ROCK RADIO SCRAPBOOK
DARELL PROVOST LOOKS BACK
In October, 2009, thanks to a lead from Jon Pearkins,
Rock Radio Scrapbook was able to track down
Darell Provost, the former CKGM, CKRC and CFRW deejay. Though many years removed from his Top 40 days,
he still remembered his time in
off working at a small radio station in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba called
remember the day, as it was the day "My Dream Came True" It was July, 1966.
I learned a
lot there. My pay was $150.00 per month. $75.00 of that was for board and room
for a bedroom above a convenience store.
moved into the morning slot 6:00 to 10:00 a.m.
country and western music primarily and of course lots of religious programs
to help pay the bills.
named Vince Edwards took me under his wing and taught me how to write news
copy and was I often sent off to interview the likes of Tommy Douglas and
Kitty Wells, a C&W singer of note in those days.
As for the D.J
and announcing aspect I already near completing a radio and tv announcing
course from "The National Institute of Broadcasting. I graduated in February
commercials, swept the floor, organized the music library, you name it.
One day, about
a year later, I called CKRC, and got to speak to a DJ there called Ron Legge.
I asked if he knew of any openings and as luck would have it he said that he
knew that the all night DJ was leaving and to quote him "You better get your
bum down here right away."
I called the
program director Bob Washington, who ended up being the voice for K-Tel for
I offered to
send him an air check, he said it wasn't necessary as he would just listen to
me on the air.
I week later I
got the job. All night Mid-6 AM.
Big pay raise
too.. I am now making $600.00 a month (ha ha).
I worked there
for a year.and then moved to CFRW.
This was very
interesting period of time. I had gotten an apartment and one evening got a
call from a singer named Burton Cummings.
There was no
fame or hit records at that time and he became a room mate of mine.
As did a man
named Jim Millican who ended up producing "The Radio Show" on the CBC.
were well under way and the band "The Guess Who" became a part of it.
dramatic change for me. Gold records on my apartment wall etc.
CFRW on the
other hand was a stick in the mud classical music station going nowhere.
Duff Roman who
later became the Program Director of Chum in Toronto called and asked if I
would consider crossing the street and come to work for him as he felt the
only to save the station was to turn into a "Rock n Roll" station.
This was a
gradual change though. I saw the challenge there and an opportunity to mould a
station into something that reflected the times.
being replaced by albums. Bands where getting to be a very prominent element
in the culture and music of the times.
I worked for
awhile for nothing and lived off my savings. The station one day announced it
was going bankupt. I ended up receiving a payment of $150.00 as a settlement
for about three months work. So much for the "cash register" aspect to being
ended up buying it for $150,000.00 and decided to let us turn it into the rock
n' roll station we had dreamed of.
I believe he
ended up selling for a million or so.
accomplished the impossible and turned into the most listened to station in
A gentleman by
the named of Gord Morrison who was a record rep for United Artists came along,
mostly because of the fame The Guess Who were receiving with their hits "These
Eyes" Undun" etc.
that CKGM were looking for a D.J in Montreal and asked if I was interested.
that the only way way to maintain a career in broadcasting was to get into a
major market and at that time I thought this would be my lifes' work.
Away I went to
Montreal. I arrived there just after "Give Peace A Chance" was recorded by
I hung out at
McGill with some journalism students and then one day I received a bomb threat
from the FLQ.
was declared by Mr. Trudeau and I began doing some soul searching as to
whether this was the career for me.
I received an
offer from The RKO Radio Chain in the USA paying about $60,000 a year.
I declined for
a couple of contractual reasons that I won't get into here.
So... I left
I ended up
working in a recording studio in Winnipeg and after Burton left "The Guess
Who" I travelled extensively throughout the USA and Canada during the
"Saturday Night Fever" days.
independently through CBS Records in Los Angeles and Shep Gordon manager of
What a life.
My dreams came true.
I am now 60
think like a 29 year old.
I am a better
person for all of this.
More well read
and sophisticated in may ways.