of fun - but now I think everything I went to see is now on YouTube. That being said, there should be more of an effort to put classic Canadian television up on YouTube or Gem in the case of old series that still have residual agreements attached to them. CBC's online archives are great but only scratch the surface and almost entirely news and public affairs clips. It would be great to be able to (re)watch old episodes of the Beachcombers or King of Kensignton or Canadian tv movies and specials. 

 

October 12, 2021 10:16 pm  #10


Re: Why Doesn't Canada Have Its Own Broadcasting Museum?

Doug Thompson wrote:

Thank you Dale. 
rockradioscrapbook.ca is a testament to your love and dedication to radio.
It's an honour to work with you on chumtrbite.com.

Thank you Doug.

Be sure to check out the DJ Hall of |Fame on the CHUM site, updated every Monday. Over 230 airchecks and counting!

http://rockradioscrapbook.ca/chumtribute-djhof.html






 

Last edited by Dale Patterson (October 12, 2021 10:16 pm)


"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram
 

October 13, 2021 12:37 pm  #11


Re: Why Doesn't Canada Have Its Own Broadcasting Museum?

While working at the "corpse" I suggested to a senior manager that I expected CBC's museum  to be much larger.  He clarified that the "whole place is an effing museum".