Donald MacLean Smith (1930-2011)

Donald McClain Smith

Year Born: 1930

Year Died: 2011

Year of Induction: 1997

Pioneer – Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Smith, Donald MacLean (1930-2011)

Don Smith played an impressive role in the Canadian Television industry for forty-five years. He retired from Westcom TV in 1996 and continued to be involved in the industry as a consultant.

Don started in the shipping department of All-Canada Radio Facilities in 1951, distributing radio transcriptions. Three years later, he joined the new Television Division of All-Canada as the first private TV station came on the air, CKSO-TV in Sudbury. In the following 19 years, as the TV industry grew, he was promoted to Group Sales Manager, Toronto TV Sales Manager and Vice-President of TV Sales.

In 1973, after 22 years with All-Canada, Don Smith left to join BCTV Vancouver as Vice-President of Sales. From there he rose to President, later moving to become President of BCTV’s parent company, Westcom TV Group consisting of seven television stations.

During his active career, he was deeply involved in the Industry at many levels, serving in the following roles:

Past President, Advertisers Guild of Toronto
Chairman, Television Bureau of Canada (1976-78, 1988-1990)
One term as Chairman, Advertising Standards Council of B.C.
Member, Board of Directors of CAB for 6 years; two years (1979-80) as Chairman
Member, Steering Committee, Canadian Advertising Hall of Fame and Library
Member Board of Directors Bureau of Broadcast Measurement

Always interested in ways to promote Television, he led one of the most imaginative efforts when, for six months during Expo `86 in Vancouver, BCTV’s entire news facility became one of Expo`s pavilions and provided the 20 million Fair visitors with a close-up look at broadcasters at work.

Don was a founding Board member with Cancom, which was created to provide additional broadcast services to remote regions of Canada via satellite.

On behalf of Westcom TV, Don offered support to a number of industry organizations:

Association of Canadian Advertisers
Canada/Japan TV Executives Society
Canadian Advertising Foundation
Canadian Committee to Protect Journalists
Concerned Children’s Advertisers
Institute of Canadian Advertising

Don Smith has also been involved in community projects. He joined the National Board of Participaction in 1987. In his own community, he was on the Board of Directors of the West Vancouver Memorial Library. During his years at BCTV, he became a member of the Variety Club and helped foster its relationship with the station. BCTV was responsible for producing the Variety Club’s most successful telethon throughout its worldwide organization.

In 1977, Don was recognized by the ACA with an award presented to “those who serve the cause of the advertiser in a superior way”. On April 22, 1997 he was honoured by the Broadcast Executives’ Society with a lifetime achievement award for his career in broadcasting.

In 1997, Don Smith was inducted into the CAB’s Hall of Fame.

Don Smith died of cancer on March 19th 2011. 

Written by Ross McCreath – October, 1997