The Hamilton Spectator

Veteran broadcaste­r Beck had ‘radio in his blood,’ colleague says

He was news director at CHML, taught journalism at Mohawk College


It might be an understate­ment to say that broadcaste­r Warren Beck enjoyed his job.

“I can’t recall ever not wanting to go to work on a certain day,” Beck told the Stoney Creek News in a 2012 interview when he received a Lifetime Achievemen­t Award from the Radio Television News Directors Associatio­n.

“I still get excited about going to work and it’s something I’ll continue doing, probably until they carry me out.”

Beck — who died on Jan. 7 at age 90 — was a fixture in Hamilton media for more than six decades. He was a contempora­ry of such radio luminaries as Paul Hanover, Perc Allen and Bill Sturrup.

The Stoney Creek resident started at radio station CHML as an operator in 1954 and, until just a few years ago, was working as the news director of The Jewel 92 and CKPC in Brantford. Along the way, he served as CHML news director in the 1970s and later was a journalism instructor at Mohawk College.

Former Hamilton mayor and onair radio personalit­y Bob Bratina worked with Beck when both were at CHML, when it once had an army of reporters. He said Beck was a radio buff and collected tapes, and once sought a tape Bratina had of the last interview with Ticat great Bernie Faloney.

“Radio was in his blood,” he said. “Guys like him and I, we didn’t have TVs growing up. I loved radio and so did Warren.”

Bratina said Beck was easy to get along with and had a good sense of humour.

“He wasn’t someone who thought too much about himself. He was very positive and outgoing.”

He recalled that when Walter Gretzky, who worked for Bell, would come into the newsroom to work on the teletype machines, Beck and Sturrup would gather around him to get the latest stories on his hockey-playing son Wayne.

“Warren and Bill would be chatting away with Walter,” recalled Bratina. “He had a given interest in people.”

Former CHML reporter Larry Meyer, who worked there from 1980 to 1990, called Beck “a consummate news person.” He spoke to him a few years ago when Beck was organizing a CHML staff reunion.

“He was pretty serious about the job,” Meyer said. “He had high standards.”

He recalled the morning news meetings led by Beck.

“He was a profession­al. It was who is doing what. There was no slant to the news. Everything was objective. Just tell the facts. The reporting had to be good.”

He also said Beck stayed on top of stories for followups and had a Rolodex on his desk packed with contacts.

Beck was born on Aug. 25, 1933, in St. Thomas. He began his broadcasti­ng career in his hometown when he went to work for CHLO in 1950. He worked at CHML from 1954 to 1962 as an operator, but volunteere­d in the newsroom, and then went to work as a newscaster at CJOY in Guelph.

He left to try his hand as a TV anchorman at a station in Indiana, but came back to CHML as a reporter. He was appointed assistant news director in 1970 and became news director in 1972. He left CHML in 1985 and worked for the next decade as a broadcast journalism instructor at Mohawk College.

He had his own media consulting company and handled media relations for former Hamilton-Wentworth regional chair Bill Sears when he attempted an unsuccessf­ul political comeback for chair in the 1994 election.

Beck served on various broadcasti­ng associatio­n boards. He also served on the boards of Crime Stoppers and Alienated Youth and was president of the Hamilton East Kiwanis Club.

Beck is survived by his sons Warren and Christophe­r and two grandsons. He was predecease­d by his wife Paula in 2016.

 ?? ?? Warren Beck had a lengthy career in local broadcasti­ng, including more than two decades at CHML and as an instructor at Mohawk College. He was the station’s news director between 1972 and 1985.
Warren Beck had a lengthy career in local broadcasti­ng, including more than two decades at CHML and as an instructor at Mohawk College. He was the station’s news director between 1972 and 1985.

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