Veteran sportscaster Bill Stephenson who delivered sports news on CFRB, Toronto, and play-by-play on Canadian radio and television for more than five decades, has passed away. He was 85.
Stephenson was born in Elrose, Saskatchewan in 1927. Stephenson started his 53-year career at CJAV in Port Alberni, B C in 1948 and moved to Vancouver (CKWX) covering sporting events like the British Empire Games and later becoming the play-by-play voice for the B.C. Lions.
In 1960, Stephenson moved to Toronto and became Sports Director at CFRB. He was play-by-play announcer of the Toronto Argonauts during the 1960s and 1970s and also provided coverage of CTV’s CFL broadcasts. In 1988, he was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
He was involved in several charities including Variety Club, Variety Village, the Hospital for Sick Children and the Canadian Association for Community Living.
Married for 64 years to his wife Louise, Bill Stephenson has five children, nine grandchildren and several great grandchildren.
ANOTHER, MORE COMPLETE TRIBUTE COMES FROM THE NEWSTALK 1010 (CFRB) WEBSITE.
A legendary voice in Toronto has gone silent.
Bill Stephenson, who delivered the sports news on CFRB (now Newstalk 1010) through four decades, passed away Tuesday night.
Born in Elrose, Saskatchewan, Stephenson started his radio career in Port Alberni, B.C. He moved on to become the voice of the B.C. Lions.
(Photo: Bill Stephenson with Dave Hodge)
He joined CFRB in 1960, where he covered the Toronto Argonauts for 12 years.
“He was probably the nicest man that I’ve ever met in the industry. He was a phenomenal guy with a great sense of humour,” said current Newstalk 1010 anchor Dave Agar.
Bill was known as “Grampy” for the many years he worked at the station.
“That’s all we referred to him as, and he loved it,” Agar says.
Wally Crouter, who worked with Stephenson for years, was proud to call Stephenson a friend.
“I know, right now, I feel like I’ve lost a brother.”
Crouter says Bill was a talented broadcaster.
“I realized what a prize I had been sent down from the west coast,” Crouter says.
Another legendary sportscaster who worked with Bill is Brian Williams, who credits the late broadcaster with giving him his start.
“He was a mentor and a dear friend and really shaped me to become the broadcaster I am today,” Williams says.
The Stephenson family is thanking everyone for their support.
“The heartwarming tributes mean so much to us,” Bill’s granddaughter Carey says.
His son Ron says this has been a tough time for the family.
Known as one of the most outspoken and respected sports commentators in Canada, Bill is a member of the Canadian Broadcaster Hall of Fame.
He is inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum, Football Reporters of Canada wing in 1988.
– See more at: http://www.newstalk1010.com/news/2014/07/23/listen-legendary-broadcaster-bill-stephenson-passes-away#sthash.HibXM5vU.dpuf
If you read Bill’s resume at the Canadian Communications Foundation you’ll find that CJOR and CKDA were among his stops before arriving at CKWX, where he apparently was Sports Director for ten years. There he did playbyplay for the WHL Canucks, the CFL’s Lions, and the PCL’s Mounties. (Interesting that he considered himself a mentor to Jim Robson.)
And it was the legendary Wes McKnight, well-known for being the host of CBC radio’s Hockey Night in Canada, who had just left CFRB’s sports department to become Station GM, who enticed Bill to the East.
He was a fine sportscaster, blessed with the great, round booming voicebox. When he said anything, you had to believe it was the truth! We’ll miss you, Bill!
I’m emailing from British Columbia to say that I remember Bill Stephenson from the days he did the play by play of the Vancouver Mounties games along with Jim Robson and Ron Robinson. I went to several games and rarely missed a game on the radio. I’ll never forget that voice.