Broadcaster still going strong after four decades

A Canadian broadcaster who has been keeping his fellow Canadians up-to-date with the goings on at home while they are abroad For the winter, still gets a kick out of piecing together the news from his first floor home radio studio, after being in the industry for more than four decades.

“Canada Calling was first on the air in January of 1954. This is the 56th year and I have done 33 of them. And touch wood, I’ve never missed a day,” Prior Smith said yesterday during an interview at Star 106.5 FM’s Oakes Field studios.

Smith was visiting the radio show ‘Morning Express’ at Star with show hosts Tony Williams and Greg Lampkin from his north of Peterborough, Ontario, home where he broadcasts the Canadian Calling program.

It is heard in the winter months in Florida, Texas, Arizona, Georgia and here in The Bahamas on Star 106.5 FM, weekdays at 7:10 a.m.

“The whole newscast itself was designed back in the 1950s to replace the phone call home,” Smith explained.

“Because if you phone home you’re normally talking for about five minutes. And what’s the first thing you say: What’s going on? And so I try to put in that five-and-a-half minutes that we’re on the air in Florida, and three minutes here (in The Bahamas), what you would need to know just that day to stay in touch with home.”

Canada Calling began when the late Toronto broadcaster Dave Price launched the show on two stations in Miami and Tampa, Florida in January 1954.

The show is targeted to the large Canadian populations that escape the harsh North American winters each year for sunny destinations such as The Bahamas.

Smith said he always has to strike the right balance with the news, because it is aired in markets where his audience is not the majority audience.

“And so I have to very carefully explain everything I put on the air, so that if you are totally foreign to what’s going on in Canada, you’ll still understand it,” he said.

Smith also produces a nationally syndicated hockey radio program in Canada (Grapeline) with well-known hockey commentator Don Cherry and sportscaster Brian Williams.

Brent Dean – The Nassau Guardian