Carl A. Pollock (1903-1978)

Carl A. Pollock

Year Born: 1903

Year Died: 1978

Year of Induction: 1986

Pioneer – Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Pollock, Carl A. (1903-1978)

Carl Pollock became interested in radio in his late teens when as a “Home D.J.”, he and a neighbour chum built a transmitter and played records to crystal sets in nearby homes.

Carl completed university, including a Rhodes scholarship, and his father, A.B. Pollock, head of Pollock Manufacturing Co., Ltd., who was a pioneer in the development of phonograph machines, seeing that the days of the acoustic (wind-up) phonograph were numbered, in 1929 set Carl up as the head of a new business, Grimes Radio. His experiments in broadcasting led him in 1940 to seek an AM licence. However, the CBC Board of Governors and the government felt that war work was more important and denied his application.

Persistence was rewarded shortly after the war in 1947 when Carl was successful in gaining an FM licence for Kitchener-Waterloo. It took until 1949 to put the (first) CFCA-FM on the air. This included buying Baden Hill, a promising transmitter site, followed by construction and preparation of studios.

FM was very new and there were few FM receivers, a problem that hard work could not overcome. In late 1951, CFCA closed down. Baden Hill came alive again on Christmas Eve 1953 when CKCO-TV first transmitted its test pattern.

CKCO-TV was owned by Central Ontario Television Limited – a partnership of Famous Players (50%), K-W Broadcasting-CKCR-Radio (25%) and C.A. Pollock (25%). Through a buy-sell agreement put in place by F-P, eventually, in 1970, C.A. Pollock gained 100% control of the company and passed it to his public company, Electrohome Limited.

On the opening day for CKCO-TV, on March 1, 1954, Carl Pollock demanded that the company seek a radio licence to return CFCA-FM to the air. Re-entry into radio did not occur until 1962, when the company purchased struggling CKKW-AM which had been started four years previously by a former CKCO news director, Allan Hodge. This led to the “second” CFCA-FM in 1965. The two stations joined CKCO-TV as an AM/FM/TV combination.

Throughout the period and until 1970, Carl Pollock was President of Central Ontario Television and took an active part in its development. He attended CAB conventions and contributed to the stations’ strategies through regular meetings with its management. His personal interests in them included programming, people, engineering and financial – a very broad range.

Carl Pollock died in 1978. In 1986, he was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame.