Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another BC Radio Veterans Interview Added

Listen to Global TV BC Weatherman Wayne Cox talk about his radio and tv career at radiowest.ca in the Forums under Mike Cleaver's Radiographies.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

More BC Radio Veterans Interviews Added.

Two additional interviews have been added to Mike Cleaver's Radiographies at radiowest.ca.
One is with former CKNW part owner and manager Bill Hughes.
The other is with Ron Robinson, best known for his away baseball game re-creations on CKWX in the '50s and '60s.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Another Interview added at radiowest.ca

An interview with broadcaster/author Chuck Davis is now available at radiowest.ca

Monday, August 2, 2010

More Interviews Added at radiowest.ca

There are two more interviews posted in the forum at radiowest.ca under "Mike Cleaver's Radiographies."
They are with former CKNW News employees John McKitrick and George Garrett.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Two New BC Radio Veteran's Interviews

Interviews with Bruce Hood and Ross Crain now have been added to Mike Cleaver's Radiographies in the Forum section of radiowest.ca

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Another BC Radio Veteran's Interview Added

An interview with CKWX News 1130 Newsman Tom Bricker has been posted on radiowest.ca in the Forums under Mike Cleaver's Radiographies.
More to come later in the week.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Other Forums Where You Can Read My Views on Radio

I also post on radiowest.ca and SOWNY at http://www.sowny.ca/

Friday, June 18, 2010

Broadcast Dialogue Magazine Articles.

Some people have been asking how they can get copies of the articles I have written for Howard Christensen's excellent Broadcast Dialogue Magazine.
They are all on-line at broadcastdialogue.com.
Click on the "Magazine" tab at the top of the home page and select "PDF Archive" from the drop down menu.
Then click on "Select an Author" and select "Mike Cleaver" from the drop down menu.
That will take you to a page listing all of the articles.
I have no objection to these articles being used by broadcast educators, as long as credit is given to Broadcast Dialogue and Mike Cleaver.
I understand some of these have been in use as teaching tools and discussion starters for years now.
In any case, enjoy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

BC Radio Veteran's Interviews

The interview series with BC Broadcast Veterans available on radiowest.ca under the Forum heading of Mike Cleaver's Radiographies now are also available if you click on the link after the person's biography on vancouverbroadcasters.com.
Thanks to Site Owner Gord Lansdell!

Pictures added to previous articles.

I have added some pictures to the previous series of articles about my radio history.
The pictures are at the end of each entry.
The blog will be going on hiatus for the next couple of weeks while I'm on vacation.
Some new interviews have been added at radiowest.ca in the Forums under the heading of Mike Cleaver's Radiographies.
There will be more to come in the next few days and then the series will resume in July.

My First TV Station, CJLH/CJOC TV, Lethbridge, AB

CJLH-TV (CJOC-TV)  TV 7, Lethbridge, Alberta

Shortly after my arrival at CJOC, Lethbridge, in May of 1967, I was offered an additional job at the local TV station, CJLH-TV, at that time jointly owned by the Lethbridge Herald Newspaper and CJOC’s  parent company, Selkirk Holdings.
The job was booth announcer, reading tags, promos, bumpers etc onto an Ampex 351.
I’d record the day’s run shortly after nine each morning from a booth just off the main control room, using an EV 666.
Recording would be done in the main control room as they had only the one tape machine!
Later, an audio studio was built in the basement with a small McCurdy board, reel to reel and cart machines, where the newsroom, photo shop and studio, art department and lunch room were located along with a couple of dressing rooms.
The sub basement contained storage and a huge Trane air conditioning system.
Air conditioning was blown into all the equipment racks (tubes) and in the winter, the heat from those racks would warm the entire building!
There was a large main studio with white cyclorama all around and a prop storage area off to the side.
We had one studio camera, an old RCA fitted with a zoom lens.
The studio had those huge old Kleig Scoop lights and when one of them blew, it sounded like a gunshot.
We had some other lights, not many though and the studio and art people made a lot of use of handmade filters to throw patterns on the cyclorama or backdrops.
We had an EV boom mike and a lot of RCA lavalieres.
The microphone on the newsdesk was an RCA BK5B.
The control room consisted of home made video and audio boards, a couple of RCA 16mm projectors, a balop machine (you pasted photos onto four by four glass slides) and later a huge Ampex 2” black and white videotape machine purchased from the CBC delay centre in Calgary.
It took 10 seconds to lock up!
If the studio camera crapped out, you did the news over a slide.
The news set was a curved desk in front of a back drop with what looked like a large screen TV.
It was in reality made of cardboard with a rear projection screen with a Kodak Carousel 35mm Slide projector behind, activated by a foot switch to change the slides.
Later, a second projector with dissolve unit was added, still activated by the foot switch, made out of a 100’ 16mm film can with an Ampex momentary switch mounted in it.
I moved into the TV news area, starting with anchoring the 11:20 pm local package and eventually moved into the 6pm slot when then news director Gordon Colledge went to teach at the local community college.
We did the two shows a day seven days a week.
The newsroom was small, with two work stations which comprised of manual typewriters, a radio, and a teletype.
We’d get copies of the local stories from the CJOC  radio newsroom and put the whole thing together with the CBC video news feed and our local film to produce the two daily newscasts.
The news film allotment was 100’ per day!
For the uninitiated, that’s 2 and a half minutes running time if you used every millimeter of the film.
We had 16mm Bolex wind up cameras with zoom lenses, I think about 3 of them.
For sound on film, we had two Auricon’s.
One took the 100 foot reels with magnetic stripe.
The other would take the 400 foot reels.
These things weighed a ton along with the transistorized amps and home made battery belts.
We used the Auricon version of the EV 630 to capture sound with these.
We used to put the 100’ model on a porta brace with a lav mic so I could shoot and ask the interviewee questions from behind the camera.
Our chief photographer was Howie Stevenson, a giant of a man who was a genius at making something out of nothing.
We had our own 16mm film processing unit, an old chain drive thing with open tanks and editing facilities.
To make maximum use of your film allotment daily, you learned to edit in the camera, planning your shots and shooting in order if possible to minimize editing time.
I also learned to shoot, process and edit both silent and sound 16mm as well as to shoot, process and mount 35mm slides.
I also learned to operate master control and that huge beast of a VCR, push camera and do studio lighting and audio.
Around 1970, we received a prototype Sony backpack Black and White VCR/Camera combo to try out.
It too had a huge battery belt and weighed a ton and it left a lot to be desired.
It went back to Sony pretty quickly.
We had a lot of fun back in those days.
If we had to appear on camera, we’d dress top half, ie:  shirt, tie and awful coloured magenta station jacket (remember this is B&W so the audience never saw how terrible it looked) with shorts and running shoes below.
There were no prompters, you learned to read with your eyes one line ahead of your mouth so you could make eye contact with the camera.
We made huge cue cards to hold under the lens of the camera for commercials though.
Bill Matheson was our weather man, he shows up again later in my Edmonton days.
Bill was a riot, the consummate entertainer and forerunner of today’s personality weathercasters.
He also did the talk show on CJOC.
In the latter part of my time at the TV station, we moved in a CTV affiliate for one of the first twin stick operations.
We recorded the CTV local cast on that old VCR and I did mine live.
We used the same copy, just a different newscaster and slightly different set.
If the network feed ever failed and it happened a lot, you’d see an old episode of
“The Donna Reid Show.”
Sure hope those folks collected royalties!
Colour never did arrive when I was there.
I left the station in 1970 after a dispute with CJOC News Director Bill Skelton who was the head of the TV news department as well.
He was the President of the local Cancer Society Chapter and ordered me to use my entire film allotment that day for the Daffodil Parade.
I said there were other things to cover but was fired by Skelton, Bob Johnston, the TV Manager and Bob Lang, the radio program manager.
Manager of TV and Radio, John McColl was on vacation when this happened and tried to re-hire me when he came back.
It was too late.
I’d already agreed to move to Calgary to do morning news at CKXL.

One of the best Radio and TV General Managers in the business, the late Mr. John McColl with his wife.
John also managed CFAC Radio and TV in Calgary before his untimely death in a skiing accident.

Our beloved Bill Matheson, radio newsman, talk show host and TV Weathercaster Extrodinaire.
Bill and I also worked together at CJCA in Edmonton.

My Fifth Radio Station, CJCA, Edmonton, AB

CJCA-CIRK Edmonton Alberta  930 khz   50,000 watts

I arrived in Edmonton as Assistant News Director and Morning Newscaster for CJCA 930.
Joe Meyers was news director.
Bob Lang, who was PD at CJOC in Lethbridge was PD here now.
Terry Strain was Station Manager and Bill Matheson was a Talk Show Host along with Bill Jackson.
The Morning man was Bob Arnold, Gord Whitehead did afternoon Drive.
Bryan Hall was sportsmouth, salesman and seemed to be the primary commercial announcer.
Gord Skutle was Chief Engineer and Andre Picard was his assistant.
I soon joined in the engineering department part time.
I ended up doing hourly and half hourly newscasts on CJCA along with quarter to the hour ad lib newscasts on CIRK.
Upon my arrival at the station, which was fairly new, there was no news format.
Everyone basically went on and said whatever he wanted to.
The station was built in a circle.
The newsroom was the centre of that circle with a view into all of the control rooms and studios.
Arranged around that from the left, CJCA’s main Control room, the associated talk studio, the production Control room and it’s studio, the CIRK main control room and it’s associated studio and the News studio.
Offices surrounded the outer circle.
Later, we built a third control room outside the circle at the rear of the building beside the engineering shop as the CIRK production control.
We had a 50K Continental Main Transmitter for CJCA with a 10K Continental Standby and a generator that would only run the 10K.
It was a new building and tower site, the old one at Ellerslie having been abandoned a few years earlier.
It too had one of those old 5K Marconi monsters.
In the studios, it was all McCurdy boards.
The boards were slider pots.
In CJCA master, there were two ITC 3 decker cart machines on either side of the console along with 2 McCurdy 12” rim drive turntables and Microtrak 303 arms.
At that point, music was played about 50/50 between carts and vinyl.
There were two Ampex 351’s with Inovonics electronics and the various monitoring and remote control equipment.
We also used an Eventide delay unit.
FM was similar but with Panasonic Turntables and the Microtrak Arms.
We actually used Minimus 7 monitors from Radio Shack on the console meter bridge as early nearfields, with McCurdy Amplifed wedges over the window.
The FM Studio had a couple of mics and a triple deck ITC cart machine for news clips.
Later, they added a cheesy Alice board and a Revox tape machine for recording interviews.
When I arrived at the station, they were using a variety of microphones so almost every room sounded different.
There were EV RE 11s in the control rooms and studios.
An old EV 676 was in the newsbooth and couldn’t be moved!
There were a variety of other cheap cheesy mics in use as well.
For remotes, we used the Shure mic/line amp model SM82.
We standardized on Shure SM7 mics  in the studios and control rooms and made some headset mics for the talk shows using small Sony electrets.
The talk show telephone setup consisted of the old 2 piece phone coupler and a multi line set.
The phone received a mix minus feed pre delay feed from the board instead of the internal mic on the keyset.
In the newsbooth was a triple decker ITC and a custom made board with mic on/off switch, cart buttons, monitor and headphone volume, a button to fire one of the ITC decks in Master control, and the best feature of all, a switch which would allow news to seize the program line from the control room and take over the transmitter.
It was great for news bulletins!
We could also go on air from the newsroom itself with a mic by the main work area.
There were two audio work areas in the newsroom, both with homemade boards, headphone monitoring, two Revox tape machines each and a cart record play deck.
Both stations could do phone recording and pick up the mobile units and various line feeds from city hall, police headquarters, etc.
There was a great collection of Vintage mics stored in Engineering.
They had a 44BX, a 74b, a 77DX from RCA.
There were two Shure  SM300’s and a couple of RCA paintbrush models, all salvaged from the old building.
The old transmitter building at Ellerslie also was crammed with old broadcast gear.
CJCA had one of the best traffic plane set ups ever.
They had a plane and pilot supplied by the Edmonton Flying Club and got the service for the price of gas.
The pilots logged extra hours towards their licenses.
The cost was split with the Edmonton Police Force. 
We had a traffic reporter with a two way radio in the plane and the police officer had his own two way connected to the police communications network.
They used it for traffic observation and crime prevention.
Once during rush hour, the plane was used to track the pursuit of some bank robbers!
We had a play by play on air from the air!
The plane was up morning and afternoon drive and Sunday or holiday Monday evenings year round.
I also was the operator for visiting radio during the Edmonton Eskimos home games during their glory years.
We worked out of Commonwealth Stadium, the plushest broadcast facilities of any stadium in Canada.
There were snacks throughout the game, delivered by hostesses and a full blown buffet at half time.
We had a custom made control surface at the stadium along with a Shure SE30 mixer/compressor and custom built talkback between me and the talent.
Broadcasts were handled by phone line.
During my seven years there, I designed two new control rooms, one new production room for the fm station and one for the am station.
Both were four track rooms with custom McCurdy Consoles and 4track Ampex AG440c’s. as well as similar 2 track machines.
They also had ITC cart machines, the 99 series with built in erase/splice find capability and Panasonic SP10MKII turntables with the Grey wooden arms.
We also did one outside concert which was recorded to 24 track at the venue, then mixed down at one of the local recording studios for on air broadcast.
The band was awful, the name escapes me but they never went anywhere.
They couldn’t’ carry a tune in a bucket!
During my seven years there, we had 2 pretty hot radio stations but I was getting frustrated with Edmonton and especially the weather.
I was still doing the morning newscasts on CJCA and CIRK and was assistant news director.
I also worked in the afternoon for the local Muzak franchise, installing and troubleshooting sound systems and intercoms.
One June day, I decided I’d had enough and handed in my resignation.

A Montage of Edmonton Radio Station Logos.

More CJCA memorabilia.

Peg at a CJCA Microphone likely in the '50's.

The 50 thousand watt Continental being removed to make way for a new transmitter.

An early CJCA Chart.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Fourth Radio Station, 1050 CHUM, Toronto, ON

1050 CHUM Toronto  50,000 Watts

It was September 1st of 1972 that I started work with Canada’s legendary Rocker.
Dick Smyth and Richard Scott did morning news, Smyth on the hours, Scott on the half hours.
Scott had the original “voice of God” and called me ‘neophyte”
Others on staff at the time included Brian Thomas who was the City Hall Reporter and Brian Williams who did sports along with Larry Wilson.
Brent Sleightholm and I shared the afternoon drive shift for the first year or so.
He did the hours, I did half hours but we switched about halfway through the year.
After the first year, Smyth moved me to half hours in the morning.
Fred Ennis was one of the reporters,
Other newscasters from this period were Marc Daily, Ed Mason and Dave Deloy.
Frank Gifford did overnights and morning booth operations. 
He had a gift for getting tape from all around the world during his overnight shift so we usually had amazing stuff in the morning.
Other news sources were BN, UPI, ABC, CP and of course, the CHUM Contemporary News Service, with Paul Akehurst, Mike Duffy and Jack Derouin in Ottawa and all the CHUM and Moffat stations across the country.
 There were about 6 teletypes clacking away in the place.
The din in the newsroom with these, monitors and scanners running all the time was amazing, not to mention the blue haze of cigarette and pipe smoke.
J Robert Wood was Program Director.
Jay Nelson did mornings.
John Gilbert did a talk show from 9 – Noon.
Others on staff:  Scott Carpenter, Roger Ashby, Chuck McCoy, Duke Roberts, Tom Rivers, Terry Steele and too many others to remember.
We called the newsroom the “bowling alley”
It stretched along the front of the building on the ground floor with big windows on Yonge Street.
When you entered the room you started with the traffic desk, facing the anchor desk.
Then it was 2nd news anchor facing sports.
In the corner by the recording booths was the CHUM-FM news desk.
Then came the two news booths with sliding patio doors and Smyth’s office.
The 2 news recording booths had Ampex 351’s, cart machines, small mixers, phone patches and the Broadband and network inputs.
All clips were put on carts with a file card which went into a Smyth designed roll-around rack with slots for the carts and the cards.
The cards had the cart number, the lead, the tag and the  outcue on them along with timing, where the cut came from, who’d produced it etc.
When we used a cart, we had to mark when it ran on the card.
Out in the newsroom, we had desks and racks in a long line.
We used Ampex 601s and Cart machines originally, later replaced by Revox 77s with the broadcast mod, some switching and car radios for station monitors.
Traffic was broadcast from the newsroom by Wendy Howard and Mary Ann Carpentier, using a Sennheiser 421, the microphone of choice for 1050 CHUM on air positions and a studio turret connected to master control.
Neumanns were used for production while RE20’s were favoured for CHUM-FM on air work.
The main board in the early seventies was a tube type McCurdy with rotary pots.
We were still running records on McCurdy turntables for music with everything else on cart.
Similar boards were used in production but later replaced, about every three years, with state of the art stuff, usually from McCurdy.
The news booth contained two positions with turrets and 421’s and a triple decker cart machine.
That was it for the booth where those legendary casts were delivered.
We looked directly into the control room where Bob Humenik was Nelson’s op and the jock booth was off to our left where we could see Nelson at work.
Warren Cosford and Zeke Zbediak were the production geniuses.
They produced award winning commercials, documentaries and specials for CHUM and CHUM group stations across Canada.
One guy did all the carting so everything had a consistent on air sound.
Later, carts were used for music as turntables were phased out.
No story about CHUM in the ’70’s would be complete without a few Dick Smyth stories.
In those days, Dick smoked a pipe, constantly.
The newsroom was covered with pipe tobacco, pipe ashes and the air was always thick with pipe and cigarette smoke as Richard Scott also chain-smoked for the entire time he was there.
Smyth would often knock out his pipe into one of the giant waste paper baskets that held all that used teletype paper and carbons before going into the booth to deliver his casts.
Often this would result in a roaring blaze, with flames leaping to the ceiling.
The fire extinguishers in the newsroom were constantly being refilled because of this.
Smyth also had a violent temper.
He’d roar and throw things at the slighted provocation.
Carts, ashtrays, staplers, reels of tape, if it wasn’t nailed down, he’d throw it.
The original news studio door to this day bears the dent where a Royal manual typewriter bought it in a particularly violent fit of pique.
When we got the electric typewriters, Fred Ennis, one of the best shit disturbers of all time, marked out a circle on the floor around each desk with yellow tape.
That’s how far Smyth could throw the machine with the cord plugged in, sort of a no man’s land.
Smyth even once threw a loaded fire extinguisher at Ed Mason, just before Mason quit and walked out.
Other Smyth stories:
He’d often lose huge advertising accounts with his commentaries and comments in newscasts.
Ontario Hydro cancelled their 7am news sponsorship after the morning of the huge blackout.
The tag line on the announcer into to the newscast was:  Ontario Hydro: Power to the people!”
Smyth flips on the mic and says: “Well, there was no power to the people last night!”
Other accounts lost by Smyth, Gay Lea yogurt after a commentary where Smyth claimed yogurt causes cancer.
Carlsberg Beer cancelled when Smyth made fun of the actor playing Carl Holman, the company pitch person.
But in those days it hardly mattered.
Each CHUM salesman had a list of accounts ready to buy any available airtime so the loss of a sponsor was little more than a hiccup in the day’s events.
Other Smyth bits:  The Great Odeon Wurlitzer.
When Smyth learned the last of Toronto’s great movie houses with an in house organ was about to bite the dust, he rushed down to have the organist play a piece he could use as background for his commentary lamenting the fact.
After recording this and dubbing it to cart, Smyth ran around for a couple of days playing the sound of the Great Odeon Wurlitzer for anyone who would listen.
He must have played that cart a hundred times.
Comes the day for the piece to run on air:
Dick flips on the mic;  “And here’s how things look to Dick Smyth today.
Another piece of Toronto dies today.
At the Odeon Theatre on Carlton, the last great theatre organ in Toronto is silent. Remember sitting in the theatre in the dark and the organ master would rise on his throne and you’d hear:   (pushes cart start:  Organ roars into life, sputters and dies as the cart self destructs on air.)
Loud hum then Smyth comes on, completely lost for words and says “I’m Dick Smyth!”
Everyone in the newsroom is on the floor, laughing their guts out.
Bam! goes the news booth door.
A cart flies out to bounce off the window and land on the newsroom floor.
Smyth flies out, yelling at the top of his voice, three feet off the ground and proceeds to mash the cart into oblivion.
He marches to his desk, grabs his clipboard and coffee mug and stomps down the newsroom to his office where the door is closed.
He kicks the door open, loses his footing and lands flat on his butt.
As you can imagine, the newsroom now is in total uproar with Nelson out of his booth with tears streaming down his face he’s laughing so hard.
Fred Ennis carefully gathers up the remains of the cart, has it pasted on a board, framed, with the legend:  “The remains of the Great Odeon Wurlitzer” and presents it to Smyth at that year’s Christmas Party.
Two of Smyth’s regular targets for commentaries were Ma Bell and the Post Office.
I remember being at work one day when Smyth arrived a few minutes later than usual.
He was always in the newsroom at 5:30am like clockwork with his first show at 7am.
Today, he’s carrying his clock radio under his arm, saying it had not worked this morning and he was sending it away to have it repaired.
After the morning run at 9, a bunch of us would usually go up the street to Senior’s where Eddy would make us breakfast.
After breakfast that day, Smyth who had found a box, packing material, tape and a bunch of fragile stickers for his radio, asked me to accompany him to the post office on St Clair so he could drop it off.
We walk in and there’s a long line as usual.
Smyth finally makes it to the counter, hands it to one of the two people working while 8 wickets are closed, where the guy weighs it and tells him how much it will cost.
Remember, this thing is virtually covered with Fragile and Handle with Care stickers from the CHUM mail room.
Smyth pays the freight, sticks the stamps on the package and hands it carefully back to the postal person.
The guy takes the package and wings it into a bin ten feet away!
I don’t have to tell you what happened next.
Needless to say, we were the only ones left in the post office about a minute later except for the unfortunate employee and his manager.
Smyth went up one side of them and down the other.
Ten minutes later, he ran out of breath and invective and we headed back to work.
Smyth considered himself the best known newscaster in Toronto during those heady days of the million plus cume.
Every month he’d get a petty cash check from accounting for the little everyday newsroom expenses.
I think it was about 300 bucks.
It was raining that morning when we went for breakfast and banks still didn’t open until 10am.
After breakfast, Smyth decided he didn’t want to walk to the Royal up on St Clair where the company banked so he decided to just cross the street to the Commerce where I did my banking.
He gets to the counter finally with me waiting off to the side.
The poor girl behind the counter asks him for ID before she’ll cash the check.
“DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM BY THE SOUND OF MY VOICE?” Smyth thunders at the poor teller.
I quickly rush over saying I’ll vouch for him and eventually the check gets cashed.
I did a fair amount of voice work then, including the year end features and the returning of CFUN to the people of Vancouver after Alan Waters repatriated the call letters from a little station in the Maritimes.
CFUN had become CKVN when it did its ill fated switch to news before the Waters family acquired it.
When CHUM purchased CFUN, I asked to be transferred to Vancouver.
That request was refused.
This caused me to resign from CHUM  to head out to Alberta for the second time in my career.

The CHUM building at 1331 Yonge Street just before demolition.

The famous CHUM neon sign.

Morning Show from the 80's with Brian Henderson, Robbie Evans, Mike Cleaver, Mary Garofalo and Gerry Forbes.

Ad for a line of Chum T Shirts.

Brochure for the Canadian Contemporary News System, the National news resource for Chum and Moffat stations in the 70s and 80's.

The legendary CKLW and CHUM News Director Dick Smyth.

The sign over the entrance to the Jock and News Booths at CHUM.

The original Rock and Roll CHUM Main Control board, a modified tube driven McCurdy.

The man who made it all happen, Mr. Alan F. Waters.

A collage of CHUM logos over the years.

Another broadcasting legend, the late Jay Nelson, one of three Canadian Jocks in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

CHUM'S Production Ace, Bob McMillan in his control room in the '70s.

More shots of "Jungle" Jay Nelson.

An early shot of the CHUM neon sign with the marquis below.

A fleet of CHUM News Cruisers

The building in the '70's.

The transmitter site in Clarkson, ON, right on the lake.


 Live in the CHUM Jock Studio in the '70's.

The 50 thousand watt Continental Main Transmitter.

An early CHUM ad.

Phil Stone presenting money to a CHUM listener, pre-rock and roll days.

The famous sign at night.

Another picture of the best owner in radio history, Mr. Alan Waters.

The CHUM sign in the '90's.

A tribute picture.

Another shot of Dick Smyth.
That Neumann U47 sells for more than 10 thousand dollars today.

A CHUM coverage map.

Two of CHUM's great newsmen from the '70's.

A CHUM mic flash set for an RCA 77DX Ribbon microphone.

An architect's concept of a new CHUM building done in the first half of the last century.

CHUM Flag on RCA 77DX Ribbon Microphone

My Third Radio Station, CKXL, Calgary AB

CKXL Calgary  1140 kcs  10.000 watts

The station was located on the second floor of a building on 17th Avenue Southwest.
We were still using manual typewriters at this point.
I don’t really remember much about the newsroom, except the teletype clacking away.
I think we had Ampex 601’s and Gates Cart machines and some homemade switchers.
The newsbooth had a beautiful old Neumann U47 hanging from the ceiling by three wires!
I think we had three cart playback units in there.
There was another U47 in Master Control.
I think the main control board was a McCurdy and we were running everything from cart, including all the music.
Rob Christie was the Morning Show Deejay.
I did morning news along with Dale O’Hara, the news director who hired me.
Wayne Bill was our Edmonton correspondent and Murray Dale and Murray Sherriffs were some of the other newscasters when I was there.
Bill Power was the sportscaster.
We used the CHUM Contemporary News Service via Broadband and had BN wire and voice.
It was a great year at CKXL.
The station won the Station of the Year award that year.
We had many parties.
Management there was generous and appreciative of the talent.
There were lots of free lunches and dinners, mostly at Caesar’s Steak House.
The staff liked to drink and smoke.
That sometimes meant I had to go through the morning news shift alone, as O’Hara often was missing in action.
This was the station where I learned to lie to wives and girlfriends over the phone.
One of the best tricks we pulled at ‘XL was when the provincial government of the day decided each radio, TV station and newspaper in the province needed its own government propaganda machine.
It shipped a teletype to each newsroom that constantly spewed government crap.
When ours arrived in a wood crate, we opened one side of it, filled it with as many large rocks as would fit, and shipped it back to Edmonton Air Priority Express Collect.
I think the government got the message, at least from our newsroom.
George Davies was the consultant at that time for both Moffat and CHUM.
George heard me in Calgary and recommended to Dick Smyth that I’d be perfect for Toronto.
A couple of weeks later, Smyth called and invited me to Toronto for the weekend.
First Class air tickets on Air Canada, a limo at the airport, a suite at the Inn on the Park with stocked bar were a part of the come on to move to the big city.
As I was preparing to leave for the Toronto trip, I received a call from Byron McGregor at CKLW.
He said as long as CHUM was paying to fly me to Ontario, why didn’t I stop in to see him at the same time because he’d like me to work at the Big 8, where Jim Jackson was working.
Jackson and I had worked together in Lethbridge.
I told McGregor I thought that was pretty cheap of him, trying to hire me on Smyth’s nickel.
Needless to say, I didn’t drive to Windsor.
When I arrived in Toronto, a limo took me to the hotel.
The next morning, Smyth arrived in a limousine to pick me up.
I had a look at the station, did a short audition, had lunch with Smyth and then met some of the staff at the local station watering hole, the Red Rooster or Crimson Cock as it was sometimes known.
That evening, Smyth took me to dinner at the swanky restaurant the top of the TD Centre.
I’d been told by Dale O’Hara that they’d offer only a certain sum of money to move to Toronto, so he told me to go and enjoy the weekend and then come back to Calgary to work.
So when Smyth asked me how much I wanted to come to work in Toronto, I doubled what O’Hara told me they’d offer.
Much to my surprise, Smyth said OK!
I went back to the hotel after that, called my father in Vancouver and told him what I’d been offered.
He told me to take it, it was more than he was making as a Manager at Canada Manpower.
So I flew back to Calgary, resigned, sold my car, packed up and headed to Toronto.
That was in August of 1972.

CKXL Rainbow Sticker

Original Sun Sticker

Main Control

Bill Powers (Sports) in front of the Newsbooth's magnificent Neumann U47.

The Studios on 16 Avenue SW.

Another Control Room shot.

View of the Production Studio.