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January 7, 2020 9:23 am  #1


A Radio Station That Celebrates Its History - Unlike CFRB

Talk about a difference in approach. The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of KDKA Pittsburgh, which some – including the station itself – call the very first broadcaster in history. Whether it, what used to be CFCF Montreal or what is currently WWJ in Detroit was actually first is lost to history. All can make a legitimate claim to the honour.  
 
But the one thing they have in common is that they were never reluctant to observe these milestones. KDKA has begun a series of special features that celebrates their centenary, and I expect there will be more to come as they head toward the real sign-on month of November. (I especially love learning the name of what they call the world’s first radio announcer, who could be heard all the way to Europe.) And I really get a kick out of their slogan in their new logo (see below) - "Where The Future Began."
 
Welcome to 2020, the year of KDKA Radio
 
Compare that to CFRB, which marked its 90th birthday back in February 2017 – and never said a word about it. In fact, as far as I know, it was only mentioned here on SOWNY. 
 
Why they did this I’ve never understood. Perhaps they figured it would make younger listeners tune out – if they have any of that demo. Seems to me being Toronto’s longest running radio station is a distinguishing factor that could help it stand out on a crowded dial. And as we all know, any publicity is good publicity, as long as they get the call letters right.
 
Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading more about the early days and history of KDKA. It’s hard to believe radio broadcasting itself is only 100 years old. It seems to have been around forever. Despite changes in technology, I hope it survives for another hundred – even if CFRB decides to ignore that anniversary, too.

https://images.radio.com/kdkaam/styles/full_content_width__775px_max_/s3/KDKA%20100%20Years%20Podcast%20Website.png

 

 

January 7, 2020 2:00 pm  #2


Re: A Radio Station That Celebrates Its History - Unlike CFRB

Ah, KDKA. One of the truly great radio stations!

After the Canadian Caper became public in 1980, then-morning host Jack Bogut paid tribute to Canada on his show.   IIRC, he arranged for other GroupW stations to take part as well.   (I wish I could remember the exact date.) Somehow, in those pre-internet days, I found out about it a few days beforehand and I arranged to tap into their air-feed and played it  on the station where I worked at the time. As I write this 40 years later, I'm getting  a chill remembering Jack's opening words, "The Canadian flag is flying high over Three Rivers Stadium this morning..."

God, it felt good!

For quite a few weeks  a Canadian couldn't pay for a drink in many American bars.

 

 

January 7, 2020 3:13 pm  #3


Re: A Radio Station That Celebrates Its History - Unlike CFRB

The same was true at the Buffalo bars and radio stations which played our national anthem over and over; Thank You Canada!

And Brantford Radio station CKPC AM 1380 became briefly famous in the US when then PM Joe Clark was on the talk show there with John Best right after the news broke and a large contingent of American media came  to the station with their TV cameras.

 

January 7, 2020 6:53 pm  #4


Re: A Radio Station That Celebrates Its History - Unlike CFRB

Guess it depends on the station and management. I agree it is a shame that CFRB's 90th anniversary went more or less with no fanfare on air. They are a heritage station and certainly deserved better.  But it is up to them to do something.  Oh well, they have 7 years to get ready for their 100th in 2027!!

On the other hand, 1050 CHUM did a good job for their 50th anniversary, with an open house and special programming on May 26 and 27th back in 2007 on Saturday and Sunday. They also had a big free concert at Nathan Philips Square. 

CHUM FM even ran old CHUM jingles and broke with their regular programming on May 27th in celebration of the AM stations 50th anniversary.  City tv was also all over the 50th all weekend long with reports on the news. I don't recall but I am sure some of the Toronto papers gave this some press too. CHUM was smart that they gave the 50th anniversary lots of pre promotion for weeks ahead of the actual weekend.

There certainly was a big line up down Yonge and around the block to get in for the tour when I was waiting to go through. CHUM jocks from the 50's and 60's and 70's were on the air live all weekend and overall it was very well done with the building and studios all open for the public to tour through. 

CHUM also did a good job when they left the music format for good and  they said good bye to the city and listeners for about a month with old air checks, celebrities, vignettes, jingles and again former CHUM jocks on air.  

 

January 8, 2020 8:59 pm  #5


Re: A Radio Station That Celebrates Its History - Unlike CFRB

kman wrote:

paterson1 wrote:

CHUM also did a good job when they left the music format for good and  they said good bye to the city and listeners for about a month with old air checks, celebrities, vignettes, jingles and again former CHUM jocks on air.  

CKOC did the same before they abandoned the oldies/classic hits, and also had a big celebration for their 90th anniversary. CFRB interestingly is owned by the same company as CHUM and CKOC, however CHUM and 'OC were all about nostalgia while CFRB isn't.

It shows how times have changed. When CFRB turned 50 there was a tremendous amount of hoopla for a whole weekend with heritage clips, visits from former hosts and even a special jingle from then playlist stalwarts the Laurie Bower Singers. I believe subsequent owners came to see the station's lengthy heritage as a liability since it had an image of being a station for "old people". CFRB=Dinosaur, hence the rebranding in the last decade to exclude the call letters. 
At the same time its rather curious that their co-owned counterpart in Montreal (CJAD of course) still uses its heritage calls apparently with no similar concerns even though that station is around 75 years old.
 

 

January 9, 2020 3:07 pm  #6


Re: A Radio Station That Celebrates Its History - Unlike CFRB

Maybe they'll have a 100th anniversary QSL card. In 1970, at the time of their 50th anniversary,, they sent the same one they used thru the 70s, and before. I still have mine, with November 2 1970 hand-written in the space for date received. In fact, none of the US stations whose 50th anniversaries happened in the first couple years of the 70s, that I sent reports to, offered commemorative QSL cards.

 

January 9, 2020 4:00 pm  #7


Re: A Radio Station That Celebrates Its History - Unlike CFRB

It's always amused me that for many years  CFRB has attempted to  deflect from its older demographic. Without a lot of success. It was mocked as "an old lady in a mini skirt" when it updated its music in the late 70's, when, btw, IIRC, it was billing $12,000,000 a year! Then around 1985 Allan Slaight imported Peter Shurman from CJAD in Montreal to become President of the Radio Division of Standard.  Shurman installed fellow Montrealer Ralph Lucas as John Spragge's replacement. (Wally Crouter once told me at a social event that he wanted to punch Lucas's lights out!) And then the modernization began in earnest.  For me, the culmination was  when Gary Lautens (Gary friggin' Lautens!!!) wrote an article for The Star titled, "Why  I Don't Listen to CFRB Anymore."

Somehow I don't think the demographic ever improved.

Last edited by potentiometer (January 9, 2020 4:36 pm)

 

January 13, 2020 7:12 pm  #8


Re: A Radio Station That Celebrates Its History - Unlike CFRB

Or maybe it's nothing more complicated than Bell Media, owners of 1010 now, doesn't want to give any publicity to Rogers. It was Ted Rogers who started CFRB, was it not?

 

January 13, 2020 7:34 pm  #9


Re: A Radio Station That Celebrates Its History - Unlike CFRB

Here is a little bit about when CFRB dropped the call letters and became Newstalk 1010. This actually happened prior to Bell, when they were owned by Astral Media.

https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2009/09/27/hot_button_newstalk_1010_cfrb_tweaks_name.html

 

January 14, 2020 7:04 am  #10


Re: A Radio Station That Celebrates Its History - Unlike CFRB

Maybe no one cares outside the realm of this website.