Renowned radio personality Shushma Datt — known simply as Shushma to her fans — is credited with being the first Canadian of South Asian descent in the broadcast industry.
Now she is bringing an end to her groundbreaking, multicultural production company.
“It’s been a beautiful run,” she said. “I have enjoyed every minute.”
Datt worked at the BBC before emigrating to Canada in the early 70s. Despite her work experience in the U.K., Canadian broadcasters didn’t welcome her with open arms.
“That didn’t happen because I have a very thick accent, according to them,” Datt recalled.
Datt eventually blazed her own trail, broadcasting in Hindi and Punjabi at Vancouver’s CJVB Radio. She also worked for community and multicultural television channels where she served the South Asian community.
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She founded Radio Rim Jhim, the first South Asian radio station established outside India.
Datt has received the Order of British Columbia and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee commemorative medal.
She said she enjoyed working alongside broadcasters serving the city’s many ethnic communities and always encouraged members of her community to broaden their horizons rather “than live in your own little bubble.”
Over the years, Datt has interviewed big names like Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. She also interviewed Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, one that Datt said was controversial at the time.
While one phase of her legendary career may be coming to an end, she doesn’t plan to stop working entirely.
“Are you kidding?” she said. “I’m like the Energizer Bunny. I will continue doing it.”