Geoff Stirling

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Geoffrey William Stirling ONL (March 22, 1921 – December 21, 2013) was a Newfoundland businessman and media magnate.

Life[edit]

Stirling was born on March 22, 1921 in St. John's to father Edgar Stiling and Ethel (Uphill) Stirling.[1]

Stirling was a co-founder in the Economic Union Party, a late-1940s political movement that sought closer ties to the United States for the dominion of Newfoundland, which, at that time, was still independent from Canada.[2] It was one of two organizations that unsuccessfully opposed the dominion's confederation into Canada, which eventually occurred in 1949.

Media businesses[edit]

Along with other members of his family, Stirling owned several media outlets in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador under the corporate brand Stirling Communications International.[3] Specifically, these properties are independent television station CJON-DT; radio station CHOZ-FM; and the Newfoundland Herald, a weekly news, gossip and TV listings magazine.

Stirling pioneered many television firsts in North America. CJON-TV (NTV) was the first in Newfoundland to air programs in colour.[1] CJON-TV became the first station to broadcast 24 hours a day in 1972.

Stirling was also the founder of CKGM, an English-language radio station in Montreal. in 1959. He owned the station until 1985.[4]

Personal views[edit]

Stirling is regarded as an eccentric for both the way in which he managed his businesses, and for how he used his media outlets to promote a variety of personal interests such as eastern mysticism and intestinal health.[5][6][7] For example, he devoted many hours of, often unscheduled, broadcast time to conversations with gurus such as Ram Dass and Swami Shyam and to a variety of esoteric subjects ranging from pyramids to unidentified flying objects, a practice which continues today as the station is run by his son G. Scott Stirling. Geoff's grandson, Jesse is the host of the CJON interview program "Meetings with Remarkable People". Many of his past interviews and archives can be seen currently on CJON on Saturday mornings from 2 to 4 AM Newfoundland time, under the name "Captain Atlantis Late Night". When he watched his own television station he would sometimes phone Master Control to order that a favorite tape immediately preempt the current broadcast, or, that the technician apply a particular effect to the screen.

Stirling appeared in the 1974 documentary film Waiting for Fidel about a trip he made to Cuba along with former Newfoundland premier Joey Smallwood and director Michael Rubbo. The trio never met the Cuban leader. Many segments of the program involve Smallwood and Stirling discussing what they would like to ask Castro whenever the expected meeting happens. Some of the dialogue occurs while Stirling is demonstrating yoga and standing on his head while conversing with Smallwood.[8]

Stirling supervised the creation of the graphic novel Atlantis featuring the superheroes Captain Atlantis (a.k.a. Captain Newfoundland) and Captain Canada, drawing on elements of Canadian history as well as New Age philosophy. Captain Canada has become a mascot for the NTV station and has appeared in television programs, commercials, and numerous public events.

Later life[edit]

In 2001 Stirling was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame and in 2009, was awarded the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. In his later years, Stirling split his time between Torbay, Newfoundland and Labrador, and his ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona, where he once owned Wickenburg radio station KSWG. Stirling died at the age of 92 on December 21, 2013.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "'Mystical' businessman Geoff Stirling saw future in TV". 24 January 2014. 
  2. ^ David Clark MacKenzie (1 January 1986). Inside the Atlantic Triangle: Canada and the Entrance of Newfoundland Into Confederation, 1939-1949. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-2587-6. 
  3. ^ SCI is not a single legal entity but rather refers collectively to Newfoundland Broadcasting Company Ltd., The Sunday Herald Ltd., and associated holding companies.
  4. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (1 December 1984). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 68–. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  5. ^ "N.L. broadcasting icon Geoff Stirling dead at 92". 14 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Michael Nolan (2001). CTV, the Network that Means Business. University of Alberta. pp. 75–. ISBN 978-0-88864-384-1. 
  7. ^ "Geoff Stirling, TV Man and Cosmic Guru, Was the Weirdest Man Who Ever Lived (in Newfoundland)". 22 September 2016. 
  8. ^ Rubbo, Michael (1974). "Waiting for Fidel". NFB.ca. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  9. ^ "NL Broadcasting Icon Geoff Stirling Dead at 92". VOCM. December 22, 2013. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2013. 

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