Allan Waters (1921-2005)

Allan Waters

Year Born: 1921

Year Died: 2005

Year of Induction: 1988

Pioneer – Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Waters, Allan (1921-2005)

In 1945, Toronto welcomed its 5th AM radio station – the first in over a decade. Its call sign was “CHUM”. It operated from sunrise to sunset on 1050. Despite excellent promotion and several program formats, it did not succeed inititally – financially or in listenership.

In 1954, CHUM was bought by Allan Waters. He had come to broadcasting from the advertising business, a career he embarked on following high school, and one which was interrupted by his four years in the RCAF. With the courage, ingenuity and business acumen which has been demonstrated many times since, over five decades, Allan Waters turned failure into success. He introduced a contemporary format, brought in new people, created unique promotion campaigns, moved the transmitter to a new site, increased the power to 50 kilowatts and kept CHUM on the air around-the-clock. Despite some resistance on the part of others to the new Top 40 format, Waters remained committed to this new genre of music and consequently influenced the success of rock and roll in its early days.

In 1963, CHUM-AM gained a companion – CHUM-FM, and Allan Waters spread his wings, acquiring or establishing radio, TV, Muzak and kindred properties in cities from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In 1967, he brought all of his holdings under the corporate name CHUM LIMITED, and the company went public.

Allan Waters’ vast contributions to the Canadian broadcast industry are reflected in his two terms as the Chairman of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (many years as a director, including two as Radio Vice-President). He also served as President of the Central Canada Broadcasters’ Association, and was a founding member and first chairman of the Radio Sales Bureau (later, the Radio Marketing Bureau).

CHUM Limited has been instrumental in establishing various cultural and charitable organizations (an example is the CHUM City Christmas Wish program operated by the CHUM Charitable Foundation, which began in 1967). In addition to VideoFACT and ArtsFACT, CHUM Limited was also a founding member of,and has remained a major contributor to,  FACTOR/MUSIC ACTION CANADA, which provides recording opportunities to Canadian singers, musicians and composers.

Long regarded as one of Canada’s most respected and successful broadcast entrepreneurs, in 1988, Allan Waters was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame.

In 1993, in Halifax, at the annual convention of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, Allan Waters was awarded the prestigious Gold Ribbon for Broadcast Excellence, in recognition of his “practical, innovative achievements and the unselfish giving of time and skills that reflect a genuine concern for the highest broadcasting standards”.

On December 2, 2002, at the age of 81, Allan Waters stepped down from the positions he had held for 48 years as chairman and president of CHUM Ltd. The owner of 87.9 % of the company’s common shares, Allan Waters had expanded CHUM’s broadcasting properties to include 28 radio stations and 8 local TV stations and 17 specialty TV channels.

Allan remained a director of CHUM for a further three years, finally ending fifty years with CHUM in October 2005.  On his retirement, he became an honorary director.

Allan Waters died on December 3rd 2005.

Written by J. Lyman Potts – December, 2002