Chapter 14 - Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Chapter 14 - Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Postby Tom Jeffries » Wed May 29, 2013 6:59 pm

Chapter 14 – Giving credit where credit is due.

I think by now, you have probably figured out that while Radio was very good to me, and I loved it – there were some darker periods and some that were like a ray of gold.

Memory has a funny way of filtering memories, doesn’t it? I find myself being able to close my eyes and walk into every control room I ever worked in. I can just about smell the places. I also find that the worst part about not being part of a radio station is the PEOPLE that you meet and work with everyday. I worked with some of the finest broadcasters in Canada, and with maybe one or two exceptions, they are people I came to love and respect.

If you would allow me a moment to thank a few people, who made my career, I would appreciate it.

The Best Manager/ PD I ever worked with/for, was, without a doubt, Chuck McCoy. His calm, kind, and steady hand, helped me steer my air sound from small town to good enough to make some noise in Toronto.
Chuck is a very quiet and lovely man, who just happens to understand what Radio really means. He can teach and he does it in a way that makes you feel you could conquer the world. He gave me confidence, even though I was a tenor voiced yokel, when we first met, in 1973. He helped me up the ladder, and he did it with style and grace.

One of my greatest thrills was working with Chuck, just one more time – at CKKS-FM (KISS-FM) from 1990 – until the day he left for a new opportunity. All those years, never once was there harsh words – it was always just like having a Family – and Chuck, the leader, made us all feel special and wanted. Radio, as I mentioned a bunch of times, is a very stressful and tenuous gig. Having a guy like Chuck signing your paycheck, took a lot of the stress out of the equation.

Chuck has taken on a new Career direction – after retiring from Rogers HQ, in Toronto. His new venture is international in scope and I hope it is a huge success. Everything Chuck does, he does with care and tact. He is a great man, and truly one of Canada’s top all time Radio Executives. He also happens to be one of my Families favorite people. My wife, Julie, worked for Chuck at KISS-FM for many years and she feels exactly the same way.

Thanks Chuck, for everything.

I would also like to take a moment to thank Dale Buote – my PD at CKKS – and one of the smartest and nicest guys you could hope to work for. He asked for nothing but your best – and led by example. Our years together were fun, very successful and treasured. Dale is out of radio now, and I think Rogers, or any of the Media giants made a big mistake in letting him slip out of the harness. Dale can be defined by one word. CLASS. He was just fantastic.

Fred Latremouille. We were once married to sisters, so he was, for a number of years my brother in law. That was the least of the story.
Fred, flat out, is the best deejay I ever heard. Full stop. John “Records” Landecker was close. But not that close. Fred was the best pure communicator I ever heard on the air. He would never talk down to the audience; he embraced them and “took them into his confidence”. It’s hard to explain, but you add the great communication with a blazing wit, and brilliant use of people on the phone, and every show was special.

He was A DEMI GOD in British Columbia for decades and was also incredibly successful at doing Commercials. In particular, he made Kokanee Beer a mega brand, during his tenure as their voice. Mini comedies that seemed effortless. (*Hardly). Fred worked with Griffiths-Gibson – two of the smartest Commercial producers in North America.

I was one of those jocks that were OK on the air – but I sucked at reading certain types of commercials. It is very rare that a talent is great live AND can do what is called “production” in the trade. Fred – killed.

He also took time to help me learn how to tackle the art of the show. He was very generous – but I was careful to NOT emulate him. Imitation doesn’t work in Radio. Unique, wins.

I am in Fred’s debt – and I am lucky to still stay in touch with him and we enjoy talking about “Them Glory days”.

Al Pascal at CFRA. Chuck Camroux at CFTR, Pat St. John, at CFUN, Neil Gallagher at CFUN – all four fellows were very good to me and I would like to thank them for the support and making it special to come to work.

Red Robinson. If there was ever a true legend in real life – he’s your guy. Red is a genius and has been one of Canada’s most successful deejays and Advertising executives, for over 50 years. I was always in awe of this gentleman, and then as luck would have it, we became fast friends. His wife Carole is a delight and they are two of my all time favorite folks. When Red and Carole embrace you, you know what true friendship is. Red can do anything. He is the best emcee, a great jock, a walking encyclopedia of music and heh, how many people in the world introduced Elvis AND the Beatles in concert? (*Ans: Just TWO! Murray the “K” and Red Robinson!).

Red’s charity work has helped raised literally hundreds of millions of dollars, and he is so well loved, that the Casino in Coquitlam named their show theatre after him.
How the man still does what he does, would tire out Barack Obama.

I am so lucky our friendship endures.

Co-workers? I could fill the rest of this book with stories about the great people I met in Radio. It would be 600 pages long.

Suffice to say – I hope that I was a good winger and friend, like oh so many folks were to me. I am a very shy and rather intense type at times, and while I was suffering the gradual debilitating effects of my alcohol abuse, I am sure there were days when a lot of people would have cheerfully thrown me off the building.

I wouldn’t blame them at all. If I ever hacked you off, when we worked together, apologies.

That’s what I miss about Radio – the people.

It went by so fast – like I said earlier, I thought it would last forever. I was pretty cavalier about a lot of things, but I did take time to pinch myself now and then and say a quiet “THANKYOU” to God, for allowing me life I had.

I have no one to blame but myself for the horrible mistakes I made, and I am sure I will pull some bonehead plays in the future – but I am hoping that by staying sober and doing my best to be there, should a friend want to quit drinking, that perhaps I can make up for some of the pain I have caused along the way.

I also have to once again stress how important Julie Brown is and has been to me, for over twenty years.

Julie is my little rock and I love her more than I can express. We live a very quiet life now, in our home overlooking English Bay – with our two rescued cats, Portia, a grey Mackerel tabby, and a Black and White sweetie called Pepper.

Julie saved me from the alcoholic death that awaited me, and when I was taken violently ill with the seizures, she didn’t panic, she got the EMT’s and those wonderful fire fighters here just in time.

I have immense respect for EMT’s and our smoke eaters. Whenever I see them I always wave.

I also make sure that I stay humble and grateful, for everyday I have.

I am doubly grateful to Julie and her son, Jared, for giving me a life. Jared is a special man, by any measure and I consider him like my own. He has always been a mainstay for us – even with his heart condition, and his murderous hours, working in the Movie business. He is one of the finest people I have ever met. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – and Julie raised Jared, while Julie was a single Mom. Incredible people – and how I wound up lucky enough to have them in my life, I have no idea.

I wish you could meet them, and all the above.

You all made my life. I am forever in their debt. One I can never repay, but I try.
Tom Jeffries
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Re: Chapter 14 - Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Postby Rich Elwood » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:14 pm

Tom,

Ditto about Chuck McCoy!! The best PD I ever worked for. A real student of the game and a kind, helpful man. He coached a lot of people to achieve beyond their level of comfort.

Great stories Tom. Keep them coming.

Rich Elwood
Rich Elwood
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