Site Update: The CKWX "Unpublished" Charts

A look back at various radio stations

Site Update: The CKWX "Unpublished" Charts

Postby VancouverTopFortyRadio » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:05 pm

Update #27 -December 4, 2019

Hello from the Vancouver Top 40 Radio website.

For many years I’ve had surveys posted for CKWX starting from September 1958 and running through to March 1962 at which time 'WX made its exit from the Top 40 format.

This update takes us even further back in time. It is devoted primarily to CKWX in 1957 with a series of charts that takes us through 1958 up to early January 1959.

Actually CKWX had not yet adopted a Top 40 format in 1957. Like other radio stations it was undergoing a transition. Radio’s “golden age” had slipped into history and the new dominant staple of programming was becoming hit music.

Here, in this pre-top 40 era, we’re presenting two different series of charts beginning in 1957.

1. The “Unpublished” Charts of CKWX.
Beginning in Jan. 1957 and carrying through to mid-1958, a series of playlists that were not distributed to the public but were used in-house, these “unpublished” or “Station” charts, as we like to call them have amazingly survived and they came to us as barely readable photocopies from the collection of Alex Galbraith. I have retyped these charts for this site in the style of the original charts using a typewriter-style font (Courier) and have included all the typing idiosyncrasies and misspellings found on the originals.

2. The Red Robinson Teen Canteen charts.
When Red Robinson arrived at CKWX on April 1, 1957 it wasn’t long before he began to compile his own chart which started as a ‘Top 30.’ Soon it became a ‘Top 30 plus 10’ and by September of ’57, due to the numerous new song releases, he expanded it to a ‘Top 50.’ (referenced in Red’s Vancouver Sun column of Oct. 4th). Red’s chart was an integral part of his Teen Canteen program and it was compiled over the phone by two girls who came in and took votes for two hours every afternoon.

Like the “Station” charts mentioned above, these were not distributed to the public and they too would be lost to history if not for the fact that, in late July, the top ten songs from his chart began appearing as a weekly feature in the Vancouver Sun along with a weekly column that Red contributed. These weekly top tens are presented here on my site and also include, for a number of randomly selected weeks, some of Red’s weekly columns that accompanied those top tens.

Both the ‘Station’ charts and the Teen Canteen top tens appear side by side on the same page, week by week. You can view them together and compare what songs Red was playing on his show with what songs the other WX deejays such as Bill Davis and Bob McGavin were playing. Since the dates of each series do not match exactly—the ‘Station’ charts had a Sunday effective date and Red’s charts had a Saturday effective date—the dates in the index will display the ‘Station’ chart’s date as the dominant date. Clicking on one date will bring up both charts for that week. (Note that Red’s charts do not begin appearing until July 28). To confuse the dating matters a little more the Vancouver Sun printed Red’s top tens six days after the date that Red aired his countdown.

The 1958 and 1959 Index pages which, as I said earlier, have been on the site for many years have been modified to include the links to the these two series, both of which continue into these years.

The CKWX 1957 Index Page contains 14 audio clips. Foremost is a 45-minute piece featuring Red Robinson’s show on CKWX on September 16, 1957. (Incorrectly dated Sept. 14 in some sources.) Thanks here goes to Dale Patterson of the Rock Radio Scrap Book website for allowing me to link to this file. Other audio includes some interesting jingles.

The 1957 Index Page also contains numerous images, mostly from 1957 newspaper ads.

Bonus Extras:
1. Bruce Stewart has contributed another of his magnificent paintings, this one titled “Juicy Fruit Frame” which depicts James Dean and Natalie Wood in a 1956 Meteor and enjoying a view parked high above LA. It appears on the 1957 Index page where you can click on the image to get a much larger high resolution image. Thanks to Bruce for this wonderful image.

2. The Disc Jockey’s Theme Song by Steve Allen, a 1957 recording that never charted but included for your amusement as an embedded YouTube file.

About the Newspaper articles and YouTube links.
-As you browse the surveys week by week you will occasionally stumble upon newspaper articles that appeared that same week as the surveys, many of them containing Red Robinson’s weekly column. These appear only on a select number of surveys (about 25%). In Red’s column he often makes predictions about up-and-coming hits. Youtube links have been provided to some of these songs, some of which became smash hits and others which fell into obscurity. Clicking on these Youtube links will take you directly to Youtube.

Articles by other newspaper writers have also been included, even a few written for the Sun by Jack Cullen and others. Many of these articles provide some interesting insights into the times and reflect the reactions and dismays to rock and roll by various people.

As I indicated these new articles and Youtube links only accompany a select number of surveys and you’ll come across them as you browse. The inclusion of newspaper articles and Youtube links is somewhat of an experiment and may be expanded, depending on what reactions, if any, that I receive from any of you.

Jim Bower
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