Philip Till Retires from CKNW


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After 25 years at Vancouver’s CKNW and the last 9 as it’s morning host, Today Philip Till announced his retirement from CKNW. Till for many years co-hosted CKNW drive with Jon McComb. Before joining CKNW Till was the foreign editor and Chief Foreign Correspondent for NBC Radio & TV. Till’s last show on CKNW will be July 31st

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  1. Phil has sucked wind for years.

    The Station will put Mike and Fiona in the slot, and finish the job.

    Jon McComb is too old to start getting up at 3:00 in the morning. If you have done mornings, you know what I mean.

    CKNW will never appeal to Millenials. Koenigsfest coming out and saying that CKNW wants to attract a younger audience, just insults what dwindling audience they have.

    Kids don’t even know am radio exists.

    Turn out the lights.

  2. I suppose it is the end of the AM era. I really enjoyed Philips morning show and his sense of dry all the humour. wishing him all the best in retirement and congrats on a career well done. jolly good day to you!!!!

  3. I for one shall miss Philip Till’s voice on ‘NW. However, the morning show was never a good fit for him. The McComb-Till years were the pinnacle. They made for a great news team. Still miss that World News Quiz every Friday night at 7:05 pm. I managed to win so many times that it lead promotions to bring in a winners’ registry and for a while I was actually banned from competing.

  4. Its no secret that CKNW has gone down hill. I liked Till and wish him the best. Bill Good has to go but I find myself listening less and less to CKNW. They have really fallen from grace IMO. Although when Mike Smyth fills in I never miss it.

  5. I will really miss him. On November 24, 2012 I had the pleasure of speaking to him live on his show and have never forgotten that. He had a show on ‘happiness’ and I wrote to him saying every morning I woke up it made me happy….why?…because I’m battling stage 3 Ovarian Cancer and so far am winning. My husband and I just celebrated our 50th Anniversary and we hope to have many more. I will really miss hearing your voice in the early morning hours and I wish you a long and ‘happy’ retirement!!!

  6. I will certainly miss him. On November 24th 2012 I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Till live on the air. He was doing a show on “happiness” and I told him that every morning I woke up it made me happy. Why? Because I was fighting stage 3 Ovarian Cancer and was winning so every day I woke up it was a good day! My husband and I just celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary and we hope to have many more. I wish you and your ‘bride’ a very long and ‘happy’ retirement together.

  7. A fish out of water? – no kidding.
    From the “get go” he was a very odd choice for a morning show at a key station in this market.
    9 years? – ‘Felt like he’s been “Philling in” the whole time. … ‘Never took hold.

    Yes, Mike Eckford is the best choice to keep things, informative, light, and younger sounding.
    Or perhaps someone new to NW, but with an established local rep.
    Either way – with all due respect to Phil – they can’t do much worse in that slot.
    … And they can’t screw this up again … Or can they?

  8. Till and Mcomb were an excellent pair. It seems that NW ever since that infamous black friday where they decided that they could survive on their reputation without the on air personalities has been racing to the bottom. Agree with earlier comments that if NW wants to continue they should NOT try to appeal to a demographic that has NEVER listened to am radio. Get Smyth on air. Spend some of the money you saved by cheaping out for the past 10 years. Say bye bye to Eckford

  9. Philip Till was an adornment to the local media scene for 25 years.

    I used to interview Phil before he came to Vancouver and accordingly was part of the process that hired him. We became the very best of friends and there’s nobody in the business I have admired more.

    As has been pointed out CKNW has been going downhill for some time. In fact it started when I left in 2003 although that was probably not the direct cause. They real cause was that I wasn’t properly replaced.

    Had they put Jon McComb in my place things would likely have gone on much as usual.

    As I look at the ratings, CKNW now has about 7% of the listening audience. This drop is not due to the Internet – the percentage reflects the number of listeners they have.

    During my time NW regularly had some 15 to 17% while I personally was often over 20%’s

    The obvious answer is to put Jon McComb in Good’s spot and move Good to Phil’s.

    John McComb is the best open line host in British Columbia and has been for years. Quite frankly, my move would be to retire Good and find someone else suitable to morning shows to take over from Phil.

    I don’t think they have the wit to do this.

    All though I have no use for the ownership of CKNW, my heart is still with that station. It can’t help but be after all those wonderful years. I badly want to see them succeed and go back to the glory years in spite of the idiots that run it.

    I think my advice might help.
    Rafe Mair

  10. Yes, Jon McComb is extremely strong.
    ‘Problem is- ‘NW has never figured out a way to use him properly, so why would they start now?
    Also, Jon is reaching the point in his career where he isn’t the “new show guy” any more.

    Going backwards and shuffling around (the same) people, who are in or near their 60’s, isn’t going to cure what ails ‘NW.
    The only hope there is attract talk & info listeners from the CBC, who have been poaching NW listeners for 10+ years.
    As well, some people posting here seem to forget that at one time Rafe, Frosty and Bill Good where in their early 40’s, and broadcasting… and they weren’t considered “too young”.
    Bannerman started at NW in his 30’s.
    So let’s get a grip on what’s “too young”.

    (And if we’re talking about ratings, advertisers could not care less about listeners over 55.
    A sad but true fact … and I’m over 55).

  11. Rafe says “As I look at the ratings, CKNW now has about 7% of the listening audience. This drop is not due to the Internet – the percentage reflects the number of listeners they have”.
    That must be a momentary spike!
    I had no idea it was that high.
    Here’s wishing Mr. Till and his butler many years of healthy retirement.

  12. I must disagree with Rafe’s suggestion that Jon McComb replace Till. I think McComb would be a better replacement for Good …if they can get him to retire and can’t get Smyth away from his Province job. McComb, as Rafe said, would be a good open line host…but that’s NOT what the morning show is from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The morning show needs to get people going with info, news, weather, traffic and HUMOUR (like Frosty did!) and McComb is no comedian, from anything I’ve heard him say. h

  13. Sadly, Rafe and Harv are reflecting their age.
    If you live in a world surrounded by people who are 60 – 70 , everyone under 63 is “young” .
    It’s like a Star Trek episode; “The Planet of The Old Radio People”.

    As Jordan mentioned above, CKNW was not always, nor was never meant to be, the radio station staffed by old(er) people.
    As good as McComb is … he is not the “savior”, nor the “future”, of CKNW.

  14. Happy Retirement Philip. I agree John McComb might be good in the morning , Bill Good is very soft in interviews especially on hard issues and the afternoon show starting at 12:30 is a waste of time. CKNW has some work to do.

  15. Philip has been a tremendous newsman for many years. He deserved(s) a better send off than it appears he’s getting. (Much like the pitiful treatment of Dan Russell. )

    Good is a broadcaster of news and not an open line host. He simply doesn’t know enough, his research is shoddy at best and is an obvious shill for the right wing liberals.

    Move McComb into Good’s spot, bring in a firecracker for the morning show and for Christ’s sake, bring back Russell for his evening sports talk.

    Finally, get rid of that trash called Coast to Coast. Canadians aren’t the American spaceship seekers that the show gets all its nutbar calls from.

    We have teeth and brains.

  16. I wish Philip all the best in his retirement. He made a great contribution to the success of ‘NW over the years. That being said, as many others have mentioned Philip was no morning man. Never could relate to Philip and his talk of fantastic trips, fine cigars and single malt whiskey. Most of us are just struggeling to keep the lights on these days.

    His morning delivery and the approach to topics of the day left me with eyes glazed over until finally I just moved on. A great, accomplished newsman but certainly not the person to take over from Frosty, talk about a one eighty.

    The suits who put Philip in the morning position and let him tread water for almost a decade in that spot should take a large chunk of the blame. A fish out of water indeed.

    Now, what to do with ‘NW? Personally I think they are screwed no matter what they try. Do you really think trying to “young it up” is going to work? You really think the average 20/30 something and older, even knows ‘NW exists.? The younger crowd just doesn’t care about talk radio. How many more current ‘NW listeners will they alienate if they try to “young up the sound”?

    I expect major tinkering , just like what they’ve been doing for sometime now, to continue and to no avail. ‘NW is to go the way of the once mighty KGO in San Francisco.

  17. No, young people will never go for “Talk Radio”.
    Pardon?… What do you think CBC-AM is??
    ….Talk, information, and a little music thrown in. (Which is what NW used to be).
    And people of all ages listen to it. And CBC’s on-air voices reflect that broad demo.

    By the way, “talk radio” doesn’t have to mean “phone-in radio”.
    Hearing “ordinary people” yammering away on the radio was kinda fun in 1968.
    (Plus it was free, easy content).
    But that tired old shtick has long ago run it’s course.

    Again, follow the CBC’s lead. “Open the lines” only for specific reasons at specific times.

  18. There’s no way people in their 20’s and 30’s are going to listen to AM radio. ‘NW is dreaming if they think they’re going to attract a younger audience to that frequency.

  19. Coast to coast? come on how else are we going to learn about FEMA death camps and Aliens in politics? I love Coast to coast. When I fill in mornings in the Mighty Port Alberni or Courtenay I listen during my 1 hour+ commute. Generally it’s good for a chuckle or an eye opening “what the &^%$ are you talking about you right wing bone head?” from me. That’s good stuff even if it was a little ridiculous. The whole point of talk shows is to cause a reaction. I think Ghost to ghost does that in spades. I also admire the hosts for not bursting into laughter when the more colourful callers make it to air.

    As for mornings.. I’ll have a run at it. or get Doc to do it.

  20. It’s interesting how many people on this site want to return to a 70’s/early 80’s style of A.M. radio.

    Back in 1978, how many of you guys & gals (with your “big hair”) wanted to return to a “1948” style of radio”?

    30 years is 30 years
    Add it up, and figure out why no one is listening to you.

    Get over it.

  21. First of all, my congrats to Mr. Till for all his years of service in news journalism and radio broadcasting. Enjoy your retirement Mr. Till.

    Philip Till was foisted into a time slot that was owned by arguably the best morning man in recent radio history, Frosty Forst. Till did the best he could and did for many years this slot well. I just feel time and changing radio landscape often dictated poorly by CKNW management and Corus wore on him. Talent around him became more shallow and superficial. His best days were the afternoons with Jon McComb, they as a pair were very good. Replacing the then (late) Rick Honey was also tough sledding for both of them. Anyways, what to do about and for CKNW?

    Well my WEEK DAY ideas would look like this.

    Morning: 5:00am to 8:00: Bring back solid news reading and a time slot host that is quick witted but carries a touch of humour and also allow him/her to be able to go off script with others from the morning sports guy, to weather, to traffic. Allow capable interviews with others and also bring back some music, much in the line of Forst’s days, even just a few songs over the 3 hours.

    8:00-8:30: Full on Morning news, traffic, weather, sports and an editorial by the host to follow at 8:30am.

    8:30 -11:00am: I’d look at Jon McComb. Open the phones for follow up of his editorial untill 9:00am. 9:00-10:00. He should do a (ONE) current affairs/news/serious topic, with guests etc. 10-10:30. Open lines. 10:30-11:00 go to a lighter topic, light news, entertainment, technology etc.

    11:00am-12:00pm. Mid day host, Keep Simi Sara there is fine for me. She should open up with a serious, current affairs/news topic (again just ONE) she feels needs to follow on and have guests too if need be.

    12:00-12:30pm: Noon news, weather, traffic, sports and have Simi interject with these various readers after the news part is completed.

    12:30-1:00pm: Simi further news based topic.

    1:00-1:30, Simi should have her open phones segment, she can lead with topics of the day or of her choosing.

    1:30pm-2:00pm: Simi as Jon should go to lighter more variety based topic for this 1/2 hour.

    2:00pm-2:30pm: Mid Day news, traffic, weather and sports, then lead into the drive home host feeding off these readers till his/her show starts at 2:30pm.

    2:30pm-5:00pm: Drive home host, similar to the 5:00am-8:00am host, news, traffic, weather, sports, variety type talk and some drive home music again even if it’s a few songs.

    5:00pm-6:00pm: Evening news, traffic, weather and sports. Host of this slot at 5:30pm can open lines to follow up on topics of the day or place his/her own editorial and such.

    6:00pm-9:00pm: Evening Host (or better co hosts). Start with serious, news worthy topics for the 6:00pm-7:00pm slot. 7:00pm-8:00pm OPEN LINES both cohosts interjecting with each other and callers. 8:00pm-9:00pm Dial it down to light topics, entertainment, technology and a touch of sports etc.

    9:00pm-9:30pm: Mid evening News, Traffic, weather, sports plus lead in to the 9:30-12:00am host.

    9:30pm-12:00am: SPORTS TALK with Dan Russell and co hosted with Lee Powell. By this time most sports in greater Vancouver will be over for the night. Dan and Lee can follow up sports of the day, have guests and dammit open the lines too.

    12:00am-2:00am: Live host to run vintage replay radio programmes. Maybe pull out old CKNW clips if still recorded going back in the day as well to remember past radio hosts.

    2:00am -5:00am: Coast to Coast, yes it will no longer be live but recorded which is entertaining enough for over night.

    I won’t do SAT or SUN here, but for one keep Brook Ward on for Weekend Sports talk.

    Notice most shows have OPEN LINES. I enjoy callers they spice up the shows because they add different thoughts, agreeable or not to me/others. Each host should have dedicate open lines each day. Also notice I have it were hosts DO NOT COVER A GAZILLION TOPICS PER SHOW, PER DAY. Keep it fewer, keep it simple, current affairs, politics and move to some lighter variety too.

  22. Sad place this is.
    45 years ago (summer of ’69), all you people were demanding “change”.
    … And many of you got jobs in the business because of the significant changes in the industry at that time.
    Now there’s been another “change”.
    And all you people do is demand another 60+ year old ‘CKNW announcer, to replace the last 60+ year old announcer.

    Be 25 again. … When 25 was “old”.

  23. My old friend Harvey Oberfeld misread me …. I said McComb ought to replace Good.

    The comments on age are fair.

    NW has lost the art of bringing along younger broadcasters or hiring young talent. As an example, some years ago they tubed their midnight talk show letting the hugely talented Shiral Tobin go. It was cheaper to play a re-run!

    Shiral would make a great replacement for McComb were he to be moved up, however she may not want to return to mismanagement that even in that industry stands out.

  24. Interesting line-up Les , only problem is money. What you are suggesting will cost CORUS bucks and it is clear that they don’t want to spend much. They consider programming genius to be things like bringing in canned programming like that NPR thing from the U.S.

    By the way who said that hiring 20/30 year olds to work at ‘NW was such a bad thing. Sure, go ahead fill the entire station with BCIT grads. Point is, your peers won’t be listening.

  25. Best wishes to Phil in his retirement.

    To be honest, I never took to Til. He tried desperately to do that BBC World thing on a local Vancouver am radio show. And he often comes off as trying too hard and melodramatic.

    That said, his task was made 10x more difficult by having follow in local legend Frosty Forst’s shoes. Not only did they change personalities, they changed formats.

    He was a bad choice and almost anyone would be better. However, I don’t see NW ever reclaiming its former glory.

  26. CKNW has always been an ‘old boys club’, why stop now?? Do they really think Michael Ekford is bringing the younger demo to AM radio? Please! Oh & don’t bring ‘do you know who I am?’ Fiona over, that’s just going to make CKNW a joke!
    How Ian Koeingfest has kept his job for so long is beyond me — rewarding lazy employees over hard working loyal ones? He’s been there for wayyy to long – they got rid of Plasteras, why keep Koeingfest?
    Ok enough rant! I do wish Philip Till all the best on his retirement.

  27. Call a spade a spade.
    CKNW’s decline began the day Rutherford was made PD…and it was Rutherford who hired Till, and he thought it was such a coup. Then Warren Barker retired, and it was Rutherford who made MacDonald ND. Rutherford was the one who made Plasteras PD. Figure it folks, it isn’t rocket science.
    The spiral will continue.

  28. Till was always bragging about his past and his trips that drove me nuts.
    Good was way to soft with his guests
    Mike smith was great
    Always love hearing from rafe , wish they would interview him once in a while.
    I think both till and good were given the hint to retire


  29. CKNW has found itself in the unenviable position of having to fill 2 prime-time slots. Mssrs. Till and Good may not always have been the most entertaining, but their life experiences and credibility will be hard to replace.

    A morning talk show host (all talk show hosts) must have the complete tool box: ability to select topics aimed straight at the desired demographic, ability to formulate a reasoned opinion on the topic and stick with it, and the ability to execute flawlessly without depending on ‘producer’ or ‘listener’ input.

    To replace either of these two gentlemen with inexperienced, untested hosts with no track record of success in the format, is simply sticking a finger in the dike. Unless and until these hosts do the hard work and study the many nuances of the talk show format, the status quo will remain.

    Another problem area for CKNW is their Newsroom. Too many inconsequential stories repeated hour after hour, written (?) and read as if they were repeating the front page of the newspaper. I do not see one hint of creative writing or execution indicating either management does not listen or care. Given the amount of air time given the Newsroom, this is one area where management could immediately get its act together. Hire some experienced readers, who know how to select the stories, creatively write the stories, and formidably execute a newscast.

    I do hope CKNW is able to resolve its issues, not for their sake, but for ours…once dedicated listeners who appear to be abandoning a ship intent on a race to the bottom.

  30. Phillip Till, I for one will miss you, we have been waking up to you every morning since 9/11. The mornings will not be the same, sorry to hear you are leaving CKNW..

    Thanks again and have a wonderful retirement.

  31. I’m one of those oldies…still yearn for the days of Frosty and Norm Grohman
    CKNW has never recovered from that loss, though I still wake up to Mr. Till’s unusual accent.
    Wishing you well on your retirement, enjoy your family.
    And you really should video the destruction of your alarm clock in you garage and post it!

  32. I am sad to learn that Mr. Till is leaving CKNW. I like his sense of humour and I like especially his accent. His enunciation is so good that I can hear every word he says. I will miss hearing his voice in the morning. Good luck to you, Mr. Till and enjoy your retirement with your ‘bride’.

  33. Good and Till were the only members of broadcast staff who appear professional and largely unbiased . God help us if mcombe and smythe get these two spots, Stn will be so far to the left that call sign will change to CkNDP .
    That wouldn’t be thunder you hear it would be the turn off clicks of those. Who still listen to the Stn.
    Bill Rae would roll over in his grave.

  34. I too have always admired Till for his experience, but only really liked him when he and John were together, though their exchanges sounded contrived at times.

    Despite that, I have listened to him off and on since he left the afternoon show, and while he could never compare to Frosty, he did ok. As many have said, he just was not a good fit in this time slot and it showed. I was also happy when they brought Jen back though she is doing traffic. Her exchanges with Frosty were great.

    I wish him the best in retirement and I think they are going to need to do something pretty interesting to keep the listeners they have, and I personally like Eckford, but not sure he’s a morning guy.

    Love seeing all the ideas here though and I guess we will see what happens.

  35. Great to hear Rafe Mair pontificate the truth about the once top dog C.K.N.W. As Rafe astutely pointed out he was never replaced. The brutal honest truth is both Till and Good were simply let go as the station slinked down to a 7% share. Bill Good was and always will be a news reader who went through the motions. To have him apply his name with the late great Jack Webster, and Gary Bannerman is an insult to those two hall of famers.

    The real slide started when the community based N.W. became just another sardine in the can for the Corus corporation. Nickles got thrown around like man hole covers to quote the late Al Davidson.

    As others have pointed out in here the attempt to try to lure a mythical young audience is a wasted swing in the dark.

    I feel sorry for a lot of talented N.W. broadcasters who were given the heave ho as Corus tightened the money belt on a regular basis.

    I tend to agree about the ghost to ghost programs being a Mercury theatre players production of war of the worlds with the genius Orson Welles. But then again tin has risen sharply on the stock markets as the demand for tin plate hats has increased dramatically.

    In reality N.W. is going the route of a Jimmy Pattison radio station sadly into the brink.

  36. NW has been going downhill for a long time. I had no problem with Mr. Till, in fact, I quite enjoyed him.

    Please give Mike Smith Bill Good’s time slot. In my opinion, Mike does listen to both sides and is not afraid to ask the tough questions. Only in the last month did I hear Bill Good actually have a contrary opinion on Climate change.

    I do not listen to Simi (too one-sided in her opinions) and hate the evening and overnight shows. They are just brutal.

    As for Dan Russell, he should have been booted many years ago.

    Ian K. should have been fired a long time ago

  37. An incredible reporter. An appalling morning show host. The steady decline in NW’s ratings can be attributed to CORUS beancounters and in my opinion, Koenigsfest. Snake oil info-mercials are a strong sign a station has gone to the dogs and the top dog is no more.

  38. As an ex-pat Brit who has been back “at home” for a few years, I am very disappointed that my intended return to BC will not be able to experience the pleasantry and quality of the place I left so far at talk radio is concerned. Compared to BC, the UK TV news work is brilliant, and the presenters are real journalists as opposed to the sacharine and uninformed “anchors” foisted upon the public via Global, CBC, etc. On the oher hand, newstalk in the UK is pathetic compared to what has been the ‘NW format which I first experienced in the Webster years.

    Previous and far better informed posts that I have alluded to the admittedly diverse Webster-Raif-Good-Till-Smyth styles, but none have questioned their journalistic experience, integrity and skill. I wonder if NW really understands the brilliance of what they had compared to what they will achieve in their apparent quest for the finest mediocrity available. But then again, “over here” we have a bunch of plastered Scots who want to turn the UK into what could be the Former United Kingdom. You do the anagram.

    Glad my goal is the Sunchine Coast—–at least I might run into Bill.

  39. Glad to hear that Philip is going…..couldn’t stand his pompous attitude….someone who is a nice person and has a good sense of humour is needed. ….like rick on cbc. Jon mccomb is excellent…don’t like simi sera or the weird night shows. Why not a sports show every night?

  40. I miss Philip, I loved it when he and Jon were together. it seems with CKNW they get a good thing and then screw it up… I loved all his jokes and his Brit sense of humour Good Luck in your retirement Philip and when you visit the ol’e sod again have a pint for me.


  42. I found Philip Till interesting when he spoke about his days as a reporter overseas and even when he spoke of visiting his mother in U.K. His voice was excellent for radio and I do miss his humour and interviews which were spot-on. Bill Good – not so much – boring voice; Simi has a nasal voice that I can only listen to for a short time; she is otherwise a good talk host. Jon McComb used to speak really well but listeners nowadays hear too many …… aaaaah’s and ummmm’s…..whatever happened to good speakers? The man with him also has too many aaaaah’s in his comments. Radio should return to hiring well-modulated, low-speaking voices that can hold a conversation without tripping over their own grammar. CKNW hired a man recently from Australia who has a wonderful speaking, clear voice but we rarely hear him unless he’s reporting an outside incident. I wish Mr. Till & his bride a wonderful well-earned retirement. And I’m old enough too to miss Jack Cullen’s wonderful nighttime mysteries.
    But I found them on my iPad and listen to them every night. Those were the days!

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