Our recent chat with Lloyd Robertson will be broadcast tonight at 6 pm on 100.9 CanoeFM or online at http://www.canoefm.com. The second airing of the interview will be next Tuesday at 11 am.
It was a delightful chat and Lloyd was a most approachable person which made it very easy to have a more relaxed conversation.
Hope you can catch it tonight at 6 pm, or Tuesday morning at 11 am.
Friday morning was a lovely start to the day. The trip into town was well planned out, in order to fit with Jane’s schedule for her “Morning Glories” exercise class that she instructs. We were plenty early and it turned out I had lots of time to play with considering that I had two stops to make in the hour and half available to me.
A stop to the lumber store would get me a few supplies that I needed to finish off a flower cart that I am working on. The plan is to finish the project within the next week, as part of my extensive “honey do” list.
The main feature of the flower cart is a pair of 4 foot steel wagon wheels that were once owned by my parents. The were used as the wheels for their dock at their cottage in Renfrew County. They have sentimental value to say the least. They remind me of some very happy times on Lorwell Lake and memories of happier times with Margaret and Allan.
Following a successful stop at the lumber store, I headed over to the Shopper’s Drug Store in the Village Court. They open at 9 a.m. I was about 45 minutes early. With so much time on my hands, which by the way is a seldom experienced pleasure, I decided to pop into the Village Court Donuts & Cafe. You always get a friendly welcome and you can be sure to pick up some of the local happenings by listening in to the conversation at the counter.
I stepped in the door and, sure as shootin’, I met an acquaintance stopping in for a coffee and breakfast treat “to go” and we had a brief “how are yuh” type conversation. As I stood in line, I saw that their special of the day was an egg and cheese sandwich plus a coffee, all for just $3.99. I had an immediate attack of the hungries and decided that sounded just fine. I could sit by the window and just relax until the drug store opened.
I got to the counter, placed my order, on brown and with de-caf coffee. I was having a happy anticipation about breakfast.
Damn. I didn’t have any paper money on me and when I went to the change … I didn’t have enough to make $3.99. I felt rather foolish and said that I would have to settle for a coffee. I was quickly erasing the thought of egg and cheese and how simply wonderful it was going to taste.
Suddenly, behind me, a voice said over my shoulder, “I’ve got it covered. That’s fine.”
I did a head snap. Standing behind me was Amelia Edmunds. Shiny faced and with that beatific smile that she is so famous for. I mumbled my thanks and appreciation and Amelia said, in response to my still semi-embarrassed state, “you can catch me next time.”
Like so many other people in Haliburton County, I am a fan of Amelia’s. Amelia has a wonderfully sensual voice and, importantly, she portrays great feeling when she is entertaining. (ameliaandthemayor.com) When the crowds respond to Amelia she always rewards them with that beautiful smile. That’s the smile she gave me Friday morning. That 1000 lumen smile, that kindness, made my entire day.
The past week or so I got thinking about all the years I spent in radio, and then in talking with Lloyd Robertson, I realized there were a lot of funny, weird and scary stories that came out of all those years. I was interviewing Lloyd for Canoe Fm, and he agreed with me that the vintage tv show “WKRP in Cincinatti”, while very funny in itself, was really a perfect profile of what it was like to be in radio in the 50’s, 60’s and maybe the 70’s.
Today radio is mainly a collection of big businesses owning multiple radio stations across the country. In the 50’s and 60’s a good many of them were owned by individuals operating in their local communities. With the local ownership came a collection of very diverse personalities … the fast talking, flamboyant jocks, the hard driving sales guys, good lookin’ ladies in the offices, news guys who were very serious on the air and crazy men off the air, and management (they were the suits.) It was a pulsating environment that consumed all those who chose to enter.
I’ll start by sharing with you the story of Wacky Willy. He was the midnight to 6am guy. Willy is not his real name, but for my own safety I choose that name because it rhymes with Wacky. And he was wacko. Willy was of average height, a little on the gaunt side, with a shock of reddish hair and, what I’ll call, the all-night pallor. The boy could have used a little sun. Wacky did mostly the weekend nights and sitting in now and again for the regular guy who, by the way, came to us from Ford, working at the assembly plant before he stumbled into all-night radio.
Wacky didn’t see many people in the station due to the fact that he usually didn’t slither in until about 11.45 p.m. At the time I was doing 6 to midnight … yeh, I was the Jumpin’ Jay, flinging out the hits for rock n’ roll fans all evening long. I got to see Wacky a couple of nights a week and, believe me, his rather macabre presence made me glad it wasn’t more often.
This particular summer evening I was in the newsroom checking the teletype machines. It must have been pretty warm because the fire escape door was open to let a little air into the second floor. Wacky sauntered in and muttered his greeting. “How’er you doin?”
He wandered over to the news director’s desk and began looking through one of the drawers. Hey, I knew that was a no no. The news director was a very serious guy and he was one who cracked a mean whip. He would take a dim view of Wacky nosing into his desk. Wacky was looking for a candy bar or some other sustenance to launch him into his night shift.
“Hey Wacky, I wouldn’t do that. Jim will have your neck.”
That’s all I said. Nothing else. Nothing threatening. Nothing to take offense at.
In nothing more than a nanosecond, Wacky whipped around to face me. And there, in Wacky’s hand, was the shiniest, most fearsome looking silver handgun and it was pointed in my direction. It was the first time I’d ever seen a Smith and Wesson snub nose 35. I know it was a 35 because I looked it up later. I figured that if I was going to have nightmares I should know what caused them.
I held my hands in front of me, palms up, in some sort of supplication. “Hey man, put that thing away, it’s no big deal.”
Wacky put the gun back under his Hawaiian print summer shirt and then, like a ferret on the run, he disappeared into the main studio. I stood there, in some sort of shock, replaying what had just gone on. Once the blood returned to my feet and my bladder relaxed I got the hell outta there.
The next day I got a couple of my station buddies together. John was a hyper active news reporter and Dave was one of the young announcers. We all started at the station about the same time and we kinda buddy-ed up in a loose type of friendship. John always wore a white shirt and a suit that looked like his dad handed it down. It was about one size too big. But it gave him that Jimmy Olsen look mixed in with a beach boys shock of hair. Dave was a cool guy. He was easy going and gave the appearance that someone operating his marionette strings had cut one string. What an odd collection we made. In case you’re wondering, I usually wore a T-shirt with pale blue jeans and white buck shoes. The Pat Boone look.
After I recounted my tale of horror to the guys, we talked about what I should do. Should I tell management, call the cops, or get a gun of my own. If I told management Wacky might come looking for me. If I called the cops they’d probably not find the gun and Wacky would definitely come looking for me. I couldn’t get my own gun ’cause it didn’t fit my image and, more importantly, I had no idea about how to go about securing a “piece”.
It was was easy-going Dave who came up with the big idea. It was wonderfully audacious.
The plan was pretty simple. I did an air check of Wacky on one of his shifts. I did it at home with a tape recorder. There was no way was I going anywhere near that nut job if I could help it. I spent some time duplicating the air check. I think we ended up with about a dozen tapes. We had spent time making a list of radio stations that were the same profile as ours but, most importantly, that were thousands of kilometers away from Hamilton. We put together a mailing for each station containing an air check tape and Wacky’s contact information. Perfect. It was worth the cost of postage to think that we might be able to get rid of the whacko gun-totin’ D.J.
A few weeks went by and nothing. Wacky was still there. We began to suspect that perhaps other people knew that Wacky was whacko.
One day, Wacky walked in to the newsroom area and proclaimed to all the he was leaving. He got a job at a radio station in Bermuda. He admitted that he had no idea how they came to peg him for the job, but perhaps one of their execs had picked him late at night, ’cause after all we know how radio signals can “bounce” on warm summer night. He was off, he was leaving, he and his gun would be no more.
Our biggest delight came from the fact that in Bermuda, at that time, you had to sign a two year contract and put up the money for your airfare back home. It was known that a lot of guys went stir crazy in less than a year and the station didn’t want people going through like a turnstile, so you had to commit to two years. Not a bad incarceration when you think about it. We didn’t care. We were just glad to be rid of Wacky and his snub nose 35.
Once Wacky left I felt much more secure late at night knowing that his evil presence and his precious 35 weren’t lurking behind a door or office partition.
I kinda excited. This morning …’bout 45 minutes from now, I get to talk to the longest-serving news anchor in the world, Lloyd Robertson.
Lloyd will be doing a book signing at Harmony Farm on the May long weekend (24th) and we get to chat with him about the book, and about his amazing career.
Well into his 70’s (he’s a zoomer) he’s going strong on W5 for CTV.
Our interview will be broadcast on CanoeFM later in the month. Stayed tuned.
Excuse me, I’ve got to get ready for his call.
It was quite a finish yesterday morning. The CanoeFM Radio Hall was full to overflowing with lovely people. It turned out to be quite a lovely “roast”. What fun it was, and how nice to see so many good friends from so many parts of the community. Emails continued to come in today and I am very overwhelmed by the kindness people have shown.
I feel like a little lost boy today, wondering what it will feel like next week. After the tumult, today I’m feeling much more emotional about it all. I will miss talking with so many friends in the community.
Thank you all.
Today on the Reeve’s Report, Carol Moffatt will be our guest. Carol, reeve of Algonquin Highlands and Warden of the county will bring us up to date on activities and issues of importance just after the 8am news.
At 8.30am we’re delighted to have Dale Goldhawk chat with us. Famous for his “Dale Goldhawk Fights Back” radio program in Toronto, Dale is a featured speaker this morning in Lindsay at an event for Community Care.
Lorraine McNeil is our co host as we take to the air waves 7 to 9 am this morning. Hope you can join us for a spell. We’re at 100.9 or live at http://www.canoefm.com.
Shawn Chamberlain co-hosts this morning, and we’re looking forward to our phone chat with Ian Tamblyn, right after the 8am news.
Ian began writing songs, short stories and plays as a teenager. Since that time he has recorded twenty- nine albums, cassettes, and CDs and written over 1500 songs.
Ian will be appearing at the Dominion Hotel, sponsored by the Haliburton County Folk Society, this Thursday evening.
We’ll be live this morning, 7 to 9 am, on 100.9 Canoe Fm.