Year Born: 1906
Year Died: 1983
Pioneer – Member of CAB Hall of Fame
Edwards, Charles B. (1906-1983)
Career newsman – BN General Manager
Born in Winnipeg and raised in Moose Jaw and Regina, Charlie Edwards began his news career as a sports writer for the Winnipeg Free Press. During the depression years, he worked for the Canadian National Railways, drove a taxi, sold vacuum cleaners, worked at a racetrack parimutuel window and did public relations work before obtaining a six-week, one-shot job covering curling for Canadian Press.
He remained with CP, and was posted to Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Toronto. In 1944, he became head of Press News, the forerunner of Broadcast News Ltd. When BN was formed in 1954, Charlie was named its manager and secretary, and in 1966 was appointed general manager and secretary, a position he retained until retirement in 1971.
Throughout his career with Press News and BN, Charlie travelled from coast-to-coast in his never-ending attempts to raise the standards of broadcast journalism, and to this end, instituted annual regional meetings of broadcast news directors.
Charlie pioneered the first national service of voiced news reports for broadcasters in 1956. Earlier, in 1945, he directed the formation of a French-language radio news service. Three years later, he introduced “CP Picture” – a telecommunication delivery of a service originally mailed to newspapers. And, in 1961 – the establishment of “BN Voice”, a complete national and international service,
Charlie Edwards was the driving force behind the formation of the Radio-Television News Directors Association of Canada.
The CAB cited Charlie in 1968 for his vision and dedication. In 1970, the CCBA named him “Broadcaster of the Year”. He received Honorary Life Membership in the CAB, was a life member of RTNDA, and was honoured by the National Press Gallery of Ottawa in 1971 for his outstanding contribution to the news field in Canada.
To perpetuate his memory, the Radio-Television News Directors Association named its awards for spot-news reporting “Charlie”. Further recognition came with his induction into the Canadian News Hall of Fame. Also, he was the 6th recipient of the RTNDA International Distinguished Service Award which was presented to him in Boston in 1971. The citation said that the award was reserved for:
“those whose leadership in words and in action has notably strengthened the freedoms of broadcast journalism so that its ability to contribute to democratic experience has been significantly defended or markedly advanced”
In 1985, Charlie Edwards entered the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame.
Written by J. Lyman Potts – February, 1996