‘Intrepid reporter’ George Garrett reflects on CKNW’s 75-year history

George Garrett in the CKNW studio.
George Garrett in the CKNW studio. Niki Reitmayer / Global News

Former CKNW reporter George Garrett earned the title of “intrepid reporter” from long-time broadcasting legend Rafe Mair.

Now after a career that spanned more than four decades at 980 CKNW, the 84-year-old former reporter is also an author.

His new memoir, George Garrett: Intrepid Reporter, is a collection of stories from Garrett’s career as well as his childhood.

Speaking on CKNW’s Jon McComb Show, Garrett talked about growing up in poverty on a farm in Saskatchewan.

“At the time we didn’t think of ourselves as being poor because everyone else was.”

He recalled his family receiving welfare deliveries of groceries and coal from the government.

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“If we ran out of coal, believe it or not, we burnt ‘cow pies,’ dried cattle manure,” he said. “Not a nice odour but it kept the house warm.”

When he was nine years old, Garrett said he would listen to news about the Second World War on a neighbour’s radio.

“I wanted to be inside that radio,” he said.

In 1952, his dream came true and Garrett began working in the radio broadcasting industry. He joined CKNW as a reporter in 1956.

George Garrett displays his CKNW ‘top dog’ tie clip. March 1, 2019. Niki Reitmayer / Global News

During his career at CKNW, Garrett covered news stories such as the Exxon Valdez spill and the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

He recalled being assaulted while in L.A. during the riots. Despite suffering a broken jaw, he continued to cover the story.

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“The blood was spattering onto my notepad, so I kept it as a souvenir.”

CKNW host Jon McComb speaks with George Garrett. Niki Reitmayer / Global News
Morning show host Jon McComb, who recently celebrated a 35-year anniversary at CKNW, said “the thing I remember about working with George Garrett is that…George would disappear for two, three days. [He] wouldn’t file a story, nobody would hear from him.”
But then out of nowhere “he would call you up and drop a bombshell [of a story] in your lap.”
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READ MORE: Jon McComb: B.C. radio host celebrates 35 years at CKNW

“George, happy 75th anniversary for us here at CKNW,” said McComb.

“And a happy 75th anniversary to you,” added Garrett. “I was here when ‘NW was 12 years old!”

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