York hosts website preserving Canadian broadcasting history

Vintage, Retro, Ancient old tv wooden cabinet stands on the floor with yellow concrete wall background.

Following an agreement signed with the Canadian Communications Foundation (CCF), York University now hosts a one-of-a-kind website that documents information on a diverse variety of small, local radio stations and television stations in Canada from 1922 to the present.

Anne MacLennan

Over the past four years, former CCF member and communication and media studies Professor Anne MacLennan has been diligently working with the CCF to transfer archival materials from the organization’s History of Canadian Broadcasting website to its new home at York.

The archives are an invaluable cultural resource due to broadcasting stations not typically documenting their own histories thoroughly, and other existing research in the field being dominated by literature on broadcasting regulation and the building of the CBC.

The website – the only archive of its kind in Canada – has built up a careful history of all the broadcast media in Canada, chronicling and documenting the development of radio and television broadcasting in Canada since 1922. It also features biographies of prominent media personalities who have made significant and innovative contributions to the growth and development of Canadian broadcasting, but whose vision, ingenuity, dedication and venturesome undertakings had not been otherwise recognized.

The website has achieved a great deal over the years in developing a definitive history of broadcasting in Canada, and York made the decision to take it over when the CCF began winding down operations in 2020. In the process, the archive will help the school fulfill its commitment to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that look to encourage the protection and safeguarding of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

With the transfer of ownership from CCF to York now complete, the website will serve as more of an archive than an active site. It aims to provide a valuable resource to students in communications, media, and history programs at York University and other universities, as well as high-school students and any member of the public who is curious about the rich historical development of Canadian broadcasting.