THANK YOU CKY

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Walk on Water

THANK YOU CKY

I’d always loved listening to music on The Radio, but I think it was 1957 when I was 12, that I first understood there was My Music and then there was My Parent’s Music.

Up to then, all of us had enjoyed much of the The Hit Parade with music such as “How Much Is That Doggie in The Window”, “Shrimp Boats Are A Comin'”, “You Belong To Me” ,”Honeycomb” and even “All I Have To Do is Dream” by The Everly Brothers. I’m not sure, but I think most Radio Stations in Winnipeg played them all.

But then, one day I asked if I could buy “The Lord Made A Woman” by Doug Powell. When I brought it home, my parents weren’t at all pleased. “You call that Music”?

I had heard it on CKY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjooAWNVfNU (video is unavailable)

Meanwhile, according to an ad in the newspaper, CJOB had banned Rock & Roll. They even took some of the records they HAD been playing and broke them on the air.

The Generation Gap had arrived in Winnipeg.

1958 is one of my favourite years. I had become A Teenager. Instead of having to stand outside The Teen Dance at Clifton Community Club and listen to the music, I got go inside, sit on the boy’s side of the room and watch the girls dancing with each other. Later, live bands would come to Clifton. My Fav was Roy Mickie & The Downbeats. Roy could play guitar with his teeth.

Sometimes the bands were introduced by one of The ‘KY Good Guys. My Fav was “Deno” Corrie. What kind of a name was “Deno”? It seemed like such a Rock & Roll Name. Kind of like Elvis. I had never even heard of anyone who had a name like “Deno”.

I changed my name to “Cosmo.”

One time on a hot Saturday afternoon, Deno broadcast his entire show next to The ‘KY Swimming Pool atop The CKY Building at Portage and Main. From all the laughing and splashing it seemed like Deno was having quite a party!

In 1958 I also got to buy my own Radio. It was one of those “new fangled” Transistor ones. It was red and white in a leather case with a little “headphone”. At $33 it was a lot of money from my paper route. I had to borrow half of it from Dad. He told me that not only would I have to pay him back, but I had better save a little so I could buy the batteries when they wore out.

It was my first budget.

The coolest thing about My Transistor Radio was that I got to go to sleep with it under my pillow while listening to The Man About Midnight on CKY. His name was Doug Burrows and he broadcast live from The Paddock Nightclub. The Radio always sounded even better in the dark.

Rock & Roll began to envelop Winnipeg. Was everybody in a band? I bought a used set of Slingerland Drums and Lyle Thauberger and I tried to start one but there were just soooo many other bands.

I just had to find The Door Into Rock & Roll.

I decided it would be Radio. I already had a “head start”. At age 10, I had been the soprano soloist with Eaton’s Good Deed Club Choir broadcasting Saturday Mornings on CBW. This lead to an audition with CBC Radio Theatre where I became The Kid on dozens of shows.

Then….almost by accident, I discovered The Incredible Hidden Power of Radio……

At 10 o’clock every weeknight, Jerry Bright at CKY broadcast The Battle of The New Sounds. On the Monday, Bobby Vee won. On the Tuesday, Vee’s record was challenged by Laugh And The World Laughs With You by Jack Scott. JACK SCOTT!!! He was my favourite singer!! Since 1958 and his first hit My True Love, I collected ALL his records. Even the Country LP. And the Gospel LP. Best of all…. JACK SCOTT WAS CANADIAN! I had to make sure Jack won. So….I called CKY, my parents called CKY and all my friends were threatened with death if they didn’t call CKY. Jack won Tuesday. By Wednesday I was on fire! Jack won Wednesday. Jack won Thursday. Jack won Friday!

Laugh And The World Laughs With You became CKY’s Pick Hit of The Week, peaked at #6 in March 1963 and was the #49 record for the entire year. Interestingly, CKY’s competition, CKRC, never played it. And as I would later discover…. neither did any other major Radio Station in North America.

Now I was REALLY interested in working in Radio.

(Although, of course, I didn’t know it at the time, I had just discovered a Key Programming Strategy which would later help me 14 years later. As Program Director of CHUM-FM, I put Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell in Heavy Rotation even as my competition ignored it. “Bat” became Canada’s largest selling album ever. CHUM-FM became the #1 FM in Canada.)

CKY’s Peter Jackson (PJ the DJ) quickly became my new favourite Jock. One time, after playing “Laugh,” PJ mentioned the distinctive fuzz tone guitar solo in the middle of the record was played by Grady Martin one of Nashville’s top session players. Peter then dropped the needle just prior to the solo and played it all over again.

Can you do that on Radio? How can I get a job on Radio?

My Mom put together a resume for me which I told her we should only send to CKY…..but which she insisted we send to ALL the Winnipeg Radio Stations. CJOB hired me part time because I could type file cards in the Record Library and the P.D., Cliff Gardner, had worked with me in theatre. The Good News was that ‘OB threw out all the Rock & Roll Records they received.
I now had an evening job touring Winnipeg’s High Schools Dances playing the music CJOB discarded, and even launched a noon hour radio station at school.

Are you listening CKY?

When CJOB-FM changed Format to “Country”, I became one of the Country Gentlemen. I was on remote at The Tuxedo Esso Service where, believe it or not, they were selling FM Radios, when a bunch of teenagers showed up. ‘OB-FM’s Format required me to say “FM Time…..” at the end of every record. I got one of the kids to go to the pumps and step on the wire so the bell would ring before I gave the time. Later he said…..”my brother’s a DJ and he’s better than you. He’s Merv Clark at CKY”.
“Oh yeah!! Well, he works all nights and I don’t”.

But I knew Merv was better than me. He worked at CKY.

A few months later I was working at CFMQ Regina when CJME took out a full page ad in The Regina Leader Post to announce their latest DJ….”direct from CKY Winnipeg…..CHUCK McCOY”! Who the hell is Chuck McCoy? A few phone calls later I discovered he used to be “Merv Clark”.

CKY had followed me to Regina.

In September 1966 when I returned to Winnipeg to become The Production Manager of CJOB, the CKY I had grown up with was gone, but not forgotten…..at least by me. On a trip to Toronto I was looking forward to hearing 1050 CHUM because their new Program Director was former CKY Jock J. Robert Wood. I wasn’t disappointed. There was Chuck Dann doing the I.D.s. And Chuck McCoy was working 9 to midnight.

CHUM was where I just had to be.

Long Story Short…..in 1970 I became Production Manager of CHUM. The first person I hired? Rick Hallson from CKY. The second person I hired? Bob McMillan from CKY…..and a short time later, John Tucker from CKY.

So….although I never worked at CKY, I’m thrilled that George Johns has invited me to attend The CKY Reunion. I’ll be sitting in a corner with a little red and white Transistor Radio tuned to 580 listening to the static. Just think of me as a ‘KY Good Guy Wanna Be. And thank you CKY.

Warren Cosford
May 2012

Warren,

Growing up in Grand Forks, CKY was on my car radio along with that other Winnipeg station “She-Kay-Ar-She”. Our genus Grand Forks station owners were playing their big band music during the day and doing teen shows after 8 in the evening and doing it very badly. Even after the demise of Top Forty KFGO to big band and then country, they didn’t get it. CKY and the other station did and we could listen to them 24/7. Our radio dials were CKY, the other station, KUTT (then its change to KQWB) at night we listened to KOMA, WLS and KAAY in Little Rock. If the conditions were right I could hear John R (waaay down south in Dixie) and Rufus Thomas from Memphis. There was a Top 40 in Waterloo, Iowa but they did the “World Tomorrow” with Garner Ted Armstrong followed by Dr. Michaelson’s “Hebrew Christian Hour” from 6 to 8pm so I left them off my car radio. I can still hear Dr. Michaelson in my head to this day, I swear to god his spit came through the speaker.

In the summer of ’62 I was 16 and my Grandfather and I drove to the World’s Fair in Seattle. We stopped to see my Aunt and cousins in Spokane for a week. Gramps let me cruise his Caddy around Spokane and I listened to KJRB (and KXLY) and a goofy morning guy named Jimmy Darren. I even went to one of the KJRB hops. Imagine my surprise when Jimmy Darren turned up on CKY, I was even more stunned when Chuck Dan turned up on CKY too since I had listened to him on KOMA. Little did I know I would end up working with them 6-7 years later

I knew nothing about radio ( probably still don’t) but what my friends and I knew was CKY played our favorite songs, had cool people on the air and that was more than enough for those of growing up on the confluence of the Red Lake River and the Red River of the North in Les Grandes Fourches.

Good memories and the girls liked CKY-alot!

Have a superb time at the reunion…let everyone know they had a butt load of kids in Grand Forks who loved them.

Bob in LA

 

Transcona – live free or die – home of the brave – only the strong survive.

Of course, any snide remarks are subject to a physical beating.

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Ed Note: Ahhh….the Power of Radio. Just arrived in The ‘Peg tonight. Staying with my future Step-Son Rusty who needs some serious fathering. Headed across the street to The Keg for some Prime Rib and to watch the NY/NJ game.

First thing I noticed was that every…..EVERY….girl in The Keg Bar was drop dead gorgeous. Now….Winnipeg has always had the reputation for great looking women….but frankly, it’s been a few years since I’ve been back. I actually got up from my chair in the bar and wondered through the restaurant looking for a “7” or less. No “7s” but….the two “8s” would have been “10s” in Windsor.

So…I chatted up my server and asked her if they had any wine from Windsor. She said Windsor! My Mom and Dad are from Windsor. I said….next time you see them tell them that you were serving someone who once worked at CKLW.

Later….when she came around with the cheque she told me that she’d called her Mom who asked if I would give her an autograph.
So…..I signed Charlie Van Dyke. And paid cash.

Warren,

Just the read “The Keg” story and laughed for 2 straight minutes. That just made my day. Hope you’re doing well. I miss your drives thru Texas.
Bill in Forth Worth

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Great story Warren. I was lucky enough to work at KY from 1973 to 1977. Alden Diehl was the GM. I was hired by Dale O’Hara to work morning news. I had five years in the business at that time. I started at CKLG Vancouver in 1969. Jim Jackson came in as PD at KY and promoted me to News Director. When he moved on, Gary Russell was named PD. I was the first news guy to work on KY58 with Don Percy. In’77 I followed Gar back to LG73 Vancouver where he later gave me my first job in programming. CKY was the turning point of my career. When I came back to Winnipeg in the 90’s I was PD at CJOB and that’s another story.
Ted Farr

Hi Warren: What a great letter. Absolutely loved it. We actually grew up in the same part of town … only with a lot of years in between – I’m sure I am going to be the oldest person at the Reunion, however don’t mind that too much when you think of the alternative.

I grew up on Spruce St. went to Isaac Brock & Daniel Mac. Still get together with people I went to school with & as a matter of fact have a High School Reunion the following week with about 16 other grads.

Used to go to the Canteen as well, but again long before your time. In High School, I had a program on CKRC – which in my time was CJRC. Jack Wells was often the M.C. & I used to sing with Herbie Brittain’s Orchestra on different occasions, like New Year’s Eve at the AUD. This was all a little ahead (or I should say) a lot of ahead of your time. To be reunited with them working at CKY was something else.

I’m looking forward to meeting you & we have a friend, George Johns, in common. We formed a friendship at the Station,& have communicated again in the last couple of years.

So you will recognize me – I am the little old lady with the cane. Had an argument with a golf cart a few years ago, spent months in Hospital & a year in a wheelchair…but being a glass half full kind of gal – I have a very rosy outlook on life.

Now, I am getting excited about the Reunion – meeting you – renewing friendships with George, Dave Jacobson, and countless others. I have been in touch with some of the girls & we have met for lunch a few times & it will be nice to spend time with them as well.

See you Thursday
Embree

 

Hey, Warren…great stories. I’ll be the guy in the corner with spare batteries for your transistor radio…
Production Bob

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Warren;

I love your piece. You and I lived parallel lives to a certain extent, both young kids who wanted to play the hits on CKY.

Dennis Corrie was one of my early idols. I’m happy to say Deano and I still stay in touch on a regular basis. Dennis’ brother Jerry was a school mate of mine who worked at CKY-FM with the white gloves and all the classical and show tunes and somehow he snuck me in there for one of those “dollar an hour” jobs But within a few months it got me into CKY with Chuck Dann, J. Robert Wood, Dean Scott, George Dawes, and Daryl B.
I was the new all-night man. I had followed Daryl from CKRC to CKY as a big fan listening to Daryl at aged 17, I figured out from Daryl that DJs talk over the instrumental before the band sings. I practiced that for hours every day. Then I got my chance at the big-time, CKY AM. Man, the kids at the beach thought I was real “hot stuff” through that summer of ’65.

The music from that year still gives me shivers Chuck Dann and J. Robert Wood were a big help to me, Bob Wood actually did things like taking me out to one of his record hops so I would know how to handle that job when I got the chance. , Chuck Dann taught me how to be an up-tempo American sounding DJ. Dennis Corrie had already left for Calgary when I got to ‘KY so unfortunately we never worked together.

George Johns was a big wheel in Programming, Production and Music. I liked him, because he talked to me and treated me like “talent”. Wow that was a stretch. As soon as I got the ‘KY job he said , “Hey Man, you gotta get a rag-top” I thought, “OK” and bought a red Chevelle convertible.

You mentioned the newspaper ad in Regina that said “Direct from CKY Winnipeg, Chuck McCoy” I decided that for my job in Regina I would change my name from Merv Clark to something else. I wanted “Chuck” because of Chuck Dann, but for the life of me, I couldn’t come up with a new last name. I went to see George. He’d know what to do. He threw out some names, and we didn’t fall in love with any of them. But the newspaper kept calling; they needed a name for the ad. Finally I said to George, “Let’s pick anything, it won’t really matter. I’ll change it the next time I change stations, I’ll change it”

George was the music Director at CKY at the time and was thumbing through Billboard, the phone rang, it was Regina, last chance to get the ad in, “what was my name?” I said “George, what’s #1 this week on Billboard”, he said, “Hang on Sloopy by The McCoys” I said, “Cool” and barked into the phone, “Chuck McCoy that’s my name” 47 Years later, it still is.

Warren I did meet you once in Winnipeg in 1965 when you and some other ‘OB guys came up to ‘KY for a visit for some reason, then ran into you in Regina when you were setting up an FM station in a mall. Of course we worked together for years at CHUM.

I am devastated that I will miss the CKY reunion on the 24th but my step-daughter graduates from Med school that day…I love radio…but family first. I’ll be in Winnipeg Friday morning the 25th for the Kelvin Reunion weekend so perhaps we’ll cross paths somewhere. Good to hear from you and to hear your reminiscences of radio in the 60’s in Winnipeg. We will never forget it, will we?

Chuck McCoy

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What a fitting tribute…and, oddly, it parallels many of my feeling toward and about “our” CKY.

‘KY certainly seemed to devolve rapidly sometime in 1965 or 1966.

Anyhow…lots of great memories for me. And remember…even though I lived 400 miles across the border, CKY was a fixture in my teen years, too.

Tom Bryant in Nashville

Ed Note: One Story I thought of putting into the Thank You CKY Piece was about a contest they ran called The Millionaire. Problem was….although I remembered it was connected with a TV Show that was popular at the time, I couldn’t quite recall how the contest was structured. Interestingly, there’s quite a lot on The Web about the TV Show, but nothing I could find about The Contest. Perhaps I was dreaming? If I was….George and I were having the same dream……

http://georgejohns.com/the-blog/2012/05/21/the-greatest-radio-promotion-ever/#.T7vY04_Tb9U.gmail

THANK YOU CKY

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