Ernie Poscente

Veteran television personality Ernie Poscente dies at 59

Cam Tait, Edmonton Journal, page B2, August 14, 1995

Long-time Edmonton television personality and cable television innovator Ernie Poscente died Saturday [August 12, 1995].

He was 59.

Mr. Poscente, a native of Trail, B.C., was vice-president of programming for Shaw Communications. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor last September.

“Dad was given three weeks to three months to live,” Mr. Poscente’s son Vince said Sunday. “Our family and friends rallied around and . . . Dad beat the odds.

“It was a privilege spending time with dad during his last few months.”

Vince described his father as quiet and understanding.

“Dad was very ethical. Whenever I had to make a decision, I’d always ask myself: `What would Dad do?’ ”

Mr. Poscente attended Ryerson Institute of Technology in Toronto and took radio and television arts. It was there where he roomed with CBC’s Colin MacLean.

“He was such a terrific man, I don’t know where to start,” MacLean said Sunday.

“Ernie was just a good friend. He also proved nice guys can finish first in business and in life.”

Mr. Poscente worked in Swift Current and Saskatoon before moving to CBC in Edmonton in 1960.

He was a staff announcer and read the bulletin of President John Kennedy’s assassination on the air to Edmonton viewers.

Other duties included hosting Klondike Days coverage, various community programs and moderating a local version of Front Page Challenge.

“I met Ernie in the early ’60s at CBC and he was the kind of guy you liked to have as your friend,” said Ernie Afaganis, who worked with Mr. Poscente for 20 years.

“He was our top announcer . . . he was so professional.”

In 1971, Mr. Poscente became the first program manager of Capital Cable TV, which later became Shaw Communications.

He was named vice-president of programming at Shaw in 1980.

Mr. Poscente travelled throughout Canada on behalf of Shaw Communications, implementing community programs in their stations.

He also was on various national cable television committees.

“Dad didn’t have any enemies,” Vince said.

“People whom we haven’t met said dad was so very kind.”

Mr. Poscente enjoyed music and played the tenor sax and clarinet in numerous bands from the time he was a teenager.

He always emphasized the support he received from his family in his career, especially from his wife Pat.

Mr. Poscente is survived by his wife Pat, three children, Vincent, Steven and Christa and one grandchild, Hanna.

Time was Ernie’s greatest gift

Cam Tait, Edmonton Journal, page F7, August 18, 1995

There’s a clock right above my desk, and I find my eyes darting towards it every couple of minutes. On each side of my terminal, there are papers scattered with figures, times, dates and places.

But it’s hard for me to fully understand figures as I write this. My thoughts return to the clock, and time is counting down to when it’s time to go say good-bye to a dear friend: Ernie Poscente.

Ernie was an announcer on CBC-TV in the ’60’s and then became vice-president of programming for Shaw Communications.

This column reports the charity giving in Edmonton and we measure it by dollars and cents. But with Ernie’s passing Saturday, my mind has replayed all the special times we enjoyed together over our 15-year friendship.

When I think back, perhaps Ernie’s greatest lesson to me was the gift of time; the time we give one another.

He always made time for people. I can remember calling him at Shaw Communications. I knew he was busy. Yet, he made you feel that your call was so important, and he would always want to know what was going on in your life. Or, he would give advice in a loving way so you learned something.

Perhaps my fondest memory is sitting for hours after breakfast at the Poscente cottage, sipping coffee and just enjoying each other. Ernie and his wife Pat both had a way of making you feel calm and welcome. Their time became your time, and they shared thoughts and activities with you.

Ernie has left each and every one of us richer people. He taught us many things.

Most of all, though, he gave us his time. Time was his signature.

I look at the clock and it’s getting closer and closer to his service.

But from now on, whenever I look at a clock, I’ll think of Ernie — and remember how important it is to share time with people.

What a wonderful legacy.

Total money reported to the Giving Column this week: $22,000 and countless memories from Ernie.

Total money reported to the Giving Column since Jan. 1: $8,872,815.06

Poscente will be missed

Sharma Padmanabhan, Edmonton Journal, page A9, August 26, 1995

It is indeed sad news that Ernie Poscente, vice president programming, Shaw Cable TV, is no more, having succumbed to a fatal illness.

It was only on June 16 that the volunteers of community programming got together in the Shaw Cable Studios for a volunteer appreciation night. Ernie was there although he was afflicted by his illness. He was in his usual cheerful mood and he had a warm shake and his usual broad smile for everyone there. Ernie was a dynamic person and he had a word of encouragement for anyone who sought his counsel.

He was accessible to one and all and the producers of the community shows on the Community Channel 10 in the Shawcable studios will always remember him.

Sharma Padmanabhan
Executive Producer
Channel 10 Shaw Cable TV

Memory of Ernie Poscente

June Sheppard, Edmonton Journal, page A7, August 21, 1995

I was saddened to see the picture of Ernie Poscente in the paper with the news that the long-time friend from early TV times in Edmonton has died.

Although I was experienced in radio, the invitation to appear before a TV camera was something new and scary.

Ernie, who joined me as my co-worker for a starter was well aware of my “shakes.”

He wondered casually if I’d be intersted in some Italian lessons from him just as relaxation before camera time.

Why didn’t we start with a simple word like “refrigerator?” Nothing too complex there!

I agreed. Just before the camera lights lit up — seconds before — Ernie launched my first lesson with “Icea Boxa!”

So I made my TV “hostess debut” smiling ear-to-ear as if my heart was hardly thumping at all.

Ernie is gone but I know I will never forget that “impressive” opening.

“Icea Boxa” indeed!

June Sheppard

for Edmonton Broadcasters past and present