Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award 1999

WINNER

Allan Waters

Category:

Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award

Year:

1999

Honouring the “quiet man” of Canadian Broadcasting

 

It’s not that he’s anything by moved by his induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. It’s just that taking the spotlight is simply something he doesn’t like to do.

Allan Waters is described, rightly, as a broadcasting visionary, innovator, and pioneer. He has always been a generous supporter of every facet of the Canadian music industry, since he purchased the legendary Toronto radio station, 1050 CHUM, back in 1954.

Back then, he worked as a pharmaceutical salesman for a company that was based in the downtown Toronto building that went on to house the legendary RCA Studios, and which is now McClear Place. When the company’s owner wanted to divest himself of the business, Allan Waters wanted to buy it. “No way,” said the owner, “but I have this little radio station, you can buy that.”

So he did, and the part-time dawn-to-dusk station has since burgeoned into a media colossus that includes 24 radio stations, six TV outlets, the CHUM Radio Network, and MuchMusic, MuchMoreMusic, MusiquePlus, MusiMax, the Space Channel, Access Alberta, Bravo! And Pulse 24.

Now in his mid-’70s, “Mr. Waters” – as everyone in his organization calls him – still works every day, is described as a “people person” who knows everyone in the CHUM offices, gets “antsy” when he’s on vacation and often comes back early so he can go back to work, and his highly uncomfortable with public praise.

Said one of his colleagues, himself uncomfortable talking about a man he deeply admires: “His whole life is this broadcasting division; this is where he wants to be, this is what he loves to do.”

Allan Waters is, in fact, a private person who believes that any credit he receives should really be given to the men and women who work for the CHUM group. And that’s why, in all likelihood, you’ll see his award accepted by his son, Jim Waters, president of the CHUM Group’s radio group.

Said a colleague: “That’s just Mr. Waters’ style!”