Art Balfour


00:00:02 Speaker 1 

The Selkirk collection. 

00:00:08 Speaker 1 

Of The Pioneers of Selkirk communications. 

00:00:14 Speaker 1 

The following interview with. 

00:00:16 Speaker 1 

Or Belfour was recorded in January 1978 by **** Meisner. 

00:00:24 Speaker 2 

Enjoying and about to continue. 

00:00:30 Speaker 2 

Having a chat with a man that I haven’t. 

00:00:33 Speaker 2 

Seen for many years or talked to for at least as long. 

00:00:37 Speaker 2 

Mr. art Belper. 

00:00:39 Speaker 2 

And art is one of the real pioneers of this. 

00:00:43 Speaker 2 

Crazy broadcasting business that we’ve both been in for so long. 

00:00:48 Speaker 2 

And particularly one of The Pioneers of. 

00:00:52 Speaker 2 

What is now Selker holdings? 

00:00:55 Speaker 2 

All right. 

00:00:56 Speaker 2 

I’m delighted to see you. 

00:00:58 Speaker 2 

Looking well. 

00:01:01 Speaker 2 

Delighted to be able to take back reports that you’re looking well and that you’re. 

00:01:06 Speaker 2 

That you’re in good shape, and that’s delightful. 

00:01:09 Speaker 3 

Well, I I’m very, very. 

00:01:12 Speaker 3 

Thankful I can tell you truly thankful that I am in the. 

00:01:18 Speaker 3 

Condition that I am today because I think had you come asking the same favor three months ago, I’d had to turn you down because I just couldn’t have done it. 

00:01:31 Speaker 3 

That’s all there’s to it. 

00:01:32 Speaker 3 

But now I’m on the right side of the Ledger and I’m feeling fine. 

00:01:37 Speaker 2 

That’s great. Good news. 

00:01:39 Speaker 2 

Alright, so we have it. 

00:01:41 Speaker 2 

For the record, in one place. 

00:01:44 Speaker 2 

Instead of scattered all over the companies. 

00:01:52 Speaker 2 

I’d like to get a a reasonable chronological rundown on. 

00:01:59 Speaker 2 

Your time with the company. 

00:02:01 Speaker 2 

It doesn’t. 

00:02:01 Speaker 2 

I’m not interested in exact dates. 

00:02:04 Speaker 2 

But approximate years. 

00:02:05 Speaker 2 

When did you start where? 

00:02:07 Speaker 2 

When did you start in radio and where? 

00:02:09 Speaker 2 

Well, my. 

00:02:12 Speaker 3 

Commencement in radio had nothing whatever to do with broadcasting KDK, a Pittsburgh went on the air 19125 and three of us decided that we would build a radio receiver. 

00:02:28 Speaker 3 

Well, in 19125 you couldn’t buy very much to build anything in the way of radio reception. 

00:02:37 Speaker 3 

We built this thing all unknowingly. 

00:02:41 Speaker 3 

Inside a tin building. 

00:02:44 Speaker 3 

And it was as big as the switchboard in the New York powerhouse and night after night, we tried to get ADA Pittsburgh. 

00:02:53 Speaker 3 

But never. 

00:02:55 Speaker 3 

Finally, in desperation, we dismantled it and one of the other fellows took it home and he put it in his wooden hayloft. 

00:03:03 Speaker 3 

And the first night that they turned it in KD ka, Pittsburgh came in like a ton of bricks. 

00:03:10 Speaker 2 

Why did I think the KD KA had gone on the air several years before that? 



00:03:15 Speaker 2 

Because there’s always been a. 

00:03:17 Speaker 2 

Friendly rivalry between the. 

00:03:21 Speaker 2 

Canadian Marconi Company with CFCF. 

00:03:24 Speaker 2 

And KDKA as to which of the two was on the air, 1st and Marconi claims that they went on with CFCF about 1922, I think. 

00:03:34 Speaker 3 

Well, either that XOWA as an experimental state. 


Alright, bye. 

00:03:38 Speaker 3 

Well, I wouldn’t. 

00:03:39 Speaker 3 

I wouldn’t like to have to swear to it, but I think that Kate, Kate K DKA. 

00:03:45 Speaker 3 

Went on the air on the 4th day of July of 1925. They were the first commercial. At least they say they were the first commercial that’s possible? Yes, and likely. 

00:03:58 Speaker 3 

Well, from that I developed a terrible yen for this radio business. 

00:04:05 Speaker 3 

I was working for a power company and another fellow and I went into the business of building radio sets where in a place called Balcarras Saskatchewan. 

00:04:15 Speaker 3 

And we built peanut. 

00:04:18 Speaker 3 

Tube radio sets, which were the first type of tube that would operate a loud speaker. 

00:04:25 Speaker 3 

Prior to that it had been the old squealers, the old Atwater, Kents, and so on. 

00:04:30 Speaker 3 

You listened with the earphone. 

00:04:32 Speaker 3 

And we built these and I didn’t worked at that for four years. 

00:04:37 Speaker 3 

And then I heard that there was a vacancy at the CHWC. 

00:04:44 Speaker 3 

In Regina, SK, It was operated by RH Williams and the department store people, and I went in. 

00:04:48 Speaker 2 

Smart restore people, yes. 

00:04:53 Speaker 3 

I was so anxious and incidentally, we’re in the midst of a bit of a depression right now. Things weren’t any too good in 1925 and 26, and along there. 

00:05:06 Speaker 3 

And I was married at the time because I’ve told you we just celebrated our Golden wedding anniversary. 

00:05:13 Speaker 3 

So I went in and offered to work for these people for nothing. 

00:05:18 Speaker 3 

To get into the business. 

00:05:20 Speaker 3 

And if will Fidel ever hears this story, you’ll know that it’s true, because Wolfe was at the station at the time. 

00:05:29 Speaker 3 

And Jack Kemp, of course, has passed on. 

00:05:33 Speaker 3 

But I. 

00:05:36 Speaker 3 

Wrote a story, a continued story. 

00:05:39 Speaker 3 

It was the leader of perhaps some of the soap operas, but it was the adventures of a couple of kids in the Big city. 

00:05:49 Speaker 3 

And one day they came to me and they said we we have to let you go. 

00:05:54 Speaker 3 

And I said, well, why do you have to let me go? 

00:05:57 Speaker 3 

You’re not paying me anyway. 

00:06:00 Speaker 3 

Well, they said the other staff don’t know that and it’s causing trouble. 

00:06:04 Speaker 3 

So I lost the first job I ever had that I never was getting. 

00:06:07 Speaker 3 

Paid for anyway. 

00:06:09 Speaker 3 

So that’s the wizard rather inauspicious start. 

00:06:13 Speaker 2 

Oh, that’s funny. 

00:06:15 Speaker 3 

In radio, yeah, I came back up for a couple of years and went back in and this time went in as a tech. 

00:06:25 Speaker 3 

I had studied more about it and so on. 

00:06:28 Speaker 3 

And there was a fellow by the name of. 

00:06:32 Speaker 3 

Rudy, I can’t think of his last name. 

00:06:35 Speaker 3 

It’s awful. 

00:06:37 Speaker 3 

What is a militia? 

00:06:40 Speaker 3 

Rudy Erickson, Erickson. 

00:06:41 Speaker 3 

They had brought him up from Kenosha, WI to build a radio station for them. 

00:06:48 Speaker 3 

So I started with Rudy to build the first radio station at Pilot Butte, Saskatchewan. 

00:06:53 Speaker 3 

Yes, which is 14 miles east of Regina. 

00:06:57 Speaker 2 

Yes, I know. 

00:06:58 Speaker 3 

And we built a 500 Watt radio station. 

00:07:03 Speaker 3 

Well, I wish I had the time and I wish I had the ability to describe all that went into that station. 

00:07:11 Speaker 3 

But of course as. 

00:07:14 Speaker 3 

You may recall we didn’t know how to convert electricity in those days. 

00:07:18 Speaker 3 

So we had to generate our power to feed our. 

00:07:23 Speaker 3 

Broadcasting tubes with a mortar generator. 

00:07:28 Speaker 3 

You couldn’t turn the current on too fast or it blew the tubes up, so we improvised by getting a Street car starter. 

00:07:37 Speaker 3 

And putting the streetcar starter on the motor that drove the generator and that way we could slowly started up until the valves got warm enough for us to go. 

00:07:47 Speaker 3 

On the air. 

00:07:48 Speaker 2 

Sounds like a forerunner Rube Goldberg. 

00:07:50 Speaker 2 

Well, it was. 

00:07:51 Speaker 3 

A room Rover. 

00:07:52 Speaker 3 

It was a flat top antenna with a counterpoint poised underneath it. 

00:07:57 Speaker 3 

And we were supposed to operate on about 800 kilocycle. 

00:08:01 Speaker 3 

But every time that we have a horn frost, the frequency changed and we would have to short the antenna and short the counterpoise to get the hoarfrost off. 

00:08:13 Speaker 3 

The people out in the country could find us on the dial because nobody knew where we were. 

00:08:18 Speaker 3 

We didn’t even know. 

00:08:20 Speaker 3 

And so these stories, as as you sit and think about them, bring radio. 

00:08:28 Speaker 3 

Really writing back into your heart again, you know, because. 

00:08:33 Speaker 3 

If I had to live my life all over again, I’d start 10 years earlier in radio if I if I had the opportunity. 

00:08:39 Speaker 2 

I think it’s it’s probably a very special privilege. 

00:08:42 Speaker 2 

I know I feel it. 

00:08:44 Speaker 2 

To have been in on the ground floor of a development. 

00:08:50 Speaker 3 

That has assumed such proportions as broadcasting as well. 

00:08:53 Speaker 3 

That’s that’s one of the one of the things that the greatest thing I prize is the fact that perhaps I was a part. 

00:09:02 Speaker 3 

Of the 1st. 

00:09:03 Speaker 3 

Team and that means a lot, you know, to think that you. 

00:09:03 Speaker 2 

You were indecent. 

00:09:10 Speaker 3 

We’re a part of it. 

00:09:11 Speaker 3 

I have a lot of old souvenirs of various things that I’ve kept that. 

00:09:17 Speaker 3 

Someday will have to be burned because nobody will know what they’re all about. 

00:09:22 Speaker 3 

But they were a lot of fun. 

00:09:27 Speaker 3 

I moved then into the broadcasting business itself. 

00:09:32 Speaker 3 

Into the city. 

00:09:35 Speaker 3 

And our first studios, I can the first thing and I can smell it, yet is the smell of the studio. 

00:09:42 Speaker 3 

There were no windows in it. 

00:09:43 Speaker 3 

There was no form of ventilation. 

00:09:45 Speaker 3 

And that and the walls were made of compressed straw about four inches thick, covered with blue felt. 

00:09:54 Speaker 3 

Well, you couldn’t broadcast, you couldn’t broadcast out of this place more than half an hour if you wanted to, because the air all used up and your throat was so dry that you couldn’t say another word. 

00:10:06 Speaker 2 

And the sound must have been completely dead. 

00:10:08 Speaker 3 

Ohh the sound I I don’t know what it was. 

00:10:12 Speaker 3 

And another thing that people today find hard to believe. 

00:10:17 Speaker 3 

Since we didn’t know how to convert AC electricity, we didn’t know how to run an electric pickup. 

00:10:24 Speaker 3 

And so we had a gramophone, we had two gramophones. 

00:10:27 Speaker 3 

As a matter of fact, inside 2 boxes with kind of slit holes in the side. 

00:10:34 Speaker 3 

And one lady changed the record inside and wound the drum. 

00:10:40 Speaker 3 

On on his own, Mike, which was cut off at that time while the other fellow read something. 

00:10:47 Speaker 3 

No, he didn’t read commercials because we didn’t have any. 

00:10:50 Speaker 3 

We didn’t believe in it, but he’d read a recipe or he’d read it, somebody somebody’s grandmother’s birthday. We knew every birthday from Manitoba to Alberta. 

00:11:03 Speaker 3 

Then we started up when it was through, we’d reverse the process and I well remember the first electric turntable I ever saw in my life. 

00:11:13 Speaker 3 

We rented them from the northern electric people. 

00:11:16 Speaker 3 

We couldn’t buy them, they wouldn’t sell them to us. 

00:11:18 Speaker 3 

They rented them to us. 

00:11:20 Speaker 1 

With them. 

00:11:20 Speaker 3 

And we paid rent on the turntables for, oh, I don’t know how. 

00:11:25 Speaker 3 

But again, in addition to that, all the power was direct current power and the plate voltage was about 190 volts and they were all 2 Volt batteries. So we had to have a Bank of chargers to handle all these. So. 

00:11:45 Speaker 3 

When you said you went on the air at 6:00 o’clock in the morning, that meant you got to the radio station at about 4:30 to get everything already hooked up so you could get on at 6:00 o’clock, and you went for two hours. 

00:11:56 Speaker 2 

Yes. Yeah. 

00:11:59 Speaker 3 

And your batteries got weaker and weaker and weaker and you signed off and another station that’s. 

00:12:07 Speaker 3 

On the same frequency CKCK that Hal Crittenden’s been with so long, they took over for two hours and we recharged our batteries. 

00:12:16 Speaker 3 

So that fundamentally was was the beginning of. 

00:12:19 Speaker 2 

I thought you went off the air at that. 

00:12:23 Speaker 3 

How radio? 

00:12:24 Speaker 3 

Started to be a thing. 

00:12:29 Speaker 3 

Well, let everybody. 

00:12:30 Speaker 3 

It meant something to everybody in those days. 

00:12:32 Speaker 3 

Radio was all things to all people. 

00:12:36 Speaker 2 

Only the older it was. 

00:12:36 Speaker 3 

In those days, it carried messages of storm. 

00:12:40 Speaker 3 

Messages of joy, sorrowful messages. 

00:12:44 Speaker 3 

It did everything. 

00:12:46 Speaker 3 

And as I say this. 

00:12:48 Speaker 3 

Station was owned by a department store, but they never even thought of selling bed sheets at 495 a sheet or anything. Never, never doubt what they their main interest was in selling B batteries to the people who were running radio sets. 

00:12:56 Speaker 2 

No, no. 

00:13:05 Speaker 2 

And that story and always being repeated so many places. 

00:13:09 Speaker 2 

It’s the beginnings of Harold Carson, right here in Lethbridge. 

00:13:10 Speaker 3 

Well, that’s how Carson started the station right here in Lethbridge. 

00:13:13 Speaker 2 

The beginning of the Murphy’s in Saskatchewan and broadcasting. 

00:13:15 Speaker 3 

You know. 

00:13:18 Speaker 2 

It’s how Marconi got. 

00:13:21 Speaker 2 

Started in radio and not sell battery so much but to sell there. 

00:13:28 Speaker 2 

First receivers, I guess that they were building in this country surely? Surely. Well, I guess it’s the old adage that Ted Rogers got into the business in 1925 basically to sell Roger Majestic radio receivers. Yes, that’s all, that’s all they. 

00:13:43 Speaker 3 

Ever did? Yes. 

00:13:45 Speaker 3 

Well, I I I just progressed from there on and then. 

00:13:53 Speaker 3 

RH Williams went into receivership. 

00:13:56 Speaker 3 

And they owed the leader post a lot of money. 

00:14:00 Speaker 3 

For their advertising. So the leader post took CHWC over. 

00:14:05 Speaker 3 

And combined it with CKCK on the one frequency. 

00:14:10 Speaker 3 

So really when you hear CKCK today. 

00:14:14 Speaker 3 

It is a faint echo in the background and CHC 2. 

00:14:19 Speaker 3 

I didn’t know that story. 

00:14:20 Speaker 3 

That’s how the two. 

00:14:21 Speaker 3 

That’s how it became one station. 

00:14:22 Speaker 2 


00:14:26 Speaker 3 

Bert Hooper. 

00:14:27 Speaker 3 

It was, of course, the famous Bert Hooper was the man who was in full charge of things at that time. 

00:14:33 Speaker 3 

Yes, yes. 

00:14:36 Speaker 2 

So that fundamentally was how I got started in it, I was going to ask what what you were doing in that early radio after you stopped. 

00:14:48 Speaker 2 

Hand building radio sets. 

00:14:51 Speaker 2 

Well, of all the things in the world that, I mean, we did everything at that point and nobody was just an announcer or just a salesman. 

00:14:56 Speaker 1 

That’s right. 

00:14:59 Speaker 2 

But what? 

00:14:59 Speaker 2 

Was your 40. 

00:15:02 Speaker 3 

My 40 was supposed to be technical work. 

00:15:09 Speaker 3 

But one day. 

00:15:13 Speaker 3 

RH Williams, as I said, had gone into receivership. 

00:15:17 Speaker 3 

And a Scotsman came over. 

00:15:20 Speaker 3 

And said to me, look, this station will pay its way in three months or we’ll shut it down. 

00:15:29 Speaker 3 

Now you better get cracking. 

00:15:31 Speaker 3 

I had never sold peanuts to anybody in my life. 

00:15:36 Speaker 3 

So that’s how I started out. 

00:15:39 Speaker 3 

In the commercial end of radio and I never looked back after that, I kept on and the commercial end until I was made manager of the first radio station in trail, BC CJATCJAT, yes. 

00:15:58 Speaker 3 

So I was kind of forced into something that I knew nothing about, but for which I developed a very, very great fondness of selling because I believed in it. 

00:16:13 Speaker 3 

Radio in those days. 

00:16:18 Speaker 3 

You believed in what you what you said on the air. 

00:16:22 Speaker 3 

I mean, I’m not trying to discount present radio, but sometimes if you listen to it and don’t do everything they say in the first hour, you listen to you never live to you. 

00:16:34 Speaker 3 

You’re the second one because you’ve died from not taking all the pills that. 

00:16:39 Speaker 3 

This one we didn’t have that kind of thing. 

00:16:44 Speaker 2 

Well, as you know, I was chatting with George Brown. 

00:16:50 Speaker 2 

President of. 

00:16:52 Speaker 2 

The station here now in Lethbridge. 

00:16:56 Speaker 2 

Before coming over to see you, and we were talking about the difference between. 

00:17:01 Speaker 2 

What I think you will share a feeling about and that is the word broadcasters. 

00:17:07 Speaker 2 

Or a broadcaster and what it meant at that time in terms of. 

00:17:12 Speaker 2 

Describing a body or what its function. 

00:17:17 Speaker 2 

I don’t think that today’s radio is turning out broadcasters as radio. 

00:17:23 Speaker 3 

Turning out, they’re turning out. 

00:17:26 Speaker 2 

Especially exactly. 

00:17:26 Speaker 3 

Specialists in certain fields I’ve. 

00:17:29 Speaker 2 

Read you’re an announcer, you’re an announcer, you’re an announcer. 

00:17:30 Speaker 3 

Yeah, that’s right. 

00:17:31 Speaker 3 

And you couldn’t wind the clock in the days when you and I started in the radio business. 

00:17:38 Speaker 3 

I’ve done everything. 

00:17:40 Speaker 3 

I’ve swept the floor. 

00:17:42 Speaker 3 

I’ve scrubbed the floor, I’ve polished the floor and cleaned the windows and. 

00:17:48 Speaker 3 

Wrote continuity, went out and collected the bill and read the announcement in between times so that. 

00:17:50 Speaker 1 


00:17:57 Speaker 3 

We were broadcasters. I I think we used the word correctly. When we say that we were broadcasters, what years were you in trail year ago? Yes, I went to trail in 1900 and 3938. 

00:18:12 Speaker 2 

Have water deals been there before you? 

00:18:13 Speaker 3 

Yes, I was there. 

00:18:19 Speaker 3 

As also was Mercer McLeod, yes. 

00:18:23 Speaker 3 

The man who wrote the creaking door. 

00:18:26 Speaker 3 

Do you remember? 

00:18:28 Speaker 3 

Well, it was the forerunner to the Green Hornet. 

00:18:31 Speaker 3 

You’re sure? 

00:18:31 Speaker 2 

And I was he. 

00:18:32 Speaker 2 

Was he the man whom I have heard along the way. 

00:18:37 Speaker 2 

Did a series of local drama shows on CJT. 

00:18:43 Speaker 2 

Which were apparently well received and very successful until they were closed down because they were found to be just pilfering their stories from pulp magazines. 

00:18:54 Speaker 3 

Well, I wouldn’t be. 

00:18:55 Speaker 3 

I don’t know that, but I wouldn’t be a particle. 

00:18:59 Speaker 3 

But Speaking of trail and the funny things that happen. 

00:19:04 Speaker 3 

The studios and trail were in the Masonic building. 

00:19:10 Speaker 3 

When they built. 

00:19:12 Speaker 3 

CJT in the city that size. 

00:19:15 Speaker 3 

They put in a four bank manual Casavant organ. 

00:19:19 Speaker 3 

Yes, it was. 

00:19:21 Speaker 3 

It was as big as the one they had in any theater in Toronto. 

00:19:26 Speaker 3 

But every time the Masons were gathered and anybody just pushed one note, every Masons hair stood straight up on end because there wasn’t much between the top of the organ and the Masonic Lodge above it. 

00:19:40 Speaker 3 

So I can recall us getting old bedsprings. 

00:19:45 Speaker 3 

And wire and rushes that we gathered along the Kootenay River and we suspended these bedsprings from the ceiling of the studio and filled the intervening space with rushes. 

00:20:01 Speaker 3 

So we were able to play the Casavant organ and the Masons. 

00:20:05 Speaker 3 

We’re able to carry. 

00:20:06 Speaker 2 

On for having sex. 

00:20:08 Speaker 3 

Which just is there so many little incident along the way of the things that. 

00:20:14 Speaker 3 

You never thought anything about doing it. 

00:20:16 Speaker 3 

It was part of the job. 

00:20:18 Speaker 2 

Westminster Church in Winnipeg along. 

00:20:21 Speaker 2 

Time United Church. 

00:20:25 Speaker 2 

Had and I’m quite sure it still has A4 manual Casavant organ. 

00:20:33 Speaker 2 

I at one time had the. 

00:20:36 Speaker 2 

Planned on being a theater organist. 

00:20:39 Speaker 2 

And I’d had a good grounding in piano, and in classic organ. 

00:20:45 Speaker 2 

And I took lessons at. 

00:20:49 Speaker 2 

Westminster Church from the then choirmaster and organist, Herb Sadler. 

00:20:55 Speaker 2 

But they put in a new. 

00:20:57 Speaker 2 

16 foot. 

00:21:00 Speaker 2 

Rank of pipes. 

00:21:02 Speaker 2 

Which is about as low as they make. 

00:21:05 Speaker 2 

Into this organ. 

00:21:09 Speaker 2 

Only to find that it wasn’t going to be very much used because anytime you threw that stop into service, it shattered every ounce of putty off every stained glass window. 

00:21:19 Speaker 2 

In that building. 

00:21:21 Speaker 3 

It was like the old transmitters before the the second transmitter that we worked on. 

00:21:29 Speaker 3 

Was what they call Class B modulation. 

00:21:32 Speaker 3 

And prior to that, if you had a soprano, you had to have a strong man stand alongside of the soprano so that when she reached for the high notes, you could turn her head away from the microphone. 

00:21:45 Speaker 3 

If you didn’t, it blew the transmitter all to pieces because that was the way the way it was modulated. 

00:21:52 Speaker 3 

Yes, frequency modulation at that time, yes and. 

00:21:57 Speaker 3 

Ohh, a lot of lot of very very. 

00:22:01 Speaker 3 

Funny and interesting tales, an awful lot of. 

00:22:06 Speaker 3 

Bedroom tails that are terribly resting that you. 

00:22:10 Speaker 3 

Can’t do on. 

00:22:11 Speaker 3 

A program of this time and and nobody wants to but. 

00:22:11 Speaker 2 

That’s right. 

00:22:16 Speaker 3 

There was a great. 

00:22:18 Speaker 3 

Comradeship amongst the people because there were only perhaps forty of us in the whole of the Dominion of Canada, I don’t know whether there were forty. 

00:22:30 Speaker 3 

And they developed quite a quite a kinship amongst them, you know. 

00:22:36 Speaker 2 

And well, there’s a very small core. 

00:22:41 Speaker 2 

Of managers, if you like. 

00:22:45 Speaker 2 

In the old Taylor Prison and Carson. 

00:22:50 Speaker 2 

And the organization. 

00:22:51 Speaker 3 

And it didn’t start to see until several years after what I’m talking about. 

00:22:56 Speaker 2 

And it was so small, the organization that has such few numbers of. 

00:23:01 Speaker 2 

Pseudo professionals in terms of management that they’re removed as you know so well all over Hells, half acre and virtually every manager at one time or other in his career worked in every station in the group. 

00:23:12 Speaker 1 


00:23:13 Speaker 3 

Sure, sure. 

00:23:14 Speaker 3 

I worked all across this country in places that that if the train had turned around when I got off. 

00:23:22 Speaker 3 

United stayed right on and gone back again because there’s some pretty wild spots though, but nevertheless there was a lot of fun in it, a lot of fun and. 

00:23:32 Speaker 2 

A lot of good broadcasting, a lot of bad broadcasting. 

00:23:35 Speaker 3 

A lot, a lot of broad, lot of. 

00:23:37 Speaker 3 

But you know, it’s astounding. 

00:23:40 Speaker 3 

The few things that got on the air compared with what should have got on the air, everybody tells the story about the farmer that. 

00:23:52 Speaker 3 

I thought he had signed the station off and said that. 

00:23:55 Speaker 3 

It would keep the little so and SOS happy this morning and this kind of thing has happened on every radio station in the world. 

00:24:04 Speaker 3 

But but I can remember an incident and just put yourself in this. 

00:24:09 Speaker 3 

Jack Kemp was reading the news one day, and of course the only place we got news was out of the newspaper and somebody went by and as they went by, they set fire to the newspaper. 

00:24:23 Speaker 3 

And here was Jack standing in front of the microphone reading the news, which was slowly burning up in front of his. 

00:24:32 Speaker 2 

Well, you have to be pretty quick in your thinking to get yourself out of a box like this. 

00:24:39 Speaker 2 

And like the uncle program we just mentioned, every station in the country now will claim that the idea of lighting a new script originated there. 

00:24:48 Speaker 3 

Now everyone. 

00:24:52 Speaker 2 

Well, then you went from Regina. 

00:24:55 Speaker 3 

To trail BC. 

00:24:56 Speaker 2 

Trail and from trail to and from trail I came here to Lethbridge. 

00:25:01 Speaker 3 

And from Lethbridge, I joined the Air Force. 

00:25:05 Speaker 3 

And after the war was over, we went to Grand Prairie and we stayed in Grand Prairie 13 years. 

00:25:13 Speaker 3 

And then they moved me back here to Lethbridge again. 

00:25:16 Speaker 2 

You were in Granbury after Southbury. 

00:25:19 Speaker 3 

I went there I. 

00:25:24 Speaker 3 

I hope if Cecil’s listening to this that he accepts it in the right spirit. 

00:25:30 Speaker 3 

I say Cecil Obligingly died the day I got. 

00:25:34 Speaker 3 

Out of the airport. 

00:25:36 Speaker 3 

But he did. 

00:25:36 Speaker 3 

He died the day I got out of the Air Force, which took us to Grand. 

00:25:41 Speaker 3 

And I never knew where Grand Prairie was. 

00:25:44 Speaker 3 

I thought it was just a place that they stopped to water the dogs on the Yukon Trail. 

00:25:50 Speaker 3 

I’d never, never knew a. 

00:25:51 Speaker 3 

Thing about it. 

00:25:52 Speaker 3 

And when I went in there, I found out that I had to start back again at some of the things that I thought I had left at CHWC. 

00:26:01 Speaker 3 

But it was fun, and the greatest country in the world. 

00:26:08 Speaker 2 

How long were you at Grand Prairie? 

00:26:10 Speaker 3 

13 years years 13 years. 

00:26:14 Speaker 2 

And then. 

00:26:15 Speaker 3 

Then I came back to here. 

00:26:19 Speaker 3 

And I retired here. 

00:26:21 Speaker 3 

In 65. 

00:26:23 Speaker 3 


00:26:26 Speaker 2 

Well, you’ve seen an awful lot of change. 

00:26:30 Speaker 2 

In the broadcasting business, I suppose most of it for the better really. 

00:26:35 Speaker 2 

And smoke clears away. 

00:26:41 Speaker 2 

Certainly this organization, Selkirk Holdings. 

00:26:46 Speaker 2 

Came along as the umbrella over all of the old Taylor Person and Carson interests, among other things. 

00:26:53 Speaker 2 

Is a vastly larger company than I think even Harold Carson ever envisioned. 

00:26:59 Speaker 2 

Oh, never, never. 

00:27:01 Speaker 2 

I can recall when we first ventured into the United States. 

00:27:06 Speaker 2 

When we went to the weed joint. 

00:27:11 Speaker 3 

Well, they thought we were mad. 

00:27:12 Speaker 3 

They thought we were quite mad. 

00:27:15 Speaker 3 

Incidentally, in that respect, I must tell you a story I had heard this. 

00:27:23 Speaker 3 

Soap opera mark Perkins. 

00:27:26 Speaker 3 

And I don’t know where I had heard it, but I think it was. 

00:27:30 Speaker 3 

North Dakota, Fargo, ND, and urgency. 

00:27:36 Speaker 3 

And I approached this man who had told me we had so many months to make the station pay, or they’d shut it down. 

00:27:45 Speaker 3 

And I said to him, we sell. 

00:27:48 Speaker 3 

All more Procter and Gamble stuff in this city than all the other stores put together. 

00:27:54 Speaker 3 

Now, why don’t we put the thumbs on them? 

00:27:57 Speaker 3 

And I went to Chicago and we had Mara Perkins on CHWC and Regina. 

00:28:04 Speaker 3 

Long, long before it ever hit the network, long, long before, just because of a situation. 

00:28:07 Speaker 2 

Isn’t that it? 

00:28:11 Speaker 3 

Yes, yes. 

00:28:13 Speaker 3 

And then I went. 

00:28:17 Speaker 3 

100 pages in history. 

00:28:20 Speaker 3 

When I went to Grand Prairie. 

00:28:23 Speaker 3 

The American troops wanted to hear all their shows. 

00:28:27 Speaker 3 

So they disked the mall in the United States and sent them to Grand Prairie when we were playing shows on CF GP in the Peace River Country where I thought the dogs only stopped to get a drink of water. 

00:28:41 Speaker 3 

We were playing shows on that. 

00:28:44 Speaker 3 

Air up there years before they were ever heard of down in this part of the world. 

00:28:49 Speaker 3 

Oh yeah, because the stations just dissed them and sent them up there for their boys who were building the Alcan Highway. 

00:28:55 Speaker 2 

Yes, yes. 

00:29:00 Speaker 3 

It’s been a great life. 

00:29:01 Speaker 2 

That’s interfaith. 

00:29:02 Speaker 3 

It’s been a rewarding life. 

00:29:04 Speaker 3 

The people I’ve met, friends I’ve made. 

00:29:08 Speaker 3 

I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. 

00:29:13 Speaker 2 

Aren’t you said it just a moment ago that that you have no regrets about your? 

00:29:22 Speaker 2 

Time and life in broadcasting. 

00:29:27 Speaker 2 

I feel the broadcasting is different. 

00:29:31 Speaker 2 

In many important. 

00:29:33 Speaker 2 

Human satisfaction. 

00:29:37 Speaker 2 

Aspects than most other kinds of business with which I’m. 

00:29:42 Speaker 2 

Perhaps less familiar, but. 

00:29:47 Speaker 3 

Well, I always used to say to a young man that came to work for me. 

00:29:52 Speaker 3 

Not for me. 

00:29:52 Speaker 3 

I never asked anybody in my life to work for me. 

00:29:55 Speaker 3 

Work with me. 

00:29:58 Speaker 3 

That you had to have a feeling for the business you had to. 

00:30:04 Speaker 3 

Live it. 

00:30:05 Speaker 3 

You had to love it. 

00:30:08 Speaker 3 

And that the more you had lived it, the more you loved it, the closer it. 

00:30:14 Speaker 3 

To you and I say now. 

00:30:17 Speaker 3 

You can go and I’m not belittling a grocery clerk at all, but if you buy a dozen eggs from him and he only puts 11 in. 

00:30:27 Speaker 3 

He doesn’t even know that he’s made a mistake, and you’re the only one that knows when you get home and find you’ve only got 11 eggs. 

00:30:34 Speaker 3 

But if you are a radio broadcaster and you call. 

00:30:41 Speaker 3 

Kapuskasing Kapuskasing, everybody in the world that’s listening to you knows that you’ve made a mistake and you’re the only one that knows you haven’t, so. 

00:30:54 Speaker 3 

You learn, I think. 

00:30:56 Speaker 3 

A form of. 

00:30:58 Speaker 3 

What I call a genteel Ness. 

00:31:03 Speaker 3 

Gentleness with words. 

00:31:05 Speaker 3 

And this is one of the things that upsets me so much today about the slang expressions, the shortcuts, the words that don’t really mean anything that have crept into the business. 

00:31:20 Speaker 3 

For example, I can recall one time writing copy and. 

00:31:27 Speaker 3 

A fellow by the name of Barney Cooper, I wrote the word PR program PR OG RAM. 

00:31:36 Speaker 3 

And he said, my good friend program is in the English language, is spelled PROGRRA. 

00:31:43 Speaker 3 

Double ME. 

00:31:45 Speaker 3 

And it is. 

00:31:46 Speaker 3 

And I never forgot it. 

00:31:47 Speaker 3 

And I never forgot that you put it. 

00:31:50 Speaker 3 

And who you are in honor and color and things of this kind. 

00:31:54 Speaker 3 

Bill Spears would vouch for this, that we used to bet $0.50 and $0.50 in those days were hard to come by on the pronunciation. 

00:32:06 Speaker 3 

Of different words. 

00:32:09 Speaker 3 

I can remember Bill calling it a ball pine hammer. 

00:32:14 Speaker 3 

And I said to him, what in the world is a ball pine hammer? 

00:32:19 Speaker 3 

He said. 

00:32:19 Speaker 3 

I don’t know, but it says here a ball ping hammer. 

00:32:22 Speaker 3 

Well, it’s a ball peen hammer. 

00:32:25 Speaker 3 

And I got $0.50 and to this day, Bill Spears would remember that $0.50. 

00:32:30 Speaker 2 

Press 1. 

00:32:31 Speaker 3 

He took it away from me a week later because I had never heard the word collab. 

00:32:39 Speaker 3 

At school I had been taught that it was callio. 

00:32:42 Speaker 2 

Yes, so that I. 

00:32:44 Speaker 3 

And he says there’s no such a word. 

00:32:46 Speaker 3 

And so you see, we, we we became friendly with words friendly with the articles we were working with. 

00:32:54 Speaker 3 

We became a part of the very. 

00:33:03 Speaker 3 

That went into broadcasting. Now I don’t think that that same thing exists amongst the man, perhaps, who sells 2 by fours because 12 by 4 looks like another. 

00:33:14 Speaker 3 

And there’s nothing in it to make one man think very much more or very little less of the other. 

00:33:24 Speaker 3 

But in our business. 

00:33:27 Speaker 2 

You likened it a moment ago to. 

00:33:32 Speaker 2 

The story of a man and the feeling and feeling and satisfaction that a gardener. 

00:33:34 Speaker 3 

Wrote two times. 

00:33:38 Speaker 3 

I can remember. 

00:33:39 Speaker 3 

Being in Harlem and watching that that. 

00:33:42 Speaker 3 

These great rough looking men, the way they would handle these tulips. 

00:33:49 Speaker 3 

Just as though they were. 

00:33:52 Speaker 3 

Infant things that would the bare touch of your hand would almost kill them. 

00:33:57 Speaker 3 

And I’ve always said well, you could trust the life of a young chicken or a young duck or anything to a man with a pair of hands like that. 

00:34:07 Speaker 3 

And he would never do it any harm. 

00:34:09 Speaker 3 

Would you take the hands of a man who? 

00:34:12 Speaker 3 

And I used the phrase made little stones out of big ones out of Stony Mountain Penitentiary, and I don’t know whether I want to trust any duckling or young chicken in his hand, you see, because. 

00:34:29 Speaker 3 

The type of things they were doing didn’t breed the inner feeling. 

00:34:35 Speaker 3 

That I think. 

00:34:36 Speaker 3 

Went with our business in those days. 

00:34:39 Speaker 2 

Well, I think that’s. 

00:34:42 Speaker 2 

Excuse me, the most interesting. 

00:34:44 Speaker 2 

Perspective art because that is. 

00:34:49 Speaker 2 

Excuse me, that genteel Ness, if you like. 

00:34:53 Speaker 2 

If the word is proper. 

00:34:59 Speaker 2 

Runs through almost without exception. 

00:35:01 Speaker 2 

All of these senior people in this organization that we’ve been talking about. 

00:35:08 Speaker 2 

People like Norm Bottrill have it. 

00:35:11 Speaker 2 

Phil Spears has it. 

00:35:14 Speaker 2 

Stuart Mackay has it. 

00:35:15 Speaker 2 

You have it. 

00:35:19 Speaker 2 

Like the point is very well made well. 

00:35:24 Speaker 3 

And it’s such an easy load to carry. 

00:35:27 Speaker 3 

Such an easy load to carry. 

00:35:31 Speaker 3 

I had a peculiar. 

00:35:33 Speaker 3 

Thing happened to me last year. 

00:35:35 Speaker 3 

My wife and I have a summer home down on the Flathead Lake in Montana. 

00:35:41 Speaker 3 

And there’s a radio station there, KGEZ, and there’s a lady on it by the name. 

00:35:48 Speaker 3 

Of Norm Fisher. 

00:35:50 Speaker 3 

And one day my wife said to me. 

00:35:54 Speaker 3 

Do you suppose that that would be the norm? 

00:35:56 Speaker 3 

Fisher that used to work with you fellows when you were in the Marquis Hotel in Lethbridge? 

00:36:04 Speaker 3 

Well, I said there’s no better time to find out than now, and we just turned and went in. 

00:36:09 Speaker 3 

And I asked the lady at the desk if he was there and out of a door, walked. 

00:36:18 Speaker 3 

Norm Fischer. 

00:36:18 Speaker 3 

Because I knew who I was looking for, and it was him. 

00:36:22 Speaker 3 

Just, I mean, the way I’d seen him last. 

00:36:24 Speaker 3 

But of course he didn’t know who I was because he hadn’t seen me for for four years. 

00:36:31 Speaker 3 

So I went up to him and I put my hand out to him and I said my name is Art Balfour. 

00:36:35 Speaker 3 

I’m the lad that started you in the radio business. 

00:36:39 Speaker 3 

And there were half a dozen other people. 

00:36:42 Speaker 3 

Sitting in the room and without a further word. 

00:36:45 Speaker 3 

And this sounds like and it is Tooting my own arm. 

00:36:49 Speaker 3 

He turned to them and he said one of the best men I ever worked with in all my life. 

00:36:54 Speaker 3 

What I said to my wife that makes up for an awful lot of. 

00:37:00 Speaker 3 

Shortcomings and heartaches and headaches and one thing another when somebody but it. 

00:37:07 Speaker 3 

But it exemplifies what you and I are talking about that that we we belong to the same family. 

00:37:15 Speaker 2 

Or it has been just delightful talking with you and has been much too long. 

00:37:19 Speaker 2 

Matter of fact, it it’s never happened before where I have. 

00:37:23 Speaker 2 

Had the opportunity to talk to you and talk with you. 

00:37:26 Speaker 3 

No, not. 

00:37:27 Speaker 2 

Like we have this afternoon and it’s been appropriate. 

00:37:30 Speaker 2 

Thank you so much. 

00:37:31 Speaker 3 

Where I want to thank you and it’s been a privilege seeing you. 

00:37:34 Speaker 3 

I want you as you travel about the country and see those of the old guard who are left, take them by the hand and shake them for me and wish them Godspeed. 

00:37:46 Speaker 3 

Thank you ever so much day, Elizar. 

00:37:52 Speaker 1 

This interview was recorded in 1978 by **** Meisner.