Show Notes

Intro:

Hi All. Rob Cairns here. I am the CEO/Chief Creator of Amazing Ideas at StunningDigitalMarketing.com .

Today I am going to talk to my good friend Cal Millar. Cal spent over 30 years working as a journalist in the city of Toronto.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the discussion I had with Cal.

Interview:

Rob Cairns

I’m here this morning with my good friend Cal Miller Cal, how are you doing today?

Cal Millar 

Absolutely wonderful. Thank you, Rob.

Rob Cairns

Yeah. So you and I have known each other a long time and you have a little bit of a historic presence in the city of Toronto. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Cal Millar

Well, for more than 30 years, I was a reporter in Toronto, emphasizing the word reporter, because I’m not sure the media has a good reputation these days. But I covered what you would call general news, and basically recorded the history of the city for the time I was there, and endure, endure.

Rob Cairns

I know from sitting down with you over the years and talking on the phone there talking to him personally. Quite the knowledgeable historian. How did he get into the newspaper business? I don’t know if I’ve ever asked you that actually.

Cal Millar

Interesting story.

The began right back in public school, and I had a teacher who told me that she thought I would be a newspaper reporter at some point in my life. Use the word journalists, Kevin Moore, the great I was in but I didn’t even know the meaning of the word. And eventually, I just sort of fell into it. But prior to that, what I was in public school, I had stolen public school, I had a couple of friends who were interested in putting out a community newspaper. And at the age of 10, we actually did produce a paper for the neighborhood. And that’s how it all started. And interestingly, many, many years later, still in touch with a friend who currently lives in Tucson, Arizona,

Rob Cairns

It’s a really cool story. As I, as I recall, and I’m quoting You are a day one reporter at the Toronto Sun when it came out of the ashes of the telegram, were you not?

Cal Millar

To tell you that folded actually on our wedding day. Wow. When I got back from my honeymoon, there was a message waiting for me asking if I would be interested in joining the staff of the soon to be formed Toronto Sun. So I obviously said yes, and not a lot of options in those days. And obviously, additional expenses with being married. So I had to look after things and eagerly accepted and had a great deal of fun putting up the the Toronto Sun in its early days.

Rob Cairns

You worked with the legendary editor, David Creighton. Did you know he was the managing editor? Was he not the editor when the Sun was born?

Cal Millar

David Creighton as the publisher and Peter Worthington the editor.

Rob Cairns  

There were really legendary people in this business in the city. No question.

Cal Millar

And Doug was one of the people that put me under his wing at the the Toronto telegram. He was the city editor at the time. And I had a really good career through him. So I appreciate the opportunity.

Rob Cairns

What is the most interesting story you ever covered? You have one or two that stand out?

Cal Millar

Yeah, there’s, there’s there’s one in particular that stands out. And it really went nowhere? Well, I mean, as far as I was concerned, but internationally, it was, it was major. It was the very strange shooting in Toronto, where somebody had fired three bullets into a home on post room. And simultaneous to the shooting. In Toronto, three shots were fired into a building, which was a secret police facility in Moscow, of course, and the two of them were linked. But I didn’t realize that initially. And eventually, that led to the, to an attack on the Parliament Buildings in Russia, when his opposition took over the building.

Cal Millar

Very, very strange story, but it showed how the Russian secret police had tentacles all over the world. And what happened, the person in Toronto was the second in command of the secret police, and had stolen $40 million, which was on in transit to finance operations in Australia.

Rob Cairns

Yeah, that is really, that is really interesting

Cal Millar

The story is like a novel. And that was reading one of the most interesting stories because we were able to basically spend a year following the money. And we had all kinds of characters who had government connections. Internationally, we found that people were involved with a company which was actually a front for the KGB. And the story just kept spinning and spinning.

Rob Cairns

You know, it’s funny, you’re telling the story. And I can always, I’m a reader, as you know. And I can always tell an old time author, an old time writer, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. Because I’m sitting here with my eyes closed, and I’m actually painting the picture that you’re telling you, in my head, as you’re telling me that story. And I could almost picture this playing out where I think a lot of writers today, they don’t paint that picture. They don’t they that’s always been the advantage reading over watching TV and my books has been you can paint the picture. And the good writers can still do that. And it’s, you know, it’s, it’s actually really satisfying. I can almost see the money coming out of the KGB as a, as a as you’re telling that story.

Cal Millar

And I mean, I just give you a thumbnail version of it, it has tentacles, and just just basically it goes all over the map. And we had situations where gold was being taken out of the Kingston area, by a politician in Toronto he helped carry to carry the shipping of gold from that country, and it eventually ended up in the United States. On a Canadian plane, the president of that country was murdered in the middle of the situation. It’s a very, very strange story. And it’s actually worthy of a book.

Rob Cairns

Yeah, I will get more get to some books in your writing in a bit. What is the most interesting place you’ve ever gone? I know in your day, they didn’t do what we call a wire story. And for those who don’t know, wire stories, one one that depressed, send a wire reporter and just reports on it back in your day, you actually traveled around the cover the story. So what’s most interesting place?

Cal Millar

Well, there’s there’s all sorts of them. I mean, you, you end up in different parts. I remember going down to Puerto Rico. And there was there were 100 people killed in a fire at the DuPont hotel. And it was on New Year’s Eve. And I didn’t have my passport on me. I have my wife Meet me at the airport. And she handed me my passport, I jumped on a plane, and I’m in Puerto Rico. I’m, everything’s working out fine. I’m coming back to Canada. And when I arrived there, the fellow customs said, you realize your passports expired. My wife had handed me one that was was used that I had already renewed, but she didn’t bring the renewal. But I was thinking you when you said strangers places. I’m just imagining if the office had sent you from Puerto Rico, I’m a senior somewhere in South America because they would have been the closest person. What would have happened to me to use a passport that wasn’t valid? Yeah,

Rob Cairns

I get that I can remember, in the day, even traveling to the US as a youth. I went to the States. And these were both This was before 911 were we could use a birth certificate. And I forgot mine at home. And I can remember in the day, kicking off the box coming back from the States and I had proper ID with me knowing again thinking what are they going to do throw me out of my own country? Go ahead.

One thing that you’ve done that’s really interesting is you’ve been involved in Crime Stoppers for many, many years. How did you get involved in why originally?

Cal Millar

Initially, it was a story.

I was assigned, Hamilton had started the Crimestoppers program, the first city in Ontario. And that’s exactly the first time I ever heard of the word credit the word Crimestoppers the program. And I went over to Hamilton to talk to the coordinator, a fella called Jim Wells, and finally found out that it was a crime solving initiative that could be utilized in any community. For the story that I was writing for the start that time the call the police chief jack barks, and said, you know, Was this something was interested in, then he said they’re looking at it. And course that was part of the story. The Toronto was looking at implementing a crime stoppers program. I thought no more of writing a story other than I thought that it was a very unique program that involved the community, the police, and the media media was a very important component. They promoted the effort and highlighted unsolved crimes. Shortly after that, I got a call from the chief asking if I would be involved in a steering committee to implement a program in Toronto, which we I did, and from that point on, was basically involved in the initial setup.

Rob Cairns  

And And speaking of police, you do have a retired police badge?

Cal Millar

When I retired, the police department made me an honorary detective, basically, for the work that I’ve done in Crime Stoppers, and the coverage that I had provided the police over the years.

Rob Cairns

So it’s all about relationships, and you know, not not, I mean, that’s quite the truth. And what people don’t understand is reporters are like anyone or else or market or business person, it’s all about the relationships and the trust level that you have with the people that you’re telling the story about.

Cal Millar

Yeah, I mean, it’s the ability to call someone, any time, day or night, and you call the welcome and get an answer, and the information that you’re looking for.

Rob Cairns

So true. Um, since you’re retired, one of the things you’ve done was written several books, likely to get a new book ready. Besides that reporters never die. And we know retired reporter. I mean, let’s look at our, our mutual friend, Ian Robertson. He’s retired and he still still traveling the globe.

Cal Millar

I am still actively writing and write actually, he’s writing books as well. The reason I actually wrote the first book was because of something I couldn’t do really well in the newspaper business. And I understand why. And that was to help find these people. The first book that I wrote, was, basically, unsolved homicides. Because I didn’t think there would be an interest in, in missing people. But after I wrote the book on unsolved homicides, called find my killer,

Cal Millar

I started looking into the number of missing people, and thought it would be helpful for families who were looking for people, and having no answers, if they were compiled in a book, and people could use them and maybe recall something I initially wanted to do the book on on missing people. But I had difficulty getting a lot of information from police departments.

Cal Millar

But they were more willing to provide information on unsolved homicides. And so I stepped into that one first. What I, what I had difficulty with the newspapers is when they had a missing individual papers were reluctant to carry the story. Because just the technology involved, you’d write a story during the day, the person who may be found in the evening, your paper comes out in the morning. Story is is incorrect. So they, they tend not to focus, or the dip tends not to focus on missing people. Now, it’s become a priority, especially with children. So make sure that you publish those cases. I think the book has helped the other two little bit.

Rob Cairns

Yeah, it has. And I mean, a good example is in Canada, we have what’s called an amber alert system in the state says something similar. And we just had one the other day, which was down by your way and Niagara region, and it actually led to an arrest. So I mean, the publicize of that is is greatly

Cal Millar

The Safe recovered. Yeah. And the safe recovery of five children have been abducted by their father. The amber alert is supposed to be issued for a missing child, who has the the abduction has been observed observed by someone and they have full description, etc. The one that was put up a Nagra the other day didn’t really fit that parameter. But the investigators obviously felt Amber Alert would have an impact and effect. And in fact, they were right. Because shortly thereafter, they got information, which led to receive return.

Rob Cairns

Yeah. And then this morning, I picked up the newspaper and apparently, one of the issues we’ve had in this country or in this province in the last couple months since the onboard systems and working as we have a glutton of people who call and complain because it goes off on your cell phone off on your cable, it goes off everywhere. And there was actually a 70 year old man in Hamilton, Ontario, that has been charged with public mischief for calling 911 on this last amber alerts, and he was going to tie up emergency lines because he could and the best advice I have to anybody, here an anvil or just think of where you would be if that was your child before you, you know, decide to do or not to do complain about it, ya

Cal Millar

Exactly. Exactly. And I found that after the the missing book was published. Right now, it still leaves the books that I have in sales. So we got a tremendous amount of interest that people have in the missing individual.

Rob Cairns 

Yeah, I’d say it’s a great book. I know you’ve written several.

My favorite one is, you know, and I actually worked with you and Ian Robertson, your co writer to do some PR was your book about the story of Russell Williams. That is an interesting story to say the least.

Cal Millar

Yeah, no, that was a very difficult story to write, because of the nature of the situation. And the material that we had to provide information to us for the book. I mean, the sad part is that Russell Williams had recorded this, both on video and audio, final moments, victims, yes. And they will, I mean, you were actually able to go inside a murder. This is the first time in my knowledge that has occurred in Canada. And we had individuals tell us that it might become commonplace with homicides in the future. With this be done. Prior to that the killer who carried out a mass killing in Norway recorded the incidents and I’m which was the first known incident incident of that nature where the murders were captured on video. And since then, of course, you probably aware of the public’s aware that many, many killings of no be recorded.

Rob Cairns

Yeah, I may add to that a trend is what seems to be the trend lately is they jump on social media, whether it’s Facebook or Twitter or some Avenue like that. And they post our manifesto before they get into the killing spree and before them themselves, become deceased. And they post that out there. And that just seems to add to it.

Cal Millar

The recent case where the killer in Toronto took the lives of individuals, sir, with a ban on a busy street. In his in his confession to police. He said he wanted to notoriety and doing something with that, although his case wasn’t recorded. But doing something of that nature. He thought he would  become a public celebrity. And it’s very, very sad.

Rob Cairns 

And the other one that falls into the same line is the two young males killed two people in BC. And they actually documented on the video and basically admitted to the Jones before they committed suicide in suicide pact.

Rob Cairns

Your last book was on the history Crime Stoppers. That one was fun.

Cal Millar

You know, that was actually written in collaboration with the person who formed the first Crimestoppers program in the United States of person who came up with the concept Greg MacAleese. He was a police officer in Albuquerque, New Mexico. But the interesting part he was born in Ontario, and his parents lived and his father was with the Canadian military, the Air Force at the time. And they were transferred to Albuquerque as a liaison individual with the American enforced. And Greg grew up in Albuquerque. Mike is very, very close Thais and obviously relatives living in the province. I got to know Greg, initially through the stories that I wrote for for the star on Crime Stoppers. And then various times met him.

Cal Millar

We brought him up to Toronto, when we launched the Crimestoppers program in, in the city back in 1984. And we, through the years have met various times of the book was put together in an interesting fashion because in retirement, Greg has moved to the Philippines. And we use the internet to communicate and produce the book. So Britain modern technology program began with pencil and paper.

Rob Cairns

Yeah. And for a writer that as in you that originally started on the typewriter, correct?

Cal Millar

I thought I’d chiseled in stone, but sorry. Yeah, yes.

Cal Millar

But it’s, it’s amazing. Like the power, the power of technology, if it’s used properly. And that’s kind of technology has completely changed the media.

Rob Cairns

Anyone with a cell phone can now become a reporter? Yeah.

Cal Millar

I mean, I, I know, I go to events around town, and you go to events around town. And where does the picture show up on Facebook, on Twitter on a media page? I mean, we all take pictures. We we all have a phone in a video camera. We all have a phone in a video camera in our pocket now. And we’re even joking. And we post them. I mean, I’m guilty.

Rob Cairns

Yeah. So am I and I know, I know, in Twitter, I use Twitter as a news feed. And I’ve got a list set up that’s got all kinds of reporters and I can I don’t watch conventional news anymore. Generally on TV, I tend to go to social media and say, okay, what’s going on?

Cal Millar

The mainstream media, the newspapers, quoting things they’ve read on Twitter? Yeah, I’m a little sad at that. Because you don’t know, the truthfulness of it. But in the immediacy, sometimes reporters, just forced to use that as a source.

Rob Cairns

No, I agree. And I think sometimes it’s not wanting to take, and I think that’s a problem, I think, in your thinking. I think that might be that’s a sad comment. But it might be true.

Rob Cairns

Yeah, in your time, you did the background research on the story, and you put it out there. Now. I think what goes on to have the luxury of people being on the scene and typing information

Rob Cairns

Yep. Yep. And I mean, one story, I attributed a lot to social media. I was gonna say six years ago, but might even be seven. Now. We had the famous Ganges shooting in Toronto, and I lived in that neighborhood. I live very close to where it happened. And I can tell you, even then, seven years ago, social media blew up with stories coming out of that very quickly.

Yeah. I and, and to be fair, in Toronto, I would say the police have, and we have a mutual friend, who’s in the have, have embraced that as well. They’ve recognized that social media is a big part of their job now.

Call Millar 

I think. Yeah, Toronto Police is recognized as one of the leaders utilizing social media for communication.

Rob Cairns

Yeah. And it’s not just communication in terms of, you know, stories, or maybe it’s even any communication. I mean, I don’t know about you, but yeah, I’ve got friends and business colleagues all over the world. And a lot of those connections have come that way. So, you know, I, I don’t always look at the negativity of the of the medium, I actually look at the positivity and I know in my life, it’s made a major impact on what I do, how I do business, how I do it. I mean, you and I are a really good example of that. We we’ve met through mutual friends, but a lot of those original friendships for me were social media friendships and they’ve grown over the years and and that’s what people don’t realize, right?

Cal Millar

I think when you when you when you deal with social media, what you have to do is look carefully at the source. It’s not a legitimate source, because you know, I I agree with your head native FX, not a legitimate source, as a friend of mine, who’s a great seven teacher tells her students go and find another source to collaborate the first one, and at least have the you know, assignments, have your, your checks and balances in place. I mean, because the problem with the internet is everybody’s an expert. And that’s, that’s an interesting, so thanks for spending some time with me today. If somebody wants to find your books or get a hold the house the best way for them to do it.

Cal Millar

The best way is on amazon.com. Or I have a website calmillar.com

Rob Cairns

Yep. And if you go to cows website right on front, there’s links to all his books and you can just actually click on the book and it will take you to the page on Amazon. So pick up on it Cal’s  books are well worth reading. I’ve read plenty Well, every one of them. And I would tell anybody if you want a good read, read them. My wife Jill is big into crime books.

And I know she couldn’t put the Russell Williams book down. I think I’ve told you that she pulled it

off the shelf one day and I said what do you think of that? She said, I’m three quarters of the way through within two days. So you know if you want if you want an interesting read, that’s a good one history. Crimestoppers is a good one choose any of them.

Thanks for joining me Cal. Have an amazing day.

Cal Millar

Thank you.

Outtro:

Thank you for listening to the SDM Business, Marketing and WordPress Podcast. This show is hosted by Robert Cairns, the CEO and Chief Creator of Amazing Ideas at StunningDigitalMarketing.com

This podcast comes out every week. It is available on all podcast platforms.

If you would like to be a guest on this podcast, please email us at podcasts@stunningdigitalmarketing.com

If you would like to find out more about the Digital Marketing Services we provide, please go to StuningDigitalMarketing.com. We specialize in helping your business succeed.

This podcast is dedicated to Robert’s late father, Bruce Cairns.

Have an amazing week. Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars. Make your business succeed.

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