D. Malcolm Neill (1915-2000)

D. Malcolm Neill

Year Born: 1915

Year Died: 2000

Year of Induction: 1987

Pioneer – Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Neill, D. Malcolm (1915-2000)

Malcolm Neill, as were a number of other career broadcasters, was “born” into a radio broadcasting family. His father, J. Stewart Neill, himself a member of the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame, started his pioneer radio station in his Fredericton, N.B. home in January of 1923 with the call sign “10-AD” (later “CFNB”). For Malcolm, radio became a full-time way of life.

Upon completion of his formal education at Bishop’s College School and with his radio apprenticeship behind him, Malcolm’s dad, to broaden the young man’s education, arranged a position for him at the CBC in Toronto. His first job was classified as “office boy”. He quickly made it to the CBC’s commercial department and a transfer to the Station Relations Division under Horace N. Stovin (the pioneer and founder in 1922 of 10-AT Unity, Saskatchewan).

After rising to the position of Assistant Supervisor of Station Relations in 1945 (then under Jack Radford), Malcolm was recalled to Fredericton to take over the operations of CFNB. One of his first initiatives resulted in the reactivation of the defunct Maritime Broadcasters Association (MAB) – later to be re-named the Atlantic Association of Broadcasters (AAB).

In 1947, Malcolm was elected the MAB’s representative on the Board of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) and served with distinction for 7 consecutive years, during which period he became President in 1950, Chairman of the Board in 1951 and again in 1953.

In 1958, under strong pressure from the CAB Directors, Malcolm returned to the Board as a director, and was immediately elected Chairman. In resuming this role, he helped to steer the CAB through some particularly trying times in 1958 and 1959, when a new Broadcasting Act was proclaimed – a piece of legislation which recognized many of the changes for which the CAB had valiantly striven for many years – including the separate regulatory body for broadcasting – the Board of Broadcast Governors.

In the tenure of Malcolm’s management of Radio Atlantic, the station (at 550 on the dial), grew to become one of the most powerful private radio stations in Canada – achieving 50,000 watts in 1959.

Upon delegating the management of CFNB to Jack Fenety, Malcolm turned to other pastimes and interests, but continued as Canadian Private Broadcasting’s Ambassador to the Inter-American Association of Broadcasters (IAAB) until 1966, dutifully attending (oftentimes at his own expense) a series of IAAB directors meetings in various cities and countries throughout Latin America.

In 1981, CFNB was sold to the Eddy Family. In the gradual take-over of listener preference by FM, the switch on the 50-kw transmitter was pulled to “off” for the last time on June 11, 1996 – to be reincarnated as Capital FM 106.9 (CIBX-FM).

The contributions made to the development of broadcasting in the Maritimes and across Canada by D. Malcolm Neill and his father before him, may not be recorded in history books, but they are reflected in the service provided to Canadian listeners by the private radio stations of Canada. In 1987, Malcolm Neill was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame.

D. Malcolm Neill died March 28, 2000.

Written by J. Lyman Potts – September, 1996