Industry trailblazer Denise Donlon to receive the 2018 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award

Donlon will be honoured for her contribution to the growth and development of the Canadian music industry.
Music industry veteran Denise Donlon will be receiving this year's Walt Grealis Special Achievemen Award at the Juno Awards. (Courtesy of CARAS)

Canadian broadcast veteran Denise Donlon will be awarded the 2018 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award at this year's Juno Awards, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced today. The award will be presented at the 47th annual Juno Gala Dinner and Awards on Saturday, March 24, in Vancouver, B.C.  

Each year, the Walt Grealis Achievement Award honours an industry leader who has made a tremendous contribution to the growth and development of the Canadian music industry. Previous recipients include Randy Lennox, Rosalie Trombley, Ray Danniels and Frank Davies.

Donlon's work has spanned 40 years, ranging from on-camera roles to heading a major record label. She is probably best-known for her role as the host and producer of MuchMusic's The NewMusic, a job that launched her career in 1985. Just seven years later, she was appointed director of music programming at MuchMusic/CityTV and, in 1997, she became its vice president and general manager. During her time there, she helped push social justice issues into programming such as Much Comes Out and the station's Gemini Award-winning election coverage. She played an integral role in helping launch the new channel, MuchMoreMusic in 2000.

That same year, Donlon left to take on the role of president of Sony Music Canada, working closely with some of the country's biggest talents such as Céline Dion, Leonard Cohen, Our Lady Peace and Chantal Kreviazuk. Her next move came in 2008, when she accepted the role of executive director of CBC Radio's English-language services, a role she held until 2011. In 2013, she co-hosted and co-produced The Zoomer with Conrad Black.

All of her work was chronicled in the 2016 memoir, Fearless as Possible (Under the Circumstances), including her humanitarian efforts working with War Child Canada, MusiCounts, Waterkeepers, Live 8 and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership.

"Denise's exceptional business savvy and artistic excellence has made her a woman to admire, watch and learn from both within and outside the music industry," Allan Reid, president and CEO of CARAS/The Juno Awards and MusiCounts, says in a press release. "As a talented and fearless leader, whose deep understanding of the media landscape has resulted in groundbreaking Canadian programming, Denise has helped advance the careers of so many of this country's dynamic musicians and artists."

For our full Juno Awards coverage, head to CBCMusic.ca/junos.


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