Sports Journalism loses a Great Guy – so long John, rest easy

John Badham, a 60-plus year veteran of Canadian broadcasting died Thursday in hospital losing a battle with cancer — less than a month after receiving a prestigious Career Achievement Award from Sports Media Canada. He was 79.
Badham was unable to attend the November 10 Annual Achievement Awards Luncheon at the Fairmont Royal York’s Imperial Room in Toronto to receive the career achievement award, but he was able to watch via Facetime from his bed as his sons Paul and Perry took the stage to accept it on his behalf.
“Family was always first to him and that is something that spilled down to the rest of us,” his son Paul said in accepting the Award. “Family comes first. He would drop anything for any of the kids, for sure,” added his son Perry.
The family may have taken his celebrity for granted, at times, but the Award offered a reminder of all he had accomplished.
“He had an outstanding career. He did so much,” Paul said, noting how his dad interviewed the likes of Gordie Howe, Pelé, Muhammad Ali and was present when Bobby Hull signed his World Hockey Association contract in 1972, regarded as the first-ever $1 million single-year contract.
What stands out most is how their dad riveted audiences with his words. “He was just a tremendous storyteller,” Perry said. His most poignant memory of his dad is when he was the voice of the Argos. “That was his biggest love. CFL football.”
Badham’s first broadcasting gig was in his hometown of Weyburn, Sask., at age 20. His first sports assignment was creating a radio broadcast for the Weyburn Beavers senior hockey team. He went on to do radio for the WHL’s Regina Pats where he broadcast at the Memorial Cup.
He burst into prominence in 1959 when he began a decade of calling Saskatchewan Roughriders football games. He went on to call CFL games for 22 years also doing play-by-play for the Toronto Argonauts (three times for three different radio stations), Hamilton Tiger-Cats, B.C. Lions and Ottawa Rough Riders.
He also covered Olympic Games in Montreal, in Sarajevo in 1984, Commonwealth Games, a Super Bowl, World and Canadian curling championships, among his long list of sports broadcasts
Badham, who moved to Peterborough in 1988, retired from full-time broadcasting in 2011 but returned to the airwaves more than three years ago as a host of the show The Regulars on Extra 90.5 FM and continued in his part-time role until last month.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of broadcasting legend and EXTRA 90.5 FM host John Badham,” My Broadcasting Corp general manager Rob Mise added to the dozens of expressions of sadness and regret that came to the family from the Sports Journalism community as news of Badham’s death became known.