Dr. Noel Francis Murphy (1915-2005)

Dr. Noel Francis Murphy

Year Born: 1915

Year Died: 2005

Year of Induction: 1984

Pioneer – Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Murphy, Dr. Noel Francis (1915-2005)

After a stint of six months studying electrical engineering at Boston’s MIT, Noel Murphy chose a different vocation and entered The London Hospital, London, England in 1933 and graduated in 1942. He joined the RAFVR in 1943 and served as Medical Officer with the 125 (Newfoundland) Squadron until 1945, when he was discharged with the rank of Flight-Lieutenant. Returning to Newfoundland, he was appointed Medical Officer-in-Charge of the Bonne Bay Cottage Hospital. From there, he moved to Cornerbrook and set up private practice. He retired from the active practice of medicine in 1972.

But the doctor was just what the patient people of Cornerbrook ordered in 1957 when they successfully approached him to join a group which was about to apply for a TV station there. He joined enthusiastically as an investor and was surprised to find himself elected President of the newly-formed company.

Their TV station bid was denied, but they did succeed in getting a radio licence, and CFCB Cornerbrook went on the air in October 1960. Noel Murphy, over the ensuing years directed the growth of the Company, so that by 1975, it had ten stations – seven on Newfoundland’s west coast and three in Labrador – of the ten, five being originating stations, four FM rebroadcasters and one a directional AM rebroadcaster. Dr. Murphy was successful in getting the CRTC to change its policy so that FM frequencies could be used as re-broadcasters (of AM programs) when no AM frequency was available.

Like other pioneers, Noel Murphy’s interest in radio began with the crystal set. While at school in England in the late 20s, he used the mattress spring in his bed as an aerial and the nearby water-pipe as a ground. During the war, he converted a portable radio receiver to a “foreign-body locator”, and successfully used it to find shrapnel and bullets in patients. It was during his time at Bonne Bay Cottage Hospital that he and his wife became very aware of the importance of radio to the isolated parts of Newfoundland

His interest was also whetted by the fact that his grandfather. the Hon. J.J. (Gambe Jack) Murphy had founded radio station VONF in St. Johns, although his family had refused to accept that radio was a suitable occupation.

Dr, Murphy played a very active part in Provincial and Municipal Affairs, serving for four years in the Legislative Assembly, and eleven years as the Mayor of Cornerbrook. He held several memberships in local service organizations and committees, and a number of national organizations.

Industry-wise, Dr. Murphy, a former President of the Association of Atlantic Broadcasters, also served as a Director of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters and the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement In 1984, the AAB named him the Broadcaster of the Year.

In 1984, Dr. Noel Murphy was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame.  He became a Member of the Order of Canada in 1988.  He died in Corner Brook on March 10th 2005 at the age of 89.

Written by J. Lyman Potts – May, 1997