John Ansell


00:00:02 Speaker 1 

This is Phil Stone. The interview on this tape is with John Ansell, John Stafford in radio in 1945, June 1st at CJV I, Victoria BC. 

00:00:13 Speaker 1 

Subsequently, he was in Vancouver, Calgary before returning to VI as President and general manager, and that was in 1972. 

00:00:22 Speaker 1 

Are you still there, John? 

00:00:23 Speaker 2 

Phil, I’ve actively retired from the broadcast business and I did it. 

00:00:28 Speaker 2 

The year 1987, July 31st was my last day of work, but I am now the the President and chairman of the Board of Island Broadcasting Company, which is if. 

00:00:39 Speaker 2 

You will CJBI. 

00:00:41 Speaker 1 

When you think back over those years, that’s over 40 years. 

00:00:44 Speaker 1 

Is there something really that stands out in your mind? 

00:00:47 Speaker 1 

Some event. 

00:00:48 Speaker 2 

Well, I suppose my career having been the entire career, been with one organization is probably the the greatest thing that I can possibly say about the career. 

00:01:01 Speaker 2 

I’ve been very fortunate in in being a part of what is today the Selkirk Communications. 

00:01:08 Speaker 2 

Which in the very early days was a very loosely knit organization of stations called the Acml or the All Canada mutually operated station and have seen the company develop into one of the Giants in the in in the broadcast industry and. 

00:01:24 Speaker 2 

I suppose the encouragement which which I received from my mentors, they they the the people that I had, such a tremendous regard for and in the industry tiny elfick and Jerry Gates and Stuart McKay. 



00:01:38 Speaker 2 

And of of course, in particular Stuart who, who, who built Selkirk into really the large conglomerate, if you will that. 

00:01:47 Speaker 2 

It is today. 

00:01:48 Speaker 2 

And and the encouragement which I received from these people and. 

00:01:54 Speaker 2 

Here’s this young guy that had come right out of the armed forces at the. 

00:01:59 Speaker 2 

Tender age, if you will. 

00:02:01 Speaker 2 

Of 19. 

00:02:03 Speaker 2 

And right into the broadcast industry. 

00:02:06 Speaker 2 

And to have gone on in a span of the 42 years in the business to. 

00:02:12 Speaker 2 

The well, I suppose the the the, the, the, the top position that there is if you will as far as the industry goes and that was chairman of the board of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. 

00:02:22 Speaker 2 

So I feel that the spectrum and everything else in between has been fantastic. 

00:02:26 Speaker 2 

It’s it’s been a life which I have so thoroughly enjoyed and it’s why I wanted to leave it. 

00:02:31 Speaker 2 

If you will, when I had reached the the the pinnacle and that’s what I did. 

00:02:36 Speaker 1 

Why did you go into broadcasting in the beginning? 

00:02:38 Speaker 1 

Was it something you loved or did someone suggest it to? 

00:02:41 Speaker 2 

Well, as you can tell and I. 

00:02:45 Speaker 2 

I say I came into broadcasting at the age of 19 I. 

00:02:50 Speaker 2 

Was in the armed forces and when I was 17 years of age. 

00:02:54 Speaker 2 

Which meant that I had my education right through to high school. 

00:03:01 Speaker 2 

And it was during the latter years in high school that the interest started. 

00:03:08 Speaker 2 

I was born in Kelowna and the only radio station in the Okanagan Valley at that time was. 

00:03:14 Speaker 2 


00:03:15 Speaker 2 

And old. 

00:03:17 Speaker 2 

Jim Brown, senior. 

00:03:20 Speaker 2 

Was the owner operator of the station. 

00:03:23 Speaker 2 

And as war broke out, there was a very major shortage of announcers and people available to do various things on air. 

00:03:31 Speaker 2 

My father and Jim Brown were. 

00:03:34 Speaker 2 

Great friends from a point of view that my father was overly critical of the the local type of programming that was coming out of his radio. 

00:03:44 Speaker 2 

My father was a British Imperial Army officer, retired and he he he could not stand mispronunciation and all the rest of it. 

00:03:52 Speaker 2 

And I grew up in that atmosphere. 

00:03:54 Speaker 2 

So when. 

00:03:55 Speaker 2 

There was a shortage of people. 

00:03:58 Speaker 2 

Jim Brown suggested that perhaps. 

00:04:02 Speaker 2 

My father’s son and he told him that way that I should perhaps. 

00:04:07 Speaker 2 

Maybe get involved and he said it would be kind of nice to have somebody here. 

00:04:10 Speaker 2 

That you could criticize at home. 

00:04:12 Speaker 2 

It it was something of that sort and I went on it and and started doing a radio as the announcer on a program that was called the voice of the Black and gold, which was a a high school program, if you will. 

00:04:27 Speaker 2 

And they used to have guests. 

00:04:30 Speaker 2 

I was born in Kelowna but went to school outside of Kelowna at a place called Rutland, and I became a guest on the program and then they asked me if I would become the regular announcer on the program, and then Jim Brown wanted me to be a full time announcer on the station, and that was the point in time when I said no, I was going into the forces I was waiting on call to go into the Navy. 

00:04:49 Speaker 2 

At that time so. 

00:04:51 Speaker 1 

When you came back, you did. 

00:04:52 Speaker 2 

Go in. 

00:04:52 Speaker 2 

Well, yes. 

00:04:54 Speaker 2 

I was, as I say, I started as a boy soldier in the army. 

00:05:03 Speaker 2 

And I had a what I and I I guess it was my father’s influence. I I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

00:05:10 Speaker 2 

And I had always had a big Sergeant major type voice. 

00:05:15 Speaker 2 

And I had the taste of this business of broadcasting. 

00:05:20 Speaker 2 

And in 1945, when the end of the war was along, I happened to be in Vic. 

00:05:28 Speaker 2 

And I couldn’t get discharged because I was now what is known as an act. 

00:05:33 Speaker 2 

I I was an army instructor in a lot of different areas. 

00:05:36 Speaker 2 

And the war in Europe was over. 

00:05:38 Speaker 2 

But the war in Japan was still going on, and there was a possibility I may be going getting involved in that. 

00:05:43 Speaker 2 

However, I had nothing to do. 

00:05:46 Speaker 2 

I used to assign 20 zombies for their duties for the day and then have nothing else to do with being an instructor. 

00:05:51 Speaker 2 

There was very little instructing that I was doing and and whatnot. 

00:05:56 Speaker 2 

And I was getting pretty fed up of doing this. So I finally one day thought, I wonder if there just might not be something at the local radio station and happened to just wander in to see JBI. 

00:06:07 Speaker 2 

And met a lad that also had a great influence on my life in the early days. That was **** Beatty was the then program manager, if you will, that CJ VICJVI, the only radio station on Mercer Island. 

00:06:21 Speaker 2 

**** interviewed me right off the bat and he asked me a few very strange questions he said. 

00:06:26 Speaker 2 

Had I ever been a Boy Scout and all that sort of stuff, I guess I answered all their questions correctly because he’s after his all over, he says. 

00:06:31 Speaker 2 

When can you start work? 

00:06:33 Speaker 2 

I was sitting there still in in uniform and I said, well, I can’t get out. 

00:06:37 Speaker 2 

But I said I have a lot of free time and I said when do you want me? 

00:06:40 Speaker 2 

And he said, could you start tomorrow? 

00:06:42 Speaker 2 

And I did. 

00:06:43 Speaker 2 

And that was that was the June 1st, 1945 and. 

00:06:48 Speaker 2 

And I’ve never looked back. 

00:06:49 Speaker 2 

It took me about till the end of. 

00:06:52 Speaker 2 

October before the. 

00:06:54 Speaker 2 

Army finally discharged. 

00:06:56 Speaker 1 

Do you recall the kind of commercial you did back then? 

00:07:00 Speaker 2 

Oh my God. 

00:07:01 Speaker 2 

You know on the. 

00:07:04 Speaker 2 

July 31st of this year, at my retirement, I was put through an ordeal that no man should ever have to go through. 

00:07:13 Speaker 2 

They had a great farewell party for me and one of the things that they did was to play 15 minutes of material. 

00:07:22 Speaker 2 

From the time that I had started in the business, one included my audition that I made when I went from CJ VI to CK WX in 1946 and commercials for Hudson’s Bay Company. 

00:07:37 Speaker 2 

Commercials for a glass company. 

00:07:39 Speaker 2 

Oh, reflections in melody. 

00:07:42 Speaker 2 

A thesaurus program was part of the audition. 

00:07:45 Speaker 2 

Thesaurus discs. 

00:07:46 Speaker 2 

I’m sure most people know the old transcription. 

00:07:49 Speaker 2 

But it it is, it was quite frightening to to hear this thing and to have to suffer through this after 42 years in the business. 

00:07:56 Speaker 2 

But it was fascinating. 

00:07:58 Speaker 1 

When you go back there in your mind to the time 194546 and so on, which were very eventful years, how was the new service to your station? How did the people? 

00:08:09 Speaker 1 

At the news. 

00:08:10 Speaker 2 

Well, interestingly enough, in Victoria the the town didn’t come to life till about the time that the radio station signed on the air. 

00:08:20 Speaker 2 

And that was at 7:00 o’clock in the morning. 

00:08:22 Speaker 2 

And I used to come to work on a bicycle which the station owned. 

00:08:26 Speaker 2 

I’ve always said it was the very first mobile in radio and broadcasting and the the radio station provided a bicycle because for many, many days I I I could not get a a Street car that was, you know, get me to downtown and right on time in order to open the station up and. 

00:08:42 Speaker 2 

Get on here. 

00:08:44 Speaker 2 

And on the way in, I had to do 2 things. 

00:08:47 Speaker 2 

Make sure that I had my key to the elevator in the building because you’re at the top of of the Union building in, in. 

00:08:52 Speaker 2 

Victoria and I had to make sure I have my key to unlock it to get in there. 

00:08:55 Speaker 2 

And I also had to. 

00:08:56 Speaker 2 

Have enough money to get a newspaper and on my way into. 

00:09:01 Speaker 2 

The building. 

00:09:02 Speaker 2 

I started to scan the newspaper and circle items because. 

00:09:06 Speaker 2 

The then wire the tow type had been off all night. 

00:09:10 Speaker 2 

We couldn’t possibly afford to let it run all night and and it would have been useless anyway because there was no service at that time of the. 

00:09:18 Speaker 2 

You’d turn the machine on and you wouldn’t have anything to start the day, and the very first thing was a newscast for 5 minutes. 

00:09:23 Speaker 2 

Well, I would read the circled items in the newspaper and have to translate them if you will, into the the the broadcast mode. 

00:09:31 Speaker 2 

And that was the very first thing. 

00:09:33 Speaker 2 

And from that point on, of course, the next newscast I would prepare during. 

00:09:38 Speaker 2 

Well, we used to have 115 minute program on the air which was doctor Michaelson’s, Hebrew Christian honor, and that was a 15 minute transcription. 

00:09:49 Speaker 2 

Thank goodness for that. 

00:09:50 Speaker 2 

We put the thing on and we were able to walk out of the control room and go to work and pull records or rip and read the news and pull it apart. 

00:09:57 Speaker 1 

Did you have live shows at that? 

00:09:59 Speaker 2 

Did we ever? 

00:10:00 Speaker 2 

Oh, Lordy, yes, we. 

00:10:02 Speaker 2 

Had all kinds of them, there were. 

00:10:05 Speaker 2 

One of the groups that we had at ccvi at that time was Fred Usher and his hometown, hers, who became part of the the the originations to the rest of Canada through the Dominion Network of the CBC. 

00:10:21 Speaker 2 

The the Hometowner show was a very big feature once a week. 

00:10:24 Speaker 2 

It started off as a 15 minute feature and wound up being laterally in the hour show on the Dominion network, but the show originated with CJ VI and that program. 

00:10:33 Speaker 2 

Itself was done from one of the theaters in Victoria and eventually just after I had left, I was involved in the program itself. 

00:10:42 Speaker 2 

We used to do the program on Saturday nights and I was the announcer on the show. 

00:10:46 Speaker 2 

And the fella took my place, went on to become probably pretty well known across the country, and that was Ted Reynolds. 

00:10:54 Speaker 2 

Ted was the announcer that took over from me when I left. 

00:10:56 Speaker 2 

I went to Victoria over to. 

00:10:58 Speaker 1 

A lot of changes in the industry since that time. 

00:11:01 Speaker 1 

John, a lot of changes. 

00:11:02 Speaker 1 

How how how do you? 

00:11:03 Speaker 1 

Feel about them. Well, I. 

00:11:06 Speaker 2 

My real reason I think for leaving the industry and I. 

00:11:09 Speaker 2 

Said it at the time. 

00:11:10 Speaker 2 

Time to a great group of people that were assembled when when I retired and and that was that. 

00:11:17 Speaker 2 

There are so many changes to the business, so many things where the the industry is not quite as personal as it used to be. 

00:11:24 Speaker 2 

The relationship between the the the listener and the the the broadcaster in those days was a tremendous thing there. 

00:11:33 Speaker 2 

There was a very high regard for people in the broadcast industry. 

00:11:36 Speaker 2 

I don’t think it’s there today. 

00:11:38 Speaker 2 

I think that there is a a mechanical situation which exists. 

00:11:42 Speaker 2 

I’ve got to the point in in my broadcast life. 

00:11:46 Speaker 2 

I felt that what we were doing was a tremendous thing. 

00:11:49 Speaker 2 

It was good. 

00:11:50 Speaker 2 

It was good for, for, for the country in many ways. 

00:11:53 Speaker 2 

But it was very, very impersonal. 

00:11:55 Speaker 2 

The the, the, the closeness of the day that we had in broadcasting. 

00:11:59 Speaker 2 

And that’s that’s the thing that to sort of go back again to what you were asking earlier. 

00:12:03 Speaker 2 

What is it that I remember? 

00:12:04 Speaker 2 

I remember the people of broadcasting. 

00:12:07 Speaker 2 

The people of broadcasting are the greatest thing to me that we had, and that’s not to to be nostalgic and and and and all the rest of it today. 

00:12:16 Speaker 2 

It’s a young man’s industry. It’s a young man’s game. You and I have contributed, I think in in many ways, a lot of things to the younger generations of it. I’m still involved in, in, in a number of organizations. 

00:12:27 Speaker 2 

And though I have actively retired from day-to-day, but. 

00:12:31 Speaker 2 

I’m still on Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of the BC Institute of Technology, the Broadcast Education Association of Canada, who just honored with the other day by making me an honorary life. 

00:12:41 Speaker 2 

Member, that sort of thing. 

00:12:42 Speaker 2 

That’s maybe I can I can contribute something. 

00:12:46 Speaker 2 

Through that way. 

00:12:46 Speaker 2 

But in a day-to-day operation, it’s an age of computerization. 

00:12:51 Speaker 2 

Everything today is is dealing with computerization and and the mechanical means of putting all of your programming together and the mix that takes place. 

00:12:58 Speaker 2 

And there’s so many factors that that, that, that I feel. 

00:13:02 Speaker 2 

Requires that different mind the different mic of broadcaster, a different generation of younger broadcasters that are coming through. 

00:13:10 Speaker 1 

Do you think that these changes have eliminated some of the problems you had in the early? 

00:13:13 Speaker 2 

Days yes, probably, but I think there have other problems have evolved as a result, a lot of the problems that we had. 

00:13:21 Speaker 2 

What were they? 

00:13:22 Speaker 2 

Well, the technology of the day, the technology in in, in broadcasting is is has been phenomenal. 

00:13:28 Speaker 2 

We haven’t been able to keep up with it, if you will, on the administrative side. 

00:13:31 Speaker 2 

It’s been astounding and I think that that’s really what I’m talking about is that. 

00:13:37 Speaker 2 

The problems we had were the the inability to to really cope totally with, with with so many different things. 

00:13:47 Speaker 2 

I’m a total free enterpriser and I think that the the rules and regulations of broadcasting were the things that throttled us in those days, and it’s great to see if you will, some re regulation and deregulation taking place in the industry, but there’s still too. 

00:14:01 Speaker 2 

Much of it when you. 

00:14:03 Speaker 1 

Give in the business. 

00:14:04 Speaker 1 

How did they rate the audience? 

00:14:05 Speaker 1 

What service did they? 

00:14:07 Speaker 2 

Oh boy, the old Elliott Haines survey that they coincidental telephone calls. 

00:14:13 Speaker 2 

Yeah, that was that was basically it. 

00:14:14 Speaker 2 

We used to watch where the Elliott Haines surveys to come out. 

00:14:18 Speaker 2 

I can’t even remember what their regularity was. 

00:14:20 Speaker 2 

But in Victoria, we didn’t really worry about them. 

00:14:23 Speaker 2 

As I said earlier, we were the only radio station on Vancouver Island. 

00:14:27 Speaker 2 

So who cared about what your readings were you you just did it and you you got the the immediate response today. 

00:14:35 Speaker 2 

And and I can. 

00:14:37 Speaker 2 

Perhaps illustrate this in one way? 

00:14:42 Speaker 2 

Many years ago I I can remember. 

00:14:45 Speaker 2 

In Victoria, somebody saying something on the air which was, you know, using four letter words and the switchboard lighting up like a Christmas tree instantaneous. 

00:14:57 Speaker 2 

And it was something that they had forgotten to turn a microphone on. 

00:15:01 Speaker 2 

Now, a similar incident happened no more than two years ago. 

00:15:06 Speaker 2 

And I happened to be in the control room when it happen. 

00:15:09 Speaker 2 

And there wasn’t one phone call to the radio station. 

00:15:13 Speaker 2 

That told me a an awful lot about what’s happened to the business. You know that no longer do people really TuneIn to hear and listen and hang on to every word that is said. 

00:15:24 Speaker 2 

That’s coming out of that little box. 

00:15:27 Speaker 2 

It’s a background. 

00:15:28 Speaker 1 

Well, today a lot of the announcers come out of university community colleges out of broadcast courses. 

00:15:33 Speaker 1 

Do you think this made a tremendous difference? 

00:15:35 Speaker 1 

The caliber. 

00:15:36 Speaker 2 

Oh, absolutely. Absolutely there are. 

00:15:40 Speaker 2 

There’s a lot of screening, I think of all the things we had to go through in order to to train the broadcasters and in those days I was involved in the very first broadcast program. 

00:15:52 Speaker 2 

I think that that there was that CJ VI or probably me, CJ, I wasn’t involved in it, but when I went to CW. 

00:16:00 Speaker 2 

Cover the forerunner of the broadcast program at the BC Institute of Technology. 

00:16:07 Speaker 2 

In fact, was our own CWX University Radio Society course that the Real Thompson and I conducted. 

00:16:15 Speaker 1 

Well, the person that came into business at the time when you came in, you came in from the army, as you said. 

00:16:20 Speaker 1 

Where did they come from? 

00:16:22 Speaker 1 

Who were they? 

00:16:24 Speaker 2 

Boy oh boy, I. 

00:16:27 Speaker 2 

I can talk about fellas like young, well, young Bill Stephenson. 

00:16:31 Speaker 2 

There’s Bill Stephenson today, CFRB sports director etcetera, etcetera. 

00:16:35 Speaker 2 

Young Bill was going to high school and used to do Saturday morning broadcast with us on CJ I. 

00:16:41 Speaker 2 

That’s why I said earlier about the training thing that we did. 

00:16:45 Speaker 2 

Bill used to do a. 

00:16:46 Speaker 2 

Man on the street program on Saturdays as a high school kid, you know, just talking to people, chatting about different things. 

00:16:53 Speaker 2 

That’s how a fellow like him got started in the in the game, you had to show an interest in it, and if you showed any interest at all and you had anything going for you, then those people who were in the position of saying, hey, there’s a great person, we got to get a hold of them and hire them. 

00:17:09 Speaker 2 

You know, we had a A policy that went back. 

00:17:14 Speaker 2 

Many, many years and that was to never refuse anybody an audition if they wanted it. 

00:17:19 Speaker 2 

And we used to do that. 

00:17:20 Speaker 2 

I don’t feel you’ve got to remember the times that people would just walk in and want to have an audition in broadcasting. 

00:17:26 Speaker 2 

Well, we on Earth, all kinds of people and you know, so there was no other way that people could get started. 

00:17:35 Speaker 1 

What do you think too about the quarters that you worked in compared with what you see? 

00:17:40 Speaker 1 

How does that compare? 

00:17:41 Speaker 2 

There could be no comparison, no comparison. 

00:17:44 Speaker 2 

You know, we’re we were dealing, of course, in those days with. 

00:17:48 Speaker 2 

With the as I said before or the 15 minute transcription discs we had the the music services were thesaurus world. 

00:17:57 Speaker 2 

All of these lot of the programs came out on the transcriptions, the ZIP programs and all the rest of these things. 

00:18:05 Speaker 2 

Those actual products are no longer used in the business. 

00:18:10 Speaker 2 

We did instantaneous recordings an awful lot of them were on class based discs. My God, the commercials were cut on a glass based disk and if you dropped the thing and was shattered in 100 pieces and you were finished, you what? 

00:18:22 Speaker 2 

Did you do? 

00:18:22 Speaker 2 

The commercial was gone, so you know the technology now it’s it’s tape, it’s digital audio. 

00:18:29 Speaker 2 

It’s all of these things. 

00:18:30 Speaker 2 

The advancements are are unbelievable. 

00:18:33 Speaker 2 

1948 Fraser Valley floods. We went out into the Fraser Valley with portable recording equipment, portable disc recording equipment, the ready equipment weighed 95 pounds and that was just the recorder itself. You know, disc recorder. There was no such thing as tape and. 

00:18:53 Speaker 2 

It was your night, the end of, of that summer. 

00:18:57 Speaker 2 

When the first wire recorders came out, remember the RCA wire recorders? 

00:19:03 Speaker 2 

You had the cartridge, you knew you had jammed it in and hope that the wire didn’t break and away you went. 

00:19:08 Speaker 2 

Then the force eventually take, but the technology is phenomenal equipment, just unbelievable. 

00:19:17 Speaker 2 

The change is the transistor. 

00:19:18 Speaker 2 

The changes the transistor made Lord, we didn’t have air conditioned studios, but we sure needed them in those days. 

00:19:24 Speaker 2 

Today they have the air conditioned studios and the transistors with no heat getting given. 

00:19:28 Speaker 2 

Off so you know. 

00:19:32 Speaker 2 

It’s amazing to think back. 

00:19:33 Speaker 2 

On it lots of changes. 

00:19:37 Speaker 1 

This has been an interview with John Ansell, recorded in November 1987.

Part 2: 

00:00:03 Speaker 1 

Anyway, those really you know the 40s and through the 50s and through that time period CWX as a ready built itself on its news and things of that sort. 

00:00:13 Speaker 1 

The people that were on the air were were were were traditions in the industry. 

00:00:18 Speaker 1 

Even at that time. 

00:00:19 Speaker 1 

Earl Kelly. 

00:00:21 Speaker 1 

good evening. 

00:00:22 Speaker 1 

Was with a man who was, you know, doing news on the station. 

00:00:26 Speaker 1 

He did a 15 minute newscast every day. 

00:00:28 Speaker 1 

The Sun News at 10:00. 

00:00:29 Speaker 1 

O’clock at. 

00:00:31 Speaker 1 

**** Dispeker used to do the 8:00 O’clock news 15 minutes every night. 

00:00:35 Speaker 1 

**** Dispeker was the used to be many years with CJR and then became a writer for the times or for the Vancouver Sun. 

00:00:44 Speaker 1 

And pardon me, the province, and he did an 8:00 o’clock news with us every evening. 

00:00:49 Speaker 1 

A very distinctive voice and things of that sort. 

00:00:51 Speaker 1 

And the station was known for it. 

00:00:54 Speaker 1 

Then the chap that was doing various shifts and everything else took over and started doing the news. 

00:01:00 Speaker 1 

And it was Ken Hughes with the news, and that became a very big thing. 

00:01:05 Speaker 1 

So lots of things were happening and and through that time period. 

00:01:11 Speaker 1 

There were a lot of well known names came along. It was in 1954 when now it would be, pardon me 19535252 when Mel Cooper started work at the CWX. 

00:01:30 Speaker 1 

Mel Cooper, of course, now owner of. 

00:01:34 Speaker 1 

Oh yeah, that’s that. 

00:01:35 Speaker 1 

Those are the colors. 

00:01:36 Speaker 1 

I couldn’t remember. 

00:01:38 Speaker 1 

Anyway, Mel was at that time, had just was going to high school. 

00:01:45 Speaker 1 

Pardon me? 

00:01:45 Speaker 1 

He was going to University of British Columbia and had taken a radio course which Rio Thompson and I were conducting. 

00:01:52 Speaker 1 

Of course in radio. 

00:01:54 Speaker 1 

In association with University Radio Society at the University of British Columbia and one of the two of the students in that class. 

00:02:05 Speaker 1 

But the first year that this was done was Mel Cooper and his wife Gay. 

00:02:10 Speaker 1 

So these two Mel came to work for us and he went into The Newsroom. 

00:02:16 Speaker 1 

He was a news man. 

00:02:17 Speaker 1 

And one day he went in to see Claire Copeland, who was then our retail sales manager. 

00:02:23 Speaker 1 

Jack Sears was the general sales manager, and Claire said or. 

00:02:30 Speaker 1 

Mel to declare. 

00:02:31 Speaker 1 

I’d like to become part of the sales. 

00:02:35 Speaker 1 

And Claire looked at him and said, you know, Mel, if I was you, he said I’d stay where you are. 

00:02:39 Speaker 1 

You’ll never become a good salesman. 

00:02:43 Speaker 1 

Rather prophetic words, because in future years we all know Cooper bought the radio station over here in Victoria from Claire. 

00:02:51 Speaker 1 

And of course I think Mel probably became the greatest sales personnel. 

00:02:55 Speaker 2 

You bet. You bet. 

00:02:55 Speaker 1 

There was in the in in, in Canadian radio. 

00:02:58 Speaker 1 

He was just happened to have that. 

00:02:59 Speaker 2 

But talent now how long did you stay at at WX, John? 

00:03:03 Speaker 1 

Well, I was there for 21 years, so there was a lot of different things happened. Mel Cooper left and went to CKNW in 1950. 

00:03:09 Speaker 1 

Four quite a story on that one, but he got the opportunity to get into sales actually into promotion with a fellow by the name of Stan Buchanan. 

00:03:18 Speaker 1 

They had worked together before and the two of them got together and it was Stan Buchanan in the promotion department that did the top dog design for CKNW at that time. 

00:03:29 Speaker 1 

Then in. 

00:03:30 Speaker 1 

1955 another very eventful lead thing happened and that was that Bob Hutton left CWX and went to. 

00:03:41 Speaker 1 

N no. 

00:03:44 Speaker 1 

Going back to very, very briefly here, Bob Hutton took over the morning show from me. 

00:03:50 Speaker 1 

They were starting to say, well, they wanted me to become assistant program manager and this sort of stuff. 

00:03:55 Speaker 1 

And what I you know, take on this job and I would no longer have to do the morning show. 

00:04:00 Speaker 1 

And I said, I love doing the morning show, but. 

00:04:03 Speaker 1 

They got them out of a jackpot because Bob Hutton had been doing the morning show beforehand and they wanted Bob to go back in and do it, and that’s what Bob wanted to say. 

00:04:10 Speaker 1 

Hey, fine. 

00:04:11 Speaker 1 

Well, as we know, Bob became the number one morning man, there was in Vancouver and he just, you know, he was a character like I was and he just follow. 

00:04:20 Speaker 1 

Put it through and then in 55, Bill Ray came along and bought him for, I think another $25.00 a month or something. 

00:04:27 Speaker 1 

This is the way it it it was done. 

00:04:29 Speaker 1 

It steel people by offering them more money and it was going on all the time. 

00:04:33 Speaker 1 

There was very little loyalty in those days, except I must admit I I had a lot of loyalty to the company that I started with. 

00:04:40 Speaker 1 

I went back to N.W.A in 1955 and then big things started to happen in 1956. 

00:04:50 Speaker 1 

September the 26th of 1956, we opened a new building on Broad Street and that was priceless. 

00:04:58 Speaker 1 

The studio was on Burrard St. for CWX were just an edifice that was unbelievable, totally self-contained in every way, with the full garage underneath the building. And it was. 

00:05:09 Speaker 1 

Studios at just state-of-the-art, OH, state-of-the-art and and more. And of course, the building is no longer there. It’s now has subsequently been demolished in about. 

00:05:21 Speaker 1 

Then the big thing that also happened, the big promotion thing that took place in 1957 was when the CWX became the the big one on the West Coast at 50,000 watts and went, you know, from 5000 to 50. It was just staggering. People in Vancouver had sounds coming out of there. 

00:05:40 Speaker 1 

Every piece of equipment they’ve had in their house, they turn on an electric organ and before they touch the keys, they’re seeking explaining they’d open an oven and I would come and see that farmers on Lulu Island and Sea Island and the area around the transmitter site. 

00:05:55 Speaker 1 

Just had a terrible time. 

00:05:56 Speaker 1 

They couldn’t turn any of the lights off and their barns. 

00:05:59 Speaker 1 

The cattle were awake all night because the lights were on. 

00:06:02 Speaker 1 

The lights just burned in, so there was a lot of different things happening and and pretty fascinating stuff that took place during that time period. 

00:06:09 Speaker 1 

And they say CWX really became the big station during that period. 

00:06:15 Speaker 1 

Doing all sorts of different things and they they. 

00:06:21 Speaker 1 

The interesting thing was the people that were around in those days when we he actually went to 50,000 watts and started it because we had changed frequency going to 11:30, it was the only frequency was available in that area for of the 50,000 Watt radio station, you had to have no other stations for so many miles around you on either side. 

00:06:41 Speaker 1 

We gave up 980, which of course seeking and W snapped up very quickly from 12:30 and boom they were into 980 like you would believe. And when we made the big change over at the transit. 

00:06:53 Speaker 1 

The honorable Ralph Campney, the Minister of National Defense, was the man that did the big changes and pressed the big button and everything else to get us going. 

00:07:03 Speaker 1 

And this was an unbelievable thing that see this huge, huge transmitter on all the bays and everything else. 

00:07:10 Speaker 1 

There was enough enough power. 

00:07:12 Speaker 1 

Not transmitter. 

00:07:13 Speaker 1 

And the heat coming off it, it was water. 

00:07:17 Speaker 1 

Now they’re no longer that way today. 

00:07:19 Speaker 1 

And and one of those transmitter tubes was the price of a. 

00:07:23 Speaker 1 

Car in those days. 

00:07:25 Speaker 1 

Now you know we’re talking about in the 10 to $12,000 range, but that was the price of 1 tube. 

00:07:30 Speaker 1 

And there were six of them in this big transmitter, and they were all everything is water cooled and there was enough water to fill 2. 

00:07:37 Speaker 1 

Olympic sized and heat 2 Olympic sized swimming pools coming. 

00:07:41 Speaker 2 

Out there today. 

00:07:42 Speaker 1 

So it was just an unreal situation there and you can tell the amount of power that was generated at that particular time. 

00:07:50 Speaker 1 

We did a big broadcast from out there live. 

00:07:52 Speaker 1 

My gosh. 

00:07:52 Speaker 1 

You know, we’re on location doing this stuff. 

00:07:54 Speaker 1 

And and we had a huge big tent on the grounds out of the transmitter. 

00:08:00 Speaker 1 

And we went on the air. I did a countdown on the old 980. 

00:08:07 Speaker 1 

And then we said, you know, there 109876 and I said and I had explained that when I said now that that would be the switch to switch over to 11:30 and for the Honorable Ralph Company to press the button and we’ve come on at 50,000 or what we had also done was to make sure that there was going to be a real impact on people. We had turned down. 

00:08:28 Speaker 1 

The level of the transmitter of the 5000 water. So when the 50 came on, it came. 

00:08:33 Speaker 1 

In with a. 

00:08:35 Speaker 1 

And then I introduced I think was Carl George, who was in the tent. 

00:08:42 Speaker 1 

With Lauren McAllister and the rhythm pals and away they went with the very first program 11301130 on CWX 11:30 on the aisle at 50,000 watts. 

00:08:54 Speaker 1 

And and we were away at that time. 

00:08:56 Speaker 1 

So it was. 

00:08:57 Speaker 1 

It was a very, very major thing and something that I will never forget. 

00:09:01 Speaker 1 

Then from that point. 

00:09:03 Speaker 1 

We went through the 50s and 60s and things were really into a dogfight this time. 

00:09:09 Speaker 1 

And remember, we now got the board of Broadcast governors is our controlling organization for the broadcast industry in Canada. 

00:09:17 Speaker 1 

And from that point it it went on and there was a lot of changes taking place with the personnel and people, tiny Elphick, who was manager of Seeking, had died. 

00:09:30 Speaker 1 

Bill Spears came in as the new manager for the station car. 

00:09:34 Speaker 1 

Copeland had left to come to the Victoria along with Charlie Smith, who was the. 

00:09:38 Speaker 1 

The chief engineer at the station that time the two were in it went into partnership to buy. 

00:09:43 Speaker 1 

Cfax and the Cfax, of course, was just daytime review station at that time. 

00:09:47 Speaker 1 

They didn’t. 

00:09:48 Speaker 1 

They couldn’t go on. 

00:09:49 Speaker 1 

They turned on at sunrise and turned off at sunset, and they finally were able to get that full time and and. 

00:09:56 Speaker 1 

So there were a lot of people and a lot of changes taking place. 

00:09:59 Speaker 1 

Stuart Mackay had left and had gone to become one of the senior management people with the parent company Selkirk. 

00:10:08 Speaker 1 

As I was saying, which in those days was the account of the mutually operating group and they were just starting to form sulker. 

00:10:14 Speaker 1 

Coatings and. 

00:10:16 Speaker 1 

In the news department, Sam Ross went on to become the assistant manager of the radio station. 

00:10:23 Speaker 1 

And the the picture there was that Bert Cannings came along. 

00:10:30 Speaker 1 

Another name that is very well known in News Radio news in this country, Bert became the news director and we went through and did such influence things. 

00:10:40 Speaker 1 

As the the the the. 

00:10:44 Speaker 1 

British Empire Games at Empire Stadium I I was. 

00:10:48 Speaker 1 

The guy was sat down and had the calling of the. 

00:10:53 Speaker 2 

The miracle mile. 

00:10:54 Speaker 1 

The miracle mile. And with Bannister’s buddy sitting right alongside of me and he started talking, we were doing an interview and bang, he just took over and I said, you know, go ahead and call the race. 

00:11:06 Speaker 1 

And that is the infamous tape which is now around. 

00:11:09 Speaker 1 

So there’s been some tremendous highlights in in those days and then? 

00:11:14 Speaker 1 

As they say, the the changes that were taking place in the business, I was asked in 1968 at this time I was. 

00:11:25 Speaker 1 

I guess I’m jumped very, very quickly. 

00:11:27 Speaker 1 

Bill Spears died and or pardon he, he retired. 

00:11:33 Speaker 1 

He retired and Dalton took over as manager at CWX. 

00:11:38 Speaker 1 

I was due to to get the job, but they also wanted to move dog out of Edmonton because of some changes that were taking place. 

00:11:44 Speaker 1 

There and they said to me at that time, Stuart McKay explained it to me this way, he said. 

00:11:50 Speaker 1 

You know, we’ve got a manager’s job if you want to take it, he said. It’s in Grand Prairie and he said we don’t want to put you there. 

00:11:56 Speaker 1 

So he said, if you can just be patient, he said we’re going to put somebody else in there. 

00:12:00 Speaker 1 

But he said there’s one coming up and one year later, after Dalt had taken over, I was asked to go to CFC in Calgary and take over the. 

00:12:09 Speaker 1 

General manager’s job there. 

00:12:11 Speaker 1 

And it was, it was fascinating. 

00:12:13 Speaker 1 

4 years at Cfac, we took the radio station. 

00:12:18 Speaker 1 

Being an absolute nothing and to #1 by putting country music into effect and country music of course was to me the natural thing to do. 

00:12:26 Speaker 1 

All the big shows in 196869 through that time period were on television were were the country music. 

00:12:35 Speaker 2 

You brought country with you to to Victoria when you came back in the early. 

00:12:39 Speaker 1 

70s. That’s right. In 1972, IH had pretty well had it as far as the Prairies were concerned. They had promised me that, you know, when I got the radio station going and every. 

00:12:49 Speaker 1 

Well, well, literally they told me one day that they built their their own petard, if you will, because they came to me and said you’ve done it. 

00:12:58 Speaker 1 

You’re now the Selkirk profit center, said beautiful. I love it, you know, you’re #1 and going just just gangbusters. And I said OK, now we’re when am I going back? 

00:13:10 Speaker 1 

To the coast. 

00:13:11 Speaker 1 

And they said, oh, really, do you want to go back to the course? 

00:13:13 Speaker 1 

I said, Yep. 

00:13:14 Speaker 1 

Or do you want to go? 

00:13:15 Speaker 1 

And I said, well, I want to go to CJ VI if possible. 

00:13:17 Speaker 1 

And Victoria I said I, I don’t know what’s going on out there. 

00:13:20 Speaker 1 

And I said, I don’t know what job I would take, but. 

00:13:23 Speaker 1 

So anyway, the seed was planted in about 1971 when this had all happened, and in early 1972 I got the phone call saying. 

00:13:34 Speaker 1 

OK, John, when can you get out to Victoria? 

00:13:38 Speaker 1 

You’re kidding. 

00:13:39 Speaker 1 

He said no. 

00:13:40 Speaker 1 

Some major changes have taken place out there, or we’re replacing the management and you’re. 

00:13:46 Speaker 2 

So when you got to Victoria, the station was again not performing as perhaps as Selkirk wanted it to perform and. 

00:13:53 Speaker 2 

And what what did you? 

00:13:54 Speaker 1 

Do well, it was absolutely unbelievable and the station was a very old line radio station. 

00:14:01 Speaker 1 

And of course, during the intervening years from the time that I had left. 

00:14:05 Speaker 1 

Which was now. 

00:14:06 Speaker 1 

Well, I was 21 years at Seagate WWX and then another four years it was 25 years. 

00:14:11 Speaker 1 

Tired of that since I had been at CBI here, I was to come back to the station that I’d actually started in and there were still some of the same programs on the air. 

00:14:21 Speaker 1 

I I could not believe this. 

00:14:24 Speaker 1 

I mean, there were still some of the same things, same features and that sort of stuff. 

00:14:29 Speaker 1 

And I said, well, we got to take a look at this. 

00:14:31 Speaker 1 

And then I took. 

00:14:32 Speaker 1 

I tore out to the transmitter site, which was out on the island, where it still is. 

00:14:37 Speaker 1 

And I started to look at some of the equipment and I started looking at some of the insulation and everything else, and I touched some of this kind of dropped off in my hands and I, oh God. 

00:14:51 Speaker 1 

So the first thing that he did was to tell people in his office that I needed money to get this thing going. 

00:15:00 Speaker 1 

And they said, look, we got faith in you. 

00:15:01 Speaker 1 

Whatever you need, go ahead and do. 

00:15:03 Speaker 1 

And I said, well, I also need desperately to have somebody that is familiar with the new technology of today because I said, unfortunately, I’ve got an engineer here who doesn’t understand it. 

00:15:16 Speaker 1 

He hasn’t kept up with it because he hasn’t. 

00:15:18 Speaker 1 

There’s been no need to. 

00:15:19 Speaker 1 

There’s been no changes take place, I said. 

00:15:21 Speaker 1 

Some of the same equipment that I was using when I was here. 

00:15:24 Speaker 1 

They’re still in operation. 

00:15:26 Speaker 1 

You know, it’s been a haywired together. 

00:15:28 Speaker 1 

So I said we need somebody. 

00:15:29 Speaker 1 

So they sent out the top engineer for self, correct. 

00:15:32 Speaker 1 

It was sent out here and he he agreed with me that there was absolutely nothing could be done. 

00:15:38 Speaker 1 

We could probably sit, make more money if we left the equipment as it was by having people come in and look at the Museum of. 

00:15:47 Speaker 1 

Of old equipment and everything else. 

00:15:49 Speaker 1 

So we did. 

00:15:50 Speaker 1 

We put in a brand new transmitter. 

00:15:52 Speaker 1 

We flew it in by helicopter out to the island, got that going, got the studios changed over. 

00:15:58 Speaker 1 

Gosh, we really went first class. 

00:16:00 Speaker 1 

We got them all fixed up and gussied up and and took off and put a new format into effect and and country music. 

00:16:06 Speaker 1 

And everybody said, you know, I was out of my mind that it would never work and did. 

00:16:09 Speaker 2 

Country did work in Victoria though as you say. 

00:16:12 Speaker 1 

They did. 

00:16:12 Speaker 1 

It did, and, and it wasn’t intended to be a long term thing. 

00:16:16 Speaker 1 

Anyway, it was really a case of what’s happening, what’s going on around you at the present time? 

00:16:20 Speaker 1 

What, what, what? 

00:16:21 Speaker 1 

What are the circumstances and country was the natural thing to do? 

00:16:24 Speaker 1 

I knew what it was all about. 

00:16:25 Speaker 1 

Everybody thought, as I said that that I talked to in the in this their station. 

00:16:31 Speaker 1 

Thought I’d completely flipped my wig, but we were doing some strange things at that time and doing programs called 6 for one which were on the stations that say when I was here before, there’s a 6 questions and. 

00:16:42 Speaker 1 

That were on the air and 1/2 hour program and it was the old red, white and blue was what do we call it in Vancouver? 

00:16:47 Speaker 1 

So you know, there have been some great changes. And and finally as you are very much aware, when the time came in 1987, I I had decided that I I wanted to retire. 

00:17:01 Speaker 1 

Everything seemed to be repeating itself. 

00:17:03 Speaker 1 

It was going in cycles and I could find nothing really new or refreshing. 

00:17:08 Speaker 1 

Mind you, in the time that I had spent here at at CJ VI and my second soldier, and having started as the juniors to announcers at the station, then coming back to the general manager was kind of Nice and then they made me President of of Island Broadcasting. 

00:17:20 Speaker 1 

And you know, it was all one of these things. 

00:17:22 Speaker 1 

Happened and I found it very very gratifying because during the years that I was here from 72 to 87, I went on to the, I guess the highest point that could be reached in broadcasting by becoming the chairman of the Board of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. I also have served two terms as President of the BC Association of Broadcasters. 

00:17:42 Speaker 1 

And I have been a director of the Alberta Association of Broadcasters, but to go on and become chairman of the Board of the ECB. 

00:17:49 Speaker 1 

Was the ultimate and in return I was given the award the the Gold Ribbon Award for for broadcasting for my contribution to the industry. 

00:18:01 Speaker 1 

And yeah, it was very, very gratifying. 

00:18:03 Speaker 1 

And then of course, the just the year that I was about to retire, I was. 

00:18:10 Speaker 2 

Election to leave. 

00:18:10 Speaker 1 

Made to the Hall of Fame, the broadcast getting broadcast Hall of. 

00:18:14 Speaker 2 

It’s a great honor, John. 

00:18:15 Speaker 1 

It is and it’s it’s. 

00:18:16 Speaker 1 

It’s been something that I’ve I’ve enjoyed, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. 

00:18:21 Speaker 1 

Radio changed, came from those early days of being a fun thing and doing things on the spur of the moment. 

00:18:27 Speaker 1 

And and, you know, all the laughs and jokes and the gags and the things that happened. 

00:18:32 Speaker 1 

They were. 

00:18:33 Speaker 1 

They were unreal things that you would no more think of doing today than jumping out of the window there. 

00:18:39 Speaker 1 

But you know, and I’ll give you just a very fast example of the type of thing that I’m talking about. 

00:18:45 Speaker 1 

I used to love doing news and I used to at ccvi. 

00:18:51 Speaker 1 

Every so often they’d say, OK, John. 

00:18:53 Speaker 1 

You do the news today and when you didn’t news, they weren’t just five minutes or 302 minute reports. 

00:18:58 Speaker 1 

15 minute newscasts where the where the the thing and I used to them standing up in the what we call the big studio a you have a, you know in front of you. 

00:19:10 Speaker 1 

It all propped up and you be standing there and you have a microphone on a boom and that sort of thing. 

00:19:14 Speaker 1 

And you have all the news, and then you turn over the page each time when you’re gone, it’s on a music stand. 

00:19:18 Speaker 1 

You see through a door. 

00:19:20 Speaker 1 

And I’ll be standing there reading this thing and guys would come in and they started to undress me. 

00:19:25 Speaker 1 

They started to take my clothes off. 

00:19:26 Speaker 1 

Well, you know, you always wondered what was going to happen next. 

00:19:32 Speaker 1 

And I’d wind up standing there. 

00:19:34 Speaker 1 

And if they if I’d let them, I’d have been absolutely naked by the time I was finished and use case. 

00:19:38 Speaker 1 

But I’d hung onto my shorts for dear life. 

00:19:40 Speaker 1 

But what happened? 

00:19:42 Speaker 1 

And before you were through all the staff was there. 

00:19:45 Speaker 1 

All the gals on the coffee depart Barrows Stander watching, enjoying this and not us words. 

00:19:51 Speaker 1 

I’m still reading on the news like this, but that’s as early. 

00:19:54 Speaker 1 

It doesn’t happen today. 

00:19:56 Speaker 2 

John, it was a fun business and from my standpoint it was great for me to be involved with you and. 

00:20:04 Speaker 2 

And I learned a lot from you in the short time that you were my manager, 50 years in broadcasting. 

00:20:10 Speaker 2 

That’s that’s an incredible record and. 

00:20:14 Speaker 2 

It it’s a fun business, isn’t. 

00:20:16 Speaker 1 

It it has been great. 

00:20:17 Speaker 1 

It was fun in the early days, it became fun and but became very serious business. 

00:20:22 Speaker 1 

Good, serious business, very competitive. 

00:20:26 Speaker 1 

I still don’t listen to my competitor and never have done. 

00:20:29 Speaker 1 

Never will do. 

00:20:30 Speaker 1 

I just. 

00:20:30 Speaker 1 

I can’t do. 

00:20:31 Speaker 1 

It was one of those things. 

00:20:33 Speaker 1 

But I love. 

00:20:34 Speaker 1 

I loved it. 

00:20:35 Speaker 1 

For so many reasons, the people were the big thing, Kim and so many, many people and. 

00:20:40 Speaker 1 

And I guess one of the Nice honors that I had was to. 

00:20:43 Speaker 1 

Be when I was went into the Hall of Fame, who was right alongside of me that very day and went in at the same time was your father. 

00:20:52 Speaker 1 

And that was. 

00:20:53 Speaker 2 

Let’s do the same here. 

00:20:54 Speaker 1 

That’s right. 

00:20:55 Speaker 1 

And and and it was priceless, you know, for me to to go through that whole business and then to have you take over when I left here and. 

00:21:03 Speaker 1 

You know, what have we got today? 

00:21:05 Speaker 1 

We finally got what we wanted in those days. 

00:21:08 Speaker 1 

An FM station. 

00:21:09 Speaker 1 

An FM license. 

00:21:10 Speaker 1 

You know, we applied for one in back in the early days, but it was great to see all of these things happen and it’s great to be watching it from, you know, the distance that I am. 

00:21:19 Speaker 1 

Having just reached my 70th birthday. 

00:21:23 Speaker 2 

Congratulations and happy birthday, John. 

00:21:26 Speaker 2 

Thanks very much. 

00:21:26 Speaker 1 

Thanks Kim. 

Part 3:

00:00:03 Speaker 1 

This is an interview with John Ansell. 

00:00:08 Speaker 1 

And the interview is being conducted on February 26th at CCVI Radio in Victoria, BC, by Kim Hesketh, who is the vice president and general manager of CJV I and the ocean. 

00:00:26 Speaker 1 

February 26th, 1996 is the date of the interview. John, you’ve had a long career in radio. In fact, I believe it began just after the war. 

00:00:39 Speaker 2 

Well, it actually. 

00:00:41 Speaker 2 

Started before that. 

00:00:44 Speaker 2 

It’s when I was in school, Kim, I was in Kelowna, born in Kelowna. 

00:00:48 Speaker 2 

And while my father had taken off in 1939 to immediately become a. 

00:00:55 Speaker 2 

Part of the. 

00:00:56 Speaker 2 

The Second World War. 

00:01:00 Speaker 2 

He left home with myself as a teenager growing up and still in high school. 

00:01:09 Speaker 2 

And my sisters and whatnot in the family. 

00:01:13 Speaker 2 

Having spent a fair amount of time listening to the only radio station in the Okanagan. 

00:01:21 Speaker 2 

I was eventually to become involved with that radio station while in high school they had had a program on called the Voice of the Black and Gold, which was the colors for the Kelowna High School, and they eventually decided that they better start including the Rutland area where I live and I became. 

00:01:40 Speaker 2 

The announcer, if you will, for or the spokesperson for the Rutland High School and used to do a weekly show. 

00:01:48 Speaker 2 

Also at that time, the shortage of manpower required that they needed more people and Jim Brown senior, who owned the radio station. 

00:01:59 Speaker 2 

UM came after me. 

00:02:01 Speaker 2 

He had heard the program. 

00:02:03 Speaker 2 

He also knew my father, which is another story which one day will be told. 

00:02:08 Speaker 2 

And they were. 

00:02:11 Speaker 2 

We’re friends, in a way. 

00:02:14 Speaker 2 

My father had one little piece of his personality. 

00:02:19 Speaker 2 

Which I inherited, he couldn’t stand mispronunciation, and the incorrect usage of the English language wrong words in the wrong places and things of that sort. 

00:02:28 Speaker 2 

So anyway, Jim Brown tried to get me to go to work for him and I did a couple of things on the radio station on the weekends and that sort of thing, but not to sacrifice my schooling I carried on. 

00:02:40 Speaker 2 

And finally. 

00:02:43 Speaker 2 

Left school and went into taking a medical I guess you would call. 

00:02:50 Speaker 2 

It for the. 

00:02:51 Speaker 2 

Lady and I was on call for the Navy because in those days, Kim, they you were not called up immediately if you joined the Navy, they they were the senior service and you, they took their time about it. 

00:03:01 Speaker 2 

You know, they looked over your application. 

00:03:03 Speaker 2 

To see if you were good enough for the Navy, even though they are desperately short of. 

00:03:07 Speaker 2 

So I was waiting and got totally impatient and said forget the Navy and I was in the army, joined up and I was in uniform the next day. 

00:03:15 Speaker 2 

So that happened and I I had no regrets because I I thoroughly enjoyed life in the army. 

00:03:24 Speaker 2 

It sounds strange but. 

00:03:26 Speaker 2 

I became an instructor, an achai, as it was known as in those days. 

00:03:32 Speaker 2 

Fully qualified in a lot of different subjects of and whatnot, and wound up being stationed here in Vic. 

00:03:40 Speaker 2 

I was involved with what became known at that time as boy soldiers. 

00:03:47 Speaker 2 

The Canadian Technical Training Corps. 

00:03:50 Speaker 2 

And as a Sergeant instructor, I was responsible for sixty of these young fellows and training them in 90% of their basic training at the same time, they were taking classes at various schools in the Victoria area, the Kings Rd. School for Automotive Mechanics, Victoria High School for machinists. It was it. 

00:04:10 Speaker 2 

It was quite a thing in those days and I had the responsibility of marching these fellows around on weekends and taking them on route marches all over. 

00:04:17 Speaker 2 

City and and I used to take them out onto Willows Beach all the way from the Topaz Ave. 

00:04:24 Speaker 2 

campsite which is now where Blanchard goes, right through at Topaz Ave. 

00:04:32 Speaker 2 

Blanchard didn’t used to go through there and where the Mayfair Shopping Center is at the present time. 

00:04:36 Speaker 2 

That used to be the old Victoria Brickyard. 

00:04:39 Speaker 2 

And all through that area used to be where the playgrounds are now. 

00:04:43 Speaker 2 

The soccer fields and all that, that whole thing used to be military camp. 

00:04:47 Speaker 2 

And we trained him their unarmed combat chemical warfare, and for a number of years after, they were still picking up some live rounds and things off the grounds there. 

00:04:58 Speaker 2 

And while this was all happening and these fellows were would graduate, they’d go to Halifax and go overseas, and I get fed up of this because. 

00:05:07 Speaker 2 

I took two different groups of these fellows to Halifax. 

00:05:11 Speaker 2 

And was pulled off going overseas because they told me I had sinus trouble. 

00:05:16 Speaker 2 

I didn’t even know what sinus trouble was, so I was very discouraged. 

00:05:21 Speaker 2 

My father was overseas. 

00:05:22 Speaker 2 

He was over age and totally deaf in one ear and that really, really infuriated me. 

00:05:26 Speaker 2 

He was the regimental Sergeant major for the Calgary tanks anyway. 

00:05:31 Speaker 2 

Coming back to radio. 

00:05:34 Speaker 2 

I became even more frustrated when. 

00:05:37 Speaker 2 

VE Day came along and it was really the end of the war and I was in in downtown Victoria that that particular night when this all happened. 

00:05:48 Speaker 2 

With my new lady friend, who happened to be the wife that I have today, Daphne and she was going to school here in Victoria at that particular time and. 

00:06:01 Speaker 2 

I say school. 

00:06:01 Speaker 2 

It was a sports Shah School of. 

00:06:04 Speaker 2 

Secretaries in the letter, and I remember very distinctly seeing on the corner of Yates and Douglas where the Navy was massed on one side of the street. 

00:06:15 Speaker 2 

The army was on the other side and it looked as if there was going to be a real battle royal, but it turned into being just a great celebration of, you know, the two units. 

00:06:25 Speaker 2 

If you will armed forces branches got together and had a real ball, this whole event in this whole scheme of things was being described by three guys standing on an A fire escape above us with callers on the microphone. 

00:06:38 Speaker 2 

That said, CJ VI and I said oh, there is a radio station in this town, and as a matter of fact, it turned out that. 

00:06:45 Speaker 2 

VI was the only radio station on Vancouver Island at that time, and of course this. 

00:06:49 Speaker 2 

It was about 1944, late 1944. 

00:06:56 Speaker 2 

And then in the beginning of 1945, things really got difficult for me. They closed down the camp with the young soldiers and the program that I was involved with, I transferred to the fifth PC Coast Regiment, which was heavy heart jewelry and I knew nothing about heavy artillery. But what was to be my father-in-law. 

00:07:16 Speaker 2 

The paymaster for the 5th BC Coast at that time, and he was able to hold me here in Victoria because this is where I. 

00:07:24 Speaker 2 

And then I got. 

00:07:27 Speaker 2 

Very discouraged about the fact that I couldn’t get out of the army because I had all the qualifications. 

00:07:32 Speaker 2 

But Vijay, the the VJ day had not come along yet and the Japanese were still fighting. 

00:07:38 Speaker 2 

So anyway, one day I got frustrated enough to the point where I decided I was going to go in to talk to the radio station. 

00:07:47 Speaker 2 

And find out you know what the future would be if I were to get out of the forces and that sort of thing. 

00:07:54 Speaker 2 

Most unusual discussion of my life took place at that point. 

00:07:59 Speaker 2 

I came into the radio station and said I wanted to talk to somebody about employment. 

00:08:03 Speaker 2 

I was in uniform, Sergeant. 

00:08:05 Speaker 2 

All the whole bit. 

00:08:06 Speaker 2 

And I guess they were impressed by me being there. 

00:08:10 Speaker 2 

And they said, oh, well, yes, Mr. 

00:08:12 Speaker 2 

Beatty, the program manager. 

00:08:13 Speaker 2 

You see me? 

00:08:15 Speaker 1 

This is. 

00:08:15 Speaker 2 

Beatty, **** Beatty, the infamous **** Beatty, who became very, very well known in in broadcasting in this country. 

00:08:23 Speaker 2 

And ****? 

00:08:25 Speaker 2 

Sat me down and started to ask me a number of questions. 

00:08:28 Speaker 2 

And about myself and what my life had been and whatnot and. 

00:08:32 Speaker 2 

He then completely stunned me by saying, have you ever been a Boy Scout? 

00:08:37 Speaker 2 

And like, what’s this guy asking me this for? 

00:08:40 Speaker 2 

And I said, well, as a matter of fact, yes I was. 

00:08:43 Speaker 2 

I said I was a Boy Scout. 

00:08:44 Speaker 2 

I went on to. 

00:08:45 Speaker 2 

Be a patrol leader and then I went on to become troop. 

00:08:50 Speaker 2 

And then I said I was assistant manager or assistant troop leader or assistant leader of the. 

00:08:57 Speaker 2 

You know? 

00:08:57 Speaker 2 

Anyway, he was just absolutely nocked out. 

00:09:00 Speaker 2 

And he said when could? 

00:09:01 Speaker 2 

You start work. 

00:09:03 Speaker 2 

I thought, well if this is going to be the qualifications for radio, I wish I’d known this a long time ago. 

00:09:10 Speaker 2 

Anyway, uh, I started work. 

00:09:12 Speaker 2 

I was still in uniform at that time. 

00:09:14 Speaker 2 

And the situation, frankly, was one that I I really was asked to do everything and everything that there was. 

00:09:25 Speaker 2 

And that’s the way radio was. 

00:09:26 Speaker 2 

I literally I I used to sweep the floor. 

00:09:29 Speaker 2 

You know everybody, as everybody says, you know, I do anything to get the real, even sweep this war. 

00:09:34 Speaker 2 

But part of the job was to keep the place clean. 

00:09:37 Speaker 2 

And we all took our turns. 

00:09:38 Speaker 1 

At it, your first job in radio was kind of a. 

00:09:42 Speaker 1 

Everything in the radio station you did did you do sales announcing? 

00:09:47 Speaker 1 

Can you remember your first time on the air here? 

00:09:49 Speaker 2 

Ohh yeah, I I can remember vividly because I was actually hired as an announcer. 

00:09:54 Speaker 2 

But just because you were announcer, that doesn’t mean to say that you weren’t asked to do something else, which could help mean helping the engineering department. 

00:10:01 Speaker 2 

It could help in writing. 

00:10:02 Speaker 2 

And you know, see if if there were a shortage, somebody was in there and they had to do something, they had to meet a client. 

00:10:07 Speaker 2 

You do those things. 

00:10:08 Speaker 2 

They were all part and parcel of it, but very, very quickly, I went from being this sort of part time guy that was working. 

00:10:17 Speaker 2 

But working, mind you, 8 hours a day. 

00:10:20 Speaker 2 

Six days a week, remember, there was no five days in those days and I was still in uniform and they couldn’t put me on first thing in the morning because I was involved with the army up till 10:00, o’clock in the morning anytime after that. 

00:10:35 Speaker 2 

And I we used to live at the YMCA, which was on Blanchard. 

00:10:41 Speaker 2 

So it was one of those things that was very, very difficult and very strange. 

00:10:45 Speaker 2 

But the army finally came along and said if people have a job to go to, they can apply. 

00:10:52 Speaker 2 

And get their discharge. 

00:10:53 Speaker 2 

Well, I went to **** Beatty and said, hey, I’ve been told that this isn’t possibility. 

00:10:59 Speaker 2 

What do you think? 

00:11:00 Speaker 2 

Just bring the forms in. 

00:11:01 Speaker 2 

We’ll fill them in and get you out. 

00:11:03 Speaker 2 

Well this I had started about the beginning of June 1945 and I was out of the army in October of that year and came back to the radio station and and and worked with a lot of names that became very, very familiar around the country. Fern Groves, who became Bob White, the answer man in Vancouver. 

00:11:23 Speaker 2 

Verne Groves with the program manager at that time replacing Rudy Hartman who was overseas. 

00:11:28 Speaker 2 

In the army. 

00:11:29 Speaker 2 

Then there was Jack Kyle, Neil Nisbett, all of these fellows eventually left Victoria shortly after I did and went to Vancouver, but it was is an unbelievable situation happened in in those early days. 

00:11:44 Speaker 2 

And I I think I could tell this little story that you’ll enjoy and and most people will. 

00:11:52 Speaker 2 

I finally was given the job of signing the radio station on 7:00 o’clock in the morning. 

00:11:57 Speaker 2 

And this is a very interesting thing because I used to ride down from Oak Bay, where I was living at that time by streetcar and into the station by going up in the elevator. 

00:12:11 Speaker 2 

This is in the Union. 

00:12:14 Speaker 2 

Pardon me, the. 

00:12:16 Speaker 2 

What was the building right opposite the Kitty? 

00:12:18 Speaker 2 

Corner to the. 

00:12:21 Speaker 2 

How soon we forget it a long time ago, but it was the top of the top of the where the studios were on the top of the what do you call it? 

00:12:29 Speaker 2 

Building but anyway, and you have to get up in an elevator. 

00:12:34 Speaker 2 

Well, all of us had to have elevator licenses. 

00:12:37 Speaker 2 

We had to apply for and get an elevator license to be shown how to run an operator. 

00:12:41 Speaker 2 

An elevator. 

00:12:42 Speaker 2 

The elevator he goes to right up to the top floor. 

00:12:45 Speaker 2 

Of the building and opened up right, right into the reception area of the studios. 

00:12:52 Speaker 2 

So I used to do this every morning and I’m on the way from the streetcar up to the top. 

00:12:58 Speaker 2 

Of the building getting ready to go into the studios and drink power lights on all the rest of the thing I’m reading the early morning edition of the colonist. 

00:13:07 Speaker 2 

And circling the articles which I’m going to read for the first newscast at 7:00 o’clock because you see the Teletype which was on was turned off at midnight when the station. 

00:13:18 Speaker 2 

Signed off and at 7:00 o’clock I used to come in and turn it on again. 

00:13:21 Speaker 2 

But you know they wouldn’t think of leaving it on overnight, so there’d be news on the wire that would be cost money for paper. 

00:13:28 Speaker 2 

So anyway, I used to circle all of these articles in the paper and and start off by reading and this was the newscast that started off the news. 

00:13:39 Speaker 2 

Today at 7:00, o’clock and the way we’d go. 

00:13:42 Speaker 2 

One day I was called in and said we’ve got a new syndicated feature that’s going to be going on the air. 

00:13:48 Speaker 2 

In the morning in your show, he said that they have noticed the ratings in the time period and they’ve bought a 15 minute syndicated feature. 

00:13:57 Speaker 2 

And I said Ohh, that’s terrific. What time is it going on? 6:45 AM. 

00:14:02 Speaker 2 

Oh, really? I said. Well, what are we going to do? And they said, well, they insist, though, that we be on the air 15 minutes before that. So we have to sign on 6:30. Well, Kim, there’s no transportation. No way. 

00:14:14 Speaker 2 

To get down. 

00:14:15 Speaker 2 

So I said, well, OK, I’ve got to solve this problem as well. 

00:14:19 Speaker 2 

I decided to take a taxi. 

00:14:21 Speaker 2 

Every morning. 

00:14:24 Speaker 2 

I’ll never forget the end of the first month after this was over. 

00:14:27 Speaker 2 

The manager. 

00:14:27 Speaker 2 

Then at that time was chess, chestnut and chess called me him and said what? 

00:14:31 Speaker 2 

On Earth is this. 

00:14:32 Speaker 2 

This bill for taxi the bill was for something like, I think, $48 somewhere somewhere in that range it. 

00:14:34 Speaker 1 

How much was the bill for a time? 

00:14:40 Speaker 2 

Was no. 

00:14:41 Speaker 2 

Wasn’t that all? 

00:14:42 Speaker 1 

There’s a lot of money. 

00:14:42 Speaker 2 

There, there’s a lot of money and he was just, he said. 

00:14:46 Speaker 2 

Do you realize that we’re getting, you know, less money for that program for a month than what you have used up in taxis, by the way, the program was the. 

00:14:57 Speaker 2 

Hebrew Christian Hour by the doctor Michelson. It was unbelievable program. Anyway, the next thing that happens was that Alf Worthington, who was the then the accountant for the station, was called into Jesse’s office and said give this man $50.00 to go out and. 

00:15:17 Speaker 2 

Buy a bicycle. 

00:15:20 Speaker 2 

I had the first radio station mobile unit on Vancouver Island and it was a bicycle. 

00:15:26 Speaker 2 

I’ll tell you I wore out more seats of pants in the next six months. 

00:15:29 Speaker 2 

Riding from Oak Bay back and forth twice a day, I can tell you and that bicycle went on to become a unit, which was. 

00:15:36 Speaker 2 

Used during all the morning soldiering of two or three, at least three I would say announcers that took over after me. 

00:15:46 Speaker 1 

Great story. 

00:15:47 Speaker 1 

Now you went to. 

00:15:48 Speaker 1 

You stayed on the island. 

00:15:50 Speaker 1 

For how many? 

00:15:51 Speaker 2 

Well, I was only actually a full year with with CJ. 

00:15:55 Speaker 1 

And then you went over to. 

00:15:57 Speaker 2 

Yes, I went to Vancouver for two reasons. 

00:15:59 Speaker 2 

One, it was certainly the time for a promotion and getting on with my life and and wanting to make some advancements. 

00:16:05 Speaker 2 

And there was certainly nothing going to happen here. 

00:16:10 Speaker 2 

People were coming back from the war and Rudy Hartman to come back and was appointed the program manager or assistant program manager over Fern Groves Head and Vern Groves, up and quit and had a big fight with the staff and also it was a shame because he was a great guy and a little to line oh, but later I was going to be able to get him back into broadcasting by him. 

00:16:29 Speaker 2 

Making a suggestion that he come over to see KWX, but anyway that was 1946. I went to see KWX. 

00:16:37 Speaker 2 

And unbelievable situation to gain over there. 

00:16:42 Speaker 2 

This was the big town. 

00:16:43 Speaker 2 

They were on Seymour St. 

00:16:45 Speaker 2 

at that time. 

00:16:45 Speaker 2 

543 Seymour I can remember the address this day. The phone number was Tatlow 6131. 

00:16:53 Speaker 2 

Just these little things that stick with you. But remember, I was with KWTX for 21 years from that point on and those first few few days the well, the first day in particular over there, I will never ever forget. It was a Saturday morning. 

00:17:10 Speaker 2 

I had sent over my audition on a an aluminum disc and they had accepted this and said, Gee, you know we we got an opening come on over. 

00:17:20 Speaker 2 

So I gave my notice and it was really a transfer in those days because they were owned and operated by the same company. 

00:17:28 Speaker 2 

So I was transferred, if you will, to CWX walked in on the Saturday morning and and sat in the reception room and the the then the program manager was Stuart McKay. 

00:17:38 Speaker 2 

And Stuart came out and said, Gee, Johnny, come on in and he said we’re, we’re we’re, you know, doing the stuff on the air and whatnot. 

00:17:46 Speaker 2 

But this was about I guess, 11:00 o’clock, and he said I’d like you to do the five minutes to 12 show. 

00:17:51 Speaker 2 

He said it’s a feature that’s heard on the radio every day, and he said it’s called the the song of the day for Campbell Motors on Kingsway. 

00:17:58 Speaker 2 

He said there’s a script for it and everything else he said. 

00:17:59 Speaker 2 

All you have to do, just read it, he said. 

00:18:01 Speaker 2 

There’s operators. 

00:18:01 Speaker 2 

We have operators. 

00:18:03 Speaker 2 

Nearly fell over an operator. 

00:18:05 Speaker 1 

This was the big time. 

00:18:06 Speaker 2 

Oh, this was big time. 

00:18:07 Speaker 2 

I mean, we did on our own operating, sitting at the Control Board and operating our stuff, announcing and suddenly we gotta operate it, gonna sit there and watch a guy do all this. 

00:18:15 Speaker 2 

Hey, this is priceless. So and remember, I had taken an increase in salary from 115 to $125. 

00:18:23 Speaker 2 

Wants to do this. 

00:18:24 Speaker 2 

Ohh I’ll tell you. 

00:18:26 Speaker 2 

So I went in. 

00:18:29 Speaker 2 

I did this gamble water song of the day thing. 

00:18:32 Speaker 2 

And some guy by the name of Ian Arrow. 

00:18:37 Speaker 2 

Did the 12 noon news and it turned out, of course, at that point that and arrow was the news director for CKWX in the very early days. 

00:18:47 Speaker 2 

And then there there was a musical program. 

00:18:51 Speaker 2 

It was to take place after that, while the news was on these two characters that. 

00:18:57 Speaker 2 

Who were talking to me were Stuart Mackay, who became, of course, the president and chairman of the Board of Selkirk, the parent company that I was that he was now the program manager for me at. 

00:19:07 Speaker 2 

Station Stuart and the felling of Norse McLean, or Norse Mackenzie? 

00:19:11 Speaker 2 

Pardon me, Norris McKenzie. 

00:19:13 Speaker 2 

These two characters talked to me during the talk about these, cats said. 

00:19:17 Speaker 2 

Now look, we’ve got a thing that’s just come up. We were wondering whether you know you could take in and do the next show. It’s a program that goes from 12:15. 

00:19:28 Speaker 2 

Till 1:30. 

00:19:30 Speaker 2 

And then at 1:30, there’s a syndicated feature that just you play these two 16 inch discs and the way you go. 

00:19:37 Speaker 2 

And then at 2:00 o’clock Rio Thompson comes in to do his off the record show. 

00:19:43 Speaker 2 

And he said you just operate this. 

00:19:44 Speaker 2 

Well, there. 

00:19:46 Speaker 2 

And I said, well, how long you fellas going to be? 

00:19:48 Speaker 2 

Well, we we we, we. 

00:19:49 Speaker 2 

You know, we made me back before then. 

00:19:52 Speaker 2 

I was stuck on that board till 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon operating, doing some announcing and and and and carrying on in that way. 

00:20:01 Speaker 2 

And they were so happy to find a guy that could operate and do all of these other things. 

00:20:04 Speaker 2 

They had gone golfing. 

00:20:08 Speaker 2 

So my introduction to. 

00:20:09 Speaker 2 

We’re reading at that time there was a a tremendous crew of people over there that that, you know, were around the radio station and Vancouver Radio was was pretty fascinating. 

00:20:22 Speaker 2 

There was the old time radio stations of CJR who at that point had the Dominion network of the CBC. 

00:20:30 Speaker 2 

Which ccvi? 

00:20:32 Speaker 2 

And you remember, there was the Trans Canada network. 

00:20:35 Speaker 2 

If you were a basic CBC station and then the unit you Dominion Network stations had a selective number of programs and got a certain small amount of revenue for their commercial half hour programs or whatever it where they were from the CBC, the. 

00:20:53 Speaker 2 

The situation in in Vancouver was. 

00:20:56 Speaker 2 

There was a basic CBC station, there was CJR. 

00:21:00 Speaker 2 

There was the old CMO, which became C fund eventually. 

00:21:05 Speaker 2 

CWX and an upstart station had come on the air operated by Bill Ray called CKNW. This was in 1944 and they were 1000 Watt station and they were strictly restricted to New Westminster. That’s where their studios were and they were elections for New Westminster. 

00:21:21 Speaker 2 

So nobody paid too much attention to them because they were playing all this, you know, kooky cowboy music. 

00:21:29 Speaker 2 

And everybody said I’ll never work and it will never happen. 

00:21:32 Speaker 2 

But of course, the story is it did, and it it went on and it’s still going great. 

00:21:37 Speaker 2 

But the the the thing at that point I, as I said when I went to WX. 

00:21:42 Speaker 2 

The situation developed that in the first couple of years that I was there, I wound up doing the morning show because of my experience here. 

00:21:52 Speaker 2 

They had had a fellow start in 1945, just the year before I had come over the name of Bob Hutton. 

00:21:59 Speaker 2 

And Bob Hutton contracted CB and he left for two years and he came back to second objects in 1947. 

00:22:09 Speaker 2 

In meantime, I had arrived and they were short of a guy doing the morning show. 

00:22:13 Speaker 2 

They had a fellow doing the program. 

00:22:16 Speaker 2 

His name was John Hoyland. 

00:22:17 Speaker 2 

He was doing the morning show. 

00:22:19 Speaker 2 

Couldn’t stand getting up in the morning with the rest, and finally he was told that I was going to take over, so I took over to the show and had a ball. 

00:22:28 Speaker 2 

CCWC KWX was affiliated at that point with an American network and had the Mutual Don Lee Broadcasting system, and it was unbelievable, but because of emergencies, we also had the CBC coming into our Control Board and everything else, and if there was emergency came along, you had to plug into the CBC. 

00:22:45 Speaker 2 

That was the rules and regulations laid down by our then. 

00:22:48 Speaker 2 

The judges and the people that gave us all our direction, the CBC, they were not only our competitors, but they were also our judge and jury. 

00:22:56 Speaker 2 

So anyway, I used to do crazy things like I check and see what’s on the CBC and turn on the network and pull it in and say, Oh well, you know, this is great. 

00:23:06 Speaker 2 

I said, Gee, some of that stuff’s terrible and I turn it off and then I’d turn up. I said, oh, I’ll check to see the mutual broadcasting said to see what’s on and, oh God, there was all kinds of funny things, like, what was his name that Don somebody or others breakfast Club. 

00:23:20 Speaker 2 

And they marched around the room and it’s all this crazy stuff was going on. 

00:23:24 Speaker 2 

So I used to have fun and do crazy things. 

00:23:27 Speaker 2 

I I take a micro. 

00:23:28 Speaker 2 

Go on, just set the controls because I got rid of my operator. 

00:23:32 Speaker 2 

I couldn’t stand the operator. 

00:23:34 Speaker 2 

Is a fellow by the name of Al McMillan. 

00:23:35 Speaker 2 

He he went to work. 

00:23:36 Speaker 2 

They work for the CBC. 

00:23:37 Speaker 2 

After that, he’s just in the control room, staring at me in the morning, watching me in the studio. 

00:23:41 Speaker 2 

I look at him and I just say that guy is miserable anyway. 

00:23:47 Speaker 2 

We had a great. 

00:23:48 Speaker 2 

List of guys at Al Clemmon who went on to become a salesman at CKNW. 

00:23:53 Speaker 2 

Eventually Tony glush. 

00:23:58 Speaker 2 

All of these fellows were operators. 

00:23:59 Speaker 2 

That’s what they did. 

00:24:00 Speaker 2 

They operated the controls. 

00:24:02 Speaker 2 

They were behind the scene fellows anyway. 

00:24:05 Speaker 2 

I couldn’t stand having somebody, so I was given this freedom. 

00:24:09 Speaker 2 

I’ll just take a microphone, settle everything, and keep on talking. 

00:24:12 Speaker 2 

And I’d walked down the stairs because it’s OK. 

00:24:15 Speaker 2 

It’s KWX that time was upstairs at 543. Seymore walked down on a Seymour St. and I’d I’d stop cars on the street and talk to people. 

00:24:23 Speaker 2 

And everybody said they’d never seen this done before. 

00:24:26 Speaker 2 

It was fantastic. 

00:24:27 Speaker 2 

I used to have a. 

00:24:28 Speaker 2 

Ball. I just loved it. 

00:24:29 Speaker 2 

And everything was different. 

00:24:31 Speaker 2 

Just to do that. 

00:24:33 Speaker 2 

And as a result of this. 

00:24:38 Speaker 2 

Was very pleased. 

00:24:39 Speaker 2 

One day, I guess a year after I’d started when Stuart McKay came in and says you’ve done it, you’ve done it, you’ve done it. 

00:24:45 Speaker 2 

We’ve just got the new Elliot Haynes ratings in and you’re #1 in the morning. You’ve beaten the greatest thing that’s happened to radio in this town, which is old. 

00:24:55 Speaker 2 

GONCGOR. He was the big thing, he said. And he said you, you little son of a gun and I became known as a little ray of sunshine and all I used to get the letters. 

00:25:08 Speaker 2 

Everybody else said it was precious, but it was fun. 

00:25:11 Speaker 2 

It was just it was a fun thing and you became a specialist. 

00:25:15 Speaker 2 

In your particular field, mine was announcing and that’s what you did. 

00:25:18 Speaker 2 

You did nothing else. 

00:25:19 Speaker 2 

We had no union drilling that sort, but that was just what was expected for you. 

00:25:24 Speaker 2 

Then there were times when there was a a special thing came up and maybe it might have been elections or things of that sort. 

00:25:32 Speaker 2 

Sega TWX really became known for news and started to become very, very big in 1948. Kim. 

00:25:39 Speaker 2 

In 1948. 

00:25:41 Speaker 2 

When radio really became the medium to listen to, to find out what the sound hell was going on was the year of the floods in the Fraser Valley. 

00:25:50 Speaker 2 

And that was an event I will never forget. 

00:25:54 Speaker 2 

Here I was doing the morning show. 

00:25:56 Speaker 2 

And just finished the shift. 

00:25:59 Speaker 2 

June, the first beautiful sunny day and we absolutely gorgeous. 

00:26:04 Speaker 2 

I’m wearing a A sports jacket with an open collar. 

00:26:07 Speaker 2 

I’ve got on tan slacks and brown and white spectator shoes, brand New Spring summer outfit that I had just got and. 

00:26:16 Speaker 2 

As I came off the air, I was asked to come into a meeting. 

00:26:21 Speaker 2 

Stuart Mackay had now been elevated to the very lofty position of assistant manager to Tiny Elfick, who was the manager and lawyer and was the the production manager and they were all having this. 

00:26:34 Speaker 2 

They decided, along with the new news director, who was a man that became so very, very well known. 

00:26:43 Speaker 2 

Sam Ross and Sam was just a, you know, an unbelievable man. 

00:26:48 Speaker 2 

He was a news man. 

00:26:49 Speaker 2 

He’d come back from overseas. 

00:26:50 Speaker 2 

He’d been overseas for the group of what they called the. 

00:26:54 Speaker 2 

Atmo group of stations, the All Canada mutually operated stations that included the CK HWX in Vancouver, and it included a lot of the Sifton stations with the Prairies and things of that sort. 

00:27:05 Speaker 2 

Well from that point. 

00:27:07 Speaker 2 

They started talking about this business. 

00:27:11 Speaker 2 

We’ve got to send a crew out to the Fraser Valley. 

00:27:13 Speaker 2 

There’s an evacuee training leaning leaving from the bottom of the street down on the CPR depot. 

00:27:19 Speaker 2 

That was right at the foot of Seymour St. 

00:27:21 Speaker 2 

was the CPR depot and that, and they’re going to go out and bring all these people in that are stranded out in the Fraser Valley on this evacuee. 

00:27:30 Speaker 2 

I mean. 

00:27:31 Speaker 2 

So I said, would you go as the announcer and we’re going to give you a fellow by the name of Bill Bolt and Bill was, you know, a part time announcer. 

00:27:39 Speaker 2 

He was part time engineer. 

00:27:40 Speaker 2 

He did all sorts of things. 

00:27:42 Speaker 2 

I said that people were specialists, but in some cases they had some of these general deal costs. 

00:27:48 Speaker 2 

And they gave us. 

00:27:50 Speaker 2 

A portable recorder to do this. 

00:27:54 Speaker 2 

An 85 pound portable disc recorder was the equipment that we had to take with us. There was no such thing as tape recorders or anything else there was just. 

00:28:04 Speaker 2 

Disk recorders. 

00:28:06 Speaker 2 

And we had to have power. 

00:28:08 Speaker 2 

We had, you know, there’s no battery operator or anything else. 

00:28:10 Speaker 2 

And we had to plug in to wherever we possibly could. 

00:28:13 Speaker 2 

We couldn’t plug in on the radio, on the the train. 

00:28:16 Speaker 2 

We had to stop at stations and get the the make sure they. 

00:28:20 Speaker 2 

To do this and all this was set up in advance, yes, they would had agreed that if you know as long as we gave the the CPR full promotion and everything else. 

00:28:28 Speaker 2 

Well, that was indeed quite a day. 

00:28:31 Speaker 2 

We took off, left, went out into the valley. 

00:28:34 Speaker 2 

And couldn’t believe what we were seeing. 

00:28:37 Speaker 2 

It was just water everywhere. 

00:28:39 Speaker 2 

The tracks were underwater and they had a little go on these little speeder go cart things going in front of the train to make sure the tracks were still there. 

00:28:47 Speaker 2 

What’s going to happen? 

00:28:48 Speaker 2 

You know, the water is still rising. 

00:28:49 Speaker 2 

Are you ever going to get back out of here? 

00:28:52 Speaker 2 

Well, they went up to Harris and Mills. 

00:28:55 Speaker 2 

And this was a stop on the CPR line, and it was right off the area for Harrison Hot Springs. 

00:29:01 Speaker 2 

Now it was not called the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel. 

00:29:05 Speaker 2 

At that time it was called the Harrison Spa. 

00:29:08 Speaker 2 

And all of these people that had gone up there, it was a great place for people to go for honeymoons. 

00:29:12 Speaker 2 

And everything else, and the place was full. 

00:29:14 Speaker 2 

You know, was June 1st of June and everything so. 

00:29:18 Speaker 2 

You wouldn’t believe the people that came in there, people, all from their honeymoons and, you know, elderly couples who were celebrating anniversaries and all this stuff and then. 

00:29:28 Speaker 2 

All kinds of people with young kids. 

00:29:31 Speaker 2 

The caboose and the train was turned over to the. 

00:29:38 Speaker 2 

And on the the round pot belly stove in the caboose, there was a big pot of hot water and baby bottles all inside of this thing, warming up the baby bottles. 

00:29:47 Speaker 2 

And we were doing interviews. 

00:29:49 Speaker 2 

We were, you know, running up and down the train and and and I had a long cord on the thing and interviewing people and asking where they were from. 

00:29:56 Speaker 2 

And they were from all over the place, you know. 

00:29:58 Speaker 2 

And I mean like all of the United States as well as Canada. 

00:30:01 Speaker 2 

So it was really a a pretty, pretty interesting thing that happen. 

00:30:06 Speaker 2 

And CWX in the meantime, I was staying on the air late to get all of this material. 

00:30:14 Speaker 2 

There were estimates of when we would get back into town and all the rest of. 

00:30:17 Speaker 2 

It and. 

00:30:17 Speaker 2 

They were keeping in touch with the CPR as to when the dream was going to get in and all of these people were scheduled to go into the old Hotel Vancouver which. 

00:30:26 Speaker 2 

Was now evacuated, you know, had been evacuated and they were going to tear it all down. 

00:30:31 Speaker 2 

But they put these people in there to stay there. 

00:30:34 Speaker 2 

And the train arrived in town at 12:30 Midnight and we had these discs that we’ve been recording. Everything else rushed up the radio station. 

00:30:46 Speaker 2 

There was real Thompson, Laurie Irving. 

00:30:48 Speaker 2 

They’re on the air saying that they were expecting this material and they were bringing the latest news and all that stuff and suddenly. 

00:30:54 Speaker 2 

We went on the air, all this stuff, and we’re describing what had happened and I still to this day, have as part of my own record collection, some of those discs, pretty fabulous stuff. 




This interview was recorded in 1978 by Dick Meisner.