Pioneer of 24 Hour TV Passes Away

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Pioneer of 24 Hour TV Passes Away

Postby jon » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:23 pm

Geoff Stirling brought the world to Newfoundland and Labrador
ST. JOHN’S — The Canadian Press
Published Monday, Dec. 23 2013, 6:54 PM EST
Last updated Monday, Dec. 30 2013, 8:41 PM EST

Newfoundland and Labrador broadcasting icon Geoff Stirling was remembered as a trailblazer who instilled confidence in the province’s residents with his larger-than-life personality over his half-century career.

Television station NTV said on Sunday that Mr. Stirling, the man who founded the outlet, died over the weekend. He was 92.

Born in St. John’s in 1921, Mr. Stirling is known for having founded multiple media outlets in Newfoundland and Labrador, including the Sunday Herald in 1946 and the province’s first provincial television station, CJON-TV, in 1955. It later became known as the NTV network. He also started the first FM radio station in Newfoundland, now known as OZ-FM.

John Steele, president of Steele Communications in St. John’s, said Mr. Stirling was a man who “marched to the beat of his own drum.”

“He was a trailblazer. He was a guy who always thought outside the box,” said Mr. Steele of his former broadcasting competitor, adding that he first met Mr. Stirling as a child. “How many people have an influence for 50 years? He sustained it all that time. It’s quite remarkable.”

Mr. Stirling was eccentric, but he wore it on his sleeve, Mr. Steele said. He said Mr. Stirling practised mysticism and studied with gurus in India at one point.

“He wasn’t afraid to go out and explore the world and bring it back to [Newfoundland and Labrador],” said Mr. Steele, adding that Mr. Stirling was also the first to introduce 24-hour television in North America. “He was a guy that instilled confidence in Newfoundland and Labradorians.”

Mr. Steele said Mr. Stirling once wrote a letter to John Lennon. “He said, ‘You said to come together, well here I am.’ And he left his name and number. John Lennon got in touch with him,” he said, adding that Mr. Stirling ended up conducting a series of interviews with the former Beatle. “Everybody’s got a Geoff Stirling story.”

Mr. Steele said many residents of Mr. Stirling’s home province feel a special connection to him. “If you’re not from here, you probably don’t totally understand that. But in Newfoundland and Labrador, he was larger than life.”

As news of Mr. Stirling’s death became known Sunday, people took to Twitter to voice their condolences and praise for his contributions to Newfoundland and Labrador.

“RIP Geoff Stirling. A true Newfoundland media icon and pioneer,” tweeted a person who posted under the name Steven Davis.

“The loss of a great NLer,” tweeted a person who posted under the name Terry McDonald. “A media visionary, and seeker of truth, unafraid of the slings and arrows. RIP Geoff Stirling.”

Outside of Newfoundland, Mr. Stirling was involved in broadcasting enterprises in Quebec, Ontario and the United States. A radio station he founded in Montreal eventually became CHOM-FM and remains a popular classic rock station in the city.

Mr. Stirling is a member of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador.
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Re: Pioneer of 24 Hour TV Passes Away

Postby jon » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:26 pm

24 Hour Television is a relatively recent thing here in Edmonton. It would have been about 1986 when CFRN-TV became Edmonton's first 24 hour station.

According to CCF, Newfoundland's CJON-TV went 24 hours in 1972!

And, to think that, barely more than 10 years prior, CBUT-TV used to sign on in the late afternoon in the summer, air some children's programming, then run test pattern for 30-60 minutes, before starting the evening's programming
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Re: Pioneer of 24 Hour TV Passes Away

Postby PicturesForYourEars » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:45 pm

I almost went to work for Mr. Stirling on his dude ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona in '72.

I remember his 24 hour television network on CJON/CJOX/CJCN television province-wide network
He bought in Dave Patrick and his entire family from Montreal to do a live breakfast show,
and his world's first free rein, offf the wall, all-night video show was hosted by Gabriel Wisdom and CHOM's Earl Jive!

Mr. Stirling was a visionary YEARS ahead of his time.

For example he paid for Judo lessons for anybody and EVERYBODY interested in his radio/TV group that I worked at.

Not unusual THESE days to be sure, but Mr. Stirling's thinking outside the box was...

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