This Baby Boomer’s Got Zip
Moses Znaimer knows how to keep up with the times.
“40-year olds have 65-year old parents, 30-year olds have 80-year old grandparents.
We stand for the solidarity between the generations.” – Moses Znaimer
From his earliest days, he has been a dreamer, a visionary, an innovator, and shows no signs of slowing down. A Champion for Canada’s 15.3 million people over the age of 45, he fights for the right for older adults.
Well-known for his actions as the Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP), now rebranded as ZoomerMedia – for baby boomers with zip, Moses has stood up for his fellow man, no matter their age, throughout his lifetime.
If the sweetness is in the struggle, then Moses Znaimer’s success is the sweeter still considering his humble roots. An immigrant from Tajikistan, Moses was just six years old when his family was forced to flee the German invasion of his Russian home, and they arrived in Canada.
It wouldn’t be long before he would find his voice and set his pulse on the shape of things to come. From a displaced persons camp in Germany in the 1940s, Moses would become a media advocate – radio, television, social media, and more – for the people in his adopted country. Known for his outstanding accomplishments in the broadcasting and music industry, he is a media mogul with heart.
Though a well-known host and co-host during his years at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), his creative vision could not be constrained. He soon left the CBC and went into private broadcasting.
On the Cutting Edge
His groundbreaking broadcasting techniques would help define a generation. As the co-founder of the first independent television station in Toronto, he would mark his first steps at being first. Citytv was launched in 1972 after having been awarded the city’s first Ultra High Frequency (UHF) broadcasting license.
Inspired by Marshall McLuhan’s mantra, “the medium is in the message”, Moses’ emphasis on a local and hip format aimed at young audiences hit its mark.
Just ten years later, he would become the vice-president and executive producer of CHUM, a limited partnership which purchased Citytv. His roles, ventures, and ideas didn’t stop at radio and television, he also envisioned a 24-hour music video station.
His vision would be realized in 1984 with the launch of MuchMusic. Followed a few years later by a French language version of MuchMusic based in Montreal.
For over three decades, Moses and CHUM built a television empire. Notable television stations and programs abound under his watch, and the firsts continue. In 1998, Canada’s first 24-hour local news station, CablePulse24 was launched, and taking his firsts streak to Vancouver, oversaw the launch of Citytv Vancouver.
In 2003, thirty-one years after his first foray into private broadcasting, Moses Znaimer stepped down from his managerial role at Citytv and CHUM Limited, though he remained on for certain production roles.
It would be only a matter of time before he would re-emerge to head up a series of media ventures. His first acquisition, a classical music station he would relaunch under the call sign CFMZ-FM to reflect his initials. Soon, he would add a pop standards AM station in Toronto, once the former transmitter of CBC radio outlet CBL. Moses Znaimer had come full circle back to his broadcasting roots.
An avid collector, Moses Znaimer boasts the world’s largest private collection of rare television sets and pop culture memorabilia. His collection began the MZTV Museum of Television & Archive, some 10,000 objects in all, and have graced museums throughout Canada, the bulk of his collection donated to the Cinémathèque québécoise in Montreal.
Media Mogul with Heart
The founder of Zoomer Media, Moses Znaimer has long been a champion of diversity – long before it was required or politically correct. Inspired by his early beginnings in the post-Second World War Displaced Persons camps, his hiring practices reflect that of Canada’s multicultural, pluralistic society.
Throughout his organization, he would place a wide array of ethnicities and physical disabilities in on-air positions. Ali Velshi, Ben Chin, Jojo Chintoh, Sonya Benezra and Monika Deol to name a few, as well as David Onley and Wendy Murphy.
He would not hide them behind a desk or behind the scenes. Moses would place them front and center. In the case of David Onley, a polio survivor, who would go on to become Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, Moses would direct the camera to shoot David’s entire body, rather than a talking head.
According to Onley, Moses never asked about his disability, until after he’d hired him. In David Onley’s words, “Obviously, what he did was important for my career but, more importantly, it sent a message to TV viewers everywhere that my physical shortcomings were irrelevant. What counted was my ability to do the job.”
Founded with You in Mind
ZoomerMedia is Canada’s only diversified media company dedicated to creating content, services, and experiences for those 45 and over on all platforms including National and Regional Television, Digital Properties, Trade Shows, Conferences, and the Zoomer magazine. Founded in late 2007, ZoomerMedia acquired the publishers of CARP Magazine as well as the website Fifty-Plus-Net International, two platforms dedicated to those fifty years and over.
In his treatise, The Zoomer Philosophy, which appeared in the pages of Zoomer Magazine, Moses addresses and advocates for such topics as the right to a physician assisted death and the legalization of marijuana. Other topics in Zoomer magazine include myth-busting the stereotypes of mature men and women challenging people to look beyond and beneath the surface.
CARP (formerly the Canadian Association of Retired Persons) coupled with Zoomer Magazine (the renamed CARP Magazine) provides marketing, membership, and other services as well as a portal and social networking site targeted to older adult audiences. The ideation behind the social networking site would be similar to social media sites such as MySpace or Facebook.
Just ten years ago, at 66 years old, Moses Znaimer became preside of CARP. His first order of business removed restricting access to Canadians 50 and up, opening its membership to all Canadians, no matter their age.
Since the rebranding of CARP magazine to ZOOMER magazine, the average readership has increased to well over 1,500,000 readers and counting. complete chapter network has increased three-fold to 60 up from 14 with the addition of Moses’ CARP National Tour launched in an effort to connect with these communities. Branded his “New Vision of Aging for Canada” and to learn about regional advocacy priorities, Moses’ leadership and vision has made events like these a standard affair and mandatory destination for Canada’s political leaders including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Under Moses Znaimer’s leadership, CARP has grown exponentially and benefits greatly from ZoomerMedia’s editorial and advertising support as well as participation in ZoomerMedia events such as the annual ZoomerShow.
Still hitting historic firsts out of the park, ZoomerMedia’s partnership with CARP under Moses Znaimer’s leadership is unique in the world. This model of a non-profit advocacy association supported by a for-profit media company.
Diversity in Leadership
For his diversity in leadership, his contributions fostering multiculturalism and tolerance, Moses Znaimer has received a number of lifetime achievement awards, though his mission is far from completed.
He has received the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews Human Relations Award and the Urban Alliance on Race Relations Diversity Award.
In his early 60s, he received, for his contributions to broadcasting, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. Followed shortly, thereafter, with a membership in the Order of Ontario.
In addition to his lifetime achievement award for performing arts, he’s also received the Jane Jacob Lifetime Achievement Award for “extraordinary contribution to the public realm, over many years and in more than one field, thereby gaining reputation and acclaim for his vision, passion, and impact.”
Ten years on and still going strong in his Zoomer leadership, Moses Znaimer shows no signs of slowing down. With a Harvard degree in government and an honorary degree in philosophy, his winning combination, vision, and drive, Moses Znaimer is a model citizen for the ages.
Vision.Passion.Impact.Zoomer. Are you a zoomer? A baby boomer with zip?
If you know of any amazing seniors you’d like to see included in this blog, please let us know in the comments below.