Monday, October 16, 2006

RIP Lister Sinclair (1921-2006)

What can one say at the passing of a true broadcasting legend? Ideas, on CBC Radio One, has been on for over forty years (it started out under the bizarre name "University of the Air") but it was during Lister's sixteen years at the helm, 1983-1999, that the nightly show about virtually every aspect of philosophy one can imagine really became an icon. In the extremely competitive broadcasting world where it has to compete against not only private radio but over 300 TV channels, Ideas still manages to get a few hundred thousand listeners every night. So much has the 9PM show become Radio One's flagship that a recurring gag on Air Farce is the following: "Good evening, I'm Abednigo Winkler, and this this Notions, the show about topics not good enough to be Ideas!"

About two years ago, officially in "retirement," he hosted a special edition of Go, the eccletic Saturday morning show, and did a quick history of disco music. With an entirely straight deadpan voice, Lister managed to put the masses in stitches as he turned the screws on ABBA, Donna Summer, and a very young Bryan Adams. That's the mark of a real broadcaster the likes of which are seen in only a handful still alive, including Paul Harvey Sr and Mike Wallace -- serious and funny and each when appropriate.

Fare thee well, sir.

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