Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women (Movin’ On Up) Chapter XVIII 2/02/20

563568_10151829878449307_813267121_n-1 Moved to Ottawa
as a family of  three

consisting of Lana
Candis and me.

But a man needs a son
so we added one more

His name is Curtis
So we hit the big time, a family of 4.

When we left Sudbury for Ottawa, other than the adoption of my son Curtis, Ottawa wasn’t an enjoyable experience.
I had been hired by the Chum group to program CFRA, but what they neglected to tell me was that the staff still worshiped their old owner, Frank Ryan.
However, what old Frank neglected to tell the staff when he sold the station to CHUM was that he was leaving them behind while he scooted with the loot.

The Chum group provided me with a lot of help, so for the first time in a long time, I was no longer on my own.
I had two programming consultants, Ted Randal out of LA, and George Davies from Victoria in BC. I loved when Ted came to town because he was into concepts and philosophy, whereas George was all about mechanics. Also, only a phone call away was my old friend J Robert Wood, the program director of CHUM-AM in Toronto, and Fred Sheratte, who was the group’s V/P of programming.

CFRA, with its 50,000 watts, had a huge signal, but technically it didn’t sound huge, we sounded like we were coming out of a phone. So I spent hours battling with the chief engineer until he finally relented and backed the compression down and gave us a little fidelity.

Unfortunately, I lived in no man’s land, the locals treated me like I was another “suit” from Toronto, but the folks in Toronto knew that I was anything but a “suit.”
I didn’t worry about it much because even back then I knew that all you needed to succeed was 5-7 like-minded people. So I brought in the golden throats of Roger Klein and Woody Cooper from Sudbury to fix production, added Sharon Henwood in promotion, and when thankfully, our mid-day guy, Joel Thompson, came around to our way of thinking, we were all set.

One of the best things about CFRA was its award-winning news department, and I’ll never forget watching the evening news when Prime Minister Trudeau responded to a reporter’s question with, “All I know about that is what I heard on CFRA this morning.” How many times do you suppose we ran that little sound bite, “Eh?”

When my first rating book came out, it was so big that some of the resistance to what I was doing, eased up. However, the next one was even more significant, in fact, and if you added up all the other radio stations, they still didn’t come close. Hell, we even had a 100 share Sunday morning.

Unfortunately, soon after that big book came out, my radio world went silent. I went from almost too much input to none. The only people I heard from now was the old guard, but their quacking was still mostly negative.
Much later, I was told that Allan Waters had backed everyone off, “He didn’t want anybody slowing down my train.” Unfortunately, he neglected to inform me, so my rage began to heat up.

The studios at CFRA were all on the third floor, and the offices were all on the second. To reach my office, I had to go right by Terry Keilty’s office.
One day, as I was passing by, Terry, who was sitting there with his sports director friend Ernie Calcutt, waved me in. They wanted to know why the hell I hired Roger Klein knowing full well that he’d only leave because he was too good for us?

My rage, which had been festering for some time now, finally boiled over. So doing my best, Ralph Connor, I replied with, “WHEN YOU’VE GOT A CHANCE TO WORK WITH GREATNESS, YOU GRAB IT, EVEN, IF YOU ONLY HAVE IT FOR FIVE F*CKING MINUTES.”
Then I threw the tape of produced promos that I’d been carrying, at his beautiful mahogany wall. When it hit, it shattered and I watched in horror as the tape looking like brown tinsel, slowly drifted down engulphing them both, and as they struggled to free themselves, I stormed out.

Terry was right about Roger, though; he did leave when he left with me for Toronto, where we created a new format.

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