Allan Slaight (1931-)

Allan Slaight

Year Born: 1931

Year of Induction: 1997

Pioneer – Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Slaight, Allan (1931- )

Allan Slaight was born in 1931 in Galt, Ontario – born to be a broadcaster. Radio became his life.

The son of a veteran newspaperman, Allan began his chosen career in 1948 as a news reporter/announcer with CHAB, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and in the next two decades moved quickly up the ladder to become, in 1967, the President and General Manager of the dynamic station sales representative firm  Stephens and Towndrow  in Toronto. Along the way, he held announcing and news positions in Edmonton with CFRN and CJCA, and CHED, where, in 1956, he moved from News Director to General Sales Manager. With ten years experience behind him, in 1958, Allan became Program Director of CHUM, Toronto, and, in 1965, Vice-President and General Manager of CHUM AM/FM.

Allan Slaight’s entrepreneurial skills and proprietary acumen surfaced in 1970 when along with certain investment partners, he purchased radio stations CFGM, Toronto and CFOX, Montreal. On merging with IWC Communications Ltd (IWC) in 1973, Allan became Chairman and President of that company (later, Slaight Communications).

In 1974, IWC, in association with other investment partners, rescued the bankrupt Global Television Network, with Allan serving as Chairman, President and CEO until IWC sold its interest in 1977.

In the same year, IWC launched CILQ-FM (Q107) in Toronto. In 1979, Slaight Communications bought out all other investors in IWC to become the sole owner of CFGM-AM and Q107.

1982 was the year of Allan Slaight’s first major non-broadcasting venture – the purchase of Urban Outdoors Corporation.

In 1985, to facilitate the purchase of Standard Broadcasting Corporation and to comply with the-then CRTC regulations covering the number of ownerships in a market, Allan sold CFGM and Q1O7, and acquired CFRB and CKFM-FM, Toronto, CJAD and CJFM-FM in Montreal, CKQB in Ottawa, and CKTB and CHTZ-FM in St. Catharines.

In 1988, after selling to Baton Broadcasting CJOH-TV in Ottawa, Standard’s only Canadian TV property, Allan turned his attention to expanding his radio holdings. By July 1, 2000, the number of Standard-owned stations had increased to twelve from seven, with stations now in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

In June 2001, Standard purchased 35 radio stations from Telemedia Corp. Later acquisitions of four stations in London, three in Hamilton and three in St. Catharines (two of which they had previously owned) brought  Standard’s total on January 1, 2003, to 51 radio stations, and TV stations in Terrace and Dawson Creek, BC.
Standard, in 2003, also had a 30% equity interest in Milestone Radio Inc., Canada’s first licensed Urban station, operating out of Toronto. A similar interest existed in the Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. (9 Ontario stations), and in a group of 19 rural Alberta stations and a Calgary jazz station.

Other broadcasting-related properties operating in 2003 included imsradio, a national sales representation company; Sound Source Networks, a leading provider of programming; Iceberg Media, an on-line broadcaster; Video One, a distributor of prerecorded video cassettes; Instore Focus Inc., an in-store sampling company; Professional Warehouse Demonstrators, a provider of on-site product demonstration services; and Canada Post Transfer Corporation, operating post-production facilities and motion picture laboratories in Toronto and Vancouver, and recording studios in Toronto.

On January 1,2003, Standard Broadcasting Corporation Limited stood as the largest privately-owned multi-media company in Canada with annual revenues exceeding $500,000,000, and the employer of almost 1,500 people full-time and some 6,000 part-time.

In the Toronto community, Allan Slaight has served as a Trustee of Women’s College Hospital; a Director, Campaign Chairman and Chairman of Communications for the United Way of Greater Toronto; a Director and Chairman of the Shaw Festival, and a Director of the Festival of Festivals.

A life-long amateur magician, his early public performances in 1948 in towns and villages of southern Saskatchewan were used to help promote CHAB – the station that had given him his first job in radio. However, it was not magic, but fate, that led Allan’s two sons, Gary and Greg, to follow their father’s footsteps into broadcasting. In July of 2000, Gary succeeded Allan as President and CEO of Standard Broadcasting Corporation Limited, with Allan becoming Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors.

In 1997, Allan Slaight was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame.

In 2001, with the approval of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Allan Slaight was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. 

At the Juno Awards in April 2005, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences honoured Allan as the recipient of the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award, for his contributions to the nuturing and growth of the music industry. In announcing the Award, CARAS President Melanie Berry said of Allan: “His never-ending dedication to the Canadian radio industry is tireless and exemplary.”

Written by J. Lyman Potts – August, 2002