advertisement
FYI

RIP: Lyman Potts, Godfather Of Canadian Recordings

Lyman Potts hired Heather Ostertag as a young woman in her early 20s and that hire at the Canadian Talent Library (CTL) marked her entre into the music business.

RIP: Lyman Potts, Godfather Of Canadian Recordings

By Heather Ostertag

Lyman Potts hired Heather Ostertag as a young woman in her early 20s and that hire at the Canadian Talent Library (CTL) marked her entre into the music business. She eventually rose through the ranks to become president of FACTOR and now runs her own consultancy firm.  This is her remembrance of the Regina-born broadcaster who was appointed President of the newly minted Standard subsidiary Standard Broadcast Productions, an umbrella for the Canadian Talent Library in 1966. Potts went on to become President, Standard Broadcasting Corp. (U.K.), a consultancy for applicants for commercial radio licenses in the U. K. In 1981, he retired from Standard and formed J. Lyman Potts and Associates, a consultancy for broadcasting, recording, music services and copyright.


advertisement

Lyman Potts signed-off in Burlington, Ontario on Sunday, December 9 at age 103. Doyen of Canadian broadcasting, a jack-of-all-trades who had done everything, Lyman was the last of the pioneers, best remembered for solving the problem which for radio’s first 40 years have baffled Parliament – how to make Canadian radio “Canadian”. In so doing, Lyman had developed the foundation for a Canadian recording industry and opened the world to Canadian musicians, singers and songsmiths to fame and fortune.

J. Lyman Potts was a Canadian treasure who had a vision for radio that expanded itself to include the development of the Canadian music industry. 

He worked in radio and launched the Canadian Talent Library (CTL), which employed and gave creative opportunities to some of Canada’s finest musicians.  The CTL audio productions included the first-ever recording by Gordon Lightfoot.  He also oversaw recordings by the Ben McPeek, The Laurie Bower Singers, Rob Mcconnell and the Boss Brass, Guido Basso to name a few.  There were almost 300 CTL recordings in  that were produced, including Hagood Hardy ’s The Homecoming album that included the title track that went on to become a crossover hit in Canada and the US and significantly became CTL’s only recording to be a certified platinum seller.  All the masters from CTL are currently stored and available to the public through the National Library in Ottawa.

advertisement

During his career, Lyman received many awards, including the William Harold Moon Award from then PROCAN, as well as the Order of Canada for his creation of CTL. In an era of rancour between radio and records, he was respected by both the music industry and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.

I was fortunate in 1977 to be hired by Lyman as the receptionist at CTL. Lyman was generous with his knowledge and showed a great deal of patience in teaching me about CTL, its subscription service and what was involved with the making of a recording. The rest, as they say, is history. I can positively say that I owe my career in the Canadian music industry to Lyman.

Something that many people did not know about Lyman was his other passion - namely trains and Canada’s railway system. He knew all about them and could cite chapter and verse about the different railway lines and the trains themselves.

advertisement

He was a kind, and a gentleman with a huge heart and the world has lost a real treasure. Thank you for all that you gave me, Lyman.  My life has been enriched for having worked with you. 

Your student

Heather Ostertag, CM

 

Supplementary reading

Lyman Potts was a founding father of Canada’s music industry

– Fred Langam, The Globe and Mail

J. Lyman Potts: 1916–2018

– History of Canadian Broadcasting

Lyman Potts, considered the Godfather of Canadian recording, changed the fortunes of Hamilton’s CKOC — and this country’s broadcast music

– Joan Little, The Hamilton Spectator

Smith’s Funeral Home obituary, Burlington ON

advertisement
DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla
@anmollium / Anmol Raina

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla

Chart Beat

Karan Aujla & DIVINE Debut in Top 25 on Billboard Canadian Albums Chart

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE land the No. 22 spot on this week's Canadian Albums chart with their new collaborative release, 'Street Dreams.' On the Canadian Hot 100, Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em" ascends to No. 1, while Canadian pop artist Preston Pablo makes a debut.

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE are making moves together on Billboard's Canadian Albums chart this week, with their collaborative project, Street Dreams, debuting in the No. 22 spot.

The seven-track album, released Feb. 16, blends harder hip-hop and smooth R&B pop, the latter shining through especially on the Jonita Gandhi-assisted "Yaad." It's not Aujla's highest spot on the Albums chart — he reached No. 5 in 2023 with Making Memories, his collaboration with Canadian Punjabi artist Ikky — but it gives him some momentum going into his upcoming performance at the Juno Awards on Mar. 24, where he's nominated for TikTok Juno fan choice and breakthrough artist.

keep readingShow less
advertisement