Bill Evanov, founder and president of Evanov Communications Inc., which operates 19 radio stations in Canada, passed away "peacefully in his sleep" on Friday, according to a statement from his company. He was 77 years old.
Among his many accomplishments – which led to his entry into the Canadian Music and Broadcasting Industry Hall of Fame in 2011 – Evanov created several unique radio formats, such as the Evanov CHR / dance format; Jewel's AC light (broadcast by eight stations across the country); and the world's first LGBTQ-focused radio station, Toronto's Proud FM, launched in 2007.
Currently, the company's assets also include multilingual ethnic radio stations that broadcast in more than 40 languages; a Christian station; a French-speaking station; and country music stations.
Vasil William Evanov was born in 1942, the son of Bulgarian immigrants and went from "incredibly humble beginnings" to start on the radio. At first, and despite his persistence, the doors continued to close on Toronto radio stations until a man gave him a chance: the late radio pioneer Johnny Lombardi of the then multicultural CHIN Radio station. After only 18 months, Evanov was a sales vp.
In 1984, Evanov dived into possession of the radio, jumping from three stations in Toronto to 11 across Canada in six years. Thirty-six years later, he remained independent, with 19 stations and several hundred employees, "who will miss Bill's sense of humor, dedication to his craft and an example of discipline and passion for radio," says a statement.
Evanov's profile on his company's website considers him to be a true entrepreneur: “At a time when independent radio ownership declined dramatically due to the consolidation of large corporate broadcasters from various chains, he stood his ground and resisted the trend. It is one thing to operate radio stations, another to be very successful in doing so, especially in the main markets where competition from large corporations is extreme. "
Evanov leaves his son Paul Evanov, executive vice president of Evanov Communications; and daughter Kristina Evanov, director of special projects for the company. Both will continue to grow the company.
Longtime friend and colleague Tony Monaco, currently on board the Z103.5, owned by Evanov, wrote a long Facebook Post honoring Evanov on Saturday.
"He was a pioneer, a trendsetter, a pioneer and the hardest working guy on showbiz!" Monaco wrote in part, continuing, "This was not a 9 am to 5 pm job. It was a repeat of Eat Sleep Radio Repeat! He was often the first person in the building and the last to go out and work on the weekends."
In a statement, Canadian record label Roar Records praised Evanov's support for Canadian content laws (CanCon), which require radio stations to dedicate a specified percentage of their playlists to Canadian artists.
"Bill put the new CanCon acts in front and on the stage! We are very grateful for your unwavering support to all CanCon artists across the country!" the statement says. "A turnaround in the Z103.5 or Jewel 88.5 Toronto in North America's 4th largest market has opened so many doors. There are so many people who have a career in the music industry because of Bill and his passion for CanCon! He took the time to give artists a voice, so that we could all hear them! "
Radio executive Scot Turner also paid tribute to Evanov on Monday. "Bill, like many of us, had a rebellious spirit to create something that had never been done before," Turner said in a statement, continuing, "Forever grateful to Bill. Brave and courageous."
A service will be performed at the Toronto Sts. Cyril and Methody Eastern Macedonian-Bulgarian Orthodox Church, 237 Sackville St., Toronto, March 9 at 11 am
“ It is a moment of great joy, joy and joy for everyone involved. and Friday from 4pm to 8pm