Newsman Frank Thompson, ex-KJR, CKLG, CJVI, passes at 85
Word comes from the SeaTac Radio website that Frank Thompson, News Director at KJR, 1969-1974, died Saturday at the age of 85. After leaving the Lorne Greene School of Broadcasting in Toronto, Thompson’s career started at CJVI Victoria in the 50's before moving in 1957 to San Diego’s Mighty 690 – a rock station. From there, he moved to KOGO middays 10-2. Later, KFMB and also KDAY/Los Angeles, before moving to KJR in 1969. He read news at CKLG73 in Vancouver after leaving Seattle in 1974. At the time of his death he was retired in South Surrey. The above picture, showing Frank as he was in 2006, is courtesy of Vancouver Broadcasters.
Gord Lansdell passes along a more detailed picture of the Frank Thompson radio career, in the words of Frank himself in 2006.
Born at Grande Prairie, Alberta (in 1927) to hard-working homestead parents. (Weren’t they all!??!) As for our land, a river ran through it, and I must say, that river still runs through me.
The first station break I ever gave on the air was, “This is CFGP, Grande Prairie, the Voice of the Mighty Peace.”
(Now THERE’S a river . . .)
It was a Taylor/Pearson radio operation,1945.
In 1949 I attended the Lorne Greene School of Broadcasting in Toronto. Won an announcer contest on John Adaskin’s 'Opportunity Knocks' and wound up, following graduation in 1950, at CJVI Victoria.
By 1953 I found myself in the U.S., employed by the CBS station in San Diego, CA, KFMB. It was there I did my first voice-over. As the years went along I worked for XEAK (The Mighty 690) and I may have been the only Canadian at that time working for an American broadcasting company over a Mexican transmitter. 50-thousand watts. Covered Los Angeles and introduced a competitive Top 40 format.
In 1960 I moved to KOGO (NBC), San Diego and did remote broadcasts from a variety of events in the city and region.
It was during that time that a twelve-year old Tom Irwin came to the broadcast studio on location at a drive-in on El Cajon Blvd. and said his first words on radio in response to the question, “What’s your name?” He got a couple of roller derby tickets for his bother, and today he is known throughout Southern California as d-j “Shotgun Tom” Kelly of K-EARTH, Los Angeles.
1967/68 I spent a couple years in the L.A. area…at KDAY, Santa Monica, with week-ends at the ABC station in Big Town.
Tree-lined rivers started calling again. The emerald green of the Pacific Northwest was the answer in 1969.
KJR, Channel 95, was my home for 5 years. I worked for a great guy named Pat O’Day who was and still is a legend in Seattle broadcast annals (although now successfully in real estate in the San Juan Islands). First I became the “KJR Millionaire” in connection with a season long visitors promotion. I had the unique pleasure of surprising people of all sorts by giving them money. I also became the news director of KJR, Seattle, WA. The Duwammish River ran right by the transmitter/studio site on Harbor Island. Seemed I was home again.
However, in 1974 I moved back to the land of my birth (bringing with me a new citizenship to add to the old) and, not far from where the Fraser flows out to the sea, found myself in the news department of the Moffatt Broadcasting Company’s CKLG, Vancouver, BC.
I did many voice-overs in Seattle and Vancouver and became somewhat recognized for feature reports in both cities.
It has always seemed to me that the ordinary can be the most surprising, original, informed and entertaining piece of news information available in a sophisticated world.
It was in this genre, along with voice-overs, that I eventually free-lanced until retirement in 1998.
My residence is in South Surrey …the Little Campbell river nearby.