A Guide to Women in Canadian History
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Pioneer in broadcasting
(Reproduced with permission of Nita Naidoo)
Shushma Datt is a pioneer in the broadcasting industry in Canada. This talented woman is credited with being the first Indo-Canadian broadcaster in the country. At a time when ethnic programming was minimal in the 1970s, she became a radio and television host in Vancouver as well as a producer of content for the South Asian community. She is also believed to be the first Canadian women to be granted a radio license from the CRTC.
Born and raised in Kenya, Shushma Datt earned a university degree from the University of New Delhi in India. She began her career in journalism by working as a reporter for the Times of India. Shushma moved to London, England, where she was employed by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
"It was the BBC who set me on my path as a journalist and broadcaster," remembers Shushma. "They saw some talent in me and encouraged me to write and produce programs, and they provided me with the opportunity to showcase them." She strived to be a first-rate journalist - and dreamed of owning her own radio station.
Shushma Datt emigrated to Canada in 1972 and settled in Vancouver. She began working as a radio operator for CHQM and a host for Indian programming at CJVB, where she was the first announcer to broadcast in Hindi and Punjabi. By 1976 she began producing programs for the South Asian community and developing her expertise in business. She created i.t. Productions Ltd. in 1984 and starting in 1987 was responsible for broadcasting a 24-hour radio station called the "Rim Jhim" network. This was the first station in the world, outside of India, to produce dedicated programming around the clock for South Asians. Shusham was able to provide Indo Canadian listeners in British Columbia with news as well as entertainment. After a twenty-year process, Shushma Datt received a license from the CRTC in 2005 to establish an AM station in Vancouver: RJ1200.
Shushma Datt currently operates Radio Rim Jhim and RJ1200, as well as producing nine television programs on Shaw Cable Television and OMNI TV. These include "Women in Focus". Shusham strives to be an ambassador for the South Asian community as well as encourage young women in the group to consider non-traditional roles. She also promotes greater understanding between different cultures.
In 2007 Shushma Datt received the Influential Women in Business Award (BC) for her many accomplishments in broadcasting and multicultural programming. She has also received the Order of British Columbia, the Queen's Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal, the YWCA's "Women of Distinction" Award and the Humanitarian Award from the Vancouver Multicultural Society. Shushma is active in the community, serving on the board of the MS Society of Canada as well a director for the Vancouver General Hospital and Mount St. Joseph's Hospital.Discover more
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