CKWR Gets To Live And A Better Plan For Christmas Music

We had to pick a new morning radio station today. Our usual stop, CKWR, has made the flip to all Christmas for its daily hosted music blocks and automation as of December 1st. The specialty shows are free to do their own thing, but that doesn’t do us much good when it’s six A.M. and we need something listenable to get us going. We went with the Kitchener version of CBC Radio One or “the useful CBC” as we like to call it, in case you’re interested. We call it that because it’s filled with news and information with a bit of music thrown in, as opposed to Radio Two which is also enjoyable but basically the opposite.

As for CKWR, we’ll see them in January, I guess. And yes, we will get to see them in January. Their broadcasting license has been spared, for now. They’re good until August 31st, 2020. I hope they can keep their shit together, because it would be a shame to lose one of the few independent media voices we have left, even if they’re overdoing it with the damn Christmas music.

At least unlike some folks they had the decency to wait until December began. It’s still way too much, but starting up in November or even late October like some stations do is far worse. I know it’s done because it’s supposedly good for ratings, but I’ll never be convinced that the bump isn’t attributable to people being held hostage by offices and retail stores. Even if you like Christmas music, do you like it that much? I like beer and cotton candy, but that doesn’t mean I want nothing but those two things for breakfast, lunch, dinner and at all points in between for 60 to 90 consecutive days.

I’m not one of those people who hates any and all Christmas music. In fact, a couple days a year I’m good with it and will even seek it out. But once we get beyond that point I range anywhere from a little testy to ready and willing to strangle someone with a wreath. For me, Christmas on the radio is done best when you start sprinkling it into the rotation at the start of December but hold off on going all Christmas until Christmas Eve. You can keep it up on Christmas Day obviously and I’ll even give you Boxing Day because it might as well be Christmas. But after that, it’s time to start slowing it down again and phasing it out entirely by January 2nd. That’s much more reasonable than literally driving people mental with it in the name of a few extra dollars.

Radio Waterloo, A Documentary About The Creation Of Community Radio Here And In Canada

I haven’t had a chance to watch this yet, but since I’ve seen it recommended in a couple of places that are generally pretty good about recommending these sorts of things and because let’s be honest, odds are it was going up anyway, enjoy this documentary on the history and struggles of community radio in Waterloo Region.

Radio Waterloo is the story about the advent of community radio in Canada as told by the people who struggled to create it. The story follows Radio Waterloo (later known as CKMS) and CKWR through the development stages in the 1960’s, until now, 2017. You will hear from DJs from the early days of Radio Waterloo provide details about how Radio Waterloo was established, others provide insights from the University of Waterloo referendum which left CKMS without funding, and then current DJs share how these events have led to the current format and state of the station. Join us as we re-live the painful dedication of local DJs who fought to keep the community voice heard on FM radio.

This documentary also includes performances by local indie and established bands who have been featured on CKMS, and proudly boasts an original soundtrack created by Canadian musicians specifically for this project. Some of the collaborators include:

Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat, The Mounties), Brad Merritt (54-40), Ian Somers (Limblifter), Brad Weber (Caribou, Pick a Piper), and many more.

I’ve only ever listened to CKMS a handful of times because it’s damn near impossible to pull in anywhere I’ve ever lived so has unfortunately mostly been off my radar, but CKWR, with its significantly better reach, is a station I’ve listened to somewhat regularly since I was a kid thanks to the wide variety of programming it offers. Hopefully they’ll both be around for many years to come, even though the struggles continue. Real, honest to god local radio has always been important, but in this era of everything being consolidated, homogenized and voice-tracked to hell, we can’t afford to have our already limited choices limited even more.

Happy Belated Birthday, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation


I’m not quite 100 percent sure that this was the very first thing ever aired on CBC radio, but if not, it’s close. It’s Chairman Leonard Brockington’s welcome message to listeners from November 4th, 1936, two days after the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation replaced what had been known as the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission, which had existed since 1932.

To mark the occasion, the CBC Archives has put together a collection of photos, audio and info about some of the early programming. The royals and the dance lessons are neat little pieces of history, but I was most interested in the bit about the war and the news service. Not because I’m a war buff, but because I’ll never not be impressed by the ability of journalists and engineers to send timely reports from war zones using 1930s and 40s technology.

September 1939 brought the start of the Second World War, and with that, the news programming of the CBC expanded considerably.

An overseas program unit accompanied the first troops overseas in December 1939, and on Jan. 1, 1941, the CBC News Service was established. 
An article in the program schedule for January 1942 justified the dedication of 20 per cent of broadcasting hours to news, due to “the most tremendous drama in the world’s history” unfolding “in the daily chronicling of the news.”

Matthew Halton was one of the overseas correspondents who brought the news of the war to Canadians at home.

His description of the Allied battle for Carpiquet, in July 1944 is characteristic of his style, with vivid descriptions of his surroundings as well as of the attack.  
“This is the morning we waited for,” Halton told Canadian listeners back home. “A morning in France, a morning in which the fair fields in Normandy are torn and ripped and split apart.”

It is also an illustration of the many recording feats of the engineers who were part of the overseas unit. 
The 1944 edition of the CBC staff magazine called Radio has a description by recording engineer Alex McDonald of the recording he made with Halton.

In the magazine, McDonald — shown in the photo above — recounts choosing a stone hen coop as an observation post, and the sound of chickens and ducks that squawked at their intrusion. He ran wires out to the battery of the jeep, his source of power. He recorded the barrage of Canadian guns, and that recording was quickly short-waved to Canada and played over CBC News Roundup.

So happy birthday, CBC. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Whether you use it daily or curse it every time you think about your tax dollars going to pay for stupid gardening shows and special interest propaganda, every one of us is better off in some way because of it. No other outlet in Canada has done more to keep us in touch with our country and our world than the CBC has, and at a time when so many things around us are changing faster than ever, a healthy CBC is as important now as it may have ever been.

Bob Cole Is Leaving Hockey Night In Canada Because Television Executives Kind Of Suck

Bob Cole is 85-years old and has been calling hockey games in one place or another for 50 years. He is, for a lot of us, the voice of hockey. The one we grew up with. the one who has always been there. The one with whom we’ve spent more nights than we can possibly count.

Sadly, this year his run comes to an end.

Bob Cole will return to the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast booth for a 50th and final season.
Sportsnet says Cole, 85, is scheduled to call 10 games, starting with the Montreal-Pittsburgh matchup Saturday, Oct. 6. The network says the games will all be in the first half of the 2018-19 season.

“There are so few broadcasters and voices in sport that transcend the way Bob’s has over the last half a century and we are honoured to have him call this last season for Sportsnet on Hockey Night in Canada,” said Scott Moore, president, Sportsnet & NHL Properties, in a release. “Bob is a true professional in this industry and he will pour his heart and soul into these games, focusing on doing the job that he loves and delivering the call to our hockey audiences from coast-to-coast.”

Those are some nice words, but boy oh boy do they ever come off as completely insincere.

First of all, only ten games? You’re not even giving the guy a full season? And they’re all in the first half? A legend like this, assuming he wants to, should be able to go out calling as many games as he’d like up to and including one last Stanley Cup final.

But the main reason that statement rings so hollow is that it comes from the same people who have been trying to drive the guy off for years.

For the first time in almost five decades, the legendary play-by-play announcer won’t be calling any playoff games.

It’s a decision that caught Cole by surprise. And it’s a decision that he still doesn’t quite understand, considering he’s been this country’s broadcaster since 1972.
“I’ve been doing playoffs every year of my life in broadcasting. This is the first time that I’m not involved,” said Cole. “It’s difficult to live with the fact that I’m not working. I surely will miss not working the playoffs. That’s the best way I can say it.”

During what might be his last broadcast — a 4-2 Bruins win against the Senators on April 7 — Cole described a Noel Acciari breakaway goal as a “free break for a cherry.” As the final buzzer sounded, he signed off on Ottawa’s season by saying “and then the roof kind of caved in.”
It was an appropriate line for what then happened to Cole.
A day later, while watching the Masters on TV at his home in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Cole received a call from his bosses. At first, he assumed he was getting his marching orders for the playoffs. Instead, he was told he was being grounded.
“The decision sure wasn’t mutual,” said Cole. “It was right out of the blue. Rogers decided to go with other (broadcast) teams and I have to live with that. But it was their decision — not mine.”

Though Rogers did not indicate why Cole isn’t part of the plan this year, the decision isn’t that surprising. After all, Cole’s workload has been cut back more and more over the years.
In 2009, he didn’t call the Stanley Cup final for the first time since 1983.
“It’s time for a new generation of play-by-play voice,” Moore said at the time.
And a year ago, he only worked the first two rounds of the playoffs.
“It was the first year I didn’t get to the conference final,” said Cole. “I called the seventh game between Washington and Pittsburgh and was told, ‘That’s it.’ They didn’t need me after that.
“They cut me back quite a bit this year, so I just lived with it and kept going,” said Cole. “But I was never told that once that playoffs start, I wouldn’t be working. I’m not going to be part of it all. That’s kind of tough, but you have to live with it.”
Cole isn’t sure whether he will be back in the booth next season.
“You never know with the way things are going,” he said.
But he also isn’t sure he’s ready to retire. After all, the voice still feels and sounds as good as ever. Plus, he still loves calling the games, whether it’s at the rink or at home in front of his television.
“I’ve been pretty lucky over the years that my voice has continued to serve me,” he said. “I hope that it has served the viewing audience OK. I just love my job. Once someone tells you that you’re not going to be involved in the playoffs, you have to respect that decision. There’s not much you can do about that.
“But I kind of miss it, for sure.”

Maybe something has changed for him in the last five months, I don’t know. When you’re 85, sometimes planning too far ahead is an iffy proposition. But those don’t read like the words of somebody who feels like working ten mostly meaningless games and then being quietly stuffed into the dustbin of history, of that I am sure.

But since that’s what Rogers is intent on doing with him, all the rest of us can do is enjoy him while we can. Hopefully getting him on a few Leafs games before he’s out the door for good isn’t too much to ask.

Thanks for the memories, Bob. The goofs you work for may not appreciate you, but the rest of us certainly do.

One More Person Who Isn’t Happy When John Cena’s Music Plays


I’m not sure how common these sorts of prank calls still are on American radio, but here in Canada, at least anywhere I’ve had a chance to listen, they pretty much don’t exist anymore. I don’t know if it’s some sort of legal thing or down simply to the fact that most radio is uninspired and lacking any real personality now, but I can’t remember the last time I heard something like Jesse and Gene’s Wreck a Wedding Wednesday as I flip stations in search of something interesting to listen to.

Thanks to Z104 for the reminder that radio can still be kind of fun sometimes. I enjoyed this.

I Have Loose Lips, Doo Doo Doo Doo…

Ever since Dave left CJOY, we haven’t had the desire to listen to it in the mornings anymore. I’m sure the guy who replaced him is trying his level best, but he’s just not Dave and it shows. So, we started listening to CKWR, and it’s kind of fun because they have so much more freedom. I have heard some really wacky stuff in the mornings, some of which I’ve never heard before, and it gets the day started nicely.

Among the songs I’ve never heard before is this one by Alfie Zappacosta called “Start Again”. We have previously had the poor bus stranger, now we have the poor long-time friend.

Here, have some lyrics.

I don’t believe it, how have you been it’s been a long time
Nice to see you again
What you been up to, you look well to me
Come down to my place
I’ll pull out some cheer and we’ll talk again. it’s nice to talk again
My brother, he was doing o.k. he worked in plastics
Made a good wage
Too much pressure to be faced everyday and so his problems
Got carried away
And he gets to the booze once too often
Don’t know why he wants to get so high.
He stays up, while things go down
In good time he’ll come around
Easy come and easy go
Do, do, do, do, do,
I can’t seem to stop him he just starts again
He just starts again
Did i tell you, bout the love of my life
You know she left me, it cut like a knife
Another story, so you can see
Though we’re apart now, she’s still dear to me
Can there still be respect for one another
And can we still sleep together once in a while
We stay up, while things go down
In good time we’ll come around
Easy come and easy go
Do, do, do, do, do,
It seems when we’re broken
We just start again
We just start again
It’s nice to talk again
As we start again

Wow! Can you imagine getting that onslaught? “Hey! Nice to see ya! You look good. Let’s go have a drink! Oh by the way, speaking of drinks, my brother drinks too much and he’s cracking under the pressure, but everything will work out somehow. Oh, and my wife left me. But I still want to sleep with her. La la la la la. So nice to catch up!”

I wonder if this poor long-lost acquaintance wrote an answer song. Hopefully their life hasn’t been nearly so turbulent.

I, For One, Cannot Wait To Get The Day Started! Oh, And Where In The World Is Dave Hannah?

I don’t know what’s going on down at CKWR this morning, but it sounds like somebody might not have had the best weekend. In the span of an hour or so, I heard both this

and this.

Don’t you just want to jump right out of bed and take on the world?

And while we’re talking about radio, what in the heck happened with Dave Hannah on CJOY? When he disappeared suddenly a few weeks ago, I didn’t think much of it. I thought maybe he was sick like everybody else around here. Carin and I haven’t been able to speak for more than a few minutes without coughing for like two weeks now, and when you’re doing radio that’s just not going to work. But then last week they aired this announcement, which they’ve also posted online.

1460 CJOY wants to thank Dave Hannah for his service to the community and for his many valuable years of being "that…

Posted by 1460 CJOY on Tuesday, March 6, 2018

1460 CJOY wants to thank Dave Hannah for his service to the community and for his many valuable years of being “that voice” you’ve been used to hearing on radio first thing in the morning. Unfortunately Dave is no longer the CJOY morning man or a member of the Corus/Guelph team. We want to wish Dave the very best in the future.

And then…nothing. No local news coverage, nothing so far in any of the various radio industry news places, not even any rumours. I know broadcasting can be a pretty garbage business about letting people say goodbye, but there’s been a trend, especially with long-serving employees, of giving them a sendoff. CJOY and the papers gave Neill Clemens one just last year. But now it’s this year, and Dave has simply disappeared. Hopefully everyone is ok and nobody’s in any trouble.

There He Goes!

Update:
On the Jeff Blair show earlier this week, they spent two hours with Jerry, talking about his career and retirement. There are guests, there are phone calls, there are memories, there are emotions. You can listen to it here.

Original Post:
I heard my first bit of Blue Jays baseball on the radio sometime in 1985. Don’t ask me what date it was or who was playing. I have no idea. All I know is that I found it the same way I seem to find most things, just by messing around. Oh, and that once I found it, I kept listening. I can think of three reasons for that.

  • The Jays were really good then.
  • Tom Cheek.
  • Jerry Howarth.

Tom has sadly been gone for 13 years (Has it really been that long?), and today comes word that after 36 seasons, Jerry is calling it a game.

I’ll be honest. For a while now I’ve been wondering how long he might keep going. In the past couple years he had missed a fair bit of time due to voice trouble, there was the cancer scare, and there was something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. He just didn’t seem like himself, making more and more uncharacteristic mistakes. It was to the point where Carin, who cares not much for baseball, asked me if he was ok.

But even a somewhat diminished Jerry Howarth was still one of the best in the game, and I’m sad to see him go. I don’t remember a time before him, and though I’m sure that Rogers will find a more than capable replacement (give the job to Mike Wilner assuming he wants it, guys), the future without him isn’t going to sound quite right for a very long time, if it ever does.

“I had every intention of continuing my career into the 2018 season but my health and stamina and continuing voice issues dictated otherwise,” said Howarth. “Who knew that I would spend more than half my life in Toronto with my wife, Mary, and our two sons, Ben and Joe, doing what I love to do most, reaching out to friends and fans alike across our great country to talk baseball?

“I am blessed and I am grateful. I thank everyone who has made this journey of mine so rewarding in every way.”

Quit Playing With Our Broadcasts, You Wanker


The owners of radio station Mansfield 103.2 and Ofcom (the British equivalent of the CRTC) are trying to figure out who keeps hijacking the station’s frequency to play the happy little tune above and how it’s being done.

The communications regulator is hunting a radio pirate who has repeatedly hijacked the airwaves of a local station with a deliberately offensive song about masturbation.
The Winker’s Song, a 1970s ditty by an artist going by the name Ivor Biggun, has been illegally forced on to the output of Mansfield 103.2 at least eight times in the last month.
Ofcom said it was taking the incident “extremely seriously” and its engineers were working closely with the radio station to trace and identify the pirate.

Listeners were last subjected to the song, which uses the word “wanker” 36 times, this weekend during a live family broadcast from Mansfield’s Party in the Market event.

This is, of course, pretty goddamn funny. But it’s also a crime punishable by unlimited fines and up to two years in prison, so I really hope the joke is worth it.

1240 CJCS Will Switch To 107.1 FM on August 3rd, Start Calling Itself Juice FM

Update:
For history and trivia’s sake, the last song played by CJCS as an AM only station was Thirsty Ears by the Powder Blues Band,

and the first on FM was Listen to the Music by the Doobie Brothers.

I haven’t gotten around to installing a decent recorder on this machine so I don’t have audio of the switch or the interview with Lloyd Robertson and Geoff Poulton (President of Vista Radio) that preceded it, but if someone else does and I find it I’ll be sure to tack it on here, make a separate post out of it or both. Come to think of it, if you have it, feel free to drop me a line. My finger slipped and I nearly wrote drop me a loin there. Please do not do that. Unless it’s pork. That would be nice of you.

Original post:
The approval was granted a couple of years ago, and now CJCS Stratford is finally set to become an FM station next month. They’re moving from 1240 AM to 107.1 FM starting August 3rd, although the 1240 signal will still be available for a few months while everyone adjusts.

107.1 is an interesting frequency choice. It shouldn’t be much of an issue for people in Stratford as long as they’re at home, but things could get interesting once they start driving around. Depending on where you go it may not take long for that signal to start getting stomped by Q107 in Toronto and possibly even 107.5 Dave FM from here in KW. I wonder if I’ll even be able to pull it in here at the house for that same reason. I hope I can, but I have my doubts. It would be nice to have another decent station to listen to, though.

Starting Aug. 3, listeners can tune in to 107.1 FM, which will run simultaneously with 1240 AM for about three months.
It will largely be the same station, said regional cluster manager Wendy Gray, with the same music, team and community focus.
“I want to be clear, we’re not changing very much,” said Gray. “We are not changing the format to a rock format. It’s going to stay the same music that they hear today on CJCS…they’re going to hear the same local news. They’re going to hear Eddie Matthews in the morning. They’re going to hear the agricultural report, the Stratford Warriors, the Blue Jays.”
Though the licence issued by the CRTC in 2015 noted the station would change from oldies to rock music, that’s since been rethought, said Gray.
“It’s taken a long time to get the approval, and in the interim, we (decided) ‘why fix what really isn’t broken?’”

The only other thing that’s changing is the name. They’re sticking with the CJCS call letters which is nice since they have nearly a century worth of history attached to them, but they’re also going to start calling it Juice FM. I don’t know what Juice has to do with old music, but it’s fine, I guess. I’m sure we’ll all get used to it in time, and it’s not like everyone who isn’t a young kid isn’t just going to call it CJCS anyway.