Talk Radio in Canada

Stories and info about those no longer involved in the industry

Talk Radio in Canada

Postby jon » Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:57 pm

This was just referred to in the "I grew up in Vancouver" Facebook page. It is an interview with Pat Burns captioned "The originator of talk radio in Canada..."

Coincidentally, at dinner this evening in Edmonton, the lady seated across the aisle at my favourite Chinese restaurant worked for Jack Webster for a dozen or more years. And referred to Jack as the originator of "Talk Radio as we know it today in this country", to use her words. I was eavesdropping, so did not catch her name. She did, however, keep referring to her time with Webster as "pre-9/11", which, of course, it was since Jack died in 1999. But I suspect it also means that she worked for Jack in his last years.
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Re: Talk Radio in Canada

Postby Woodcarver » Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:52 am

The woman you overheard was probably Linda Dutka, Webster's long-time researcher and executive assistant at both CJOR and BCTV.

Pat Burns is, in fact, the originator of the talk radio format in Canada. Joe Pyne created the talk radio format at WILM in Wilmington, Delaware in 1950. Burns started a program based on Pyne format at CKGM in Montreal in 1959. Burns brought his program to CJOR in Vancouver in May 1963. CKNW put Jack Webster on the air a few months later to compete with Burns, who was burning up the ratings at that time. Webster relates the story in Chapter 7 of his autobiography "Webster!", Douglas & McIntyre, 1990.

In the video interview with Pat Burns the interviewer states that the off-air incident happened in Montreal, yet I remember an eerily similar incident happening at CJOR in October 1974. I was an apprentice broadest engineer at the time and part of the technical team trying to find the cause of the outage. I was stationed at the transmitter site on the second night of this incident ready to run a "Best of Burns" tape and commercials in the event of another outage. The broadcast lines were cut again as related in the Burns interview but luckily we were onsite to manually switch to auxiliary lines so we were only off-the-air for a relatively short time. We never did find out what happened.

I worked with both Jack and Pat and believe me, Jack, was the easier guy to get along with! :-) :-) :-)
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