James Macdonald (1952-)

James Macdonald

Year Born: 1952

Year of Induction: 2004

Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Macdonald, James (1952- )

Jim Macdonald was born in Toronto on November 10th 1952, was educated at Trinity College School in Port Hope, and grew up in Ottawa and Washington D.C. before returning with his family to Toronto in 1969.

Jim came to broadcasting from the recording industry. After time as a band manager and partner in a booking agency, Canadian Talent Associates, in 1972 he went to work as Ontario Promotion Manager for London Records, and then Capitol Records, where he launched and subsequently became General Manager for Arista Records. He joined the Rogers broadcasting organisation in 1977 in retail sales at Toronto radio station CFTR-AM, and later became General Manager of the company’s production and syndication division, Rogers Broadcast Productions.

When Rogers acquired CFMT-TV in 1986, Jim moved into television for the first time, initially as Director of Operations and Station Manager, and later Vice President and Station Manager.  In 1994, Jim joined Western International Communications (WIC) as President and CEO of Niagara Television Limited, licensee of CHCH-TV, Hamilton. He became President and CEO of WIC Television and WIC Entertainment Group in 1996, and during his tenure was responsible for the acquisition by WIC of CFCF-TV and CJNT-TV Montreal.

Jim left WIC in 2000, when CanWest Global acquired the company, and in March of that year he joined BCE Media Ltd as Senior Vice-President and Chief Media Services Officer. In the ensuing months, Jim was closely involved in the development of the benefits package that would form an adjunct to BCE’s acquisition of the CTV Network (a package which included a significant grant to the Canadian Communications Foundation, which runs this website). 

Jim Macdonald left BCE in January 2001, when BCE had acquired CTV and created Bell Globemedia, and he then formed his own consulting practice to work primarily with clients in broadcasting and communications.

During his distinguished career to date, Jim has been Chairman of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, Chair of Canadian Digital Television, a Governor of the Banff Television Festival, and on the Boards of The Canadian Communications Foundation, Report on Business Television, the Television Bureau of Canada, Doctors Hospital, Chedokee-McMaster Hospital, and the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.  He was elected a Board member of the Ontario Association of Broadcasters, appointed a Trustee of the Kensington Health Centre, and a member of the National Board of LOVE (Leave Out Violence Everywhere).

In 1997, Jim Macdonald was the recipient of the Ontario Broadcasters’ Association’s Broadcaster of the Year Award.

In 2004, Jim Macdonald was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame.

Written by Pip Wedge – April, 2004