ARMCHAIR ARCHIVES – Announcing the Bad News Awards for 1975

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

 For this week’s edition of Armchair Archives, we go back to 1976. The following column was published in The Kamloops News on Jan. 30, 1976, not long after I returned to work at the paper following a short spell employed at Cariboo College.

WHEN LINDSAY TAYLOR and I were both laboring here at The Kamloops News, we instituted what to us was one of the highlights of the year.

Towards the end of December, we would sit down and review all the major events of the past 12 month and the people involved in them, and determine…. The Kamloops News Bad News Awards.

In 1974, for example, we gave such awards as the Linda Adams Over-Exposure Award, to the Comet Kohoutek; the Decisive Moments in Canadian Sports Award, to the provincial cabinet; the Beyond the Call of Duty Award to the fellow who voted three times in the civic election; and the Silver-Tongued Devil of the Year Award to Wes Hughes.

This past December, unfortunately, neither Lindsay nor I was working here, and the awards lapsed. Why not, it came to us, announce the awards belatedly, or perhaps posthumously, or whatever.

Here, then, are the 1975 (3rd annual) Bad News Awards:

THE ‘I SAID THAT?’ AWARD – Mayor Al Thompson who, during his 1974 mayoralty election campaign, was highly critical of the way in which the incumbent council had unceremoniously canned several City Hall administration members, then, in 1975, presided over the firing of Ted Chace in a manner which made those other firings look like testimonial celebrations.

THE BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD AWARD – to MP Len Marchand for the second year in a row, this time for his small part in the Liberal government’s complete about face on wage and price controls, swearing up and down during the last federal election that they were the greatest deception since falsies, and this year using them itself — controls, that is. Len, of course, went right along with the party line, and is currently trying to justify what he had previously stated quite simply wouldn’t work. He also gets an Honourable Mention in the ‘I Said That?’ Award for this one.

THE BIG MOUTH OF THE YEAR AWARD – Last year it went to radio hotliner Wayne Zinger for his stirring interview with Dave Barrett in which he proved that facts aren’t everything. Wayne is no longer with us, radio-wise, and next year we will probably change the name of this award to The Wayne Zinger Big Mouth of the Year Award. However, this year, we award it to the anonymous individual who keeps opening his big mouth about council secrets to CHNL’s Jim Harrison, and we wish we had one of those guys too. Keep up the rotten work, Big Mouth.

THE IF YOU CAN’T IMPRESS THEM WITH FACTS DAZZLE THEM WITH BOMBAST AWARD – to Jim Harrison, for radio editorials which, while they reveal a political mindset which is so far right it is invariably wrong, also demonstrate, on occasion a modicum of eloquence. (Honourable mention to Doug Collins of CFJC who is not as eloquent but quite often makes more sense.)
THE SNAPPIEST DRESSER OF THE YEAR AWARD – Former Human Resources Minister Norm Levi for the tie he wore during the provincial election campaign. The tie consisted of U’s with screws through them.

THE GERRY FORD BANANA PEEL AWARD (Formerly the Silver-Tongued Devil Award) – To the entire Kamloops City council, for making routine business into major foul-ups.

Well, there you have it. Undoubtedly there will be many who are disappointed not to make the list this year, but we can’t please everybody. Perhaps Rafe Mair should get something, but that’s no way to start out a new year. Sorry I mentioned the name.

Just what these people will receive in the way of material memento of their awards has yet to be determined. It is probably most fitting that they receive in return what they have contributed in the way of positive accomplishment to the city.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, alternate TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He’s been hanging around Kamloops since 1970. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9489 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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