Chris Rutkowski posted this morning on Don Percy’s facebook page
Big news, Don-o-philes! It looks like Don will finally be retiring!
Yes, his contract with the radio station is done, and today will likely be his last show!
Don started in Winnipeg in 1975, so that was 40 years ago! (He started in radio in 1956 in Chatham, Ontario.) He’s been a fixture on Winnipeg airwaves almost continuously since then.
Our Donovan Tildesley has been a long time fan of the Master in Morning, first as a six year old fan calling Don while he was on the air at CISL 650 in Vancouver.
Donovan last spoke with Don on air on Christmas Eve HERE
Best wishes to Uncle Don in his future endeavours!
Congratulations Don! Don Percy is one of the big reasons that I gravitated towards radio. I listened to him on CKY in the 70’s. Always innovative and funny, it was nothing like I’d ever heard before. Years later I had the good fortune to have worked in the same building with Don while I was at CKRC and he was at UFM in Winnipeg. He was kind, encouraging and always positive. Thank you Don, enjoy your time, it’s well deserved.
The man was a classic. Spent many mornings busting a gut to numerous crossover with he and Bozo Morozo and Mammy Buzugnis…..true pro.
Don Percy made radio into an art form. The man was brilliant at the ad lib; he would just crack the mic and…Bang! Pure genius. Being the first person I ever went on air with, I never knew until later that most folks scripted their breaks to varying degrees. Its been my wish for several years now to do an in-depth audio interview with Don. Perhaps now is the time??
I could go on and on, but for now, two Percy quotes stand out for me.
1. “You’re nobody in this business until you get fired.”
2. “Don’t be funny!” Don told me once that these were his instructions to anyone who filled in for him. Reason being, at three separate instances in his over 50-year radio career, Don was moved to the morning show, after doing such a good job covering for the guy on vacation. The last such instance occurred in 1995, when Don replaced the late Ron Able as KY58’s new morning man, when Rogers blew out the rest of the staff in favour of satellite programming. (Don had been in PM drive for the previous four months, but obviously did a great job as vacation relief for Ron!)
Best of luck in your retirement, my friend! The Canadian airwaves have lost a true “Master”.
I highly enjoyed working with Don in Vancouver and of course the Moffat connection goes back a long ways. Nobody worked a crowd of fans like Don. Much happiness Don.
I have refrained from commenting on these pages for some number of years, since I preferred hearing from other commentators, as I already knew what MY thoughts were….But the remarks from people actually IN radio, as opposed to those of the listening public , are very heartening…To think that I made some people’s lives brighter, just by talking, is reward enough..but to garner respect and a degree of admiration from my peers….Well…. that’s why some of the speeches at the Academy Awards go on as long as they do. And as I said to one of my long-term friends and putative colleagues today…” Retirement is a big word…Semi…not so much ” Let’s just see what unfolds….Warmth to all…..Don…
I had the honour and the pleasure of working with Don for three hours…period. I did all nights on CFRW Winnipeg when Don was doing mornings on KY58 as the “Master of the Morning”, a well deserved title in an industry filled with hyperbolic titles. For reasons that were never clear, not even to him, he was shown the door at KY without any chance whatsoever to say goodbye to his loyal listeners. In a stroke of genius, then GM, the late Bob-o Laine, decided to have Don come over the CFRW and share the mic with then morning drive guy Steve Jackson for three hours of tears and laughter…and a chance to connect one last time with the numerous audience “characters” that made his show so much fun to listen to.
MY contribution to this bit of radio history was to have the studio cleaned up for their arrival at 6am, but it may have been the highlight of my career! So, to this day, I tell people, with great pride, that Don and I worked for the same station….and in a very low voice…..for all of three hours. I have that show on cassette tape somewhere…..might be worth some money!
Don, great to see a post from you! Marty, perhaps you can shed some light on one of Don’s bits from your CISL tenyur. Spring 1991, Don produces a rap song, along with the help of Casey White and John Norman. First verse went like this:
“I’m DJ Jazzy Percy, used to call me Don.
Now they say better move with the times, or i’ll be movin’ on.
Now I don’t mind musical trends; I’ve seen them come and go.
But I’m kinda old to understand this rap on the radio.
Chorus (Casey, John): Just too old, he’s really really old, Don Percy’s way too old!”
A couple months later, Carol Alexander was brought in as morning co-host, and soon thereafter Don returned to Winnipeg. I’ve heard from folks in the know at the time that you, Marty, were changing the direction of the station. If you can even remember this far back, was this parody idea something you (or a consultant?) drummed up, or don’s creation? I pose the question, as I never remember Don being much of a “bit” guy. I may even have an old copy dubbed off the radio buried somewhere within a box of tapes!
I never had the opportunity to work with Don, but we met several times when he was our competitor in Edmonton. He was always very pleasant and fun to be around….and I greatly admired what he was able to contribute on the air. Congratulations on your retirement, Don. You have earned it.
Hi Donovan…I headed off to Edmonton about that time so I wasn’t involved….sorry….Knowing Don though it was likely his creation….
Thanks Marty! Thought you left CISL in early ’92 after Don had already gone back to the Peg. Those were fun years!
Het Marty …I blame you ! ..Or …Maybe not…say Hi to Gerry for me…We three ALMOST saved CHUM from itself…’Member ?
Don gave me my start over 10 years ago. He somehow convinced CFRW program director Cam Clark to take a chance and put a kid with no experience across the desk from Don Percy. Over the next few years I learned a lot from Don and probably heard the growl, in person, as much as any of his wives did. Love and gratitude, Don. All the best in whatever’s next!
Terri, somewhere buried in my hard drive is a pic of you rapped up in a blanket in the (chilly) CFRW studios from Summer 2004! Nice to here you’re still in radio.
Nice to see Don finally sleep in!! Got to spend some great time and a ton of Yuks with Don in Toronto on the mighty 1050 CHUM! What a gentlemen and an inspiration to all of us, Scruff introduced me to your talent via air checks and your kindness is in-paralleled in CDN radio. You were and are one of the best Don. Congratulations my friend.
Terri Gerry Marty Donovan and all other commentators…Heartfelt thanks… I tried sending individual thank you notes, and some went and others didn’t…But my warmest wishes to all….
Don taught me the only 2 rules of broadcasting that you need to know in 1975!
1. Don’t hurt yourself.
2. Never, ever, never,ever, never, ever, ever go out with a girl that calls you at the station. (Rose story)
Sleep in Don, you deserve it.
I remember hearing don for the first time when I was working radio in Brandon, man., and don was at ky58, he was the master, then when I was in Edmonton, in 1984, woke up one morning and there he was, cfrn, doing dirty giggles and such, and then I headed back to Ontario, and I couldn’t believe it when I heard him on chum radio, and then I was back in Winnipeg in 1992, and there he was again, I have been out of radio for 37 years, so guys like him and Imus, hanging in, doing it into their ’70s is remarkable……rest easy now….
Is this the same Don Percy that worked at CKPT 1420 am in Peterborough in the 60s Percy the morning mayor?