S4C Chair John Walter Jones has paid a glowing tribute to the channel’s first Director, describing him as a “colossus of Welsh broadcasting”.
Owen Edwards, who died yesterday aged 76, was S4C’s first Director between 1981 and 1989.
He led S4C through the early pioneering years, establishing it as a channel that was at the centre of cultural life in Wales.
S4C Chair John Walter Jones said: “He was not only a colossus of Welsh-language broadcasting but one of the great figures of our nation. He made an invaluable contribution to the survival of our culture and our identity as a country.
“As the first Director of S4C, he continued his family’s unique tradition of ensuring that our culture remains dynamic in the modern era. He built on what his father and grandfather accomplished in the field of education and with young people by ensuring that our language and culture flourish in the media. He managed to establish a Welsh language television service that was admired throughout the world.
“By extending our condolences to the family at this difficult time, I can state categorically that Wales will never forget his remarkable contribution.”
Born and brought up in Aberystwyth, he was the son of Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards, the founder of the Welsh-language youth movement Urdd Gobaith Cymru and the grandson of the historian, author and publisher OM Edwards.
Owen Edwards (1933-2010) worked in the Welsh-language media for over 30 years and was key in the establishment of the radio services BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Radio Wales as well as S4C.
Owen Edwards’ career in broadcasting began in the late 1950s and 1960s as presenter of Welsh-language programmes on ITV and BBC. He earned a reputation as a polished broadcaster as the anchor presenter of BBC’s Welsh-language daily news programme, Heddiw.
In the 1970s, he turned to management behind the camera as the BBC’s Programme Organiser and Head of Programmes before being appointed Controller of BBC Wales in 1974.
S4C’s magazine programme Wedi 7 will tonight pay tribute to Owen Edwards in a special programme at 19:00 and there will also be reports in the Channel’s main news bulletin Newyddion at 19:30.