Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women. Chapter XV (Running Back To Saskatoon) 1/25/19


Packed up my family
and headed to Saskatoon

Promised them all
we’d be back real soon.

Knew upon arrival
I’d need my own team

If this move was destined
to kick start my dream.

When my daughter Candis was born, it put me through some major changes. Even though we had records out, deep down I knew that I wasn’t a good enough musician to support a family. So when Bill Grogan (pictured between Vic Edwards and Frank Roberts) offered me a full-time job as the Music Director of CKY, I left the Jury.
Leaving the Jury was tough, it meant I was giving up on the dream that Rolly Blacquiere and I had dreamt about when we were just kids.
Surprisingly, when Randy Bachman heard that I’d left the Jury, he tried to recruit me for the Guess Who. When I told Randy that I wasn’t near good enough to play with them, he said, “I can teach you the music, it’s all that other stuff you do that The Guess Who needs.” Although flattered, I’d already made my decision to give radio a shot.
Luckily, I turned out to be a hell of a lot better at radio than I was at playing guitar. Unfortunately though, just as I was starting my radio career; all the Americans left the station. Now, it wasn’t as much fun, but it still beats working for a living. The only good times now came when John Wells and I would go up to Chan’s Moon Room to drink somebody goodbye. These going away parties were very fun, and I especially loved flirting with Embree McDermid who was our receptionist and even though Em was neither a wild woman nor a “bad girl,” she definitely was a MILF. (pictured below)
Bumping along at CKY I surprisingly received a phone call from my old boss Jim Hilliard, the man who got me interested in radio in the first place. (pictured today with his wife, Barb) Jim was now the new program director of WFIL in Philly, and he wanted me to jump on a plane so we could talk about the possibility of my moving to Philadelphia. He wanted to hire me so that I could produce the same kind of promos that I used to do for him when he was the Program Director of CKY, and I was a part-time board op. After arriving in Philadelphia and filling out all the necessary paperwork at the radio station, we then jumped into Jim’s candy apple red Caddy convertible and headed out for dinner with his wife, Barbara. The place they had chosen to eat was called Bookbinders, and the place was just jumpin’ with lawyers who were all wearing their official uniforms. You know, navy blue pin-striped suits, matching vests, yellow or red striped power ties, and of course the regulatory red suspenders. However, they were no match for our table.
Jim was wearing a maroon colored Nehru suit and had a huge gold medallion dangling from his neck, his wife Barb was decked out in what can best be described as a toga. On her feet were white Roman sandals with straps that crisscrossed their way up to her knees. The baubles on her fingers were gold as were the bracelets that snaked their way from her wrists to her elbows and her golden hair which was piled high on her head was crowned with a gold tiara.
We spent most of the evening catching up on all that had transpired since we last hung out together which included the fact that my wife Lana was pregnant. At some point, I began to notice that we were being stared at and when I mentioned it to Jim, he said, “They’re just pissed ’cause I make more money than they do.”
13238908_10154847424739307_8046440284813590518_nI was very excited about moving to Philly, but unfortunately, we soon found out that you can’t just wander across the border without a work permit. The way you got one of those was by putting your name at the bottom of a very long list. When my name first went on that list, I was a part-time board-op in Winnipeg, and Jim was a Program Director in Philly. However, four years later when it finally rose to the top, Jim was the CEO of a radio group out of Indy, and I was a Station Manager in Toronto.
Meanwhile, after returning to Winnipeg, I began growing restless mostly because I was no longer learning anything. When all the Americans worked at the station, I learned something new every day, but not knowing what to do about it, suddenly fate intervened when I was returning an album to the control room. Just as I walked in, I happened to overhear our mid-day talent, George Dawes saying, “Thanks but no thanks” to someone on the phone. When I asked him about the call, he said that CKOM in Saskatoon was looking for a Program Director, but he wasn’t interested. When I told him that I sure was, he called them right back for me and the next thing I knew I was on an airplane bound for Saskatoon where I became their brand new Program Director.
I was very excited about all of this, but I do have to admit that it did have a little hair on it. I was taking the first grandchild away from the doting grandparents on both sides, my wife Lana wasn’t excited about leaving her new home, and I knew nothing about programming.


2 thoughts on “Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women. Chapter XV (Running Back To Saskatoon) 1/25/19

  1. George,
    Interesting. I look forward to additional chapters in your life and career. My cousin, Bob Zens, was CKOM news director from 1988 until he retired about ten years later. He is a Saskatchewan native and still lives in Saskatoon.

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