Phyllis Switzer (1931-1989)

Year Born: 
1931
Year Died: 
1989
Year of Induction: 
1999

Pioneer - Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Switzer, Phyllis (1931-1989)

Phyllis Switzer's professional career began as a print journalist. In the late 60s, she moved to television as the first information officer for the Canadian Cable Television Association.

In 1971, convinced that Toronto needed a locally-oriented television station, Phyllis applied to the CRTC for a licence. The licence was granted in her name, and CITY-TV became a reality, signing-on in 1972. A member of the board of directors, Phyllis became Senior Vice-President of Programming and Community Relations. In fact, between 1973 and 1982, she did virtually everything but engineering and accounting.

Moving to First Choice Television in 1982 as Senior Vice-President of Programming, Phyllis Switzer was instrumental in launching Canada's first national pay-TV movie channel. Her expertise was called upon once again in the development of yet a third major start-up in Canadian broadcasting history. In 1984, she was appointed Managing Director of CTV's Host Broadcast Unit for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.

Unfortunately, illness forced a withdrawal from her active role in television, and Phyllis died in 1989. One of Canada's first television industry visionaries, Phyllis Switzer is remembered as a mentor and role model to all Canadian women in broadcasting and films who followed in her footsteps.

Posthumously, in 1999, Phyllis Switzer was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame.

On December 2, 2002, Phyllis’s son Jay Switzer, the President of CHUM Television, was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of CHUM Ltd, succeeding CHUM’s founder, Allan Waters.

Written by J. Lyman Potts - December, 2002

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