Carl Cogan


00:00:02 Speaker 1 

I’m Stephen Cogan, of CBC News, and this interview is with my father, Carl Cogan, announcer and radio programmer. 

00:00:10 Speaker 1 

He first entered broadcasting in 1949 as a record librarian at CFCF Radio in Montreal. In 1951, he moved to Cornwall ON and CKSF Radio, now known as CJSS, where he was an announcer. 

00:00:27 Speaker 1 

He spent 1953 as national promotion manager for Decca Records, now MCA. 

00:00:33 Speaker 1 

From there, he went back into radio announcing at CJQ in Belleville ON in 1954, he moved to CK LLC in Kingston, and in 55 he went to announce at CK VR Television in Barrie. 

00:00:48 Speaker 1 

From 1956 to 1957, he was at CHTML Radio in Hamilton. In 57, he moved to the station, where he would stay for the next 24 years, CKW W Radio in Kingston. 

00:01:03 Speaker 1 

He became program director and stayed until 1981. 

00:01:08 Speaker 1 

Two years later, he moved to Washington, DC and became executive producer of the African Division at the Voice of America. 

00:01:16 Speaker 1 

Since he left VOA and returned to Kingston in 1984, he has been dividing his time between the Realty radio system of advertising houses for sale and broadcast education. 

00:01:28 Speaker 1 

He’s taught broadcasting at Saint Lawrence College in Kingston and Loyalist College in Belleville. 

00:01:36 Speaker 1 

So, Dad, what made you want to go into broadcasting? 

00:01:40 Speaker 2 

Well, Stephen, I think from the time I was a wee toddler, long before you were born, I one of my favorite pastimes, was listening to the radio. 

00:01:52 Speaker 2 

There was, of course, no television at that time, and I listened to pretty well everything that was on the air. 

00:01:59 Speaker 2 

I think my favorites were. 

00:02:00 Speaker 2 

Probably the Happy gang was certainly one of them. I think I was late for school most days because it came on around in Montreal about 1:15, I think. 

00:02:11 Speaker 2 

And I think I had to be back to school at 1:30 and it was 145 by the time I got back. 

00:02:16 Speaker 2 

But I enjoyed that thoroughly. I listened to some of the soap operas that used to be so popular in mid afternoon and radio, and then in the evening the shadow The Lone Ranger, Superman, all the exciting, action-packed adventure. 

00:02:32 Speaker 2 

Series that were on the air. 

00:02:35 Speaker 2 

From that, I think my interest in broadcasting really began because radio has often been described as theater of the mind, and I think that’s quite true. 

00:02:48 Speaker 2 

And I had the opportunity and when I was, I think 12 or 13 years of age. 

00:02:54 Speaker 2 

Visiting Detroit, MI to see some real. 

00:02:57 Speaker 2 

And when I was there, I was asked by my folks what I would like to do for some excitement. 

00:03:03 Speaker 2 

And I first thing I thought of was well, I’d like to visit a radio station, so they promptly hauled me off to W XYZ and Detroit to see where The Lone Ranger was actually broadcast from. 

00:03:17 Speaker 2 

Where it originated. 

00:03:18 Speaker 2 

From and from, I think the time I walked into the studio I was completely enthralled about the whole broadcasting field to see how a program that I had heard hundreds of times on the air, how it was put together, they had an excellent guide who showed how the sound effects were made. 

00:03:38 Speaker 2 

How the hoof beats of of the famous horse silver was made by pounding plunger cups on top of sand in a in a sandbox just to name one thing. 

00:03:52 Speaker 2 

And really, I think from the. 

00:03:54 Speaker 2 

I guess very moment that I finished my tour of W XYZ in Detroit. 

00:03:59 Speaker 2 

I decided boy, this is a business I’d I’d love to work in. 

00:04:02 Speaker 2 

It looks like a lot of fun and something I’d like to be associated with. 

00:04:08 Speaker 1 

So you would have been. 

00:04:09 Speaker 1 

How old then? 

00:04:10 Speaker 2 

About 12 or maybe 13 years of age. 

00:04:13 Speaker 1 

OK, so so how did you then break into broadcasting? 

00:04:17 Speaker 1 

How did you get your first job? 

00:04:19 Speaker 2 

Well, after I finished my my education, I. 

00:04:26 Speaker 2 

First went to work is I think you mentioned at the beginning of this tape for CFCF in Montreal. 

00:04:35 Speaker 2 

I happened to run into a fellow named Dave Grief, who turned out to be a lifelong friend who worked there and and it so happened they needed a record library and. 

00:04:46 Speaker 2 

Those were the days when. 

00:04:48 Speaker 2 

Each station still has a record library of sorts, but far different than what it was then, and perhaps we can get into that in a moment and they decided to expand the staff in the library from one to two and ask me if I’d be interested in in working in the library. 

00:05:04 Speaker 2 

And I’d I’d like and I’ll always have like, music very much. 

00:05:08 Speaker 2 

And so I jumped at the opportunity and went up to see the boss at CFCF. 

00:05:13 Speaker 2 

Who was Mr. 

00:05:14 Speaker 2 

Al Hammond at the time the manager and he hired me to work with Dave in the in the record library and prepare all the programs, most of which were musical programs. 

00:05:26 Speaker 2 

In those days, there were a few of the soap operas and so on. 

00:05:31 Speaker 2 

Of course, on the air earlier in the day. 

00:05:33 Speaker 2 

But most of the programming was music and I was the one along with my friend who selected the music from the thousands of recordings that we had available and typed up what we call music sheets, a list of all the. 

00:05:50 Speaker 2 

Song titles to be broadcast during the next quarter hour or half hour or one hour, or whatever it might be, and transferred that music into the broadcast area where it was put. 

00:06:00 Speaker 2 

On the air. 

00:06:02 Speaker 1 

So you were the record library in those days was the backbone of the of the radio station really how that’s changed? 

00:06:11 Speaker 2 

That’s true. 

00:06:12 Speaker 2 

There were, of course newscasts and sportscasts and special features as well, but certainly most of the programming was music as it I guess it is still today, perhaps much more so today, because I think news has been cut back and many of the special features like cooking programs for example. 

00:06:32 Speaker 2 

Which are popular on television but are no longer heard on medium. 

00:06:36 Speaker 2 

But music was was the backbone of of programming on virtually. 

00:06:41 Speaker 2 

Every radio station. 

00:06:43 Speaker 1 

But there was a variety of music back then that made the that made the work of the record librarian essential in a way that it doesn’t seem to be today. 

00:06:55 Speaker 1 

Today it’s it’s it’s fairly easy to program a radio station from essentially 40 records. 

00:07:03 Speaker 2 


00:07:03 Speaker 2 

And and a lot of it is done by computer at the larger stations. 

00:07:08 Speaker 2 

Back then when I first started out at CFCF and for many years afterwards there were. 

00:07:15 Speaker 2 

Every station, I think pretty well in the country had at least one record library in the larger stations, perhaps two or three or even more. 

00:07:23 Speaker 2 

And the programming the music was quite different in that there were what we call block programs. 

00:07:32 Speaker 2 

You might have 15 minutes of waltzes by Wayne King. 

00:07:36 Speaker 2 

Followed by 1/2 hour of songs with say Perry Como and Doris Day. Then you might have, say, a cooking program and then you’d have some news and you’d go back to more music with perhaps selections from Broadway musicals, that type of thing. 

00:07:54 Speaker 2 

So it it the music content in a way was much wider and progressed on during the day. 

00:08:05 Speaker 2 

And I don’t think the programming, the music programming anyway was probably much different. 

00:08:12 Speaker 2 

At various times, at one time of the day, than another time. 

00:08:15 Speaker 2 

Perhaps the exception that that might be in the morning show or the morning program where the music was what we called, uptempo, bright, cheerful, happy toe tapping. 

00:08:29 Speaker 2 

Maybe quite a few marches included. 

00:08:31 Speaker 2 

Marches were very popular at the time. 

00:08:34 Speaker 2 

I don’t recall the last time I ever heard a a March on the radio, perhaps except on on CBC that you worked for what? 

00:08:42 Speaker 1 

What other kinds of programming were there on CFCF in those days besides besides the music? 

00:08:48 Speaker 1 

What kind of talks? 

00:08:51 Speaker 2 

Did CFCF run or other shows? 

00:08:54 Speaker 2 

Well, there was a gentleman named Corey Thompson who was at CFCF at the time. 

00:08:59 Speaker 2 

I remember Corey very well. He did a children’s program. He would narrate some children’s stories back in those days too. You could walk into any record store and pick up. 

00:09:12 Speaker 2 

All the records were 78 RPM and were unbreakable discs. If you drop them, they broke and they broke pretty easily. They would scratch easily too and. 

00:09:25 Speaker 2 

Thompson would read some children’s stories. 

00:09:29 Speaker 2 

He would perhaps have selected an album of children’s stories on record at the local record store, and he might play the first and second side of an album, and then it would be continued the next day, sort of like. 

00:09:44 Speaker 2 

An episode a day for a week or maybe 10 days, that type of thing there was. 

00:09:51 Speaker 2 

As I mentioned before, a cooking show, perhaps a show on ladies fashions. 

00:09:58 Speaker 2 

Pretty well what you would often see in in the the non dramatic type shows that you might see on television now were originally radio shows and adapted later for television. 

00:10:10 Speaker 1 

You’ve you’ve dropped a couple of names of people that you worked with. 

00:10:16 Speaker 1 

I know one of the person you worked with is now a colleague of mine at CBC. 

00:10:24 Speaker 1 

And that’s Rex Loring. 

00:10:25 Speaker 1 

Who can you tell me a bit about? 

00:10:28 Speaker 1 

Some of the some of the other people you worked with at CFCF? 

00:10:32 Speaker 2 

Right, Rex lowering and I worked together when I first joined the CFCF in 1949 and still remains one of my favorite people in in the industry. Ever since then, though, I haven’t seen them for a while. 

00:10:47 Speaker 2 

The leading. 

00:10:49 Speaker 2 

I don’t think they were called disc jockeys. 

00:10:51 Speaker 2 

Then I guess they were called announcers or. 

00:10:54 Speaker 2 

I’m not sure if even the word personality applied in that day, but the leading announcer anyway, insofar as music programming was concerned, was Lee Hamilton, who had a big, deep, beautiful voice, played lush instrumental music in the late evening, perhaps. 

00:11:14 Speaker 2 

Read a few poems similar to another person who came along many years later at CJD in Montreal. 

00:11:22 Speaker 2 

Paul Reed, who was also a dear friend of mine and who passed on. 

00:11:28 Speaker 2 

In addition to to Lee, Hamilton was Keith Dancy, who is still active in broadcasting today, I believe. 

00:11:35 Speaker 2 

Who was the sports director? 

00:11:37 Speaker 2 

Bill Degan, who moved on to CFRB in Toronto and was there for many, many years. 

00:11:43 Speaker 2 

Gordon Sinclair, not the Gordon Sinclair who? 

00:11:48 Speaker 2 

Was at CFRB from day one. 

00:11:51 Speaker 2 

Until he passed away a while ago. 

00:11:53 Speaker 2 

But his son Gord Junior did the morning program at CFCF in Montreal, and probably many other names that I’ve forgotten. 

00:12:00 Speaker 2 

But they were some of the ones that really stick in my. 

00:12:02 Speaker 1 

Mind back in 1949, what was the equipment like to work with? 

00:12:10 Speaker 1 

I would imagine that. 

00:12:12 Speaker 2 

Quite a bit different from the high tech broadcast equipment of of today. 

00:12:18 Speaker 2 

That’s very true, Steven, I suppose. 

00:12:21 Speaker 2 

And it’s they we considered it extremely modern and and CFCF was owned by the Canadian Marconi Company at that time. 

00:12:28 Speaker 2 

And being a broadcast equipment manufacturer. 

00:12:32 Speaker 2 

Had the very latest equipment, the turntables were big and cumbersome, and were floor mounted turntables, I guess there’s still a few of those around and in stations across the country today records were of course quite different. 

00:12:48 Speaker 2 

As they mentioned they were. 

00:12:51 Speaker 2 

They were on 10 or 12 inch or even 16 inch recordings perhaps. 

00:12:56 Speaker 2 

Someone listening to this tape at the moment would never have heard of a 16 inch recording. 

00:13:00 Speaker 2 

These were transcriptions that were provided to stations that was a service that you would subscribe to and would feature. 

00:13:09 Speaker 2 

Usually big orchestras or perhaps big name stars who? 

00:13:15 Speaker 2 

Perhaps didn’t make too many commercial recordings, and this was the appeal of subscribing to a transcription service. 

00:13:22 Speaker 2 

Thesaurus was one, standard was another. 

00:13:25 Speaker 2 

Names that probably we haven’t heard of in years, and they these were these were required big. 

00:13:35 Speaker 2 

Turntables to play them on. 

00:13:37 Speaker 2 

Hence the size of the turntable itself, and it gave a supposed advantage to a station who subscribed to a particular transcription service because no other station in that market could subscribe to it, and you would hear certain artists only on, for example, CFCF that you wouldn’t on CJD or some of the other stations. 

00:13:58 Speaker 2 

That were in Montreal at that time and still aren’t. 

00:14:02 Speaker 1 

So finally, before we leave CFCF, can you tell me how much how much money you made in your first job in broadcasting? 

00:14:11 Speaker 2 

Let’s see. 

00:14:11 Speaker 2 

I think my first paycheck, I think. 

00:14:15 Speaker 2 

When I first started off, if I remember correctly, it was $18.00 a week. 

00:14:19 Speaker 2 

And then I think I got a raise to 20 or 22 and that was a. 

00:14:23 Speaker 2 

Lot of money in those days. 

00:14:26 Speaker 1 

So from CFCF you went to what is now called CGSS. 

00:14:31 Speaker 1 

What was then CKKS FM radio in Cornwall. 

00:14:36 Speaker 1 

What inspired the move you moved into into announcing from being a record library? 

00:14:43 Speaker 2 


00:14:44 Speaker 2 

Actually, during the time that I was at CFCF, I probably spent more than I should have in time hanging around the control room and talking to the announcers because I I discovered very shortly after I entered broadcasting that that was really what I wanted to do was announce. 

00:15:02 Speaker 2 

To be a star, to be a performer, to have all the pretty young ladies calling. 

00:15:07 Speaker 2 

Me up on. 

00:15:08 Speaker 2 

The on the telephone and asking me to play their favorite song, which I did occasionally. 

00:15:15 Speaker 2 

And so the announce announcing bug hit me very early in my radio career and I decided to try my luck at announcing. 

00:15:25 Speaker 2 

And so I made an audition. 

00:15:29 Speaker 2 

I almost said tape that there was no such thing as tape in those days. 

00:15:35 Speaker 2 

And if you’d like me to explain that briefly, Stephen, perhaps this would be a good time. 

00:15:41 Speaker 2 

They were recordings, but they were what we call soft cut recordings and the older people listening to the tape, who perhaps worked in broadcasting as well will remain. 

00:15:52 Speaker 2 

Remember them. 

00:15:52 Speaker 2 

They were an aluminum base disc that were covered with the very soft material that could easily be cut, and there was each station had a recording machine where the announcer of course talked in the microphone and went into the equipment. 

00:16:12 Speaker 2 

And the needle would cut similar to a playback needle. 

00:16:18 Speaker 2 

Now only it was recording. 

00:16:19 Speaker 2 

Needle would cut grooves into the disc and and the disc was actually made. 

00:16:25 Speaker 2 

While the announcer was talking and when it was completed, whether it was for a commercial or whatever, it was usually mainly used for commercials or perhaps some feature program that the station might have planned. 

00:16:38 Speaker 2 

It was then played on the air. 

00:16:41 Speaker 2 

It it had a very. 

00:16:44 Speaker 2 

Short lifespan, because after you played it five or six times, it started to get quite scratchy compared to today’s recordings, especially with laser discs where they can be played forever without any scratch. 

00:16:57 Speaker 2 

Damage these soft cut recordings could easily be damaged and as they say, after a few plays you had to rerecord the whole thing all over again in order to keep the certain standard of quality up on the air. 

00:17:13 Speaker 1 

So in the days before tape recording, you in effect made your own records and and played them back and. 

00:17:18 Speaker 2 

That’s right. 

00:17:20 Speaker 2 

Virtually everything was live, Steven, except there might have been some special program or some special commercial announcement. Or perhaps the station sign off in those days, and and many stations are not on the air even now 24 hours a day. 

00:17:35 Speaker 2 

But the station sign off might be a big production with O Canada and and then perhaps some other patriotic song played in the background while the announcer, bad people, goodnight and invite them to tune in again at 6:00 o’clock the following morning when our morning program would begin. 

00:17:54 Speaker 2 

That type of thing. 

00:17:55 Speaker 2 

Was often put on on soft cut recording and used. 

00:18:00 Speaker 2 

As I say, for maybe a month or so before, it had to be changed. 

00:18:03 Speaker 1 

And be done, he once told me that there was a step in between the soft cuts and tape recording modern tape recording. 

00:18:12 Speaker 1 

What was that? 

00:18:13 Speaker 2 

Right, very briefly, I remember and I I wish I still had one actually. 

00:18:18 Speaker 2 

I had a couple of them. 

00:18:19 Speaker 2 

And like many other things, you don’t realize that perhaps someday these might become anti. 

00:18:26 Speaker 2 

So I threw them out. 

00:18:27 Speaker 2 

They were wire recorders and they were really the forerunner of. 

00:18:31 Speaker 2 

A tape machine. 

00:18:32 Speaker 2 

Only instead of having audio tape or videotape, you had a spool of wire. 

00:18:40 Speaker 2 

Very thin wire, perhaps even thinner than wire, or than thread on. 

00:18:45 Speaker 2 

On a school of. 

00:18:47 Speaker 2 

And they worked rather well. 

00:18:49 Speaker 2 

They the lifespan wasn’t wasn’t too bad, but it didn’t. 

00:18:56 Speaker 2 

The concept of wire recorders didn’t last very long because the main problem shortly after they came out was that they had a tendency to foul up as. 

00:19:07 Speaker 2 

They were being rewound to the beginning, and if you ever had anything happen in the rewind. 

00:19:15 Speaker 2 

And nowadays, with the tape, the tape just breaks. 

00:19:19 Speaker 2 

Then the wire didn’t really break. 

00:19:21 Speaker 2 

Sometimes it might, but more often what would happen is that it would wind itself all around the spool and you’d have miles of this hair thin tape all over the place, or a hair thin wire, I should say all all over the place. 

00:19:34 Speaker 2 

And it was absolutely impossible. 

00:19:36 Speaker 2 

To do anything with it, you just have to throw the whole tape out. 

00:19:39 Speaker 2 

So after a while it was decided that these really they were a nice invention at the time and a forerunner to something much, much better, but they simply didn’t serve the purpose very well. 

00:19:51 Speaker 2 

And I think they then became. 

00:19:55 Speaker 2 

Sort of an amusement thing for people at home and afterwards. 

00:19:59 Speaker 2 

As soon as tape came out, you couldn’t give a tape. 

00:20:02 Speaker 2 

You couldn’t give a wire recorder away, let alone sell one. 

00:20:06 Speaker 1 

So you made an audition record in effect for CKSF and got the job as an announcer at CSI. 

00:20:16 Speaker 1 

Tell me a bit about that station and Cornwall and and what a small radio station in a small city was like back then. 

00:20:25 Speaker 2 

Well, it was sort of like going from day into night or night into day. 

00:20:30 Speaker 2 

I had been, you know, brought up in Montreal. 

00:20:33 Speaker 2 

Big city atmosphere. 

00:20:35 Speaker 2 

Big station like CFCF and going to a very small station. 

00:20:38 Speaker 2 

That’s KSF now CJS. 

00:20:40 Speaker 2 

It was at the time it was owned by the Cornwall Standard Freeholder newspaper. 

00:20:48 Speaker 2 

Much much smaller and much smaller budgets, equipment, everything. 

00:20:53 Speaker 2 

Pretty well, but I was on the air at last and and this was the big thing for me and I did everything from the morning program to the late night program. 

00:21:04 Speaker 2 

And this is what typically happened in those days. 

00:21:08 Speaker 2 

Announcers were moved around and tried in different shifts, not so much because of ratings, which is the reason that’s usually done now. 

00:21:18 Speaker 2 

But to give the announcer experience in in doing different types of programs, that was excellent training. 

00:21:24 Speaker 2 

Or any announcer who was working in the business at the time. 

00:21:29 Speaker 2 

I think there might have been one library and maybe we picked our own music. 

00:21:33 Speaker 2 

I really can’t remember for sure, but maybe instead of having a staff of eight or 10 news people, I could see FCF was one news person. 

00:21:44 Speaker 2 

There was no mobile unit. 

00:21:47 Speaker 2 

I guess in those days they didn’t have. 

00:21:50 Speaker 2 

Mobile units that ran around with radios in their cars, things like that, had yet to be invented, or if they were invented, they were probably too costly for a small. 

00:21:59 Speaker 2 

Station to afford. 

00:22:01 Speaker 2 

So it was sort of a cultural shock and in many ways from a big city to a small city and also from a big station to a small station, which was a good small station, but nevertheless. 

00:22:13 Speaker 2 

Everything was downscaled from from the large counterpart that I had worked for, so it took some getting used. 

00:22:19 Speaker 1 

To did the. 

00:22:22 Speaker 1 

Smaller size of the station, the smaller budgets make it necessary for CCSF to lean more heavily on music. 

00:22:31 Speaker 1 

Musical programming, which is relatively inexpensive or was there still a lot of community programming? 

00:22:38 Speaker 1 

Community talks, those kinds of things. 

00:22:41 Speaker 2 

Honestly enough, there. 

00:22:42 Speaker 2 

There were quite a few community talk type programs. 

00:22:47 Speaker 2 

There was always somebody. 

00:22:49 Speaker 2 

Ready, willing and able to come in from, say, the newspaper with which the station was affiliated at the time. 

00:22:57 Speaker 2 

I think the the sports person who did the sportscasts was the sports editor for the newspaper and there was always somebody who perhaps was good at knitting who. 

00:23:09 Speaker 2 

Would come in and talk about knitting. 

00:23:11 Speaker 2 

I remember we had. 

00:23:13 Speaker 2 

And that was very popular in many stations in those days, or 15 minute religious program done by the local ministerial association and featuring a different minister every morning at 8:45 to 9:00 o’clock. And that stayed on many, many stations for a long time. And I remember when they. 

00:23:32 Speaker 2 

I’m not sure what station I was at at the time. 

00:23:34 Speaker 2 

Perhaps in Kingston, the station there was carrying it at the time and all of a sudden most stations started discontinuing religious programs during weekday mornings, and there was a lot of objections from the the public. 

00:23:52 Speaker 2 

And we were. 

00:23:53 Speaker 2 

You know, accused of being anti religious and so on and so on. 

00:23:56 Speaker 2 

But it was just the type of programming. 

00:23:58 Speaker 2 

That most Asians felt by survey, by contacting listeners and asking what they enjoyed listening to most had sort of worn thin as it were, and. 

00:24:12 Speaker 2 

Like everything else, the world changes and it was replaced by, probably in a further extension in the morning program, which would then end at 8:45 with followed by a 50 minute religious program was extended through till 9:00 o’clock. 

00:24:28 Speaker 1 

Do you? 

00:24:30 Speaker 2 

Do you have any memories of particular people at CKW SF, particular colleagues? 

00:24:35 Speaker 2 

Well, the manager there was a Mr. 

00:24:37 Speaker 2 

Fred Pemberton at the time and two people who really stick out in my mind was Andy Walsh, who left Cornwall, and I think went to Vancouver and. 

00:24:50 Speaker 2 

Had a pretty successful career in news out there and Hugh Moreland, who was an announcer and I think went in. 

00:24:57 Speaker 2 

To the production business started its own production company in Toronto a couple of years after I left C KSF in Cornwall, and I guess I’ve really lost track of both these people unfortunately, and you often wonder where these people are now and what they’re doing. 

00:25:16 Speaker 1 

So we’re up to about 1953 and you step out of broadcasting for. 

00:25:21 Speaker 2 


00:25:25 Speaker 1 

To become national promotion manager at Decca Records. 

00:25:29 Speaker 1 

But that only lasts a year. 

00:25:31 Speaker 1 

And then you go. 

00:25:32 Speaker 1 

Back into radio, you must have been thoroughly bitten by the by the radio bug. 

00:25:38 Speaker 2 

That’s true, but I nevertheless thoroughly enjoyed my year with Decca Records. 

00:25:42 Speaker 2 

Now MCA, because I was, as you’ve mentioned, national promotion manager and one of my main jobs didn’t come along often enough to suit me was. 

00:25:54 Speaker 2 

Montreal being a big center, of course, attracted many of the Decca label. 

00:25:59 Speaker 2 

Stars such as Louis Armstrong and Peggy Lee. 

00:26:04 Speaker 2 

There were many, many stories that that came to town. 

00:26:07 Speaker 2 

It was my job and and what a wonderful job it was. 

00:26:11 Speaker 2 

And I thoroughly enjoyed that. 

00:26:13 Speaker 2 

You can imagine, I guess at the time I was probably about. 

00:26:19 Speaker 2 

19 or 20 years old, and it was my job to escort Peggy Lee or Louis Armstrong around the city Of Montreal. 

00:26:25 Speaker 2 

And and since they were one of our artists, to make sure that their hotel accommodations were adequate or as good as possible, I would attend their rehearsals. 

00:26:36 Speaker 2 

I was on a first name basis with. 

00:26:39 Speaker 2 

With them, and for a 20 year old to be mingling with these big big stars which they were and Peggy Dee for example, still is. 

00:26:47 Speaker 2 

It was a tremendous experience, but as you said. 

00:26:51 Speaker 2 

Announcing and radio itself, I was on the fringes of it all the time, but in a way that was I just. 

00:27:01 Speaker 2 

Causing me to every day and want to get back behind the microphone at a radio station. 

00:27:08 Speaker 2 

So after the deck I then moved on to to other stations. 

00:27:14 Speaker 1 

And the first was CJ Mccuen Belleville, where you went in in 1953. 

00:27:22 Speaker 1 

You did a country show. 

00:27:25 Speaker 1 

I I believe on CJ Q. 

00:27:28 Speaker 2 

Yeah, many smaller stations. 

00:27:30 Speaker 2 

The country music, I think at that time was mainly confined to rural or semi rural areas to the smaller cities anyway. 

00:27:38 Speaker 2 

C JBQ was a. 

00:27:40 Speaker 2 

Big country music station. 

00:27:42 Speaker 2 

I think it was called cowboy music then or country and western. 

00:27:48 Speaker 2 

Well, I guess cowboy really was was the name when I first started. 

00:27:52 Speaker 2 

Doing it. 

00:27:53 Speaker 2 

Along the time that Hank Williams and people of his vintage were very, very popular, and as you may remember, Steven, it was there that I Met Your Mother talking about record library. 

00:28:06 Speaker 2 

And she was the record librarian at C JBQ in Belleville, and she used to select the music for my program. 

00:28:12 Speaker 2 

And we had many arguments. 

00:28:14 Speaker 2 

Over a hot turntable as. 

00:28:16 Speaker 2 

I should play this Hank Williams record or or another one and couple of other people that stick in my mind from C JBQ or Russ Thompson, who had a great voice, moved on to Toronto and was in Toronto radio for some time. 

00:28:31 Speaker 2 

And Scott Hannah, who is the program director and assistant manager. 

00:28:36 Speaker 2 

Who went to Hayhurst advertising in Toronto and I think to Bill Stoven Stoven company was one. 

00:28:44 Speaker 2 

Of the radio representative firms at the time, Bill Stoven was the station manager at C JBQ. 

00:28:50 Speaker 2 

When I was there. 

00:28:52 Speaker 1 

Now CJQ was another station owned by a newspaper, wasn’t. 

00:28:57 Speaker 2 

It right, the Ontario intelligence or I think and? 

00:29:03 Speaker 2 

Yeah, that that often happened too. 

00:29:05 Speaker 2 

And and until I guess three in the early CRC days where the CRC tried to discourage as much as possible ownership of a broadcast station, buy a newspaper in the same. 

00:29:19 Speaker 1 

Market so from CJ. 

00:29:23 Speaker 1 

Do you move down? 

00:29:25 Speaker 1 

What was then Hwy. #2, I guess to to Kingston, to Kingston and to Ckoc radio. 

00:29:28 Speaker 2 

Was now 401, man. 

00:29:34 Speaker 2 


00:29:34 Speaker 2 

That was a big move up, Steven, because Belleville was a very small market, similar to Cornwall, and Kingston was probably about twice the size the TJQ was. 

00:29:43 Speaker 2 

And that was how announcers then, and I guess they’ll do move up the ladder. 

00:29:50 Speaker 2 

So to speak. 

00:29:51 Speaker 2 

And so I joined the announcing staff at CLC, and that was my first exposure to CBC programming insofar as programming at the station was concerned where I worked at that time, there was the Dominion Network and the Trans Canada network of the CBC. 

00:30:09 Speaker 2 

CK LLC had the Dominion network. 

00:30:12 Speaker 2 

And the other station in Kingston, C KWS, which I eventually worked for later on, had the Trans Canada network and the programming again was still it was, it was evolving. 

00:30:25 Speaker 2 

It was changing, of course. 

00:30:28 Speaker 2 

But they were still mainly from the network then any any station such as Ckoc at that time that had network was able to broadcast many interesting programs from the network that perhaps would be extremely expensive to do on their own. 

00:30:45 Speaker 2 

For example, I remember on Sunday at 5:00 o’clock there was the feature length. 

00:30:49 Speaker 2 

Children’s program, which was very good and the station carried from the Dominion Network of the CBC. 

00:30:57 Speaker 1 

So in the old days there were two CBC radio networks, the Dominion and Trans Canada. 

00:31:00 Speaker 2 


00:31:02 Speaker 1 

What was the difference between the two? 

00:31:04 Speaker 2 

The Trans Canada network was more of a cultural type of network. 

00:31:08 Speaker 2 

They played the classical music, they had the Shakespearean dramas where the Dominion Network featured the latter program, I guess patterned somewhat after the BBC and and its services. 

00:31:23 Speaker 2 

The Dominion Network had the lighter music programs the the lighter plays the children’s programs, perhaps even hockey games or baseball games, or occasion. 

00:31:35 Speaker 2 

Whereas they say Trans Canada network featured the real cultural type programming. 

00:31:40 Speaker 1 

So what were you doing? 

00:31:42 Speaker 1 

What were your duties? 

00:31:44 Speaker 2 

I was doing the morning show for quite some time and the program director, I think in his wisdom decided well part. 

00:31:53 Speaker 2 

So was I have always had trouble getting up and early in the morning and of course person doing the morning program has to be up before the sun gets up. 

00:32:03 Speaker 2 

And I was replaced by one of the probably one of the most famous morning men, Al Boliska, whom many people remember a very funny guy. 

00:32:13 Speaker 2 

He became a personal friend and unfortunately passed on at a very early age in Toronto, where I think he worked for, I believe it was chum. 

00:32:24 Speaker 2 

And Alex Saunders, another name who was the news director? 

00:32:30 Speaker 2 

Johnny Kelly was a local personality, the sports director, and is still to this day, though he hasn’t worked in broadcasting for probably 10 or 15 years, was a household word. 

00:32:45 Speaker 1 

See then, Dad, you move out of radio and into television to see KVR and Barry. 

00:32:51 Speaker 1 

What prompted that? 

00:32:53 Speaker 2 

Well, I guess like millions of other people, Steve, I was really captured by that exciting new little box that that would sit on on a person’s table and that had pictures that that moved and as well as sound, even though the pictures were only in black and white, they were still pretty exciting. 

00:33:13 Speaker 2 

And I decided to try my hand at television. 

00:33:16 Speaker 2 

So off I went to CKV RTV and Barry. 

00:33:19 Speaker 1 

And what were you doing? 

00:33:21 Speaker 2 

Well, actually I was at the station when it first went on the air within two or three days, and I did a whole bunch of different things. 

00:33:30 Speaker 2 

I was sports director, I was copy chief. 

00:33:33 Speaker 2 

I was booth announcer. 

00:33:35 Speaker 2 

I think I was part time news director and I did all sorts and probably never worked harder. 

00:33:41 Speaker 2 

In in my life, in the business than I did at KBR because they were pretty short staffed and just getting going and it, but it gave me tremendous opportunity to learn all sorts of different jobs at at a brand new television station, which incidentally had a radio. 

00:33:58 Speaker 2 

Billy it and once in a while I’d sneak over to the radio side and think HM. 

00:34:03 Speaker 2 

I wonder if, well, maybe I’ll go back to radio sometime. 

00:34:06 Speaker 2 

I really wasn’t sure it probably would have been better if there hadn’t been a radio station nearby. 

00:34:12 Speaker 1 

But in television, it must have been rather exciting and rather energizing to work at a station that had. 

00:34:18 Speaker 1 

Just signed on and. 

00:34:20 Speaker 1 

The and in the pioneer days of television too. 

00:34:23 Speaker 2 


00:34:24 Speaker 2 

And it was very exciting and doing these different jobs as is and of course the one I enjoyed most was when I was on camera, the booth duty as it was called, where at the end of a network program and there was an awful lot of network programming opposed to local programming basically in the early days. 

00:34:41 Speaker 2 

Of television, it was just local news, weather and sports, and the rest of it was either on on film or off and. 

00:34:48 Speaker 2 

Network but just sitting in a booth identifying the station. 

00:34:52 Speaker 2 

In those days, the station identifications were done live and every half hour or an hour saying this is KDVR TV channel 3 and Barry wasn’t too exciting. 

00:35:02 Speaker 2 

But being on camera was great. 

00:35:04 Speaker 1 

So, well, what? 

00:35:06 Speaker 1 

What was that like? 

00:35:07 Speaker 1 

You were sports director and part-time news director. 

00:35:10 Speaker 1 

How would you fill? 

00:35:12 Speaker 1 

How would you fill the time when in those days you didn’t have? 

00:35:18 Speaker 1 

Of lightweight film cameras, or videotape cameras. 

00:35:23 Speaker 1 

Would you film the show? 

00:35:24 Speaker 2 

Most of it really was reading of wire copy that I think we probably stole from the radio station, yeah. 

00:35:31 Speaker 2 

And we’re running around trying to find it for their sportscasts. 

00:35:34 Speaker 1 


00:35:35 Speaker 2 

No, there was very little there was, if anything done on film. 

00:35:38 Speaker 2 

I don’t really remember anything of that nature. 

00:35:42 Speaker 2 

So the camera would just sit on you. 

00:35:44 Speaker 2 

For five or 10 minutes, however long it was and you would read the sports scores and the stories that were coming in over the the Teletype. 

00:35:53 Speaker 1 

And in those days, I understand those studios could be awfully oppressive under those hot lights. 

00:36:00 Speaker 2 

Right. Yeah, the the. 

00:36:03 Speaker 2 

Like everything else, modernization has minimized that problem. But in those days they had huge lights, and that probably would be 90 or 100 degrees, sometimes sitting under the lights, and they had to have those. 

00:36:14 Speaker 2 

In order. 

00:36:15 Speaker 2 

To with the equipment available at the time to show a good picture to the. 

00:36:18 Speaker 2 

People at home. 

00:36:20 Speaker 1 

Do you? 

00:36:22 Speaker 1 

Do you remember any of the programs that were coming down the line from the network at that time? 

00:36:27 Speaker 1 

I assume it was the CBC that. 

00:36:30 Speaker 1 

Who were affiliated with? 

00:36:31 Speaker 2 

Yeah, basically there were the CBC programs, boy, not right off hand. 

00:36:38 Speaker 2 

Steven, I can’t. 

00:36:39 Speaker 1 

Any amusing stories, pratfalls, that kind of thing, from the from the first days of a new television station when people weren’t really sure of themselves? 

00:36:50 Speaker 1 

Sure of the equipment. 

00:36:52 Speaker 1 

Or did were you able to feel your way along somehow? 

00:36:55 Speaker 2 

Pretty well felt our way along. 

00:36:57 Speaker 2 

There were some old odd goofs, as it’s might be called on the air, but nothing serious in those days. 

00:37:05 Speaker 2 

Of course, when everything was live, if you made a mistake, there was no way to turn the tape back and erase it and start over. 

00:37:12 Speaker 2 

Everybody knew you made a mistake, whether it was giving the wrong score or. 

00:37:16 Speaker 2 

Fortunately, not too many bad words got on me or anything, but you had to be careful and hence the from the old radio days. 

00:37:24 Speaker 2 

The the old adage, which still stands today. 

00:37:27 Speaker 2 

If there’s a microphone in the room. 

00:37:29 Speaker 2 

Assume that it’s always. 

00:37:30 Speaker 2 

Assume that it’s on, because it might very well be. 

00:37:34 Speaker 1 

And you moved the next year in 1956 back into radio. 

00:37:42 Speaker 1 

How come? 

00:37:43 Speaker 2 

Well, as I mentioned a moment ago, I I think radio primarily was still in my blood and I guess television was still so much in its infancy that I was, I was more attracted to, which sounds strange, but the. 

00:38:00 Speaker 2 

The glamour of radio, really. 

00:38:02 Speaker 2 

The television was getting most of the attention at the time, but I found I was more involved and on hour to hour basis and rather than, you know, spending a lot of time preparing a sports cast and having it over in 5 minutes, I could be on the air for three hours. 

00:38:21 Speaker 2 

Entertaining people, playing recordings and I think that appealed to me more than. 

00:38:27 Speaker 2 

Then the television work at that, as it stood at that particular time, mostly preparation and very little air work. 

00:38:34 Speaker 2 

And it was the air work that I. 

00:38:35 Speaker 1 

Enjoyed most before we leave television, a couple of other things I I I should ask you first of all, are there any? 

00:38:42 Speaker 1 

Are there any people from Channel 3 and Barry that that you recall? 

00:38:47 Speaker 1 

Particularly fondly. 

00:38:51 Speaker 2 

Well, really, Bill Harrington also was doing news with me. 

00:38:56 Speaker 2 

There was more news than sports on as there is probably on most stations and I think Bill is probably still in the Toronto area. 

00:39:04 Speaker 2 

He’s another person that I lost contact with and. 

00:39:10 Speaker 1 

No one else that I can really think of at the moment. So it’s 1956 and you’ve moved back into radio, you’ve moved to Hamilton and CHML radio. Were you by this time aware that the presence of television? 

00:39:23 Speaker 1 

Was changing the way radio worked was changing the kinds of programming that radio had that you were suddenly in competition with this new medium and had to carve out a niche for yourself? 

00:39:36 Speaker 2 

Yeah, definitely. 

00:39:39 Speaker 2 

But Despite that, I I still wanted to work in the medium of radio. 

00:39:44 Speaker 2 

And at CHTML, actually, I my air work was reduced, which sort of contradicts with what I said a moment ago. 

00:39:53 Speaker 2 

But because it was HTML and CHML in, in my estimation was then and I’m sure still is one of the finest stations in the country. 

00:40:04 Speaker 2 

Very, very well. 

00:40:06 Speaker 2 

Run station. 

00:40:07 Speaker 2 

Excellent staff, people like John Dickens, Bill Mcvean, Gordie Tapp. 

00:40:12 Speaker 2 

The cream of the crop, certainly. 

00:40:14 Speaker 2 

Every bit as good, I think, is as Toronto Radio was at at the time, and many of these people are are still very active. 

00:40:23 Speaker 2 

Tom Darling was the manager at the time and an interesting aside was Tom. 

00:40:29 Speaker 2 

I think because of ill health had to retire and I came across having. 

00:40:35 Speaker 2 

For the first time in my life to and then, there’s nothing sexist unless, believe me, to work for a woman who was station manager. 

00:40:43 Speaker 2 

Her name was Agnes Anderson, who was a tremendous person and a good manager. 

00:40:47 Speaker 2 

And of course nowadays women in broadcasting are. 

00:40:50 Speaker 2 

Are very, very common, but back in those days it was almost unheard of to, especially in the position of being a station manager, so. 

00:41:02 Speaker 1 

When were you noticing at this time, just to just? 

00:41:05 Speaker 1 

To get back to. 

00:41:08 Speaker 1 

What we were talking about a few minutes ago. 

00:41:10 Speaker 1 

Were you noticing at this time? 

00:41:12 Speaker 1 

Changes in programming radio programming to accommodate the the presence of television to programming styles change did radio change. 

00:41:26 Speaker 2 

Yeah, I think it it really did and it was probably right around that time. 

00:41:32 Speaker 2 

Radio became more of a kitchen companion picnic at the Beach companion, a radio in the bedroom to listen to before you went to sleep at night and and the programming did change. 

00:41:50 Speaker 2 

There was. 

00:41:51 Speaker 2 

Probably fewer features. 

00:41:54 Speaker 2 

Certainly block programming was was at that time. 

00:41:59 Speaker 2 

By that I mean, of course, as I referred to earlier, the 15 or 30 minute programs were going by the wayside very, very quickly. 

00:42:06 Speaker 2 

And you had your three hour programs or 4 hour programs with one personality who would play a whole variety of music, and the formats were much less strict than. 

00:42:19 Speaker 2 

They were just a few years earlier where in the middle of a program of waltzes, you certainly wouldn’t play anything but of waltz. 

00:42:26 Speaker 2 

And waltzes were almost abolished from libraries. 

00:42:31 Speaker 2 

I guess at the time. 

00:42:32 Speaker 2 

And it became. 

00:42:34 Speaker 2 

Probably the early days of hit music, radio and and news and sports and weather and probably really the the first forerunner of the modern radio station of today. 

00:42:49 Speaker 1 

So from Hamilton and CHTML in 1957, you go to Kingston. 

00:42:57 Speaker 1 

And CFWS radio in Kingston. 

00:42:59 Speaker 1 

And for the next quarter century, you’re at CCWS radio, that station really large measure grew up with you and and and vice versa, how how in what capacity did you start at second WS radio well? 

00:43:17 Speaker 2 

I started as the low man on the totem pole doing the late Night show, which is at that time where most announcers started when they went. 

00:43:26 Speaker 2 

To a new station. 

00:43:28 Speaker 2 

Shortly afterwards, about a year later, I was promoted to and I don’t think perhaps at the CBC they have. 

00:43:36 Speaker 2 

Still such a title I was promoted to chief announcer, where I was head of the announcer, sort of a an in between guide between the announcers themselves and the program director trying to serve keep the announcers happy and keep the program and department happy. 

00:43:54 Speaker 2 

And then about a year after that, I was promoted to program director, which I was rather proud of than two years going from, you know, a late night announcer to head of the programming depart. 

00:44:05 Speaker 1 

That’s quite a time to have gone to head of the programming department. 

00:44:09 Speaker 1 

There were some pretty pretty interesting things going on in radio in those days. 

00:44:15 Speaker 1 

I I think primarily as a result of the interesting things that were going on in popular music, right? 

00:44:21 Speaker 2 

Right it was. 

00:44:21 Speaker 2 

Probably the very early days of rock’n’roll coming. 

00:44:25 Speaker 2 

Into into its own, and still nevertheless at the local level. 

00:44:32 Speaker 2 

At CWS we still did a fair amount of Community programming we. 

00:44:37 Speaker 2 

Did remote broadcasts from blood donor clinics. 

00:44:41 Speaker 2 

We did, which I think was the first time in Canadian broadcast history. 

00:44:46 Speaker 2 

It had been done special program from the Canadian Penitentiary, which took probably six months to get permission to do, featuring some of the inmates themselves. 

00:44:58 Speaker 2 

There were many taped features that were programmed on the station, such one of them being mother Parkers, musical mysteries, mother Parker being a a brand of tea, and there would be an MC who would play. 

00:45:16 Speaker 2 

The song and listeners would be asked to. 

00:45:19 Speaker 2 

To guess what song was mail in their entries with the with the proof of purchase from other parkers, and they would win, or some astronomical prize like $20.00 or $10 or something. 

00:45:30 Speaker 2 

Weren’t very big then. 

00:45:31 Speaker 2 

Not like the price is right or we have a fortune today. 

00:45:36 Speaker 1 

What? Back in radio? 

00:45:39 Speaker 1 

Now what? 

00:45:40 Speaker 1 

What were the sources of news that the station was using? 

00:45:46 Speaker 2 

I think at the time I first started, we had basically just the. 

00:45:50 Speaker 2 

The Teletype we did also though have a plus over the. 

00:45:56 Speaker 2 

Other station in town, CK LLC, which was at that point I think on the year three or four years and for whom I had worked earlier as we talked about. 

00:46:07 Speaker 2 

But CWS was affiliated with the Kingston Week Standard newspaper, which is one of the finest smaller newspapers in Canada and actually. 

00:46:16 Speaker 2 

Canada’s oldest continually published newspaper I I think daily newspaper. 

00:46:20 Speaker 1 

The daily. 

00:46:22 Speaker 2 

So we we got what we call dupes from the wig standard. 

00:46:27 Speaker 2 

These were copies of local news stories that a writer at the Wig standard would write up. 

00:46:33 Speaker 2 

He would slip a piece of carbon paper in and we would get copies of all the stories that were going to appear in the week standard that day we would get. 

00:46:40 Speaker 2 

Them early in the morning. 

00:46:41 Speaker 2 

And so we often had the jump in our competitor because we had in effect about 50 people working in our news department, not just the people at the station, but the people at the weak standard who maybe were going to make a break, a big story, and we would have it long before anybody else would. 

00:46:59 Speaker 1 

One of the advantages of being affiliated with the paper’s much larger news department. 

00:47:02 Speaker 2 

Right, right. 

00:47:06 Speaker 1 

The Teletype you mentioned was broadcast news in existence in those states. 

00:47:10 Speaker 1 

Or would that have been the old Canadian Press? 

00:47:13 Speaker 2 

I think broadcast news was just starting then I’m not positive on that point, but we certainly had a teletype and we did get. 

00:47:22 Speaker 2 

Our most of our national and international news, certainly from that and CWS at the time was an affiliate of. 

00:47:30 Speaker 2 

We talked about the Dominion network before at KLC in Kingston C KWS had the Trans Canada network and carried much more CBC programming than CLC did. 

00:47:43 Speaker 2 

Which posed a programming problem at times because of the nature of the CBC programming on Trans Canada, network was highbrow. 

00:47:52 Speaker 2 

If that’s a good term and appeal to a minority of audience and we would find in the ratings that as soon as we went from our local programming to the CBC programming, our audience might drop to 50% or even less than we had just a few. 

00:48:06 Speaker 2 

Minutes earlier. 

00:48:09 Speaker 1 

Speaking of ratings, how? 

00:48:12 Speaker 1 

How were they done in those days? 

00:48:15 Speaker 1 

Around 1960 early 60s, same way as they were done today. 

00:48:20 Speaker 2 

I I I think there was a rudimentary service of of IBM. 

00:48:28 Speaker 2 

I’m not sure if it was called that at the time, but there there were published reports and they were very elementary and didn’t go into. 

00:48:35 Speaker 2 

The demographics like they do now. 

00:48:38 Speaker 2 

Basically, you knew generally what way you were you were headed. 

00:48:41 Speaker 2 

We also did a lot of surveys of our own telephone surveys we would hire, say, some students from Queens University. 

00:48:50 Speaker 2 

And write up a questionnaire as on as unbiasedly question as unbiasedly worded as possible and have them place maybe 3 or 400 calls, not protect the scientific and the element of error or the percentage of error probably was quite high, but that we’re using that with. 

00:49:10 Speaker 2 

Or what other information we could get from rating services sort of gave us an indication, hopefully that we were headed in the right direction in any given time period. 

00:49:20 Speaker 1 

You’ve mentioned a couple of of secret WS’s first in radio programming now, but there are a few others that I don’t think you you have mentioned, for instance, and you you did a program for the CBC that I think was about the only program the CBC contracted out to an affiliate. 

00:49:41 Speaker 1 

Is that? 

00:49:41 Speaker 2 

Right, right. 

00:49:42 Speaker 2 

That’s that’s true, Steve. 

00:49:43 Speaker 2 

It started the program was neighborly news, and it was featured on the Ontario and Quebec networks of the CBC. 

00:49:52 Speaker 2 

This was then, after the Trans Canada and the Dominion Network, it just became the CBC Radio network and all CBC programming ceased on CKLC&CKWS was selected as the affiliate in Kingston. CBC now has its own station in Kingston, but that’s another story. 

00:50:11 Speaker 2 

And neighboring news was unique in in many ways, and that it featured readings from the small weekly newspapers right across the two provinces. 

00:50:24 Speaker 2 

And these were papers like the trentonian, the C 4th here on Expositor, the Renfrew advance, the Midland Progress, maybe papers that the person listening to this tape right now may never, never have heard it, but it was done by a professor at Queens University. 

00:50:43 Speaker 2 

Arthur Phelps, who was one of the dearest people I’ve ever known in my entire life. 

00:50:48 Speaker 2 

He became lifelong friends. 

00:50:50 Speaker 2 

He was an elderly gentleman, a beautiful person in every sense of the word. 

00:50:54 Speaker 2 

And he did the program. 

00:50:56 Speaker 2 

He would get hundreds of weekly newspapers every week and he would do this as sort of the sideline from his professorial duties at Queens and glean through all these newspapers and pick out human interest stories. 

00:51:10 Speaker 2 

And every Sunday morning at 10:15 for years and years, I think it was one of the longest running programs on the CBC. Neighbor News would come on the air. It was my privilege to announce the program. 

00:51:23 Speaker 2 

To sign it on and off and also I then started to become really interested in it to help Professor Phelps with the selection of the stories and Professor Phelps. 

00:51:34 Speaker 2 

Unfortunately, then he was getting pretty well on in years, became gravely ill and passed on and the. 

00:51:42 Speaker 2 

ABC asked me which was another real honor I felt if. 

00:51:46 Speaker 2 

They would be interested in carrying on the neighborly news tradition and doing the show from CWS continuing to do that and as you say, Steven, I think it was one of the very few, if not the only non CBC owned and operated station that fed a program to the CBC live on its network. 

00:52:06 Speaker 2 

And that that was really something in those days for that to happen. 

00:52:10 Speaker 1 

And one of CBC Radio’s top rated programs, too. 

00:52:13 Speaker 2 

Right. It certainly was. 

00:52:16 Speaker 1 

You’ve done a few other things, particularly related to to the CBC. 

00:52:25 Speaker 1 

I understand you’ve done several major feeds, for instance, for newscasts, considering the number of dignitaries that visited Kingston, many of them to stop at Queens University. 

00:52:38 Speaker 2 

Yes, Queens attracted a lot of very important people and we were the. 

00:52:45 Speaker 2 

The affiliate in in Kingston and we were frequently called on often as many as four or five times a week, perhaps even more if there was some major event going on at Queens to feed items live to the network on the national news at night, or perhaps in on programs. 

00:53:05 Speaker 2 

That came along. 

00:53:08 Speaker 2 

The 6:30 program at night help me with the title Steven. As it happens, programs like this we would I would produce the I would make the arrangements with the whoever it was that was going to appear and also arrange with CBC and Toronto and and order the lines and so on so that we would have a good clear fee. 

00:53:27 Speaker 2 

Do all the testing before it actually went on the air, and so we had many very interesting programs emanate from CCWS to not just the Ontario and Quebec networks as it was with neighboring news, but the entire network right across the country. 

00:53:44 Speaker 1 

I remember 1 Christmas when you couldn’t be at home because you had to be at Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Kingston to feed, feed Christmas mass to the CBC for for national distribution. 

00:53:56 Speaker 2 

That’s right. 

00:53:58 Speaker 2 

Yes, that was that was a most interesting experience for me to to do a live program to the entire network. 

00:54:05 Speaker 2 

Of of Christmas morning religious service from the church, and that was another one. 

00:54:14 Speaker 2 

I’m glad you mentioned that I’d almost forgotten about. 

00:54:16 Speaker 1 

It and there have been a few other things you produced. 

00:54:21 Speaker 1 

The coverage of Queen Elizabeth. 

00:54:24 Speaker 1 

Visit to Kingston a few years ago. 

00:54:27 Speaker 2 


00:54:27 Speaker 2 

Her Majesty The Queen has been to Kingston several times. 

00:54:32 Speaker 2 

The first and second time she was here after I joined KWS. 

00:54:37 Speaker 2 

We really mounted all our forces and all leaves were canceled, so to speak, and we had a continuous three or four or five hour broadcast from about 12 different locations across the city. 

00:54:50 Speaker 2 

We had a borrow bag and steel equipment from our sister station in Peterborough and wherever we could get. 

00:54:57 Speaker 2 

Extra equipment to to do this and I think you yourself were involved in one of these broadcasts as as an announcer for in the for CWS in in the news department. 

00:55:09 Speaker 1 

And you also did some live radio plays, didn’t you? 

00:55:13 Speaker 1 

From the local theater, domino? 

00:55:15 Speaker 2 

Theatre right. 

00:55:16 Speaker 2 

Stephen Kingston has been noted for a number of years of having as having excellent amateur and some professional theater. 

00:55:25 Speaker 2 

One of the the top theater groups is Domino Theater. 

00:55:30 Speaker 2 

Which has been in existence for many, many years, and while I was at CCWS, I made arrangements with Domino Theatre to present. 

00:55:39 Speaker 2 

1/2 hour series of programs of plays for the listening audience I would produce and direct these plays and they featured probably no names that anybody would recognize other than in Kingston, but certainly the cream of the theatrical talent in the Kingston area. 

00:55:58 Speaker 2 

And this series of programs went on for many, many years. 

00:56:03 Speaker 2 

And actually one person who was very responsible for assisting me in this was Norma Edwards, who. 

00:56:12 Speaker 2 

Has made quite a name for herself across Canada in presenting one woman show or one person show. 

00:56:18 Speaker 2 

If you prefer of the readings of Margaret Lawrence, the famous Canadian authors. 

00:56:27 Speaker 1 

Can you recall any other special programs or feeds that were originated or produced at CWS? 

00:56:35 Speaker 2 

Well, special things that we used to do, I think we were the first Asian outside of Toronto, Montreal area and perhaps Vancouver to do air traffic reports. 

00:56:47 Speaker 2 

However, it became quite costly and really the city at that time was not large enough to to to really justify having air traffic reports because you didn’t have that many arteries to get in or out of the city. 

00:57:02 Speaker 2 

But it was different and it caught a lot of attention and people seemed to really react. 

00:57:07 Speaker 2 

Pretty positively to it. 

00:57:11 Speaker 1 

The one thing I find interesting that that occurred while you were program director is that FM came into its own in in Kingston on CWS. 

00:57:24 Speaker 1 

You started FM in the 50s, did you not with simulcasting? 

00:57:29 Speaker 1 

What was on the AM station? 

00:57:32 Speaker 2 

Right. Actually, Steven, it was earlier than that. It was in 1942. CK WSFM, as it was called then, was probably one of the first FM stations on the air in Canada. 

00:57:46 Speaker 2 

And at that particular time, there were no transmission lines from the city of Kingston to. 

00:57:53 Speaker 2 

The AM transmitter the C KWS, AM transmitter on Wolf Island, which is in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River. 

00:58:00 Speaker 2 

And so the FM transmitter was used as a carrier for the AM signal from the downtown studios. 

00:58:09 Speaker 2 

Actually, the the AM programming the CWS AM programming was fed into the FM transmitter. 

00:58:15 Speaker 2 

And broadcast actually to Wolf Island, where it was received on an FM receiver and pumped into the AM transmitter. 

00:58:24 Speaker 2 

That was before telephone lines were available, and of course, as the years progressed and as the BBG which became the C RTC decided. 

00:58:36 Speaker 2 

And I think with a lot of wisdom that holders of FM licenses should either use it for. 

00:58:44 Speaker 2 

Something other than than what we were doing, though there was justifiable reason for it at the time. 

00:58:50 Speaker 2 

We did eventually get landlines that went underneath the water and the FM transmitter. 

00:59:01 Speaker 2 

Was used for FM only programming and started with. 

00:59:05 Speaker 2 

I think the original. 

00:59:07 Speaker 2 

Minimum that you had to start with was two hours and then when went to four hours and so on and so on till it reached full time. 

00:59:15 Speaker 2 

And that a job was also given to myself. 

00:59:18 Speaker 2 

So as well as being I had to wear two hats as well as being. 

00:59:22 Speaker 2 

Program director of CWS AM is also program director of CK WSFM, now known as CFM K, and it was quite difficult at times because the programming was so different on both stations. 

00:59:37 Speaker 2 

The CWS AM programming was. 

00:59:40 Speaker 2 

Was hit radio sort of thing with news, weather, sports as well as music. 

00:59:46 Speaker 2 

Our FM programming is more highbrow at the time and carried a lot of CBC programming, so I had to sort of juggle these. 

00:59:55 Speaker 2 

The programming in both these stations and try to keep my sanity at the same time. 

01:00:02 Speaker 1 

Probably it’s probably fair to say though that FM wasn’t taken as as seriously near as seriously as AM its full potential wasn’t close to being realized in those days. 

01:00:17 Speaker 1 

Is it not? 


No, no. 

01:00:18 Speaker 1 

That the FM station at CWS as. 

01:00:21 Speaker 1 

It has at. 

01:00:21 Speaker 1 

Most stations was sort of off in a corner somewhere and. 

01:00:24 Speaker 2 


01:00:25 Speaker 2 

No, absolutely. 

01:00:26 Speaker 2 

The, the FM station fell air to the equipment that they no longer wanted type of thing and. 

01:00:33 Speaker 2 

Eventually that all changed, but certainly it was the poorest sister. 

01:00:36 Speaker 2 

There were very few, if any, commercials that were on the air was very strictly regulated commercial wise anyway by the. 

01:00:43 Speaker 2 

By the CRC, but gradually that changes as FM became more and more popular, and perhaps at time of of recording this particular conversation in many, many markets, the FM station is the predominant station in in the market and overshadows its. 

01:01:05 Speaker 2 

Former Big Brother big sister. 

01:01:09 Speaker 1 

You also had a sister station downstairs from you. 

01:01:14 Speaker 1 

On Queen St. 

01:01:15 Speaker 1 

in Kingston and that was the television station. 

01:01:17 Speaker 1 

Did you find were was? 

01:01:20 Speaker 1 

There any competition or tension between the radio side and the television side, or did you work hand in glove? 

01:01:28 Speaker 2 

No, initially there was there was a lot of competition, except perhaps in news. 

01:01:34 Speaker 2 

That was the the main exception, but because we we shared our facilities at the time, now it’s different that each station has its own news department, but insofar as programming is was concerned, we fought tooth and nail because it was. 

01:01:51 Speaker 2 

In the early days of television, when I was there, if somebody wasn’t listening to the radio was probably because they were well, we were not only fighting the television station, but the other AM station and CLC in Kingston. 

01:02:08 Speaker 2 

And so at one particular time. 

01:02:13 Speaker 2 

We weren’t even allowed on. 

01:02:15 Speaker 2 

Well, I didn’t allow the CKW usam announcers to. 

01:02:18 Speaker 2 

Even acknowledged that there was such a thing as a television station in Kingston. 

01:02:22 Speaker 2 

It was just not done because we felt that if we did, people would say, oh, let’s turn television on and forget listening to the radio. 

01:02:32 Speaker 1 

What about as as a program director, you were having your first major experience with government regulation and and I that was the CR TC. 

01:02:40 Speaker 1 

It had become the CR TC by then, right. 

01:02:43 Speaker 1 

And what was it like? 

01:02:45 Speaker 1 

How? How has it changed? 

01:02:48 Speaker 2 

Well, I personally found working with this. 

Part 2


00:00:01 Speaker 1 

Everybody, of course. 

00:00:02 Speaker 1 

And who started his announcing career at CCWS when he was going to Queens University. 

00:00:07 Speaker 2 

The circumstances of your leaving second WS weren’t particularly pleasant in a nutshell. 

00:00:12 Speaker 1 

Well, the station was sold to a new company in 1980. I believe it was. And the new company decided they wanted to have. 

00:00:21 Speaker 1 

Their own people brought in and. 

00:00:25 Speaker 1 

That was that, I guess. 

00:00:27 Speaker 2 

So you went to the Voice of America in Washington and then returned from Washington and have been teaching broadcasting and Community College. 

00:00:35 Speaker 1 

Right at Saint Lawrence College here in Kingston and also at Loyalist College in Belleville, who have an excellent broadcast course for budding budding students. 

00:00:44 Speaker 1 

Time to say goodbye, Dad. 

00:00:45 Speaker 1 

What would you like to say? 

00:00:48 Speaker 1 

Thanks for listening and also thanks to the Canadian Communications Foundation for this opportunity.