Dave Wright (Canadian broadcaster)

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Dave Wright (May 18, 1928 – February 17, 2011), born in Toronto, Ontario, was a Canadian broadcaster.

Wright started his broadcasting career in 1950 at CHNO in Sudbury, Ontario but soon moved to CKBB in Barrie as sportscaster and play by play announcer for the Barrie Flyers of the Ontario Hockey Association Junior A league. Wright moved to television in 1954 when he joined CHCH-TV in Hamilton.

In 1956 Wright freelanced with CBC Television’s public affairs programs Canadian Magazine and See it Now, as well as the Dominion Network's This is Canada. From 1958 to 1972, as a program consultant, Wright managed radio stations in Kitchener, Cornwall, Toronto and Montreal.

He returned to announcing in 1972 as sports director for CHUM radio in Toronto. In 1976, CHUM management moved him to Halifax, Nova Scotia to host a two hour morning talk show called the Hotline on CJCH. A few years later, Wright added co-hosting duties of CJCH-TV's supper time newscast and news magazine I-D (In-Depth) to his workload.[1] Wright would host The Hotline and read the noon news during the day and then prepare for and host I-D at night. I-D eventually became The Notebook with Dave Wright and Wright produced and hosted that program.[1] The Notebook was ATV's first move into regional news programs.[1] Wright left CJCH radio in 1981 to focus on television full-time and this move gave Wright the opportunity to take The Notebook on the road, reporting from places such as Rome and London and communities across the Maritimes.[2]

In September 1982, The Notebook evolved into the hour long Live at 5 news magazine. The program was part of the first ninety minute block of news in Canadian television. Wright insisted there be no anchor desk, so he could walk around the ATV newsroom introducing reports and debriefing reporters at their desks. This casual, conversational approach, unique in television at the time, made Live at 5 the highest rated television news program in Atlantic Canada. Wright also produced and hosted a weekly half hour interview program, The Wright Way, as well as a number of award winning documentaries.

In 1986, American television talent head-hunters, while on a fishing trip to New Brunswick, saw Wright’s unique approach to delivering the news and he was approached by several US stations. Although fifty-eight years old at the time, Wright signed a two year contract with WNEV, the CBS affiliate in Boston, Massachusetts, to co-anchor the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts. In 1987, Wright suffered a heart attack and underwent quadruple bypass surgery. He arranged to have his ordeal video taped and later produced and hosted the documentary From the Heart, which later earned an Emmy Award nomination.

On his return, the station attempted to copy the ATV Live at 5 format with Wright as co-host. During this time, with his Canadian passport offering easier access, he was sent to Iran to produce and host a documentary on the Iran–Iraq War then later to Egypt to produce and host a documentary on ancient Egypt as a lead in to the Ramesses the Great exhibit at the Boston Museum. Although Live at Five was doing well in the ratings, Wright was frustrated by producer rivalry within the newsroom, so at the end of his contract he decided to retire and return to Toronto.

The day after his furniture arrived from Boston, CHUM management called and asked Wright to return to ATV, this time as anchor of the ATV Evening News, albeit, with a significantly lessened studio workload, due to his heart troubles. He enjoyed originating his newscast at the scene of a major stories, not only regionally, but also internationally - Berlin during the collapse of the Berlin Wall and from various locations during the first Gulf War.

On April 8, 1993, at the age of 65, Wright, suffering from depression, announced his retirement and with his wife Audrey, who he married in 1952, returned to rejoin the family in Barrie, Ontario.

Death[edit]

Wright died after a long battle with cancer, on February 17, 2011 at his home in Barrie, Ontario. The announcement was made by his son, Gord on Wright's Facebook page. Wright was 82 years old. Tributes came in from all over Canada and Wright's family were amazed at the amount of tributes their father had received. The night of his death, CTV Atlantic, devoted time on Live at 5 and CTV News At 6:00 to Wright's memory. CTV anchor Steve Murphy ended the newscast with a few personal words about Wright and Wright's sign-off, "And so it is recorded". This has been the only time Murphy has not said his own sign-off at the end of a newscast.

Honours[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Murphy, Steve. Live At 5: The Story Behind its Success. Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 2002. p. 7.
  2. ^ Murphy, Steve. Live At 5: The Story Behind its Success. Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 2002. p. 14.