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Remembering Gary Bannerman

14 July 2011 | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

The legendary broadcaster and journalist Gary Bannerman is remembered in this tribute with guests Shirley Stocker, Bill Vander Zalm, Rafe Mair, and Alex Tsakumis, hosted by Joseph Planta.

Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:

I am Planta: On the Line, in Vancouver at TheCommentary.ca.

Gary Bannerman died on Monday, 11 July 2011. The broadcaster, journalist and author is being remembered as an iconic radio host. That he was. From 1972 to 1988, he was the premiere talk show host on radio station CKNW, going head to head with the legendary Jack Webster. He bested Webster in the ratings, and raised the bar for talk shows in this town and this province. He held politicians to account, reported on big stories in British Columbia and around the world, and not to mention was an advocate for the consumer. He negotiated a hostage taking, and covered the 1973 Middle East War. He left CKNW in 1988 amidst some acrimonious contract negotiations and some personal health issues. He sat on the BC Ferries board for a time, and with his wife Patricia, established Bannerline Corporate Communications, a consulting firm that kept him busy. His Wikipedia entry states that his consulting and writing work kept him so busy, his media appearances were restricted to rare guest appearances. He appeared on this program twice. He was a welcome guest, and a gracious, generous friend to the program. We exchanged emails from time to time, and up to this past April, we were planning another interview. Alas, we never got to it. I regret very much never following up and having him on again, and I feel bad that I never got to tell him, how much I appreciated his support early in the life of this program, for the kind words he had for my work, and for the lessons he imparted both conspicuously and simply in the way he comported himself. I never met Gary Bannerman, and I never really heard Gary’s shows, because I was only four when he left CKNW in 1988. But if one availed themselves of history, picked up a book say, it wasn’t difficult to see how much of giant he was in broadcasting, and how prodigiously talented he was. And later, in the conversations on the telephone, the emails, and the sort, I got to know him best as a person who was generous and kind.

On the program now, I’ve called on some of Gary Bannerman’s friends and colleagues, who join me to remember him, acknowledge what we’ve lost, and what his impact was on his business and our province. First is Gary’s long time producer and friend, the legendary radio producer Shirley Stocker. I’ll also talk to an old friend of Bannerman’s former premier Bill Vander Zalm; a former colleague and competitor, Rafe Mair; and the political commentator Alex Tsakumis, who has on his website a very fine tribute to Gary. And throughout this program today, I’ll play a couple of cuts from Gary Bannerman’s appearances on this show.

When I sketched out a list of the people I wanted to talk to about Gary Bannerman, one name was at the top of the list. I’m delighted she’s on the line now. Shirley Stocker was Gary Bannerman’s producer at CKNW. She was the executive producer for many of the great talk shows on the station. She is currently the Executive Director of the CKNW Orphan’s Fund, and will retire from that position shortly. Please welcome to the Planta: On the Line program, Shirley Stocker; Good morning, Ms. Stocker.