RANDOM THOUGHTS AT RANDOM TIMES
Originally Published December 12th, 2016
This weekend Country 95 and B93 will move its radio studios from Mayor Magrath Drive where it has been for almost 60 years to the second floor of the RBC bank building downtown. I can’t help but get a little sentimental about it. The old 1090 CHEC studio was my radio womb as I began my career there back in 1974 and through a multitude of circumstances I returned “home” to that building almost three years ago. I have indeed gone full circle.
So many memories. I couldn’t believe my good luck when I was given the opportunity by then program director Walt Edwards to work weekends on the all night shift. That was back in the day when we actually had a live personality on the air between midnight and 6am. I was beyond excited. I was taken under the wings of Paul Tessier who was the evening guy (7-midight.) He showed me the ropes and gave me invaluable advice. Paul was a passionate radio guy who loved to share his knowledge of the craft. I couldn’t have had a better mentor to start my journey and we stay in touch to this day.
For me, walking into that control room for the first time was like walking into a sacred church. There before me were two turntables, a cart machine, a couple of reel-reel tape decks and a whack of carts carefully slotted by number in the cart rack and of course, records. Yes, actual 45s that we had to cue up. There was more to being the guy who turned the mic on and spoke “eloquently.” You had to master how far back you had to cue up your record so that you didn’t get a wooooow sound when it went to air and you had to figure out when to hit the turntable switch so that the tune came on when you wanted it to and not 5 seconds after. For example, Dancin’ by the Jackson 5 had a cold intro. There was nothing worse than saying “Here are the Jackson 5 with Dancin’” followed by 5 seconds of dead air before the song hit.
Of course I did it many times when I cued up the song on the air. You’re supposed to turn your pot (audio control) down to the cue position. Every now and then I’d leave that pot up and the audience at home would hear some very strange noises.
Oh, and you had to turn your mic off after you talked otherwise you couldn’t hear the cue. The mic being turned off always cut the sound in the control room. Occasionally the audience at home would hear, “Woompa woompa…(sound of the record) and then, “What the hell? Why can’t I hear anything…What’s going on…” (The sound of stupid announcer (me) not knowing his mic is on.)
I wrote out my very first ad-lib and I wanted the musical intro of my first song to be long enough so I could say it all. So I chose “Searching So Long” by Chicago which had about a one minute and 10 second intro. I probably did my spiel in 10 seconds but it felt great and I was on my way. This was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
It’s different than it was back in 1974 but this is the control room where it all began for me.
The other duties of the all-night announcer at the time was to make sure the teletype paper was changed. There was no Internet then. That was how we got our news. If you didn’t change it, there was no information. That did not go over big with the news guys who were coming in in the morning.
For the Rest of the Story, along with more pics, click HERE
Those were the Good old days,The Golden days. What a great story. I used to listen to 1090 CHEC up in Saskatoon. That signal would always skip up here at night. There was alway a lot of good talent there. Thanks for sharing.
For shame, Boogieman! Not a word about the brilliant, not to mention, creative, copywriters!!!!