By Dennis Rimmer
February the 10th, 2105
Okay, picture this: you make your living by talking to people, by using your voice.
Then, you lose that voice. So, how do you make a living?
That’s the question faced by Bryan Cox a number of years ago. What happened was this: one day he slipped and fell and found out he had broken some bones in his neck. Then came a visit to his family dentist and the discovery that he had a form of mouth cancer. This was shortly after his broken neck had healed, so he was wheeled off to Calgary from his Saskatoon home for an operation. It saved his life but took away his ability to speak.
“I had to learn again how to talk,” he told us, “and then for good measure I had a heart attack.”
Bryan Cox was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and grew up in Saskatoon where he found out he had a talent for mimicry.
“I was 12 years old and I could do voice impersonations of people such as John Diefenbaker and Maxwell Smart. So, one thing led to another and I would up with a job at the Blue Garter Saloon, which was a thing that was thrown together for the old Pion-Era Days exhibition, which some people in Saskatoon might remember.”
This led to an interview with the CFQC radio team of Denny Carr and Wally Stambuck. “I asked them how to get into radio,” he said. “That’s how it all started.”
Cox said Wal and Den encouraged him to get into radio so he went down to the station studios at 216 First Avenue North in Saskatoon and sat through an all-night show.
“I was hooked!”
And, as these things go, the interesting thing is that the all-night host at the time was Ted Martindale, brother of the famed Denny Carr.
After finishing high school, Cox moved to Regina, where he worked as a page at the provincial Legislature, and also landed a part time gig in the Promotions Department of radio station CJME, where he would do odd jobs such as licking envelopes and cleaning washrooms.
Meanwhile, back at the Legislature, he was transferred to the government media centre, where he met radio people from all over Saskatchewan.
“I started in radio doing all nights at CKSA in Lloydminster. From there I moved to Swift Current and was the morning man at CKSW. That didn’t work out so well. I got fired.”
Next up for Bryan Cox was another radio job, this time out of the province, at CFRY in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. Then, after nearly two years at 920 A.M in Portage, it was back to where it all started.
“I got another job back at CFQC in Saskatoon, working with Denny Carr, who got me interested in the business in the first place. Wal ‘n Den were still there, along with guys like Doug Birkmaier, Country Murray Smith, Jim McCrory. There were news reporters such as Easton Wayman and Carl Worth, and we all had such a great time!
Cox remembers it as a time when everyone enjoyed working with one another. It truly was “like a family,” he said.
To this day, Cox has high praise for the CFQC morning team of Denny Carr and Wally Stambuck. “They simply jelled like no other team I have ever heard. They talked and laughed with the listener, not to each other, like morning teams do these days. And they all laugh too much.”
For Cox and others such as him, those days in the late 70s and early 80s at CFQC were the stuff memories are made of.
“It was really fun. Now, they have taken creativity out of radio. It all started in the late 80s and early 90s, the death of creative radio. Now all the stations play all the same songs and all say the same things such as “beat the box office” and “live on location.” Nobody has had an original thought in years!”
Would he do it all again?
Bryan Cox is now heard on radio stations around the world with a program he calls “Hey, Get off my Lawn!” which focuses on feature interviews with artists, writers and performers and always closes with Cox asking his guest “Who would you like to get off your lawn?”
Among other places, the program can be heard on Sirius satellite radio and on internet station LTDRadio.com. There is even a station in Ireland that carries it.
Bryan Cox broke his neck, had his heart give him a problem, and he had to re-learn to talk, but he’s still out there making a living with his voice, and doing from his home town. Can’t get much sweeter than that.
Bryan Cox Facebook page HERE
I’m wanting to find Carl Cox sets, especially sets around 2000 when he was a techno freak. Any sets will be much appreciated!