Harry Boyle


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This is an interview with Harry Boyle conducted in Toronto by Phil Stone in November 1988. Harry Ball began his broadcasting career in 1936 at C, KNX, Wingham, Ontario. 

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As a news man, in 1941, he went into the newspaper world working for the Beacon Herald in Stratford ON. 

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Back to radio in 1942 with the CBC as a farm broadcaster, later program director of the Trans Canada Network. 

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In 1968, he became a member of the Canadian Radio Television Commission as a vice chairman. In 1975, he became the CRC’s chairman, and that lasted until 1977. 

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Harry back in 1936 with no broadcasting schools, nobody could train you. How’d you get into radio or very simple? I was in. 

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A small town called Wingham in Western Ontario. 

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I knew that I’d gone to school there. 

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High school there, and I’d and I was kicking around in this freelance. 

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4 newspapers, especially the London Free Press and the globe. 

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Oh, and the star and the Cleveland, you know, whatever you can get. 

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And I was in Wingham for a preliminary hearing on a murder trial. 

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And the preliminary hearing was concluded. 

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I was at a boarding house, couldn’t afford a hotel. 

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And I heard the radio and I had known about this guy who had this radio station. 

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Everybody knew him, Doc. 

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And he had been working in the foundry and and then he could have a radio or a tire tire repair business. 

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And he had been Popular Mechanics, and he’d built this little transmitter which he carried around in a cheese box. 

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And the local people sort of support him. 

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Got a radio club together and they put a. 

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Everybody threw a dollar membership in and they got after the local MP and their left local MP got after old Commander Edwards in Ottawa and. 

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And they put the heat on to get a commercial license because he had a he had a. 

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An experimental license 10 BP. 

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And it was just about the time that I had arrived there that they had become the commercial CKX with the commercial license. 

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Imagine the town of 1300 people getting this so you can know that they expected in Ottawa. This thing would fold up. 

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The only reason they gave it was through so damn much political pressure on him that he he yielded to it and that this thing will fold. 

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I heard it and I thought to myself they were reading. 

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Canned coffee sent by Christian Science monitor and it’s awful. 

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It’s four or five days late. 

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You know, this newscast went into dock, and I knew Western Ontario like a book because I’ve been chasing around. 

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Doing reportage from all parts of the country I’d be sent in when the local correspondent couldn’t handle it. 

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So I braved it in and said, listen, that’s the terrible thing you’re doing on the air for news. 

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Let me do a local newscast. 

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There’s no reason for you to do national news, your local station. 

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And the only answer to it is that if you cover locally what’s going on, the only way you can compete and you know, went through the whole business about saying look at the way we can newspaper operates. 

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I mean, no, no, national paper can compete with the local paper. 

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This is what you should be doing. 

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Doc said well. 

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So he said. I said when he said, oh, tonight. Good God. So I, I I don’t know what he did that night or the next day. I don’t want was 715 at night. They gave me this spot. 

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So I rounded up and tripped a bit from the local weekly and did all sorts of things and didn’t use gas. 

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And of course, I’d been at the the inquiry, the murder hearing which everybody was brought off of a. 

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And they did it and they got a better response. 

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And he said, well, why don’t you try it? 

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So I tried it for a month and I got my sea legs and I was tremendously helped by Stu Mason and Godrich, whose brother was Bill Mason and Sudbury, starring Stu was a remittance man. 

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He drank too much. 

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And he had had he was the correspondent for all the papers in the county town. 

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Lived in a hotel, was a great guy and he he really helped me tremendously. 

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He was my my mentor. 

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At the end of the month, my God, I hadn’t made any money. 

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He wasn’t paying me, so I went to Doc and said this can’t go on because you know, I’m. 

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I’m I’m a freelancer and I’ve gotta gotta make my money. I there’s no salary tax. So he said. OK, let’s put me on payroll at $3 a week and that’s how it all started. What? What kind of studio? What kind of MIC did you have in those days? 

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Oh, I, I mean, Doc had a it was on the Main Street and it was next to the Brunswick. 

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And there were three little stores in the butcher shop and a. 

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Tea room and. 

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And and docks, radio repair business and. 

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And he sold Stromberg Carlson radios. 

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So if you imagine a conventional store, the front part, which would be what? 

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Oh, maybe 15 by 12 or so where he sold radios and he repaired them. 

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There was a door leading into a little corridor and there was a little tiny office, which would be maybe 6 feet square. 

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Then there was a control room. 

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And behind that, there was a studio, Chesterfield, a couple of chairs, and that was it. 

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And it was the transmitter was there in the. 

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And it was a homemade transmitter which Doc had made to replace the one he originally had in the cheese box, which he used to carry around to do remotes. 

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And the now the equipment was concerned. 

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It was an old God. 

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There was a microphone or just an old. 

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I can remember an old technical escapes me all together, but just one of those old sort of square looking microphone wasn’t around job. 

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He had had the round job before that, the one that like in the picture, the Rooster, remind Frank Willis. 

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Right, the big job. 

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You always see that microphone. 

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And that was. 

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It what? 

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What kind of hours did you work? 

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Did you work all day? 

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And night or. 

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Well, not really. 

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I what I did was I started to do. 

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I I got the idea that he should be also doing farm use. 

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So I mean I knew the agrep and I used to do so. 

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We did a farm broadcaster. It was a newscast and a farm thing. Whatever you wanna call at noon and a newscast at 7:15 at night. 

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And that was my job. 

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Was was, which I did myself, was to chase up these newscasts twice a day. 

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Everything was light, wasn’t it, Harry? 

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No, we have no recording facility. 

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There was no trick, of course. 

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So if you made a mistake, it was done and you had. 

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That’s right, everything was life is completely and absolutely. 

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What was the attitude of the townspeople towards a person like you? 

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Did they respect you for? 

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What you were doing well at first, it was a fad. 

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It was not, you know. 

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For years, Doc had been known as a kind of nut around town, and there were enough people had faith in him, of course, but others didn’t pay very much attention. 

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And but the IT in time attracted attention to small town and people knew it was the place of the radio station, didn’t have very big coverage. 

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Of course it only went out. 

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I think at night when hello time to get it past this age of the town but and there must have been about 5050 people in town was throwing a bit of money in the pot to help get started. So they were. They were boosters for. 

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And gradually. 

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It became. 

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The thing to do would be, for instance, to listen at noon, because we covered everything, auction sales, debt, worse deaths. 

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All entertainment. 

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Of which, I suppose auction sales were one of the major things, so that it became a habit, I mean, and the same thing at night. 

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So those islands, the news business? 

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Well, then in addition to that, he developed a burn downs on live burn downs on Saturday night, taking it around to different parts of the, you know, different town. 

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Tony Lombardi, I think used to play in a dance band. 

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Remember him come up the list of them and I was broadcasting and this sort of thing. 

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It was all local. 

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The accent was on the local stuff. 

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It was ages before we got any kind of a national news service and you couldn’t get any place else if you wanted to know what was going on. 

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You tuned in at noon and you found out who died, who who, who was born. 

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You know who was married, who was in court? 

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You know, everything was there. 

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You wouldn’t call it sophisticated. 

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Radio was more homely. 

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No, no. 

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And then Howard Bedford came in to work with Doc and he was a promoter. 

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And he coined the idea of the Ontario farm station. 

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And of course, that’s what identified and identified, because up to that point, we couldn’t get rewards. 

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Advertising they could change remained there. 

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For a long, long time. 

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Ohh yeah the. 

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I was married. 

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I was at the Commission when they sold it to to London to see if the dock had cancer and. 

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He was anxious to sell it before he. 

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You went to the CBC from CGNX as a farm broadcaster you went to. 

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No, I went to. 

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The newspaper first. 

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I went to the Stratford beginning. 

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I was there for five years and and and I, you know, I was getting tired. 

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Of it and. 

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I had. 

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It was a wonderful experience. 

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Nobody knew what nobody knew, what they were doing, so we could make all kinds of mistakes and there wouldn’t make any difference. 

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So you learned to write coffee? 

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My God, I used to go around even and collect bills. 

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On Saturday, the only way we get paid. 

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This is at the Beacon Herald. 

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No, no. 

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In in the William yeah. 

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I beg your pardon? 

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You’re still OK? 

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Used to. 

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Be used to go around and collect money on. 

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Saturday just to. 

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Pay our pay ourselves or take a basket of groceries. 

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Sometimes and times are pretty tough in there, and that was very. 

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You remember the kind of copy you. 

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Wrote to her. 

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Oh, sure, I wrote advertising copy. 

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I wrote spots. 

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I did the whole bit. 

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So the. 

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As a matter of fact, they even produced a soap opera once a week. 

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Doctor had never. 

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I don’t think even had heard one. 

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But I got a bunch of kids in the local high school and every Sunday afternoon we used to do this thing and we even got fleshman geese to sponsor. 

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And that was, but as I say, nobody tended not to do this. 

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So you did it. 

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You experimented and it worked. 

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Most of it. 

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Worked and if you fell on flat in your face, you could get. 

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Up again and you learn something, yeah. 

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And it didn’t make any difference. 

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You walked out the door and you missed somebody on the. 

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Who had just heard you on the air? 

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I mean, there was. 

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You’re you were that close to your audience. 

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As I was saying a moment ago, from there you went to the Beacon Herald and then you went. 

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To the CBC. 

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And that must. 

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Have been totally different. 

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Well the the. 

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There was an amazing thing because as I say, I fell into broadcasting my my knowledge of broadcasting prior to going to Wingham was so limited at the college. 

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We had those old crystal radios. 

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And there we used to most of it was to. 

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I think was to defy the priests more than any else. 

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We used to have these things in our in their bed at night, and be listening to them. 

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And that was my contact. 

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My father would had a bug on it, but he used to buy these big old fashioned homemade radios. 

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Most of it never work. 

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And you get a few bursts of music and KDK a Pittsburgh and things like that. 

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That was. 

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He was head of country star and he had this, but it never really caught me until. 

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Until I landed into Wingham and then it suddenly became aware of the fact that this was, you know, all the things I’d ever learned as a newspaper, as a local newspaper man and working. 

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And I’d worked on on the cartridge signal star for a while before that, so I was grounded in the business of reporting on local places. 

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But this was the natural for them. 

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You couldn’t get that. 

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You couldn’t, no matter where you went, you couldn’t beat that experience. 

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And what happened was that Don Fairburn, who was the firm commentator on CBC for Ontario, had an uncle and William police be allowed to rent a bookstore. 

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And I was a great frequenter of the bookstore. 

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And one day I was in there and and. 

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Old HB introduced me to his nephew, saying, you know, this is he’s in broadcasting too, suddenly knew about the CBC. 

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I hadn’t. We were up in an area where you couldn’t get very little CBC reception. As a matter of fact, what we’ve got mostly were were Detroit stations WJRWJ. 

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This sort of thing. 

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And even on even the Canadian stations were limited. 

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And I suppose that’s one of the reasons why we had this station, but however this. 

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As I say, I knew nothing about broadcasting. 

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Whatever it was I learned there. 

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I went to Stratford as district editor. 

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I wanted to get away from it for a while and you know it was. 

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It was it was too small. I mean, I hadn’t done everything I could possibly do, but I knew I was limited. I was. I was only 26 years older than I. 

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And I wanted to to move to do something day after me job, just together with the car and a lot of things to really do transfer to, to to the newspaper. 

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What I was doing on radio. 

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That was pretty much what it was. 

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And one day I got a. 

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I was in the office upstairs getting ready for the morning edition of the paper. 

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And the the girl told me Don Fairburn is down the stairs and he said Orville Chug wants to see it the CBC. 

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He said. 

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I’m leaving. 

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I’m going overseas and I said I. 

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Want to offer? 

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You the job. 

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God, I won’t drop dead and I never thought of it. 

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Never even thought of it. 

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So I got on the train. 

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They came down to. 

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Came down to Toronto and I’m a horrible Shogun. Is Orville Shug, OJ Orville JW Shugg SHUG still lives in Otto. 

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And Neil Morrison, his assistant, we were up to the old Piccadilly on King St. 

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Colman’s ran. 

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Sat there and and and dingy old Berry smelling joints, and he offered me a job. 

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Then they said, sure, you know who do I have to kill to get it and fine. 

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So I went back, packed up, came to Toronto by myself to find. 

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Someplace to live. 

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Landed in the Davenport studios. 

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I didn’t know anything about it at all. 

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Walked in. 

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It was where the TTC barns are now, but there, and there’s a guard with about 50 medals on and a gun, and he won’t let me in. 

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The Old Canadian National carbon factory nobody told me I had to get a get a pass to get into the joint. 

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And he was an abusive old ******* to. 

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And finally I got into it and I walked across this long compound. 

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Come walk up to the second floor in this industrial factory, the Dingiest, dirtiest joint you can. 

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And look at the the girl at the desk says. 

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Who are you? 

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I said I’m I come to work said welcome to the Legion of Lost Souls. 

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Or somebody sent me in. 

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There’s a couple of studios. 

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There’s a recording room. 

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There’s a place for The Newsroom. 

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There’s one private office and there’s this great open space factory space. 

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And there I’m surrounded by all these people. 

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And I, you know, this is my, this is this. 

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I’m this is big game. 

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My God. 

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I mean, does it look like as if you’re going into the scrap yard in Liverpool? 

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Some answers say to us Frank Willis, the secretary, took me in hand and read forces who was a great guy, sat me down to the desk. 

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And the next thing I know, Frank Willis comes down and shakes hands, you know, and I suddenly realized what a tremendous gang of people I was in the middle of. 

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And that’s how you doing. 

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CBC you were there with history. 

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Oh yes. 

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I mean, these are and they were wonder they were, they were tremendous. 

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I mean, you know, I was this dream kid that came in. 

00:15:08 Speaker 1 

Well, when you think of what they had, they hit the kind of studios they had, the kind of equipment they had compared to CK and X was kind of a shock to you or was it was a terrible shock to me that I expected to see something really flossy. 

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And as a matter of fact, it wasn’t a hell lot better than CK and X. 

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You know, it was a granted the control rooms and. 

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It wasn’t. 

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It wasn’t really. 

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Basically, they were the same thing. 

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What was the attitude towards broadcasting by the people that worked there? 

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Did they feel they were in an innovative industry? 

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Ohh listen. 

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The more, as I said, the moment you got in that door, you realized what you were amongst the spirit was fantastic. 

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It was wartime, of course, and there was this overlay of doing war things, you know, and remember that in those days, I mean, if they, the CBC was a pillar for the country, because if you had anybody overseas, the only place you’re going to really learn about it was on the on the CBC News. 

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And that was just beginning. 

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And for the really beginning their overseas service and it and as it went on, it got better and better and better all the time, you know, and it was. 

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And the CBC came of age in wartime. 

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There was number, so I was at the right time to to come into it. 

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And everybody was charged. 

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They were missionaries. 

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My God, they believed that this, you know, this is the most important thing in the world to do. 

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And it exceeded you. 

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And it was also very democratic. 

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That was the other thing about it. 

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Three days after I was there. 

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I remember so well. 

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Somebody said we had to go down York Street. 

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Because there was a meeting, this was at night. 

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I get down there and everybody’s there. 

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Office, Boys, girls, everything, producers, announcers, nobody else and Bush knows holding a program meeting. 

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And everybody’s expected to talk about it. 

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You know, I couldn’t get over this. 

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And they were arguing in detail that I’ve been going on in the office, boys arguing with Bushnell. 

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I mean, and that was the kind of that. 

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Was the kind of regress. 

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The input was from everyone with everybody. 

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Yeah, that’s right. 

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Farm broadcasting. 

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Which to a lot of young people who might hear this day is something they wouldn’t relate to. 



00:17:05 Speaker 2 

You see, Farm Broadcasting was. 

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It was the the unique thing. 

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This fellow shrug was the one he had been, a farmer. 

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He’d been in the newspapers in the Okanagan Valley. 

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And his father had a farm at Watford between Watford and Albinson and Orville. 

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Shrugged him back. 

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On the farm and he was listening to the CBC One day and he said, you know, it’s a damn shame because there are no CBC should be broadcasting markets because farmers are at the mercy of the Packers. 

00:17:32 Speaker 2 

Because they they’re in the drivers, because they don’t know what’s going on and the radio could do a wonderful job with this. 

00:17:38 Speaker 2 

So we wrote to Glass Joe Murray, who was then the general manager, the CBC, and he told him that Glastron Murray wrote back and said. 

00:17:45 Speaker 2 

I think you have a great idea. 

00:17:46 Speaker 2 

Why don’t you come and do? 

00:17:48 Speaker 2 

And that’s what started the firm broadcast. 

00:17:49 Speaker 1 

He became the program director, didn’t he? 

00:17:51 Speaker 2 

You know, he became the supervisor of firm brothers. 

00:17:53 Speaker 2 


00:17:55 Speaker 2 

And he set them up this way. 

00:17:57 Speaker 2 

Each region that is the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario has all separate regions, the prairies and BC would have a an individual broadcast for themselves. 

00:18:08 Speaker 2 

And it would be at noon and it would have far markets at the beginning. 

00:18:12 Speaker 2 

It would have a dramatic cereal based on a farm family, which in the case of Ontario with the Craigs and at the end of it, it would have commentary and and interviews was agricultural specialists. 

00:18:23 Speaker 2 

For every day five days a week, there was this thing set up across the country and there were farm families. 

00:18:28 Speaker 2 

Indigenous to the each each you know the drama to each region. 

00:18:33 Speaker 2 

The Craigs were here the. 

00:18:35 Speaker 2 

Gillens are in the in the Maritimes, and so on. 

00:18:37 Speaker 2 

Carsins were in DC and so on. 

00:18:40 Speaker 2 

And of course, in the fact was that it had his met much, much or more city audience because people were fascinated by these prices. 

00:18:48 Speaker 2 

But the prices of vegetables and the prices and the farm family, when this was it was this kind of soap, although was a propaganda thing and was it was, it was built or it was written so that. 

00:19:00 Speaker 2 

Propaganda about the war effort would be put into the farm family, but they managed, you know, they were on the air for 30. 

00:19:05 Speaker 2 

Years or something? 

00:19:06 Speaker 2 

They it really became an institution. 

00:19:09 Speaker 1 

You moved around in the CBC, did you not? 

00:19:12 Speaker 1 

You didn’t stay in Farm Broadcasting. 

00:19:14 Speaker 2 

I can’t remember. 

00:19:14 Speaker 2 

You know, I was there. 

00:19:16 Speaker 2 

I was a farm. 

00:19:17 Speaker 2 

I was a farm commentator for a year. 

00:19:18 Speaker 2 

I was the assistant Supervisor, farm broadcast for a year or so. 

00:19:21 Speaker 2 

And then I was a supervisor farm broadcast for another period of a couple of years, and then I took over the transcontinental. 

00:19:29 Speaker 2 

And there was there until. 

00:19:31 Speaker 2 

Oh, the 60s. 

00:19:33 Speaker 2 

And then I was program director for television and radio for both for Ontario region. 

00:19:39 Speaker 2 

Then I was then I was a oh, what active specialist? 

00:19:46 Speaker 2 

Some special some of the titles and then I was and then I was and I was. 

00:19:49 Speaker 1 

Tell me. 

00:19:53 Speaker 2 

I was a what do you call a producer, executive producer in television when you were programming the transgender network back in those days, there’s a lot of talk. 

00:20:03 Speaker 1 

Shows wasn’t there. 

00:20:05 Speaker 1 

There was music. 

00:20:06 Speaker 1 

More music. 

00:20:07 Speaker 2 

Oh, no, no. 

00:20:08 Speaker 2 

There was a lot of. 

00:20:10 Speaker 2 

There was a your prior to back in the sea back in the if you, if you think of broadcasting back in 3236 in the CRBC days, there were a fair amount of very good commentaries. As a matter of fact, people like George Ferguson, there are all these people. 

00:20:28 Speaker 2 

There wasn’t so much. 

00:20:29 Speaker 2 

And then when I came in. 

00:20:32 Speaker 2 

It was changing the the war had an effect on it too. 

00:20:38 Speaker 2 

And there were a lot of programs that were done were done, you know, Alfred Lankey an awful lot of dramatic programs. 

00:20:48 Speaker 2 

Those comrades in arms. 

00:20:50 Speaker 2 

Fading Navy Israel Israel drama show. 

00:20:55 Speaker 2 

Not John and Judy. 

00:20:57 Speaker 2 

I forget the name of that one, but there were a lot of dramatic shows and there was a lot of music too. 

00:21:02 Speaker 2 

But there wasn’t so much talk, you know, there were some forums. 

00:21:06 Speaker 2 

With a firm forum and Citizens Forum, which were discussion program which we had a tremendous effect, particularly at the end of the war, and try to read it and just doing people towards it. 

00:21:20 Speaker 2 

Oh, I I can’t begin to tell you the number of the number of. 

00:21:25 Speaker 2 

You know, we started CBC, CBC, Opera company. 

00:21:27 Speaker 2 

That became the became was the nucleus of the Canadian Opera Company started with the CBC on CBC Wednesday night. 

00:21:35 Speaker 1 

But you did try to offer something for everyone, didn’t you? 

00:21:37 Speaker 1 

Oh, yeah. 

00:21:38 Speaker 1 

Well, a private station might stay in one groove. 

00:21:38 Speaker 2 

From children. 

00:21:40 Speaker 2 

Not on the children’s programs. 

00:21:42 Speaker 2 

Everything you can imagine then we had time zones to counter with across the country and you know, at the beginning of it was it was going live. 

00:21:49 Speaker 2 

When I first went in there, it was not quite a long time before it began that it began to delay it for the time region. 

00:21:55 Speaker 1 

Did you remember, Mama? 

00:21:57 Speaker 1 

Yes, that was a made-up of segments. Yeah, short items. That was did. 

00:22:03 Speaker 1 

You create that. 

00:22:04 Speaker 2 

Well, I guess I know where mine. 

00:22:05 Speaker 1 

Was assignment. 

00:22:06 Speaker 1 

I mean to assignment. 

00:22:07 Speaker 1 

They said monitor assignment. 

00:22:08 Speaker 2 

No, no. 

00:22:08 Speaker 2 

I wondered it. 

00:22:09 Speaker 2 

No, I created it. 

00:22:10 Speaker 2 

See when they. 

00:22:12 Speaker 2 

I remembered very well-being called in one day and I was just sort of project, specially program projects and. 

00:22:18 Speaker 2 

There was a meeting with the private stations. 

00:22:21 Speaker 2 

This was in the days when the CBC CBC was still regulating the broadcasting. 

00:22:26 Speaker 2 

They regulated broadcasting up until the 19th until the the BVD was. 

00:22:34 Speaker 2 

They had. 

00:22:35 Speaker 2 

CBL and TCBY which became CBC. 

00:22:39 Speaker 2 

The two stations and they were they were. 

00:22:41 Speaker 2 

They duplicated each other. 

00:22:43 Speaker 2 

But the private stations wanted a network of their own, and because we had, we had created things like CBC Wednesday night, which eliminated commercials all one night there was a there were people who wanted time for national comma. 

00:22:57 Speaker 2 

So they conceived the idea of taking cby CBC and and 26 private stations and forming the Dominion Network, and they wanted a program that was distinctive for that. 

00:23:08 Speaker 2 

And they asked me what to do and I I created. 

00:23:10 Speaker 1 

Assignment and assignment was just that. 

00:23:12 Speaker 1 

You assigned people to. 

00:23:14 Speaker 2 

Death rate as a matter of fact, what we did was the tape recorder, where the idea came to me from when I said, and it was the same thing as I thought about back in Wingham, and that was there are all kinds of stories in this country that go on every day. 

00:23:27 Speaker 2 

Beautiful story that get cut off. 

00:23:30 Speaker 2 

I was in the CP office in Winnipeg one night and I was watching. 

00:23:34 Speaker 2 

The operator there and he was bringing the wire stuff was coming in from the region and he was feeding to the national line and what he was doing was cutting. 

00:23:43 Speaker 2 

He couldn’t. 

00:23:43 Speaker 2 

He didn’t have time from from the Moose River and Buffalo jump. 

00:23:47 Speaker 2 

And I don’t know where. 

00:23:48 Speaker 2 

All not Moose River, but Moose Jaw and and all these places. 

00:23:52 Speaker 2 

He’s cutting these and I’m looking at them. 

00:23:53 Speaker 2 

They’re beautiful little stories. 

00:23:54 Speaker 2 

So you know things that are happening all the time. 

00:23:57 Speaker 2 

So this is what I what I tried to create an assignment was. 

00:24:01 Speaker 2 

We would look for the stories that were there that the that the news just didn’t carry because enough time for. 

00:24:08 Speaker 2 

And what happened was and because with the tape recorder, it was easy to do, you could edit them down and we’d run for a maximum of 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. 

00:24:17 Speaker 2 

And we would, we would canvas to start with the people who were working on those private stations to tell them. 

00:24:22 Speaker 2 

We had a market for them. 

00:24:26 Speaker 2 

What happened, of course, was that and we were paying $35 or something like that for these with first to 25 minute is 35. 

00:24:33 Speaker 2 

And Warner Warner Troyer told me the story of what happened when he was working up the lake here. 

00:24:39 Speaker 2 

He said he heard this program. 

00:24:42 Speaker 2 

He heard there would been note came around saying we welcome contribution. So he sent a story in. He got a check for $35 and he sent him two stories and he got $70. Just making more money wasn’t the thing. And he came to Toronto and I tell you that years afterwards, when I was with the CRC. 

00:24:59 Speaker 2 

And Pierre, Juno and I would arrive in a town like this, and people would come up and say I used to work for you and Juno said, Mike, God, did everybody in Canada work for you one time or another? 

00:25:08 Speaker 2 

And it was all people who had contributed to assignment. 

00:25:10 Speaker 2 

Including me? 

00:25:11 Speaker 2 

Yeah, sure. 

00:25:13 Speaker 2 

And I remember Andrew Allen telling me. 

00:25:15 Speaker 2 

He said he was driving back from Detroit. 

00:25:18 Speaker 2 

And he turned the radio on. 

00:25:19 Speaker 2 

So first the. 

00:25:19 Speaker 2 

Acquaintance he had with. 

00:25:21 Speaker 2 

The same and he got hooked. 

00:25:23 Speaker 2 

You know what this business about all across the country, the things that were going on. 

00:25:26 Speaker 2 

Yes, the sort of homely little things, and yet some of them were rather good, and that was it. 

00:25:31 Speaker 2 

It was almost like a a national tapestry. 

00:25:34 Speaker 2 

And it was a good show. 

00:25:36 Speaker 1 

You went into television also, Harry. 

00:25:39 Speaker 2 

Well, I try to do the same thing on television as I was. 

00:25:41 Speaker 2 

Doing there because they did a program called across Canada. 

00:25:45 Speaker 2 

And it was the first program was the world’s worst program to be in the Smithsonian. 

00:25:52 Speaker 2 

It was unbelievably bad because there was a fight between myself and the producer. 

00:25:58 Speaker 2 

I mean, this was, I knew what I wanted and he wanted to convince some television until I got a new producer. 

00:26:04 Speaker 2 

And then it worked and I think and but the problem was it was the time elements. 

00:26:08 Speaker 2 

You’re always fighting against the regions because I had to be in a super. 

00:26:12 Speaker 2 

But they’re doing it now pretty much, but I mean, journalism example pretty much what you’re talking about, except they do it internationally. 

00:26:19 Speaker 1 

You started in 1936. We’re talking 30 odd years later with the needs and expectations of broadcasting different than people expect different things. They need different things other than novelty then of course. 

00:26:32 Speaker 2 

No people are seated with it. 

00:26:36 Speaker 2 

I think I suspected what we. 

00:26:40 Speaker 2 

What we’ve always needed is some knowledge of what’s going on around us and. 

00:26:47 Speaker 2 

I think in many ways the concentration of the imitation that goes on in an awful lot of television is the worst curse there is for it and and the lack of innovation. 

00:26:58 Speaker 2 

It’s easy to imitating, to run along. 

00:27:01 Speaker 2 

And it’s very difficult, you know. 

00:27:03 Speaker 1 

You were on both sides of the fence, though. 

00:27:06 Speaker 1 

You worked in public broadcasting. 

00:27:07 Speaker 1 

You worked in private broadcasting and and then you worked for a regulatory body. 

00:27:11 Speaker 1 

Yeah, actually three different aspects of broadcasting. 

00:27:13 Speaker 2 

Yeah, yeah. 

00:27:15 Speaker 1 

How was that? 

00:27:16 Speaker 1 

How did you feel about it when you sat in the chair of the CTC as? 

00:27:19 Speaker 1 

A vice chairman and the chairman well understood. 

00:27:21 Speaker 2 

Did some of the difficulties of the private stations because it’s a it’s it’s fairly easy for people on the CBC to criticize private stations and say, you know, they should do this and they should do that. 

00:27:31 Speaker 2 

And they should do something else. 

00:27:35 Speaker 2 

I know the difficulties that are inherent in it. 

00:27:38 Speaker 2 

That it’s they’re caught in a kind of mind. 

00:27:44 Speaker 2 

I don’t think they do. 

00:27:45 Speaker 2 

I don’t think private stations. 

00:27:46 Speaker 2 

And I always believe this don’t do enough innovation. 

00:27:49 Speaker 2 

There’s lots of time. 

00:27:50 Speaker 2 

They’ve got lots of time off time when they could do things, they could let their own staff go. 

00:27:55 Speaker 2 

And I think management is too rigid in terms of an awful lot of things. 

00:27:59 Speaker 2 

I mean, they have, you’d have better broadcasting. 

00:28:00 Speaker 1 

You’re talking television? 

00:28:01 Speaker 2 

You know, I’m talking about radio and I’m talking about television too. 

00:28:07 Speaker 2 

You know, there are so many things that could be done to the effort, but the the difficulty about the difficulty about private broadcasting to me is that I watched when I was at CRDC and it seemed to me that. 

00:28:20 Speaker 2 

The the sales office and the Accounting Office took over from the program office. 

00:28:24 Speaker 2 

Too many times and what happens is they’re just watching everything for ratings and watching every other station and that imitation, rather than innovation. 

00:28:32 Speaker 2 

Did you worry about ratings in your early days? 

00:28:35 Speaker 2 

Did you care what they I must telling us? 

00:28:37 Speaker 2 

I must tell you about ratings. 

00:28:39 Speaker 2 

I had newscast on William sponsored them would call from the. 

00:28:43 Speaker 2 

And around about 8 years, Stradford met on 8 different stations and they had this agency had placed this their contract with these local newscast. 

00:28:54 Speaker 2 

And I discovered they had all been canceled. 

00:28:57 Speaker 2 

And I couldn’t figure it out. 

00:28:58 Speaker 2 

I didn’t think we had that big enough him and one my cousin, the young girl who about 16 or so, who lived there, met her on the street from there. 

00:29:06 Speaker 2 

And she said, oh, Harry, by the way, she said. 

00:29:09 Speaker 2 

You know I did. 

00:29:11 Speaker 2 

I have a telephone survey on your program and she said I got my sister to help me. 

00:29:15 Speaker 2 

So they called me and asked me if I do. 

00:29:17 Speaker 2 

I don’t really got my name. 

00:29:19 Speaker 2 

And she said we did the survey and. 

00:29:21 Speaker 2 

She said, you know. 

00:29:22 Speaker 2 

What we did was that when we, when they didn’t know what they were listening to or they weren’t listening, we. 

00:29:28 Speaker 2 

Just put down your name. 

00:29:31 Speaker 1 

They didn’t last about three months later, and I guess they double checked through it all. 

00:29:36 Speaker 1 

Well, Harry, yours is. 

00:29:38 Speaker 1 

The name has become celebrated and linked so much with the Canadian broadcasting history. 

00:29:42 Speaker 1 

And I want to thank you on behalf of the archives for being. 

00:29:45 Speaker 1 

Our guest pleasure. 

00:29:48 Speaker 1 

Our guest has been Harry Boyle, interviewed in Toronto, November 1988 by Phil Stone.