Lawrence (Laurie) S.N. Irvine (1913-2002)

Year Born: 
1913
Year Died: 
2002

Pioneer

Irvine, Lawrence (Laurie) S.N. (1913-2002)

The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) founded its Communications Program in 1964. The man who was appointed department head graduated (as almost everybody did in the infancy of radio) from the broadcasting school of hard knocks.

Laurie Irvine's first experience in radio broadcasting began in Vancouver with CKFC, a station licensed in 1924 to the First Congregational Church and which was subsequently taken over by the United Church and leased during the early 30s to the Standard Broadcasting Company (not to be confused with Toronto's Standard Radio Ltd). Laurie joined CKFC in 1934 when the station, which had been operating only on Sundays (providing two services and an afternoon forum) had begun broadcasting during weekdays a 90-minute program of classical and light classical music. Standard was allowed to sell some advertising, but only to sponsors approved by the church. Standard added a short-wave transmitter (VE9CS/CKFX) to reach up the coast into the interior of B.C.

In 1937, Standard Broadcasting Company was bought by the Sun Publishing Company and the studios moved from Chalmers United Church to the Sun Tower. It was at that time that Laurie was invited to CFJC Kamloops to help them to build a new 1,000-watt transmitter to replace the original 100-watter, and to handle some on-air assignments.

But, by 1940. the radio picture in Vancouver was changing. CKFC had ceased broadcasting, CKCD, the Province's station which shared a frequency with Sparks Holstead"s CKWX,  had also turned in its licence, and CKWX was now operating full-time. Taylor-Pearson-Carson of Calgary had acquired 40% ownership of CKWX and had taken over the management of the station. Laurie, now known on the air as "Laurie Irving", joined CKWX as an announcer in 1941, and was appointed production manager in 1942. He went on to become Program Manager. In the mid-fifties he took on the directorship of special events and produced several award-winning documentaries, among them "Why Do they Do It?" and "They Walk By Night".

In 1958, Laurie was persuaded by Vancouver expatriates to move to CFCF, the venerable Marconi station in Montreal, but his love for the Pacific coast took him back to Vancouver in 1961 - this time to CKWX's news department.

On his 30th anniversary in radio broadcasting, Laurie was appointed the first department head of BC's Institute of Technology Communications Program - a post he held with distinction until he reached the semi-retirement stage of his life in 1974.

Laurie spent the next couple of years in the city of his birth Victoria. He voiced daily commentaries for CJVI and commuted to Vancouver to lecture part-time at BCIT. He settled in White Rock, B.C.

Laurie Irvine passed away in North Vancouver on January 23, 2002.

Written by Gord Lansdell - August, 2002

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