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Bill Harrington



Broadcasting Pioneer

Bill Harrington

CKVR-TV, Barrie 


White 190 Bill Harrington




I started with Radio Station CKBB in May of 1955, .hired by Bob McLean who was the program director. I was just out of RTA in what was then called  The Ryerson Institute of Technology and I received the magnificent salary of $175 a month.  

Management decided I was best at news and that’s how I ended up as the Newscaster on Channel 3 when the TV station went on the air in September.   In preparation I went to McGee's Barbershop in Allendale and got all the old Life magazines and cut out pictures of famous people to use on the Newscast.   They were mounted on pieces of cardboard and placed on a stand in front of a small Videocon camera that was operated by a student who came in after school.  

The control room did not have a copy of my script but I gave them a list of the pictures in order and put them on the stand in order and when I wanted the picture I pressed a foot pedal that sounded a buzzer in the control room and they cut to the picture and took it out when I buzzed.  

There was very limited use of film. I was given a Keystone camera and went out to  barn fires etc. and pressed the button.   Focus was fixed and I just guessed at the aperture.  These cameras held 100 feet of reversal black and white film and we were expected to get three stories out of each reel.

We had a deal with the Toronto Telegram that their reporter in Barrie would work with us, helping write script, taking still shots with his Crown Graphic and covering events I had no time to cover.   Peter Ward was the first such reporter followed by Bill Murphy who eventually would become head of CBC Radio News.  

The wire stories were not usually re written but just stapled to a piece of 8x10 inch paper so the audience saw me clutching an orderly script. And of course this is why there was no copy of the newscast for the control room.  The local stories were typed on 8x10s.  The Life magazine pictures sometimes got us into trouble as they were all action pictures.  So when I reported that New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller had gone to an island in Indonesia to look for his son who had drowned there I used a picture of Rockefeller swimming in his pool in Albany. It gave the impression he was swimming around the island looking for his son.

In the early days I wore a bow tie on air influenced by Prime Minister Lester Pearson.   In summer I wore a suit jacket and tie but shorts - which never showed being covered by the desk.   BH










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