TORONTO (CelebrityAccess) — Canadian media mogul Allan Slaight, who started as an on-air reporter and later went on to own Canadian broadcasting titan Standard Broadcasting Corporation, has died. he was 90.
According to an obituary published by the Slaight Family Foundation, Slaight died at his home in Toronto on September 19th. Additional details about a cause of death were not disclosed.
A native of Galt, Ontario, Slaight landed his first on-air job while still a teenager, hosting the late-night jazz program Spins and Needles on a local radio station in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
At 19, he relocated to Edmonton and married Ada Mitchell, working as on-air talent at several local radio stations before becoming the News Director at HED in 1953.
Five years later, Slaight relocated to Toronto to serve as programming director of CHUM, helping to put the newly launched rock station on the map as one of Canada’s premier broadcast outlets for rock & roll.
Allan left CHUM in 1966 but continued to work in broadcasting and in 1966, he traveled to the UK where he played a key role in establishing a sales agency for Radio Caroline, the offshore pirate radio station created by Ronan O’Rahilly in response to the BBC’s programming monopoly.
Slaight also parleyed the experience with Caroline into establishing a radio consultancy in the UK, providing guidance on sales, merchandising and advertising as commercial radio took off.
In 1967, Slaight returned to Toronto where he set his sights on owning his own radio outlet and formed Slaight Broadcasting to acquire the radio station CFGM-1310 AM, which he turned into Canada’s first full time country music radio outlet.
Slaight went on to acquire other radio outlets and later television and cable media companies, including IWC Communication, and the failing Global Television Network, which he turned around through a restructuring process.
In July 1985, Allan Slaight acquired a minority stake in Standard Broadcasting Corp, which he would sell two decades later to Standard Radio Inc. to Astral Media Inc. as part of a reported $1.08 billion deal.
In addition to his broadcast interests, Slaight owned a stake in the Toronto Raptors, eventually controlling the franchise as well as NBA team’s home court at Air Canada Centre which he later sold to Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.
Slaight was also a note philanthropist, providing financial support to hundreds of organizations, particularly those within healthcare, community services and the arts world.
His philanthropic initiatives will continue for years to come through The Slaight Family Foundation and La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso.
Slaight was recognized with numerous accolades during his long life, including a Juno Award, an Honorary Degree from Ryerson University, a Star on the Canadian Walk of Fame, and the Order of Canada.
Allan is survived by his children Gary, Greg and Marie (and their respective partners); five grandchildren (and their partners), and several great-grandchildren; and his brother, Brian (and his wife, Annabel).
The recipient of, among other awards of distinction, a Juno, an Honorary Degree from Ryerson University, a Star on the Canadian Walk of Fame, and the Order of Canada, Allan is survived by his children Gary, Greg and Marie (and their respective partners); five grandchildren (and their partners), and several great-grandchildren; and his brother, Brian (and his wife, Annabel). Allan is also survived his wife of past thirty-five years, Emmanuelle Gattuso.
His family asks that in lieu of donations, well-wishers please direct time, energy and, if possible, resources to a charity near to you.