John Majhor (1954-2007)
Member of CAB Hall of Fame
Majhor, John (1954- )
John Majhor certainly earned a place in Canadian broadcasting history as the country's first "live" Video Jockey, but he also did so much more.
John was born in San Bernardino, California in 1954. After living in Ohio, Tennessee, and in South Dakota, where he moved up from college radio to local station KVRA, John was working for WAPE in Jacksonville, Florida in 1975 when he heard about a possible job at a radio station in Toronto, and immediately applied. J. Robert Wood, then Program Director at CHUM in Toronto, was so impressed with John's voice and style that he hired him. John immediately became part of CHUM's powerful jock line-up at the age of 22, and only two years after first getting into radio.
In 1978, he joined CHUM's Sunday night "9 O'Clock Rock" show, where he took over as the primary host the next year. John stayed with that show until 1984, while continuing his daily DJ shifts, which at one time or another included doing the station's morning show and its early evening drive show. He was also the station's prime rock interviewer, talking with scores of major rock stars during their visits to Toronto. During this time, John became a Canadian citizen.
In late 1983, he became Canada's first video jockey in a pre-taped commercial Music Video show, Video Singles, for Toronto's CFMT-TV. Then in 1984 he became Canada's first "live" vee-jay on the groundbreaking show "Toronto Rocks", for CITY-TV. John's knowledge of the latest hits, combined with his wit, charm and engaging personality, made the show an instant hit, and turned John into an even bigger star.
After a format change at CHUM, John moved to Los Angeles for a while, working at KLAC radio for two years before moving back to television to host Aaron Spelling's syndicated After Hours late night talk show. He then became Primary host for the new E! Entertainment cable network, before returning to his radio roots at KCBS-FM in L.A.
By 1991, John was back in Toronto, first to host the morning show on CJEZ-FM, and then to work for a while for CFRB talk radio. By 1993 John had returned to CITY-TV, this time hosting their Lunch Television daily show. When the show ended, he freelanced at CHFI-FM, did commercial work and was the promo voice of 680 News. He also did 68 episodes as co-host with Susan Hay of Prime Network's Bon Voyage travel series.
In 1999 John returned to the U.S. where, in addition to continuing to demonstrate his talent as a radio and television broadcaster, he showed that he was an engineering visionary. He was the co-inventor of a US patent for internet-based independent programming of radio stations customized to the needs of their community. John was also one of the early proponents of internet radio.
Shortly before his diagnosis of cancer in the summer of 2006, John became the ID/Promo voice for the Aboriginal Voices Radio Network in Toronto. The program service used John's voice across their network from Vancouver to Montreal from mid-2006 until January 2008, a full year after his death in January 2007.
John Majhor was a unique and natural talent who graced Toronto throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s. His passion for entertaining and engaging his radio and television audiences was palpable. Not only was he respected and appreciated by listeners, viewers and fellow broadcasters, John also had the respect of all those he met and interviewed, becoming lifelong friends with many of those whose paths he crossed. He was a consummate professional, an innovative programmer, and a person who was passionately committed to his community and his fellow citizens.
In November 2008, John Majhor was inducted posthumously into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Hall of Fame.
Written by Pip Wedge - October, 2008