Seven Individuals to Receive 2014 Lifetime Achievement Awards

Feb 20, 2014

TORONTO, Feb. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - RTDNA Canada - The Association of Electronic Journalists is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014 RTDNA Lifetime Achievement Awards in each of its four regions.

"It is a great pleasure to honour industry leaders who have contributed significantly to our profession of electronic journalism," says RTDNA Canada President Ian Koenigsfest. "The recipients of this most prestigious award are broadcasters recognized by our colleagues for continued excellence, passion and commitment to our craft. They are all role models to us and will inspire generations of journalists who follow."

The Lifetime Achievement Award was created in 2002 to recognize individuals who have distinguished themselves through outstanding service and continued excellence during the course of their career in broadcast journalism.

Here are the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award recipients from the four Canadian regions:


Deborra Hope

During her 31 year career at Global/BCTV, Deborra Hope has been a reporter, a producer and an anchor. Her first love on the job is still telling a good story.  Deb was born and raised in Trail, B.C. She moved away at 18 to attend UBC where she got her first taste of journalism by reading newscasts on the campus radio station and reporting for the student newspaper. She even did a talk show in French!

Deb graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in French. She moved on to Carleton University in Ottawa where she received an Honors Bachelor degree in journalism and immediately began working for The Canadian Press as a junior reporter. She longed to return to B.C. Once back, she joined the now defunct United Press Canada (Canadian arm of UPI). After three years, she moved to Global BC. During her career Deb has contributed countless hours to charity work including projects for the Courage To Come Back Awards, Make-A-Wish Foundation of B.C., The United Way, Canuck Place, the Downs Syndrome Research Foundation, St. Paul's Hospital lighting, the Variety Telethon, BC Children's Hospital, Aids Walk for Life and many more.

Jon McComb

Jon McComb has been in the broadcast business for 43 years and for the last three decades he has called CKNW News-Talk 980 home.  Jon has been a vital part of CKNW's fabric for 30 years. Starting off in the newsroom, Jon soon became one of the most recognizable voices in the Vancouver market. He has become a strong voice and advocate for many causes most notably mental illness; victim's rights and fairness for Canada's war veterans. Jon's powerful editorials have won several regional and national RTDNA awards and he has been recognized by a wide range of organizations for his advocacy.

Jon is driven by the following mantra; Journalism is a never-ending search for the truth. It is this quest for the truth that has given Jon the ability to ask the hard questions when needed, but still bring them home to the people who they affect earnestly and with empathy.  Jon embodies the spirit of the RTDNA's Lifetime Achievement Award; his work ethic, commitment to the craft and community outreach makes him a true ambassador for electronic journalism.


Michael Fulmes

Michael Fulmes has been an active member of RTDNA Canada since 1988. He has served on various committees with the association during this time, including as Prairie Regional TV Director and Atlantic Regional TV Director. For several years he was a driving force in the success of the RTDNA awards program, serving as Awards Chair.  In addition to his service with RTDNA, he has served in advisory roles for Mount Royal University, NAIT, King's College, Atlantic Media Institute, Crime Stoppers, and Saskatchewan Economic Development BOSS program.

Michael's career in television started in his hometown of Regina at CKCK Television shortly after graduating from Mount Royal College in 1978. He worked as Executive Producer and News Director with CTV Saskatchewan before joining Global in 1998. Michael left Regina in 1999 to head up Global News Maritimes for a few years before returning west as Managing Editor, then News Director at Global Edmonton. He's well known as a broadcast news executive with a keen eye for acquiring new talent, developing journalists and an outstanding approach to "big picture" thinking. Michael understands the new realities of electronic journalism in Canada and, at the same time, provides a connection to our past.


Dave Agar

Dave Agar's story begins before FM took flight, working in Oshawa and Niagara Falls before moving to Toronto when CKFM was king of the castle where he invented Hour Toronto and his unique style of radio news interviews. He did thousands, digging beneath the veneer for the facts, becoming the News Director of Canada's largest FM station with a formidable newsroom staffed by people who've become part of Canadian broadcasting's living legends, all coached, mentored and, yes, scolded by their boss.

Dave's next stop was CFRB with the largest AM radio news staff in the country doing double duty as the morning news anchor with distinction. Probably no moment more challenged Dave Agar than the morning of 9/11. He told the story to the largest world-wide internet audience ever noted as of that fateful day, avoiding the quick conclusions and rumours, sticking to the known facts as they unfolded. Today, Dave maintains his position as morning news anchor and commentator at CFRB.  He is unflappable, unruffled and extraordinarily professional.

Peter Downie

Peter Downie has excelled at both radio and television, hosting regional radio programs in New Brunswick, Quebec and Alberta and national radio programs like CBC's Cross Country Check-Up from Montreal and As It Happens and Morningside from Toronto.   Peter returned home to Montreal in the summer of 1999, joining the department of journalism at Concordia University as coordinator of the broadcast stream of instruction.   It is no exaggeration to say that through tireless work and inspiring teaching, Peter has revived the broadcast program and ignited a passion for both radio and television in hundreds of students over the last 14 years. Inspiring young journalists to work in radio and television is a fundamental and critical service to the industry.


Rick Grant

Rick has had a distinguished career in radio and mainly television, dating to the mid-1970's.   His resume includes stints as a legislative reporter in both Fredericton and Halifax.  He also established ASN/ATV's first bureau in St. John's, Newfoundland in the early 1980's and was one of the leading reporters covering the tragic Gander air crash, in December 1985 among other stories too numerous to mention.  With a well-earned reputation for persistence and toughness in questioning, Rick has broken scores of important news stories across Atlantic Canada and continues to do so today as the Senior reporter at CTV Halifax. When he's not at the station, Rick is an active member of his community. Rick is also the long-time host of the Christmas Daddies telethon in Sydney.

Peter Coade

Peter Coade is Atlantic Canada's most experienced broadcast meteorologist. In a region shaped by the elements, Peter is a mainstay in weather forecasting. He is revered by the public and fellow professionals alike. He was recently recognized in the Guinness World Record for the Longest Career as a Weather Forecaster. 

In October 2012, Peter marked 50 years as a weather forecaster and meteorologist.  The official certificate received from the London headquarters of the Guinness World Records states:  "The longest career as a weather forecaster is 50 years, 8 months and 21 days, and was achieved by Peter Coade (Canada) at CBC Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada from 1 October 1962 to 21 June, 2013." His record building continues. At the age of 70, Peter still works as a broadcast meteorologist at CBC Maritimes.

Lifetime Achievement Award recipients will be honoured in their region at the following award ceremonies:

BC Region, Burnaby - Executive Hotel & Suites - April 5, 2014

Prairie Region, Winnipeg - Red River College - April 5, 2014

Central Region, Toronto - Humber College - April 5, 2014

Atlantic Region, Halifax - Nova Scotia Community College - April 12, 2014

National Conference, Toronto, King Edward Hotel -- June 5-7, 2014

RTDNA Canada is the voice of electronic journalists and news managers in Canada. The members of RTDNA Canada recognize the responsibility of electronic journalists to promote and to protect the freedom to report independently about matters of public interest and to present a wide range of expressions, opinions and ideas. The RTDNA Canada Code of Ethics, adopted by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, is used to measure fairness and accuracy in the profession.


For further information:

For more information, contact RTDNA Canada:

Sherry Denesha
Operations Manager
(416) 756-2213

Ian Koenigsfest