George Balcan (1931-2004)
Member of CAB Hall of Fame
Balcan, George (1931-2004)
For 30 years, as the Morning Man at CJAD, George Balcan ruled the airwaves in Montreal.Born in St. Boniface, Manitoba in 1931, George Balcaen moved with his parents to Dauphin, where on finishing his high school education, he took a job with the engineering department of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Local radio came to Dauphin in 1951, and George, as CKDM's first hired announcer, launched his 50-year career in broadcasting. With the experience gained at CKDM, George made the leap to Winnipeg and the morning slot on CKY. But there were larger markets to conquer, and in December 1956, George made the big move to Ontario and joined the announcing staff at CKOC Hamilton.
In 1963, Standard Radio's Mac McCurdy in Montreal stole him away, and in no time at all George Balcan (he dropped the 'e' shortly after joining CJAD) reigned supreme as the Morning Man at radio station CJAD, a position he held until his retirement in 1998. While radio was his chosen medium, he did enjoy a successful stint in television at CFCF-TV from 1973 to 1975.
If, in Montreal, there was a "Man About Town", it was George Balcan: he was everywhere - attending festivals, opening art galleries, and fund-raising for local projects. He was also a gifted artist, and not only reflected communities in his broadcasts, but in sketches that he made while participating in their events.
George never gave up his love for art. Some of his works have graced the walls of the National Gallery in Ottawa He was a member of the Pastel Society of Canada. In 1991, he and his family established the George Balcan Bursary of Canada at Concordia University, giving awards to students of fine arts. He also put his shoulder to many community efforts on behalf of the fight against breast cancer and for juvenile diabetes research.
In 1996, with the approval of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second, Sovereign of the Order of Canada, George Balcan was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in recognition of his many services to his country.
He passed away May 4, 2004.
Posthumously, in 2005, George Balcan was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame.
Written by J. Lyman Potts - October, 2005