Five Questions with Newly Appointed Board Chair Rob Braide

May 27, 2015

Rob Braide_840-1pxRob Braide. Credit: Norman Wong. 

The National Music Centre (NMC) is pleased to announce current board member Rob Braide as the the new Chairman of the Board.

For over 30 years, Braide has been a leader in the music and communications industry. A trailblazer during his early years working in campus radio, he rose through the ranks to become the Vice President of Standard Broadcasting, Astral Media and Stingray Digital. He is the current President of Braide Media, a Montreal-based broadcast media company.

We asked our new Chairman five questions on everything from his lengthy career in radio to his personal playlist, revealing an individual with experience as vast as his musical taste.

You’ve been involved in radio for over 30 years. What initially drew you to radio?

I heard the Beatles in 1964 and decided to play music for people for the rest of my life. I started with CKCU-FM at Carleton University. I helped start up the first commercial radio station in the country in 1975, and it’s still thriving today.


The Beatles performing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.  

What are some of the biggest highlights throughout your career?

CHOM-FM in Montreal was a station that I dreamed of working at for years. When I got the all night show there I was just about as pleased as anyone could be.

Getting my first major management job with Standard Broadcasting in Montreal in 1987 when we had radio stations Mix 96, which later became Virgin, and CJAD.

I was the Chairman of the Board of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters for several years, which is the organization that represents TV and radio on a lobby basis. And I was the Chairman of the Board of the Radio Starmaker Fund, which is a private fund used towards the development of Canadian talent.

Other highlights would include working at Stingray Digital and being in charge of Galaxie—the music on your TV. I was VP of Content and Regulatory Affairs for about three years, and was responsible for expanding Galaxie’s channel offering from 45 channels to over 250. We added in a diversified ethnic mix, including Punjabi, Tagalog, and Hindi, along with other sub-formats of rock and blues. While I was there, we took the service into one million households in 70 countries.

Why did you want to get involved with NMC?

I joined the board about two and a half years ago. I met Andrew Mosker and fell in love with his vision to build a centre for music in Canada. One of the reasons I got involved is because NMC is not in Toronto. Hungarian composer Béla Bartók has a great quote. He says: “In my country, music didn’t come from the centre it came from the margins.” It’s quite apropos for what is going on with NMC.

We’re trying to show that we are representative of all parts of Canada, including small centres—from Bouctouche, New Brunswick to Nanaimo, B.C. Having the music industry centered in Toronto is healthy, it’s vibrant, and it’s helped the world see Canada on an international stage. But it’s great that we are now finding a way to make Calgary a centre of excellence in Canada.

What music would I find on one of your playlists?

You would probably find the new Prince song “Baltimore.” Maybe something from a Jamaican band called Morgan Heritage, something from Sam Roberts, old and new Corey Hart, some South American hip hop from Calle 13. You’d probably find the new Diana Krall, Robert Glasper, and Daniel Lanois.


Daniel Lanois performing an NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert. 

What do you hope to contribute as Board Chair?

Most importantly, being from outside of Calgary, I will be able to carry the NMC message across the country—to musicians, performers, industry leaders— and encourage companies from across the country to get involved. We want a broad base of people and organizations involved with the project, so that it’s truly the National Music Centre.

 

— Julijana Capone

Wanna talk music? Email me at julijana.capone@nmc.ca or follow me on Twitter @thejulijanaruin.

About the Author

Julijana Capone

A Calgary-by-way-of-Winnipeg writer and publicist, Julijana's bylines have appeared in HuffPost Music Canada, BeatRoute, and Winnipeg’s now defunct alt-weekly Uptown Magazine. She is also NMC's publicity coordinator and a senior editor of Amplify.

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