Might as Well be the First

My Mom would pour herself a nip of sherry everyday at 2 PM and put her feet up. The Edge of Night was on!

Mom would get lost in a daytime soap featuring long term friendships, family vendettas, a world of attorneys, bad cops, mobsters – a world of crime with a twist of romance, divorce, child custody battles and amnesia. We “kids” would anxiously wait for Saturday comics and after a Hockey Game in Canada learn to dance enjoying Canada’s Country Gentleman, Tommy Hunter. I learned about a world outside my little sphere by watching Nightly News. By the 80’s with kids of my own I enjoyed Adrienne Clarkson and her public affairs show. Living miles from a major center, our TV had rabbit ears, an antenna planted in the ground and the signal bounced off the Sweetgrass Hills, so most of our content was American for the next thirty years.

This kid would set her alarm for 5AM to watch cartoons broadcast from across the USA in a different time zone.

Our TV 1968

When I was born, we had black and white TV. By 1968, we had this big old box, that had to be dusted and collected our trophies on top. To change the channel, there were only three stations, one being CBC. Someone had to leave their chair and manually turn the knob, same if the phone rang, someone had to manually turn down the TV. My children laugh at me today when I tell them these stories, but they also giggle when they see at each reclining chair we each have our own programmed TV controls. Today with cable I have hundreds of programs that can be recorded with the touch of the red button. Progress!

June 30, 1890-Sept 25, 1977

Photo Credit Miller Maki, LLP

George Merle Miller Q.C. “Duke”

1890-1977

My 3rd cousin 4x removed would be Garrett and Elizabeth Switzer Millers descendant. I love his optimism. At 15, George was delivering oats and flour by horse and wagon. At 16, he was managing a store at New Liskeard, Ontario, then set his sites on becoming a lawyer, graduating in 1913, earning honors. George hung out his shingle, specializing in criminal law, and brought partners into his firm. George was at the Bar of his Majesty’s Courts, Upper Canada. By 1920 he won every murder defense trial but one. He was chair of W.E. Mason Foundation that raised funds for charities. The Sudbury Star, a Canadian daily newspaper published in Sudbury, Ontario was co-owned by George in 1951.

First Privately Owned Television Station in Canada

A new entertainment and advertising medium was ushered into a new industry. George was told by many that television was a risky business. CBC approved the application. His first studio was crowded by family, singers, and an orchestra where the first television show was broadcast on October 20, 1953. In 1966 George claimed another first when TV broadcast onto colored screens. “Might as well be first.”

His son, James Tennant Miller, followed in the world of broadcasting and is famous for hiring the first female radio sportscaster in Canada.

At the 25th Anniversary party for the station, George Miller reminisced about a time being entirely void of daytime radio and could only receive signals from the American stations. And not a very good signal. This is also my recollections of our watching TV, on a fuzzy black and white screen. His speech included a vision for the next 25 years, seeing great expansion.

“Meet the challenge, keep your eyes on the future and your feet on the ground and work hard and progressively for the betterment of the industry and Canada, and achieve a measure of success far beyond that which may be on your present horizon.”

Address by George M. Miller, Q. C. President, CKSO Radio Limited on October 15th, 1960.

CKSO in Sudbury, Ontario was the first private station licensed in Canada. It was a CBC affiliate and aired some of its programming. At the time of licensing there were five television sets in Sudbury. Didn’t cousin George have a vision. In 1957 he was the largest percentage owner at 29.8%. The TV industry continued to evolve. In 2002, the CRTC approved the sale of the Sudbury station to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. On 2011, CTV launched Bell Media, and is available on my smart phone and computer as well as my traditional TV, way beyond success cousin George Merle Miller, way beyond success!

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