Gary Slaight (1951-)

Gary Slaight

Year Born: 1951

Slaight, Gary (1951- )

Born in Edmonton, Alberta on February 15th 1951, Gary Slaight earned a B.A. in English at the University of Western Ontario, and his volunteer work there at  campus radio station Radio Western gave early signs that he was likely to follow in the footsteps of his already high-profile radio executive father Allan.

In 1973 Gary joined McLaren Advertising’s media department, before moving into the music business doing promotion work for Quality Records and WEA Records.  In 1977 he joined Toronto radio station CILQ, better known as Q107, where Allan was President and CEO.   But it was on merit that Gary moved through several positions in the company, including Account Executive and Program Director, before becoming Vice President and General Manager in 1982.

In 1985, Allan acquired Standard Broadcasting Inc., and in 1987 he brought Gary over to become President and CEO of Standard Radio Inc.  In 2000, Gary replaced Allan as President and CEO of Standard Broadcasting Corporation Ltd., while continuing to head Standard Radio.

Within a year of assuming his new responsibilities, Gary had made his mark by negotiating Standard’s acquisition from Telemedia of a major group of English radio stations.  This was the pivotal move in a series of station acquisitions, sales and exchanges, which thereby established Standard as second only to Corus Entertainment in radio station ownerships. Gary continues to be an aggressive leader in the broadcasting business, in his determination to keep Standard in its pre-eminent position in the radio broadcasting field.

Gary has always been well known as an active supporter of Canadian talent; he created the National Songwriting Contest, and the Canadian Radio Music Awards, as well as the Homegrown Contest, which was to be carried by stations across Canada. His peers have frequently recognized Gary’s accomplishments; he was named Broadcast Executive of the Year at the Annual Music Industry Awards by Canadian Music Week in 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1998, and in 2004, he was named the recipient of the Award for Outstanding Community Service by an Individual Broadcaster, by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. He was inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame in March 2005.

Gary’s community service has included board membership of the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children Foundation (for whom he created the “Have a Heart for Sick Kids” radiothon, which has raised millions of dollars), The Toronto Walk of Fame, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Gilda’s Club and the Canadian Music Council. He also serves on the United Way Leadership Giving Committee. 

Gary received the Humanitarian Spirit Award for his commitment to charitable initiatives at the 2010 Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards on March 11, 2010, during Canadian Music Week.

Gary sits on a variety of charitable boards and oversees the Slaight Family Foundation, which has already donated over $30 million to hospitals, the arts and youth-driven initiatives and overseas aid. He is also a member of the board of directors of Astral Media, Luminato, Sirius Satellite Radio, Toronto International Film Festival and Maplemusic.

On November 22nd 2011, Gary became a director of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Film.

On December 26th 2014, Gary Slaight was made a Member of the Order of Canada. The citation read: “For his achievements as a business leader and for his generosity in the development of emerging artists.”

Written by Pip Wedge – December, 2009