Biography

Pioneer - Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Robinson, Robert "Red"

(1937- )

Red Robinson - basically a broadcaster - but a multi-talented dynamo - entrepreneur - promoter - programmer - producer - performer - archivist - author - benefactor - builder-upper - distinguished citizen, and founder and President of Red Robinson Management Ltd.

Third generation British Columbia born, Red came into the world on Vancouver Island in Comox on March 30, 1937. Sixteen years later, he was spinning LPs and 45s on Radio Station CJOR, Vancouver, and beginning to mark off his territory.

The record shows that Red worked for a Portland (Oregon) radio station and five Vancouver stations.

1954 - Disc Jockey, CJOR
1956 - Disc Jockey, CKWX
1959 - Disc Jockey and TV Host, KGW Portland
1961 - Disc Jockey, CKWX
1962 - Program Manager, CFUN
1968 - Program Manager, CJOR
1971 - Morning Show Host, CKWX - racking up a station record of 12 years
1985 - Hosted a satellite rock 'n roll show on CKNW and the W.I.N. Network
1990 - Moved his show ("Reunion") to the S.R.N. coast-to-coast network.
1993 - Morning Show Host, CISL

While plying his radio roles, Red became a much sought-after M C for television programs and specials (among them):

  • Host of the CBC network show "Let's Go" (aka "Music Hop") 1963-1965
  • MC for "The B.C. ACTRA Awards" - 1969
  • Host of CBC program "Trivia" - 1977-1979
  • Host of the CBC (Regional Network) Annual "Timmy's Christmas Telethon"
  • Frequent guest host on CBC-TV's "Cross Canada Hit Parade"
  • Host of KVOS-TV's prime-time Sunday feature "Red's Classic Theatre"

Red Robinson's roots go back to the beginning of Rock 'N Roll in Canada. He laid claim to being the first disc jockey to program the "new music" on a regular basis in Canada, and the first to play Elvis Presley records. In 1957, he was the MC of the Elvis Presley show at Vancouver's Empire Stadium. In 1964, he MC-ed the Beatles' show at the Empire. In collaboration with Peggy Hodgins, he authored a book about the history of Rock 'N Roll in Canada. In 1980, Red hosted and produced the Gavin Report Convention in Vancouver, the first time that this prestigious event was held outside of the USA.

As part of Expo 86, Red promoted "The Legends of Rock 'N Roll", and presented forty-one of the best of the Rock 'N Roll giants at the Expo Theatre. This 13-week series stands unprecedented for bringing together most of the Hall of Fame stars to one venue - among them Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and the Righteous Brothers. Over the years, Red met and worked with countless major popular recording stars and taped interviews with over 650 personalities. In 1995, in Cleveland, he was elected as a pioneer disc jockey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - one of only three from Canada - and 90 overall.

Red entered the advertising agency field in 1969 when he founded Trend Advertising (later Palmer Jarvis Advertising). Trend's first client was McDonald's Restaurants of Canada. Red was their first agent and first to appear in a McDonald's TV commercial. Another such venture was Vriak Robinson Advertising - a 14-year partnership with Stephan Vriak, which, in 1987 merged with Hayhurst Communications Ltd, to form one of Vancouver's largest advertising agencies - Vriak Robinson Hayhurst Communications Ltd.

Red Robinson's awards and accolades are many and varied:

  • 1956 Disc Jockey of the Northwest - Province newspaper poll
  • 1969 Broadcast Performer of the Year - B.C. Association of Broadcasters
  • 1981 Inducted into the CAB Quarter-Century Club - Can. Assoc of Broadcasters
  • 1991 The Record Magazine's second inductee to its Broadcaster Hall of Fame
  • 1991 Recipient, North Vancouver Centennial Award "100 Distinguished Citizens"
  • 1992 Recipient of "Canada 125" Achievement Medal - Government of Canada
  • 1994 Appointed a "Vancouver Museum Honourary Ambassador" on its centennial
  • 1994 Inducted into "Entertainment Hall of Fame" - his name in "STARWALK"
  • 1994 elected into Rock `N Roll Hall of Fame - Cleveland, Ohio

On the 11th Annual Timmy's Christmas Telethon - which Red hosted from its inception - the B.C. Lions' Society for Children with Disabilities, named one of the floors of Easter Seal House after him - in honour of his dedication to the Society and for helping them to raise over $22 million up to 1988.

In 1988, Red was proclaimed Founding President of NABS (National Advertising Benevolent Society), West Coast Chapter. The Society represents the entire advertising community on the west coast.

Red also served the Broadcast Executive Society - B.E.S. Western - as a Director, and was a Director of the West Coast Chapter of CARAS.

A scholarship fund was established in Red's name at the British Columbia Institute of Technology which provides an annual award to a needy student seeking a broadcasting career.

In 1997, Robert "Red" Robinson, was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame..

"Red" Robinson retired from CISL with his last broadcast on November 8th, 2000.

He returned to the station just a few months later with four hours of oldies every Sunday afternoon.

In addition to his radio program, in the summer of 2004 Red became the host of “Meet the Collectors”, a show about collectible memorabilia, seen weekly on Prime Television.  On November 12 of the same year, he celebrated fifty years on the air.

In his honour, the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation opened the Red Robinson Show Theatre at the Boulevard Casino in the Vancouver suburb of Coquitlam.  The 1100-seat theatre opened on September 15, 2006 with a private VIP reception and show, with dignitaries including Senator Larry Campbell, Coquitlam Mayor Maxine Wilson, entertainers Wink Martindale and Peter Reveen and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame President Terry Stewart.  Paul Revere and the Raiders and Bill Medley provided the entertainment.

After a total of 14-years at CISL, Red hosted his last show on September 16, 2007.  On October 6, he debuted with a six-hour Saturday evening oldies program on CKCL-FM under the same title of "Red Rock Diner".  In over 50 years of broadcasting, it was his first time with a program on FM radio.
Red’s website: http://www.redrobinson.com


                                                                                  updated by Gord Lansdell - 2007


Audio:

Vic Waters - Red's first boss pays tribute to Red

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