Switzer, Jacob

jay switzer photo

   Jacob(Jay) Switzer was born in Calgary (ca. 1956) and raised in Lethbridge, AB and Estevan, SK. The family moved to Toronto when Switzer was in his teens. His father, Israel, was an engineer and his mother Phyllis was a journalist. In 1972, Phyllis Switzer (along with Moses Znaimer and two other partners) launched City-TV, a station that Israel Switzer had conceived as a modest UHF service designed to exploit CRTC regulations that all local broadcasters be carried by cable systems.
  Jay Switzer’s first real job, at age 16, was on the switchboard at CityTV. He worked as a Media Research Analyst for The Financial Post from 1979-1981, and then, having completed his education (B.Comm from the University of Toronto, MBA from the University of Western Ontario), he returned to CityTV in 1983 as a junior program manager. Since CHUM Ltd. (the company that had bought City-TV in 1978) could not afford to compete with the networks for costly American programs, Switzer instead focused on movies and reruns of youth-oriented shows like Star Trek.    In 1984, Switzer co-wrote the license application that would bring MuchMusic to air, and over the following years he was instrumental in City-TV’s expansion into other markets and innovative new services. He also presided over the exportation of such City-TV made programs as FashionTelevision and MovieTelevision to markets around the globe (CHUM was among the first Canadian broadcasters to sell its homemade programs internationally, and to license formats to partners). Throughout the 1990s, Switzer developed more specialty services such as MuchMoreMusic, Star!, Bravo!, and CablePulse24. In 1995, he was named Vice President of Programming for CHUM Television, and in 2002 he became the company’s President and CEO. CHUM was acquired by CTV-Globemedia in 2006 (with the five CityTV stations going to Rogers
Communications for regulatory reasons), and Switzer left the company in 2007.
  Jay Switzer currently works as an independent Media Management Consultant. He lives in Toronto with his wife, actress Ellen Dubin.


Hayes, David. “TV brat.” National Post Business Magazine (May 1, 2003): 64.

Konotopetz, Gail. “CHUM chief tuning in to life’s passion.” Business Edge (March 3, 2005), http://www.businessedge.ca/archives/article.cfm/chum-chief-tuning-in-to-...

Pitts, Gordon. “Station to station.” The Globe and Mail, September 26, 2007, (Report-on-Business)

Lamphier, Gary. “Say hello to Jay Switzer, a man with a mission.” Edmonton Journal, May 2, 2003, F.1.

Vlessing, Etan. “CHUM boss makes graceful exit.” Playback (July 23, 2007), http://playbackonline.ca/2007/07/23/switzer-20070723/

Yaffe, Samantha. “Up close and personal with Jay Switzer.” Playback (December 6, 2004), http://playbackonline.ca/2004/12/06/switzer-20041206/


Accession No.
Dates of creation
1972 - 2006
Physical description

4.5 m of textual records

683 photographs
· 270 prints (223 col., 47 b&w)
· 8 slides (8 col.)
· 25 negatives (25 b&w)
· 380 digital photos

24 audio recordings
· 4 cassettes
· 20 CDs

100 video recordings
· 11 ½ in. Betacam SP cassettes (ca. 3 hrs.)
· 27 ¾ in. cassettes (ca. 10.25 hrs.)
· 35 VHS cassettes (ca. 23 hrs.)
· 27 DVDs (ca. 24.25 hrs.)

96 electronic materials
· 96 floppy discs (bearing textual material)

207 artifacts

Scope and content

This fonds consists of 5 series, divided by format. These are: Textual Material, Photographic Material, Audio Material, Video Material, and Artifacts.

The first series, Textual Materials, includes material relating to CRTC applications, specialty services, CHUM, CityTV and other organizations. The bulk of the material pertains to programming on City, MuchMusic and CHUM, though personal correspondence, journals, and administrative documents are also included.

The second series, Photographic Material, includes personal and professional material. Of particular note is a series of black and white prints from the early days of CityTV in the 1970s.

The third series, Audio Material, consists of hearings from 1970s CRTC hearings, as well as MuchMusic’s commercial compilations and original performances by Canadian and international artists.

The fourth series, Video Material, consists of informally filmed one-of-a-kind events at CityTV and MuchMusic, as well as more personal events (Switzer’s wedding, reunion shows, etc.). Also included are DVDs of CHUM international projects featuring videos by performers from around the world.

The fifth series, Artifacts, consists of a number of items used for publicity, including t-shirts, toys, a snowglobe, pins, and lunchboxes.

This fonds includes textual material relating to a number of productions, including:

  • 20 Minute Workout (Television, 1983)
  • Molson’s Rock TV (Television, 1983)
  • Fight Night (Television, 1983)
  • 1990 Video Music Awards (Television, 1990)
  • Earth: Final Conflict (Television, 1997)

This fonds includes audiovisual material relating to a number of productions, including:

  • Much Music: Electric Circus Old School (Album, 1995)
  • Much More Music: Sampler (Album, 1997)
  • Much Music: Made In The 80’S (Album, 1997)
  • Much Dance 1997 (Album, 1997)
  • Much: Big Shiny Tunes 3 (Album, 1998)
  • Much Dance 1999 (Album, 1999)
  • Trax (Television, 1999)
  • Much: Big Shiny Tunes 4 (Album, 1999)
  • Much Music (Album, 1999)
  • Much Dance 2000 (Album, 2000)
  • On the Nose (Film, 2001)
  • Much Music: Volume 7 (Album, 2001)
  • On the Nose (Film, 2001)
  • Bravo! Chill Classical (Album, 2002)
  • Much: Big Shiny Tunes 7 (Album, 2002)
  • Much Dance 2003 (Album, 2003)
  • Much Dance ‘90s (Album, 2003)
  • MuchMusic Video Awards 2004 (Film of Live Musical Performance, 2004)
  • Going the Distance (Film, 2004)
  • The Collector (Television, 2004)
  • Christmas Tape: The Essential Collection (Album, 2004)
  • Water (Film, 2005)
  • Bon Cop, Bad Cop (Film, 2006)
  • Much More Retro Presents: The Pursuit Of Happiness Live In Concert (Film of Live Musical Performance, ca. 2006)
  • Much More Retro Presents: Ashley MacIssac Live
  • At The Rehearsal Hall (Film of Live Musical Performance, ca. 2006)
  • Much More Retro Presents: Payola$ Live
  • In Concert (Film of Live Musical Performance, ca. 2006)
  • Much More Retro Presents: Glass Tiger Live In Concert (Film of Live Musical Performance, ca. 2006)
  • Much More Retro Presents: Gowan Live In Concert (Film of Live Musical Performance, ca. 2006)
  • Much More Retro Presents: The Spoons Live In Concert (Film of Live Musical Performance, ca. 2006)
  • MuchMusic Video Awards 2006 (Film of Live Musical Performance, 2006)
  • Much Dance 2007 (Album, 2007)
Rights and access

A) Some restrictions exist. Please consult an archivist for list.

B) Material is subject to copyright restrictions; please consult an archivist.

English / Finnish