Dave McCormick Passes

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Dave McCormick Passes

Postby Victoriaradio » Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:09 am

My good friend and a friend to many in the broadcasting world died this morning. Dave had been ill for some time. A great broadcaster - a remarkable friend for 60 years!
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Re: Dave McCormick Passes

Postby jon » Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:20 am

Dave was counting down the C-FUNtastic 50 on Friday, February 9, 1962, just after 1pm when I first started listening to Top 40 Radio.

A few months later, he was off to Fresno to work with the late Ron Jacobs. Together they would team up with Bill Drake to create the "Drake Format" that would revolutionize Top 40 Radio.

I listened again to Dave shortly after he moved to Seattle's KOL, first doing Morning Drive, then, quickly promoted to Program Director, moving himself to mid-days. Then it was back to California, this time to San Bernardino, for a few years before returning to Vancouver for good this time, initially at CKNW.

The closest thing I've ever found to a Time Machine was 15 years ago, listening to an aircheck of Dave's last show on CFUN: it evoked the same feelings I had listening to Dave when I was 9 years old.
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Re: Dave McCormick Passes

Postby Russ_Byth » Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:40 am

I got to know Dave while operating at NW. I was lucky enough to be the first producer of the Big Daddy Music Machine! Dave was a treasure trove of information and I learned a heckuvalot about the oldies from him.
It was an honour to know and work with Dave.
My condolences to his family and many friends and fans.
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Re: Dave McCormick Passes

Postby Tom Jeffries » Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:10 am

Julie and I are very sad to see this. Julie worked with David at CFMI and I worked with him at 600am.

Al Blessings to Big Daddy.

We are both glad he was a friend, and co-worker.

A legend, he always was such a lovely fellow.

We shall miss you David, and thanks for making so many memories and making people feel great, for all those years.


David was a great Broadcaster.
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Re: Dave McCormick Passes

Postby CubbyCam » Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:56 am

"If there's a rock n roll heaven, well you know they got a hell of a radio station..." Dave was an icon of his generation... and a kind and gentle man. Soft spoken? Well... you could say that. On air... that magnificent friendly and articulate delivery. OFF air... at first I thought my earphone induced deafness was the problem. Turned out everyone who knew Dave had similar troubles catching every word he'd mumble to you. Loved him. Condolences to the family. :worthybow:
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Re: Dave McCormick Passes

Postby Neumann Sennheiser » Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:57 am

Dave "Big Daddy" McCormick's legacy goes far beyond just being a great broadcaster.
If the term "change agent" had existed in 1962, that is what we'd have called him.
"You don't know man! I was in radio man! I've seen things you wouldn't believe!"
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Re: Dave McCormick Passes

Postby gtbell » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:46 pm

First heard and chatted with Dave in the early 60's. This C-FUN "Good Guy" was a joy to listen to and be around. His musical knowledge was unequalled as his on-air appearances could attest. He always had time to talk to his listeners and those that turned out to his 'remotes'. Dave would take the time to inform up-and-comers about popular music of all varieties and the broadcast business itself. Nothing was too much trouble if it meant squiring a newbie in his/her effort to get ahead. Out of the station, Dave was a gentleman who spoke and behaved as such.

RIP Big Daddy! You are already missed.
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Re: Dave McCormick Passes

Postby WayneCox » Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:48 pm

What sad sad news. My condolences to Dave’s family. My memories of Big Daddy go back to when he and I were hired to work at NW by then G.M. Mel Cooper. I think the year was 1971. Brian Forst had kept in contact with Dave over the years, while Dave was working in California. If memory serves, at the time, he was out of radio at the time, but Brian thought Dave could be talked into coming back to the business and coming back to Vancouver. So he was brought in from California, and I was brought in from Kamloops. The two of us worked a 6 day a week, split shift operating the board for Webster and all, and also doing traffic reports. We each had a weekend air shift…I had Wednesday off….not sure about Dave, probably Thursday. We took over the duties of the out-going, and long time staff announcer Wally Garrett. I can’t be sure, but I’m thinking NW got the 2 of us for what they were paying Wally….you’d have to see if Mel remembers that. Of course I remembered Dave from the old CFUN days when I was kid. And couldn’t believe, all those years later, would be working with him! He was a wonderful guy to work with, an encyclopedia of musical knowledge, and we all thought he’d be the successor to Jack Cullen…but, it wasn’t to be. Eventually Dave and I both moved on from NW, and unfortunately for me….kind of drifted apart, although we’d see each other at the occasional media event. Again, my condolences to Dave’s family…
Thanks for the memories, Big Daddy!
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Re: Dave McCormick Passes

Postby Glen Livingstone » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:01 pm

"We Taught The City How To Rock" - Dave McCormick
By Glen Livingstone


Vancouver has lost another of its legendary broadcasters - "Big Daddy" Dave McCormick one of the chief architects of Top 40 radio on the West Coast has passed.

No one remembers who hung the nickname "Big Daddy" on Dave, back then all the disc jockeys had to have one and it stuck through his entire career in broadcasting.

If you were a Vancouver radio listener during the fifties through the nineties you could hardly have missed hearing Dave's booming rock 'n roll pipes cutting through the ether during those decades. It was Dave who in 1960 was the instigator who helped transform the 'cardigan sweater' blandness that was CFUN and ushered in the then new Top Forty format.

Rivals CKWX and CJOR had been playing the hits since the mid fifties but CFUN became the city's first full-time 24 hour a day rocker and it was all thanks to Dave. Blasting out those three minute long 'symphonies for the kids' amidst a non-stop barrage of snappy patter and snapping fingers it wasn't long before the station had a stranglehold on the teen market.

Looking back at CFUN during that period Dave later recalled:

"They weren't very old; they weren't a rocker yet. The station was all over the place in those days. I turned it around and started rocking a little bit there and got some ratings and in the summer of 1960 a whole bunch of us turned that station into a rock 'n' roll station. Brian Lord, Brian Forst, Al Jordan and myself. We were the 'Swingin' Men At 1410,' then later, the CFUN Good Guys.' We were a really fun radio station, you ask anybody who remembers. I had 100,000 members in a thing called the Hi-Fi Club."

In an online interview with Joseph Planta published in 2014 Brian "Frosty" Forst concurred.

"The most memorable times were the initial times following that CJOR disaster when a bunch of us started up CFUN and eventually knocked off Red (Robinson) and all the other high paid American guys over at 'WX because that was just a bunch of young guys - which is what we were - and we had no direction and management didn't know what the heck we were doing but they let us have a free hand and so for five years we just went at it, and there's some very talented people involved there but that was the day of Brian Lord and Jerry Landa and Dave Mccormick and a few other similar types ... Just a bunch of kids loving what they did knocking off the high-powered rock and rollers CKWX in those days. I would say that had to be the most memorable time."

"Unlike regimented radio today, we didn't 'think tank' or sit around with department heads, or hire a consultant. The listener phone line was our consultant. Our 'format' was very loose, in fact just about non-existent, If it worked, we kept doing it" said Dave.

With the format switch, the fifties were officially over, Dave and his on-air co-conspirators had successfully kicked the staid CKWX to the curb, and by the time 1962 rolled around it was time for him to embark on a new adventure. More on that later.

Dave's broadcast career stretched all the way back to 1954 when at age 14 he began working after school and on weekends in the record library at radio station CHML in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario.

"I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, he laughs, "it's the only real job I've ever had."

That first tantalizing taste ended when the family moved to the Coast but by then the radio bug had already gotten under Dave's skin.

After finishing high school he began volunteering at U.B.C.'s campus radio station while attending the university and was soon hired by CFUN in 1959. Three years later after successfully turning the station around Dave was approached by legendary American programmer Ron Jacobs who hired him in 1962 to become the music director and midday announcer at KMAK in Fresno, California.

In Fresno, Dave was reunited with his old CFUN pal Brian Lord who had moved there a few months earlier.

Dave worked at both of Fresno's Top 40 rockers KMAK and KYNO until 1966 when he left to become midday announcer and PD at Seattle's KOL until eventually returning to California's KMEN in San Bernadino in 1967 where he remained until 1972.

"Those were wonderful times" said Dave. He liked to tell the story of a blistering hot Fresno day in 1967 when he and Brian Lord were MC'ing an appearance by San Bernardino's Count Five, a band that Lord had discovered and helped secure a recording contract for.

Their song "Psychotic Reaction" was about to become a national hit and the group was making a live appearance on the roof of a local supermarket. The heat was so intense that the records that Dave and Brian had brought to hand out were immediately warping. When Brian mentioned it and asked him what they should do, Dave replied, "Don't worry about it Brian, they'll still be souvenirs of the show and the kids will always remember the experience and the fun they had."

Back in B.C. on vacation, Dave looked up his old pal Brian Forst, then doing mornings at New Westminster's CKNW. Frosty hooked him up with 'NW GM Mel Cooper who, after a six hour meeting offered him a job.

"I'm surprised they hired me; I had long hair, a Fu Manchu moustache. The atmosphere at 'NW was so different after my rock 'n roll days at Top 40 stations in California. It was so antiseptic at 'NW."

With Dave's extensive musical knowledge and extraordinary photographic memory he soon became the permanent fill-in man for Jack Cullen whose somewhat older audience would sometimes complain about Dave's rapid disc jockey patter - a holdover from his top 40 days.

"I'm not talking too fast, you're listening too slow!" I heard him tell a phone-in caller on more than one occasion.

Big Daddy's old Top 40 chops were always just bubbling under the surface it seems, and served him in good stead in later years.

Dave's 'flying by the seat of his pants' approach to radio never ceased to amaze me.

It wasn't unusual to to stop by the studio to find Dave, shades on, menthol Kool dangling dangerously from between his lips, cueing up the next record fifteen seconds before he had to introduce it while simultaneously slamming a trio of carts into a commercial carousel and carrying on an involved telephone conversation with a listener who had fifty bucks riding on a barroom bet and desperately needed to know who Carly Simon was referring to in her song "You're So Vain."

Could Dave help him? Of course Dave could. "Hang on a sec buddy, be right back" he'd say before cracking the mic to address his radio audience.

Dave's versatility came in handy when 'NW's new FM sister station signed on the air in 1970 with a short-lived country music format but soon switched to light pop.

"(In 1972) A conversation I had with (CFMI Program Director) Rod Gunn evolved into a concept I invented and named: Discumentary."

'Discumentary,' an award-winning daily one hour long history of rock 'n roll series written and voiced by Dave and produced by yours truly ran from 1972 to 1986 on CFMI and was later syndicated across North America and Australia. Each show focussed on a particular artist or theme and incorporated music and interviews.

"We borrowed stuff, we traded stuff. When you think back, a lot of them didn't have interview clips in them. You just don't get Eric Clapton. In the beginning we did everybody, Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, Marvin Gaye, whatever. I was quite flattered when the format was stolen left and right all over the place. We did hundreds of those shows."

As the program gained in popularity, Dave's workload increased proportionately and freelance writers were brought in to write new scripts and update old shows when required.

One of the best was my friend Paul Wiggins who later went on to work with Vancouver band Doug & The Slugs and is now a popular musician on Canada's East Coast.

The 'McCormick' era of Discumentary ended in 1986 when a shakeup at CKNW/CFMI resulted in Dave being unemployed for the first time in fourteen years. Happily this state of affairs didn't last long. Dave quickly found work as the afternoon drive announcer at Vancouver's new country station CJJR/FM.

"I was hired before they even went on the air. I never missed a payday."

Dave stayed at 'JR for ten years where he did the afternoon drive show and wrote/hosted Countrymentary, a series of one hour, nationally syndicated programs that profiled the top country music makers of the day.

Said Dave during that period, "I'm part of the Woodstock generation but I heard it all and met everyone back then. Country is the most exciting music now. its poetry, and people who can't get over a hillbilly bias are missing the boat."

In 1992 at their annual conference, Dave was named "Provincial Broadcast Performer of the Year" by the B.C. Association of Broadcasters.

Dave was on the move again in 1998, but this time it was just a short trip down the hall.
JR Country's sister station, 600AM (the one time frequency for CJOR) switched format and Dave took over the 10am-3pm slot, spinning old favourites by established artists such as Neil Diamond, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Barbra Streisand .

As if he already didn't have enough on his plate, for three years Dave served as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the B.C. Country Music Association. A career highlight for Dave was At their being voted "On Air Personality of the Year" for four straight years at their Annual Awards ceremonies.
"The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul arises from the feeling that there is in every individual something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone, and is, therefore, absolutely and irretrievably lost." - Arthur Schopenhauer
Thanks for everything Dave, you were truly one of the good guys. - GL
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Re: Dave McCormick Passes

Postby radiofan » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:17 pm

Bruce Stewart's C-FUN Good Guys pic with Big Daddy at the mic...


http://www.vancouvertop40radio.com/Stat ... d_guys.htm
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Re: Dave McCormick Passes

Postby GrumpyOldMan » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:29 pm

The word "legend" gets chucked around a lot. But Dave was one. I'm glad his suffering is over. I'm sad he's gone.
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Re: Dave McCormick Passes

Postby radiofan » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:45 pm

From the July 2014 Radio West GTG at The Marine Pub in Burnaby ...


Dave McCormick and Brian "Frosty" Forst
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Re: Dave McCormick Passes

Postby radiofan » Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:16 pm

From Dave's long time friend and co worker, Brian "Frosty" Forst" ...

Dave was a co-worker, a mentor, and a long time friend. He'd let me visit him doing his thing when I was 17 and he was 19. We were friends since. No one made a bigger impact on Vancouver radio...NO ONE!

And he didn't believe in looking for credit. The only thing he cared more for than the "biz", were his children...and long time partner, Lynda.

Talk about yer LEGEND!
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Re: Dave McCormick Passes

Postby kal » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:49 pm

What a loss. His Discumentary series was legendary. I grew up listening to those and couldn't believe they were produced locally. And I remember Dave filling in for Jack Cullen on occasion.
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Re: Dave McCormick Passes

Postby Richard Skelly » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:52 am

I just thought of Dave a few days ago upon hearing that March 30 was Red Robinson Day. Back in my childhood, Dave was right up there with Red as a must-listen-to voice. And then he disappeared. I never knew about his gutsy move to pursue broadcast dreams in the US until catching on as a freelance script writer for Discumentary. Being a later baby boomer, I had missed the seminal '50s rock era and was staggered by Dave's encyclopedic knowledge of even minor one-hit wonders from those times.

I last spoke to Dave many years back when he shared some positive thoughts about a new country act called The Moffatts for a feature I wrote on the talented brothers for the Vancouver Sun. He felt they had great promise and, indeed, they eventually broke through as a poppier boy band.

Condolences to family and friends, especially Glen Livingstone, who contributed such a thorough and admiring tribute in the comments above. While Dave was the voice and guiding force of Discumentary, Glen was the studio Svengali who spliced and diced the voiceovers, songs and interview clips into one of the most memorable syndicated radio shows of the '70s and '80s.

Whether it's the vintage DJs that remain such as Red and Frosty or the ever-growing list of the departed, a Greg Kihn song lyric says it best--"They don't make 'em like that anymore."

Godspeed, Dave.
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