1050 CHUM Anniversary week.

General Radio News and Comments, Satellite & Internet Radio and LPFM

Postby Glen Livingstone » Mon May 21, 2007 11:59 am

Top Dog wrote:Unless I slipped up - could you refer to my request for a pay raise
for MLA's or municipal politicians.

I think the record will show I said nothing of the kind.


Top Dog wrote: Now its our turn again

should politicians get a raise?

do you need a raise and would like a survey team to come to the conclusion
that you are underpaid?

I want a 30 percent raise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Apologies to everyone for another hijacked thread courtesy of Mr. Top Dog. Any other poster lobbying for free online content would have had the courtesy to start a new thread rather than wrecking an existing one discussing an entirely unrelated topic.
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Postby Jack Bennest » Mon May 21, 2007 1:16 pm

Apologies to Mike and others for the CHUM thread hijacking. Must apply myself to the rule book

but Pluto what a feable excuse for a reply. As stated several times - I was not supporting politicians getting a raise and only asked hypothetical questions to get some response.

hey and I supplied all this content FREE.
Just think I could charge for my rants.

Last post on this subject, bar none.
and its not a promise its a fact kitty - lol
Last edited by Jack Bennest on Mon May 21, 2007 3:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby kat » Mon May 21, 2007 1:55 pm

Top Dog wrote:Last post on this subject, bar none.

Promises, promises.

By the way, getting back to the pre hi-jacked thread, the CHUM airchecks are great. Thanks for posting them.
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Postby Mike Cleaver » Thu May 24, 2007 11:48 pm

As I head off to Toronto for the 1050 CHUM 50th Anniversary reunion, I thought some of you might enjoy this.
It's a little long but it covers my first stint at the "nifty ten-fifty."

1050 CHUM Toronto

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 8am 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 pitchperson.
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.
Mike Cleaver Broadcast Services
Engineering, News, Voice work and Consulting
Vancouver, BC, Canada

54 years experience at some of Canada's Premier Broadcasting Stations
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Postby cart_machine » Fri May 25, 2007 6:43 am

Mike Cleaver wrote:.
No story about CHUM in the ’70’s would be complete without a few Dick Smyth stories.


In today's corporate radio world, Mike, someone would complain and he'd be hauled before the H.R. Department. Then they'd complain about him anonymously on web sites.

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Now that's a story

Postby Cliff Bashly Kinkade » Fri May 25, 2007 6:47 am

And that kids is how radio should be remembered! Great story Mike and a real image of what the atmosphere was like before political correctness and bean counters sterilized the newsrooms.

I forgot that Jack Derouin was on the Hill before he went into sales - but the best sales guy I ever worked with.

The CFRA newsroom still had echos of this energy in the late 80s. I wish every intern could get their shot in a similar environment.
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Postby radiofan » Fri May 25, 2007 7:45 am

Mike Cleaver wrote: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.

Was Smyth related to Big Al Davidson??

Great stories Mike .. keep 'em comin'!
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Postby cart_machine » Fri May 25, 2007 8:23 am

radiofan wrote:
Mike Cleaver wrote: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.

Was Smyth related to Big Al Davidson??

Why? Did Dick work with Pat Markley?

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Re: Now that's a story

Postby cart_machine » Fri May 25, 2007 8:25 am

Biff Crashly Kinkade wrote:And that kids is how radio should be remembered! Great story Mike and a real image of what the atmosphere was like before political correctness and bean counters sterilized the newsrooms.

It isn't enough to get rid of personality on the air, Biff. Now, they have to get rid of it off the air, too.

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Postby Cliff Bashly Kinkade » Fri May 25, 2007 8:33 am

The two have always been connected, and actually the first place they kiled it was in the hallways. Someday I'll tell you about a CFRA manager cuffing me on the back of the head (I deserved it.) and another time when after a huge mistake that houd have got me fired I was called into the big bosses office, offered a three-finger scotch and told about all the time he had screwed up when he was starting - and that he would calm down the pissant APD who wanted my head.
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Postby johnsykes » Fri May 25, 2007 9:13 am

I have no objection paying toward receiving some on-line programs...if someone thinks everything will be free these days is dreaming. If we can get more historical events like the CHUM anniversary program, I'll gladly pay for it.
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Postby Glen Livingstone » Fri May 25, 2007 9:48 am

I can't begin to tell you how great it was to read your story Mike.

Thanks so much!

Sometimes I wonder if my own memories of how radio used to be have become fuzzy over time, or, if somehow I've twisted them into something that never really was.

Reading your words just reinforced for me what a fabulous business broadcasting used to be and what very special times they were, never to be repeated.

I worked with "Big Al" Davidson in Vancouver, whose temperment closely paralleled Mr. Smyth's.

He used to call me 'Shadow' for some reason, I never asked why. He never threw anything at me, but I'm sure if he had, I'd like to think I'd be able to laugh it off.

Characters like Smyth, Davidson, and hundreds of others injected radio with flavour, energy, and non-stop excitement. Yes, some of them were genuinely not very lovable people, but so what? Part of radio's job was to entertain, and entertain they did.

F-ing HR Departments, accountants & corporations; they've ruined everything.

I would love to see other members of our forum come on here and post similar stories - maybe be could start a separate thread for them.

Enjoy your weekend Mike, I look forward to a full report on what transpired when you get back!
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Kim Calloway's CHUM Days, On The Big 50th

Postby olddude » Fri May 25, 2007 4:31 pm

Good stuff about CHUM's anniversary.

I was there earlier than most. I got hired by Tayler Parnaby, who was Bill Drylie's temporary successor at the CHUM newsroom, in late 1963.

All night news for awhile--everybody did that, shepherded by Bob Laine the all night guy--who is now CHUM's archivist.

Was moved to evening news desk, worked with Jackson Armstrong as his 'newsie' for a bit. Jack was the first jock I ever met who totally respected newsmen and made them part of his fast-talkin' show. We even double-teamed personal appearances at the CNE, introed some new flatland band who were calling themselves the 'Guess Who'..

Jack was married to a pleasant, down to earth woman whose name escapes me, and he also had this huge St. Bernard Dog. We'd sit around the CHUM trailer--lotsa windows like the old NW Crystal Palace--she'd sit quietly in a chair, the honking huge dog would sit beside her, and Jackson had signage with arrows, pointing to 'WIFE'..and 'DOG'. No kidding.

I desked until they started using me as a beat guy--Toronto city hall when it was squeaky-new, the old Queens Park legislature castle, etc. In early 1968 we were all up at the Liberal leadership convention in Ottawa, and I got to shadow Pierre Trudeau, who ultimately won the brass ring.

Just as we were packing up, Martin Luther King got shot in Memphis and bang, I was put on a plane. Washington D.C--covering black street disturbances; Baltimore--more riots and fires and me hiding under a car keeping out of sniper range, vamping into my Uher reel-to-reel recorder and wishing I could make it to a pay phone.

Then to Memphis, and on to Atlanta for the most unforgettable funeral and tribute I've ever experienced.

Later the same year, Bobby Kennedy got shot in LA, and it was another round of 'get him on the plane'. I staked out the hospital, and I remember getting an impromptu tour of the Ambassador Hotel kitchen area..look, sez the security guard, there's them bullet holes. Zero security, it was amazing.

When I got back, they soon hired a new news director (all of this pre-Dick Smythe--a Toronto Telegram guy named McBain who knew zip about broadcast news). He had me doing assorted features and investigations on Cabbagetown poverty, etc. Then we over-argued and he gave me two weeks notice.

But..Larry Solway, who with Gary Ferrier were running the just-launched CHUM-FM, had earlier used me as a backup host on his then-controversial CHUM AM 'Speak Your Mind' talkshow, and he thought favorably of me.

I pitched him for a job 'across the hall', he said okay but we pay relative peanuts, I said okay, and they gave me the 6pm-9pm slot.

What a riot. The place had been established as a classical music, full-stereo station, and we inherited a few thousand symphonic etc albums and the 'new' stuff that was happening. Let's see..me in the evening, Peter Griffin doing mornings, Larry Green had moved out of CHUM sales and was doing mid-days, Tim Thomas and Michael Shepherd post 9pm and/or weekends, and the absolutely unique and definitely legendary David Pritchard doing his all night thing.

We had no playlist, and for the first two years the station was so much below the corporate radar that we simply were left alone (except when one of us dissed and mocked a fresh industry pressing of the first Led Zeppelin album as 'Limey crap" and said so on the air, did we get it in the ear from Solway. NEVER, he says, NEVER disrespect what you play..just don't play it.

We 'broke' Creedence in Canada--Michael Shepherd had come up from San Francisco and was nuts about the extended 'Susie Q'. Also the Airplane, the Dead, the Who's expansive efforts, anything going that wasn't on the AM playlist, and we mixed it up with Debussy and Mahler and Bach.

My show was kind of a perverse flagship for awhile, because the required news content wasn't really being met dayside, so I mixed music, a VERY casual 6pm newscast, and lotsa in-studio interviews. Anybody who came through..Zappa, Neil Young, Jerry Garcia came in and suggested tunes to play. I cut a backdoor deal with the Riverboat Club on Yorkville, and all their people--except Lightfoot; he was a quasi-neighbor and we knew each other pretty well, but he hated interviews--but people like Jerry Jeff Walker, Sonny and Brownie, Spider John Koerner, Geoff and Maria Muldaur--they all came through the FM studio for some free promo and schmooze.

The original ringmaster for all this madness was Murray the K, the so-called 'fifth Beatle', who came up from New York on a short contract--I think it was three months or so--to show us all 'how to do this free-form thing, man'. Wacky times.

In another posting, I've recounted an amazing opportunity CHUM-FM gave me to interview John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their King Edward Hotel suite in May of 1969. Details elsewhere, but it turned out only CHUM was granted radio access to their presence during the Toronto bed-in, because our AM station wasn't censoring the 'Christ You Know It Ain't Easy' line from the Ballad of John and Yoko.

Strange days. I quit in a huff in 1970, went to work for/with Peter Gzowski at CBC national radio on his 'Radio Free Friday' show..then finally packed up and trained it to B-C. Never been back..but I get reports it's a somewhat sizeable city.
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Postby Glen Livingstone » Fri May 25, 2007 5:02 pm

Welcome aboard, olddude. And thanks for a couple of mindblowing posts!
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Postby cart_machine » Sat May 26, 2007 12:20 am

Mike Cleaver wrote: John Gilbert did a talk show from 9 – Noon.

Gilbert was something. When he was exiled to CKO Vancouver, he still had his contra deal with a clothier in Toronto, so he had suits dutifully shipped to him every month.

When John came out here, I was production manager and John wanted a special intro for his talk show. "Jimmy, I don't want it to be too ostentagious," he kept repeating. I thought better than to ask him about his continued mangling of the vernacular, and instead played him various nighttime-ish, small-combo, jazz-type pieces. He didn't like any of them. Instead, for his un-"ostentagious" intro, he picked the loudest show-biz fanfare in the library, and I had to shout over it "From Vancouver, British Columbia .. Coast to coast on the CKO Radio Network.. And around the world via satellite .. it's ....(pause for effect) .. The John Gilbert Show!" John loved it. He giddily grabbed anyone he could find, hauled them into the production booth and had me play it over and over again. He said it was the best intro he ever had. And despite the fact I was on cart, he'd yell "Thank you, Jimmy!" every night, as if I were Ed McMahon introing him live (which was a step up from George Franks thanking unseen and unheard operator Rudy Blair daily for, I guess, turning on his mike correctly).

John once got into a huge row with his producer in the newsroom. The producer, who's name I'll omit, though Lord knows whatever happened to him, finally declared "I've had enough of that crazy old man," and walked out. Squire burst into my production studio and said "(name) just quit." I was so busy doing spots I missed the whole loud argument, though due to volume, no one else in the station did. Squire gave me the blow by blow, with his own ascerbic commentary.

"Crazy" was a bit much, but John had Alzheimer's, though none of us knew it then. His last show before his, um, sudden departure at CKO he was interviewing Premier Bill Vander Zalm and kept forgetting his name.

No doubt he drove his producer nuts with the odd and seemingly arbitrary demands he'd make. One of the more harmless ones was John wanted his op, Steve Dixon, to go to the gas station a block down the street to buy him root beer before every show, though Steve had other stuff to do around the station. John would get very agitated if Steve wasn't around.

John once got a home stereo system and had no idea how to get it working, so he called the station engineer and Ed Jurak dutifully drove to Gilbert's place in Tsawwassen to set up his stereo for him.

No, Mike, you don't get characters in the business any more.

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