MARK PANOPOULOS on CON CHUNG
Posted to the Southern Ontario/WNY Radio Forum, July 27, 2005
Unfortunately, I have just heard and read of the passing
of Con "Junior" Chung. Con had struggled with cancer for the past two years. He
was assistant manager of FM108 in Burlington during the oldies era. He even had
his own reggae show, Sunday nights 10 p.m.-midnight (also Saturday afternoons
My own personal favorite part of the show was the "Soul Serenade" at 11:30 p.m. He played artists like The Presidents, the Delfonics, the Chi-Lites and Dobie Gray. I also remember the night he and I heard of the death of Peter Tosh, when Con did a fitting tribute on air. I learned quite a bit about the reggae and urban music he played. It wasn't the Otis Redding or James Brown soul, it was what he referred to as "Sweet Soul", positive and uplifting. Over the years, I found it was a pleasure to talk to correspondent Norma Brown from Jamaica and his personal friend Byron Lee.
Con also worked Thursday mornings at CKMW on a show called Rhythm Radio. In 1989 he hired Wayne Williams to start a dance format at FM108. For two more years Rhythm Radio was the precursor to Dance108 and finally to (The Original) ENERGY FM 107.9.
Through his PD days he also hired announcers like The "Party Dog" Mike Devine, Gary Thomas and Billy Howard, who had worked across the border in Buffalo at the home of "The Hound", WBLK. From what I understand Con got the nickname "Junior" from his father who also had a radio show in Jamaica. Con left ENERGY to try his hand at programming a Top40 dance format type of station in his native home. For many years Jamaica was home to a few radio stations. In the early 90s, more independent stations were licenced to broadcast. When he came back for a visit, unfortunately, he stated that maybe certain communities weren't ready for that type of sound. People were still used to the local traditional reggae and calypso sounds.
I sort of lost touch over the next number of years until I learned of his illness. Even though I knew of his battle, it was still a shock to hear of his passing today, he was 58.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Con's family and friends. Truly a great loss to the early development of reggae and urban sounds that shared the airwaves with The Golden Great Revival and ENERGY FM.
Hear Junior Chung's final sign-off at CING-FM in 1994 here. (0:38)
(The Mark Panopoulos Collection)
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