HAL "THE BEAR" LEE (1996 Inductee)

A native of Cornwall, Ontario, Hal "The Bear" Lee began his career in 1957 as an announcer on CKSF, later to become CJSS Cornwall. A move to Thunder Bay in 1960 added more radio and television experience in sports, news and FM programming at station CKPR. In 1968, Hal moved to Ottawa to become morning newscaster at CKOY where he also did a talk show called "Livewire".

When CKOY’s sister station, CKBY-FM, went country in 1972, "The Bear" crossed over as morning newscaster and Senior News Editor, a post he held until 1987. During his time as Parliamentary Press Gallery Correspondent for the News Radio Network, he worked with such names as Bruce Phillips, Mike Duffy and ABC White House Correspondent Barry Dunsmore. He still counts being in the House of Commons during the era of Pierre Trudeau, John Diefenbaker and Tommy Douglas as a great personal thrill.

Hal’s country roots go back to his time at CJSS in Cornwall when the late Orval Prophet would personally drop off his latest disc and stop for a chat. In Thunder Bay, he worked shows with Myrna Lorrie, the late Freddy McKenna and Bobby Curtola.

Literally thousands of country music fans remember Hal as a member of the Ramblin’ Roads Bus Tour crew who, along with the late Madeleine Gregory and the late Ray Callahan, hosted dozens of trips to Nashville, Tennessee. Hal has been a part of every major country music event in the Valley for the past thirty years, from the Ompah Stomp to the Gatineau Clog and Kanata Kountry. He is a past-President of The Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame and served on the Board of Directors from its inception in 1980 until 2001.

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