At 3PM on May 7, 2000 CHUM signed off for the last time. There is still something at 1050 on the dial but it's an all sports format called The Team 1050. This completed 44 years of rock and roll at one of the world's most innovative radio stations.VFor weeks before the closing everybody, including the media, were busily trying to guess what the last song played would be. My personal favorite would have been "Farewell, So Long, Goodbye" by Bill Haley and The Comets since it was from the early rock and roll era, but such was not the case. It was left to Duff Roman and Bob Laine, two of the original DJ's that were dusted off for the Grande Finale, to pick the last song and it was "All Shook Up" by Elvis Presley. This was okay since it was the first song played when CHUM signed on at 6 a.m., May 27 1957. The last actual show aired was "Henny In The Morning" from 6 to 10AM. Brian Henderson finished off with "It's Over" by Roy Orbison. Good one Henny.
CHUM may have disappeared from the airwaves in Toronto but it lives on via the Internet. You can still listen to the oldies if you have Real Audio. There is a link to their site at the bottom of this page.
Well, as they say, all good things must come to an end. Goodbye CHUM, I'm gonna miss ya. Below is my original tribute to CHUM. I'll just leave it intact.For me, 1957 was one of the most pivotal years of the 50's. I was eight years old and the world around me was moving ahead at an alarming rate. My favorite baseball team, the Dodgers, played their last game in Brooklyn. Humphrey Bogart, who was and is my favorite actor, died. Cars grew tail fins and started to resemble the spaceships that flew across the movie screens at the Saturday afternoon matinees. The Soviet Union sent up the first sattelites to ever orbit our planet, with one having a live dog in it. Rock and Roll was still young and coming into it's heyday and was getting damn near respectable.
In Toronto, one radio station became Canada's first 24 hour a day all Rock and Roll radio station, and one of only a few in the World. Even though I was just a little kid, I had been exposed to music from the time I was a baby. The radio was always on and if it wasn't we were probably out on the back porch listening to a 78 or those new fangled 45 rpm records. Occaisionally my brothers would go down to Buffalo and bring home a batch of those crazy Rock And Roll songs and throw them on the record player. My parents seemed to like this new stuff so our family had quite a varied selection of music to choose from.
Purple People Eater, Running Bear and My Friend The Witchdoctor being some of my favortes at that early age. I was fooling around in the school yard one w arm sunny afternoon, probably in June, 57, when a friend came up to me and asked if I'd heard the new radio station called CHUM. I hadn't so he let me listen in on his crystal radio. Crystal radios were the predecessor to the transistor radio, you just clipped it to a metal fence and listened through an earplug, no batteries required. Anyway, I listened in awe to what was flowing from that earplug. Not that I hadn't heard it before as I explained above, but this was different, it was on all the time, whenever I wanted to listen to it, all I had to do was twist a dial. Unfortunately, I don't remember who that friend was nor do I remember the songs, I only remember the incident.
I had a beat up old floor model radio in my room that was always tuned to CKEY. That station played Dean Martin and the Andrews Sisters and other stuff like that. I liked it but I was eight years young at the time and this new music was exciting and fast becoming a new lifestyle for kids and teens alike. I tuned it to CHUM and it stayed there.
One of the neatest things this new radio station did was put out a CHUM Chart, the top 30, 40 or 50 songs of the week, the number varied throughout the years. At first it was distributed at various record bars in the city and later ran in newspapers. These charts are much sought after collectors items around Toronto now. I had hundreds of them that have all disappeared over the years, I wish I had them now. They ran from May, 1957 to June, 1986 for a total of 1512 charts over 29 years. The longest running radio station music chart in North America.
Back in the mid 60's when the Toronto Maple Leafs were winning lots of Stanley Cups, the CHUM Witch would show up at Maple Leaf Gardens to put a hex on the visiting team during the playoffs. It seemed to work. Maybe the Leafs could use her help right now.
Chum was a perennial favorite at "The EX" (Canadian National Exibition). They always had a big trailer down there with huge speakers blasting out the music and you could watch your favorite D.J. doing his thing live through the window. This was a great way to enter The Ex, listening to the music as the smell of hot dogs and greasy french fries assaulted your nostrils.
That's some of the things I remember best about CHUM in the old days. I guess you could say I grew up with that radio station. CHUM is still going strong and playing the same music they did back then. And I'm still a loyal listener. You can be too if you have Real Audio.
I don't remember the D.J.'s from the 50's. But in the 60's it seems that I paid more attention to the D.J.'s. Each one had a distinct personality and were sometimes as important as the music. Here's a bit about the guys that I really liked in the 60's.
BOB LAINE Many time I would spend half the night listening to Bob Laine's All Night Show. I could always catch a nap in school next day and usually did. As I recall, Knobhill Farms was the only sponser most of the time, but Ted Davey Used Cars might have been in there. I still remember the Ted Davey jingle.
Just one location, 901, On Danforth Avenue, For the best used car buys in the town, Try Ted Davey, Ted Davey, Ted Davey. Thanks to Doug MiIntyre for adding a line I had forgotten...
Bob played lots of oldies and country oldies too. Where else could you hear a Hank Williams ballad followed by some kickass Little Richard? This was always my favorite show even though I wasn't supposed to be listening to it.
AL BOLISKA Al had the morning show for quite a few years on CHUM before he moved to another Toronto radio station. He was absolutely one of the funniest guys I've ever heard. Al wrote most of his own jokes and some for other shows too. He passed away at the very tender age of 40.
JAY NELSON When Al Boliska left, CHUM held a week of auditions for the morning show. Two of the hopefuls were Irene Ryan, yes Granny from The Beverly Hillbillies, and Jay Nelson. I wish I could remember the others but I don't. This was obviously a publicity stunt since I'm sure Jay was "the man" right from the start. Jay was lured over from his very successful TV kiddies show in Buffalo. It had a jungle theme and he was known as Jungle Jay, a name he couldn't shake no matter how hard he tried.
He remained the morning man for an incredible 17 years. He was also a very funny guy writing most of his own material. Jay died in 1994.
MOOSE LATRECK Moose Latreck's show was something a little different. He played country music for an hour or two on Sunday nights if I remember correctly. Many may find this hard to believe, but it's true. This and Bob Laine's All-nighter were my only exposure to country music back then.
SOME OF THE OTHER DJ's THAT I REMEMBER... DAVE JOHNSON JOHN SPRAGGE MIKE DARROW BRIAN SKINNER BOB MadADOREY DUFF ROMAN... Yes, I was a member of The Duff Roman Legion... Also, there were a couple of phone-in shows hosted first by Larry Solway and then John Gilbert. Hey there John, I've still got your 45 RPM record "No Charge".