Rock Radio Scrapbook

Airchecks: Goodbyes

 

PART ONE: STATION GOODBYES

Subject: WMGM becomes WHN
Station: WMGM/WHN New York
Date: February 28, 1962
Time: 
23:53

  

He was a US Marshal and Jerry was his name.
So they called him Jerry Marshall and widespread was his fame.
He went to catch the outlaws, Bob Callen and Ted Brown
Who were roping old Dick Shepherd's sheep and herding them to town.
Sing a song about Western hero men will never ride the range again.
They're on 1050 WMGM.

Lyrics to WMGM theme song, early 1960s

WMGM's time as a Top 40 station was short but very sweet.

The station at 1050 on the New York AM dial played rock 'n' roll for less than a decade - from the mid-to-late '50s to 1962 - but it was a memorable time. Top personalities like Ted Brown, Jerry Marshall, Norm Stevens graced the WMGM microphone, as did Dick Shepherd, Bob Callen, Bob Lewis and Peter Tripp.

Two of top 40 radio's greatest stunts involved WMGM. In 1959, Tripp did a record-breaking 201-hour on-air marathon to promote the March of Dimes. The year before, WMGM took an on-air call from a man purporting to be Charles de Gaulle. It wasn't the French president, but a hoaxster from Top 40 rival WINS who announced on the WMGM airwaves, "Everybody knows in New York the best station is WINS. Viva la France."

WMGM was born in 1948, when the station changed its call letters from WHN to reflect the ownership of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer by owner Loew's Broadcasting. Its days as a Top 40 station ended in 1962 when Loew's sold WMGM to Storer for $10.9 million, then a record for a single station. Rock 'n' roll ended at WMGM at 5:30 p.m. after Bob Callen played Peppermint Twist by Joey Dee and the Starlighters. WMGM became WHN again, with a half-hour preview of the new easy-listening format aimed at an older audience.

Hear the switchover of WMGM to WHN here.

WHN became WMGM in 1948

(Scrapbook archives)



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Subject: WINS SWITCHES FROM TOP 40 TO NEWS
Station: WINS New York
Date: April, 1965
Time: 23:02

"What happened to the music? Where's my music?"

It was a precursor of things to come.

In April, 1965, WINS New York became one of the first of the major U.S. AM Top 40 stations to turn off the music. Many more Top 40 stations would follow suit over the years, but these were the '60s and music formats were very much thriving. It was a groundbreaking and historic move.

WINS originated as WGBS in 1924. Owner William Randolph Hearst bought the station in October, 1931 and changed the call letters to WINS in January, 1932 (it was named after Heart's International News Service.) On September 8, 1954, Alan Freed brought his rock 'n' roll show to WINS from Cleveland. Over the next decade, WINS became a major player in the New York Top 40 wars with jocks like Cousin Bruce Morrow, Stan Z. Burns, Irv Smith, Jack Lacy, Murray the K, Mad Daddy and Johnny Holliday. Rick Sklar - later of WABC fame - programmed WINS from 1954 to 1960.

This wonderful aircheck captures the last weekend of music at WINS, and the beginning of the all-news format. Among the jocks you'll hear are Murray the K., Mad Daddy, Lacy, Steve Woodwin, Mickey O'Hara, Ken Dryland, Joel Sebastian and Holliday. Jim Gordon delivers the first newscast of the WINS all-news format. And Dan Ingram implores listeners to tune in to WABC.

The WINS music era ended with Holliday playing Out in the Streets by the Shangri-Las. WINS hasn't played another record since, but has gone on to become one of North America's most successful all-news stations.

Listen as the WINS jocks say goodbye and all news programming begins here.

(The Gary Liebisch Collection via Peter Kanze)


Talent: GENE WEED
Station: KFWB Los Angeles
Date: March 10, 1968
Time: 16:01

A great station deserves a great farewell. And that's exactly what happened when Gene Weed signed off the music era of KFWB March 10, 1968. You can hear that below, but first a little bit of history.

KFWB was launched in 1925 by Warner Brothers founder Sam Warner. The call-letters stand for Four Warner Brothers, honouring brothers Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack - all of whom were involved in the station. Both Ronald Reagan and Bing Crosby launched their radio careers at KFWB; it was the first to broadcast the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif. The station made waves in 1946 when it imported well-known New York deejays Maurice Hart and Martin Block to do disc jockey shows.

In 1958, program director Chuck Blore transformed the station into Colour Radio 98, with high-energy, fast-paced round-the-clock deejay shows presented by the Seven Swingin' Gentlemen. The tight format featured lively jingles. And while it limited announcers to 6-8 minutes of talk an hour, personalities still shone through. KFWB became one of the most listened to stations in the U.S., and soon the format swept into other top markets around the country.

By 1968, KFWB had fallen to third place among pop stations in Los Angeles, behind KHJ and KRLA and time was ripe for a change. On March 11, 1968, KFWB switched to all news, a successful format that continues on the station to this day. Gene Weed, who at been at KFWB since the early days of Colour Radio, said farewell to the station's music format the night before with a nice send-off. Among the highlights: Weed's reciting of the station's 50 presenters during its 10 years as a pop music station. For a look at KFWB lineups from 1958 to 1968, click here.

Hear Gene Weed's KFWB sign-off here.

(The Don Shuttleworth Collection)


Subject: THE END OF WKNR
Station: WKNR Dearborn, Mich.
Date: April 25, 1972
Time: 3:21

"We'd like to thank you for making nearly a decade of Keener season."

One by one, they fell.

AM Top 40 stations dominated in the 1960s. It was unthinkable that stations like CHUM, WABC, WLS, WKBW and KHJ would not be playing music someday. But that's exactly what happened. Due to a number of factors - not the least of which was the rise of FM music radio - their influence began to fade in the '70s. The slide deepened in the '80s and by the '90s Top 40 AM stations were a rare breed indeed.

One of the first of the great AM Top 40 stations to disappear was WKNR "Keener 13" in Dearborn, Mich. Launched on October 31, 1963, WKNR once commanded high ratings with personalities like Mort Crowley, Dick Purtan, Gary Stevens, Bob Green, Jerry Goodwin, Scott Regen and J. Michael Wilson. But Keener's fortunes began declining in April, 1967 when cross-border rival CKLW went to the popular "Drake" format. WKNR hung on gamely for a few more years, but the rise of FM plus a weak signal that didn't even reach much of Detroit's east side and poor nighttime coverage proved to be a deadly combination.

The Keener era ended at 8 a.m. on April 25, 1972. Deejay John McCrae played the Byrds' Turn, Turn, Turn and eight-and-a-half years of memorable Top 40 radio at the 1310 dial spot in Detroit was over. The station switched to an easy-listening format as WNIC and while an attempt was made to revive Keener with an Top 40/Oldies mix later in the decade, there was no returning to the Keener's Top 40 glory days.

Hear the end of WKNR here.

(The Bill Dulmage Collection)


Subject: CKVN becomes CFUN
Station: CKVN-CFUN Vancouver
Date: September 30, 1973
Times: 38:39/4:30

The fun didn't last forever when CFUN introduced a Top 40 format in 1960. Neither did the "CFUN."

After seven years of playing the top hits of the day, CFUN dropped Top 40 for an easy-listening format on September 18, 1967. On July 1, 1969, music was eliminated except for overnights in favour of an all-news format as CKVN (Voice of News.) The station returned to Top 40 while keeping the CKVN calls in March, 1970. Then, with a "Changing of the Call Letters" ceremony at 6 p.m. on September 30, 1973, the old CFUN call letters were restored at last to the 1410 spot on the dial in Vancouver.

The return of CFUN was done in style, with a nice retrospective of the station's history dating back to 1955. The station first signed on April 10, 1922 as CJCE, merged with CFQD and assumed that station's calls in 1924. It became CKMO in 1928 and then switched its calls to CFUN February 14, 1955.

Enjoy a long version of the CFUN relaunch here. (38:39)

Enjoy a short version of the CFUN relaunch here. (4:30)

(Scrapbook archives)


Talent: AL MacKAY
Station: CFOM Qubec City
Date: August 8, 1975 (final sign-off)
Time: 3:55

(Description by Marc Denis)

It was the little Qubec City English-language Top 40 station that could and did ... for a while anyway.

First on air as CJNT in 1949 and then as CJQC in the '50s and finally, as CFOM in the early '60s, it wasn't until the early '70s that the 250-watt AM mini-torch located in suburban Vanier attracted a sizeable audience and the attention and ultimate wrath of the CRTC.

1340 CFOM's mandate was to broadcast the CBC's English-language programs to Qubec City, with a few hours of local programming thrown in. By 1971, management was starting to fill in the blanks with a Top 40 hit music format and progressively dropping the CBC programs. By the following year, 1340 had all but morphed into a 24-hour Top 40 hit station which had Qubec City's teen audience on its ear ... and the CRTC seeing red.

Reprimands by the commission were repeatedly ignored for the better part of three years leading to an unequivocal off-the-air order in 1975. In its final ratings survey which came out after the outlet had gone off the air for good, little anglo CFOM had concluded with a respectable 110,000 listeners in a radio market which is 97% French-speaking. GM Dave Atkinson and PD Gary Parr led a team of on-air personalities that included, in this short but memorable history, the likes of Al MacKay, Michael Godin, Ron Able, Stirling Faux, Isaac Shane, Bill Kaye, Rick Shannon and Chris Brown, to name but a few.

The C-F-O-M call-letters eventually returned to Qubec City's airwaves in September of 1995, this time on the FM band ... as a French-language oldies station. CFOM can still be found today in La Vieille Capitale on 102.9 as a personality-driven francophone outlet.

Relive the final sign-off of 1340 CFOM Qubec City with Al MacKay in 1975 here.

(The Pierre Tremblay Collection)


Subject: THE END OF MUSICRADIO WABC
Station: WABC New York
Date: May 10, 1982
Time: 40:40

It's impossible to determine the exact time the era of great Top 40 radio ended. It was a slow fade. But to many - symbolically at least - that end came at noon on May 10, 1982, the day Musicradio WABC ceased to exist.

For the better part of two decades, WABC ruled as the leading Top 40 station in New York and one of the most-listened to stations in North America. With top-notch personalities, a tight playlist, fabulous production, innovative contests and a 50,000-watt clear channel signal, it seemed like the glory years would never end. But end they did. In 1982, WABC switched to a talk format, but not before Musicradio went out with a bang.

On the final day of music, long-time WABC deejays Dan Ingram and Ron Lundy hosted a three-hour goodbye show. The finale was highlighted with a superb montage of WABC number-one songs over the station's 21-and-a-half year history as a Top 40 station. Then Dan and Ron said goodbye, and then, well, the rest you can hear yourself.

Relive the end of Musicradio WABC from May 10, 1982 here.

(The Bill Dulmage Collection)


Subject: THE END OF CHUM AS A TOP 40 STATION
Station: CHUM Toronto
Date: June 6, 1986 (Upgraded 6-4-11)
Time: 12:02

"I don't know much about this business. I hire people who do." - Allan Waters

For 29 years, CHUM ruled the airwaves as southern Ontario's leading Top 40 radio station. It all started May 27, 1957 when CHUM owner Allan Waters gambled that listeners would want to hear the Top 40 tunes - including the newfangled rock 'n' roll - 24 hours a day. He won his bet as CHUM went on to become one of North America's premier Top 40 stations, a status that has grown to legendary proportions. However, by 1986, CHUM determined that a change was necessary, and a format of current and past soft rock hits was introduced on June 6 (they went all-oldies in September, 1989). Not only did the Top 40 era end on that day at CHUM, but so did the tradition of the CHUM Chart - more than 1,500 issues strong.

To hear The End of CHUM as a Top 40 station, click here.

(The Bill Dulmage Collection)

For more classic CHUM airchecks, visit The CHUM Archives


Talent: JOHN FISHER
Station: WWKB Buffalo, N.Y.
Date: June 18, 1988
Time: 9:52

('KB logo, circa 1986)

As FM gained prominence in the '70s and '80s, one-by-one the great AM Top 40 powerhouses began falling. Slowly at first, then tumbling like dominos, they faded into the ether forever.

WMCA New York was one of the first of the biggies to go in 1970, followed by KQV Pittsburgh in 1975 and WCFL Chicago in 1976. CFOX Montreal and WIBG and WFIL Philadelphia played their last Top 40 tunes in 1977, with KRIZ Phoenix following suit in 1978. Then it was KHJ Los Angeles in 1980 ... WRKO Boston in 1981 ... WABC New York in 1982 ... CKLW Windsor and CFUN Vancouver in 1984 ... CHUM Toronto, CKGM Montreal and KFRC San Francisco in 1986 ... KJR Seattle in 1988 ... WLS Chicago in 1989 and CKOC Hamilton in 1992. Feelin' nostalgic? Well, that's just a partial and arbitrary list.

WWKB's turn came in 1988. Launched on July 4, 1958 as WKBW "Futuresonic Radio", the Buffalo station at 1520 on the dial played Top 40 until 1981, evolving into an adult contemporary format and then oldies with some currents. In June, 1988, the station decided to drop live and local deejays in favour of satellite oldies programming. It was the sad end to a truly great era, but to 'KB's credit the deejays were allowed to say goodbye on the air.

John Fisher did the morning show (6 a.m.-12 noon) on the final day, June 18, 1988.

Hear the final hour of his final show here.

(The Bill Dulmage Collection)


Talent: TOM ATKINS
Station: WWKB Buffalo, N.Y.
Date: June 18, 1988
Time: 11:26

Tom Atkins spent eight years at WWKB, and was on the air (noon-6 p.m.) on the final day of live-assist oldies on WWKB.

The last hour of his final show included the novelty song Rats in My Room with former 'KB jocks Dan Neaverth and Joey Reynolds.

Hear Atkins' final hour - and a portion of that Neaverth-Reynolds classic - here.

(The Bill Dulmage Collection)


Subject: THE END OF 'KB's FIRST LIVE AND LOCAL MUSIC ERA
Station: WKBW Buffalo, N.Y.
Date: June 18, 1988
Time: 5:06

(Logo courtesy Bill Dulmage)

On a muggy night in June, 1988, one of North America's greatest radio stations became "A Thing of the Past.Veteran deejay Tom Donahue signed off the end of local music programming at WWKB, for nearly 30 years one of the leading Top 40 stations in North America. Among the great talents to pass through its doors were Dick Biondi, Tom Shannon, Dan Neaverth, Stan Roberts, Jackson Armstrong, Sandy Beach and Irv Weinstein. All were long gone when a choked-up Donahue said goodbye to that great era and hello to satellite oldies in 1988. A parade of format changes since then diminished the ratings terribly but not our fond memories of the great 'KB.

The music did return January 27, 2003 when 'KB returned an oldies format with many of the great deejays that made 'KB such a wonderful station. But that revival lasted barely three years, with WWKB switching to a talk format February 6, 2006. The last song was Yesterday's Gone by Chad and Jeremy.

Hear this aircheck here.

(The Tom Donahue Collection)


Subject: THE END OF WNBC/WFAN 660 BEGINS
Station: WNBC New York
Date: October 7, 1988
Time: 14:31

(Logos courtesy Bill Dulmage)

At one time, it would have seemed unimaginable that a heritage station like WNBC would ever vanish from the airwaves. But disappear it did, after 66 years on the air, on October 7, 1988.

WNBC's roots go back to the very dawn of radio. In 1919, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company began an experimental radio-phone station - known as 2XB - at its Manhattan headquarters. Listeners were encouraged to send in reception reports. This led to AT&T's first real broadcast venture in the summer of 1922, WBAY. But that station was shut down because of technical problems after only three weeks and its staff transferred to the fledgling WEAF.

WEAF, owned by AT&T's Western Electric subsidiary, was an upgrade of 2XB. Originally it was assigned the call-letters WDAM, but Western Electric objected and requested WECO. Since the U.S. Commerce Dept. didn't allow customized call-letters, the new station was given the next available designation, WEAF, and it debuted August 16, 1922. Less than two weeks later - on August 28 - WEAF became the first station ever to carry a commercial, a 10-minute talk by the sales manager of a Queensboro real estate development.

What followed for WEAF was an incredible 66-year history, filled with voices like pioneer broadcaster Graham McNamee in the '20s to shock-jock Howard Stern in the '80s and countless others in between. The fast-rising value of radio was shown in 1925, when RCA purchased the station for $1 million as the flagship station for the network later known as NBC. Power was increased to 50,000 watts in 1927 and the next year the station moved permanently to 660kc, from 610. In 1946, the WEAF calls were changed to WNBC, only to be flipped to WRCA in 1954, then back to WNBC in 1960. WNBC's history also includes several years as a Top 40 station in the '70s and '80s, with personalities like Cousin Brucie, Don Imus and Norm N. Nite.

The end came in 1988, when General Electric sold off the NBC Radio Division it had acquired just two years before. On October 7, 1988, WNBC was replaced at the 660 dial position by all-sports radio WFAN, which had been at 1050.

WNBC went out with a bang, signing off with a 90-minute retrospective called WNBC: The First 66 Years. The farewell was hosted by Dale Parsons and written and produced by Parsons and his wife Ginny. We have the last few minutes of it below, including Alan Colmes counting down the final seconds. The first moments of WFAN are also included.

Hear a portion of the WNBC retrospective here.

(Scrapbook archives)

For a more complete history of WNBC and other New York AM stations, we highly recommend "The Airwaves of New York: Illustrated Histories of 156 AM Stations in the Metropolitan Area, 1921-1996" by Bill Jaker, Frank Sulek and Peter Kanze, McFarland and Company, Inc.


Subject: WPHD becomes WUFX
Station: WPHD/WUFX Buffalo, N.Y.
Date: September 23, 1989
Time: 6:01

(Logos courtesy Bill Dulmage)

The Buffalo FM dial is filled with rock music stations now, but the originator is long gone.

WYSL-FM signed on 1947 and became Buffalo's first FM rock station in 1966. As an added twist, for a short time early on they featured "Teen Disc Jockeys", including some who would go on to great careers, like Kevin O'Connell, Roger Christian and Jim Pastrick.

On January 6, 1969, WYSL-FM started playing progressive rock at night, simulcasting the AM signal's Top 40 format in the daytime. The first program hosts were Jim Santella and George Hamberger. In 1970, WYSL-FM's call letters were changed to WPHD and the album rock format was extended full-time. In 1974 WPHD switched back to WYSL-FM, only to return to WPHD in 1977.

Some of WPHD's leading jocks over the years included Harv Moore, Robert W. Taylor, Jim Scott, J.P. (John Piccolo), Brian J. Walker and Rick Arnay. Also at WPHD was Larry Norton, who would go on to a long career at Buffalo's 97 Rock.

On September 23, 1989, the morning team of Moore and Taylor were let go and the station switched its call letters to WUFX, The Fox. In 1995, the calls changed to WEDG and was rebranded as The Edge.

Listen to the WPHD to WUFX switchover here.

(The Bill Gilmore Collection)


Subject: THE END OF CFGM
Station: CFGM Richmond Hill, Ont.
Date: June 29, 1990
Time: 21:47 (Upgraded 5-6-14)

 

  

(Logos courtesy Bill Dulmage)

What CHUM was to Top 40 radio in Toronto CFGM was to country music. For nearly 30 years, the Richmond Hill, Ont., station ruled as the leader in country music radio in Canada at three different frequencies, 1310, 1320 and 640. But all came to an end in 1990 when CFGM became CHOG with a Top 40 format. It was a memorable farewell, one of the best radio goodbyes we've ever heard.

Hear the End of CFGM here.

(The Bill Dulmage Collection)


Subject: THE END OF CKEY
Station: CKEY Toronto
Date: March 14, 1991
Time: 3:29



From its beginnings in 1944 at the 580kc spot, CKEY has enjoyed a rich and varied history. Legendary broadcasters such as Keith Rich, Joe Morgan, Joe Chrysdale, Al Boliska, Jay Nelson, Terry Steele, Robert Payne and many, many others passed through its doors. It is one of the few stations to enjoy two lives as a rock station - the first in the late '50s and early '60s; the second in the mid-'80s to early '90s.

CKEY 590 passed into history just after 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, 1991, as it changed to country-formatted CKYC. The station has since moved to 1430 where it is ethnic-formatted CHKT.

To hear The End of CKEY as a Top 40 station, click here.

(The Bill Dulmage Collection)


Subject: THE FAN IS BORN
Station: CJCL Toronto
Date: September 4, 1992
Time: 7:30/14:48

(Photo credit/Canadian Communications Foundation)

One can imagine the ghost of Foster Hewitt looking down and smiling the day CJCL became Canada's first all-sports station as The Fan.

We think that Hewitt, the legendary hockey broadcaster who died in 1985, would have enjoyed the thought of the station he founded and owned for so many years going all-sports.

One of Canada's most beloved and enduring figures, Hewitt did Canada's second play-by-play broadcast on Toronto's CFCA in 1923 (Pete Parker was first.) Hewitt became the Toronto Maple Leafs play-by-play man in 1927 and founded his own station, CKFH, in 1951. In 1952, Hewitt did the first TV broadcast of a hockey game in Canada on CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada." He left hockey broadcasting in the 1960s, only to come out of retirement to announce the Canada-Soviet Summit Series for television in 1972.

Maple Leaf hockey was a mainstay at CKFH for most of its 30-year history (CHUM carried the Leafs Sunday night away games during the 1964-65 season). The Maple Leaf tradition on 1430 continued after Hewitt sold the station to Telemedia in 1981 and the calls switched to CJCL (the now-defunct CKO network had the Leaf radio rights for a time in the 1980s.)

By 1992, CJCL was programming about half sports and half music. Encouraged by the success of all-sports stations in the U.S., CJCL decided to take the plunge and become Canada's first 24-hour sports station on Sept. 4, 1992.

We have two airchecks from the Fan's first day:

First, hear CJCL's end as a music station and the first moments of the Fan here. (7:30)

Then, hear the official launch of the Fan 1430 here. (14:48)

(The Kevin Waller Collection)


Subject: WQXR becomes WQEW
Station: WQXR/WQEW New York
Date: December 2, 1992
Time: 15:19

 

WQXR-AM was an island of stability in an sea of change. Born in the days of crystal sets and Franklin Roosevelt, this New York station maintained a classical music format at 1560kc for 56 years. But finally, on December 2, 1992 - besieged by poor ratings - one of radio's grandest eras came to an end. At the same time, another one continued.

WQXR-AM closed off its classical music programming to make way for a different kind of classics as WQEW (the classical music continued on WQXR-FM). The music of choice at the new station was "American Popular Standards" - the best of Sinatra, Basie, Ella, Bing and other legendary 20th century performers. WQEW followed in the footsteps and tradition of New York's WNEW, which ended its long-running standards format at 1130kc just nine days after WQEW started. Several top WNEW personalities - including Jonathan Schwartz, Bob Jones and Les Davis - moved over to WQEW, whose 50,000-watt signal could be heard throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada.

WQEW proved to be the last gasp for a standards format in New York - it was replaced by Radio Disney's pre-teen format on December 28, 1998. But it had a great run, if brief.

Hear the end of WQXR-AM - and the beginning of WQEW here.

(The Bill Dulmage Collection)


Subject: WNEW-AM SAYS GOODBYE
Station: WNEW-AM New York
Date: December 11, 1992
Time: 14:54 (unscoped)
 (Upgraded 12-2-12)

 

"Have a good cry tonight, will ya?"

On a snowy night in December, 1992,  "The Station of the Stars" said goodbye.

WNEW-AM - for nearly 60 years one of America's top music stations - signed off in the wake of its impending purchase by Bloomberg Broadcasting (it would switch to a business news format). Many top broadcasters passed through its doors, including Martin Block, William B. Williams, Dee Finch and Gene Klaven. But when the end came just two remained, Mark Simone and Ted Brown chatting about the old days as the last minutes of live and local programming from WNEW-AM ticked away.*

(*the actual end of WNEW-AM came a few days later when the sale went through. After simulcasting WYNY until 4 p.m. December 15, WNEW-AM then aired a Perry Como Christmas special, some shows from Talknet and the first hour of Larry King. At 11:59 p.m., the pre-recorded voice of Director of Engineering Alan Kirschner came on and said "At this time 1130 WNEW New York will leave the air forever. Thanks for your support over the years. This is WNEW, New York.")

To hear the end of WNEW-AM's live and ocal programming, click here.

(The Bill Dulmage Collection)




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Subject: CFTR GOES FROM TOP 40 TO NEWS
Station: CFTR Toronto
Date: June 7, 1993
Time: 8:25

CHFI-AM began broadcasting with a beautiful music format on 1540kc in 1962, five years after its combo partner CHFI-FM went on the air. It was a rare case of the FM preceding the AM, inadvertently foreshadowing the important role FM would play in the latter part of the century.

CHFI-AM moved to 680kc in 1966 as CHIN took over the 1540 spot. In 1971, CHFI-AM changed its call letters to CFTR with the last two letters honouring its owner and founder, Ted Rogers. In 1972, CFTR switched to a rock music format, despite an earlier warning from Rogers that the station would only do so over his "dead body."

For 21 years, CFTR entertained Toronto with arguably one of the best Top 40 radio stations in North America. In June 1993, market forces dictated a change and CFTR became a 24-hour all-news station. CFTR released all of its announcers on June 1 and the last six days of the station's life as a Top 40 station were spent deejay-less, in a Top 500 countdown called "The CFTR Story." (It wasn't a "story" at all, just a countdown of top hit songs.)

Just before 6 a.m. on June 7, 1993, CFTR played We Built This City by Jefferson Starship. When the song ended, Dick Smyth came on the air with the first newscast in the all-news format. And yes, that IS dead air you hear at the end of this aircheck. It continued for a few more seconds.

Listen to the CFTR Top 40/all news changeover here.

(Scrapbook archives)


Subject: THE END OF COUNTRY 59
Station: CKYC Toronto
Date: February 6, 1995
Time: 2:38



When CKEY disappeared in 1991 after 47 years on the airwaves, its place at 590kc in Toronto was taken by a station with similar call-letters. CKYC - better known as Country 59 - debuted on March 15, 1991 with the first song being Tom T. Hall's Country Is. Several of the jocks from oldies-formatted KEY-590 stayed on, including John Donabie, Jerry Archer, Terry McPhail, Bob Van Dyke and David Sinclair (who changed his air name to Malcolm Sinclair).


Country 59 picked up where the legendary CFGM left off in June 1990, when it changed format to Top 40 as "The Hog." A number of well-known personalities graced the Country 59 airwaves during its short existence, including Bill Anderson, Eva Dee, Al Kingdon, Brian Barker, Wes Atkinson, Pete Walker and Stewart Hill.

It all came to an end just before 10 a.m. on Monday, February 6, 1995, when Bill Anderson signed off Country 59 with "Blaze of Glory" by Kenny Rogers and "Country Is", the song that started it all.

The sounds of a ticking clock were heard for the next two hours, and then at 12 noon Country 59 and the Fan 1430 switched frequencies. CJCL 1430 became the Fan 590 and country programming continued on 1430 with satellite programming from the Country Music Network.

In 1997, CKYC 1430 became CHKT with ethnic programming.

To hear the End of Country 59, click here.

(The Kevin Waller Collection)


Subject: THE END OF CHOG AS A TOP 40 STATION
Station: CHOG Toronto
Date: October 10, 1995
Time: 00:57

 

(Logos courtesy Bill Dulmage)

It started on a May morning in 1957. It ended on an October night in 1995. In between was 38 years of great Top 40 radio in Toronto.

At 6:00 a.m. on May 27, 1957, CHUM became Toronto's first Top 40 station as deejay Phil Ladd played Elvis Presley's number-one hit of the day, All Shook Up. CHUM would be a Top 40 station for the next 29 years, but not without challenge.

In 1958, CHUM already had a competitor in CKEY, which remained a Top 40 outlet until 1965 when it switched to a middle-of-the-road music format. CKFH was CHUM's next competitor, launching a rock format on January 2, 1967 and playing hit music until March, 1975, when it became a country station. In the meantime, CFTR had already launched its own Top 40 format in early 1972.

CHUM and CFTR remained Top 40 rivals on the AM band until June 13, 1986, when CHUM dropped out for a short-lived soft rock format tabbed "Hits of Yesterday and Today." CHUM switched to an oldies format in September, 1989.

With CHUM out of the picture, CFTR was Toronto's only Top 40 station for four years until June 29, 1990. At that time, long-time country station CFGM switched to a Top 40 format and changed its call-letters to CHOG, the "HOG" referring to Toronto's nickname as "Hogtown." Now CFTR had competition again.

But CFTR switched to all-news on June 7, 1993, leaving CHOG as Toronto's only Top 40 station. That ended just before 10 p.m. on October 10, 1995 when CHOG - a.k.a. "The Beat" - became Talk 640.

Kenny Coughlin was the last deejay on CHOG. Hear CHOG's goodbye - and the end of Top 40 radio on AM in Toronto - here.

(The Kevin Waller Collection)


Subject: THE LAST MINUTES OF WQEW-AM
Station: WQEW-AM New York
Date: December 27, 1998
Time: 5:02



After WNEW-AM went off the air in 1992, WQEW came along to replace it. For six years,  listeners in New York and throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada got to hear American popular standards on a clear channel signal. The music selection was diverse, and the programs presented by such personalities as Jonathan Schwartz and Rich Conaty were incredibly entertaining.

In early December of 1998, it was announced that the satellite-fed Radio Disney would replace the rich sounds of Sinatra, Ella and Basie at 1560. A few short weeks later, WQEW American Popular Standards was gone and another great radio station had left the airwaves.

To hear The End of WQEW, click here.

(Scrapbook archives)


Subject: THE FINAL WGR NEWSCAST
Station: WGR Buffalo, N.Y.
Date: January 28, 2000
Time: 11:53

The WGR news department had a proud history, dating back to the very dawn of commercial radio in the early 1920s. The phrase "First with News in Western New York" was uttered by many outstanding WGR news announcers, including (just from the latter part of the 20th century) John Otto, Don Dussias, Ed Little, Ray Marks, John Zach and Sandy Kozel.

The WGR newsroom finally closed up shop in January, 2000 when the station switched to an all-sports format.

The honour of delivering the final WGR newscast went to Tom Puckett. As you'll hear, he actually signs off the final cast not once, but three times!

Hear Tom Puckett with the final WGR newscast here.

(The Kevin Waller Collection)


Talent: BOB LAINE and DUFF ROMAN
Station: CHUM Toronto
Date: May 7, 2001
Times: 20:25/22:28

Bob Laine (l) and Duff Roman (r) at the CHUM mic

CHUM reached into its past when it said goodbye to music in 2001.

Legendary CHUM deejays Bob Laine and Duff Roman went back behind the mic in a five-hour finale full of interviews, memories and music.

Both were natural choices to host the finale. Laine jocked at CHUM from 1958 to 1970 - the first 10 of those years in the all-night show - before a long stint in management at CHUM Limited. Roman was a CHUM jock from 1965 to 1968 followed many years in the CHUM management suite beginning in 1974.

In January, 2001, CHUM announced it was ending 44 years of hit music programming - the last 11 as an oldies station - to go to an all-sports format as "The Team." The date of the switchover was May 7, 2001, with Brian Henderson's final morning program leading into Laine-Roman farewell show from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Little did they know that CHUM would return to oldies 15 months later, then dump music again for good in 2009.

Part One of the finale begins with Henderson's sign-off and final song. Then Laine and Roman take over. In this first segment, you'll hear recorded segments by Toronto mayor Mel Lastman, CHUM Limited founder Allan Waters, former CHUM newsman Brian Williams and CHUM jock Charlie O'Brien plus an in-studio interview with long-time CHUM and CHUM-FM jock Roger Ashby. Phone problems hamper an interview with former CHUM newsman Peter Dickens.

Hear Part 1 here. (20:25)

In Part Two, Bob and Duff interview the great Ronnie Hawkins. Chuck McCoy and Gord Lightfoot appear in recorded segments. The phone problems continue.

Hear Part 2 here. (22:28)

(The Don Shuttleworth Collection)


Subject: CHUM's FAREWELL (Part One)
Station:
 CHUM Toronto
Date: 
May 7, 2001
Time:
 8:52

On Monday, May 7 at 3 p.m. ET a Canadian radio era ended (or so we thought: see below). 1050 CHUM Toronto stopped playing music, ending a tradition that started at 6 a.m. on May 27, 1957. Bob Laine and Duff Roman, who were there in the '50s and '60s, signed off the station with one final five-hour show. They also ended the months-long mystery of what the last song would be.

Here is Bob Laine and Duff Roman's farewell.

Subject: CHUM's FAREWELL (Part Two)
Station:
 
CHUM Toronto
Date: 
May 7, 2001
Time:
 13:52 (Upgraded 3-3-12)

The farewell ended with this great montage of 1050 CHUM moments.

AUDIO ENHANCEMENT by Andy Rebscher

(Scrapbook archives)


Subject: CHUM'S RETURN
Station: 
CHUM Toronto
Date: 
August 27, 2002
Time: 
14:27

CHUM suddenly returned to oldies after a 15-and-a-half month experiment with an all-sports format "The Team." The change took place at 3 p.m., the same time of day the original oldies format ended. There was no mention of the demise of the sports format, but the return of oldies was heralded with a montage that will be familiar to those who heard the end of the original oldies format on May 7, 2001. The first song played was Elvis Presley's A Little Less Conversation.

Hear the TEAM/CHUM oldies changeover here.

(Scrapbook archives)

UPDATE: CHUM dropped music again at 5 a.m. on March 26, 2009. They went straight from the last song (Black Magic Woman by Santana) to the audio feed of the Toronto all-news TV station CP24. No acknowledgement was made of the switch or of CHUM`s more than half-century of playing hit music.


Subject: END OF CKY 580/LAUNCH OF 102 CLEAR FM
Station: CKY Winnipeg
Date: January 21, 2004
Time: 17:50

A legendary broadcaster said goodbye to a legendary station. With Don Percy hosting the final show, CKY ended 81 years on the AM band and moved to FM.

CKY began its life at the dawn of radio in 1923. It started as a 2,000-watter owned by Manitoba Government Telephones, broadcasting only three hours a day. Its programming was also made available in parlour cars of CNR trains passing through Winnipeg!

Known as Manitoba's Friendly Giant, CKY would go on to become of Canada's most popular radio stations. Its powerful 50,000-watt signal was heard in three provinces and in the U.S. A successful Top 40 outlet for years, CKY had an oldies format as Oldies KY58 AM when the switch was made to the FM band as 102 CLEAR FM.

CKY 580 got a great send-off, with veteran broadcaster Don Percy hosting a final show that included visits from former CKY announcers, city dignitaries and friends of CKY. You won't believe the final song, a special version of "Yesterday" written and sung for the occasion by Winnipeg's own Joey Gregorash.

Enjoy the final moments of CKY-AM and the launch of 102 CLEAR FM here.

(The Don Shuttleworth Collection)


Talent: WCBS-FM DEEJAY GOODBYES
Station: WCBS-FM New York
Date: May 28-June 3, 2005
Time: 9:39

WCBS-FM New York left its oldies format of nearly 33 years behind on June 3, 2005, when it switched to a JACK format.

Despite the longevity of the format, none of the deejays was given the opportunity to say a proper on-air goodbye. The jocks were told of the move at 4 p.m. on a Friday and the station switched format an hour later.

But thanks to the amazing foresight of one Linda Cohen, we can hear the deejays final words on 'CBS. Linda often taped WCBS-FM and, as it happened, captured the final words of many of the deejays on the air.

Only Bill Brown, who did the final WCBS-FM oldies show, appeared to know what was about to happen. The other deejays quite clearly did not.

John Troll put together this montage from airchecks taped by Linda Cohen. He then sent the montage to New York Radio Message Board webmaster, Allan Sniffen, who then posted it to a special WCBS-FM/Jack-FM Message Board. We heard the montage there, asked for permission to use it, which was quickly granted by Sniffen.

Here's the lineup on the montage:

1. Harry Harrison - Saturday, May 28, 10 a.m.
2. 
Mike McCann - Sunday, May 29, 9 p.m.
3. 
Norm N. Nite - Monday, May 30, 1 a.m.
4. 
Cousin Brucie - Wednesday, June 1, 10 p.m.
5. 
Don K. Reed - Friday, June 3, 6 a.m.
6. 
Mickey Dolenz and Mike Fitzgerald - Friday, June 3, 10 a.m.
7. 
Randy Davis - Friday, June 3, 1 p.m.
8. 
Bill Brown - Friday, June 3, 4 p.m. (last words before flip)
9. 
End of Summer Wind - Friday, June 3, 4:30 p.m. (last song)

Listen to the montage here.

(From Linda Cohen and John Troll via Allan Sniffen)


Talent: THE LAUNCH OF JACK-FM
Station: WCBS-FM New York
Date: June 3, 2005
Time: 6:12

Imagine the horror loyal WCBS-FM oldies fans felt when they heard THIS!

Hear the launch of JACK-FM here.

(The Allan Sniffen Collection)


Subject: THE RETURN OF WCBS-FM
Station: WCBS-FM New York
Date: July 12, 2007
Time: 23:52

As New York baseball icon Yogi Berra said at least once: "it's never over 'till it's over."

For all intents and purposes, it looked like it was "over" for New York oldies fans in 2005 when WCBS-FM dropped its long-running nostalgia format in favour of the JACK format.

But two years of poor ratings for JACK convinced the powers that be that a mistake had been made. And on July 12, 2007, WCBS-FM returned to oldies with a great montage of '60s, '70s and '80s moments.

The first deejay heard was Bob Shannon. Fittingly, it was Shannon whose show was the first to be pre-empted when WCBS-FM made the ill-fated switch on June 3, 2005.

Enjoy the relaunch of WCBS-FM here.

(Scrapbook archives)


Subject: NEW YORK'S 96.3 SWITCHES FROM WQXR TO WCAA
Station: 
WQXR/WCAA New York
Date: October 8, 2009
Time: 
3:35

  

It was one of the more dramatic switchovers you'll ever hear.

On October 8, 2009, classical-formatted WQXR ended six decades at the 96.3 dial spot in New York. The new format at 96.3? Spanish Tropical.

WQXR became New York's first FM station on December 11, 1939 as W2XQR on a frequency of 41.2 MHz. After several changes in dial position and call signs, the station landed on 96.3 in 1947 and became WQXR in 1948. In 2009, the New York Times - which had owned WQXR since 1944 - transferred the 96.3 frequency to Univision. WQXR moved to 105.9 under the operation of WNYC.

On October 8, 2009 at 8 p.m., the classical sounds at 96.3 were replaced by the Spanish urban format of WCAA, formerly at 105.9. WCAA became "96.3 La Kalle (The Street)." If you weren't ready for it, the switch from classical to modern rock music would have been jarring to say the least.

Just for the record, the last song WQXR plays at 96.3 is "Mambo" from West Side Story. WCAA's first song at 96.3 is "Hotel Room Service" by Pitbull.

Hear the WQXR to WCAA transition at New York's 96.3 here.

(Scrapbook archives)


PART TWO: PERSONAL GOODBYES

Talent: JOHN R. (last show)
Station: WLAC Nashville, Tenn.
Date: August 1, 1973
Time: 
0:48

John R., Hoss Allen and Gene Nobles. They stand together simply as the "Triumvirate." The same way the infield combination of Tinker, Evers and Chance are joined together in baseball lore, John R., Allen and Nobles are forever linked in radio annals. John R., an actor who had trouble finding steady work, found the security he wanted at WLAC where he ruled the roost for three decades as a late-night R&B jock. The powerful WLAC signal could be heard all over the eastern seaboard, which helped give the "Triumvirate" more of a national than just regional presence. John R., Hoss Allen and Gene Nobles, a radio threesome the likes of which we'll probably never hear again.

Read more about John R. here.

Listen to the final moments of his last show here.

(The Russ Horton Collection)


Talent: NORMAN B. (BLAKELY)
Station: 
CHOW Welland, Ont.
Date: 
March, 1975
Time:
 17:22  (Upgraded 2-8-12)

"Do what you dig. Dig what you do. That's what life's all about."

Norman B. didn't like the way radio was going, so he quit.

In March, 1975 - unhappy that he could no longer "do his own thing" on the air - the veteran broadcaster turned his back on the medium he loved after 10 years in the business. His retirement didn't last long - he was back on the air four years later at CING-FM (FM 108) Burlington, Ont. - where he was allowed to "do his own thing" - but no one could doubt the sincerity of the man's passion for radio and music.

Norman B. got his start in radio in 1964 while attending what is now known as Ryerson University. He created "The Jazz Scene" at Ryerson station CJRT-FM, a show that continued for three decades after Norman's departure with host Ted O'Reilly. In the summers of 1964 and 1965, Norman had his first radio gig outside of CJRT at CFOS Owen Sound, Ont. From there Norman had a string of radio jobs that included CJSP Weyburn, Sask., CJME Regina and Ontario stations CJWA Wawa, CJIC Sault Ste. Marie, CKFH Toronto, CKBB Barrie and CHOW Welland. It appeared the career of the gravel-voiced jock was over when he left CHOW in 1975, but you can't keep an old radio guy down and in 1979 he popped up on FM 108.

Norman spent the rest of his radio career at FM 108. He had several on-air roles there - including the morning show in the early '80s and many feature programs - but he's probably best remembered for his decade as program director at FM 108, Canada's first FM oldies station. Among his many acts there was to give yours truly an air shift in 1985, for which your webmaster will always be grateful. Full details of Norman's career can be found here.

We had this aircheck of Norman B's final CHOW show for years, but held off using it because of the muddy audio quality. We've made efforts to improve it, and we hope it's OK now. It's a really poignant farewell, and one of our favourite airchecks.

Enjoy Norman B's final CHOW show here.

(The Bill Dulmage Collection)

AUDIO ENHANCEMENT by Andy Rebscher


Talent: DUKE ROBERTS (last show)
Station: CFTR Toronto
Date: April, 1975
Time: 2:33

"I'm sorry Toronto, goodbye."

Get your hankie ready.

In this emotional farewell, Duke Roberts ends his two-year stint at CFTR and heads to new adventures in the U.S. It's one of our favourite endings from the days when jocks were routinely allowed to say goodbye to their listeners.

Robert Stoehr is a great guy, always receptive to questions about his career. So we asked him about why he changed his air name from Duke Roberts to Gary Duke, what the biggest difference was between working at CHUM and CFTR, and about the aircheck itself...

"Gary to Duke. It's almost the other way round since I was Duke Roberts in Philadelphia at WIBG in 1968 and then coming to CHUM in 1969 from Wibbage I decided to go with Gary and kept the Duke as a last name. I was always a Bob, Bobby, or Big Bob previously to 1968 and Philly. Always liked the friendly name of Gary so I tried it the 1st time at CHUM, and liked the name. Then when Philly boss Paul Drew wanted me to come back with him at CKLW in 1970 it was a given that I was Duke Roberts. When he moved us to KFRC, San Francisco because of his RKO General transfer, the name stayed with me as I climbed the ladder of radio success and I'd finally gotten used to being called Duke. Even when Bob Wood called in 1971 he said "Hi Duke, I'm looking for an afternoon drive guy." The inner workings get complicated, but there was Duke back at CHUM, and really loving it!

The biggest difference working at CFTR after leaving CHUM was my personal relationship with Keith Dancy, the boss under Ted Rogers. I'd worked for Keith previously at CFOX, Montreal from 1966-68. Because of a friendship and trust he let me do anything on the air and trusted me at CFTR. He even let me promote the radio school plus a ton of travel trade. He even introduced me to my wife, and she was good friends with his wife. The program director(s) never liked it but I was Keith's boy. Even 2 month's vacation a year. 2 weeks off after every rating. At CHUM, I was no prima donna, just part of the CHUM machine. And being well paid was the reward. The second time working at CHUM I remember that Bob Wood was an extremely nice guy. A good boss

Re: aircheck - The last few minutes at CFTR I remember the greatest board op I ever had, anywhere, Peter, started to cry, then me, then Wild Bill Edwards, and it continued through the top hour break and I finally got out 5 minutes later so they could get back to work. Talk about brotherly fellowship!" 

We also wondered what the Duker did after CFTR, and he responded...

"After leaving CFTR my Canadian gal who later became my wife (Betty Lou) moved to Naples, Florida with me and we started buying and selling radio stations, 6 in all (1978-1997), including the last 2 that I built in Ocala and Cedar Key. From 1976-78 I worked on air at WGBS-Miami, WRGI-Naples, and SuperQ-Ft Myers...In 1981-83 I also worked on 2 big Tampa stations, W101, and 95.7."

Enjoy Duke Roberts' CFTR farewell here.

(The Ross Carlin Collection)


Subject: WCFL JOCKS SAY GOODBYE
Station: WCFL Chicago
Date: March, 1976
Time: 6:25

It was the day the music died in Chicago.

On March 15, 1976 - to the chagrin to its many dedicated fans (but too few as it turned out) - WCFL switched from Top 40 to beautiful music. WCFL began playing hit music in 1965 and for many years stood as a formidable rival to Chicago Top 40 giant WLS. But failing ratings forced a change, and all the jocks left except for Larry Lujack (Bob Dearborn was asked to stay on, but declined).

To its credit, the station allowed the deejays to say goodbye. On this aircheck, you'll hear farewells from Jim Bernard Hebel, Tim Kelly, Dick Shannon, Michael Scott and Bob Dearborn. Larry Lujack, the only deejay to stay on, delivers his "Farewell Address to the Nation."


The final WCFL lineup

6-10 a.m. - JOHNNY DRISCOLL
10 a.m.-2 p.m. - BOB DEARBORN
2-6 p.m. - LARRY LUJACK
6-10 p.m. - TIM KELLY
10 p.m.-2 a.m. - MICHAEL SCOTT
2-6 a.m. - DICK SHANNON
Weekends - JIM BERNARD HEBEL

Format changed to beautiful music at 7 p.m., March 15, 1976
 

Hear the WCFL deejay goodbyes here.

(Scrapbook archives)


Talent: MIKE COOPER (last show)
Station: CHUM Toronto
Date: October, 1976
Time: 5:37

Mike Cooper left CHUM in 1976 after a memorable stint that included (1) faking his death on the air and (2) setting a world record for the longest ferris wheel ride. After that, he moved to CKGM Montreal before returning to Toronto by 1978, this time at CFTR.

After a run of more than a decade at 'TR, Cooper moved over to the morning show at CKEY (Key-590) in 1989. Cooper stayed at CKEY until just before the switch to country music in 1991. From there it was on to Peterborough (initially due to a non-compete clause) for gigs at CHEX and CKWF (The Wolf) in 1991 and 1992. Mornings at CHAM Hamilton was next for Coop, who returned to Toronto in 1995 to co-host the morning show at CJEZ (first with Terri Michael, then with Christine Cardoso). In 2005 - in a much-publicized move - Cooper moved over to CHFI to co-host mornings with Erin Davis.

Hear the final moments of Coop's last show on CHUM here.

(The Charlie Ritenburg Collection)


Talent: CLINT BUEHLMANN (last show)
Station: WBEN Buffalo, N.Y.
Date: July 29, 1977
Time: 
1:25

(Logo courtesy Bill Dulmage)

WBEN's morning show has been a model of stability over the years. In the 20th century, they only had four morning men - Jack Parr, Clint Buehlman, Jeff Kaye and Bill Lacy.

Parr was the first morning announcer on WBEN, ruling the roost from 1930 to 1943. He was followed by Buehlman (1943-1977), Kaye (1977-1985) and Lacy (1985-2001).

Listen to the final moments of Buehlman's last show here.

(The Bill Dulmage Collection)


Talent: DAN WILLIAMSON (last show)
Station: CKLG Vancouver
Date: June 10, 1978
Time: 53:54 (unscoped)
          
22:59 (scoped)

Dan Williamson had a long career in Toronto radio, but his roots are in the West.

Williamson's on-air radio career began in the early '70s when he was taking a National Institute of Broadcasting (NIB) radio course in the basement of CKLG Vancouver. One of his instructors was Frank Callaghan, program director of CKLG. Callaghan heard an aircheck of the young Williamson, sent it to CHAB, and in July, 1971 Williamson was hired for on-air duty at the Moose Jaw, Sask., station.

After a brief stop at CHOV Kelowna, B.C., Williamson returned to CKLG in March, 1972. He stayed at that legendary rocker until June, 1978, then moved to Toronto for a lengthy career that included stops at CFTR, CKEY, CKFM "The Mix" and the country-music version of CISS-FM. One of Canada's most sought-after voice talents, Williamson was a long-time imaging voice of the Global Television Network.

Hear Williamson's final show on CKLG here. (unscoped)

Hear Williamson's final show on CKLG here. (scoped)

(Scrapbook archives)




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Talent: KEITH RICH (last show)
Station: 
CKEY Toronto
Date: 
May 29, 1986
Time: 
7:39

The rush hour never seemed quite as hectic with Keith Rich. The native of Dugaid, Man., woke Torontonians up as morning man for the better part of a quarter-century, first as CKEY then at CJCL. And through it all one thing was constant: his relaxed, warm, cheerful on-air presence.

Rich had a long and varied career. He got his start at CHOV Pembroke, Ont., and CJVI Victoria before moving to CJCA Edmonton from 1952 to 1956. He was at Toronto's CFRB in 1957 and 1958, then left for the west coast at CKWX Vancouver in 1960 and 1961. He returned to Toronto for his first stint at CKEY in 1961 and 1962, when they were a Top 40 station.

Rich and Edmonton's Steve Woodman teamed up at WNBC New York from 1962 to 1963. In 1964, Rich moved back to CKEY for a 22-year run, mostly in mornings. Rich's career at 'EY spanned the tail end of the station's Top 40 era which ended in 1965, the entire easy-listening era from 1965 to 1984, and the beginning of that station's oldies format starting in 1984. He's the only show host to work in all three of those CKEY eras.

In 1986, Rich left CKEY for the morning show at oldies-MOR formatted CJCL. He was there until his retirement from radio in 1990. After his radio days ended, Rich farmed full-time and also bred Australian sheepdogs. He also continued to pursue his lifelong interest in aviation.

Rich died November 19, 2007 in Meaford, Ont. He was 80. At his funeral, a clip featuring his infectious laugh was played from his last solo CKEY show in 1986.

Enjoy that clip featuring Rich from that final solo show here.

(The Rob Whitehead Collection)


Talent: ROCKIN' ROBIN (last show)
Station: FM 108 (CING-FM) Burlington, Ont.
Date: February 24, 1989
Time:
 28:57

(Photo courtesy Rockin'  Robin)

The nostalgia era at FM 108 ended in September, 1990, with the phasing out of the final remaining oldies programming on Saturdays. But for many fans of the station, the end really came about a year-and-a-half earlier, when Rockin' Robin left the station.

For the decade he spent at the station, Robin was one of FM 108's most popular and recognizable deejays. To many, he truly personified the station. He was certainly visible, appearing at hundreds of oldies dances throughout southern Ontario through his Rockin' Robin Disc Jockey Service. On the air, he was dynamite - his energetic yet warm style was perfect for the '50s and '60s music FM 108 played in its heyday.

In 1989, Robin decided to hitch his star to a new wagon - the Canadian Satellite Network. This network offered live contemporary music programs via satellite hosted by Pat Porter (overnights) and Robin (mornings.) And so it came to be that Robin did his last FM 108 show on Friday, February 24, 1989.

And what a finale it was! With Russ Horton co-hosting, the last show featured taped appearances by FM 108 personalities like Earl Warren and Con Chung, and live drop-ins by Mark Panopoulos and program director Norman B. (via phone). You'll hear it all - and more - on this very special aircheck.

Enjoy Rockin' Robin's last FM 108 show here.

(The Russ Horton Collection)

NOTE: The Canadian Satellite Network ceased operations in the early '90s, and Robin went on to gigs at CJRN Niagara Falls, CHML Hamilton, CHSC St. Catharines and CHWO (AM 740) Oakville.

After Robin left FM 108, Russ Horton and later Mike Spicer took over the 7-10 p.m. slot. In September, 1989, FM 108 began programming contemporary dance hits at night, with daytime weekday programming reserved for middle of the road music (it was called Daytime Lite/Rhythm at Night).

The only oldies programming left was on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and that aired for the last time on September 29, 1990 (Dale Patterson was the last deejay). Some 12 years after it began, the oldies era was over at FM 108. CING-FM switched to a full-time dance format as Dance 108 in September, 1991. Interestingly, CING-FM adopted a '60s, '70s and '80s format as "Vinyl" in late 2009/early 2010.


Talent: KEITH RICH (last show)
Station: 
CJCL Toronto
Date: 
October 26, 1990
Time:
 31:03/30:34

Keith Rich (below) with early-'60s WNBC broadcast partner Steve Woodman

Love was in the air - and on the air - as Keith Rich said farewell.

Many of Rich's broadcast colleagues and friends made live or taped appearances as the beloved broadcast veteran did the final show of a four-decade career from the lobby of Toronto's Royal York Hotel. His co-hosts on CJCL were Bob Durant and Halina Balka with Joe Bowen on sports.

Appearing on Part One of this aircheck (station affiliations at the time in brackets) are Humble Howard and Fred Patterson (CFNY), Lyn Thomas and Chris Mayberry (KEY-590), former CKEY program director and announcer Gene Kirby, Bill Anderson (CJEZ), David Lennick (CFRB), Mike Cooper (KEY-590), Anne Reeves (CFRB), Doug Trowell (CJCA, K-97), Metro Toronto Chairman Alan Tonks, former CKEY announcers Glenn Walters and Stan Lark and Blue Jay broadcaster Tom Cheek.

Rich died November 19, 2007 in Meaford, Ont. He was 80.

Enjoy Keith Rich's farewell, Part One, here.

Enjoy Keith Rich's farewell, Part Two, here.

(The Andrew Consky Collection)


Talent: RICK HONEY (last show)
Station: CKNW Vancouver
Date: May 30, 1997
Time: 33:11

Rick Honey worked at a number of stations in a variety of markets, but he's most remembered for his time at CKNW.

Honey started at the Vancouver station on April 3, 1973 after previously jocking at CJCB Sydney, N.S., CJOB AM and FM Winnipeg and CKLG Vancouver (he and his long-time friend Daryl B. had back-to-back shifts at 'LG for a time). Honey spent 24 years as the "Road Show" afternoon drive host at CKNW before leaving in 1997. He went to Star-FM (CKSR-FM) in Chilliwack, B.C., later that year before moving to Vancouver's CKBD in 2000-01. Honey was named Performer of the Year by the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters in 2000.

On what would be his final shift at CKBD - February 22, 2001 - Honey gave his usual sign-off "Thanks a bunch, B.C. We'll see you tomorrow." But there was no tomorrow - Honey booked off sick the next day and died the day after - February 24, 2001 - of cancer. He was 53. Tragically, his friend Daryl B. died of a stroke just three days later.

Honey, who grew up in Winnipeg, was a drummer who played with Neil Young and once beat Burton Cummings and the Devrons in a "Battle of the Bands." Honey's great sense of humour is recognized annually via the Rick Honey Comedy Trophy, for excellence in comedy magic by a junior.

Rick Honey's final CKNW show was May 30, 1997. Enjoy it 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 says thanks Ted for sharing this aircheck.


Talent: TED O'REILLY (last show)
Station: CJRT-FM Toronto
Date: March 27, 2002
Time: 
1:45

For 37 years, Ted O'Reilly was Mr. Jazz in Toronto, as host of The Jazz Scene at CJRT-FM (rebranded as Jazz-FM 91 in 2001). O'Reilly played countless jazz tunes over the years, along the way interviewing hundreds of jazz musicians while playing a strong role in the promotion of Canadian jazz talent. He resigned from Jazz-FM in March, 2002, and here are the final words from the last live show (his final appearance on the station was on the taped Jazz in Concert four days later).

Hear Ted O'Reilly here.

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