Ralph Connor

Ralph Connor can easily be placed in our category of Visionaries & Pioneers!  He was a lifelong broadcaster, a former Sudbury Alderman, husband, father and grandfather.

To comment on the fact he was a lifelong broadcaster is only the very least of his accomplishments.  It is what he brought to broadcasting in Sudbury that would reflect his vision and ideas of what CKSO Radio and TV could and would become.  He would become known as a tough taskmaster.  His direction and leadership created an impact on broadcasting not only in Sudbury but across Canada.

It was radio which brought Connor to Sudbury.  He came to work as an overnight host on CKSO Radio in 1950.  He wouldn't be satisfied once he discovered that there were new challenges and opportunities within arms' reach.  He moved into the television department and soon became General Manager of both CKSO Radio and TV by the mid-1950s.  In fact Ralph Connor had helped launch CKSO TV as the first privately owned television station in Canada.  He would also be instrumental in establishing another milestone by aiming to go colour, thus becoming the first private station in Canada to broadcast in colour.  To accomplish this Ralph found himself in rather intense negotiations with the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission.  In an August 14th, 2013 newspaper article, The Sudbury Star quotes George Lund, former CKSO Radio and TV Manager, describing Ralph as an innovator, "he looked ahead and he pushed hard, and a lot of people would have thought he was a very difficult guy to deal with because he pushed so hard, but that was his nature".

Ralph Connor did not confine his leadership skills and vision within the walls of Cambrian Broadcasting in Sudbury.  He was also active in municipal politics.  Sitting for two terms on city council, Connor served as Alderman representing what was then Ryan Ward.  As a councillor, he played instrumental roles in in projects like the Art Gallery, the Bell Park Amphitheatre, Laurentian University and Adele Samson Center School.  Part of the Ryan Ward included the Donovan where he especially garnered love from his many Ukrainian constituents there.  Ralph himself shared their Ukrainian hertiage.

In another chapter of Ralph's life and careers, he ran in the 1974 Federal election aiming for a Member of Provincial Parliment seat on behalf of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.  He was a candidate for Nickel Belt.  He came in third, with New Democratic Party incumbent John Rodriguez holding on to his seat.

Ralph Connor would leave Cambrian Broadcasting in 1975.  He served for a time as General Manager at CHEX in Peterborough.  Connor remained in the broadcast industry throughout the years as a consultant.  He is credited with establishing CJAX 92.5 FM Radio in Edmonton, CJAY 92 FM Radio in Calgary.  Though he spent much of his life in Alberta, Connor always said his heart was in Sudbury.  He was born in Kenora.

Ralph Connor passed away on July 29th, 2013 in Sudbury, in his early 80's.  He leaves behind his wife, Jan Browning, a son Mark Browning, a daughter-in-law Jess Nadel and a grandson Woodrow.  On line condolences included a posting from Larry Gavin, a former executive at Cambrian.  Larry wrote, "Ralph had a formidable influence on all who knew and worked with him, launching many to top executive careers in the broadcast industry."

One of Ralph's passions was his collection of thousands of vinyl albums.  As a record and music collector, he did research everywhere he travelled to become acquainted with musical artists.  He also loved to research the most interesting spots in which to dine and to visit.  Connor's son Mark, picked up his father's enthusiasm for vinyl records.  Mark Browning is the owner of Sudbury based "Cosmic Dave's Vinyl Emporium" and "Cosmic Dave's Guitar Emporium".