September 5, 2018
Welcome to JJ-365 Salutes. Over 2018, we pay tribute daily to one of “The Good Ones”. Today we are shining the light on Bob Saye.
When at the FOX in the late 80’s we were in a major battle with the evil CFMI-:). 365’er Stirling Faux and Bob were the CFMI morning show and quickly kicked the FOX morning team in the nether regions. They had a laid-back but effective, fun and funny style.
We had to do something completely different which is why Larry Hennesseyand Willy were such a great alternative.
One of my mantra’s is: “A key for successful broadcasters is the ability to spin a yarn, which is content fueled by curiosity, awareness and memory. Then there is the preparation (‘a way of life’) and the execution to bring the content to life.”
Bob is one of the best at all this. He has a different way of looking at things and finds many crazy and funny angles to work stories.
Around 1975 Bob attended Humber College and the Radio program run by Phil Stone. Also teaching there was Dave Spencer who was Creative Director at CFGM, the Country station in Richmond Hill (Global News 640 Toronto). Dave Charles was the Program Director of both 640 and the brand new Q107. Dave needed someone to work all nights on weekends at Q and asked Dave Spencer if he could recommend one of his students. Bob says for some reason he suggested him. To say that Dave Charles and Dave Spencer were mentors and important to his career would be a gross understatement in his mind. He worked at Q until 1980 when he was let go which he says was the beginning of a trend in his career.
365’er Dean Hill worked at Q and a year earlier had moved to Vancouver to work at the FOX and encouraged Bob to move west. Don Shafer hired him at the FOX and he was there for about three years before, here we go again, being fired. He got hired back at the FOX thanks to Kerry Marshall and did news and worked on-air with talented dudes like Jeff Rechner and Eric Westra.
Eventually he left to work at ROCK 101 thanks to Rick Shannon, former Music Director at the FOX who had become PD at 101 CFMI. Bob did mornings with Stirling Faux and then Bill Courage and Graham Hatch.
I worked with Bob and Bill when I came over from Moffat (then Shaw, soon to be CORUS). I remember walking through the newsroom to say hi to all in my first time in the building. Both Bob and Jennifer Mather were having a chat when I came around the corner, introducing myself. They were nice but asked me what I was doing in “their” building on McBride. Communication was obviously weak I had gathered, and I told them I was the new PD of ROCK 101. They looked at each other and said, “you’ve got to be kidding!” Not in a bad way, this was just nothing they expected. Over at the FOX we were tough competitors and it didn’t seem likely that I would make that jump.
I had been fans of each one of them for awhile and and I especially enjoyed working with Bob and Bill. Bill Courage is one of the most talented performers I have come across and Bob was the perfect and very talented morning co-host. Both of them accepted me as a back-room partner in the show and we did a lot of brainstorming on content ideas, how to be different, and together we defined the show as ‘infotainment’. I believe that was one of the first times that word was used in the business.
I left to work for Gary Slaight at Standard out of Toronto and shortly after, (here we go again, again, again), Bob was fired from ROCK 101. He never left the building because for a few months he hosted a talk show with Shawn Webster at the CKNW sister station before being hired back at ROCK 101 to work with Dean Hill and Graham Hatch.
After 12 years in and out he left after getting a gig at ‘The Team 1040’ working with Peter Schadd. Here we go again, again, again, again as he was let go after 5 months.
Gerry Siemens and 365’er Gord Eno gave him a job at 600AM doing mornings where he worked with Shawn Webster and then Ann Luu: “All the people I worked mornings with, Stirling, Bill, Graham, Dean, Shawn and Ann are incredibly talented. Each show was unique, but all were a ton of fun. I’ve come to realize they were the talented ones, I was just along for the ride (not true but thanks Bob-?).”
After 5 years, 600AM went dark and Bob was hired at JR Country to do afternoons. Bob recalls seeing some of the signs as it were: “At JRfm there was a picture of the cockpit of an airplane. The idea being that just like the cockpit only pilots and co-pilots were allowed in. So, it should be like that with a studio. Only on-air people should be there.
When I was at The FOX, it was decided they would put a sign on the door to inspire on-air staff. It read, ‘Committment To Excellence’ and yes ‘commitment’ was misspelled.” Doh!
Here we go again, again, again, again, again as Bob was fired from ‘JR after 5 years and then moved back East to do afternoon drive at KX96 in Oshawa where he still is today.
There are always stories and Bob has his share. They had contests to give each one of their kid’s on-air names: “Our daughter Veronica was named No Way Jo as in No Way Josaye. Our son Jonathan was named Bella Lugo as in Bella Lugosaye and finally Brendan was named Artsy Fart as in Artsy Fartsaye. The winners of the first ‘Name Bob’s Baby contest’ won dinner at, (as my wife Judith put it), ‘a crappy restaurant’ in East Vancouver, the second winner won a limo ride and dinner at Le Papillon, and the third winner won a trip, I believe to Mexico. Judith still says to this day. ‘Let me get this straight. I went through 12 hours of labour plus the actual delivery, and they were the ones to get the trip’?”
Bob ran for office on several occasions, normally for Premier of B.C which was hilarious. The slogans included “A vote for B.S. is a vote of BS” and “B.S. for B.C.” and he did run for Prime Minister once or twice complete with t-shirts and bumper stickers.
In the ’80s there was a Canada Cup tournament on with Canada playing Sweden in Vancouver. Bob went to the Pacific Coliseum to interview Rick Middleton of the Boston Bruins. Just before the interview was to happen Rick said he couldn’t do it because he had to get on the team bus to head back to the hotel. Bob told him he would give him a ride if that was OK. He also informed Rick that his car was a 1967 Pontiac Parisienne named ‘Uriah Heep’. Rick’s response. No problem. Bob and Uriah Heep took Rick from the Pacific Coliseum and safely deposited him at his hotel in downtown Vancouver.
Bob sums up: “Advice? It’s great to have mentors and be influenced by your favourite broadcasters. But it’s like being a recording artist. It’s good to have influences but eventually ‘you’ has to come out. It took me a few years, but I think I managed to allow my personality to come through, much to the chagrin of many I’m sure.
Any success I had was due to to my wife Judith. Partly because of her support but mostly because she has supplied me with material for over 30 years. It’s like she’s been the head writer of my shows without being paid of course.”
Bob is smart, fun, creative, collegial, and his laid-back style makes him an easy guy to like. He is resourceful and through a number of changes over the years has managed to stay alive and thrive in the business. Bob says he’s doing his best to not be fired for a 6th time.
Bob, Judith, and kids Veronica, Jonathan and Brandon are a solid family unit. Nice work on all of that Bob. Congrats!
Thank you, Bob Saye, for being one of the “The Good Ones”. Feel free to like and share the Bob’s positive story. Who is the subject of tomorrow’s JJ-365 Salutes? As they say, stay tuned.
Jim JJ Johnston is the CEO, President and Chief Talent/Content Coach for JJIMS INC. and works with talent in many different industries worldwide.