One of Canada’s broadcast legends passed away on Tuesday, 28 September 2021. Radio reporter Ed Mason, who turned 75 in July, worked at a number of top stations across Canada … at a time when radio was king.
According to family members, Mason likely died from a severe lung infection “NOT COVID.”
Mason ended his career with CHED. At the time, the mighty 630-CHED was the top-rated radio station in Edmonton. He had worked previously with CHQT in the city.
Details of Ed’s passing — in an email from his daughter Carlie — can be found at the very end of this item.
Rest In Peace, Ed. We’ll meet again.
Here’s a blog piece I did on Eddie nine years ago when he suffered a heart attack and nearly died because of it …
One of North America’s premier police reporters dodged a bullet on Saturday night, 29 September 2012.
Ed Mason of 630-CHED suffered a heart attack at his home in nearby Sherwood Park. He was rushed by ambulance to the Royal Alexandra Hospital, then transferred to the intensive care unit at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital.
Mason began his broadcasting career in 1963. Let’s put that in perspective: U.S. President John F. Kennedy was alive and well then.
Besides the Edmonton market, Ed Mason was also on the air in Toronto, Victoria and Flin Flon, Manitoba.
Mason is one of the longest serving police reporters. Anywhere. For more than four decades, his scoops from confidential law enforcement insiders have been the envy of many journalists. It was Ed Mason who, in 1979, managed to get a phone call through to the besieged U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran where staff were being held hostage. The exclusive interview went world-wide. Now, that’s a scoop.
Back to the heart attack. According to Mason, he felt a burning sensation in his chest, broke into a cold sweat, made his way to his bedroom … all the while wondering what the hell was going on. A call went out to his daughter, a nurse, and immediately she knew that something was seriously wrong. She rushed home.
In no time, dad was in the back of an ambulance.
While the ambulance driver sped to hospital — dodging most of the potholes — medical technicians pumped Mason with drugs and hooked him up with more wires than you’d find in a 1960s radio studio. The monitors indicated the legendary broadcaster was in the middle of a full-blown heart attack: a 100 percent blockage of a coronary artery.
When Mason arrived at the emergency department, doctors discovered more time bombs: a second artery was 90-percent blocked and a third, 80 percent clogged. Those are not good numbers.
A cardiologist worked on the most severely blocked artery, inserting a stent to keep it open. Doctors later got the remaining two arteries working properly.
Mason has had a lot of highs in the course of his lengthy career; one high he didn’t need was cholesterol. “Lifestyle changes are coming big time,” he says.
Above: a younger and healthier Mason at 1050 CHUM, Toronto, in the 1970s. Photo courtesy of CHUM Radio and Puget Sound Radio.
Mason figures if he’d gone straight to bed Saturday night he would’ve travelled to the ‘Other Side,’ likely working his butt off to land another scoop … perhaps an interview with John Kennedy?
Mason was sent home on October 3rd. He may spend about a month recuperating, although he says he’s anxious to return to work. “My cardiac ultrasound confirmed normal function in the area first affected by Saturday’s total blockage of the artery,” the broadcaster reveals. “That is wonderful news heading into rehab boot camp.”
One more thing about Mason’s red-lights-flashing ride to the city on the weekend … the speeding ambulance was tailed by a mysterious sedan –. right to the open doors of the hospital’s emergency department. Who the heck was in hot pursuit? … an ambulance-chasing reporter? A police contact? No, just a Good Samaritan who handed the ambulance driver a hubcap that had fallen off.
On Monday morning, 29 October 2012, police reporter Ed Mason was back on the air at 630-CHED. Things went smoothly; Ed didn’t miss a beat and neither did his ticker.
On 14 November 2012, Mason got some good news: his cholesterol level had dropped to half what it had been around the time of the heart attack. He is on the road to recovery.
On 14 March 2013, 630-CHED Program Director, Syd Smith, fired off this email to all staff on Ed Mason’s Lifetime Achievement award:
Good morning everyone, at 8:45 this morning, we paid tribute to one of Canada’s great radio newsmen.
Ed Mason has received the Radio and Television News Directors Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
This award is presented “to individuals who have distinguished themselves through outstanding service and continued excellence during the course of their career in broadcast journalism”.
For those of us who have known and worked with Ed, this is a fitting description. However, even that does not fully capture the impact he has made on our listeners, the industry, our radio stations and the people who work here.
Edmontonians are well served by a reporter who respects them enough to never stop working on their behalf – reporting factual information in the proper context and without forgetting that it’s okay to have some fun along the way.
Ed has made our industry stronger by mentoring the many young broadcasters he has worked with and by inspiring others through his work on the radio.
Please join me in congratulating and thanking Ed for his contributions to date and — if you missed the on air tribute — please have a listen to the produced piece put together by Bob Layton and Marc Patterson.
[click on the tiny arrow to hear the tribute …]
[Audio compliments of 630-CHED]
And for a listen to Ed’s acceptance speech, broadcast in Toronto at a meeting of the Radio and Television News Directors Association. Ed couldn’t fly to Toronto, and so he did what he does best: record a message.
Ed Mason is in select company. There are very few who can say they’ve survived 50 years in the broadcast business.
[Our thanks to Jon Perkins of Edmonton for the recording]
In a memo to station staff on 19 August 2014, News Director Bob Layton announced that Ed Mason will sign off at the end of August . Click to enlarge.
At the urging of his doctor, one of Canada’s broadcast legends will finally pull the plug and help ease the stress on his heart caused by getting up so early in the morning, the crazy non-stop deadlines, etc.
On a sad note, Ed’s wife — Carol Anne — died on June 2, 2020 at the Grey Nuns Hospital in Edmonton. Our deepest condolences to Ed and his family.