The Ontario Association of Broadcasters is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2022 Ontario Hall of Fame Award for lifetime achievement is Bill Evanov!
He has been celebrated for his achievements and contributions to Canada’s musical and broadcasting heritage including and induction into the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame and the Allan Waters Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame.
Bill Evanov was the Founder and President of Evanov Communications Inc., an independent broadcast company. A true entrepreneur, Evanov went from owning minority shares in one radio station in Toronto to 19 across the country in a short span and in an age where independent radio ownership had drastically declined. When consolidation and concentration of ownership made large broadcasters larger or multi-platform monopolies, he stood firm and bucked the trend. It is one thing to operate radio stations, it is another to be successful doing so, especially in major markets where competition from large corporations is fierce.
Years ago, when a young Bill Evanov decided to get into radio, he knocked on the doors of CHUM, CFRB, CKEY, CKFH, CFGM, CHIC and CHFI; but was rejected by all due to lack of experience. As fortune would have it, Johnny Lombardi gave him an opportunity at CHIN Multicultural Radio, a relatively unknown station at the time, and within 18 months Evanov became Vice President Sales.
Johnny Lombardi and Bad Boy Furniture’s and later Toronto Mayor, Mel Lastman hosted the First Annual “Spaghetti Dig in Contest” with Bill Evanov as the chief organizer. He subsequently morphed this event into the highly successful CHIN International Picnic, which remained a staple event in Toronto and known the world as the largest event of its kind.
Among his many accomplishments, he created several unique, non cookie-cutter formats including: CHR/Dance format which delivers a variety of different genres of rhythmic music – Pop, Rock, Hip-hop, R&B and Dance; The Jewel, now Lite Adult Contemporary format blending soft, melodic music in a variety of genres from different eras; and in 2007 he launched CIRR-FM known as Proud FM, the world’s first of its kind, that programs to the LGBTQ population.
Bill Evanov “walked the walk” everyday in support of Canadian music. He opened the door for independent Canadian musical artists at ALL Evanov stations across the country very often being the first to recognize and play fresh new Canadian talent. Among some of the more notable successes who received first radio airplay radio airplay at Evanov stations, are Michael Bublè, Shawn Desman, Danny Fernandes, Massari (MMVA winner & Juno nominee), The Sound Bluntz, Joee , Addictiv, Love Inc., BKS, Alessia Cara. Many of these artists became Juno and MMVA winners.
Bill Evanov strongly supported education through a multi million-dollar series of scholarships and endowments. Some of the partner university and college institutions have included University of Waterloo, Acadia University, King’s University College, Dalhousie University, Carlton University, University of Guelph, University de Sherbrooke, Humber College, Western University, and the University of Manitoba. He was also committed to the Aboriginal Media Fund for the development of Indigenous talent.
He raised hundreds of thousands of dollars every year across the country for dozens of charity initiatives including annual events such as : “Boating for the Cure” to benefit prostate and breast cancer research, Crime Stoppers, Annual Chief of Police Dinner, in Toronto and area; Brant Community Health Care Foundation directed to Brantford General Hospital and the Paris Willet for new medical equipment; Hope for the Holidays Radiothon in support of Manitoba Harvest; Food Bank, Maison de la Famille and Children’s Wish initiatives in Ottawa-Gatineau; Maratona di Natale and Band of Baskets in Montreal. These are but a few in an exhaustive list.
His “Move Like Lightning” , “Just Do It” and “Make it Happen” philosophy guided the company to stand strong in the stiffest competition and his extremely tenacious approach and combatant attitude have extended to the team he carefully assembled over the years, many of whom have remained with the company since its inception.
Bill Evanov was an entrepreneur and a pioneer who learned a strong work ethic from his Bulgarian Canadian heritage. He was a street fighter, a visionary, a loyal friend, a mentor who was at heart kind and shy. His contribution to the Canadian broadcast industry is considerable and his influence will endure. However, his biggest and most important legacy, he would argue, are his children Kristina and Paul whom he loved dearly and to whom he entrusted the continued success of the company, at the helm, steering it into the future.
The Ontario Hall of Fame Award presentation will be held at CONNECTION 2022 the OAB conference, Awards Luncheon, Wednesday, October 19th at the Hyatt Luxe Convention Centre. For conference details, click HERE.