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Four Generations on the air in Canada

Billy Browne Sr

Billy Browne Jr

Charleen Phelps

Christen "Roo" Phelps

Take a good look at the attractive young lady named Christen Roo  Phelps.  She is fourth in a long line of  Brownes who have been entertaining radio audiences since her great grandfather Billy Browne Sr  began singing on radio station CJCG in Winnipeg in 1922. The station closed down in 1923, so he moved to CKCK Regina, then on to Vancouver. There he began what became a 48 year radio tradition on CJOR called Breakfast with Browne, which remained  remained Vancouvers top - rated morning show.
 
From the time Billy Browne Jr. was five years old, Billy Sr would have him on the air regularly. Audiences followed Billy Jr. as he grew up, went to school. and began dating.  When Billy Sr died suddenly of a heart attack in 1951.  Billy Jr.- by that time an established radio personality - took over Breakfast with Browne
 
In 1958, Billy Jr. and wife Norma received a radio licence for Courtenay on Vancouver Island, where Billy continued Breakfast with Browne until his sudden death  of a heart attack in 1990. He was 63.

By then Billy  and Norma had a network of six radio stations known as Coast Radio, serving upper Vancouver Island and Powell River. Their daughter Charleen did some air work; however, she preferred administration, including a stint as network music director. She married station news director Greg Phelps and they had a boy and a girl. The boy chose to become a teacher, while the girl, Roo Phelps, let her rampant radio genes take control as she began carving herself a promising career in radio.
 Like her grandfather and great grandfather before her, she hosted a morning show for several years. When her grandmother, Norma Browne, sold Coast Radio to Vista Broadcasting in 2005, Roo felt the urge to stretch her wings and is now working on the air at CKPG, Prince George.
 
Over the years my wife Aline and I became quite close to the Browne family. I worked at Coast Radio in 1960-61 before returning east. In 1979 Billy Jr. encouraged Aline and I to buy Radio Station CKAY, Duncan [now SUN-FM] and return to the  West. In 1990 I was honoured to be asked by Norma to deliver Billy Jrs eulogy to a church that was packed to overflowing.

Will there be a fifth generation of Brownes in Canadian radio? Well, as we say in radio land, Stay tuned folks


Learn more about the Brownes at www.canadianachievers.com

 
 
Next month read about the sportscaster who always delivered a perfect game.
 
" learn More about Billy Browne Sr.

 www.broadcasting-history.ca
   


 
 

 

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