Category:Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award
A pioneer of rock and roll, Allan parlayed his entrepreneurial flair with his knowledge of radio to create Canada’s largest privately owned multi-media company, Standard Broadcasting Corporation Limited.
Born in 1931, Allan hosted his own radio program, Spins and Needles, a late night jazz program, at age 16 at CHAB in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He moved to Edmonton in 1950, working his way up the ladder being appointed in 1956 as the National Sales Manager at CHED. There he came to the attention Allan Waters, owner of CHUM Radio in Toronto, who hired Allan to turn around the fortunes of his struggling station. Allan’s programming, promotions, and business acumen propelled CHUM into a household name. Allan left the station in 1966 to co-ordinate programming and sales of Radio Caroline, the infamous pirate radio station. He returned to Canada in 1967, to become the President and General Manager of Stephens and Towndrow.
In 1970, Allan established Slaight Communications and acquired radio stations CFGM in Toronto and CFOX in Montreal. In 1977, Allan launched a new rock and roll radio station, CILQ-FM, known as Q107, in Toronto.
In 1985, Slaight Communications sold CFGM and Q107, and purchased Standard Broadcasting Corporation Limited from Conrad Black. Under Allan’s leadership, Standard Broadcasting and Standard Radio grew from seven radio stations to a national network of over fifty. The Slaight’s sold Standard Broadcasting to Astral Media in 2007.
Radio was not Allan’s only passion. He served as a trustee of Women’s College Hospital (1978-1982), a director of the United Way of Greater Toronto (1979-1987), director of the Shaw Festival (1982-1988), a governor of York University (1986-1987), and a director of the Festival of Festival (1989-1993).
An inductee into the Broadcast Hall of Fame (1997), the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Commerce from Ryerson Polytechnic University (2000), appointed a Member of the Order of Canada (2001), the recipient of the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award (2005) for his contribution to the growth and development of the Canadian music industry, Allan has also maintained a life long interest in conjuring.