00:00:01 Speaker 1
Hello I’d like to introduce you now to Douglas, DJ card, chief Engineer, Come farm director since 1937. In the broadcasting industry, when I knew him all the while with Lethbridge Broadcasting.
00:00:22 Speaker 1
DJ is appropriate disc jockey card as he sometimes did.
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But most of all, he did whatever needed doing for Lethbridge, Broadcasting all the while.
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Doug, when did you start in the in the radio business?
00:00:40 Speaker 2
In 1937, you never know. I did a lot of announcing to hear this.
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I felt very fortunate to perhaps be at the right place at the right time.
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That’s a common expression, but it really is true.
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I had finished technical school in Calgary, the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art.
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Developed another fellow and I have been fooling around with radio over our teen years and CFC needed somebody and I just happened to be down when.
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It was a month of April, I think, when I went down and just ready to get out of school.
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And they were opening a new transmitter site.
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Maybe I could just digress on that a little bit, Hal, because.
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Transmitters in those days were all pretty well sold by either Marconi.
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Or northern electric.
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There were one.
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Unit stood about 6 feet high and about 40 inches wide across the front.
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They had two steel doors on it.
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And being that size they were, they could be lugged up onto the top of a building and I guess right across Canada, this 100 Watt transmitter was up on the rooftop of somewhere and in Calgary it was on top of the Calgary, Calgary Herald Building.
00:02:09 Speaker 2
Which was a 10 story building and there was a penthouse on the top and up in this penthouse was this 100 Watt train.
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And then I found out when I got to Lethbridge that they also had the same thing up in the Marquis Hotel.
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Well, in 1937, they wanted to increase their power from 100 to 1000 watts, so they government regulations stipulated that they had to be outside of the city.
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With their transmitter site, so they built one on the Chestermere Rd.
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just about 8 miles east of Calgary.
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And when I went in to apply for some kind of a position with the station, Rudy Erickson was a chief engineer.
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And he said well.
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We’ll need somebody as a transmitter operator.
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Because government regulations once again stipulated you could not.
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So that was a a new person on the staff.
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Which she might not hold, I guess.
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Gave the manager a little bit of a headache because here we he had to pay for somebody in effect to do nothing, just to sit there and look at.
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You’re you’re saying about having a Marconi transmitter.
00:03:21 Speaker 1
During the years that we worked together, it used to be a.
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A little inside joke that you helped Marconi invent radio.
00:03:33 Speaker 2
Well, I worked alongside of him because strangely enough, I was in those years. Consider myself just a kid. But by the time I got to see JOC in the years you’re talking about, I’d I had the in one of the newspaper blurbs that we put out.
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On our new studios or something, it said I was a 10 year veteran.
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And that was a long time when everybody.
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Most everybody else was just starting. Even you. As I said the other day, Hal, you’ve only 31 years in broadcasting now, rookie.
00:04:10 Speaker 1
A a rookie.
00:04:12 Speaker 2
I I did want to take a moment before we got too deeply just to introduce you, Hal, because you did come to.
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CJOC and Lethbridge from Kenora station. Didn’t you, Ontario? Yeah. And that was in 1957.
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So you really are a rookie.
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I hadn’t figured it till I talked to you.
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I was there 20 years before.
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Anyway, that’s why the.
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The younger brass there tagged this on to me, and of course it’s the kind.
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Of expression that.
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Delights a person to be the thought that he is somebody that’s right has something.
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So from Cfac, you stayed there for how long?
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For three years I worked with Earl Connor, Rudy Erickson, left, and Earl Connor came from Vancouver.
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He was with C KWX then, and he came to be the chief engineer.
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Yeah, I stayed three years working under.
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There’s a few little things that had come to mind, Hal.
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When I referred to Earl, he was the chief engineer and I was just a rookie operator.
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But I called a rural I never called him Mr.
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Connor from the day and he didn’t expect it.
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And I put a thought in my mind about the different people that we did associate with and how they were known.
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What brought this out was it?
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Just before I started at cfac.
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We used to listen to the station and there were two people that we heard a lot in Calgary in those years in the 30s, one with W Grant CFCN.
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I never knew as a kid what his name was, but we all knew it was WW.
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Surprisingly enough, at Cfac there was a fellow named MV Chestnut.
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He was the chief engineer and announcer.
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Of course, they were both announcers and salesman when they closed the station down to go out and sell in the afternoon.
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But when I was thinking it over, I never did know.
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Chestnuts first name of all the years.
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And I imagine once or twice.
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It’s possible I.
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I heard it.
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But it wasn’t in my mind that I knew MV chestnut, so I never did remember.
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Is and I even then I think it must have been something like M Victor chestnut.
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But that brought to mind how we did know people I referred to Earl.
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He was a I was working for him.
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He was senior to me and that he was a best friend.
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And then there were other people there.
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When I started the first interview I had after seeing Rudy Erickson, he took me in to meet the manager.
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He was Gordon Henry.
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I I guess I never called him Gordon, even though I met him years afterwards in Edmonton when I was up there with the Air Force.
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And and the CJCC A was broadcasting the.
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What did they call them?
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The war bond campaigns and the War Savings certificate campaigns.
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Victory bonds, victory bonds and the they were downtown at a big tower that we erected down there.
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The Air Force put it up and there was Mr.
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Henry there, but I never really called him Gordon.
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But conversely, when I joined the station in Lethbridge, the manager there was Bill gild.
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Come to think of it, I don’t think we called him Bill either, but it was Mr.
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Now he had come.
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From Toronto, he’d been a copywriter there and then a sales in the sales department, I think.
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So he sort of expected it would be Mr.
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At any rate, when you.
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When we talked about him, it was just.
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Guild you you left the CFC and went where?
00:08:34 Speaker 2
Oh, then yeah, one day your O’Connor phoned me at home.
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And said the station in trail has formed, that they need a transmitter operator position.
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There being a little smaller station which would also be almost akin to assistant engineer because there would be a little more technical work to do.
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And he said no, you don’t have to take it.
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Not asking you.
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To take it or suggesting you take it even you can stay with us, but it’s your decision if you would like to take it.
00:09:10 Speaker 2
I had just got out of school and I had grown up in Calgary and been become quite involved in the community and in Community affairs and our young people’s affairs and at the church and the.
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Really I needed something to devote more time to work.
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I I knew at the time when I was.
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What you might call too socially involved.
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And it didn’t interfere with my work, but there was certain studying I had to do to improve myself.
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And I thought this position in trail would do that for me.
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And I think it did. And so I told her that I would go to trail that was in November of 1940.
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And I went to trail and.
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Eric Allen was the chief engineer there.
00:10:01 Speaker 2
And Ken Hughes, no, I’m sorry, Ken was working in Calgary with me at the transmitter.
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Tom Derbyshire was the other operator in trail and then Gordon Fairweather came along afterwards.
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For a while I knew him there and then, and then he came.
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To Calgary too.
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So I hope some of these dates don’t conflict, but those are the people I was involved with and I really enjoyed the little city of trail that it was nestled down there in the Columbia River.
00:10:35 Speaker 2
It had a beautiful mild winter, if you can believe.
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The temperature never rose or would never went below 10 below.
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Freezing on that, that old Fahrenheit scale.
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And that’s how I can remember it.
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Even the coldest day.
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Funny thing about trail that was right down in the Columbia River bottom and when it was snowing up at the transmitter site, it would be raining down in trail, so it was a very pleasant place to live, but it I always felt it was off of the main stream.
00:11:05 Speaker 2
There were things like special speakers and special concerts and all sorts of things.
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Going up and down through Alberta and across BC, but they didn’t all hit trail and I felt there are certain things.
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That I could miss here and maybe I.
00:11:24 Speaker 2
Would set a goal not to be in trail more than three years or five years, so you were in trail for how long?
00:11:29 Speaker 1
00:11:31 Speaker 2
Well, for two years.
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And then the war had broken out.
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And so I enlisted in the Air Force and went into the Air Force as a signals officer in 42.
00:11:41 Speaker 1
What about 9:40?
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So I went in as a direct entry signals officer, which is very fortunate for me.
00:11:49 Speaker 2
But the Air Force needed someone.
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With those qualifications, at that time, and I was just once again in the right place at.
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The right time and.
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And so I went in the Air Force as an officer and served as a signals officer, which main meant.
00:12:06 Speaker 2
I was doing almost exactly the same work as I did at the radio station, looking after transmitters, and in this case I.
00:12:15 Speaker 2
I had 60 or 70 personnel also to look after, so that was from 42 till the end of the war in 45.
00:12:23 Speaker 2
By which time I had gone through the Air Force and posting through Western Canada and ended up in Edmonton and was discharged from there.
00:12:32 Speaker 2
And I contacted Eric Allen back in trail. In the meantime, he’d become manager of the station, and he took me back as chief engineer in 1945.
00:12:45 Speaker 2
Does that take us up to that point, right?
00:12:49 Speaker 1
And you stayed there?
00:12:50 Speaker 1
For how long?
00:12:52 Speaker 2
Well, that was kind of an interesting story and I think I’ll I’ll tell you that the whole facts about the thing government regulations stipulated that anyone going back from war service must be taken back at their old job or equivalent.
00:13:10 Speaker 2
They they had to be given a position.
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This was a very good thing.
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As a matter of fact, because the veterans coming back didn’t suffer.
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Tall generally is ahead after the First World War, so Eric took me back in the station and he needed a chief engineer.
00:13:27 Speaker 2
The interesting thing was that exactly a year later.
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He said he had another man for the job and he didn’t want me anymore.
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He fulfilled his obligation, he.
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Yeah, it was very funny.
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And he he never he he must have known this.
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When I went there and he could have.
00:13:42 Speaker 2
Told me right?
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But he was manager then and we were just one step apart from each other.
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Then when we’d been chief engineer and used to eat three meals a day together.
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Because I sort of boarded with Eric and Frieda.
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They lived at the transmitter house and throwing him these little things.
00:14:01 Speaker 2
But anyway, that that.
00:14:04 Speaker 2
Came within my mandate of five years to stay in trail because I had.
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Hope that I would not.
00:14:12 Speaker 2
Well, I didn’t dislike trail at all, but as I said I I thought I’d like to get out and find some other.
00:14:19 Speaker 2
Bigger things and more challenging things.
00:14:22 Speaker 2
And so when Eric told me that I went home and phoned her Earl Connor at Cfac and told him what had happened and I said, are there any vacancies anywhere?
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He said Vancouver CKW X might want somebody Jack Gordon was out there by that time, or Lethbridge might need somebody.
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There’s a fella down there named Bob.
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Ray is the chief engineer.
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He they both have been calling him.
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So I went out to Vancouver to see Jack Gordon and see KWX didn’t have any vacancies at that time.
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I must also say I always had in my mind.
00:15:01 Speaker 2
Why don’t I go to these other stations?
00:15:08 Speaker 2
The other stations in Vancouver.
00:15:12 Speaker 2
I said I can’t go to see them because I’m a tailor person and Carson.
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Man, a company man through and through.
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Isn’t that funny?
00:15:19 Speaker 1
I know not.
00:15:20 Speaker 2
Gosh, I had this feeling that, well, I can’t work for the other people.
00:15:26 Speaker 2
Yeah, and it was very strange.
00:15:28 Speaker 2
But so I went back to.
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It was kind of interesting there I was so green.
00:15:34 Speaker 2
I had taken the bus out, so we went back down through the states from Vancouver and up into the trail.
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And I bought a box of chocolates at the bus station while we were waiting in Seattle or somewhere, and I got to the customs and they took.
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It away from me.
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I really hadn’t travelled internationally very much in those days, was going to take a little present home from our poor wife.
00:15:59 Speaker 2
Anyway, I got back and I phoned Earl Connor and told him the score and and then I phoned.
00:16:07 Speaker 2
Bob Ray in Lethbridge and he said, yeah, we need somebody you can come soon as you can get here and that was great.
00:16:16 Speaker 2
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I came to Lethbridge and.
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My wife put the house up for sale and sold it quite quickly and she came and her folks were here as it happened.
00:16:26 Speaker 2
So we had a very happy Christmas that year.
00:16:29 Speaker 2
And I was never happier than could be.
00:16:31 Speaker 1
This would be about 19464746.
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46 It was, you know, I got out of the Air Force and 45.
00:16:41 Speaker 2
Just spent the year there, that was just great.
00:16:47 Speaker 2
For anyone that knows Lethbridge, the studios were in the Marquis Hotel, up in another penthouse on the roof, and there was.
00:16:54 Speaker 2
The space where the old Marconi had sat.
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It was very interesting.
00:16:59 Speaker 2
I think the Marconi went out to one of the Victoria stations as a standby transmitter.
00:17:06 Speaker 2
Anyway, there was a an audio rack standing there then, which was pretty modern to have a rack with audio equipment in it instead of something sitting on the table, so I thought I’d arrived at a pretty good station.
00:17:19 Speaker 2
And it was the spirit here was just.
00:17:26 Speaker 2
Just so different.
00:17:28 Speaker 2
It was a happy place to be up there.
00:17:32 Speaker 2
I don’t think it really had anything to do with the fact that it was on the roof of the Marquis Hotel, which had a beer parlor on the main floor.
00:17:40 Speaker 1
Well, there were a number of people that were happier because of it.
00:17:43 Speaker 2
It used to get used a lot.
00:17:44 Speaker 1
00:17:46 Speaker 1
That used to be the clients room downstairs in the in the bar, the assets.
00:17:51 Speaker 2
00:17:52 Speaker 2
And the the little things.
00:17:56 Speaker 2
When you talk about the boss’s office being down the end of the hall, it was just across the room that studio was so small. When I looked back on, it was smaller than this room we’re sitting in in my basement now.
00:18:08 Speaker 2
And at 5:00, o’clock Bill Guild, who was Mr.
00:18:13 Speaker 2
If you happen to say hello to him, but he would come out of his office.
00:18:18 Speaker 2
And he just lifted his hand and Cam Perry, who is the sales manager, and George Brown, who is the chief announcer, would be in the studio.
00:18:28 Speaker 2
They walked down the hall and they’d meet at the stairs.
00:18:32 Speaker 2
And Bob Ray would be standing in the engineers.
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Whatever you would call it, it was actually a hall that was our workshop, but there was a little window in it, so he’d see this parade go by.
00:18:46 Speaker 2
He’d March out and they’d go off down to the client room downstairs.
00:18:53 Speaker 2
And those were.
00:18:55 Speaker 2
Memories that anyone that was in the markets would certainly corroborate it it.
00:19:00 Speaker 2
Was just wonderful.
00:19:01 Speaker 1
Let’s talk about radio as it was then.
00:19:04 Speaker 1
As a business, it really wasn’t all that business like as we’re just referring you, oh, I think just the reverse.
00:19:13 Speaker 1
You think, yes.
00:19:13 Speaker 2
He was more like you.
00:19:15 Speaker 2
These are things that I was aware of then.
00:19:18 Speaker 2
But it was amazing how.
00:19:21 Speaker 2
00:19:23 Speaker 2
Everything everybody tried to make everything and I suppose one reason was that.
00:19:31 Speaker 2
George Brown had just come back from a stint in the Army Bill gilded written to him and offered him a job, so he was doing his best to be a good production manager.
00:19:40 Speaker 2
And Cam had had a disability with his eye.
00:19:43 Speaker 2
He’d spent his time in Lethbridge, but he was then sales manager, and that was a an important job for him to do.
00:19:50 Speaker 2
Bill Gildard had experience in a Toronto station and he knew how things should be.
00:19:54 Speaker 2
Done so, he was pushing to improve the station in every way he could.
00:20:00 Speaker 2
00:20:01 Speaker 2
And yeah, they’re a record scratch on the air or a little bit of hum or a paws.
00:20:07 Speaker 2
These things were deadly serious.
00:20:09 Speaker 2
Somebody had come rushing in and say what’s wrong.
00:20:13 Speaker 2
And the IT also tied in with the quality of the equipment, very few of the public realized that the broadcast equipment.
00:20:21 Speaker 2
Was such high quality in those days, and I think other engineers would agree with me on this.
00:20:28 Speaker 2
It was faithful reproduction, true representation of the original sound.
00:20:35 Speaker 2
A word that came along a few years later was called High Fidelity.
00:20:39 Speaker 2
But we had all that we had all the test instruments and we spent hours testing the consoles and testing the pickups and the all the reproduction equipment to make sure that it maintained within the limits of the high quality band. In other words, something like 40 to 10,000 cycles.
00:21:00 Speaker 2
And we test higher than that even.
00:21:03 Speaker 2
But those standards, the the quality of the microphones, were awfully good.
00:21:07 Speaker 2
They were high quality.
00:21:09 Speaker 2
And the very attractive looking microphones before that, they were the old square things hanging on wires, and suddenly the manufacturers RCA, a Western electric northern electric Marconi.
00:21:22 Speaker 2
Got on this.
00:21:24 Speaker 2
This I was going to use the word binge but it was a challenge to really turn out something attractive and play more to the audience and I presume in those days how you were in the sales department, but it likely turned out that.
00:21:41 Speaker 2
A good presentation would sell, and that was very important.
00:21:46 Speaker 2
And they were also starting to do.
00:21:48 Speaker 2
They’d established the network you see by that time.
00:21:51 Speaker 2
So they had to have nicer looking equipment.
00:21:54 Speaker 2
When the audiences would come into the theaters or the studios to see them broadcast.
00:21:58 Speaker 1
OK, let’s talk about that.
00:22:00 Speaker 1
When I came to see JOC, we were no longer on the in the Marquis. We were in a then comparatively new establishment ground floor ground level, and we had a great big Playhouse studio.
00:22:13 Speaker 2
00:22:14 Speaker 1
At that time, and something that people today don’t realize, we used to put on our own shows the way they do in television now with their game shows or whatnot, with live audiences and live music and so on.
00:22:29 Speaker 2
That little play host was I had the privilege of working on the.
00:22:35 Speaker 2
The blueprints to design that little place and we wanted something big enough for 100 people to sit in, which was monstrous for a radio station to have a theater that big. But there was a little stage up at the front.
00:22:49 Speaker 2
And all the microphone outlets around the front and we put up some flood lights at the top.
00:22:54 Speaker 2
And when we put on a show like a talent hunt on Thursday evening.
00:22:59 Speaker 2
The place would be jammed.
00:23:02 Speaker 2
Unfortunately, because there was no such thing, we couldn’t spend money on air conditioning, which it wasn’t too much of it anyway.
00:23:10 Speaker 2
But to that, that would have been a real extra to spend money on, and that place would be so hot.
00:23:16 Speaker 2
Boy, but the people came down to that little studio and we put that thing on on the stage there and.
00:23:25 Speaker 2
George Brown knew quite a bit about theater production, I guess because we’d.
00:23:31 Speaker 2
Marching off the wings or the announcers would and up to the microphones and the give the announcements and the flood lights would come on because we had them on a little switch in.
00:23:41 Speaker 2
The control room.
00:23:42 Speaker 1
You’re now talking about the golden years of radio.
00:23:46 Speaker 1
Yeah, they were.
00:23:47 Speaker 1
00:23:48 Speaker 2
Television. Oh, yes. So this was we moved into that studio in 1948.
00:23:50 Speaker 1
00:23:55 Speaker 2
So to get back to your original question about the quality of the presentation, it was very high caliber.
00:24:06 Speaker 2
Another subject I could get on to is the formation of the the national networks, but.
00:24:13 Speaker 2
When the C RTC was going and then the CBC afterwards.
00:24:18 Speaker 2
They drew on the potential of all of the stations across Canada.
00:24:25 Speaker 2
Everyone had something.
00:24:28 Speaker 2
I remember art Balfour.
00:24:30 Speaker 2
Was in Selkirk for a long time and started as an announcer.
00:24:34 Speaker 2
Regina used to be on the network.
00:24:36 Speaker 2
On a holdown type of show and he he put on a cowboy hat and play a jug or something.
00:24:43 Speaker 2
We saw pictures of this.
00:24:45 Speaker 2
You see him and when he eventually came to the station, he used to.
00:24:47 Speaker 2
Tell us about.
00:24:48 Speaker 2
It we did the same thing down there.
00:24:50 Speaker 2
We had the Alberta Ranch boys.
00:24:54 Speaker 2
Some of whom are still playing, you know, and they would come down and put on a 30 minute show out of that studio and it went right across Canada.
00:25:02 Speaker 1
I was an announcer on a couple of.
00:25:04 Speaker 1
Them and we used to do missus mcilvanney at the church broadcast of of the air, right.
00:25:09 Speaker 2
Oh, Janet. Janet.
00:25:14 Speaker 1
Not the church.
00:25:14 Speaker 1
The school broadcasting here.
00:25:16 Speaker 2
School broadcast of there you said church because she was also the choir director at Saint Andrews Church.
00:25:22 Speaker 2
You see and.
00:25:25 Speaker 1
Simply at 2:00 o’clock, as I recall.
00:25:26 Speaker 2
That that came on him.
00:25:28 Speaker 2
But these Thursday night shows we used to get letters, found letters from way down in the Eastern states because it was read on the national network.
00:25:38 Speaker 2
Well, it had to be pretty good.
00:25:41 Speaker 2
We’re back on quality again with the quality of the originating equipment had to be good.
00:25:47 Speaker 2
And the interesting thing was, if you can imagine it nowadays.
00:25:50 Speaker 2
But when we originated from our studios, we put a patch cord in in the control room, in the rack, and it would go over to the CPR and the telephone line.
00:25:59 Speaker 2
They would send it on a telephone line to Medicine Hat and then it would go on the telephone line right along beside the tracks.
00:26:06 Speaker 2
Those wires would carry that program right across Canada if you.
00:26:13 Speaker 2
And it went on for years.
00:26:14 Speaker 2
But if you thought now about sending a program by wire, well, oh, you couldn’t do that.
00:26:20 Speaker 2
The quality wouldn’t be any good and and a truck might run through the wire and pull it down.
00:26:26 Speaker 2
Well, it did.
00:26:26 Speaker 2
Yeah, it happened all the time.
00:26:30 Speaker 2
But it was high quality for the.
00:26:34 Speaker 2
And for the what was available?
00:26:37 Speaker 2
And so all of this was a growing period.
00:26:39 Speaker 2
You were always improve.
00:26:41 Speaker 2
How you could do it better than?
00:26:43 Speaker 2
The last time.
00:26:43 Speaker 1
Did you notice the changes when when the governing bodies were like the CBC, the BG, the CR, TC were?
00:26:52 Speaker 1
Were there quite a bit of changes in the way the radio stations operated as these changes came about?
00:26:58 Speaker 2
I would have to honestly say that at the age I was at that time and the.
00:27:04 Speaker 2
The work I was doing, I didn’t become involved in that.
00:27:08 Speaker 2
That was a a management problem to deal with with.
00:27:13 Speaker 2
The other government agencies so.
00:27:16 Speaker 2
I suppose they.
00:27:18 Speaker 2
They didn’t get impressed on my mind that much.
00:27:22 Speaker 1
The the the the engineering equipment was compared to these days quite cumbersome.
00:27:31 Speaker 2
00:27:33 Speaker 1
We used to.
00:27:33 Speaker 1
Do remotes for as long as I’ve been in the business doing live broadcasts live from a client.
00:27:42 Speaker 1
Store or location.
00:27:44 Speaker 1
And I recall that you were you and the other engineers carrying all these great big turntables and so on down and setting up all of the equipment and the signage and everything that was necessary to do a broadcast lot different than the way it’s done today.
00:28:04 Speaker 2
It was new and we were, as I just said, developing new ideas to sell things and to show the public how it worked.
00:28:12 Speaker 2
So to show the public how an announcer sat at a table and read the news, we had to carry down the table and set up signs and his microphone and his clock and his little on air sign and the then, if it was from another store, we would take a turntable down and play a record.
00:28:33 Speaker 2
Really a very awkward thing to do, but it it showed the public what radio was doing and it it brought us before the public.
00:28:41 Speaker 2
It was interesting you brought up remotes because.
00:28:47 Speaker 2
We always looked at the cost of everything and we figured we could build a remote amplifier cheaper than we could buy one from RCA or or Marconi and maybe build 1 to suit our needs.
00:29:02 Speaker 2
00:29:04 Speaker 2
I built about the first job I had when I came to the station was start building a remote amplifier because the ones we had was.
00:29:14 Speaker 2
Oh, for instance, we had a little one, but the transformer wasn’t mounted in the amplifier because if you got it that close, it would induce hum into the audio Transformers.
00:29:26 Speaker 2
So the little power transformer hung at the end of a chord down on the floor and then sat the little amplifier up on the table.
00:29:33 Speaker 2
So there were little awkward things like that, and we designed and built.
00:29:39 Speaker 2
Three or four remote amplifiers and the last crowning achievement that we built 2 identical ones.
00:29:46 Speaker 2
And by that time I was acting chief engineer and I had a a young fellow came from.
00:29:54 Speaker 2
He was part way through the University of British Columbia fellow named Gene Hunt applied for a job, and we needed someone.
00:30:01 Speaker 2
And Jane just loved to build things.
00:30:03 Speaker 2
He, as long as he could sit in the shop, was surrounded by all the equipment he needed.
00:30:09 Speaker 2
He was in his glory, but he he was very neat and tidy, and so I gave him this job of putting these things together.
00:30:17 Speaker 2
I actually designed the circuit diagram with this remote app.
00:30:21 Speaker 2
And I went over to the western metal fabricators and had the case built out of aluminum.
00:30:27 Speaker 2
And Gene built the amplifier and those were used for nearly 30 years.
00:30:32 Speaker 2
In fact, they’re still operable.
00:30:35 Speaker 1
The the point is that you were you and the people you worked with were real pioneers.
00:30:40 Speaker 1
They invented things virtually back in those days to get the job done.
00:30:45 Speaker 2
Yes, that is a fact. In fact, when I started at CFAC, Earl Connor was building the complete control room console.
00:30:54 Speaker 1
One of the other things that you were involved with the CJC did one of the very first.
00:31:00 Speaker 1
Just a live broadcast from Waterton Park as another one of our cohorts, George Brown, reminds us of Wayne King.
00:31:12 Speaker 1
Not wait, Kenny.
00:31:13 Speaker 2
That was actually before my time, but yeah, that would happened quite early.
00:31:15 Speaker 1
Oh, it was.
00:31:19 Speaker 2
That was surprising.
00:31:20 Speaker 2
Early in the 30s, that had happened.
00:31:23 Speaker 2
Mark Kenny was playing and he didn’t play in the hotel, by the way.
00:31:26 Speaker 2
I guess they couldn’t afford him or something.
00:31:28 Speaker 2
He played in the dance hall.
00:31:30 Speaker 2
And the station did a remote from down there and that that is quite right.
00:31:34 Speaker 1
One of the first hockey broadcasts that was done in Western Canada live play by play hockey broadcast were you involved with that as well?
00:31:41 Speaker 2
No, not the first one.
00:31:43 Speaker 2
No, I was working with Marconi at that time.
00:31:48 Speaker 1
00:31:48 Speaker 1
Who was the announcer that did the first hockey but was?
00:31:51 Speaker 1
Was Henry binding?
00:31:51 Speaker 2
Well, it could have very well been Henry.
00:31:54 Speaker 1
He started here.
00:31:55 Speaker 2
He would just about.
00:31:56 Speaker 2
Yes, he did.
00:31:58 Speaker 2
Henry was the one that was the manager.
00:32:01 Speaker 2
And he gave.
00:32:03 Speaker 2
A dictionary, he said.
00:32:04 Speaker 2
Henry read this because Henry couldn’t read anything and apparently didn’t know half the words he saw.
00:32:11 Speaker 2
But this is how Henry learned, and he really learned and and became a legend in his own time.
00:32:19 Speaker 2
00:32:19 Speaker 1
What a radio station would be, let’s say, when you were working in the Marquis.
00:32:23 Speaker 1
Hotel the staff who would the staff be OK there be Mr.
00:32:28 Speaker 1
Field of the manager.
00:32:30 Speaker 1
There’d be a sales manager, a program manager of the engineering department.
00:32:34 Speaker 1
How many people in the engineering department?
00:32:36 Speaker 2
22 yes, but at that time in 1941, CJSC put their transmitter out of Roxbury, 5 miles east of town, so there were four people out there.
00:32:49 Speaker 1
The engineering department was about the biggest staff radio station.
00:32:51 Speaker 2
Yes, except the copy department, right?
00:32:55 Speaker 2
Strangely enough, there was a copy editor and four girls, and they were doing the writing even in those days.
00:33:01 Speaker 2
So everything pretty well was written and all the commercials were written and read live.
00:33:08 Speaker 1
Another one of our cohorts virtually.
00:33:11 Speaker 1
Designed and invented the the the news department at the station, he came from the local newspaper by the name.
00:33:19 Speaker 1
Of Bill silton.
00:33:20 Speaker 2
That was another bill Gilde’s.
00:33:24 Speaker 2
He loved to do this kind of thing, but he he was able to steal Bill Skelton from the Herald.
00:33:29 Speaker 2
You see, he thought that was a a major achievement.
00:33:32 Speaker 2
It created quite a lot of hard feeling.
00:33:35 Speaker 2
As a matter of fact, there was friction with the Herald for many years after that.
00:33:41 Speaker 2
I wanted to go on if I could to.
00:33:45 Speaker 2
Some of the interesting things that I developed into because.
00:33:49 Speaker 2
I was 30 years as an engineer.
00:33:53 Speaker 2
I was assistant engineer, what they call studio engineer because Bob Ray was the chief engineer.
00:33:59 Speaker 2
When I came in 4746, it was, yeah.
00:34:04 Speaker 2
But then television came along in the early 50s, and there was rumors of our station putting up a television station.
00:34:13 Speaker 2
And so Bob Ray had to devote an awful lot of time to getting that planned.
00:34:17 Speaker 2
And actually I said to Bob one day.
00:34:22 Speaker 2
I’d love to be in television, but I’ll stick with the radio and look after it and you concentrate on the television and get it going and I’ll.
00:34:30 Speaker 2
I’ll sacrifice if you want to call it that one, but there had to be a decision as to how he could do both and the television was going to be very difficult to learn and competitive too.
00:34:43 Speaker 2
Also at that same time.
00:34:48 Speaker 2
With all these remotes that we used to do and we did them everywhere, all over town, in the stores and the cenotaph services and the church services.
00:34:58 Speaker 2
And I remember one time down at the cenotaph, Bob Lang was the announcer and I would go down and I’d order the lines and go down and set up the remote amplifier and the microphones out on the center tap.
00:35:11 Speaker 2
And then we’d sit in the station cruiser and Bob Lane would announce what was coming up and who was speaking and everything.
00:35:20 Speaker 2
Bob was kind of new also and and quite young in those days and he really didn’t know the people that were coming up to the microphone.
00:35:30 Speaker 2
And so in actual fact, the next year.
00:35:33 Speaker 2
I took the second remote amp down.
00:35:37 Speaker 2
And hook the one up to the mic on the cenotaph.
00:35:40 Speaker 2
The other one.
00:35:42 Speaker 2
I kept the microphone and I put.
00:35:44 Speaker 2
I plugged the earphones into that second one.
00:35:47 Speaker 2
And Bob wore them.
00:35:49 Speaker 2
So every time somebody walked up to the microphone, I’d say, Bob, it’s some hair.
00:35:55 Speaker 2
And he’d introduced to the audit radio audience. And now Mayor Shackelford is walking up to the microphone 12:50.
00:36:02 Speaker 2
He might turn around to say what’s his name.
00:36:04 Speaker 2
Too, you know?
00:36:05 Speaker 2
But I’m not boasting about this, but I had just been around enough compared to him.
00:36:10 Speaker 2
And and somebody else would come up and and he wouldn’t know the guy.
00:36:15 Speaker 2
But I’ve been on a few broadcasts where this fellow had been prominent, so I would tell him now this this is a the President of the Canadian Legion or this is the President of the Chamber of Commerce.
00:36:27 Speaker 2
And Bob would announce to the radio audience.
00:36:30 Speaker 2
The next thing he said, why don’t you do this well?
00:36:35 Speaker 2
There was another subtle change perhaps had taken place that the quality of a person’s voice wasn’t really the prime thing on the air.
00:36:45 Speaker 2
It turned out that all sorts of voices were coming on the air as long as they could talk.
00:36:50 Speaker 1
00:36:50 Speaker 2
As long as and communicate and communicate, yes, and the quality didn’t have to be low on Basie and everything all the time.
00:36:58 Speaker 2
As you can see right now.
00:37:00 Speaker 2
But I did that the next year at the center tap.
00:37:06 Speaker 2
Because I knew the routine, I’d been in the Air Force. I had been President of the Canadian Legion, so I knew all the guys there, and I did the cenotaph service for almost the next 25 years. Every year, right up until the time I retired.
00:37:23 Speaker 1
And maybe even a year after.
00:37:25 Speaker 1
So that was your first stint at on air work just about, yes, but not your last.
00:37:31 Speaker 2
But The funny thing about that.
00:37:34 Speaker 2
We used to do a church service, Martin brothers.
00:37:39 Speaker 2
What’s the name of their afternoon show Sunday hours Sunday?
00:37:42 Speaker 2
00:37:43 Speaker 2
00:37:44 Speaker 2
We went around all the churches in rotation at 3:00 o’clock Sunday afternoon.
00:37:50 Speaker 2
And the choir would sing songs.
00:37:53 Speaker 2
And I used to go down and set up all the microphones and everything, and then the announcer would come and do the announcing.
00:38:00 Speaker 2
And eventually they didn’t have much interest in church choirs, but I’d grown up in the church, so I guess I did.
00:38:08 Speaker 2
So eventually I started announcing the Sunday hour.
00:38:12 Speaker 2
And even the choir directors looked around and said, what are you doing here?
00:38:15 Speaker 2
Where’s the announcer?
00:38:19 Speaker 2
I said, let’s go.
00:38:20 Speaker 2
On it’ll go all.
00:38:20 Speaker 2
00:38:21 Speaker 2
And they got used to it and then?
00:38:25 Speaker 2
We used to do a Christmas Eve program from Saint Augustine’s Church, 11:00 O’clock Christmas Eve. They would have a watch night service.
00:38:38 Speaker 2
And we will broadcast live from 11 to 12 Christmas Eve.
00:38:44 Speaker 2
I would go over and set up the remote equipment, but the announcing would be done from the studio.
00:38:51 Speaker 2
But then they started also doing.
00:38:55 Speaker 2
The service the Sunday before Christmas.
00:38:59 Speaker 2
They would have the service of lessons and carols.
00:39:03 Speaker 2
And that was difficult for anyone that didn’t.
00:39:08 Speaker 2
Attend the church to know what it was all about, but I’d been there all these years.
00:39:12 Speaker 2
We did church broadcasts.
00:39:14 Speaker 2
We’d go every Sunday and set up the remote broadcast and sit there and run them in those days until we went automatic.
00:39:21 Speaker 2
We designed a system for that too, by the way.
00:39:26 Speaker 2
I would go over and video and tape the audio tape.
00:39:30 Speaker 2
These services on tape and then take them back to the studio.
00:39:37 Speaker 2
And redubbed them into 1/2 hour program when the copy department would have written 4 little three commercials, an opening and closing of three commercials Benny Chevrolet Oldsmobile would sponsor them.
00:39:50 Speaker 2
And I would announce them, I I put this scene together in the control room and I did this for years.
00:39:57 Speaker 2
And here what was I, as a chief engineer doing in there?
00:40:02 Speaker 2
This religious program and after I I made another change in my career when the manager decided that he would like to have another engineer.
00:40:13 Speaker 2
And he said.
00:40:15 Speaker 2
We will offer you the farm broadcast.
00:40:19 Speaker 2
Well, by then.
00:40:21 Speaker 2
We’d I’d done so much air work that it became a natural thing to slide into.
00:40:26 Speaker 2
You may remember the Canadian Centennial cavalcade caravans that came across in 181967. Yeah, and they came to every town in southern Alberta. So we went out and would do remote broadcasts from all these towns.
00:40:32 Speaker 1
00:40:43 Speaker 2
And I did all those because I.
00:40:47 Speaker 2
Could just do them I guess.
00:40:49 Speaker 1
And again, we’re talking to about.
00:40:51 Speaker 1
People who could communicate, not voice quality so much, and I can say something that Douglas won’t say.
00:40:56 Speaker 2
That turned out.
00:40:59 Speaker 1
He got to be one of the most popular farm directors we’ve ever had.
00:41:04 Speaker 1
The only other one that that stands anywhere near him was Omar Broughton.
00:41:10 Speaker 1
Who was our farm director for a long time and wound up to be one of the top people at the Alberta Wheat Pool, Secretary of the Alberta Wheat Pool.
00:41:16 Speaker 2
00:41:19 Speaker 1
But Douglas was farm director for how many years, 1515 years, and is God’s soul that we’re talking about, remotes and things that.
00:41:30 Speaker 1
00:41:31 Speaker 1
In demand all of the time with all of the farm machinery dealers and farm related businesses that wanted him doing broadcasts throughout their place of business.
00:41:41 Speaker 2
Is that right?
00:41:43 Speaker 2
I should say how that you were sales manager by that time and you would sell these broadcasts you.
00:41:47 Speaker 1
Oh yes, and and but.
00:41:49 Speaker 1
I never knew they really wanted me.
00:41:50 Speaker 1
You were very easy to sell, Douglas.
00:41:53 Speaker 2
Is that right? Yeah.
00:41:55 Speaker 1
Most history the USFA Co-op and so on. They they, they, they would think it was a great deal if as long as we could have Douglas card there.
00:42:04 Speaker 1
And the farming community people used to come out and chat with you.
00:42:08 Speaker 1
There were a lot of times, if you will recall, you you didn’t make the cut Inns on time because you were busy talking to a bunch of farmers.
00:42:16 Speaker 2
I used to get more guff from when I got back to the studio.
00:42:20 Speaker 2
You missed the cut in there.
00:42:21 Speaker 2
00:42:22 Speaker 2
Several of them well.
00:42:24 Speaker 2
We’d be in the midst of some discussion and the little light would be blinking and I wouldn’t see it and I’d say, yeah, I think I must have cut him here, but the the communication with people when he went out like that was it was.
00:42:38 Speaker 2
Fighting and everyone was so interested and.
00:42:43 Speaker 2
Interested in what they were doing and and interested in what I was doing it.
00:42:46 Speaker 2
It really made you feel at home to meet.
00:42:48 Speaker 1
All these people about something on the side as a broadcaster for so many years you’ve lived in Lethbridge and let me say this again, Douglas card would not say it himself, that if there is a man that.
00:43:04 Speaker 1
That practices the Christian ethic.
00:43:08 Speaker 1
00:43:09 Speaker 1
He’s been involved with the church for all of his life and and he really and truly would do anything for anyone if he could.
00:43:19 Speaker 1
And he’s a most respected member of our community.
00:43:24 Speaker 1
For a number of reasons other than that, and not just about yourself, Doug, but as broadcasters, how were the broadcasters accepted in the Community, the people that work for CJC generally?
00:43:39 Speaker 2
Well, very friendly is the first word that came in.
00:43:41 Speaker 2
They they would go out on broadcasts and they would be welcomed.
00:43:45 Speaker 2
Yes, they they were respected as far as I knew.
00:43:52 Speaker 2
Yes, broadcasters in Lethbridge had a good position.
00:43:56 Speaker 2
Partly our managers were in the Qantas club, the Rotary Club and the Gyro club and the Kinsman Club.
00:44:05 Speaker 2
So they were in the community as a matter of fact, I I guess one of the things that got.
00:44:10 Speaker 2
Me into the.
00:44:11 Speaker 2
Type of work I ended up with because our company.
00:44:15 Speaker 2
I thought was community minded and I think that’s what prompted me to do all of these things instead of feeling I just had to sit in a shop and fix things.
00:44:25 Speaker 2
As an engineer, I really became involved in the community because our company did that.
00:44:31 Speaker 2
They were into things and they promoted things.
00:44:34 Speaker 2
Remember the scout hall?
00:44:35 Speaker 1
We built. That’s right. That brings up something we CJOC Lethbridge Broadcasting was one of the few stations to win, not just one. John J Gilliam aboard, but two of them.
00:44:47 Speaker 1
And the first one was for raising money to build a scout hall. And that was back in the early 1950s. And then again, we had the great horrendous storm of 1967.
00:45:02 Speaker 2
We did a public service.
00:45:03 Speaker 1
Broadcast and we stayed on 24 hours a day and there was real panic because there were lots of people that were in dire straits because of the snowfall and we stayed on about the only thing that lines of communication were the telephone.
00:45:21 Speaker 1
And we used to relay messages to the Police Department, the fire department, and so on.
00:45:27 Speaker 1
00:45:27 Speaker 2
We didn’t go home for two nights from the station and we couldn’t, couldn’t drive our cars even right anyway.
00:45:28 Speaker 1
Would and you know, they brought in sandwiches.
00:45:34 Speaker 2
Hell, I think we just about come to the end of our.
00:45:39 Speaker 1
Allotted time for another.
00:45:40 Speaker 2
00:45:42 Speaker 2
Absolutely we could.
00:45:44 Speaker 2
It’s been exciting, a real career and the people we met.
00:45:48 Speaker 2
I have never.
00:45:50 Speaker 2
Really looking back, considered a dull moment in broadcasting, and I do.
00:45:54 Speaker 2
It all over.
00:45:54 Speaker 1
Again, there’s not a lot of money in it, but it’s interesting all the while.
00:45:58 Speaker 2
It certainly it certainly was in the long lasting friends that we’ve made and it was a wonderful life.
00:46:05 Speaker 2
I was fortunate to spend my whole career as a broadcaster.
00:46:09 Speaker 1
And you’ve been a credit?
00:46:10 Speaker 1
To the community and a credit to the business altogether.
00:46:14 Speaker 1
This is Hal, Ivy Mintenko with Douglas card DJ card, who helped Marconi put radio on the map.