It’s not known if Moses Znaimer ever collaborated with Marshall McLuhan, but it seems clear that after the death of the Canadian media philosopher in 1980, Znaimer took his mantle, and in his “Ten Commandments of Television” he stated: “Print created illiteracy, TV is democratic.”
But 12 years after that proclamation, in 2003, when he left Citytv, the station he founded in 1971, he reconciled with print and based his new media group on a magazine, Zoomer.
For 55 years Znaimer has been, in the words of The Canadian Encyclopedia, “The bad boy of Canadian television,” and now he’s the recipient of the International TV Distribution Hall of Fame honor in the MIP-TV (April) Issue of VideoAge, the 31st of the series.
Znaimer –– whose exact date of birth is unclear, but who believes he was born sometime in 1941 during a train trip to Kulob, in Tajikistan –– has been described as a media entrepreneur, a media executive, a media innovator, a TV host, a producer, an actor, a TV historian, a TV museum curator, a TV philosopher, and a prophet, who has been influencing and polarizing Canadian society since 1965.
His notoriety never left the confinement of Canada (he did, however, try to enter the U.K. TV scene in 1992 with an unsuccessful bid for Channel Five), where he developed a horde of followers, who are often called “Znaimeristas.”
His is a fascinating story full of mystery, intrigue, corporate plots, and visionary undertakings. Znaimer was the first to see music television as a TV channel and specialty channels as a popular development. He foresaw social media with his video Speaker Corner creation, and was the first to use the word “original” to promote his TV channels’ programs.