Robert “Red” Robinson
April 1st, 2023
In Loving Memory of Robert “Red” Robinson
1937 - 2023
Robert “Red” Robinson passed away peacefully in Vancouver, BC, on April 1, 2023 at the age of 86. Red is predeceased by his son Jeff in 2003 and wife Carole in 2020, and is survived by Daughters, Sheri and Kellie; Brother, Bill (Donna) Robinson & their families; Grandchildren, Mazzy and Aidan; Nieces, Nephews & Cousins.
Red’s Cremated Remains will be inurned along with his beloved son and wife in a private family Service.
Should friends desire, donations to Red and Carole’s favorite charity, appreciated - The Ch.i.l.d. Foundation at: child.ca/donate.
A public tribute to Red’s amazing life will be held towards the end of August. Please come back for more details.
You are invited to sign and share your memories on the family’s online Memorial Book of Condolences below Red’s Biography.
Remembering Red Robinson
Red Robinson was the first disc jockey to play rock'n'roll music in Canada. Red was spinning the hits on Vancouver’s CJOR while still in high school in 1954. In 1957, Red jumped to Vancouver Top 40 giant CKWX, where he met Buddy Holly and Elvis and was MC for Elvis’ appearance. A move to Portland’s KGW in 1959 gave Red experience in a brand new rock’n’roll medium: TV. After a stint in the US Army, Red returned to CKWX in 1961. The next year he was hired as Program Director at Top 40 newcomer C-FUN, and he turned it into a rock’n’roll powerhouse. In 1964, Red introduced The Beatles on the same stage where Elvis appeared seven years earlier. As host of CBC-TV‘s Let’s Go from 1963-1966, Red Robinson introduced some of Canada’s best-known rockers, including Randy Bachman, Terry Jacks, The Collectors and many more. Red entered the advertising business in 1969 when he founded Trend Advertising (later Palmer Jarvis Advertising). Trend’s first client was McDonald’s. Red was their first agent and first to appear in a McDonald’s TV commercial.
In 1971, history repeated itself when Red moved to CKWX. Red hosted Trivia Challenge, another coast-to-coast television series for CBC-TV in 1979-80. A group of contestants was so inspired by the concept they created Trivial Pursuit. Red hosted mornings on CKWX until 1983, and went “network” with Reunion, a cross-Canada oldies show that ran from 1985-1993. As part of EXPO 86, Red presented The Legends Of Rock’n’Roll, featuring 40 acts including Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Righteous Brothers. Another advertising venture, Vrlak Robinson Advertising, merged with Hayhurst Communications in 1987 to form one of Vancouver’s largest advertising agencies. Red returned to television in 1989, hosting the long-running Red’s Classic Theater on Bellingham’s KVOS-TV until 2001.
In 1993 Red built a top-rated morning show on 650 CISL/Vancouver. He was honoured by the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1997, the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2000.
Red “retired” from radio in 2007, but continued to broadcast his show Sundays on 650 CISL. In his honour, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation opened the 1100-seat Red Robinson Show Theatre at Coquitlam’s Boulevard Casino in September 2006. In October 2007, Red moved to the FM dial for the first time at 1049funfm. In 2008, the Vancouver Music Industry presented Red with the Bruce Allen/Sam Feldman Legend Award for his support of the local music industry. He received the Canada 125 medal for his contributions to the community and The Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee medal.
Red was honoured by the Royal British Columbia Museum in 2008 as one of 132 influential British Columbians included in a giant collage known as The Party. In August 2011, Red returned home to CISL 650. Red Robinson was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of The Fraser Valley in 2012 for his pioneering contribution to the Canadian music industry and his philanthropic work.
In the 23 years he hosted Timmy’s Christmas Telethon on the CBC regional network, Red Robinson helped raise more than $100 million dollars. He was honoured with a floor in the Lions Children’s building for his contributions to children with disabilities. His philanthropic work includes the CHILD foundation, organizing the west coast division of the National Advertising and Broadcast Association to help people in the industries who have fallen on hard times.
Red retired from CISL 650 in August 2017 but he maintained an active presence at redrobinson.com and on his Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.
Red’s definitive biographies Red Robinson: The Last Deejay and Red Robinson: The Last Broadcast, are available everywhere.
Rest in Peace Red! A life well lived. One of the many Pioneers in the history of Canadian Broadcasters who kept the music and stories alive for many generations to enjoy while also bringing awareness to many important causes , variety shows etc. along the way. Your Enthusiasm and Thoughtfulness will be remembered.
I loved Red growing up .I was born and raised in New Westminster and he was a huge force for we teens growing up in the sixties. I am just now completing a book and telling a story about Red and how we loved him and we knew he loved us too. I had just typed that when I found this. Well it's my small tribute to a great man. Bless him and all those he has left behind.
Red Robinson is an integral part of my memory cache. He was a big part of my teenage years … I remember dancing around our kitchen in my early teens (75 now) while listening to his Top 40. I remember his interviews with our idols and treasure the lovely man he was. I don’t think I ever heard him say an unkind thing. I saw him at the Beatles concert and around the PNE in the early days. He was a class act his whole life and is a tremendous missing in our world. Plain and simple … I loved the man and enjoyed his gift for entertaining my whole life.
My condolences to Red's family. I loved listening to him tell his stories on the radio. In the late 50's he autographed my arm at a Rexall drugstore opening on Nanaimo and Hastings in East Vancouver. I unfortunately was forced to wash it off by my parents during my weekly bath!!!!!!! Gary, Surrey
My condolences to Red Robinson's entire family. I had the pleasure of knowing Red and Carol thru work. Budget Car Sales for many years. Christmas Party's for many years with him and carol. They will be missed. R.I.P Al Lynds .
I’m so very sorry to see you go Red!! You were such a wonderful friend and introduced so much energy and fun to my art. It was a joy to know you and Carole and wonderful to call you my friend. It is with sadness that I send my condolences to both Kellie and Sherrie. Red, you and Carole were both generous and supportive of my work. As we both know, you were an artist at heart and, over many meetings, lunches, and art shows, you “painted” word-paintings for me that served to guide my paint brush. Thank you so much for your friendship and for heaven’s sake, keep spinning them Red!
my deepest condolences to the family. I always remember and enjoy the chats that Red and my dad (his uncle Chuck) would have.. memories! I'll cherish them always. love and hugs to everyone! RIP cousin Red!
There was only one voice in the wilderness of radio stations Here in Canada that really stimulated one's positive energy for every day you got up and turned on the radio and that was the Red Head, RED Robinson especially at CFUN in the 1960s when Red would count down the top 50 songs of the CFuntastic Fifty music survey! He'd say...THIS IS RED ROBINSON ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON COUNTING DOWN YOUR FAVORITE HITS FROM THIS WEEK'S FUNTASTIC FIFTY, FUNOMETER READS 70 DEGREES FUNLAND AND NEWS AT THE TOP OF THE HOUR!
Heartfelt condolences to Red Robinson's entire family. Red was a true pioneer and master of his craft and one of the most genuine and finest of people to grace this earth. He will be truly missed and memories of Red will forever shine!!
I was fortunate to visit Red in March and found him to be quite clear and we shared so many memories of his career and all the stars he met. I shall miss him and will think of him whenever I play my jukebox!!!!! Rest in peace with Carole and Jeff and know how much you were loved on earth.
My condolences to Red's family. I will always cherish my time with Red, be it talking about our days in the entertainment industry, working on commemorative events (e.g. 2014 - the 50th anniversary celebration of the Beatles appearing at the PNE) or giving our time to worthy causes (e.g. NABS). And there is one other thing I will miss - our chats about baseball. We should all take a page from Red's "book" because he made his life count. RIP
Deepest heartfelt condolences to the family. RIP Red, you’re a classic , one of a kind. You’ll be sadly missed. Thanks for all the memories.❤️
I'm a former broadcaster. I conducted a DJ show at CJNB in North Battleford and continued as a DJ at CKOM in Saskatoon under the name of Mark Winston. I later relocated to Vancouver where I got involved with Roger's Community TV as an interviewer, reporter and later News director of Vancouver East. I had spoken by phone with Red from time to time and asked him to be on After Hours on Roger's. As it turned out, we were unable to arrange a suitable time. I had met singer Helen Shapiro and was helping to promote her new Christian CD. I was looking for sources and places where her CD could be sold. I spoke with Red about it, but he didn't have good news. He said that was becoming difficult for recording artists and a lot of the times it ended up in the tank. I am glad that I got to know Red. My condolences to his family on their loss. Red, may you rest in peace.