Perseverance is an apt word to describe Judy Maddren. As only the third female staff announcer to be hired by the CBC, Judy is not one to back down. Also honoured by the University of Guelph in 2003 for her charitable work, Judy is a woman who has a demonstrated passion for her community.
A graduate in Consumer Studies from the University of Guelph, Judy took a roundabout way to get to where she is today. When she was 15, she wanted to be a radio broadcaster and wrote to the CBC. Her passion was put on hold, however, when she received a response from the broadcaster informing her there were already enough talented “gentlemen" to do the job. Consequently, she left broadcasting behind. Judy came to the University of Guelph because her marks in high school Home Economics were good;high marks in some first year courses then led her to pursue a Consumer Studies major instead of Family Studies.
Writing her thesis under Dr. Vosburgh brought Judy back to her interest in broadcasting, and she went to the CBC in Toronto for a week to research the role of women in broadcasting. The CBC told her to keep in touch after graduation; she did, and was hired shortly afterwards. Working in the Consumer Affairs Department as a researcher, Judy wrote 3-minute scripts for Ruth Fremes, a consumer reporter. At the same time, she was learning about on-air work, broadcasting on Low Power Relay Stations to northern Ontario. The broadcasting bug led her to an audition for an announcer position, and she was given a contract to work in Ottawa on both radio and television. She says she prefers radio to television for the teamwork involved, and because the audience has to be part of the broadcast by making their own pictures in their heads.
After two years in Ottawa, Judy was the third female announcer to be hired for the national network. After two years hosting several programs on national radio and television she took leave to have her first child. She then worked freelance for 14 years while raising four children, and in 1993 was invited back to host CBC Radio's flagship newscast, World Report, a post she still holds today.
As well as anchoring World Report, Judy has worked on other, additional projects. Her biggest project to date has been organizing charity readings of Charles Dickens'A Christmas Carol across Canada. In 1989, after reading the story to her children, she realized adults no longer have the joy of being read to, and thus the project was born. The first reading was in Toronto in 1990, with five sections being read by national broadcasters and interspersed with music. The profits were given to a women's shelter. Since then, the readings have grown across Canada. For the last several years there have been readings in 100 communities each Christmas. The proceeds always go to local charities in the cities or communities in which the presentations take place. Judy was honoured with the Macdonald Institute Centennial Award from the University of Guelph in 2003 for her work on this project.
Recording biographies is another of Judy's many projects. Her firm, Soundportraits, is hired by families to do audio interviews with people about their lives. She believes the voice is the instrument of the soul, and the audio component draws a listener to a closer personal connectionthanvisuals ever could. Judy says hearing the stories, and making these recordings are her passion.
At Guelph, Judy was involved in the campus community as well. During university, Judy participated in Curtain Call productions and did a radio show on CFRU-FM. She believes the campus is a real and beautiful place and that the University of Guelph is like a solid family that always welcomes alumni back.
Judy's advice to students is to try something new - join a club you think you might like - and look around at what you can learn from other students, especially international students, who can teach you about the rest of the world. You never know what experience at Guelph will inform your life or career choices. She says there is everything to gain by learning about something.