Mrs. A's cold remedy
What do women want? In 1945, CBC broadcasters were asking that question — at least in terms of radio and television programming. As the Second World War ended and Canada's postwar boom began, happy homemakers heard Kate Aitken's cold remedy or tips on how to make a pizza pie. But as the cheery '50s got on, women listeners requested more intelligent programming. They began to learn about setting up a theatre company and hear frank discussion about what going through a divorce was really like.
No matter how silly it seems, she swears it actually works.
Aitken, who also worked for the Montreal Standard, wasn't your average homemaker. Aside from presenting cold remedies or how-tos on casseroles, she was also well-known for reporting abroad and believed women could have both a career and home life.
. The Kate Aitken show, sponsored by Ogilvie Flour Mills, was broadcast Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:30 a.m. (EDT) across Canada.
. The program's mandate was to report on: women's fashions, stretching household dollars, current events and the arts.
. This edition of the program also featured discussion on: a Toronto couple running a daycare, a Canadian meal sent to a British women's group, and Aitken's trip to Berlin.
. In a show a month later, Aitken gave tips on crossing the border, selling candy, whether cheques signed in pencil are valid and what size of eggs are the best buy.
. The program was broadcast from Montreal, where Aitken also worked as the women's editor for the Montreal Standard.
. The CBC Radio guide referred to Aitken as "a Canadian housewife who isn't average." Besides maintaining a household and her newspaper and radio jobs, Aitken was also a food consultant, a lecturer and women's director of the Canadian National Exhibition.
. At the request of the British Food Ministry, Aitken travelled to England in 1945 to work on a survey about food conditions after the Second World War.
. In 1949 while commenting on her many duties, Aitken said: "The fuller my life is, the happier; and the more I do, the more I am able to do." That year she also took an around-the-world trip to report on the status of women and children abroad.
. Before her radio career, Aitken explained that looking after a house and two kids didn't keep her busy enough. So she bought a farm, planted an orchard and started a poultry and canning business employing 13 women.
. Aitken retired from radio in 1957. Two years later she was appointed to the CBC's board of directors. She died on Dec. 11, 1971 in a Mississauga, Ont., hospital where she was recovering from a broken hip suffered a year earlier.
Program: Kate Aitken
Broadcast Date: Sept. 27, 1948
Host: Kate Aitken, Mac McCurdy
Last updated: April 18, 2012
Page consulted on March 20, 2013
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