Year Born: 1917
Year Died: 2004
Duffield, George (1917-2004)
George Duffield’s radio career began when he joined the staff of the Sunwapta Broadcasting Company in Edmonton on April 19, 1943 and wound-up when he retired on January 31, 1982 .. 38 years and 10 months later. His sole employer was Dick Rice, himself a pioneer, who had built and put Edmonton’s first radio station on the air in 1922 and then, in 1934 formed Sunwapta Broadcasting and went on to own and operate 2 radio stations and Edmonton’s first TV station.
George remained with the radio division where he had begun as a CFRN-AM announcer-operator – a role that expanded to include the editing of radio news and the production of electrically-transcribed radio commercials and programs- In 1945, he was appointed Broadcast Manager. In 1961, he was named Production Manager. In 1967 – Operations and Assistant Manager. In 1972, and until his retirement, George took on the management of CFRN-FM (later changed to CKXM -FM).
While separate (from AM) programming was not permitted until 1961, George was no stranger to the new medium. He proudly recalled being a member of the CFRN team that organized and gave the first demonstration of FM broadcasting from the Jasper Park Ballroom to the delegates attending the 1946 Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Convention, in their cottages surrounding the famous entertainment mecca.
His broadcasting assignments became cherished opportunities to meet national and international celebrities — among them Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, Eleanor Roosevelt. and the man who acted as Field Marshall Montgomery’s “double: during WW II; also entertainment celebrities such as Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Mart Kenney and Bobby Gimby.
Over the years, George brought many new people into broadcasting and gave them the coaching that helped them to achieve success in the electronic media.. As one of the few survivors of early Edmonton radio, George was the ideal person to research and compile in 1996 a Chronology of the First Radio Broadcasting Stations in Edmonton.
A highly respected member of the CAB’s Half-Century Club, George was one of the founders of the Edmonton Broadcasters’ Club
George Duffield passed away in April of 2004 at the age of 87.
Written by J. Lyman Potts – July, 2004