J. Lyman Potts, Pioneer in Canadian Broadcasting, Dies at 102
His Canadian Talent Library Trust paved the way for the country's domestic recording industry.
J. Lyman Potts, a pioneer in Canadian broadcasting whose Canadian Talent Library Trust paved the way for the domestic recording industry and later merged with FACTOR, died on Sunday at the age of 102.
Two years ago, for his 100th birthday, the Ontario Association of Broadcasters sent him a Broadcast Order of Achievement certificate that proclaimed "Congratulations on the longest career in broadcasting."
At the time Pip Wedge, executive director of The Canadian Communications Foundation, told FYI Music News his mind was "sharp." He was living in a retirement home in Burlington, Ontario, and reportedly often programmed their music.
Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, on Nov. 11, 1916, Potts started his radio career in 1932 at CHWC, while still a high school student. He became full-time announcer there after graduation; the station merged into CKCK, owned by All-Canada Mutually Operated stations (ACMO). In 1940, he moved to Hamilton, Ontario, to work as production manager for CKOC, then became assistant manager.
In 1956, he seized the opportunity to launch a new station, CKSL, in London, Ontario, but two years later moved to Montreal, Quebec, to CJAD.
When Standard Radio purchased CJAD in 1961, Potts remained with the company for many years, holding various positions, including general manager of sister station CJFM-FM, which he put on the air in 1962.
A year later, he was appointed assistant to Standard's president, W.C. Thornton "Winks" Cran, in Toronto. Four years after that, Potts was named president of new Standard subsidiary Standard Broadcast Productions -- an umbrella for Standard Broadcast News (the country 's first private radio news network), program syndication and music publishing--. Also covered in that role was overseeing the Canadian Talent Library (CTL) nonprofit, which produced a series of recordings from 1962-85 by Canadian artists and of Canadian compositions that was conceived by Potts and initiated by the Standard Broadcasting Corporation-owned radio stations CFRB in Toronto and CJAD in Montreal.
Those recordings were originally distributed only through subscribing broadcast stations, but in 1966 CTL began leasing the masters for commercial release to RCA, Columbia, Capitol, GRT, Quality, United Artists and Intercan, with genres ranging from popular to light classical music. In 1985, CTL merged with Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records, a.k.a. FACTOR, and ceased production after producing some 265 albums comprising 3,000 performances by Canadians.
According to The History of Canadian Broadcasting website -- which Potts helped create and edit while vice president of the Canadian Communications Foundation from 1994-2004 -- Pierre Juneau, the first chairman of the the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, once said Canadian content regulations requiring broadcasters to play a certain percentage of Canadian-created music wouldn't have launched if it wasn't for Potts's establishment of the Canadian Talent Library and ongoing leadership and dedication towards fostering and producing Canadian talent.
From 1970-1974, Potts was president of Standard broadcasting Corp in London, a consultancy business for companies looking to obtain commercial radio licenses in the U.K. In 1981, he retired from Standard and formed J. Lyman Potts and Associates, his own consultancy for the radio industry and music business at large.
Potts was recognized with a number of significant awards in his career, among them the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1976, the 1987 CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame, the 1984 Juno Award for the first new Award of Merit, the 2002 Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee Medal and 2012 Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee Medal.
He is survived by his brother, Jack, and son, Joel.