Stewart MacPherson (1909-1995)
Pioneer - Member of CAB Hall of Fame
MacPherson, Stewart (1909-1995)
A Canadian who once beat Winston Churchill in the London Daily Mail's "Voice of the Year" poll, Stewart MacPherson, was better-know to the people of the British Isles then in his own country. His brilliant career In broadcasting overseas followed a 23-day voyage to England working on a cattleboat - a trip he made in search of a job.
Hoping to find a position with a newspaper, MacPherson failed and had to take a job selling shoes. Responding to a BBC search for a hockey commentator, his familiarity with the players and the game impressed the BBC officials, and he joined the staff in 1937. Stewart branched out from hockey to cover bicycling and boxing. and such events as the Lord Mayor's Show and (back in Canada) the Royal Tour. During WW II, he was invited to join the BBC's war reporting unit, arriving after a brief stint in Canada just in time for the blitz. Assigned to the RAF, he filed a notable account of the raid over Cologne, then switched to the ground war as the invasion of Europe began.
After the war, MacPherson became a media star as a free-lancer. One of his most remembered programs was TWENTY QUESTIONS, for which he was moderator. At the peak of his popularity, and because of pressure from his wife and family and the encouragement of CBS's Ed Morrow, he returned to North America and a job at the CBS station in Minneapolis, WCCO. When CBS decided to sell WCCO in 1960, MacPherson declined their offer of a move to Los Angeles, went back to Winnipeg and took up TV broadcasting on CJAY-TV - conducting talk shows, covering political conventions and reading the late evening news. He is remembered for his daily editorial - "Stew's Views".
In 1994. on the 50th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, he recalled how he landed on "D" Day +1 with a job to be done. Looking back an his career, MacPherson claimed he had only two regrets - that he had reported boxing (which actually had made him a household name) and that he had not moved to Britain earlier and stayed longer.
In 1989, Stewart MacPherson was inducted into the CAB's Broadcast Hall of Fame.
He died in 1995.
Written by J. Lyman Potts - January, 1997