Former colleague remembers Bas Jamieson

Diane Crocker
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Tells of his time on TV before he was known as a radio host

Before the catchphrase “Dat you, Bas?” caught on for radio call-in host Bas Jamieson, the broadcaster did something that was pretty much unheard of back in the early 1970s.  
Jamieson, who died in St. John’s on Wednesday at the age of 85, hosted a call-in show for television viewers from the CJWN TV station on West Street in Corner Brook.

Gerry Whelan said it was just Jamieson sitting in the studio in front of a camera taking calls during a show that aired in the early afternoons.

Whelan worked with Jamieson in the newsroom at CJWN. He said his former boss was well versed, but could embellish a story quite well.

“I used to sort of smile a lot of times when I’d see him doing it cause I used to think to myself, ‘wonder how much there is of an embellishment going on,’” said Whelan, who is originally from Corner Brook.

Whelan said Jamie-son was also good at one-upping, and when callers talked about something that happened to them or something they thought wasn’t quite right, he was ready to top them with a story of his own.

He said every so often Jamieson would get a bit dramatic during the show and Whelan would ask if it was a rough day. But he said Jamieson was always quick to answer with, “no, I needed to get a few callers in.”

Jamieson was born in St. John’s in 1928.

His broadcasting career took him to British Columbia and Ontario before returning to the province to work at CJON Radio and Television, a company founded by his brother, Don Jamieson, and Geoff Stirling in St. John’s.

When Stirling decided to open CJWN in Corner Brook, Jamieson was tasked with heading it up.

“It was all new to us at the time,” said Whelan, who started his broadcasting career in private radio before joining the CJ family.

Whelan, who is now a staff representative with the Canadian Media Guild in Halifax, said Jamieson was much more than a station manager.

“He was always there, and it was a real slug fest, because we didn’t have a lot of people working for us and everybody had to do everything, and Bas was right in there. He didn’t sit in his little office and wait for everybody else to finish stuff off,” he said.

Jamieson read the news and weather, conducted interviews, ran the office, sold advertising and even vacuumed the floors.

“He was that kind of person. He rolled up his sleeves like anybody else and got the work done,” said Whelan.

“He was a true old-time broadcast journalist.”

Whelan said Jamieson knew his place, but at the same time asked some decent questions.

“And never was one to sort of take that answer for the real answer ... and yet (he) gave people the time of day to explain their answers,” Whelan said.

“And I have to say that he was a tremendous person. A very nice person. A very good manager. Not a manager that was managing on top of you, but gave you lots of opportunities.”

Whelan worked with Jamieson for a little more than a year and then moved back to the CJON newsroom in St. John’s. A year later he’d return to Corner Brook. By that time Jamieson made the move back to St. John’s and to CJON.

He later moved to VOCM, where he hosted Open Line, Backtalk and Nightline at various points during his 40-year tenure as a call-in show host. He officially retired in 1994, but public demand kept in on the airways long after that.

Whelan said he and Jamieson crossed paths numerous times since their days together at CJWN, and every time, “he was the same Bas. He had not changed one scrap from the first time I met the guy.”


The Western Star

With files from The Telegram



Organizations: CJON Radio, Canadian Media Guild

Geographic location: Corner Brook, British Columbia, Ontario Halifax VOCM

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Recent comments

  • Joshua Jamieson
    January 17, 2014 - 09:34

    With so many stories being shared, we've set up and welcome people to send in their memories so they can be shared with all members of the family. Thank you to everyone for sharing your thoughts and condolences.