J. Lyman Potts (1916-2018)

Lyman Potts

Year Born: 1916

Year Died: 2018

Year of Induction: 1987

Pioneer – Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Potts, J. Lyman (1916- )

Lyman Potts,  career Broadcaster, born in Regina on November 11th 1916, made his first radio broadcast in 1932 while still in high school; 1935 announcer with CHWC which shared frequency with CKCK Regina; 1936, the stations merged into CKCK operated by All-Canada Mutually Operated stations (ACMO); 1940 transferred to ACMO operated CKOC Hamilton as Production Manager; 1946 appointed Assistant Manager; 1956 resigned to become Manager of CKSL London, Ontario which he put on air in June 1956; In 1958 moved to CJAD Montreal to assist owner Arthur Dupont in applying for a TV licence there; Standard Radio purchased CJAD in 1961; appointed General Manager of CJAD’s sister station CJFM – FM which he put on the air in October 1962; 1963 appointed assistant to Standard’s President, W. C. Thornton “Winks” Cran in Toronto; 1966, appointed President of new Standard subsidiary Standard Broadcast Productions, an umbrella for the Canadian Talent Library, Standard Broadcast News, program syndication, music publishing; 1970 to 1974, President, Standard Broadcasting Corp. (U.K.) in London England, a consultantancy for applicants for commercial radio licenses in the U. K.; 1981, retired from Standard and formed J. Lyman Potts and Associates, a consultancy for broadcasting, recording, music services and copyright.

In 1962, Lyman convinced the Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG), which had taken over the regulation of programming from the CBC, that a station’s support of Canadian talent should be assessed on the amount used in its programs, and that money expended by a station to produce Canadian music programming, whether live or recorded, should be credited by the BBG in analyzing a station’s performance.  He told the Board that the future of Canadian content was dependent on a large and continuing supply of records by Canadian artists (of which there were few), and that radio station owners themselves would have to take the initiative to fund their making.
Supported by Standard Broadcasting’s Montreal and Toronto stations, Lyman went on to create the Canadian Talent Library, hiring Canadian musicians in Montreal and Toronto for the production in stereo of the first ten CTL albums. Set-up as a non–profit trust, Lyman invited any and all stations to join with them in expanding CTL as a service to the industry. By 1971, when the CRTC announced its Canadian Content Regulations, over 200 stations had subscribed to CTL. By 1985, when CTL was merged with FACTOR, CTL had produced 265 albums containing 3,000 performances by Canadian musicians and singers.

Pierre Juneau, Chairman of the CRTC, stated that without Lyman’s leadership, and dedication, the CRTC would not have been able to launch the Cancon regulations. 

CTL was widely acclaimed by talent unions, music publishers, CAPAC, BMI-Canada, the news media and the government. In 1984, in recognition of his initiatives on behalf of Canadian performers, CARAS (Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences), in association with the annual JUNO AWARDS, presented Lyman Potts with the first new Award of Merit – “For his outstanding contribution to the Canadian Recording Industry”.

Previously, in 1978, for his work in broadcasting and Canadian talent, Lyman was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada – the first private broadcaster to be so honoured. Also in 1978, his continuing commitment to the broadcasting industry was recognized by his peers with the Ruth Hancock “Friend of the Industry” award.

He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame (1976) and to the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame (1987); in 1981 given Honorary Life Membership in the Toronto Musicians Association (A F of M #149).  In 2002, he was the recipient of Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee Medal, and in 2012, Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Other accomplishments include the conception and establishment in 1966 of Canada’s first exclusive broadcaster owned voice news service – Standard Broadcast News – and inspiring the formation in 1953 of the Central Canada Broadcast Engineers Association – an idea which quickly spread to other regions.

From 1994 to 2004, Lyman Potts was Vice-President of the Canadian Communications Foundation, where he played a leading role in the organization and compilation of this website The History of Canadian Broadcasting and continued to act as Co-Editor for some years. November 11th 2016 marked Lyman’s 100th birthday, and he received from the Ontario Association of Broadcasters a Broadcast Order of Achievement certificate that read  “Happy 100th Birthday!  Congratulations on the longest career in broadcasting.”

Lyman Potts died on December 9th 2018 at the age of 102.