2003 Ted Reynolds

Ted Reynolds
by Fred Walker

It all began innocently enough with advice from his mother. “Get a job where you have to talk”, she said. And Ted Reynolds talked his way to becoming one of the country’s most recognized names in sports broadcasting. That advice kick-started a career that would last 45 years.

Ted Reynolds

Ted Reynolds

However, before broadcasting became an obsession, a teen-aged Ted spent time as an RCAF gunner during World War II. But in describing his military experience, Ted played down his role, calling it: “an air gunner who never really gunned.”

It was his brief non-combat career that afforded him the opportunity to sign up with a broadcasting school, (one that accepted DVA funding). “The school was run by a former CBC chief announcer, Don Wilson, who was a famous news voice in B.C.,” he said. Within a couple of months he found work in Kamloops and “my career was off and running on May 17,1945 at the magnificent stipend of $85 (a MONTH).”

Ted Reynolds was a pioneer in sports broadcasting on the west coast. “In those days you did everything. I was one of four announcers on staff and worked six day shifts and one night shift a week. I did the first radio sports remote and I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the spring of 1947. The station, CFHC, sponsored a local Senior B basketball team that went on to challenge the mighty Vancouver Clover Leafs for the BC senior crown. The broadcast originated at the University of British Columbia and went all the way back to Kamloops.”

His next move was to Victoria where “I met one of my mentors, the great Lester Patrick who had returned to Victoria from New York to introduce the Victoria Cougars to the Western Hockey League. That was in 1949 and I got to broadcast their games for the next eight years.”

Ted Reynolds was not limited to sports in his broadcasting career. He did his first Royal Tour broadcast in 1951 when Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Canada and he was involved in subsequent Royal Tour coverage in 1958, 1959 and 1971. By that time he had joined the CBC. “I like to be called a broadcaster”, he says “one who could do a multitude of things and did.”

Once he joined the CBC in 1956, his career began to flourish. He covered his first Grey Cup that year. Over the years he has teamed up with a number of Canada’s elite sports broadcasters. One colleague, Don Wittman of Winnipeg who was named Sports Media Canada’s Broadcaster of the Year in 2002 says, “I’m delighted Ted is being recognized for his contribution to sports broadcasting. He was one of the first commentators to be involved in so many sports in this country…CFL football… Hockey Night in Canada… Commonwealth Games. I had the pleasure of working with him for the first time in 1962 when we covered the Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia. Since then we have worked on a variety of international events. In ‘68 when Nancy Greene won her gold medal in Grenoble, Ted called the race for TV and I was at the finish line to interview our Olympic gold medallist. He’s been a long-time friend and I offer my congratulations for an award that’s well deserved.”

Another former colleague, Don Brown who produced many of the sports broadcasts Ted was associated with, listed 23 different sports that Ted covered. That’s just six fewer than the 29 that are listed as the official sports of the Summer Olympics.

A multi-award winner for excellence in his work and contributions to his craft, Ted Reynolds is a two-time recipient of the Doug Gilbert Media Award and is the only media member in the Canadian Aquatic Hall of Fame. He is well remembered for his coverage of major aquatic events on CBC TV over a span of 30 years. Swimming coverage provided him with two of his greatest moments over a 45-year distinguished career in broadcasting. “I called every race of Mark Spitz’ remarkable seven gold medal Olympic performance in Munich in 1972. Also witnessing and calling Canada’s first gold medal in Olympic swimming – one of two won by Alex Baumann in 1984 – after waiting so long.” (Canada’s last swimming gold had been in 1912).

“There are so many memories and so many friends and companions from all around the globe — all because I was part of the greatest era in TV broadcasting.”

Now, aren’t you glad you listened to your mother, Ted.