Jim Robson is an enduring symbol of excellence in sports broadcasting. People who have been listening to his play-by-play descriptions of Vancouver Canucks hockey games on local radio stations over the past 34 years, marvel at the consistent high quality of his performances. He is the archetypical professional.
with many other of
father moved his family to the Maple Ridge area of the lower mainland when Jim
was eight. He got his first radio job at 17 with CJAV in
couple of years later, Jim moved to
Robson "covered" the Western League Canucks for 12 years and, now, he is in his 23rd year of NHL coverage on CKNW. Originally, he worked "solo," without a color-man. However, the estimable Tom Larscheid joined him in the broadcast booth in 1977. It has been a felicitous collaboration.
who grew up listening to Foster Hewitt's Saturday night broadcasts from
One of Robson's greatest assets, in earning public credibility, has been his clear-eyed objectivity. Because his employer, CKNW, also owns the Canucks, he is careful to avoid stigmatization as a "house man." If a Canuck player goofs, Robson says as much on the air. If a game is dull, he says it's dull.
At the peak of his profession, at the age of 58, Robson looks back affectionately on almost 40 consecutive years of play-by-play broadcasting. Over the luncheon table last Friday, he spoke with particular fondness of the old Vancouver Mounties. "Baseball is made- to-order for radio announcers," he said. "The listener is completely dependent on the announcer, who gives him a word-picture of the scene on the field."
Incredibly, Robson's long career at the mike has been almost completely accident-free: No network blackouts or announcers getting locked in the men's washroom.
remembers one night when the old Canucks were playing an inter-league game at
times during the game,
Jim Robson never flaps in such circumstances. In a branch of the news media which has been known to foster some enormous egos, he is refreshingly diffident and gentlemanly. Vancouverites should be proud of their hockey broadcaster.
Thanks to Archie McDonald
Grade 11s at Maple Ridge bus to a professional day in
1956. With Alberni Athletics basketball and some
Nanaimo Timbermen lacrosse under his belt he applies
for an opening in the big time, CKWX,
paid his dues in the early '60s. With Stephenson gone to
Baseball may have been his best sport. He did the PCL Mounties for a dozen seasons. The road games were recreated in a studio from scant info received on a ticker tape. Producer Ron Robinson had all the sound effects. There was a speaker to announce batters, the thump of a ball striking a bat, thunder and lightning sounds to simulate a rain delay because of weather.
One time the teletype informed them it was the end of an inning, but Robson had recorded only two outs. What to do? If you go to the next batter and have him fly out then you are out of sequence for the rest of the game.
There was a man on base, so Robson decided to pick him off. That kept it neat and tidy. He made it sound like a remarkable play by the pitcher.
July, 1958. He drives pregnant wife, Bea, to hospital, then goes to Capilano Stadium where Phoenix Giants and the Mounties are going for first place. Pete Burnside, ex-major leaguer, is on the hill for the Giants. Catcher Charlie White hits a home run in the bottom of the ninth; Mounties win 4-3. He goes to the hospital and meets his new daughter, Jennifer, the first of four children. Later she will say: "You remember the score of the game, but I bet you don't remember my weight."
there were a hall of fame for broadcasters' wives, Bea would be a charter
inductee. They met in