If you didn’t know him, the best way to describe Bert Cannings was to say he was the model for Lou Grant on the Mary Tyler Moore Show.
– Mike Duffy
Bert Cannings shaped a generation of journalists. His career began as a news writer at CJCJ Radio in Calgary in 1936. He moved to CKWX Vancouver where he was named news director in 1947. While there, Cannings was one of the Canadian journalists sent to cover the Korean war.
In 1955, Cannings was appointed news director of radio operations at CFCF Montreal and remained at the helm until the creation of CFCF-TV in 1961 when he became news director of the fledging service. Under his direction, he created Pulse News and mentored and trained hundreds of journalists, producers, and writers until his retirement in 1974. Cannings also put his stamp on CITY-TV in Toronto and worked in a consulting role at CHCH-TV in Hamilton before fully retiring in 1986.
During his career, Cannings was committed to improving the quality of journalism in Canada. He was one of the founders of the Radio Television News Directors Association of Canada. He served as RTNDA Canada president in 1967-68 as well as on the board of RTNDA International (Vice President-Radio) in 1960. He was recognized with many honours and awards and was widely remembered for his popular and controversial “Cannings Comments.” Bert Cannings was inducted into the Toronto Press Club’s Canadian News Hall of Fame in 1982 and recognized by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters for his contribution to Canadian journalism.
When Bert Cannings died in 1993 at the age of 82, former CTV reporter Mike Duffy said “If you didn’t know him, the best way to describe Bert Cannings was to say he was the model for Lou Grant on the Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
One year after his death, Bert Cannings was among six prominent Canadian broadcast pioneers, achievers and risk-takers selected to the CAB Hall of Fame.