Veteran CBC reporter and producer, Jack MacAndrew, passed away on May 23rd at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown at the age of 81.
MacAndrew was born in 1933 in Campbellton, NB and in 1945 the family moved to PEI. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1954, at the age of 18, as a flight cadet and became a radio officer. In 1956 he joined the CBC, in Halifax, as a publicity assistant.
As a young Halifax based CBC reporter in the 1950s, Mr. MacAndrew reported live from the town of Springhill, NS when it was devastated by two of the worst mining disasters in Canadian history. For the first time, he and the CBC broadcast live and to an international audience from the pithead. He remained on site for six days and did interview twelve trapped miners who were rescued.
He went into publicity and then reporting and went on to write, produce and host Canadian TV shows, including ‘This is Jazz’ which was produced in Halifax. In 1965 he left the CBC to return to PEI to join the Charlottetown Festivals Musicals. In 1968 he ran, unsuccessfully, as a federal Liberal candidate.
In 1970 he returned to CBC Toronto as head of variety programming and over the next decade launched the careers of many Canadian artists. He was responsible the creation of “Superspecials” starring Anne Murray, Bruce Cockburn, Maureen Forrester, Oscar Peterson, Gordon Lightfoot, Howie Mandel and Jim Carrey.
In 1980 he left the CBC and established his own production company. Five years later he returned to PEI and for the next twenty years created provincial and national TV productions. He also was a TV political commentator and phone-in show host on CBC Radio.
MacAndrew is survived by his wife, Barbara, two sons, Shaun and Randy; five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.