Ronald Austin East
2 August, 1933 – 17 March, 2020
It is with great sadness we share the passing of Ronald Austin East on March 17, 2020 in Vernon, BC. at the age of 86.
Born in Vernon, B.C, Ron's family moved to Prince George, B.C. at the start of WWII. Ron co-founded and was president and managing director of a communications network of British Columbia radio and cablevision companies stretching from Smithers to Prince George and to 100 Mile House.
Ron started his career in 1955 as an announcer at CKPG Radio in Prince George. By 1960 he was managing the station when television came to town. In 1963, he and partner Stan Davis founded CFBV radio in Smithers, and in 1955 added CFLD in Burns Lake and then re-broadcasters in many small surrounding communities. They were honoured with a citation for innovation that allowed different commercials to be broadcast simultaneously to each re-broadcaster. In 1970, Ron and Stan were awarded the license to open CJCI radio in Prince George. From there were added CIVH in Vanderhoof and again re-broadcasters in many small surrounding communities. These entities were all joined under the banner of Central Interior Radio Network. Ron was president and managing director of all of these entities until they were sold to Vista in 2005.
Ron led a three year effort in 1973 and was successful in bringing cablevision to Prince George, and then to Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House under the banner of Central Interior Cablevision. Ron was president and managing director of all of these entities as well until they were sold to Shaw in 1989.
Ron was an active member of the community with Toastmasters, the Rotary Club and a past president of the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters (BCAB). He was named Broadcaster of the Year in 1976 by the BCAB. He served a three year term as a director for the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance. He has been a director of the Prince George Symphony Society and the Prince George Community Foundation. Ron was very proud to be a founding member of the group who in obtained the Charter for the University of Northern BC. Ron was presented with a Queen’s 50th Jubilee medal for his many accomplishments.
Leisure time was spent panning for the mother-lode, travelling the world, and camping from coast to coast to coast (think about it) with family and friends. Happy memories. Ron and Helen retired to Vernon, B.C.
Survived by his wife Helen, son Ken (Lyn), daughters Kathryn and Jo-Anne (Neal) and sister Mary Lou Gardiner, 4 Grandchildren Jeremy (Susanna), Kati, Jana, and Ian (Sarah). 3 Great Grandchildren Warren, Claire, and Kaysen.
Donations can be made to any charity in his name or the food bank.
Arrangements entrusted with Vernon Funeral Home, Vernon, BC. 250-542-0155
Ronald Austin East
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21 April 2020
How very sad ... condolences to all those close. Ron was always a friend and a gentleman. Attempted to contact him a couple of years ago.
13 April 2020
I’m very sorry to hear of Ron’s passing and send my condolences to Helen and the family. I worked at CJCI for two years, 1979-1981, learned a lot in the newsroom, made friends there and had a lot of fun. Ron was a great boss who helped steer my career in the early days. I’ll be forever grateful.
2 April 2020
I was lucky enough to join BVLD Radio in 1974, and for the next 10 years worked for Ron at CJCI Prince George. He was an inspiring man with a vision for community-based broadcasting, and became a pioneer in extending radio and cable television services to many underserved parts of the Central Interior. He always seemed to be one step ahead of everyone else in his understanding of where broadcasting was headed. Ron was fair, had a fine sense of humour, and assembled a strong team of people who are now scattered across the broadcasting field. He gave many of us our first chance, and for that, I'll be forever grateful. My condolences to his family and friends.