Radio Legend,Toronto Raver Don Berns Passes Away
March 2, 2015 at 1:34 PM (PT)
DON BERNS, a Top 40 radio legend, known to TORONTO EDM fans as DR. TRANCE, died SUNDAY evening of an apparent heart attack.
BERNS was referred to as the “godfather of the TORONTO rave scene,” responsible for bringing parties into bigger and better venues in the mid-’90s, and he gave voice to ravers through both his work behind the scenes, and his distinctive voice on the air and in clubs.
BERNS' various promotions -- including NITROUS, ATLANTIS and EFFECTIVE -- took parties out of abandoned factories and warehouses and put them in high-profile spots such as the ONTARIO SCENCE CENTRE, THE CN TOWER and the TORONTO ISLAND AIRPORT.
The CONNECTICUT-born radio personality first came to TORONTO in the '80s to work for CFNY as an announcer and assistant program director. He previously worked in radio in several U.S. markets, including BUFFALO (WKBW), DALLAS, HARTFORD (WDRC), PITTSBURGH (WTAE), PROVIDENCE (WICE) and SAN DIEGO.
BERNS was instrumental in getting early techno tracks on the station. He would talk about his love of raving on air and, through his media platform, exposed the scene to thousands.
After being let go in 1992, when the station decided to switch formats, Berns went to the then-new ENERGY 108. He also spent time at POWER 88.5, HOT 103.5, and CHIN FM.
At a time when other people his age were trying to shut raves down, he was an outspoken voice championing them as a cheerful, low-testosterone, low-aggression alternative to the club scene.
An out-and-proud gay man, Berns was also a fixture at TORONOTO PRIDE events for more than 20 years. He also had a career in entertainment outside of music. When he wasn’t DJing, he was a voice-over artist best known for his work with TSN, as well as working as an actor and being a well-known member of the city’s improv scene.
According to his FACEBOOK page, BERNS had been admitted to BRAMPTON HOSPITAL for a minor surgical procedure on THURSDAY.