Jim Macgregor, one of the least known but longest serving members of the Manitoba curling media, has retired after a 41 year career at Shaw TV – Winnipeg and its predecessor companies.
During Macgregor’s behind the scenes career at Shaw, he was involved in the broadcast of, by his estimate, “several hundred curling games”. At one time or another, he did every possible job involved in getting a curling game broadcast on the air but in his primary placement no one even knew he was there.
He has spent thousands of hours in the broadcast truck outside curling rinks and arenas across Manitoba and Northern Ontario deciding exactly what the viewers of the game were going to see on their television set.
From his first game, an MCA Bonspiel event final at the Granite curling club in the mid-1980’s, to his last at the 2018 DEKALB SuperSpiel in Morris, Macgregor has been in the truck for Manitoba Safeway Men’s and Scotties Women’s championships in Dauphin, Beausejour, Selkirk, Stonewall, Portage and Morris, and there was even one Ontario Scotties championship in Kenora. Along with those have been MCA Bonspiel, Manitoba Curling Tour and World Curling Tour events anchored in recent years by an annual commitment to broadcast games, including the finals, from the CanadInns Classic in Portage.
MacGregor was just getting started at about the same time as Burtnyk, Stoughton, and Peters were becoming the ‘big three’ of Manitoba men’s curling. His broadcasts over the past nearly 40 years have involved “most of the great curlers” in Manitoba, from across Canada and around the world.
Yet he hardly saw any of those games. From his chair, what he did see was close-ups of faces, rock set-ups in the house, individuals executing deliveries or sweeping and the many other camera shots which make up a curling game from the viewer’s perspective.
There are hundreds of decisions, most of them instantaneous, made from the Director’s chair in the course of a curling game. They come by instinct but in Jim MacGregor’s case they are informed by the fact that he is also both a curler and curling fan.
He is a long time curler at Winnipeg’s Fort Rouge Curling Club – playing first as a member of the School Masters league and then becoming a regular club member. As a member of Fort Rouge, he has served as a member of the club’s executive committee for eleven years including a term as President which, coincidentally, ends the same week as Macgregor’s career at Shaw comes to an end.
His team would best be described as a competitive recreational team whose highest level of achievement is reaching the final of MCA/Manitoba Open event finals on two different occasions. However, the experience has served him well as he has ‘called the shots’ in the broadcast truck.
“Being a curling fan, I knew the teams so I was well positioned. Being a curler, I could anticipate strategy and change the shot to allow the viewer to see what they needed to see,” Macgregor said in a recent interview.
Jim Macgregor at work
Matt Wozniak, Mike McEwen, Jim Macgregor