Douglas Graeme Bassett (1940-)

Douglas Graeme Bassett

Year Born: 1940

Year of Induction: 2005

Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Bassett, Douglas Graeme (1940- )

Douglas Graeme Bassett was born in Toronto on June 22nd 1940.  He was educated at Mitchell School Sherbrooke, Bishop’s College, Lennoxville, Upper Canada College, Toronto, and graduated from the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton in 1961.

He joined the Toronto Telegram that year in advertising sales, but a year later moved to Vancouver, where he worked for the James Lovick advertising agency as an account executive for two years. He returned to Toronto and to the Telegram in 1964, and after four years as Circulation Manager he moved to become Vice-President and General Manager, and later President, of Inland Publishing.

In 1978, Douglas became Vice-President and Managing Director of Baton Broadcasting and CFTO-Ltd., the flagship station of the CTV Network, and within two years he had replaced his father, John W.H. Bassett, as President and CEO of Baton Broadcasting Incorporated and of CFTO-TV.   In 1994 he became President and CEO of BBS (Baton Broadcasting System) Ontario Incorporated, and in the same year he was elected Chairman of the Board of CTV, a position he held for four years.

During his time with Baton/CFTO, Douglas played a strong leadership role in spearheaded Baton’s acquisition strategy, that eventually resulted in Baton owning several CTV affiliates across the country, and thereby acquiring control and then ownership of the CTV Network, a long-held goal for the Toronto company.

On September 1st 1996, Douglas stepped down from the Presidency of Baton Broadcasting to make way for his protégé, Ivan Fecan, who on resigning from the CBC in November 1993 had received a call from Douglas, inviting him to join the Baton group and develop new directions for its programming strategies.  Douglas remained on the Board of Baton as Vice-Chairman through 1998, and was Vice-Chairman of CTV Inc. (as Baton had been renamed) from 1998 to 2000.

Douglas made many significant contributions to community and charitable organizations, and served on the boards of many of them, including the World Wildlife Fund, The National Ballet of Canada, the Canadian Olympic Foundation, The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Mount Sinai Hospital and the Arthritis Society, Ontario Division.

Douglas was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1991, and was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 1995.He was promoted to Knight of Grace of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in 1994.  In 2002 he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal.  His humanitarian activities earned him the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews’ Human Relations Award in 1986, and the Beth Shalom Brotherhood Humanitarian Award in 1987.

In November 2005, Douglas Graeme Bassett was inducted into the CAB Hall of Fame.

Written by Pip Wedge – October, 2005