William N. “Bill” Hawkins (1919-2012)

William N. Bill Hawkins

Year Born: 1919Year Died: 2012


Hawkins, William N. “Bill” (1919- )

On March 1, 1940, Owen Sound’s first radio station began broadcasting with a staff of seven . Two of the seven went on to become the owner of a radio station. One of the two was Bill Hawkins.
Bill was  born in Owen Sound on October 4, 1919. He was a high school graduate. He came to CFOS with no broadcasting experience. He would learn on the job. The job – operator – announcer – commercial writer – radio time salesman. The initial weekly pay – $9.00.

CFOS was founded by the local newspaper – the Owen Sound Sun Times which was owned by the Fleming family. At 1370 on the dial,  it operated with 100 watts. Like some of the earlier pioneer stations, CFOS was on the air for most of the waking hours, but for a time, signed-off in the afternoon from 1.30 to 5.00 .

As would be demonstrated over succeeding years, Bill rose to meet all challenges. His first opportunity came sooner than expected when the manager left for the Canadian armed services and he was appointed acting manager. In 1949, Bill was appointed general manager – a position he occupied for 36 years.

When the Sun Times was sold to Southam newspapers, in 1969, Bill formed 
Grey and Bruce Broadcasting Limited (of which he was president) to purchase CFOS from the Fleming family. For the next 15 years, Bill went on to put his stamp on CFOS, re-investing constantly to make it one of the finest local radio stations in the country.

Over the years, Bill took on several roles within the broadcasting industry – notably as a director of the Board of the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM) – and within the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, as chairman the Copyright Committee which he headed for seven years, culminating in his receiving the CAB’s Distinguished Service Award.

Also, Bill had a clear vision of the Grey-Bruce region – its past, present and future, and the City of Owen Sound would not be what it became without him. He served his community in many capacities – among them – chair for the former General and Marine Hospital, the Victorian Order of Nurses, the Tom Thompson Memorial Gallery and Museum of Fine Art, and the building committee of the Owen Sound YM-YWCA.

In 1985, Bill Hawkins decided to retire. CFOS was sold to Doug Caldwell of the Caldwell Partners International. He then served for five years as chairman of the Board of Directors of the licensee – Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation.

Bill Hawkins died in 2012 at the age of 93.

Written by J. Lyman Potts CM – April, 2009