Norm Botterill


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The Selkirk collection. 

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Of The Pioneers of Selkirk communications. 

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The following interview with Norm Botterell was recorded in January 1978 by **** Meister. 

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Well, it was a lot of pleasure that I’m looking forward to a chat with. 

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An old friend and I mean old in terms of the life of our friendship, not his. 

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Graying temples. 

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And this is Norman Bottrell. 

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Who is the director of Silliker Holdings? 

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Lives in Calgary. 

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And goes back and experience the memory about the far back as radio exists in Western Canada. 

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Norman, welcome. 

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Thank you. Thank ***, ****. 

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As a beginning point for a chat. 

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You told me. 

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I think that you your home was originally red deer. 

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That’s right. 

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I was born and. 

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And that in fact you started your broadcast career and right there, the career part might be doubtful. 

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But I really get started right after the war when. 

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Fooled around with ham radio, you know wireless. 

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Jerry Gates was school Chamran and he had the same bug we. 

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Rigged up wireless setup and talked to one another across town, and all of this. 

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Suddenly, there was word that the Alberta Pacific Grain Company going to put a big transmitter in it, that deer, primarily because I guess it was in the then central part of the province. 

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For the essential purpose of broadcasting. 

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The grain prices. 

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The daily grain prices to the. 

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Elevators all over the province of Alberta. 

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So they had to have a. 

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Good transmitter and good power and good, and they have a Clear Channel. 

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With 2000 Watts, which was a tremendous amount in those days. 

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And as a matter of record, transmitter and installation was built by. 

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Who built some of the early stations of the West? 

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Yes, sure. 

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And he put it up. 

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And of course, when that word came around. 

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We youngsters, who were all keyed up about broadcasting and. 

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Built our little peanut tube receivers and all of that. 

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Sort of stuff. 

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You know, listen to all the stations and the states. 

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You might amplify an arm on why? 

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It was a good thing for A&B to to broadcast what had they been doing up to that well prior to that. 

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Of course, they’re only their only means of communication was by telegram, which they sent out several times a day to all of these elevators all over the province. 

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And the scheme was to do it by radio and they. 

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Have them quicker and have. 

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Eliminate all of this paperwork. 

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And also gave the twofold. 

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Service of informing the farmer same time as the green. 

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Elders, right. 

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He could then know in the morning what his week was going to bring him this afternoon, and he brought it to ground, right? 

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So that’s why they put it there and. 

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And we were so enthused about this was a great chance to see a radio station. 

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And I, for one, just hung around there all the time. 

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They were building it. 

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And when it finally got on the air, I was still hanging around. 

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Finally they put me to work and I have to go to school. 

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So I I didn’t get paid for it, but I used to take quite a few shifts and. 

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Finally, there was only one man doing the whole thing. 

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And his name, by the way, was Charlie Wood from Red Deer. 

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They’re the first operator in the station. 

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And he was a friend of mine. 

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So we made a deal that I’d slip up. 

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In the morning and. 

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Put the transmitter on the air and. 

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Put the grain prices over, which were read out of Calgary in the morning. 

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And then we shut down. 

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And I’d run like crazy and get to school on time. 

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And after four or whatever, I imagine I neglected a lot of homework too. 

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I was up at that place this all the time. 

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There were two. 

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There were probably many, but there were two principal. 

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Or readily recognizable. 

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Forces which help to. 

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Get broadcasting under way in Western Canada and. 

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They were green. 

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Quotes and battery sales. 

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That’s right. 

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And you will talk about battery sales and if you might, well, I can do that too. 

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And so that’s how ckoc that was the call letters of it. 

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Got on the air and they expanded the service into continuous broadcasting with studios in Calgary. 

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And at one point they had studios in Edmonton as well. 

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Well, then came the crash of 29 and the. 

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And the. 

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Commencement of the CRBC. 

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And of course, the grain price service wasn’t nearly as essential then, because who was selling grain at $0.50 a bushel? 

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But the CRBC, when they took over. 

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They had new rules. 

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All of the. 

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That put a power freeze on. 

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The private stations and the idea was to develop. 

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Government operations stations and they took over all the clear channels. 

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And they offered the Alberta Pacific Grain Company. As I remember the circumstance they offered it, they could stay on the air with 100 watts on a. 

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Poor frequency in red deer. 

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Or they buy it. 

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Well, of course the grain companies were in pretty poor shape then and offered to buy A was a great thing for cash at that time. 

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So the CRBC bought the the station. 

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And equipment. 

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And I helped dismantle it and shipped it off and I. 

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In a boxcar, and I don’t know. 

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Happened to. 

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It that was the end of. 

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CFBC in red deer and that would be in what, 30? 

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And the tacit understanding that we had a few employees that were. 

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Jr. Foster Ralph Foster was the manager. He was here in Calgary. 

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Tacit understanding was from the CRBC that they would buy and close it down. 

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And that they would give full consideration to taking any staff into their organization. 

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A small interruption there was well. 

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An arm pursue one of our joint bad habits and letting a cigarette go ahead. 

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Well, I was going to say that when the CRBC came into being, they. 

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They they offered to. 

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By the station from the Alberta Pacific Grain Company. Or they would close it down and close it down. Or they could keep the operation going with 100 watts on a not certainly not a full check, that Clear Channel. 

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So app Grain jumped at the chance to sell it and it was closed down. 

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And a few staff members were out of work, but there was kind of we were given a tacit understanding that. 

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We were to be considered for as employees for the CRBC. 

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So I waited and waited, and quite frankly, I’m still waiting to hear from them just to jump ahead a little bit. 

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Then when did a station become reestablished and read there? 

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Oh, that was. 

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During or after the. 

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War that long, I think. 



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So it was in the 40s. 

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So that left me out of work and. 

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Ralph Foster, who was the manager of the Radio Department of the AP Grain. 

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He was here in Calgary. 

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He decided he was going to publish. 

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Weekly program of radio schedules. 

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Because of course all the nighttime listening for the most part was done to the American stations for so I joined them in. 

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Got this published publication in Shape. 

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We had. 

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Good season. 

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The first year in the winter. 

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We got all the schedules from the major networks and stations in the United States and of course the Canadian ones. 

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Published the weekly schedule. 

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Called broadcast programs. 

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Interest here reflect back on. 

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On the success, if you like, although none of them lasted very long. 

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That those little program sheets enjoyed across the country, they’re very popular. 

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Listenings do. 

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Today, that’s right. 

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They were very popular, but the drawback was and why they didn’t. 

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They didn’t sustain themselves, but they dropped off so badly in the summer, not only the listening but the selling and so on. 

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It was a giveaway, you see, and it was fully dependent on advertising. 

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By the dealers and the manufacturers and the battery companies and so on. 

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Certainly supported in the winter, but come spring and summer they fell off to the point where you couldn’t keep it going. 

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So that became an aborted effort too. 

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But I maintained my. 

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My connection with broadcasting to the publication of scheduled for for one season, but in the course of of running this this publication, we decided to public publish an Edmonton edition. 

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And my one of my duties was to go up to. 

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Edmonton every week or so and make the rounds of the advertisers and get renewals and get coffee. 

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And they had these tie in ads with the manufacturers, and Marconi had a big ad. 

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And then you had little ones at the bottom of the various dealerships. 

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Well, you had to get the Marconi thing before he could go to. 

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The dealers which led me to Taylor and Taylor and Pearson’s automotive company. 

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Who were the distributors of Marconi Radio? 

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Of course, yes. 

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And so and this one time I was up there, I talked to Mr. 

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Taylor and Mr. 

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Said you’ve had some experience in. 

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Yeah, some red deer. 

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I said, well, we’re thinking of opening a radio station. 

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How would you like some work for us? 

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Now, please. 

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So that’s when I joined Taylor Person, which became subsequently the Taylor Pearson Carson Organization, which subsequently became sucker. 

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Well, that was in. 

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And I joined them in Edmonton. 

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Station was. 

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Call letters or CFTP, yes. 

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We went on the air, I think in March. 

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April, I can recall that there are opening broadcast was. 

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Playoff game of a hockey hockey playoff in Winnipeg between the. 

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Gee, I can’t remember the name of the team, but it was a very. 

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Highly popular team at the time for the Western Canada Championship. 

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What an opening. 

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Pretty auspicious where? 

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They are exactly, yeah. 

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But in the mean time. 

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Taylor Pearson and HR Carson of Lethbridge had joined forces to form Taylor Pearson and Carson Company. 

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And opened their automotive branch in Calgary. 

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Harold Carson was also in that general type of business in Lethbridge, right and he started in Lethbridge with a radio station. 

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I suppose this is the time to introduce why they were anxious to get into broadcasting. 

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Well, it’s pretty simple. 

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When you stop to think that they were the. 

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Distributors of the radio sets the batteries, the tubes and everything that went with it. 

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And of course, in those days it was nighttime listening. 

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And the local stations didn’t broadcast him at anytime very much. 

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They might come on for an hour in the morning and an hour at noon, and we closed down to supper time. 

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Difficulty for the. 

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Was that the? 

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The retailer had nothing to demonstrate his sets with. 

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Because of course you couldn’t pull in the. 

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The US stations in the daytime you could only get them at night. 

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So automotive people, their ideas would get a station on the air, keep it on the daytime. 

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That not only uses up batteries and tubes, but it also gives the retailer a chance to demonstrate. 

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It seems to me that someone told me that Ariel Carson was even. 

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Ingenious enough, and energetic enough to. 

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Go and turn the radio station on for half an hour during the day while they demonstrated and sat down the street and they go back. 

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And turn the bloody thing. 

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Well, I I I’m not familiar with that story, but it doesn’t surprise me. 

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In any event, they had one in Lethbridge and they had one in Edmonton. 

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And they applied for one in Calgary, but they got turned down. 

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So Harold Carson made a deal with the Calgary Herald. 

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That he’d operate their station for them. 

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And he’d operated full time. 

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So that’s that’s gave them our station and Lethbridge and Calgary and Edmonton. 

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That was the beginning of the Taylor person, Carson. 

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Broadcasting Division, which started to grow to the point that Harold Carson. 

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Left the automotive side and devoted all his time to to broadcasting. 

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And in due course I moved down to Calgary. 

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With them. 

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I think I was back in Edmonton. 

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And they expanded and took over the operation of WX in Vancouver. 

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I went out there. 

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And they took that over for a while and I came back and I was in 1941, I think it said in 1941. Yeah, right. 

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And I moved back to Lethbridge to manage COC. 

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And during the war, at the end of the war. 

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At Mr. Carson’s. 

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Urging I was loaned out to a group in St. John, NB Yes, Yes, I remember we were to build a a radio station and. 

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They had heard about Harold Carson, who operated these things around. 

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He allowed us how it was too far away for. 

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To bring into. 

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The group but. 

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You’d like to have their representation. 

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They had their representative branch by then, all Canada. 

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And so he said, well, we can’t do that, but we’ll loan you somebody till you get on the air and get going. 

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And so he just said, let me one day go down and look that thing over and come on. 

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Back and tell me about. 

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I flew down and looked it all over. 

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Here would take about two years to get that thing on and going out of the red I would think. 

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So off I went. 

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At the end of two years I phoned, Harold said. 

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OK, I’ll join. 

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The black I’d want. 

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To come back West. 

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So there were some moves going on then and they said, OK, come on back here. 

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I’ll put you in Regina. 

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I was in Regina for 2 1/2 three years. 

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But I jumped around so much and moved so often I was getting a little tired and Harold came to town one day and he how do you like it down here? 

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And I said great. 

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But don’t ever tell me that I have to. 

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Stay here. 

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And he said, well, what do you want? 

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And I said, well, I’ve been booking around every year and a half, two years going here and there. 

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I’d like to get some roots down well, he said. 

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How did you like Lethbridge and I I said it was a great town. 

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Great place to bring up a family. 

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I would like to go back there, I said fine, Harold. 

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One thing provided no more moves. 

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It’s a deal. 

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So I went to Lethbridge. 

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And it wasn’t too long after that, the television raised its head. 

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55 we built the television station. 

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In Lethbridge in Lethbridge just now. 

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And then in due course, why I? 

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Left left Bridge moved up to Calgary. 

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I succeeded Jerry as a. 

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Man in charge of the western operations of then sulker. 

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And now I’m retired, but I’m on two boards and I keep my hand in and I enjoy that. 

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That’s it. 

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This this research if you like, is. 

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To try to uncover the legion or some of the legion of stories. 

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Of the people who’ve gone through with the organization, which we now know as Selkirk Holdings. 

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And those are people who. 

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Were with. 

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War, War of the many stations in the group. 

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As well as the representative organization and today, of course, in cable and overseas and. 

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About to be announced further. 

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Development within the organization. 

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Tell me about some of the people that. 

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Worked for you and worked with you and those early days in the West. 

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Well, they are indeed a legion of wonderful people. 

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Talented people. 

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Worked hard. 

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As you and I know, worked for peanuts in those early days. 

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I think the only reason we worked for peanuts because we loved it was right. 

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We didn’t want to leave. 

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Why I can I can name them so very, very many. 

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Where do we start? 

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Edmonton, for instance. 

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Bill Cranston. 

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Burt Kearns. Burt Kearns. 

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Join me, I mentioned CFTP. 

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Which was their origination start of Taylor person, Edmonton Broadcasting at work. 

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Terrence was the first person we hired. 

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You joined me as an announcer. 

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And programmed man. 

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And you know you had half a dozen people and you. 

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Did everything right. 

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Like Burt, Karen made a great contribution to broadcasting. 

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So did Bill Cranston, in his own way, colorful character. 

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Tell me something about Cranston. 

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Bill has always seemed to me because I didn’t know him well. 

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A somewhat shadowy. 

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Figure within the organization and that’s principally because I didn’t know him well. 

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Well, Bill was a bill was a sales and he was a good one. 

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And he was a fast talker and he. 

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He had a lot of talent. 

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He was a good broadcaster too in his day. 

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I can recall one time in Edmonton. 

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This is a little off the track, but perhaps a horror the CR. 

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What was it? 

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Yeah, subset. 

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I used to do pickups from the various. 

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Banff and Jasper, the orchestras where. 

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Network and they they would make arrangements with our stations to say we were the affiliate. 

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You see, we’re here in Calgary and Lethbridge and Edmonton, get it borrow announcer for two weeks at a time. 

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Go up and and do the nightly broadcasts or the weekly broadcast from the Jasper Park Lodge or. 

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The the Banff. 

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From Banff and so on, and what it likes. 

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And I remember Bill got won the assignment for two weeks. 

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It was a. 

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It was a sought after thing. 

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He went up there, lived like a king and and and so on. 

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And he was up there and we had a broadcast coming up of. 

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Around the world Flyers now, I don’t know which one it was, I don’t think. 

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It was one of those anyway, and of course the Edmonton was the great port for that sort of thing. 

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While they posed with, I think it might have been Wiley Post and. 

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Bill, it was a flyer originally. 

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And he was. 

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He was airplane conscious and crazy. 

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And so I had to phone bill shortly after he get up there and say, Bill, I got to have you back here to cover this. 

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Around the world flight. 

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Well, it was a great thing for him, but gosh. 

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He hated it. 

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Atmosphere of Jasper. 

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So Bill moved around in our organization and the sales and management field. 

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Just another colorful I only remember Bill from my digging. 

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End of this story as having been with two stations with Edmonton and then Hamilton. 

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That’s right. 

00:23:29 Speaker 2 

Yes, I think that’s correct. 

00:23:33 Speaker 2 

And then we XI mentioned being out there for nearly two years when we took over that operation. 

00:23:40 Speaker 2 

And skins choirs was the was the manager and came out. 

00:23:45 Speaker 2 

We took over a run down dog, you know, and and had to build it up and. 

00:23:52 Speaker 2 

We’ve got these new studios. 

00:23:54 Speaker 2 

Again, we got to have more staff. 

00:23:58 Speaker 2 

Stuart Mackay. 

00:24:00 Speaker 2 

And started his career at Edmonton. 

00:24:03 Speaker 2 

In fact, I put him to work. 

00:24:05 Speaker 2 

I hired. 

00:24:07 Speaker 2 

And he subsequently went to Winnipeg with Tony Elfick. 

00:24:12 Speaker 2 

They had moved down there and I said skin. 

00:24:15 Speaker 2 

I want Stuart Mackay out here. 

00:24:20 Speaker 2 

And of course, his home was out there at a purely camp. 

00:24:25 Speaker 2 

We had difficulty in chiseling him away from Tiny Elphick. 

00:24:29 Speaker 2 

I could tell you that he came out and by half chance we got Norris McKenzie who started. 

00:24:36 Speaker 2 

When I was. 

00:24:37 Speaker 2 

In Edmonton and he was a running mate with with Stuart in Edmonton. 

00:24:43 Speaker 2 

So I got ahold of him and he came to Vancouver. 

00:24:51 Speaker 2 

Over the years, we’ve shipped a number of our top people out there and they’ve generated a lot. 

00:24:57 Speaker 2 

So WX has really made a great contribution. 

00:25:01 Speaker 2 

To this organization of soccer. 

00:25:05 Speaker 2 

Just to name a few. 

00:25:07 Speaker 2 

And you were there, you know, some other chefs thefts were after my time, yes. 

00:25:13 Speaker 2 

What about Calgary? 

00:25:15 Speaker 2 

Oh, Calgary is all generated a lot. 

00:25:16 Speaker 2 

Who came? 

00:25:17 Speaker 1 

Out of there. 

00:25:19 Speaker 2 

Well, Tiny Alpha began there. 

00:25:22 Speaker 2 

He he started with CSFAC. 

00:25:24 Speaker 2 

He was with CF. 

00:25:26 Speaker 2 

When Harold Carson made the deal for for the operation of Cfac, he was the manager then. 

00:25:33 Speaker 2 

And Harold hired the sales manager, which was Guy Herbert. 

00:25:39 Speaker 2 

One of his bridge paying pals from the Ranchman’s club? Yes. Yeah, he was the sales manager. 

00:25:46 Speaker 2 

And chest chestnut came with the package where she FAC. 

00:25:49 Speaker 2 

He was the engineer there. 

00:25:54 Speaker 2 

Bob Freeland, yes, the man. 

00:25:57 Speaker 2 

Could could have been one of the continents greatest announcers. 

00:26:01 Speaker 2 

He just kept his nose to the the wheel, you know, and. 

00:26:10 Speaker 2 

He started here, that Freeman Freeman was tremendous. 

00:26:16 Speaker 2 

Special specialized announcer CBC aboard him for the. 

00:26:23 Speaker 2 

For the royal tour in. 

00:26:26 Speaker 2 

19 yeah. 

00:26:26 Speaker 2 

39 and he went the whole circuit with him, and did a wonderful job. Then pat, of course, went on. 

00:26:34 Speaker 2 

Presidency of an agency in Toronto. 

00:26:38 Speaker 2 

Jack Bennett. 

00:26:40 Speaker 2 

Started up in Calgary. 

00:26:42 Speaker 2 

I take a. 

00:26:44 Speaker 2 

I I like to think that I had a great deal. 

00:26:49 Speaker 2 

And starting him. 

00:26:51 Speaker 2 

He was so crazy about radio. 

00:26:52 Speaker 2 

He spent all his time after school hanging around the radio station. 

00:26:58 Speaker 2 

And we used to if we could ever let him make a station call, it made his day. 

00:27:03 Speaker 2 

Well, I was. 

00:27:05 Speaker 2 

I was running the morning shift. 

00:27:08 Speaker 2 

And I was doing the traffic and the publicity. 

00:27:12 Speaker 2 

And many, many nights, shining it off at midnight. 

00:27:16 Speaker 2 

And that was six and seven days a week. 

00:27:20 Speaker 2 

And so I said, tiny, I don’t want to get off that morning, Chef. 

00:27:24 Speaker 2 

Gosh, I can’t keep it up forever. 

00:27:27 Speaker 2 

Well, you find somebody to replace you and I’ll consider it. 

00:27:31 Speaker 2 

So I had Jack Dennett come up early in the morning. 

00:27:36 Speaker 2 

And very early, I let them do part of the shift you see. 

00:27:40 Speaker 2 

Bottom on and on and on. 

00:27:42 Speaker 2 

Finally, I said tidy. 

00:27:44 Speaker 2 

Wants you to tune in tomorrow morning at 7:00 o’clock. 

00:27:49 Speaker 2 

I want you to listen to. 

00:27:50 Speaker 2 

OK, what is it? 

00:27:52 Speaker 2 

Never mind. 

00:27:52 Speaker 2 

You just listen. 

00:27:54 Speaker 2 


00:27:59 Speaker 2 

And did a good job too. 

00:28:01 Speaker 2 

A little nervous, but he did a good job. 

00:28:04 Speaker 2 

So we both waited till tiny came down and he wasn’t one trying to get down too early in. 

00:28:09 Speaker 2 

The morning, though. 

00:28:11 Speaker 2 

She finally arrived. 

00:28:12 Speaker 2 

And well, what did you think of it? 

00:28:14 Speaker 2 

What did I think of what? 

00:28:15 Speaker 2 

What didn’t you listen this morning? 

00:28:18 Speaker 2 

I forgot all about it, you know. 


I don’t. 

00:28:22 Speaker 2 

So we tried it again. 

00:28:24 Speaker 2 

And Tiny said, who is it? 

00:28:27 Speaker 2 

I said I don’t. 

00:28:28 Speaker 2 

It doesn’t matter. 

00:28:29 Speaker 2 

And be OK to take over. 

00:28:31 Speaker 2 

I wonder who it is. 

00:28:33 Speaker 2 

I said I’ll bring them in and like to talk to him. 

00:28:35 Speaker 2 

I brought Jack my tiny just about blew his top. 

00:28:39 Speaker 2 

What the heck are you trying to pull on? 

00:28:41 Speaker 2 

Me, the punk kid you know? 

00:28:43 Speaker 2 

But Jack, I I guess he left school wasn’t a great night or something like that. 

00:28:48 Speaker 2 

And he came on full time and he took over the whole morning shift in no time. 

00:28:54 Speaker 2 

And made something out of it. 

00:28:55 Speaker 2 

It it was. 

00:28:56 Speaker 2 

It wasn’t my cup of tea. 

00:28:58 Speaker 2 

I I wanted to get off the air. 

00:29:00 Speaker 2 

I I did. 

00:29:00 Speaker 2 

An awful lot of air work. 

00:29:02 Speaker 2 

But it I didn’t want it right that didn’t fulfill my ambitions. 

00:29:07 Speaker 2 

But Jack was a announcer and he was a good one. 

00:29:11 Speaker 2 

Until the day he died. 

00:29:14 Speaker 2 

Too soon, unfortunately. 

00:29:17 Speaker 2 

He he stayed as an announcer. 

00:29:20 Speaker 2 

I saw a lot of announcers. 

00:29:23 Speaker 2 

Over the years that wanted to become. 

00:29:28 Speaker 2 

Salesman are executives and so on, and a lot of them stumbled along and never made anything. 

00:29:33 Speaker 2 

They didn’t stick to what they did best. 

00:29:36 Speaker 2 

That was true. 

00:29:38 Speaker 2 

I think I can say that about a number of the top announcers today. 

00:29:42 Speaker 2 

They had it and they stayed with it, made a great success. 

00:29:46 Speaker 2 

Or still Peter Principle you know about each man and his time. 

00:29:51 Speaker 2 

Reaches his own level of incompetence here. 

00:29:58 Speaker 2 

Lethbridge produced a number of top people. 

00:30:01 Speaker 2 

Jerry Gates started in Lethbridge. 

00:30:06 Speaker 2 

George Brown. 

00:30:08 Speaker 2 

Who’s now? 

00:30:10 Speaker 2 

The President of the company. 

00:30:15 Speaker 2 

Oh gosh, I. 

00:30:17 Speaker 2 

Names will come to me later, but. 

00:30:20 Speaker 2 

A story I don’t know well. 

00:30:24 Speaker 2 

Is the story of Grand Prairie. 

00:30:27 Speaker 2 

Well, became conscious of the Grand Prairie through hearing the name Cecil Berry, Cecil Berry, and I think I met him fleetingly once, but I don’t know that story. 

00:30:39 Speaker 2 

While I was there, I guess maybe I could tell you something about it. 

00:30:43 Speaker 2 

First of all, let me tell you that tiny Elphick was the manager of the station in even at that time, Cecil Burberry was a personal friend of his. 

00:30:52 Speaker 2 

Sessel Berry was what they call a Brock man. 

00:30:58 Speaker 2 

Implement company. 

00:31:00 Speaker 2 

Located in Grand Prairie in the district selling the implements, I think. 

00:31:05 Speaker 2 

And his home was in Edmonton. 

00:31:11 Speaker 2 

He and tiny were great friends and he just thought that the Peace River Country ought to have a radio station. 

00:31:19 Speaker 2 

And so he organized a group up there. 

00:31:27 Speaker 2 

He applied for a license and got it CFP. 

00:31:34 Speaker 2 

They bought the transmitter and equipment from Taylor person in Edmonton, who were the Marconi distributors, and it was Marconi equipment. 

00:31:44 Speaker 2 

And I think fair to say that the other person said, well, you buy from us and we’ll help you establish your station. 

00:31:52 Speaker 2 

They know nothing about it. 

00:31:55 Speaker 2 

And he was still working on his job. 

00:31:57 Speaker 2 

And all right. 

00:31:59 Speaker 2 

So and Tony being a friend of Cecile’s. 

00:32:03 Speaker 2 

It all kind of brought it back into CCA. 

00:32:08 Speaker 2 

I guess I was a production manager at that time and they said well. 

00:32:11 Speaker 2 

Get busy now and. 

00:32:16 Speaker 2 

Organize some crew. 

00:32:18 Speaker 2 

Go to the library and. 

00:32:21 Speaker 2 

We brought Paul Gee, who was a big name, and yes, I know Paul Radio, he was a. 

00:32:29 Speaker 2 

Bilingual boy from the French community up in that area. 

00:32:34 Speaker 2 

And we brought him down to CJCA and we had him for, oh, I would say a couple of months at least broke him in. 

00:32:42 Speaker 2 

And several people that we. 

00:32:44 Speaker 2 

Were used at. 

00:32:46 Speaker 2 

CJCA is the training ground for these people. 

00:32:49 Speaker 2 

And did a lot of work and set up the schedules and everything. 

00:32:53 Speaker 2 

And when the time came well. 

00:32:55 Speaker 2 

You’ve done it all. 

00:32:56 Speaker 2 

You better take them all up there. 

00:32:58 Speaker 2 

Get it on the air. 

00:33:00 Speaker 2 

So I was up in Grand Prairie for a few weeks in the fall of the year. 

00:33:06 Speaker 2 

The rain and the mud. 

00:33:08 Speaker 2 

We got it on the air. 

00:33:11 Speaker 2 

And I got on the midnight train and I went back to heaven. 

00:33:15 Speaker 2 

I said I’ll never come back to this country again. 

00:33:18 Speaker 2 

I’ll never, never come near it. 

00:33:20 Speaker 2 

Oh, it was. 

00:33:22 Speaker 2 

Three or four weeks of mud and slush and cold in November. 

00:33:28 Speaker 2 

Well, I got as close to Grand Prairie on my recent trip to the West. 

00:33:34 Speaker 2 

As Edmonton. 

00:33:39 Speaker 2 

And I had. 

00:33:40 Speaker 2 

1/2 formed idea of going up to Grand Prairie, but the weather and Edmonton alone intimidated me and I didn’t get there. 

00:33:49 Speaker 2 

Well, I held that grudge against Grand Prairie. 

00:33:53 Speaker 2 

For 25 years. 

00:33:56 Speaker 2 

Through all that time, the various managers up there, why don’t you ever come up and visit I? 

00:34:01 Speaker 2 

Said I swore I’d never go back. 

00:34:03 Speaker 2 

Well, they had their 25th anniversary, I think was the 25th camp. Perry was up there. 

00:34:10 Speaker 2 

And they were looking for somebody who had been there when it went on the air. 

00:34:16 Speaker 2 

And by George, the only person they could find was me. 

00:34:20 Speaker 2 

And they said you got to come. 

00:34:22 Speaker 2 

And so I went up and the weather was beautiful. 

00:34:26 Speaker 2 

And I had a wonderful time. 

00:34:28 Speaker 2 

And the fell back and they put in cement walks and and they paved the streets and the mud was gone. 

00:34:35 Speaker 2 

And I think Grand Prairie is a great place today. 

00:34:37 Speaker 2 

And I go back quite often. 

00:34:40 Speaker 2 

But that was my experience with CFP. 

00:34:43 Speaker 2 

The one real old hammer at Grand Prairie today, I guess, is Jack soars and Jack soars. 

00:34:48 Speaker 2 

Wasn’t the with the very original crew, but he came very shortly after and has been there and has been there ever since. 

00:34:57 Speaker 2 

Great fellow. 

00:35:00 Speaker 2 

Who is the current manager there? 

00:35:03 Speaker 2 

I have his name. 

00:35:04 Speaker 2 

Percy Pierce. 

00:35:06 Speaker 2 

Just recently been made manager while he Everett has been moved to Burnham. 

00:35:13 Speaker 2 

I was Speaking of a Vernon. 

00:35:16 Speaker 2 

Seabrook is just retiring, yes, not to date this document, but now in 1978, he gets he retired at the end of the last year. 

00:35:29 Speaker 2 

Formally retired in August of 17. 

00:35:32 Speaker 2 

Was it as it will be? 

00:35:34 Speaker 2 

This year remaining on. 

00:35:35 Speaker 2 

But Wally has moved over there, I don’t know. 

00:35:40 Speaker 2 

My my connection with the Vernon. 

00:35:44 Speaker 2 

Came in around the boat fashion. 

00:35:49 Speaker 2 

Let’s see. 

00:35:50 Speaker 2 

Would it be Taylor person Carson? 

00:35:52 Speaker 2 

I guess there’s four soccer when they bought the station. 

00:35:56 Speaker 2 

I was in Lethbridge. 

00:35:59 Speaker 2 

At Cgoc and. 

00:36:02 Speaker 2 

They decided to be a good investment. 

00:36:05 Speaker 2 

For cjo C. 

00:36:07 Speaker 2 

So Cgoc put up half the money. 

00:36:10 Speaker 2 

To buy it and. 



00:36:15 Speaker 2 

I got instructions to come up to. 

00:36:18 Speaker 2 

Like the Presidency borrowing some money from. 

00:36:20 Speaker 2 

So I guess so I got inspected to come up with a certain date with a certified check for our half and. 

00:36:31 Speaker 2 

I found I was a director of the company as a result and I’m still a director of. 

00:36:39 Speaker 2 

And I’ve had a great great relationship. 

00:36:41 Speaker 2 

That’s been a wonderful, wonderful development there, Gil Seabrook, who was with us for a number of years prior. 

00:36:49 Speaker 2 

Latterly, and I started in Edmonton and there was in Regina. 

00:36:55 Speaker 2 

And he left to go up to manage that station after the first year or two. 

00:37:03 Speaker 2 

Difficulties they had, he took that over and justice dragged it up by bootstraps and made a real operation out of it. 

00:37:10 Speaker 2 

It’s just a wonderful tribute to this. 

00:37:13 Speaker 2 

He’s been there ever since, and now he’s retiring, having just completed a beautiful new office and studio building. 

00:37:23 Speaker 2 

Tremendous, tremendous story of one man. 

00:37:25 Speaker 2 

What he did in a small community. 

00:37:28 Speaker 2 

With a dog. 

00:37:31 Speaker 2 

Pulled it up by the bootstraps. 

00:37:34 Speaker 2 

That’s high attribute, yes. 

00:37:46 Speaker 2 

Norman, another name from. 

00:37:49 Speaker 2 

Your early beginnings in Lethbridge, of course. 

00:37:55 Speaker 2 

As a man who went on who? 

00:37:58 Speaker 2 

Considerable heights. 

00:37:59 Speaker 2 

Jack Dawson. 

00:38:00 Speaker 2 

Oh, gosh, yes. 

00:38:01 Speaker 2 

Wouldn’t want to forget, Jack. 

00:38:04 Speaker 2 

He was. 

00:38:07 Speaker 2 

He was a colorful fellow. 

00:38:09 Speaker 2 

And a darn good announcer. 

00:38:12 Speaker 2 

And he worked for me in Lethbridge. 

00:38:16 Speaker 2 

And subsequently in Edmonton. 

00:38:20 Speaker 2 

And it was from Edmonton and he left to go to Toronto and I can recall very well that he. 

00:38:27 Speaker 2 

He made the break. 

00:38:30 Speaker 2 

Because he wanted to try the big time and as it got nearer he got shaky. 

00:38:36 Speaker 2 

I said, well, Jack, you can go down and try it, boy and. 

00:38:41 Speaker 2 

Hope you do, but if you don’t like it or you can’t make it come on back, there’s a job for here. 

00:38:46 Speaker 2 

I think that bolstered him him a little bit. 

00:38:49 Speaker 2 

And of course, the rest is history went down to CFRB, an announcer and. 

00:38:55 Speaker 2 

Wound up in a top job with him, right? 

00:38:58 Speaker 2 

And did A1 heck of a job. You know, he’s a very conscientious. 

00:39:03 Speaker 2 

Amusing character colorful fellow. 

00:39:07 Speaker 2 

They tell very colorful stories about Dawson. 

00:39:12 Speaker 2 


00:39:16 Speaker 2 

And he was a a good manager, I think. 

00:39:20 Speaker 2 

Yeah, she was. 

00:39:22 Speaker 2 

And a great. 

00:39:25 Speaker 2 

Gift for picking the right people and. 

00:39:28 Speaker 2 

The right jobs. 


I think. 

00:39:31 Speaker 2 

A man who you work with. 

00:39:37 Speaker 2 

I guess perhaps you were together during your. 

00:39:40 Speaker 2 

So adjourn that, Regina. 

00:39:44 Speaker 2 

It was hell, Crittendon. 

00:39:46 Speaker 2 

Well, he was my competitor. 

00:39:48 Speaker 2 

Ohh yes this this goes back again to the TPC days of operating stations we operated. 

00:39:57 Speaker 2 

That’s right, you were CJR CKRM arm. No CKRM. When I got there. Yes. 

00:40:05 Speaker 2 

And Kurt was at CK CK. 

00:40:08 Speaker 2 

And couldn’t I because we were associated through? 

00:40:15 Speaker 2 

Our organization. 

00:40:17 Speaker 2 

We’re great friends and then suddenly I turn up more China and we’re competitors. 

00:40:24 Speaker 2 

But we we ironed that out pretty well from 9 to 5, cut one another throats and at 5:00 o’clock we go over to the center boy club and he’d be hooting and hollering because he stuck one on me today and I get back at him tomorrow and we’re still fast friends. 

00:40:44 Speaker 2 

Well, he’s one of the colorful fellows of. 

00:40:46 Speaker 2 

The West too wonderful. 

00:40:48 Speaker 2 

A lot of people came out of the Regina operation. 

00:40:50 Speaker 2 

Were a lot of people, I’m involved. 

00:40:57 Speaker 2 

Andy McDermott, they Rep for that. 

00:41:00 Speaker 2 

All right. 

00:41:02 Speaker 2 

See Casey and Bill Spears and Bill Spears, yes. 

00:41:08 Speaker 2 

Yeah, there’s quite a history of that and of course. 

00:41:13 Speaker 2 

I I suppose it’s fair to say that. 

00:41:16 Speaker 2 

The early stations and they all were on the Prairies. 

00:41:21 Speaker 2 

They meant so much to me. 

00:41:24 Speaker 2 

And the people that operated them knew that, and there was such a friendliness. 

00:41:30 Speaker 2 

And so on. 

00:41:32 Speaker 2 

It’s really a remarkable part of the Western history of what radio did for it. 

00:41:40 Speaker 2 

But my impression long held is that radio on the West was considerably. 

00:41:48 Speaker 2 

More advanced. 

00:41:50 Speaker 2 

In many ways, and radio in Eastern Canada was, I’d probably that was the primary reason. 

00:41:56 Speaker 2 

Because we had to and we had to, we didn’t have, you know, already on Toronto. 

00:42:02 Speaker 2 

Well, so there’s a good there’s a local station we got. 

00:42:06 Speaker 2 

20 big ones in the states that we can pick up anytime of the day or night, but out here in the Prairie and more particularly in the daytime. 

00:42:15 Speaker 2 

If they were, they had nothing else to depend on but the local and so. 

00:42:21 Speaker 2 

And you know the the operation of them. 

00:42:26 Speaker 2 

The services they rendered, emergencies. 

00:42:29 Speaker 2 

They covered the communication. 

00:42:31 Speaker 2 

Mere mirror communication was done by by Radio CJC, A for years ran. 

00:42:39 Speaker 2 

The north. 

00:42:40 Speaker 2 

Oh, yes. 

00:42:42 Speaker 2 

Tell me about that every Saturday night. 

00:42:46 Speaker 2 

After midnight. 

00:42:49 Speaker 2 

We had people come up there from the north. 

00:42:52 Speaker 2 

To past messages, read their own, or they sent messages in and we sent them clear down to the Arctic. 

00:42:59 Speaker 2 

It was a. 

00:43:00 Speaker 2 

And at Christmas time, good heavens, people, that place was just crowded reading Christmas messages to their friends are way off in the North Country very far. 

00:43:10 Speaker 2 

Make Edmonton N When you say down to the Arctic. 

00:43:14 Speaker 2 

That’s right. 

00:43:15 Speaker 2 

Well, that’s just the way it goes. 

00:43:18 Speaker 2 

No, that was a very important thing. 

00:43:22 Speaker 2 

That communication, this is another little item. 

00:43:27 Speaker 2 

The early planes that flew down north. 

00:43:32 Speaker 2 

If it was foggy or bad weather. 

00:43:35 Speaker 2 

At anytime of the day or night they can. 

00:43:38 Speaker 2 

Calling ahead of time and we put our transmitter signal on which they used as a homing device for coming in. 

00:43:46 Speaker 2 

Where does that expression down N come from? 

00:43:49 Speaker 2 

I mean, most people would say up north always. 

00:43:51 Speaker 2 

Ohh well well that simple so. 

00:43:54 Speaker 2 

If you if you go 4060 miles north of Edmonton. 

00:44:00 Speaker 2 

You reach a Ridge and everything runs N from there. 

00:44:04 Speaker 2 

It’s all down N Mackenzie River and everything runs into the Arctic, doesn’t it? 

00:44:08 Speaker 2 

Going to go down, so it’s down N yes, yes, as simple as that. 

00:44:09 Speaker 2 

So it’s. 

00:44:18 Speaker 2 

Or, you know the the. 

00:44:22 Speaker 2 

Nature helped the development of broadcasting in the West, I guess. 

00:44:27 Speaker 2 

When you consider the fantastic. 

00:44:30 Speaker 2 

Hardships caused by the droughts. 

00:44:32 Speaker 2 

Grasshoppers and every other imaginable handle played the depression itself. 

00:44:39 Speaker 2 

A radio, I guess got its biggest surge forward as being the constant companion and the most inexpensive form of. 

00:44:47 Speaker 2 

And the thing they turned to in the emergency I was in Regina, you mentioned the plague of hot grasshoppers. 

00:44:55 Speaker 2 

I was in Regina when they had. 

00:44:58 Speaker 2 

A terrible outbreak of the black leg. 

00:45:01 Speaker 2 

Is it the? 

00:45:01 Speaker 2 

Cattle. Yes, yes. 

00:45:03 Speaker 2 

And they send in experts from the Agriculture Department in Ottawa. 

00:45:12 Speaker 2 

We set up a province wide. 

00:45:13 Speaker 2 

Network code of Regina. 

00:45:16 Speaker 2 

And we did several broadcasts today from with these experts, telling them what to look for and how to to take care of them and everything else. 

00:45:27 Speaker 2 

It was under siege there for all of those two or three weeks. 

00:45:31 Speaker 2 

Radio was the thing they used. 

00:45:32 Speaker 2 

We had the problem. 

00:45:34 Speaker 2 

Every station in the province tied into a provincial network. 

00:45:39 Speaker 2 

I think that. 

00:45:39 Speaker 2 

Need for radio was greater in the West than. 

00:45:42 Speaker 2 

Oh, there’s no question the depression hit, you know, a great chunk of the of the world depression hit was tougher in the West than it was in the east. 

00:45:52 Speaker 2 

When the depression hit, of course. 

00:45:54 Speaker 2 

People couldn’t go anywhere and the only thing they had to take their minds off the wind and the dirt and the sand was the radio. 

00:46:05 Speaker 2 

So I agree, quite agree with you that the Western and and Canadian broadcasting history, an awful lot of it, was stimulated out West. 

00:46:20 Speaker 2 

In this reminiscing. 

00:46:24 Speaker 2 

Exercise norm. 

00:46:27 Speaker 2 

Tell me something about purse ganner. 

00:46:30 Speaker 2 

Or purse gainer. 

00:46:33 Speaker 2 

I didn’t know him for quite a while, but his beginnings were in Lethbridge. 

00:46:38 Speaker 2 

He, I think, was in the brokerage business and I, I suppose the crash of. 

00:46:44 Speaker 2 

29 took him down with it as well, but he was a great entertainer, great Storyteller, singer. 

00:46:51 Speaker 2 

Piano player played by ear. 

00:46:54 Speaker 2 

And he was very popular. 

00:46:58 Speaker 2 

Entertaining and so on, he gravitated to the radio station. 

00:47:03 Speaker 2 

For some, while was the manager of it. 

00:47:06 Speaker 2 

Performer and salesman and everything as you know, was. 

00:47:11 Speaker 2 

Was the thing, then did everything. 

00:47:16 Speaker 2 

And then he moved along through our organization. 

00:47:18 Speaker 2 

He was at Edmonton, at CJC, a manager. 


For a while. 

00:47:23 Speaker 2 

And then in Winnipeg and then he moved into the representative side with all Canada. 

00:47:29 Speaker 2 

And oh, he was a colorful fellow. 

00:47:32 Speaker 2 

Great storyteller. 

00:47:33 Speaker 2 

Oh, wonderful storyteller. 

00:47:36 Speaker 2 

It was in program sales too, I think. 

00:47:39 Speaker 2 

That’s right. 

00:47:40 Speaker 2 

I beg your pardon? 

00:47:40 Speaker 2 

I said to all candidate it was in the transcription side. 

00:47:44 Speaker 2 

Yeah, that’s right. 

00:47:46 Speaker 2 

And he was a good salesman for that too, because he he he knew programming and artistry and so on, and he could take a a show that he thought was really tough and he could sell it to Eskimos. 

00:48:15 Speaker 2 

Transcriptions as we call them in those days. 

00:48:19 Speaker 2 

Transcribed or recorded half hour programs. 

00:48:24 Speaker 2 

You remember, of course, the shadow. 

00:48:28 Speaker 2 

And I won’t mention the. 

00:48:30 Speaker 2 

Community because it would be like giveaway perhaps. 

00:48:36 Speaker 2 

Not many people would know it, however. 

00:48:40 Speaker 2 

I had been endeavoring for some time to get a local merchant to come in to listen. 

00:48:47 Speaker 2 

To the shadow audition because I thought it was just right for him. 

00:48:53 Speaker 2 

Finally persuaded this land to come in, and we’re sitting in the darkened studio for atmosphere. 

00:49:02 Speaker 2 

And listening to the story of Lamont Cranston and Margo. 

00:49:09 Speaker 2 

Whose car broke down? 

00:49:10 Speaker 2 

Of course, on a lonely, desolate Rd. 

00:49:15 Speaker 2 

Raining windy. 

00:49:22 Speaker 2 

No help. 

00:49:23 Speaker 2 

So they set off down the road. 

00:49:26 Speaker 2 

Until they finally come on an old huge mansion surrounded by its stone. 

00:49:34 Speaker 2 

Wrought iron gates. 

00:49:36 Speaker 1 

Great sweeping driveway. 

00:49:40 Speaker 2 

And with some trepidation, they go up this driveway to the door and they pull the old door knocker, which echo was holding inside the building. 

00:49:50 Speaker 2 

Ultimately, the door creeps open. 

00:49:53 Speaker 2 

And Margo goes. 

00:49:57 Speaker 2 

Cranston and said our car broke down and he said, I figure it was for bothering you. 

00:50:02 Speaker 2 

But he said I wondered if you had a telephone we might use. 

00:50:07 Speaker 2 

And then. 

00:50:09 Speaker 2 

It’s a poker voice at something like one moment, Sir. 

00:50:13 Speaker 2 

And he closes the door. 

00:50:20 Speaker 2 

Horrible man in the moon. 

00:50:22 Speaker 2 

Did you see him? 


With this. 

00:50:23 Speaker 2 

He only has one ear. 

00:50:26 Speaker 2 

That’s what my client. 

00:50:31 Speaker 2 

I nearly died 1000 deaths right there on the spot. But he was so wrapped up in the story, he went right over his head. 

00:50:39 Speaker 2 

And he bought the program. 

00:50:39 Speaker 1 


00:50:42 Speaker 2 

Who knows? 

00:50:46 Speaker 2 

What’s in the hearts? 

00:50:49 Speaker 2 

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? 

00:50:53 Speaker 2 

They should want to do. 

00:50:55 Speaker 2 

The shadow. 

00:50:58 Speaker 2 

The transcription was a great lift. 

00:51:03 Speaker 2 

To Western broadcasting. 

00:51:07 Speaker 2 

And Harold Carson. 

00:51:09 Speaker 2 

Could take full credit for introducing it. 

00:51:13 Speaker 2 

To Western Canada. 

00:51:16 Speaker 2 

When he went into the representative business opened in Toronto. 

00:51:23 Speaker 2 

He discovered that it was difficult to sell Western Canadian stations to the advertising advertising agencies. 

00:51:32 Speaker 2 

In the east, because our schedules. 

00:51:37 Speaker 2 

Contained nothing or very little. 

00:51:40 Speaker 2 

That they could recognize you got all of these programs coming in from the states, which were top listening in Toronto. 

00:51:51 Speaker 2 

And we don’t have any out of there. 

00:51:53 Speaker 2 

So nobody listens to the radio in Western Canada and to Canadian station. 

00:51:59 Speaker 2 

So I can recall I was here in Calgary at the time the Herald came back and he said, well, there’s only one answer. 

00:52:04 Speaker 2 

We’ve got to get those shows. 

00:52:08 Speaker 2 

And he went down to San Francisco, which at that time was the heart of the. 

00:52:13 Speaker 2 

Of radio originations subsequently moved, I suppose to Hollywood, but at that time San Francisco was the hub of the thing. 



00:52:21 Speaker 2 

Was that where it’s CP McGregor was or that’s where CP McGregor was? 

00:52:26 Speaker 2 

McGregor and Sally is known then. 

00:52:29 Speaker 2 

And he made a deal with them to bring these transcriptions into Canada. 

00:52:33 Speaker 2 

And we put them on our stations and sold them. 

00:52:37 Speaker 2 

To other stations and other market. 

00:52:41 Speaker 2 

And that’s when we began to sell national advertising in the West to the eastern agencies, because we had programming that they recognized under state very. 

00:52:51 Speaker 2 

That was the breakthrough and it was Harold who. 

00:52:55 Speaker 2 

Who put his finger on the on the difficulty and then found the solution. 

00:53:00 Speaker 2 

Incidentally, CP MacGregor. 

00:53:03 Speaker 2 

Who was big in the business then? 

00:53:06 Speaker 2 

He was a native here, native of Red Deers. 

00:53:09 Speaker 2 

Matter of fact, his brother was an engineer on the CPR railroad, went very well for him. 

00:53:16 Speaker 2 

They were both brought up. 

00:53:17 Speaker 2 

In Calgary here. 

00:53:20 Speaker 2 

Was that Solly? 

00:53:23 Speaker 2 

Was the first name. 

00:53:23 Speaker 2 

Do you recall Cecil? 

00:53:25 Speaker 2 

I don’t know. 

00:53:27 Speaker 2 

I don’t remember ever meeting a man. 

00:53:29 Speaker 2 

It was Gregor and Sally for a long time. 


The good. 

00:53:31 Speaker 2 

And then I think just McGregor. 

00:53:34 Speaker 2 

Because years later at CKWX. 

00:53:39 Speaker 2 

A man named Cecil Foley turned up as a gardening expert. 

00:53:43 Speaker 2 

Well, I couldn’t. 

00:53:44 Speaker 2 

Did five quarter hours every night selling his seeds. 

00:53:48 Speaker 2 

Well, I I can’t help you at all. 

00:53:50 Speaker 2 

I don’t remember. 

00:53:51 Speaker 2 

I just remember the name McGregor and Charley. 

00:53:54 Speaker 2 

And I and I met, went down to San Francisco and visited with the. 

00:54:00 Speaker 2 

With McGregor, but I don’t remember ever meeting Charlie. 

00:54:05 Speaker 2 

I don’t know. 

00:54:06 Speaker 2 

But quite frankly, this the transcriptions where the opening up of national revenue for Western stations well, then all of Canada went on to achieve the status of owning the world’s or I guess owning may not be having access to are having exclusive rights to. 

00:54:26 Speaker 2 

The largest transcribed library in the world, the library. 

00:54:30 Speaker 2 

You know, with the largest collective largest selection. 

00:54:34 Speaker 2 

And that was the year or two of the transcribed services. 

00:54:38 Speaker 2 

Music services. 

00:54:39 Speaker 2 

Yes, World Service and the NBC service thesaurus thesaurus. 

00:54:46 Speaker 2 

Standard standard Biocryst langworth. 

00:54:49 Speaker 2 

Yeah, those were all that was a great phase in the development of broadcast. 

00:54:55 Speaker 2 

Particularly in the West, again for the reason that we didn’t have any other. 

00:55:00 Speaker 2 

Connections and sources until. 

00:55:03 Speaker 2 

Finally, when was it to 30? 

00:55:08 Speaker 2 

Sometime when we allowed the US networks to come through the Canadian network, yeah, that was both the founding of the Dominion Network. 

00:55:17 Speaker 2 

Well, I want to be there. 

00:55:23 Speaker 2 

We had one network and then we had two. 

00:55:26 Speaker 2 

The second network carried mostly American. 

00:55:30 Speaker 2 

Well, of course, the CBC had already taken on the soap operas and an awful lot of the big shows, Charlie McCarthy and all of those came through on. 

00:55:40 Speaker 2 

The original CBC and then the Dominion was the secondary 1. 

00:55:45 Speaker 2 

We haven’t talked about the man who spark plugged his whole organization in the beginning. 

00:55:50 Speaker 2 

In any depth, Norman. 

00:55:53 Speaker 1 

Harold Carson. 

00:55:56 Speaker 2 

Well, he certainly. 

00:55:59 Speaker 2 

Was the spark plug. 

00:56:02 Speaker 2 

I knew that he, you know, very casually. 

00:56:04 Speaker 2 

And so everything that I know about Harold is hearsay now. 

00:56:10 Speaker 2 

But he emerges as a veritable giant. 

00:56:14 Speaker 2 

Well, as as I mentioned, Harold solved the the problem by the introduction of transcriptions. 

00:56:21 Speaker 2 

Just as he was the one in the automotive field who said there’s only one way we can move the the the sets and the and the batteries and the tubes right by getting the stations on the air in the daytime. 

00:56:34 Speaker 2 

And I think they’re they’re in lies. The key to Herald’s success, he was able to analyze the situation and come up with a solution and then find people who could carry it out. Well, I think perhaps you may even have. Yes, I guess maybe that’s the natural sequence. 

00:56:57 Speaker 2 

But it was the people without whom Harold couldn’t have done these things he had to. 

00:57:03 Speaker 2 

Happy faculty of he had a genius about. 

00:57:05 Speaker 2 

Picking the right picking to. 

00:57:08 Speaker 2 

People and hang them. 

00:57:11 Speaker 2 

Because, you know, I’m looking at one of them right now. 

00:57:14 Speaker 2 

Well, a guy who? 

00:57:17 Speaker 2 

From beginnings with the green wire, yes. 

00:57:23 Speaker 2 

Proved all of the confidence that Harold Carson placed in his managers. 

00:57:30 Speaker 2 

And with very few exceptions, they stayed with them right through until either they retired or dropped off the van or are still. 

00:57:37 Speaker 2 

Or moved on to better things. 

00:57:38 Speaker 2 

Harold was not one to stand in anybody’s way. If they had the opportunity, right, he he wouldn’t stand anybody’s way. But as you say, an awful lot of them maybe had opportunities that they didn’t take. 

00:57:51 Speaker 2 

Because they were. 

00:57:54 Speaker 2 

But to to be loyal, you have to be happy. 

00:57:58 Speaker 2 

Well, some of those people and I recall. 

00:58:01 Speaker 2 

One night at a CAB convention in Quebec City, I think. 

00:58:06 Speaker 2 

Carol Carson. 

00:58:08 Speaker 2 

And throned, you can’t say that Harold Carson sat anywhere. 

00:58:12 Speaker 2 

He he was enthroned in the chair. 

00:58:15 Speaker 2 

In a corner. 

00:58:18 Speaker 2 

Sort of nodding a bit. 

00:58:25 Speaker 2 

Norris, Mackenzie and I. 

00:58:28 Speaker 2 

Wandered over and started chatting with them for long. 

00:58:33 Speaker 2 

And we were joined shortly after that by Spence Caldwell. 

00:58:40 Speaker 2 

And Harold, seeing the three of us there, opened his. 

00:58:43 Speaker 2 

Somewhat sleepy looking eyes at that moment and said. 

00:58:47 Speaker 2 

I trained every one of you ********. 

00:58:49 Speaker 2 

They all deserted me because all three of us had in fact not deserted them, but gone on to other things. 

00:59:03 Speaker 2 

Some of the people who became more preeminent in broadcasting in this country went through the mill. 

00:59:08 Speaker 2 

They did of the tailor person. 

00:59:11 Speaker 2 

And Carson. 

00:59:17 Speaker 2 

Norris Mackenzie worked with Spence Caldwell and Norris went into business himself. 

00:59:26 Speaker 2 

Oh, we’ve only just mentioned Spence. 

00:59:27 Speaker 2 

There’s another one that I hope to be talking to Spence very shortly. 

00:59:31 Speaker 2 

Spence has a basement full of memorabilia. 

00:59:35 Speaker 2 

Yes, he has. 

00:59:36 Speaker 2 

And he. 

00:59:37 Speaker 2 

He covers a wide range because he came out of the Marconi. 

00:59:40 Speaker 2 

Company. Yes, yes. 

00:59:41 Speaker 2 

And that gave him the connection with the Taylor Pearson Group because they were their distributors. 

00:59:47 Speaker 2 

You see in Alberta. 

00:59:49 Speaker 2 

And there was a close relationship there, long before expense moved over into into our business. 

00:59:57 Speaker 2 

And he was a great. 

01:00:00 Speaker 2 

Confidant of Harold close together to. 

01:00:05 Speaker 2 

And I’m sure that well, they. 

01:00:07 Speaker 2 

Somewhere Barrow rubbed off on fence, too, to say they. 



01:00:12 Speaker 2 

And Spencer either learned a great deal from Harold. 

01:00:17 Speaker 2 

Or they were by nature cut from. 

01:00:21 Speaker 1 

Some write some. 


Almost the same path. 

01:00:22 Speaker 2 

Of their pride. 

01:00:23 Speaker 2 

And they were without entrepreneurs, they were indeed. 

01:00:30 Speaker 2 

Made it. 

01:00:34 Speaker 2 

Nor I’m having reached the age of. 

01:00:39 Speaker 2 

Being able to look back on a. 

01:00:43 Speaker 2 

Lengthy and rewarding and productive career in broadcasting. 

01:00:51 Speaker 2 

You must have moments of. 

01:00:55 Speaker 2 

Philosophical introspection. 

01:00:58 Speaker 2 

If that’s not true. 

01:01:01 Speaker 2 

Lofty description of wondering how things might have been under different circumstances. 

01:01:09 Speaker 2 

In an earlier conversation, I recall having had with you. 

01:01:14 Speaker 2 

I think you expressed the opinion that. 

01:01:19 Speaker 2 

Well, the CBC has been a constant but. 

01:01:26 Speaker 2 

For criticism by the private broadcasters or by many of them. 

01:01:32 Speaker 2 

And by newspaper columnists, and often by the public. 

01:01:38 Speaker 2 

With the CBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and its own. 

01:01:44 Speaker 2 

Special function. 

01:01:47 Speaker 2 

Has probably been. 

01:01:51 Speaker 2 

Many kinds of many represented many kinds of good things for broadcasting in this country. 

01:01:58 Speaker 2 

Or there’s no question about ****, ****. 

01:02:03 Speaker 2 

Broadcasting grew like Topsy and all and just happened. 

01:02:08 Speaker 2 

And we were talking about what Harold and Carson and others have done in those earlier years to make it more dynamic and so on. 

01:02:17 Speaker 2 

Then the CRBC came in, which subsequently became the CBC. 

01:02:22 Speaker 2 

And the creation of continually running networks. 

01:02:29 Speaker 2 

We were affiliates. 

01:02:31 Speaker 2 

I was at stations of ours that were affiliates of the CBC for many, many years. 

01:02:37 Speaker 2 

And I took part in the originations for the CBC. 

01:02:42 Speaker 2 

Had a lot to do with them and they did some remarkable things in. 

01:02:45 Speaker 2 

The earlier days. 

01:02:47 Speaker 2 

Things that only a network could do. 

01:02:51 Speaker 2 

Only publicly a public, publicly supported and subsidized could. 

01:02:57 Speaker 2 

Do in Canada. 

01:02:59 Speaker 2 

So there’s no question that they they contributed a great deal, I suppose. 

01:03:04 Speaker 2 

The private broadcaster, if it’s what you want to call them, came first and the government system came. 

01:03:14 Speaker 2 

And then there’s now. 

01:03:17 Speaker 2 

Both are still living hey. 

Part 2


00:00:03 Speaker 1 

We’d never have had any private stations and. 

00:00:07 Speaker 1 

Only Britain is just getting around now to allowing the private stations to come in very true. 

00:00:13 Speaker 1 

So maybe what happened in Canada was far more logical. 

00:00:17 Speaker 1 

To have come up with the independence, if you will, and then the creation of the government network subsidized network. 

00:00:27 Speaker 1 

And I suppose. 

00:00:30 Speaker 1 

You could reverse that. 

00:00:32 Speaker 1 

When you think of the development of television. 

00:00:39 Speaker 1 

CBBC was the 1st to get into television in Canada. 

00:00:45 Speaker 1 

A few stations of a network, just major markets around us there and then the independents, the independent operators, the private sector. 

00:00:54 Speaker 1 

Moved in to fill in the smaller holes. 

00:00:58 Speaker 1 

And now we have two full blown networks one. 

00:01:03 Speaker 1 

Government and one private that are doing a pretty fabulous job. 

00:01:13 Speaker 1 

Things seem to workout without any great design. 

00:01:17 Speaker 1 

Is that fair? 

00:01:19 Speaker 1 

Yeah, I think. 

00:01:22 Speaker 1 

And Aaron, in what you’ve said is an opinion and one that I share. 

00:01:28 Speaker 1 

The the mix of private and publicly owned broadcasting in this country has probably been. 

00:01:36 Speaker 1 

A good thing? 

00:01:37 Speaker 1 

I agree with that. 

00:01:46 Speaker 1 

As you say, it has taken BBC a long time. 

00:01:50 Speaker 1 

To allow private entrepreneurs into broadcasting. 

00:01:55 Speaker 1 

The United States. 

00:01:57 Speaker 1 

Is now if you like. 

00:02:01 Speaker 1 

Has a the the industry in the United States has a. 

00:02:06 Speaker 1 

11 thing and a stimulant being provided by the public broadcasting system. 

00:02:14 Speaker 1 

Which is turning out. 

00:02:17 Speaker 1 

A lot of very good programming. 

00:02:20 Speaker 1 

Which I’m sure we’ll have and is having certainly will have in the fullness of time, a benign effect on the commercial networks. 

00:02:30 Speaker 1 

And maybe it’s. 

00:02:32 Speaker 1 

Does loyalty to the fact that I, like myself, grew up in this? 

00:02:36 Speaker 1 

Business in Canada. 

00:02:40 Speaker 1 

But I think the radio in Canada. 

00:02:43 Speaker 1 

Has been. 

00:02:45 Speaker 1 

It is today at any rate. 

00:02:47 Speaker 1 

A better thing at large than radio in the United States. 

00:02:52 Speaker 1 

We haven’t had access to the the big names and the entertainment business provided by Hollywood and New York until. 

00:03:01 Speaker 1 

Comparatively recent times, but Toronto is moving and becoming one of. 

00:03:06 Speaker 1 

The major production centers in North America now. 

00:03:11 Speaker 1 

But as far as the quality of. 

00:03:14 Speaker 1 

Good broadcasting. 

00:03:19 Speaker 1 

Preserving the integrity. 

00:03:20 Speaker 1 

Of the. 

00:03:22 Speaker 1 

English and French languages. 

00:03:25 Speaker 1 

Has been infinitely greater in Canada than it has in the United States. 

00:03:33 Speaker 1 

I think radio is better in Canada than it is in the states. 

00:03:38 Speaker 1 

And that may be partly a result of having had the. 

00:03:42 Speaker 1 

The kind of mix we’ve had of public and private ownership, I think that’s the first step. 

00:03:47 Speaker 1 

Very much so, yeah. 

00:03:50 Speaker 1 

I think it’s fair to say that in those earlier days of the CBC network and in the early days of television, CBC, Television. 

00:03:58 Speaker 1 

They made a tremendous contribution, tremendous contribution. 

00:04:06 Speaker 1 

That couldn’t have been made. 

00:04:10 Speaker 1 

On an independent basis. 

00:04:13 Speaker 1 

So there’s much to be said on both sides. 

00:04:17 Speaker 1 

Norm, this story of the people. 

00:04:20 Speaker 1 

Who have? 

00:04:23 Speaker 1 

Have made the Celgar organization. 

00:04:26 Speaker 1 

One of the most. 

00:04:28 Speaker 1 

One of the largest. 

00:04:32 Speaker 1 

Broadcast organizations in Canada today. 

00:04:37 Speaker 1 

Is a never ending story. 

00:04:40 Speaker 1 

There are a lot of young people coming up in the industry today. 

00:04:48 Speaker 1 

One generation tends to look at as not being as good as or. 

00:04:54 Speaker 1 

Different than or often a different tack than the previous generation was. 

00:05:01 Speaker 1 

But out of the the young people of today, of course, come the good broadcasters of tomorrow. 

00:05:10 Speaker 1 

And this is an endless story. 

00:05:12 Speaker 1 

I won’t ask you to. 

00:05:14 Speaker 1 

Put a full stop for the end of this discussion just today. 

00:05:17 Speaker 1 

A temporary interruption for a few years, and hopefully we’ll look at it again. 

00:05:22 Speaker 1 


00:05:23 Speaker 1 

Thank you very much. 

00:05:24 Speaker 1 

Rather interesting to, you know, when a couple of old broadcasters get together, they sort of. 

00:05:33 Speaker 1 

Recall things that one might forget that prompts a memory here and there, and it’s kind of good to sit around and talk about them once in a while. 

00:05:42 Speaker 1 

And it’s more than pleasant to be able to sit around and. 

00:05:46 Speaker 1 

With someone and talk about. 

00:05:49 Speaker 1 

The old friends and the key people and the likes of. 

00:05:55 Speaker 1 

Made to put such a spice of. 

00:05:59 Speaker 1 

Living into the. 

00:06:00 Speaker 1 

Early days of broadcasting in Canada. 

00:06:02 Speaker 1 

I don’t think they’ll ever be experienced again. 

00:06:06 Speaker 1 

And I don’t suppose that. 

00:06:08 Speaker 1 

Today’s young people, I know I’ve told stories of circumstances and broadcasting. As for instance, I worked for $5 a week, 11 winter in Edmonton. 

00:06:19 Speaker 1 

And I told her to a bunch of our young people. 

00:06:22 Speaker 1 

Well, they just simply didn’t believe me that that couldn’t, that couldn’t happen. 


Of course. 

00:06:26 Speaker 1 

And so we, we’re talking about an era that will never be repeated. 

00:06:31 Speaker 1 

And it’s only when you get a couple of old dogs like us around, we can talk about it and appreciate it because we both went through it before you brand as old dogs anymore. 

00:06:41 Speaker 1 

I’m going to say thanks. 

00:06:42 Speaker 1 

Norman and goodnight. 



00:06:46 Speaker 1 

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