Dave McCormick’s Obituary in Saturday’s Vancouver Sun

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Dave McCORMICK

Born in MacGregor, Manitoba on June 6, 1936, Dave passed away in Vancouver on March 29, 2017. Big Daddy was a legendary veteran broadcaster in Vancouver. He leaves to mourn his partner and loving companion, Lynda Cumming; daughter, Joanne (Neil); sons, Gene (Tanya) and Ryan (Naomi); sister, Sharon King, niece, Peggy Homan (Robb); nephew, Jordan; and grandchildren, Taylor, Cameron and Oscar. Predeceased by his parents, Ron and Peg, along with his son, Austin. Dave’s love for music was surmounted only by his love for family.

Dave’s radio career began on his 14th birthday at CHML in Hamilton, Ontario, where he developed a deep appreciation for and knowledge of music as a gopher for the on-air guys. He would memorize all the names and even the back-up musicians noted on the LP covers. By the time he and his family moved to Vancouver, his love and enthusiasm for radio was well entrenched.
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After attending North Van High and UBC, where of course, he joined the Radio Club Radsoc, he was hired by C-FUN Radio as the all-night record man back when they didn’t play rock and roll. In 1959, Dave turned that around, and along with friends Brian Lord, Brian Forst, and Al Jordan, transitioned that station into Vancouver’s first full-time Top 40 Rock operation. They were the “swinging men at 1410”, and later the “C-FUN Good Guys”. It turned into a fun radio station. “We taught the city how to rock” he would say. Dave and the others drew 100,000 members into the station’s Coca-Cola Hi-Fi Fan Club. It was during his five years at C-FUN that Dave acquired the nickname Big Daddy.

He met and married his first wife Darline Kennedy in Vancouver in 1961. An opportunity of a lifetime brought him and his bride south to California the next year to work in Top 40 Radio. Over the next ten years, he was an on-air announcer and Program/Music Director at KMAK and KYNO (Fresno), KOL (Seattle), and KMEN (San Bernardino). The family grew during this period with the births of Joanne and Gene.

In 1972, Dave and his family moved back to Vancouver, and over the next 14 years, he worked at CKNW in the early evening time slot. His creativity knew no bounds. Dave developed, crafted and hosted “Discumentary”, an award-winning daily one-hour music history anthology of rock and roll, which was later syndicated across North America and Australia. One of the many writers who contributed to this exercise, was Sandy Kass, whom Dave married in 1981. They had two sons, Ryan and Austin.

In 1986, Dave rekindled his love affair with country music when he was the first to be hired by the brand new JR Country (CJJR) station. He was a one-man band, interviewing all the major country acts of the day for “Countrymentary” and writing and editing all the material. His intelligent, well-researched and good-natured interview style earned him accolades from everyone he met. He was able to obtain interviews with hundreds of music celebrities locally and in Nashville. Many of these interviews turned into long-time friendships. At Christmas, there would be cards from Garth Brooks, Reba McIntyre and the Judds, among many others. He was named BC Broadcaster of the Year, BC Country Music Association On Air Personality of the Year (four times), Inductee to the BC Country Music Association Hall of Fame, and BC Entertainment Hall of Fame (Star Walk). He developed an amazing reputation and an infinite expertise, yet he remained humble and was widely regarded as one of the ‘nice guys’ in radio.

In 1996, Dave was promoted “down the hall” to host mid-days on sister station AM600, working until Pattison Co. turned the frequency in for an FM license (2008) and Dave lost his job. Out of work for less than two weeks, Dave was hired as a music consultant and on-air broadcaster in the coveted 10-2 slot weekdays at AM650 (C-ISL), where he turned their moldy-oldies into a more contemporary listening milieu. As a sideline, Dave hosted several cruises and vacations with avid fans. It was on one such hosted trip to Cuba that he met his love, Lynda. Together they had numerous worldwide travel adventures, and developed a regular series of travel tips for C-ISL called Travel Curios.

The family extends its sincere appreciation to everyone at Youville Residence, where Dave spent his last years in peace and comfort, and particularly to his loving companions, Tintu and Jaya.

Dave didn’t know the meaning of retirement; music was his hobby, his passion and his life. There was never a time that music didn’t play a role in his households. May your turntable never run empty and your speakers always be cranked. You will be deeply missed.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. A celebration of life will be held in the near future.
Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on Apr. 8, 2017

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Re: Death of “Big Daddy” – Dave McCormick
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    I am a little surprised that no one has seen fit to at least pay respects to a man like David.

    I have worked with many fantastic people – and he was one of the gems.

    His Discumentary’s were something else, and trust me, I was thrilled to FINALLY get to work with him, at 600am, 17 years ago.

    A nicer man would be hard to find. He was always so kind with me, and I loved talking music and memories and Radio with him.

    I will miss you ‘Big Daddy” – sadly, the end of an era is approaching.

  2. This is the second PSR post on Dave’s passing. The first, on March 29, had several remembrances. Radio West also garnered reminiscences from former colleagues and fans.

    But I don’t disagree with you, Tom, on the overall media response. There’s so few reporters left at the Vancouver Sun–plus an ever shrinking news hole–that it’s probably unrealistic to expect a print story. Maybe I haven’t listened at the right time, but never heard a peep about Dave on CKNW. Had Bruce Allen not eulogized Neil Macrae on Reality Check, how much notice would NW have given his passage?

    Maybe the increasingly decrepit Top Dog could surprise us and do a special one or two hour salute to Dave, Neil and Bob Robertson whose deaths were clustered so closely in time.

    Thanks for the memories, you three stalwarts.

  3. Well, as a listener who grew up on him, this is a big, big loss. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if someone turned the whole Discumentary series into a podcast series??? It needs to live on.

  4. Excellent idea, Robb. I wrote scripts for dozens of the shows, but didn’t tape the broadcasts. Quite possibly Dave’s kin, Discumentary producers or zealous fans have collections. The masters were on reel to reel. Whether they survived CKNW/CFMI’s move from New Westminster to the black tower in downtown Vancouver is anyone’s guess.

    Even if the tapes still exist, rights could be problematic. After Dave’s departure, Discumentary briefly continued with Terry David Mulligan as host. For his part, Dave created Countrymentary for CJJR. I think WIC still owned NW/CFMI at that point and don’t recall any lawsuits trying to prevent Countrymentary from airing.

    In my biased opinion, Discumentary was among the finest music shows syndicated in that era. It seems a shame that it and other long-running programs aren’t on offer from some enterprising web programmer.

  5. First off, my appreciation to all of you for the kind words. His loss is deeply felt in the family. Yes, his collection was outstanding, not that he ever did a count, but I recall there may have been 300,000+ albums, 45’s, 78’s and CDs in his library. I recovered a couple of boxes of reel to reels of Discumentaries; some partial programs, others the full hour….it’s what he was able to grab before his office door was locked (on him). Rocker Rich, I wondered the same thing, not sure on the rights, don’t know how to broadcast them in a podcast, but I’ve had them digitized, and listened, just as interesting today as they were back in the day, and of course that smooth voice….

  6. One of the nicest, kindest and warmest people I have met in radio. Plus he forgot more than I knew.
    I try to carry all he taught me in my career.
    RIP Big Daddy.

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