Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women (Movin’ On Up) Chapter XVIII Under Construction

563568_10151829878449307_813267121_n-1Arrived in Ottawa
as a family of three
Which consisted of my wife Lana,
daughter Candis, and of course me.

But a man needs a son
time to add one more

By the time we hit the big time
Curtis made it four.

When we left Sudbury for Ottawa, other than the adoption of my son, it wasn’t a very enjoyable experience. In fact, I never went back until a few years ago for the induction of one of my best friends, Gary Russell into the Radio Hall Of Fame.
I was hired by the Chum group to be the new Program Director of CFRA, but they neglected to tell me that I was following Alden Diehl, who was a legend, and the staff didn’t like the “suits” from Toronto. They all still worshiped the old owner, Frank Ryan. However, what old Frank and the Misses forgot to tell them was when CFRA was sold to the CHUM group, they scooted with the loot.
The Chum people provided me with almost too much help, so for the first time since CKY in Winnipeg, I was no longer on my own. I actually 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 mostly about mechanics. I was also only a phone call away from my old friend from Winnipeg, J Robert Wood, the program director of CHUM in Toronto, not to mention Fred Sherratt, the group’s V/P of programming.
CFRA, with its 50,000 watts, had a huge signal, but it didn’t sound huge.
In fact, it was so shrill, it sounded like it was coming out of a phone, so I spent hours and hours battling with the chief engineer until he finally backed the compression down, which gave us a little fidelity.
Unfortunately, the locals treated me like I was just another “suit” from Toronto, but the folks in Toronto knew that I was anything but a “suit.”
I didn’t worry about all the adversity because even back then, I knew that all you needed was 5-7 like-minded people to succeed.
Time to build my team, so I brought in the golden throats of Roger Klein and Woody Cooper from Sudbury, which immediately fixed production.
Next, we added Sharon Henwood to the promotion department, and when our mid-day guy, Joel Thompson, came around to our way of thinking, we were all set.

CFRA was a great radio station, and one of the best things about it was its award-winning news department.
I’ll never forget watching the evening news one night when the Prime Minister 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 me, eased up. However, the next one was even bigger,in fa ct, 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, after that great book, my radio world went silent. I went from almost too much input to none. Now the only radio people I heard from was the old guard, but they were mostly negative.
Years later, someone told me that the owner, Allan Waters, had told everyone to back off me because as he reportedly said, “I don’t want anybody slowing down this kid’s train.” Unfortunately, he neglected to tell me, so my rage began to heat up.

All the studios were on the third floor, so to reach my office on the second, I had to go down an elevator, which opened up in front of Terry Keilty’s office.
Terry was the GM, and on this particular day, as I was passing by, he waved me in. Sitting in there with him was his sports director friend, Ernie Calcutt. They wanted to know why I’d hired Roger Klein, knowing full well that as good as he was, he’d only leave?
My rage, which had been festering for some time, finally boiled over. So doing my best, Ralph Connor, I, “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 against his mahogany wall where it shattered. I watched in horror as what looked like brown tinsel slowly drifted down, covering 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.

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