Bill Stephenson: Canadian Sports Broadcasting Legend Passes.
By John Iaboni
Executive Vice President, Sports Media Canada.
Pat Marsden affectionately called Bill Stephenson “Grampy” – and soon so did anyone privileged enough to have worked with the booming voice who touched generations on radio and TV.
Stephenson died on Tuesday, July 22 at the age of 85. Born in Saskatchewan, Stephenson launched his broadcasting career in Port Alberni, B.C. and rose to become sports director at CKWX. In 1960, he moved to Toronto where became sports director at radio station CFRB, a post he held for 40 years and over which time he hired the likes of Brian Williams and Dave Hodge.
Stephenson was recognized with the Sports Media Canada Career Achievement Award in 2000 while Williams and Hodge have also received SMC honours over the years as well. Having a team comprised of Stephenson, Williams and Hodge established CFRB 1010 with arguably the most talented sports radio broadcasting team of its era.
During his time at CFRB Stephenson, as the sideline reporter, also joined the likes of Marsden for CTV’s coverage of the Canadian Football League. Stephenson had long been synonymous with the CFL in his play-by-play role with the B.C. Lions and the Toronto Argonauts. In addition to his SMC recognition among Grampy’s other honours is his selection to the Football Reporters of Canada Hall of Fame.
An extremely gracious individual, Stephenson devoted himself to several charitable endeavours. But he was most proud of his family as his 66-year marriage to Louise produced five children, 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Sports Media Canada extends its sincerest condolences to the Stephenson family. Always a supporter of Sports Media Canada we’re very much going to miss him at our annual Sports Media Canada Achievement Awards luncheon.
Rest in peace, Grampy.