The RTDNA Byron MacGregor Award goes to the “Best Radio Newscast” and was named after the man who is a legend in broadcast newsrooms across Canada and the United States. Born Gary Lachlan Mack in Calgary, Byron died in 1995 at age 46.
His name evokes thoughts of hard-hitting, colourful journalism and feelings of patriotism and pride. Under his leadership in CKLW “The Big 8” in Windsor/Detroit, the “20-20” style of radio news was born. He has been referred to as the “rock and roll version of Walter Winchell.”
But it wasn’t all radio work for Byron. The award-winning journalist (RTDNA, AP, UPI, etc.) became the first newsman to simultaneously anchor the prime time newscasts for WWJ Newsradio and WKBD-TV in Detroit. Byron was also well known for his recording of “The Americans”, which was originally a commentary written and broadcast by Gordon Sinclair of CFRB Toronto. Byron’s version of the patriotic narrative was recorded with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. It topped the charts when it was originally released in 1973, did so again in 1991 during the Gulf War and most recently in 2001 following the 9-11 attacks on America. Dubbed “the greatest flag-waving success since Kate Smith,” the record has sold more than 3-and-a-half million copies with all proceeds donated to the American Red Cross.
Noted for his extensive charitable work in the U.S. and Canada, Byron received many humanitarian awards and citations from the American Legion and Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. In 1997, he posthumously received the “International Freedom Award,” recognizing his outstanding contributions to the cause of freedom and peace, international friendship, understanding and cooperation. He joined the list of past honourees that include John Diefenbaker, Lester Pearson, John F. Kennedy and Gerald Ford.
Nominated for induction into the Radio Hall of Fame, Byron was the brother of former RTDNA Canada President Hudson Mack and the husband of broadcaster Jo-Jo Shutty-MacGregor, the first female helicopter traffic and news reporter in the U.S. while at CKLW.
This is a regional and network Award based on Market Size – Small, Medium and Large. Market Size is applicable to regional entries only. Maximum length – 30 minutes.