UP AND DOWN THE DIAL

CHEX | CHUM | CKLC | CHAB | AM/58 | CHVR | CHUR | MIX 105 | WAY FM | HITS 103.5 | B101 | LIFE 100.3


CHEX - Summer 1977 and Summer 1978

"Make it impossible for them to NOT hire you". John Wright from K-ROCK Kingston told me that many years ago. Itís great advice and it works.

It was the summer of 1977. "Baby Hold On" by Eddie Money was the big song that summer.

I phoned Graham Hart, the Assistant Program Director at 980 CHEX in Peterborough. In fact, I phoned him day after day, endlessly from my home in Toronto. I bothered him and called him and nagged him until he agreed to let me WORK FOR FREE. I said I would do - anything. He agreed to let me work for free in the music library, as often as I liked.

The night before my first day on the job, I fell down the stairs at home and sprained my leg. Determined to be a radio superstar, I humbly hobbled to CHEX on crutches on my first day.

My boss was Music Director Rick Allen. He didnít want me there getting in his way all day so to discourage me, he asked me, as my first assignment, to type a memo to his announcers. Sad but true, my typing skills were pretty rockiní and I had it done before he could cue up his next Kenny Rogers 45! Too bad for Rick - I was hooked. After acing the memo, Rick and I got along pretty good.

Four weeks later, in July, PD Don OíNeil agreed to pay me for my help in the music library. I received a cheque for $100 - for the whole summer! I didnít care. I was working in radio and I thought I was rich.

The next summer after second year at Humber College, Graham hired me - for money - to be the part-time weekend operator. My job was to record and playback CBC tapes on the weekend, operate the Lumberkings Lacrosse games and to dub national spots to cart. I hung around all the DJs as much as I could, hoping to weasel my way on the air. I was a bad weaseler - it didnít work!

The cool thing about CHEX (now 980 KRUZ) was that it was a combination AM, FM and TV. CFMP-FM was last in the ratings until it became THE WOLF many years later. While my CBC tapes rolled for an hour on CHEX every Saturday night, I would sneak across the hall to TV and help my buddy Vern Belos write news scripts and draw cold fronts on the weather board for his 11 oíclock casts.

The experience was good but I was aching to get on the air and I couldnít convince Graham and Don to let me on the air. I worked there for two summers until I got my first on-air gig at CKLC Kingston in October 1978.

Graham - thanks for giving me a break!

The announcers at CHEX and our FM station CFMP were Rick Allen, Gord Gibb (still there after all these years!), Vern Belos, Jerry Piper, Don Millar (now PD at JOY AM in Oakville), Gary Dalliday, Eric Sorensen (now at CBC TV), Bruce Kenyon (now somewhere on the Prairies) and Joe Snider (now working at Humber College).

Of all the pictures in my collection, I donít have one from CHEX - except those of my hippie haircut and thatís not publishable!

1050 CHUM - 1978

In my second year at Humber College, I was absolutely blessed to get a school placement at CHUM. What a thrill! CHUM practically invented radio - and I got to "work" there!

It was January 1978. Everyday, Monday through Friday, my job was to put sticky labels on the album jackets in CHUM-FM. It was boring beyond belief but, hey - I was at CHUM!. CHUM-FM, in those days, was still a progressive rock station, far down in the ratings and way below itís flagship station - 1050 CHUM.

One day, I was in the CHUM-FM studio and Meat Loaf walked in with Jim Steinman. "Two Out Of Three" was the big hit and he was playing the El Mocambo nightclub in Toronto that night. Meat looked at me and said a really friendly "hello". Back then, I thought it was pretty cool. Come to think of it, it WAS pretty cool!

The CHUM-FM jocks then were (the legendary) Pete ĎNí Geets, Rick Thomas, Ingrid Schumacher (her first radio job) and - I canít remember who else! Itís a blur.

I didnít bother to tell my boss CHUM-FM Music Director Brian Masters and Nancy Krant, that the internship was over after the first month of work. 1050 CHUM was where my heart was so after my first month, I got transferred to AM.

In the CHUM-AM record library my job every Wednesday was to file 45's for John Terminesi. The Program Director at CHUM was J. Robert Wood. I remember being completely and utterly afraid of Bob Wood - his white shirt, tie and firm demeanor. One day, I got up the nerve to take my Humber College DJ aircheck to JRW to listen to. (Comedy at its best!) He wound the 1/4 inch tape on his office reel to reel and gave me a fair critique. Just then the phone rang in his office and while I waited in the guest chair, he firmed up the details of the surprise Rolling Stones concert that was taking place that very night at the El Mo, exclusive only to CHUM listeners. I didnít know what was happening at the time!

John Majhor was the afternoon drive DJ. At 4pm, I would wander into the operatorís booth and watch "the Majhor sign-on the air through the glass. "1050 CHUM rocks Toronto...." he would belt out! He was cool and cocky and a show-boat and the whole performance was absolutely electrifying! Just what a 19 year old kid needed!

One day, I realized it was June. I had been interning at CHUM every week for six months. Not only was the Humber internship long over, but school had been out for two months! Hanging out watching The Majhor was cool, but, well, it was time to move on and get a job.

My last day was incredibly sad. I grew up listening to CHUM - I was there and now I had to leave. Before I left, Bob Wood scratched out a personal note to Jim Waters - the PD at CKLC Kingston - and told me to go and see him. A few months later I did - and that note got me my first on-air job, in October 1978.

The 1050 CHUM jocks in Spring 1978 were Jay Nelson, Terry Steele, Mike Holland, John Majhor. and J.D. Roberts.

1050 CHUM rocks Toronto!

KINGSTON - 1978-1985
Jim Waters hired me at CKLC in October 1978. I was really lucky to start my on-air career in a market the size of Kingston and for a station as professional as CKLC. The on-air team was very young but modeled after the parent station - CHUM Toronto. Over the years, Greg Hunter (now working in Belleville as morning host at COOL 100.1) was on morning duty and still is to this day. Other friends at the station included Robin Brent, Christine, Gord Taylor (was working as PD at The Bear in Ottawa and is presently looking for the next big PD gig), Rick Jenson, Jeremy Smith, Jim Elyot (now doing mornings at THE DRIVE Kingston), Smokin' Dean Roberts (now at THE TEAM 1220 in Ottawa), Chris Ryan (TV host on The Weather Network), Charlie Watts and Steev Jordan (now executive director with the Polaris Music Prize).

I was 21 when I was hired at CKLC. In August 1978, I lucked into an interview for a "swing shift" and my girlfriend Janice (now my wife) and I jumped in the car and drove to Kingston for a last minute interview. As we past Belleville on the 401, I turned on 1380 and heard CKLC and the afternoon DJ Paul Moorman. He was so good! I thought "oh my god, I'll never work at this station - it's too good!". I recall my speed slowing down as the nervousness crept it. 24 hours later, I was hired for $150/week. Wow!

CKLC evening jock Jim Elyot trained me on the board. I was supposed to start at 1am but he decided at 10pm to throw me on the board for surprise training! I was freaked out! The next week, I was subbing for Elyot and doing some weekend shifts.

CKLC was a different place at night. The sales guys went home. The PD was gone. It was just me and the guy across the hall in FM and sometimes a news guy finishing a story. A number of listeners became "regulars" on the phones. One of the first listeners to call me was "Funky Freedman", a high school kid. He became my best friend and while still at Bayridge, he voluntarily wrote some crazy bits for my show. Eventually he was hired at CKLC as Steev Jordan.

The Program Director would "stack" Canadian content at night, leaving the morning and afternoon shows full of international hits. So heavy was the nightly Cancon load in 1983 that I would only play five songs between 10pm and midnight that were international hits. Five! The rest of my show consisted of Rush, Harlequin, Bryan Adams, Idle Eyes, the Payolas, Triumph! Like a radio vigilante, I created a "nighttime zoo" inspired by the David Letterman Show and my early radio hero from CHUM Toronto Scott Carpenter.



Features included "Weenie of the Week" where listeners would nominate someone who was (with sound effects) thrown out the window or run over by a truck. Or worse! Listeners would call the hit line to introduce the number one song of the night - by screaming at the top of their lungs. Then, the best screams of the month were edited back to back in a "hall of fame" type show.

And who could forget "The CKLC Dance Machine" touring high school dances with lights, balloons, confetti and a touring troupe of rock-star-wanna-bes. Charlie Watts and Jim Elyot tagged along for my gigs and I hung out at their's.



Back in 1979, we had Rick Neilsen of Cheap Trick in the studio when "I Want You To Want Me" was a hit. Interviewing Ozzy Osborne made me very nervous although the interview turned out to be very tame. At an autograph signing at Records On Wheels on Princess Street, Bryan Adams was releasing his first album. I said to Bryan, "so, is that your real name? It sounds fake. He pulled out his driver's license and sure enough, it was real and named Kingston as his birthplace.

I remember going on stage at the Kingston Memorial Centre to introduce Streetheart and forgetting the name of the band. Yikes! Was it Red Rider or Harlequin or who?! Always a good idea to know the name of the band before going on stage! Fortunately, I remembered at the last possible second!

The Spoons had a few great Canadian songs. Since I played the greatest portion of Cancon every night, I became fond of "Romantic Traffic" and "Old Emotions." When the Spoons Gord Deppe came to town, he told me "those songs were wasted. They were never released in the States and now it's too late." I could see the end of the Spoons in his eyes and how sad that made him.

CKLC was a powerhouse station and became Station of the Year in 1985.
The New Studio. Me on the air, 10pm-1am, weeknites. (Tough job, 10pm-1am - those days are long gone!) During the day I played tennis, hung out with bands and played the hits on-air at 10pm, starting with "The Instant Top 5 at 10". The CKLC hitline was so jammed every night. We often had high school groups come in to take requests. I got so many calls, and had so many goofy sound effects and recorded bits that I only got to play about 10 songs an hour. Music Director Gord Taylor would always yell at me for not playing enough music! But first he had to read through the pizza stains on the music log! 1985.

I guess our first jobs will always be remembered fondly, as is the case with CKLC. I stayed at CKLC longer than any other station - 8 years.

The Program Directors I worked for at CKLC include Jim Waters (thanks for the job, Jimmy!), Dave Mitchell (now Program Director at CFRA Ottawa), Terry Williams, Doug Pond and Dave Foreman.

Jim Waters went on to follow in his family footsteps and run the CHUM Radio Group. Our Station Manager John Wright (now Station Manager/owner of K-Rock Kingston) moved to Toronto to become Station Manager of CHUM and more recently was successful getting his own CRTC license to build K-ROCK in Kingston.

Off the air, I wrote a weekly newspaper music column for "Kingston This Week" for five years. I also became a friend to all the local bands first as a Manager with Little Sister.

Little Sister. They called me up looking for a local manager. I guess because I was "the radio guy" they thought I knew a lot of people. Little Sister played top 40 hits, mostly in bars and a few gigs at high schools. While the band only played together part-time for six months, it was one of the best moments of my time in Kingston. I still have the backdrop banner and all our newspaper clippings. Here, Little Sister performs "Your Daddy Don't Know" at "The Nash" in Gananoque. May 1983.

Stagger and the heavy metal Ana Black. I worked closely with The Blushing Brides and other bands along the way.

Working with bands was then, as rewarding as working at CKLC. Ah, those were great years!

Jim Elyot emailed me and the other guys in April 2009, and invited me to a retirement party for Noreen Jackson (no relation) who was leaving her CKLC job after 45 years. I couldn't wait to show up and see the guys, most whom I had not seen for 25 years. It was an official reunion.

Age is a funny thing. We all look a bit more weathered but the personalities are still there. Hanging out at Fanatics restaurant on Princess Street was a wild, but older group of people - half whom I knew and others who probably worked at CKLC long after I had moved on.

At the party, Greg Hunter reminded me of a story. It was the night Christine and I played soccer with the metal garbage can in the studio. Not having a good aim, it ended up hitting the glass window, smashing the sliding glass into bits on the studio carpet! To cover up, I picked up the glass which was inside the studio and carried it down to the sidewalk below so I could blame it on a drunk Queen's student. No... maturity and honesty were not my strong suits!

MOOSE JAW, SASKATCHEWAN- 1986

My dream job in the early 80's was to work for 630 CHED Edmonton - the hot rockin', flamethrower! It was "the best" radio station I had ever heard. But to work there, Moffat Communications put their DJs through a training station in Moose Jaw.

The population of Moose Jaw was only 30,000 but the equipment at CHAB was state of the art. It was truly an honor to work there. Computer automation was new to radio in 1986 and CHAB was right on top of it. The highlight of the studio tour was NOT the music computer but the electric curtains! The curtains actually opened and closed with a switch! The other crazy thing about CHAB is that nothing was ever broken. The engineers were very cool guys and on top of everything. Listeners in Kingston probably wondered why I wanted to work in Moose Jaw but it was a means to reach CHED.

Radio people knew CHAB Moose Jaw and the clout it carried in the West. It was a great station.

One day, I got called into the office for one of those meetings you never want to have. Instead of getting fired, I got called names. As a 28-year old, I was shaking in my boots, wishing Iíd been fired instead of listening to all the verbal insults. In the 21st century, you could probably sue an employer for the berating I got. After the insults and de-dressing, I was told to leave by the back door and go down the fire escape so no one would see me.

I got on the phone and started calling other prairie stations for a job. Saying I worked for Moffat Communications was a door-opener. Highly respected, much like CHUM.

CHAB, for as professional as it was, was a miserable place to work. But not because of the awesome staff, or the great sound. In fact, the entire on-air staff turned over while I was there.

My best friend was Bruce Andrei. Bruce was the overnight jock and we hung out a lot. For an 19 year old guy, he had a voice I would have killed for, and still would. He was a good friend. We lost touch after I left town. I know he changed his name to Marshall Stack and hopped around to a few other radio gigs. Now he works at THE LOUNGE in Lethbridge. We spoke briefly in 2007. I called him up out of the blue and he recognized my voice immediately. Crazy!

We aired the Moose Jaw Warrior Hockey games. At the home games, we would send the CHAB remote vehicle on site. Our major sponsor was Sun Rype Juice and weíd give away juice or cider on location. The whole thing is a blur - wish I could tell you more about it.

The CHAB slogan was "Saskatchewanís Super 8". Our boss told us we were going to take over Saskatchewan. I was pretty cynical about it because I remember our competition was CJME from Regina who were a powerhouse. While I was on afternoons, Stu Jeffries (now EZ Rock Toronto morning man) was my competition. On a visit, late one night, we snuck into CJME. It was a big deal, being on enemy lines! Our friend who let us in, showed us the studio and then said, "we listen to CHAB all the time!". We were flattered. Then he showed us that the engineer at CJME had wired CHAB into their studio, so the jocks could actually listen to us! Wow!

When I arrived in January 1986, the announcers were Kelly Latremouille (now afternoon DJ at JACK-FM Vancouver) and Bryn Griffiths in the Morning Crew, Program Director Sharon Taylor (now Station Manager at HOT 103 Winnipeg) on middays, David Tanner on late middays, me on afternoon drive, Anita Turner and Todd Raymond sharing evenings and Bruce Andrei overnights. Yes, we had a live overnight announcer! In the newsroom was Rod Cressman. Little did we know, he and I would work together twice more in the future. Radio is a small world!

Ken Bell was the production manager - an incredible talent, tucked away in a small town. To this day, some of the best commercials I've ever heard were created by Ken. I always felt that every commercial that you heard on CHAB was "resume quality." A very good feeling.

My boss was Program Director Sharon Taylor. All I learned from Sharon was the Program Director I never wanted (or want) to become.

CHAB was centrally located and each summer the staffs from our sister Moffat stations in Calgary, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Edmonton would all come to Moose Jaw for a weekend radio party. That usually included a great deal of drinking.

KAPUSKASING - 1986-1988

This was my first job as "the boss" - the Program Director. A friend once told me that being a Program Director means being stuck between the egocentric DJs and the stingy owners. "It's impossible to please both" I was told. Thankfully, I have seldom found that to be true. AM/58 was a great training ground for me. In a small town where ratings don't determine your fate, you can learn, make mistakes and receive forgiveness. I did all of those many, many times!

The funniest story from Kap is that of the station owner who was also a part-time technician. One night in master control, there he was on the floor, on his back, screwing something into the console, while the DJ Mike Kristie stood, straddling his legs around the guy. When the owner unscrewed the fuse, he unscrewed the wrong one and the turntables slowly ground to a halt. (Imagine the audio!) It was hilarious! Until he screwed it back in and the record gained speed - on the air!

The other outrageous story is the month we were intermittently off the air due to no ventilation at the transmitter. One day in June it reached 115 degrees inside the transmitter. Part-time 16-year-old DJ Shawn Tracy (now a doctor in Toronto - nice move, buddy!), was told to go to the transmitter for the day and to start-up the filaments every time we went off the air. So Shawn sat there, in his bathing suit, flipping the switches all day. I mean, all day long! The DJs noted on the fault sheet that we went off the air 85 times. The new owners of Mid Canada Radio Sudbury came to our rescue and bought us - a fan. I am not kidding. Man, I thought my career was over!

One day Rod Cressman phoned me from CHAB in Moose Jaw looking for a job. I hired him and brought him to Kap for the midday DJ position. He changed his name to Rod O'Brien. Chris stayed a year and moved back to Saskatchewan. That was the second time we worked together - there would be one more.

The horror stories and cherished memories of Kap are too numerous to mention! It certainly wasn't equipped well technically, far from the fabulous design of CHAB Moose Jaw, but fun, nonetheless.

My tenure in Kap was September 1986 til July 1988 when I transferred to CHRO/CHVR.


PEMBROKE - 1988-1992

My time in Pembroke was very special and always will be - for many reasons. Pembroke is an easy place to live - affordable, quiet, scenic thanks to the Ottawa River and good people. My boss was Al Kennedy. Al allowed me to truly be the Program Director. He never interfered, which is not usually the case at most stations. I am grateful to Al for allowing me to stretch my management wings, make many blunders and receive forgiveness.

In addition to being the Program Director, I was also the midday announcer from 10am til 1pm. Several Music Directors came and went - Brian Burton (left and returned to CHVR, now STAR 96), Jay Hunter, Jane Douglas and Rob Webster.


Rod O'Brien who I worked with Kapuskasing and in Moose Jaw called again, looking for work. This time he had a family. Rod came to Pembroke, changed his name to Chris Cooper and later became the Music Director. He is still on the air in the afternoon on CHVR, now called STAR 96. This was the third time he and I worked together. I have to wonder if there will be another?!
CHRO became CHVR during a company takeover by Pelmorex in 1990. The next year CHVR bought CKOB in Renfrew and Arnprior and we turned them into affiliates, with the Pembroke station as the flagship. Radio networks were just starting and so did we. It was my first taste of programming a network of radio stations, although small, it was effective and affordable. Little did I know I would do it twice more - from Sudbury and Nashville.

When people ask me what my favorite radio moment is - this is it!
Me and winter are not best friends, so it's ironic that I would be on remote from a frosty ice hut, in the middle of the winter on the Ottawa River. But man, was this the best! Rooster McGee (became Bruce Lindsay and left radio) with Todd O'Connor (new Christian in this pic) with Rick Wyman (now working at Big Daddy in Sudbury) and me. This was four hours with the four of us doing, what would sound like, a morning zoo, on a Saturday afternoon.


In Pembroke, I became a Christian. It was quite accidental, or so I thought. Click here to read my testimony.

NORTH BAY - 1992-1994

This was the oddest move in my radio travels. I never thought I'd leave a great life in Pembroke. I hate to admit it but this was a money move. I went to the interview, because it seemed politically correct. I never thought I'd make a sideways career move. Looking back, it was a very personal move. I launched "Foundations" which was a one hour Christian music show on CHUR every Sunday nite. And, personally, a good friend of mine was considering a cult religion and I was able to jump in with truthful facts about Christianity.

CHUR (OLDIES 840) was the most organized station I worked at. The staff knew their jobs and were stable. It was like they didn't need me. Everything ran smoothly. My boss, Patty Gysel, put on regular parties for the staff and offered perks that boosted staff morale.


She also had a wonderful flair for making our on location appearances very attractive - a characteristic that has stayed with me since working for Patty.

The on-air line-up at the time was Scott Clark and Eryn Brooks on "The A.M. Express", Scott Sexsmith (now at EZ Rock in SSM), Terry Brideau (now at Q92 Sudbury) and Tim Bennett. At CHUR, I met Andy Wilson, who worked in Promotions and is now the Operations Manager at CHUR - now called EZ Rock. Andy took over "Foundations" from me when I left. Andy and I have become life long friends and he's one of the smartest programmers I know.

Part-time announcer Maria Enqvist joined our staff. She and I would later work together three more times! As I said, radio is a small world!

The staff of CHUR hated our oldies format. While I was there, we flipped to a Hot AC format, that performed much better.

My stay was short in North Bay. Our parent company had this eccentric idea of hiring me to over see CHNO in Sudbury for half the week and still oversee CHUR in North Bay. Two stations, two staffs, two formats and two cities. Is that crazy or what? Fortunately, it only lasted six months before I moved to Sudbury, permanently.



SUDBURY - 1994-1996

I remember when I got the job in Sudbury it was a very sad day. I did not celebrate. I really didn't want to work in Sudbury, especially for the Pelmorex head office. Now, as the Group Program Director at head office, I became the target for all the other stations. Sudbury radio was also unionized which presented another series of obstacles. Not to forget, CHNO/MIX 105 were the most neglected radio properties and desperately needed upgrading, which they eventually got.

My boss was Linda Miller. She was a great sales person but knew little about radio. It was a blessing that Linda and I hit it off. I thought we became a good team. She was very caring about her staff.

Whenever we need new employees, it seems logical to bring out the best. Maria Enqvist who I hired at CHUR North Bay as a part-time DJ, came to MIX 105 as the Music Director.

When Pelmorex changed the format of CHNO from OLDIES 550 to the classic rock station, THE CRUSHER, Maria and I each volunteered to do automated shows every weekend. Maria became Lucy Malone and I changed my name to Chase Benson - named after the character on the Young and the Restless soap opera - Chase cleaned the swimming pool!

I worked in Sudbury from September 1994 until June 1996 when I went to Nashville. While a union environment doesn't make for creative radio, I learned a lot about managing people, which, maybe, has made me a better manager. "The Adventures of Dave and Gary" was a fantastic morning show. We did many crazy promotions together and I respect that morning show immensely. Dave Mayes will do anything for a promotion - including dressing up in ladies wear for a billboard photo! Dave, I miss working with ya!


NASHVILLE - 1996-1997

My dream job took two years to get. I was turned down for it once and I turned it down once. Finally, it worked out. My desire was to work in Christian radio full-time. The CRTC made it legal in Canada and revised the Religious Broadcasting Policy in June of 1993 to allow single faith ownership. VOAR in Newfoundland had been grandfathered into the constitution and soon after the CRTC decision, Vancouver's The Bridge CKDB hit the air in 1994, then came Edmonton's 930 The Light CJCA, Timmins CHIM 102.3 and CHRI Ottawa got its licence in August 1996. In 1996, Christian radio was still birthing its way in Canada so I moved to Nashville to fulfill a dream of working at WAY-FM

My position at WAY-FM was Vice President of Programming and Operations.

It was, without question, a dream-come-true! With help from a hired immigration attorney in Nashville and thanks to NAFTA, the work permit took ten days to secure.

In Nashville, I learned about American radio, fundraising Sharathons and the inside track of the music industry. Like my job in Pembroke with Al Kennedy, my boss Bob Augsburg (visionary of WAY-FM), allowed me to program the station however I liked. He never interfered, except for insisting we play a song by John Elefante because they were buddies. We added the song but in the end, the song never became a hit!

WAY-FM gave me a chance to get inside the music industry and meet the performers whose music had impacted my life. Several times every week, I would look up from my desk and see Christian celebrities walk by my office. It took a few months to get used to.

As the VP of Programming, I flew to West Palm Beach and Ft. Myers Florida to coach the junior programmers, their staff and to conduct focus groups.

My favorite memory followed Ft Myers Sharathon to take an afternoon to rent seadoos with Bob Augsburg and Michael Wilson (Assistant Program Director/Music Director) and chase the dolphins on the Gulf coast. Nice job!

WAY-FM Promotions Manager Tim Cardascia and I became great friends and later he came to Barrie to work at LIFE 100.3.




TORONTO - 1997

After returning to Canada, I was offered the Program Director position in Toronto HOT 103.5. This was a job I'd like to forget and since it only lasted 13 days, the memories have mostly faded.

As the new Program Director, I called a staff meeting on my second day on the job, simply to offer the staff a sense of securing. An hour later I was taken aside by my boss and owner Bill Evanov and given my first two assignments - change the name of the station from HOT to HITS and find a new morning team. Yes, one hour after telling the staff to feel secure!

My Christian faith was not a good mix with the HITS 103.5 image. And, having just come from a Christian radio station, I was feeling uneasy about the sexy format of HITS 103.5 and the artists we played.

I guess the bigger the station the bigger the egos. I was the Program Director, responsible for working with the jocks and keeping them inspired and sounding their best. This is the only station I worked at, where every DJ thought they were the best DJ on the station. Every DJ there told me that about themselves - except one.

I remember driving the station vehicle which was one of the perks I got. Crystal, my daughter was in the backseat as my family drove to church. We were playing some awful rude and sleezy song at the time and I turned the radio down so my daughter wouldnít hear the awful music her Dad was programming.

As we pulled into the church parking lot, my wife whispered in my ear - "could you park the car around the corner so people donít see it?" That was it. I was a total hypocrite. Enough. I left. And a new chapter of my life began in Barrie.

BARRIE - B101 - 1997-1999

After leaving HITS 103.5, I picked up some part-time weekend work at B101. It was a very humbling culture change, going from Vice-President of Program at WAY-FM in Nashville to being the weekend DJ at B101, from living in Nashville and moving to Barrie, not to mention the difference in salary.

All of that aside, and that took over a year to adjust to, I made some good friends at B101. They were a very loyal and stable staff while owned by Power Communications. Jamie and Tara, the Mighty Derek Welsman (now working as a producer at CFRB in Toronto), Wendy King and Kim Jorgenson were fun to work with.

In February 1997, I advised B101's management team about my dream of creating a Christian radio station. I figured that would end my job but I wanted them to hear it from me and not be sneaky. They didn't believe me and let me continue on-air until March 1999 when they realized the dream was coming true.

I worked for Marketing Director Jeff Walther and Assistant Program Director Darren Stevens (now working at CHEZ in Ottawa) for 18 months, at which time LIFE 100.3 was born.


For 18 months I worked at B101, as the weekend DJ. It was humbling coming from WAY-FM in Nashville where I was the Vice President. It was humbling making pretty good money and then working at an hourly rate and living in my parentís basement. Iím sure God was telling me "So hot shot, what do you think of this?"

I struggled the whole time - balancing B101 and the sucky music, the conceptualizing of LIFE, and the lousy money. Mostly, being reliant on my parents for survival was the toughest to accept.

Through it all, God has taken the experiences of secular radio, taught me, toughened me and brought me to a place where my faith and my experience would come together. And that is a great place to be.

Enter the new era - LIFE 100.3.

BARRIE - LIFE - 1999-Present

For the launch of LIFE, click here
For the continuing LIFE Story, click here