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LISTEN: Legendary broadcaster Bill Stephenson passes away

Stephenson worked in the sports department at CFRB, starting in 1960.

A legendary voice in Toronto has gone silent.

Bill Stephenson, who delivered the sports news on CFRB (now Newstalk 1010) through four decades, passed away Tuesday night.

Born in Elrose, Saskatchewan, Stephenson started his radio career in Port Alberni, B.C. He moved on to become the voice of the B.C. Lions.

He joined CFRB in 1960, where he covered the Toronto Argonauts for 12 years.

"He was probably the nicest man that I've ever met in the industry. He was a phenomenal guy with a great sense of humour," said current Newstalk 1010 anchor Dave Agar.

Bill was known as "Grampy" for the many years he worked at the station.

"That's all we referred to him as, and he loved it," Agar says.

 

(Photo: Bill Stephenson with Dave Hodge)

Wally Crouter, who worked with Stephenson for years, was proud to call Stephenson a friend.

"I know, right now, I feel like I've lost a brother."

Crouter says Bill was a talented broadcaster.

"I realized what a prize I had been sent down from the west coast," Crouter says.

Another legendary sportscaster who worked with Bill is Brian Williams, who credits the late broadcaster with giving him his start.

"He was a mentor and a dear friend and really shaped me to become the broadcaster I am today," Williams says.

The Stephenson family is thanking everyone for their support.

"The heartwarming tributes mean so much to us," Bill's granddaughter Carey says.

His son Ron says this has been a tough time for the family.

Known as one of the most outspoken and respected sports commentators in Canada, Bill is a member of the Canadian Broadcaster Hall of Fame.

He is inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum, Football Reporters of Canada wing in 1988.

LISTEN: Newstalk 1010's Justine Lewkowicz gets reaction on the passing of Bill Stephenson

LISTEN: Sports broadcaster Dave Hodge and host Ted Woloshyn reminisce about working with Bill

 

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  • 22
  1. Carey Stephenson posted on 07/23/2014 02:25 PM
    Thank you, on behalf of the Stephenson family for the kind words on the loss of a very special man, broadcaster, husband, father, grand-father, great-grandfather, brother, friend.. and so much more.

    Forever remembered.
    1. Randy Stephenson posted on 07/23/2014 07:12 PM
      @Carey Stephenson Thanks for the comment Carey, he was all that and more.

      a saddened nephew
  2. Brian C posted on 07/23/2014 02:29 PM
    A sad day for sure, I remember listening to his sports news at 12:40 on CFRB and hanging on every word.
    This was way before sports radio and instant info by tweet, text and breaking news.
    Bill was a real pro, knew his stuff, he was my sports report as a kid.
  3. Sandra posted on 07/23/2014 02:37 PM
    R.I.P. Bill
  4. Dale Patterson posted on 07/23/2014 02:38 PM
    I grew up hearing Wally Crouter, Jack Dennett and Bill Stephenson in mornings at CFRB, and I had the pleasure of meeting Bill in the 1970s. Great sportscaster, and a very nice man.

    R.I.P. Bill Stephenson.
  5. Warren posted on 07/23/2014 03:51 PM
    I grew up listening to Bill and the rest from RB -- great sports knowledge...and a great voice that you could always recognize -- I had the chance to meet him at social media event 20+ years ago-- a very nice person too. Cheers to a veteran.
  6. Steve posted on 07/23/2014 04:01 PM
    Remember Bill from my childhood, with Wally, all the way up to his day he retired. A class guy, true pro, and a broadcasting immortal. Condolences to his family.
  7. tanjo posted on 07/23/2014 04:21 PM
    I remember that I NEEDED to hear Bill's Sports Report at 5 minutes to the hour. If I missed it, then my morning was somehow lacking.
  8. Drew D posted on 07/23/2014 05:34 PM
    I was very saddened to read the news on CFRB's Website tonight. Like a lot of folks, I grew up listening to Wally and Bill. I usually listened along with my Dad. These were great Father-son times for me, and form some of the fond memories I have of my Dad.
  9. Peter Henderson posted on 07/23/2014 06:38 PM
    I had there assure of working with Bill for 8 years at CFRB he was a true gentleman and a good friend. Bill was part of the Golden Age of Broadcasting one of the good guys.
  10. al clarkson posted on 07/23/2014 06:50 PM
    As a child, I always wanted to be a sports broadcaster. It was great to listen in at 7:55 AM, and later to actually pass on high school sports scores to him in my high school years. Many trivial facts on Canadian sports came from his broadcasts and are still stuck in my cranium!
  11. Steve Pottle posted on 07/23/2014 07:10 PM
    I had the privilege of working with Bill (and Wally) as the morning show technical producer from 1992-1997 after Bev Edwards retired. Bill was very welcoming to this kid who had no clue as to the history behind he and Wally's time at CFRB. But that was Bill, a professional with no ego. He was a guy who got up every morning and shared what he loved...sports... with whomever was listening...and enjoy occasionally pushing Wally's buttons ;). Bill, you were even gracious enough to say yes and come to my wedding and I will always cherish the memory of having Bill Stephenson and Wally Crouter share my special day. Rest in Peace. You will be missed.
  12. John Donabie posted on 07/23/2014 07:52 PM
    I worked with Grampy on weekends and while filling in for Ted for over a decade. He was the nicest radio person I have ever known. He would discuss him philosophies on life with me off air. He made me think. I'll miss you Grampy. He called me, MaBoy.
  13. Bernie Pascall posted on 07/23/2014 08:16 PM
    Very sorry to hear of Bill's passing.Bill exuded class! I worked with him on world hockey championships and CFL football.
    He was a friend and a well respected broadcaster. Our thoughts and prayers are with Louise and the family.
    Judy & Bernie Pascall
  14. Martha Brayley posted on 07/23/2014 10:53 PM
    Stephenson family,

    As I am reminded of my time in high school with Julie, I wish to extend my deepest sympathies. Loosing either parent can be one of the hardest things we go through.
    Martha Brayley
  15. Bruce Metcalfe posted on 07/24/2014 12:26 AM
    I remember saying hello to Bill as he climbed the steps to the broadcast booth at Ivor Wynne stadium back in the late 70s. A very nice man! Rest in Peace Bill!
  16. Angus McFee posted on 07/24/2014 05:17 AM
    R.I.P. Bill.
  17. Glenn Gingerich posted on 07/24/2014 12:01 PM
    Condolences to the family on the passing of their loved one and someone who shaped the course of my life. Bill's broadcasts inspired me to become a sports broadcaster while listening to CFRB as A child in Etobicoke. I had the enormous good fortune to achieve my dream and become a co-worker at the sister station CKFM throughout the 1980s. Meeting Bill was the thrill of a lifetime. Sharing the same workspace was a dream come true.
    His catch phrase: "You don't have to play a sport to be a good one" resonated in our household and still brings a smile to our faces when my brother and I reminisce about those years of anxiously waiting to hear him come on the air.
  18. Arnold posted on 07/24/2014 07:15 PM
    I was a listener of FM till I heard Wally C and Bill S.
    Bill was great and miss that fantastic voice.
    Bill S was definitely a Canadian Hall of Fame radio host.
  19. Bob Cowan posted on 07/26/2014 01:50 PM
    RIP Bill. You were the best
  20. Howard Yarmolinsky posted on 07/27/2014 10:23 PM
    Listened to your sport broadcasts and your call of the Argo games.
    You will be missed.
  21. johnnyj posted on 07/28/2014 05:47 AM
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