Alberta Order of Excellence member Bruce Hogle

Bruce W. Hogle CM

"I think being a good neighbour means you assume a responsibility for the privilege of living in a great city and province and a great country."

Bruce Hogle is a broadcasting pioneer who has served as a passionate and effective advocate for those in need. He has been a tireless driver of positive social change and his work in the media and as a community volunteer has produced lasting benefits for countless people.

Bruce was born in Toronto on February 25, 1929 to Bill and Florence Hogle. He received many gifts from his parents, including Bill’s keen sense of humour and a heart for service. Bruce grew up in Prescott and Sudbury, Ontario where he played hockey and football and developed a keen interest in writing. He decided early on that he would either be a professional athlete or follow his father into journalism. After seeing the superior skills of teammates like Tim Horton and George Armstrong who would go on to the pro ranks, Bruce chose journalism. He found work at the Prescott Journal and the Sudbury Star with his father as editor, developed skills as a sports writer and also gained early radio experience at a local station in Sudbury.

In the late 1940’s, the Hogle Family moved to Medicine Hat, Alberta. Bruce enlisted as a reservist with the South Alberta Regiment and also went to work for his father as a sports editor with the Medicine Hat News. In 1951, Bruce attended officers training at Camp Borden and graduated as a full lieutenant with the Royal Canadian Infantry. He then took on a job in public relations and as a staff writer in the Winnipeg Bureau of the Canadian Press. In time, forces drew Bruce back to Alberta, not the least of which was a young Medicine Hatter named Gail Manarey who Bruce had met through army buddies.

The couple married in 1954 and settled in Medicine Hat where Bruce returned to the local paper as assistant editor. After two years, they moved to B.C. for Bruce’s first post as Editor with the Trail Daily Times. Bruce soon found himself at the centre of a sensational chapter in Western Canadian history as he worked around the clock covering the events surrounding the Sons of Freedom Doukhobors and the violence that flowed from their resistance to mainstream Canadian society. In the early 1960’s the family relocated to Regina where Bruce was News Director for CKRM radio. Two years later he had the chance to be part of another moment in history when he became Public Relations Director for the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons during a time when the province was the launch pad for universal public health care in Canada.

In 1965, Bruce’s life changed dramatically. His father passed away after moving to Edmonton to set up the newsroom for Sunwapta Broadcasting’s new television studio. Bruce was asked to step in at CFRN TV and complete his father’s work as Manager of News, Sports and Public Affairs. The move signalled a permanent change for the Hogle family. Bruce kept up a busy schedule at the station as well as at home where he and Gail worked to raise their three boys: Bill, Randy and Steve.

Throughout his 30- year career with Sunwapta, Bruce served as a highly respected media presence across central and northern Alberta. He logged thousands of radio and TV editorials, all bearing his signature combination of sharp insight and strong personal ethics. While Bruce covered any story that might impact the lives of his fellow Albertans, he was particularly drawn to fighting injustice and always made time for the plight of society’s underdogs. He also became sensitive to the needs of young people facing challenges, a mindset both he and Gail developed as they helped their son Randy triumph over blindness.

While some media stories may be aired then soon forgotten, Bruce Hogle’s tremendous passion and work ethic led to pieces that often produced lasting change. In 1967, he produced a powerful documentary, What About the Victim, which detailed issues faced by victims of crime. The piece prompted the creation of the Alberta Crimes Compensation Board, the first of its kind in Canada. In 1973, Bruce’s desire to open up Alberta’s political processes led to live television coverage of legislative proceedings. The broadcast was the first of its kind in the Commonwealth and encouraged other jurisdictions to follow suit. Bruce’s investigative work in the 1970s also exposed landlords who were taking advantage of renters during economic boom times. His hard hitting coverage led to changes that enshrined rent controls in law. Perhaps one of Bruce’s most memorable and effective efforts was the 1981 launch of Wednesday's Child, a regular feature to find families for difficult-to-adopt children with physical, mental and emotional handicaps. Approximately 80% of the foster children featured on award-winning and ongoing Wednesday’s Child programs have found permanent and loving homes.

Bruce Hogle also pioneered change as a supporter of women in broadcasting and was instrumental in opening the door at CFRN TV for Western Canada’s first female news anchor. He further advanced his profession as a leader with various provincial and national media associations. His considerable contributions to the industry have been recognized with many awards and honours, including induction into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

In 1995, Bruce retired from the media but continued to serve as an ardent community volunteer. One of his main focuses has been the Good Neighbour Fund which he established in 1993 during his tenure as head of Community and Corporate Services for CFRN TV. This unique organization acts as a charity of last resort for people in need of a helping hand. Over the years the Fund has met a wide range of needs, from providing extras for people with severe disabilities and helping people access expensive medical treatments to covering sports registration fees for inner city youth and covering moving costs for women fleeing domestic abuse. Using his close and longstanding association with the Al Shamal Shriners of Northern Alberta, Bruce created Operation Red Coat/Red Fez to unite Shriners with the RCMP in efforts to serve handicapped children living in isolated areas of the province.

Bruce Hogle’s very long resume of volunteer efforts over the years covers dozens of non-profit organizations and stands as a powerful testament to his remarkable energy, strength of character and indefatigable desire to be of service to others. His community work has earned him many prestigious honours, including membership in the Order of Canada and recognition as one of the "100 Edmontonians of the Century." Bruce has humbly accepted each award he’s been offered on behalf of the dedicated teams of volunteers with which he works.

When asked to describe his attitude toward life, Bruce says, “What side of life are you looking at? If you’re looking for gloom and doom, you can always find it. But if you’re looking for joy personified you can find that too.” Anyone looking for kindness, integrity and a joyful belief in the power of the human spirit can most certainly find it in the life and contributions of Bruce Hogle.