Bell Media Mourns the Death of Legendary CFRB Morning Man Wally Crouter
— March 28, 2016
– Crouter was CFRB’s beloved morning show host for 50 years, from 1946 to1996 –
TORONTO (March 28, 2016) – Bell Media extends its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of distinguished radio broadcaster Wally Crouter, a beloved morning host on CFRB (now NEWSTALK 1010) from 1946-1996. Crouter passed away today in Toronto at the age of 93.
With an illustrious career spanning half-a-century, “Crout” served multiple generations of radio listeners in a city that underwent massive growth and change during his 50 years on-air – the longest stint of its kind in Canadian radio history. His remarkable impact on the industry was recognized in 1996 when he was inducted as a Pioneer into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame.
“If you grew up in Toronto, chances are you grew up listening to Wally Crouter in the mornings. He was a constant,” said Mike Bendixen, Program Director, NEWSTALK 1010. “When Hurricane Hazel hit the city, it was Wally who spent six straight hours on air calmly guiding Torontonians through the devastation. While the city and the world around Wally were always changing, he was always the same old Wally – and to listeners, that was comforting.”
“The longevity of Wally’s career speaks to who he was as a broadcaster and person,” continued Bendixen. “Wally was a stalwart, a gentleman, and one heck of a storyteller. To say he left a lasting legacy on the city, on CFRB, and on Canadians, is an understatement. On behalf of all of Bell Media, we offer our heartfelt sympathies to the Crouter family, and we sadly bid farewell to a true pioneer of our industry. ”
Crouter entered radio after serving with the Canadian Army overseas during World War II. He began his radio career with CHEX in Peterborough before joining CFRB on November 1, 1946. He would go on to retire from the station 50 years later to the day in 1996 at the age of 73. His retirement was marked by a big party downtown, attended by 1,000 fans, held on what former Toronto Mayor Barbara Hall dubbed, “Wally Crouter Day”.
Then Prime Minister Jean Chretien and former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney took part in an on-air tribute honouring Crouter during his last shift, a special broadcast held at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in downtown Toronto. Crouter’s final show featured Gordon Lightfoot, Dick Duff, and Tony Bennett – underscoring Crouter’s impact, influence, and friendships in Canada and beyond.
In an interview with The Globe and Mail upon his retirement in 1996, Crouter summed up his personal approach to radio broadcasting:
“I always tried to put myself in the place of the listener…it’s the most personal time of the day. The radio is on while you’re doing your morning ablutions, getting dressed, having breakfast with the kids coming to the table…I’ve had a surgeon write me to tell me that, when he had three serious operations to do in a day, he started off by listening to my show so he could achieve the right relaxation and focus he needed.”
During his time with CFRB, Crouter ended his show with a thought for the day. Fittingly, his last show ended with:
“Forget yesterday, think about tomorrow, but live today. Thank you. Thank you.”
About Bell Media Radio
Bell Media Radio is Canada’s top-ranked radio broadcaster, with 106 licensed radio stations in 54 markets across Canada, including Virgin Radio, Canada’s #1 ranked contemporary hit radio network, along with top brands TSN, NRJ, CHUM FM, Rouge fm, and QMFM. Recognizing the diversity of each market it serves, Bell Media Radio has a strong reputation for providing exemplary service to these communities and is a leader in innovative programming. In addition to music, news, weather, and sports, listeners also tune in for information on local politics, events, entertainment, and other community issues. Across Canada, Bell Media Radio is the largest radio provider and is ranked first in people reached and hours tuned.