Douglas E. M. Allen (1923-2010)

Douglas E. M. Allen

Year Born: 1923

Year Died: 2010

Year of Induction: 2006

Pioneer – Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Allen, Douglas E. M. (1923-2010)

Doug Allen served the world of broadcast engineering with distinction for more than 50 years, winning many well-deserved honours.

Born in Winnipeg on June 11th 1923, Doug first developed an interest in radio at age ten when a family friend, and fellow broadcast pioneer Darby Coats gave him a crystal set. Coats, who was then ‘Mr. Everything’ at CKY in Winnipeg, also taught Doug Morse Code when he joined the sea cadets in 1939.  On reaching 17, Doug Allen joined the Royal Canadian Navy and served as a wireless communications officer on a number of different ships, most notably on convoy duty across the Atlantic.

Following his discharge from the navy in 1948, Doug studied electrical engineering at the University of Manitoba. After his first year in Engineering, Doug had his first contact with broadcast engineering legend Bert Hooper at CKRC. Hooper had a job opening he was trying to fill at the radio station, and Doug was one of the unsuccessful applicants. During his three years of studying he took summer jobs at the CBC in Winnipeg.

After graduating, Doug was hired by RCA Victor in Montreal to work in their Broadcast Engineering Group.  He became manager of the Group prior to transferring back to Winnipeg in 1959. As a senior representative of the company, he had a major role in outfitting Winnipeg’s first private TV station, CJAY-TV which went on the air in November 1960 (now CTV Manitoba).
Doug left the employ of RCA in 1963 and set up a private consulting practice. His firm was incorporated as D.E.M. Allen and Associates Ltd. Over the next forty years, he did work for a majority of the radio and TV outlets in western Canada.

He also did work for the federal Department of Communications (later Industry Canada) and the CRTC. As a result of his participation on a number of committees of government and industry, Doug was selected to serve on the Panel of Experts and as a delegate to the Region 2 MF Broadcasting Conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1981. He was directly involved in the preparation of proposals relating to the use of the RF spectrum. Through his company, Doug also worked on projects in the U.S., the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand and other countries.

Doug retired in January 2003, a few months before his 80th birthday. He received a lengthy list of honours during his career from many professional groups in Canada, among them,  the Bob Lamb Award from the Western Association of Broadcast Engineers, a lifetime achievement award from the Broadcasters Association of Manitoba, as well as ‘Ambassador Awards’ from two regional associations of broadcast engineers.

A lifelong ski enthusiast, in the mid-1970s, Doug began working with groups teaching skiing to disabled children and adults. It was for these efforts, as well as his contributions to broadcasting that, in 1986, Doug Allen was appointed to the Order of Canada. 

In November 2006, Doug Allen was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame.

Doug Allen passed away on January 17th 2010 in Winnipeg.

Written by Ross McCreath – February, 2006