Ted Soskin was a legendary Calgary broadcaster whose career spanned four decades and whose legacy includes the creation of local radio station, CHQR.
Ted Soskin and David Taras
Ted Soskin will also be honoured as part of Mount Royal’s annual In Memoriam ceremony, which will be held in the Dr. John H. Garden Memorial Park on Aug. 23, 2012.
You can also watch a documentary on Ted Soskin created by his grandson, Brent Martin. Called My Grandfather’s Voice, this short film from 2006 won the Excellence in Documentary award at Cinesiege (Toronto) and the Best Short Documentary award at the Winnipeg International Film Festival and has been screened at the Calgary Jewish Film Festival, and the Okanagan International Film Festival.
A brief biography of David Taras can be found on Mount Royal’s Full Professor web pages.
David Taras is a leading expert in Canadian media policy and one of the first Mount Royal University faculty members to be promoted to full professor.
They are both to be honoured through a new scholarship established by the Somar Family Foundation — a foundation established by Soskin’s daughter, Sandy; her husband, Larry Martin; and their children, Brent and Tedi.
“I started my studies at Mount Royal College in the 1970s and I feel very proud to give back to the school through a scholarship honouring David and honouring my father’s memory,” Sandy Martin says.
Combining visions to help students
When the Ted Soskin Scholarship in Communications is awarded for the first time in 2013, it will also recognize David Taras’s promotion to full professor earlier this year.
“I am a board member with Alberta Global Forum, which began at the University of Calgary with David Taras,” Martin explains.
“David wants to bring the Forum to Mount Royal and I think most of us on the board want to continue because it was a wonderful initiative.”
Alberta Global Forum
Alberta Global Forum is a non-profit organization that is a meeting place for community leaders, citizens and students and a catalyst for debate on issues that affect Alberta. The AGF examines local, national and international issues including the challenges created by unprecedented growth, Alberta’s place in the Canadian family, the province’s relationship with the United States, and Alberta’s connections with the Pacific Rim and elsewhere overseas.
The AGF is currently working with Mount Royal University and the Somar Family Foundation to launch the new Somar Speakers Series this fall. This series will feature experts with important things to say about the shape and future of our society, and it will explore issues ranging from disadvantaged youth and their educational needs to policy development at the municipal, provincial and federal levels and from health care to the economy.
“Marc told me his first job was at CHQR, which is the radio station my dad founded,” Martin says. “Establishing this scholarship made perfect sense as a way to tie all those things together.”
Remembering a broadcasting legend
Martin remembers her father as a highly creative person with a passion for radio.
“He loved to be entrepreneurial and established many cutting edge and novel programming concepts for his day,” she says. “Early in his career, he travelled to Hollywood and opened an office so he could interview movie stars, then syndicated this across Canadian airwaves.
“He became well known in Calgary for all the different shows that he did. I think it was exciting for him — he was a shy man but when he was on the radio it brought out a different persona in him.
“Then he had this dream to own a radio station and he put everything into it — he quit his job to apply to the Canadian Radio-Television Commission and he was successful in getting Calgary’s first new radio station in 37 years.”
“I see them both as people-oriented, visionary and entrepreneurial,” she says, adding that both have a strong track record of engagement with the community.
“I have a deep respect for David because he has such charm and a natural ability to engage people. He can bring different people together from different walks of life, and if you’ve ever seen him doing election commentary on TV, he’s just so understandable and so relatable.
“I think the common touch he brings is such a good fit with Mount Royal University.”
Martin says she hopes the new scholarship will help inspire a desire for learning, and that the scholarship’s recipient will be as engaged as the two men it honours.
“I hope that the student can engage others and move ideas forward by questioning things and seeking solutions to things — to understand community and how we can all participate in the best way possible to bring humanity to a better level,” Martin says.
— Nancy Cope, May 31, 2012