Eileen Forbom

Eileen Forbom (Cambrian Broadcasting - CKSO/CIGM, Sudbury, Ontario)Birthplace
Oshawa, Ontario

May 25, 1930

December 31, 2016

Eileen was a trail blazer having retired from CKSO/CIGM after 38 years as the first female General Manager. Although she was born in Oshawa, May 25, 1930, she grew up in Scotland. She moved to Sudbury at the young age of 17. She joined CKSO in 1948, and was introduced to Ray whom she would marry in 1953. Ray, an engineer and operator had been with CKSO Radio since the mid 1940s. He left in 1955 to start a television repair business with Don Steele. The shop was known as “Sudbury Television Electronics”.

Eileen was a true example of an individual who was willing to start at the bottom and one who was willing and eager to take on more responsibility when given the opportunity. She began as a secretary and eventually worked her way into the traffic department where commercials were booked and logged for airplay. This led to an administrative position in which she managed national advertising sales as a liaison between the national advertising agencies and CKSO overseeing the scheduling of commercials both on radio and television, also the scripts and audio and video components including jingles and production house content, and finally the invoicing for air-time. Eileen was also involved with the logistics of receiving and shipping movie reels, audio and video tapes and other time-sensitive material between Sudbury and Toronto.

In the early 1970s Eileen was appointed General Manager of CKSO FM. At the time the FM operation was under strict adherence to the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) to provide programming that would not compete with AM stations. This amounted to broadcasting easy listening, classical, specialty and cultural music. Eileen worked diligently over the next five years imploring with the CRTC for more latitude in its programming. Her efforts paid off in that CKSO FM was given permission to program country music over a portion of each broadcast day. She believed that this move was an excellent business move and would be successful in generating audience numbers as well as adding a genre missing from the Sudbury and area market.

Eileen was also very instrumental in developing briefs to the CRTC on behalf of Cambrian Broadcasting. She became very familiar with the workings of the CRTC and its regulations.

In the realm of several firsts for CKSO AM, FM and Television, Cambrian Broadcasting can lay claim to having within its senior management the first woman in North America to hold the position of General Manager. Even better than such bragging rights was for Eileen herself, through hard work, diligence and attention to detail, proved herself breaking through that so-called ‘glass ceiling’! From Cambrian Broadcasting to United Broadcasting and finally under the banner of Telemedia Communications Inc., Eileen was responsible for overseeing all of the northern Ontario stations.

Eileen wore many hats in her lifetime. She was a member of the Economic Council of Canada, the Chamber of Commerce, a board member at Sudbury General Hospital and as an advisor was instrumental to the establishment of a broadcast program at Canadore College. Her input provided real-life experience and knowledge of the broadcast world, encompassing radio and television, which would go toward developing a significant, thorough and well-rounded course for students considering any faucet of the business as a career. There was also the incentive that Canadore would provide future talent for Cambrian Broadcasting and for Eileen personally, it was a way of giving back to the community.

For the Forbom family, CKSO was a family affair. In addition to Ray, son Paul was the office boy for a summer and then joined his brother Jim in the FM department as an operator. Jim was also an FM on-air personality.

As a youth Eileen was a highland dancer. She always harboured a passion for Scotland and for its famous poet Robbie Burns. She was also a skilled leather worker, gardener and avid canoeist. She loved traveling to Hawaii over the years and also loved the time spent at Lake Penage.

Eileen passed away on December 31, 2016, at the age of 86 years.

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