Leslie “Les” Horton (1904-1980)

Leslie "Les" Horton

Year Born: 1904

Year Died: 1980

Year of Induction: 1985

Pioneer – Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Horton, Leslie “Les” (1904-1980)

Leslie Horton had his finger on the pulse of radio and audio technology from its inception. Les started his career by selling radios in the early twenties in Toronto. He was hired by Wentworth Radio and Auto Supply in Hamilton, Ontario, the licensee of CKOC which first went on the air in 1922.

At CKOC he became the Chief Engineer, a position he took on because of his technical understanding of radio equipment. In the 1920s, records were not used extensively, which meant that CKOC broadcast music and plays “live”.

Over the next 50 years, the station increased its transmission power from 20 watts, to 50 watts, to 100 watts, to 1,000 watts, to 10,000 watts and then 50,000 watts. Les attended to the moves of CKOC’s studios four times, and in 1976 had the foresight to equip CKOC’s control room and transmitter for the ultimate arrival of AM Stereo. Following retirement, Les remained as consultant to CKOC.

Acclaimed in 1979 by the Central Canada Broadcast Engineers’ Association as their “Engineer of the Year”, when CKOC launched its new FM station in 1986, in Les’ honour, the call letters chosen were CKLH.

Les Horton died in 1980.

In 1985, posthumously, Les Horton was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame.

Written by J. Lyman Potts – September, 1996