Macrae farewell prompts dreams of buying all-star radio station
By Greg Douglas, Vancouver Sun June 30, 2012
SCENE & HEARD: Neil Soper, former program director at CJOR, took a long, studious look around the room at Hy's Encore Thursday afternoon and said: "Migawd. If I could sign half of these people to contracts today, I'd buy a radio station and go to air tomorrow."
He was frothing at the mouth. Or frosting, perhaps, with legendary Brian (Frosty) Forst sitting at the next table sandwiched between Jim Hughson and Bro Jake.
It was a gathering of the clan to say farewell to Neil Macrae, who wrapped up a 30-year career with CKNW this week. Macrae personally invited the hand-picked guests he said helped him along during the various stages of his broadcasting life that included 10 earlier years with CKWX. Name-dropping has never been easier. Bill Good, Red Robinson, Jim Robson, Tom Larscheid, John Shorthouse, Squire Barnes, Vicki Gabereau, David Pratt, Norm Grohman, George Garrett, Tom Plasteras, Ron Toigo, Barb Welsh, Jan Evanski, Sheri Henshall, Marty Strong, John Ashbridge, Fanny Keefer, photographer Bill Linn, Super Store president Larry Gibson, Dr. Art Hister and Dr. Sport (the writer of this column). Soper took a tally and fantasized that he would have an instant all-star cast for his new station with laugh-a-minute morning men, prime-time announcers, news anchors, talk-show hosts, a top-notch sales staff, management experience and title sponsors. Macrae's wife Laurie was the best sport in the room as the old guard related naughty stories from the past three decades about one of the most controversial radio personalities to ever work the Vancouver market. Thursday, he was Mr. Congeniality.
HERE 'N' THERE: Hughson, the pride of Fort St. John, related how he survived his longest-ever road trip when he spent 46 consecutive days away from his family during his Hockey Night in Canada playoff assignments in May and June. At one stretch, he was holed up in the same New York hotel for 23 days. Hughson will join Scott Niedermayer, Rod Brind'Amour, Dr. Bob Hindmarch and Scott Carter as the Class of 2012 at the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Penticton on July 27.
END ZONE: Jeff Leyland, one of the original sportscasters on Team 1040 who pursued a television career with CHCH in Hamilton, is back home and ready to launch a weekly one-hour (8-9 a.m.) Saturday Morning Golf Show July 7 on 650AM. - Vancouver Giants have hired Alex Grebenyuk as their director of media relations and broadcasting. The Richmond product has been the play-by-play man with the Merritt Centennials for the past four years. - Nanaimo Clippers play-by-play announcer Dan Marshall has been named the BCHL's Team 1040 Broadcaster of the Year. Marshall, a Coquitlam native, finished his fifth season with Nanaimo this year and was part of a four-man broadcast team that called games at Hockey Canada's World Junior A Challenge at the Langley Events Centre.