Airchecks: 1971

 

Talent: TOM RIVERS
Station: CHUM Toronto
Date: January 1, 1971
Time: 47:38 (unscoped)
            12:47 (scoped)

The story of CHUM's year-end charts is a rich and important part of the history of the Top 40 radio pioneer.

CHUM began publishing weekly charts right from its beginning as a Top 40 station on May 27, 1957. However, it didn't publish a year-end list until January 13, 1964, with the Top 63 of '63. CHUM did broadcast the top hits of the previous year in countdown form on New Year's Day in prior years, but if you wanted a list, you had to listen and write them down.

From the Top 63 of '63 to the Top 67 of '67, the year-end survey appeared in the CHUM Chart. In 1968 and 1969, however, the year-end chart became a Top 100 list, available only by sending in a stamped, self-addressed envelope to CHUM. Starting with the Top 100 of 1970, the year-end survey was published in a Toronto newspaper. That practice continued right up until the final list, the Top 100 of 1985 (CHUM abandoned its Top 40 format for soft-rock in June, 1986, so there was no 1986 survey). It should be noted that the year-end list format changed from a Top 100 in the early '80s, to the Top 82 of '82, the Top 83 of '83, and the Top 84 of '84.

All of these countdowns were broadcast on CHUM, sometimes live, sometimes taped. On January 1, 1971, Tom Rivers was counting down the Top 100 of 1970.
 

Hear it UNSCOPED here.

Hear it UNSCOPED here.
 

Hear it SCOPED here.

Hear it SCOPED here.
 

(The Gary J. Peterson and Donald Major Collections)

Thanks to Marc Denis for his superb audio editing!



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Talent: CKLW composite
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: Mostly 1970s
Time: 14:36



What really made CKLW such a great station? Was it the tight production, the bright formatics, the music or the personalities? In truth, it was really a combination of all four elements plus a few more. But to this corner, it was the personalities that really gave 'CK the edge.

On this aircheck, you'll hear a collage of many of the great CKLW voices, including (in order) Byron McGregor, Tom Rivers, Charlie Fox, Jim Jackson, Hal Martin, Johnny Williams, Charlie Van Dyke, Frank Brodie, Jim Edwards, Bill Gable, Chuck McKay, Max Kinkle, Pat Holiday, Ted "The Bear" Richards and Mike Kelly.

You'll also hear Tom Shannon singing Paul Anka's Diana (I kid you not!) and the tape wraps up with a clip of Charlie O'Brien. Also, there are a couple of celebrity appearances from Elton John (as E.J. the D.J.) and Cheech and Chong.

Enjoy the CKLW composite here.

Enjoy the CKLW composite here.
 

(The Don Shuttleworth Collection)

For more great 'CK airchecks, visit The CKLW Years


Subject: EARLY '70s JOCK MONTAGE
Stations: Various
Date: Various
Time: 30:44

Lots of jocks, lots of rock.

Twenty-five jocks from all over the U.S. and Canada are included in this great deejay montage from the early '70s, when Top 40 AM radio was still going strong.

In order, here's who you'll hear:


Ron Riley, WCAO Baltimore
Johnny Canton, WDGY Minneapolis, Minn.
Sandy Beach, WKBW Buffalo, N.Y.
Dan Donovan, WFIL Philadelphia
Unknown, WSAI Cincinnati
J. Robert Dark, KOMA Oklahoma City
Larry Dixon, WAPE Jacksonville, Fla.
Bwana Johnny, WWDJ Hackensack, N.Y.
Tom Kennedy, WRKO Boston
Norm Davis, WOHO Toledo, Ohio
Norm Gregory, KJR Seattle
Bob McKrake, WDRC Hartford
Don Berns, WKBW Buffalo, N.Y.
True Don Bleu, KDWB St. Paul, Minn.
Jack Daniels, WTRY Troy, N.Y.
Mark Elliott, KHJ Los Angeles
Mike Selden, KLIF Dallas
Larry O'Brien, WCFL Chicago
George Klein, WHBQ Memphis
Frank Brodie, CKLW, Windsor, Ont.
Don Bombard, WNDR Syracuse, N.Y.
Chuck Dunaway, WIXY Cleveland
Barry Chase, WQXI Atlanta
Bob Hamilton, WIFE Indianapolis
Tom West, WQAM Miami

 


Enjoy this montage of early '70s jocks here.

Enjoy this montage of early '70s jocks here.


(The Bill Dulmage Collection)


Talent: CHARLIE TUNA
Station: KHJ Los Angeles
Date: January 7, 1971
Time: 19:05

Charlie Tuna appears on this KHJ chart from Jan. 6, 1971

It's radio's greatest fish story, but unlike most fish stories, this is true.

Born April 18, 1944 in Kearney, Neb., Art Ferguson became Charlie Tuna at KOMA Oklahoma City in 1966 when Chuck Riley - who used the moniker for just one show - left the station. The rest is Top 40 radio history. Tuna went on to star at WMEX Boston, KCBQ San Diego and Los Angeles stations KHJ, KROQ-AM, KKDJ, KIIS, KTNQ, KHTZ (later KBZT), KRLA, KCBS-FM, KODJ, KMPC, KIKF, KBIG and KRTH. Tuna, whose TV and radio syndication and voice credits could fill a phone book, was voted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2008.

Known for his quick wit, Tuna had the honour of replacing legendary KHJ morning man Robert W. Morgan when the latter went to WIND Chicago in 1970. The gig only lasted until Morgan returned to the Los Angeles station in 1972, but it was memorable and just another feather in Tuna's cap (fin?)

Enjoy Charlie Tuna on KHJ (unscoped) here.

Enjoy Charlie Tuna on KHJ (unscoped) here.
 

Enjoy Charlie Tuna on KHJ (scoped) here.

Enjoy Charlie Tuna on KHJ (scoped) here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)


Talent: LEE BABY SIMMS
Station: KRLA Los Angeles
Date: March 30, 1971
Time: 34:37 (unscoped)

Lee Baby Simms was a true radio gypsy.

By his count, the man born Gilmore LaMar Simms worked at 35 stations in 22 markets and was fired 25 times because ``I never took an insult from anyone.`` He jocked as far north as WJBK Detroit, as far south as WMYQ Miami, as far east as WPOP Hartford and as far west as Honolulu at KKUA, KORL, KPOI and KDUK. In between, he appeared on biggies like WKYC Cleveland, KRLA Los Angeles, KCBQ San Diego, KOOL Phoenix and KYA San Francisco. Simms, who got his nickname from KONO PD Woody Roberts, also displayed his songwriting talents when he penned the lyrics for "Time" for the Pozo-Seco Singers in 1966.

Simms took his own life January 28, 2015 at the age of 72. He had been suffering from cancer.
 

Enjoy Lee "Baby" Simms on KRLA here.

Enjoy Lee "Baby" Simms on KRLA here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)




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Talent: TOM RIVERS
Station: CHUM Toronto
Date: May 15, 1971
Time: 25:04

Much has been written and said about legendary Top 40 deejay Tom Rivers, who died of cancer November 20, 2004. We have gathered some of of those special memories here.

Tom Rivers was really COOKIN' the day this aircheck was recorded.
 

Hear Tom Rivers at his very best here.

Hear Tom Rivers at his very best here.
 

(The Charlie Ritenburg Collection)

For more great CHUM airchecks, visit The CHUM Archives


Talent: GIL HARRIS
Station: CHAM Hamilton, Ont.
Date: June 10, 1971
Time: 1:02.54 (unscoped)

Doc Harris is one of those announcers who put a smile on your face every time you listened to him. His off-beat sense of humour and relaxed delivery charmed listeners for four decades starting in the mid-'60s.

The man born Gilbert Auchinleck started his career at CKDA/CFMS Victoria. Known on-air as Gil Harris, he was there from 1966 to 1969, then moved to CJAT Trail, B.C., from 1969 to 1970. CKOM in Saskatoon was his next stop in 1970. His next two gigs were in Ontario at CKSO Sudbury and CHAM in Hamilton. He was one of CFTR Toronto's first rock jocks - as Doc Holiday - in 1972.

In 1973, Holliday moved to Vancouver - changed his air name to Doc Harris - and began a long and successful career at stations like CKLG, CFMI-FM, CKKS, CKST, CKNW, CFUN and CISL.

Harris was one of the first radio personalities to get his own web site. His site at www.docharris.com has been on the web since 1994.
 

Enjoy Gil Harris on CHAM here.

Enjoy Gil Harris on CHAM here.
 

(The Don Shuttleworth Collection)




Rock Radio Scrapbook pays
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Talent: JOHNNY MITCHELL
Station: KGB San Diego
Date: Spring, 1971

Time: 4:03

What's in a name? In rock radio, apparently a lot.

It's not unusual for deejays to go under two or more different names in a career. Dan Ingram called himself Rae Taylor in his early days. Bobby Ocean was Johnny Scott before the powers that be decreed a change of name.

Three or more names is less common. The man CFTR listeners remember as Red Knight called himself Jack London at CKLW and Rick Bradley at CKSL. Bob Dearborn of WLS and Nightime America fame was also known on-air as Bud Roberts and Mark Allen.

Canadian broadcast personality Howard Cogan went under FIVE names: his own, Todd Chase, Todd Howard, Howie the Hitman and Hungryman Howard.

It was also not uncommon for two deejays in different markets to have the same name at the same time. Back in the early 1970s, there was a Johnny Mitchell in Toronto on 1050 CHUM and there was also an announcer with the same name at KGB San Diego (better known as Eric Chase, a.k.a. Harry Miller and Paul Christy, writes Scrapbook viewer Barry Salberg).
 

You can hear the latter here.

You can hear the latter here.
 

(Scrapbook archives)


Talent: TOM KELLY
Station: 
CKRC Winnipeg
Date: 
June, 1971
Time: 
46:07 (unscoped)
           10:04 (scoped)

Can-Con changed Canadian radio forever.

One of the first mandates of the Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) when it was founded in 1968 was to find a way to get radio stations to play more Canadian music. Up until then, stations could play as little home-grown talent as they wanted. In most cases, it wasn't much.

Since stations were not about to voluntarily play more Canadian music, they had to be forced. So beginning January 18, 1971, at least 30 per cent of the music Canadian AM radio stations between the hours of 6 a.m. and midnight had to qualify as "Can-Con" (FM quotas came later).

Savvy programmers found ways to lighten the load. One trick was to play a lot of Can-Con in off-peak times, such as late at night or early morning on weekends (known as "Beaver Hours"). Another was to play edited or shortened versions of Canadian tunes. The CRTC eventually closed these loopholes, and in fact increased the percentage to 35 per cent in 1999. What's more, most new Canadian stations since the turn of the millennium have been licensed at 40 per cent (what better way to suck up the commission to get your license than to promise LOTS of Can-Con).

This aircheck gives us a listen to Canadian AM radio not long after the regulations were introduced. Fittingly, it starts with a Canadian tune.
 

Enjoy Tom Kelly on CKRC (unscoped) here.

Enjoy Tom Kelly on CKRC (unscoped) here.
 

Enjoy Tom Kelly on CKRC (scoped) here.

Enjoy Tom Kelly on CKRC (scoped) here.
 

(The Don Shuttleworth Collection)




Rock Radio Scrapbook pays
online streaming fees to the
Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (License 22-F)
 


Subject: JACK ARMSTRONG INTERVIEW WITH JONATHAN WOLFERT
Station: N/A
Date: 
June 24, 1971 (Upgraded 3-17-12)
Time: 31:41

Jackson Armstrong wasn't afraid to speak his mind.

In 1971, Jackson Armstrong was interviewed by Jonathan Wolfert of PAMS about a number of radio topics including, memorably, his time at CHUM Toronto. This no-holds-barred interview tells the behind-the-scenes story of Armstrong's hiring at CHUM, that station's switch to the Drake format and Armstrong's departure from CHUM in early 1969. He also talks about several radio people, including Bill Drake, Dick Biondi and Cousin Brucie. (Note: the CHUM portion starts at 19:20).
 

Hear the Jackson Armstrong interview here.

Hear the Jackson Armstrong interview here.
 

(NOTE: CONTAINS COARSE LANGUAGE)

(The John Bisci Collection)

AUDIO ENHANCEMENT by Andy Rebscher


Talent: TOM RIVERS
Station: CHUM Toronto
Date: July 2, 1971
Time: 23:04

A summer weekend, and Tom Rivers on CHUM. What more could you ask for!

Shortly after this show, Rivers left CHUM for a rather famous station just down the 401, CKLW.
 

Hear Tom Rivers here.

Hear Tom Rivers here.
 

(The Charlie Ritenburg Collection)

For more great CHUM airchecks, visit The CHUM Archives


Talent: ROBERT O. SMITH
Station: KOL Seattle
Date: July, 1971
Time: 16:28

Thorndike Pickledish ... The Masked Avocado ... Dr. Zingrr ... Walter Mart the Freaky Frog ... Bench Bozo.

Top 40 jock, voice actor and power lifter Robert O. Smith was all of these and more.

Smith had a gift - the ability to do voices, lots of them. He appeared as a voice actor on countless anime and other cartoon series over the years. His television and film resume is astounding (view it here) as was his versatility - he once created 20 different voices for a single radio spot!

A natural Top 40 radio talent, Smith got his first on-air gig in 1966 at KAHI in Auburn, Calif. His first big-market gig was later that year at KLAV Las Vegas. By 1967, he was at KJR and KSND Seattle, which preceded a 1968-71 stay at KOL Seattle. Smith added KTAC Tacoma, Wash., and KVI Seattle to his resume in the '70s. He was at KIXI-FM Seattle in the early '80s, before crossing the border to British Columbia for gigs at CFMI-FM and CISL Vancouver, and CKMA Abbotsford, B.C.

Smith also had a notable career in the world of power lifting, with numerous records in the masters division of weightlifting competitions. He is credited with an official lift of 578.5 pounds.

Smith died May 30, 2010 of pancreatic and liver cancer. He was 67.
 

Enjoy Robert O. Smith on KOL here.

Enjoy Robert O. Smith on KOL here.

 

(Courtesy Ted Wendland/radiowest.ca)

Be sure to visit radiowest.ca, a superb radio site hosted by Ted Wendland. Airchecks, jingles, photos, logos, history and forums - radiowest.ca has it all. Rock Radio Scrapbook thanks Ted for sharing this aircheck.


Talent: DON STEVENS
Station: CKLG Vancouver
Date: July, 1971
Time: 3:16

When Don Stevens began his radio career at CKSA Lloydminster, Alta., in 1962, he could have hardly foreseen the changes that lay ahead in his business. Back then, jocks played music from turntables, had a say in the music that was played, and stations were live 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the most part. It was personality radio - what was between the songs mattered almost as much as the songs themselves (maybe more!). Nowadays, everything is digital and played from a computer (good), the jocks rarely have any say in the music (not so good), and much of the programming - especially at night and on weekends - is voice-tracked or there's no jock at all (ugh!). Progress? Something to contemplate.

After getting his career start at CKSA, Stevens went on to work at a number of major stations including CHED Edmonton, CKLG Vancouver, CJAY Calgary (as morning man and program director), and as program director at AM 106 (CFCN) Calgary, CKFM and CFTR Toronto. He was also morning show host at Lite 96 Calgary (CHFM) before moving to XL 103 (CFXL) in Calgary as program director and morning show host where he celebrated 50 years in broadcasting in 2012.

Enjoy Don Stevens on CKLG here.

Enjoy Don Stevens on CKLG here.
 

(Courtesy Ted Wendland/radiowest.ca)

Be sure to visit radiowest.ca, a superb radio site hosted by Ted Wendland. Airchecks, jingles, photos, logos, history and forums - radiowest.ca has it all. Rock Radio Scrapbook thanks Ted for sharing this aircheck.


Talent: GUS GOSSERT
Station: 
WPIX-FM New York
Date: 
July 25, 1971
Time:
 10:16

Back before oldies were "cool", there was Gus Gossert, "the curly-headed kid in the second row." The deejay who took his nickname from the legendary Peter Tripp ("the curly-headed kid in the second row") is credited with helping revive interest in New York street music - a.k.a. doo wop - in the late '60s and early '70s.

The Pennsylvania-born Gossert studied law at the University of Tennessee, but his true love was radio and doo-wop. After stops at stations in Hawaii and San Francisco, Gossert was hired by New York's WCBS-FM in 1969 to host a Sunday night oldies show - long before that station switched to an all-oldies format in 1972. Gossert's WCBS-FM show, which focused on doo wop music of the 1950s, proved to be immensely popular. That popularity continued when his show switched to WPIX-FM in 1971 and 1972 (he also had a Saturday night show at WPIX-FM). At one time, Gossert's show was the highest-rated Sunday night program in New York radio.

Gossert had long since left the New York scene when he was shot to death in August, 1976. While his stay in the radio spotlight was brief, it was certainly significant.
 

Hear Gus Gossert on WPIX-FM here.

Hear Gus Gossert on WPIX-FM here.
 

(Scrapbook archives)


Talent: SCOTT REGEN
Station: WCAR Detroit
Date: August 25, 1971
Time: Part 1 - 46:31 (unscoped)
           Part 2 - 29:13 (unscoped)

WCAR seemed like an unlikely prospect for a rock station.

For years, owner Hy Levinson resisted the move to rock, sticking to what he called "good music" and not playing anything resembling rock 'n' roll. But with the station struggling financially, Levinson finally OKed the move to an adult contemporary format by 1970 with the slogan "W-CAR Cares About Detroit." By late 1971, WCAR had become a full Top 40 station as "All Hit Music, The Giant 1130" with a tight playlist and less talk by the deejays. A parade of formats would follow in the '70s, including all-news, progressive rock, adult contemporary (again) and then country as WCXI in 1979. The station switched format to sports and the call letters to WDFN in 1994.

This aircheck is from WCAR's first stab at an adult contemporary format, a few months before the switch to Top 40. Scott Regen had previously been in the Detroit market at CKLW and WKNR, and also jocked in Tampa, Miami and Kansas City. He returned to WKNR in late 1971, just in time for that station ending its Top 40 format the following spring.

Enjoy Scott Regen on WCAR, Pt. 1 (UNSCOPED) here.

Enjoy Scott Regen on WCAR, Pt. 1 (UNSCOPED) here.


Enjoy Scott Regen on WCAR, Pt. 2 (UNSCOPED) here.

Enjoy Scott Regen on WCAR, Pt. 2 (UNSCOPED) here.
 

(The Bill Dulmage Collection)




Rock Radio Scrapbook pays
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Talent: HAL MARTIN
Station: 
CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: 
September 3, 1971
Time: 8:58

(Graphic courtesy Tom Howard)

As a youngster, Michael Spears did magic - he was Texas State Champion Magician at age 15. But we remember him for the magic he made on the airwaves.

Magic? How about a 61 share in his night show at Gordon McLendon's KLIF in the late '60s - the highest in the history of the Dallas market. He was Hal Martin there, and he also used that name at Motor City powerhouse CKLW from 1969 to 1971.

More magic: in 1972, Spears was chosen by McLendon to launch Dallas FM station KNUS. The station was number-one within 90 days. After turning WSFO Tampa Bay into successful news-talk station WPLP in 1978, Spears returned to Dallas in 1982 to program K-104 FM. It also went to #1 for the first time.

For his efforts, Spears won Billboard's "Station of the Year" award three times, and twice won that publication's "Program Director of the Year" award. He was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2004.

Spears also co-created "The Amber Plan," a radio alert system to aid in the search for missing children. In 2002, Spears won the Service to America award as bestowed by the National Association of Broadcasters.

All told, Spears consulted over 30 radio stations and groups in multiple formats, programming KHJ Los Angeles, KFRC San Francisco, WYSL Buffalo, N.Y., KKDA Dallas and WPNT Chicago. He produced literally hundreds of commercials and news segments for radio and television. Much in demand as public speaker and emcee, Spears was also a scuba diving and architecture enthusiast. He died of cancer October 25, 2005 at the age of 58.
 

Enjoy Spears - as Hal Martin - on CKLW here.

Enjoy Spears - as Hal Martin - on CKLW here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)

For more great 'CK airchecks, visit The CKLW Years


Talent: JOHN RODE
Station: CHUM Toronto
Date: September 3, 1971
Time: 17:47

John Rode entertained at five different Toronto stations, numerous outlets south of the border and even did  stints in Vancouver and Alaska. But he's probably best remembered for the many years he spent at 1050 CHUM.

Rode arrived at CHUM in 1970 after a stint in mornings at rival CKFH. Prior to that, the Wisconsin native had appeared at several other stations, including WALT Tampa, Fla., WKLO and WINN Louisville, Ky., WSAI Cincinnati, WRKO Boston, WIBG Philadelphia and WDRC Hartford.

While Rode would spend much of the '70s, '80s and '90s at CHUM, he gained everlasting fame in 1977 when he become the first morning man at Q-107. He was also the morning personality at CHUM-FM in the early '80s and KEY 590 (CKEY) late in the decade. Rode also found time for 1970s stints at CFUN Vancouver and KFQD Anchorage, Alaska. He returned to CHUM in 1989 for swing work, often filling in on the morning show in the '90s.


Enjoy John Rode on CHUM here.

Enjoy John Rode on CHUM here.
 

(The Gary J. Peterson and Donald Major Collections)

Audio editing by Marc Denis Productions


Talent: LARRY LUJACK
Station: WLS Chicago
Date: 
September 23, 1971
Time:
56:17 (unscoped)

Sarcastic, grumpy, seemingly always on edge, Larry Lujack was the antithesis of the cheerful Top 40 jock. But he was also one of the most popular.

Lujack's caustic style was a hit with listeners who appreciated his cynical take on life. He was a pioneer of the shock jock genre later made popular by Howard Stern and others (Rush Limbaugh said Lujack was the only announcer he ever copied). Born Larry Blankenburg June 6, 1940 in Quasqueton, Iowa, he considered a career in wildlife conservatism but fell into radio when a part-time job at KCID in Caldwell, Idaho, turned into a full-time career. Lujack (he got his air name from Chicago Bears quarterback Johnny Lujack) worked at several other stations, including KJR Seattle and WMEX Boston, before landing in Chicago in 1967.

Lujack spent the next 20 years in the Windy City, doing two tours of duty each at Chicago Top 40 rivals WCFL and WLS. "Superjock" became a superstar in the highly competitive Chicago market - at his height he had a million listeners. His sardonic "Klunk Letter of the Day" and darkly humorous "Animal Stories" with sidekick Tommy Edwards became the stuff of legend.

Lujack was the last voice on WCFL when that station ceased Top 40 programming in March, 1976, then returned to WLS a few months later to begin a nine-year stint in mornings. In 1984, he signed a 12-year, $6-million contract with WLS, which made him one of the highest-paid announcers in the U.S. Lujack moved to afternoons a year later but left the air in the wake of declining ratings in 1987.

Lujack returned to Chicago radio in 2000-01 at WUBT, followed by his final Windy City stint at the short-lived WRLL from 2003 to 2006. He died December 18, 2013 in New Mexico after a year-long battle with oesophageal cancer. The 2004 National Radio Hall of Fame inductee was 73.
 

Enjoy Larry Lujack on WLS here.

Enjoy Larry Lujack on WLS here.
 

(The Don Shuttleworth Collection)




Rock Radio Scrapbook pays
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Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (License 22-F)
 


Talent: RICK JANSSEN
Station: CHLO London, Ont.
Date: October 4, 1971
Time: 1:01:15 (unscoped)

The Top 40 wars in London, Ont., heated up in the early '70s, with CJOE going after the well-established CHLO for hit music ears in the Forest City.

CJOE, a Beautiful Music outlet since signing on in 1965, dipped its toe into Top 40 in 1970 by playing rock in the evenings with an emphasis on "underground" or album music. CHLO countered by playing more album cuts, then CJOE fought back by going rock full-time and mixing album cuts with Top 40 tunes. This aircheck of Rick Janssen from the fall of 1971 gives you an good idea of what CHLO was doing to counter the CJOE threat at the time.

Enjoy Rick Janssen on CHLO here.

Enjoy Rick Janssen on CHLO here.
 

(The Charlie Ritenberg Collection)




Rock Radio Scrapbook pays
online streaming fees to the
Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (License 22-F)
 


Talent: PETE GRIFFIN and DAVID PRITCHARD
Station: 
CHUM-FM Toronto
Date: 
October 21, 1971
Time:
 13:36

(Graphic courtesy John Donabie)

(Larger view here)

It was a different time.

A time when announcers programmed their own music. A time when a song was played because the deejay or music director - or even the listeners - liked it, not because some focus group thousands of miles away "approved it". A time when you could hear a rock tune, a jazz piece, a classical opus, and maybe some folk music all in the same set. A time of long music sets, rather than lengthy commercial sets.

It was a time when announcers just talked to the audience - one-on-one - rather than regurgitating liner notes. A time when one skilled communicator could carry an entire show, rather than a team of self-described "zany" types known as a "Morning Zoo." A time of intelligent rap and gentle wit, rather than shouting. A time when there was an actual living and breathing person in the studio all the time, not a machine. A time when stations were programmed locally, not from head office.

This was progressive rock radio in its early days. Back in the late '60s, this new brand of radio emerged - one that broke all the rules. And one of the first stations to program this "album rock" format - some called it "underground" radio - was Toronto's CHUM-FM. Debuting on July 1, 1968 it was truly memorable in its early days, playing album cuts not heard anywhere else and with outstanding personalities like Pete Griffin, Walter Michaels, Larry Green, Tim Thomas, Kim Calloway, Hugh Currie, David Pritchard, Benji Karsh, Reiner Schwartz, Dave Marsden and John Donabie.

Pritchard was CHUM-FM's all-night man in the early years of that station's progressive rock format. He later went on to become program director of yet another legendary progressive rock station, Toronto's CFNY. His death on February 27, 2005 was sad news for all of those who remembered him, either on or off the air.

On October 21, 1971, Pritchard hung around after his shift to talk on-air to CHUM-FM morning man Pete Griffin.

You can hear the results here.

You can hear the results here.


(The Gary Pfieffer Collection)


Talent: JACK ARMSTRONG
Station: WKBW Buffalo, N.Y.
Date: November, 1971
Times: Part 1 - 59:42 (unscoped)
             Part 1 - 14:02 (scoped)
            Part 2 - 41:13 (unscoped)
            Part 2 - 10:06 (scoped)



Rarely do all the elements that made Top 40 radio so memorable come together as they do on this aircheck.

First, there's the jock. Jack Armstrong is without question one of the best Top 40 jocks of all time - some would say THE best (they'd get no arguments from us.) By the time he arrived at 'KB in 1971, Armstrong had already appeared on several Top 40 giants, including WKYC, WMEX, WIXY, CHUM and WPOP. And there were plenty more to come. But we believe Jack shone brightest at 'KB - the combination of energy and enthusiasm he displayed there is without peer.

As for the station, 'KB's consistently epitomized the excellence that was Top 40 radio from its launch as FutureSonic Radio in 1958, to its end as a locally-programmed music station in 1988. 'KB might have at its very best during the Jeff Kaye years, from 1966 to 1973, and this aircheck shows why.

The jingles are fabulous (how about those Pop-Tops!), the music outstanding, the presentation tight and bright ... need we say more? If you're wondering why we love classic Top 40 radio, just listen.
 

Enjoy Part One of Jack Armstrong on 'KB (UNSCOPED) here.


Enjoy Part One of Jack Armstrong on 'KB (UNSCOPED) here.

 

Enjoy Part One of Jack Armstrong on 'KB (SCOPED) here.
 

Enjoy Part One of Jack Armstrong on 'KB (SCOPED) here.

 

Enjoy Part Two of Jack Armstrong on 'KB (UNSCOPED) here.


Enjoy Part Two of Jack Armstrong on 'KB (UNSCOPED) here.

 

Enjoy Part Two of Jack Armstrong on 'KB (SCOPED) here.

Enjoy Part Two of Jack Armstrong on 'KB (SCOPED) here.
 

(The Don Shuttleworth Collection)




Rock Radio Scrapbook pays
online streaming fees to the
Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (License 22-F)
 


Talent: JOHNNY WILLIAMS
Station: KHJ Los Angeles
Date: November 26, 1971
Time: 13:22

(KHJ Chart/December 21, 1971)

Johnny Williams outlasted them all at KHJ.

When KHJ debuted Boss Radio in April, 1965, the lineup was Robert W. Morgan (6-9 a.m.), Roger Christian (9 a.m.-noon), Gary Mack (noon-3 p.m.), The Real Don Steele (3-6 p.m.), Dave Diamond (6-9 p.m.) and Sam Riddle (9 p.m.-midnight) and Williams (midnight-6 a.m.).

One by one the originals left. Diamond was the first to go, just a couple of months after the launch. Christian went in 1966, Mack left in 1967, Riddle departed in 1970 and Steele said goodbye in 1973. Morgan left KHJ in 1970, returned in 1972 and departed for good in 1973. That left Williams as the last of the original Boss Jocks, and he finally departed in the fall of 1974.

Williams started in radio in 1959 at KBOL Boulder, Col. He jocked at KIMN and KBTR Denver, KISN Portland, Ore., WABB Mobile, Ala., KRIZ Phoenix, KCBQ San Diego, KRLA Los Angeles and a few others before arriving at KHJ in the spring of 1965. After KHJ, he went to WTAE Pittsburgh for a decade beginning in 1975. Williams was in Honolulu radio in the 1990s at KHVH and KHNR before launching one of the first radio web sites, 440:Satisfaction, in 1995 (he gave us our first link in 1996!)
 

Hear Johnny Williams on KHJ here.

Hear Johnny Williams on KHJ here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)


Talent: LEE MURRAY
Station: CKGM Montr
al
Date: December 28, 1971
Time: 9:37

The climb to number-one was short and sweet for CKGM in the early 1970s.

CKGM signed on December 7, 1959 and was a hit music station in the 1960s. But things really took off for the Montral station after it revamped its format January 1, 1970.  By December of that year CKGM had overtaken rival 1470-CFOX to become the number-one rocker in Montral. It would hold that position until December, 1979, when it was overtaken by sister station CHOM-FM.

Lee Murray jocked at CKGM in the early '70s.
 

Enjoy Lee Murray here.

Enjoy Lee Murray here.
 

(Scrapbook archives)


Talent: LARRY DOUGLAS
Station: CJOE London, Ont.
Date: December 30, 1971
Time: 1:04:36 (unscoped)
              19:20 (scoped)

How many of you learned their radio chops on the weekend all-night show?

Like many a young jock in the days of live all-night jocks, Larry Douglas is learning the ropes on this aircheck from the second-last day of 1971. Douglas plays an interesting assortment of music - from Humble Pie to Helen Reddy to Isaac Hayes. We love the anti-drug ads. But what's with all the Can-Con? The Stampeders, the Five Man Electrical Band, Lighthouse - hey Larry you don't need to play Canadian content between midnight and 6 a.m.! It doesn't count toward the quotas. Maybe he just likes the music!

Enjoy Larry Douglas on CJOE from December 30, 1971 (UNSCOPED) here.

Enjoy Larry Douglas on CJOE from December 30, 1971 (UNSCOPED) here.
 

Enjoy Larry Douglas on CJOE from December 30, 1971 (UNSCOPED) here.

Enjoy Larry Douglas on CJOE from December 30, 1971 (UNSCOPED) here.
 

(The Charlie Ritenburg Collection)


Talent: RON O'BRIEN
Station:
WCAR Detroit
Date:
December 31, 1971
Time:
54:01 (unscoped)

Big Ron O'Brien hosted a show called "On the Radio" in the '80s and '90s, fitting for a guy who was on the air his entire adult life.

Born Richard Walls in Des Moines, Iowa, O'Brien started his professional career in 1969 in nearby Kansas City. His 49-year career took him all over the continental U.S., as far west as Los Angeles (KFI and KIIS), as far east as Boston (WRKO) as far north as Milwaukee (WOKY) and his southernmost stop, WQXI Atlanta. His resume also includes such biggies as KTLK in Denver, WCFL in Chicago, WPGC in Washington, D.C. and a trio of Philadelphia stations, WFIL, WYXR-WLCE Philadelphia and the station where he spent the last six years of his life, WOGL.

Ron O'Brien died April 27, 2008 of pneumonia at the age of 56.

Enjoy Ron O'Brien on WCAR here.

Enjoy Ron O'Brien on WCAR here.


(The Bill Dulmage Collection)
 




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