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July 5, 2024 7:17 am  #1


Remember When CHUM-FM Became A Progressive Rock Station?

It was exactly 56 years ago this week - July 1968 - that 104.5 dropped a classical music format for another far more radical one - prog. rock. It was a major move that ushered the station from an almost ignored entity to a gradually growing force in the Toronto market.

Here's a look back at the announcement about the change which would shake up local radio.

It's a far cry from what the station is like today. 




And finally, a rumour that wasn't true, and started circulating just a year after the big switch. From May 1969:

 

July 5, 2024 11:16 am  #2


Re: Remember When CHUM-FM Became A Progressive Rock Station?

For a short while they were classical music during the daytime hours until 6 PM, switching to progressive/underground/psychedelic rock at the tick of the hour. They would switch from "music for. or by, longhairs" to "music by, or for, longhairs" - I can't remember which way it was but I know for a fact it was one or the other.

 

July 5, 2024 11:39 am  #3


Re: Remember When CHUM-FM Became A Progressive Rock Station?

On a tangentially-related note I actually heard Black Sabbath on Q107 this morning. Surprising, given Q's tradition of flaccid programming timidity.

 

July 5, 2024 12:21 pm  #4


Re: Remember When CHUM-FM Became A Progressive Rock Station?

Not sure why Larry Solway cited Harper's Bizarre as a group to be featured on CHUM FM. Now they were a fine Sunshine Pop group but I doubt they were played much on ANY underground progressive stations. I did not listen to the early CHUM FM and so I don't know but having heard some air checks of WOR FM from 1966, anything is possible.

Yesterday I was listening to Deep Tracks on Siruis XM and heard Mother Freedom by Bread and the song is fine for the format as are a few other Bread tracks.

I doubt that Deep Tracks would play this track buy maybe the Underground Garage might as they have a big wide open garage :




Cool Airchecks and More:
http://www.lettheuniverseanswer.com/
 

July 5, 2024 12:48 pm  #5


Re: Remember When CHUM-FM Became A Progressive Rock Station?

When I was at Humber I interviewed Pete Griffin when he was at CFNY. One of the stories he told was about the format change from classical to progressive. He said it was like Christmas morning. Boxes of LPs showed up in the on air booth. They popped them open, went, "What's this?" "Don't know, let's play it."

Doug Thompson has my tapes of that interview and ones I did with Don Daynard and Jerry Good. Hopefully one day he will put them on CD or a memory stick for me as he said he would several years ago.

 

July 5, 2024 3:44 pm  #6


Re: Remember When CHUM-FM Became A Progressive Rock Station?

As great a writer and broadcaster as Larry was, he did not like pop or rock music. He was more of the clasical CHUM FM type, so his knowledge of contemporary music was limited. Also Garry Ferrier was not Production manager of CHUM AM/FM, I was. Garry was a fabulous musician and copywriter and seemed to be a natural to place as PD of CHUM FM. Those days was amazing for experimenting with new sounds, production techniques for commercials and promos. I had the background music on one head shop spot playing backwards. I put a tape rewinding in the middle of another spot and the jock on the air, Tim Thomas, stopped the cart as he thought it was a mistake.

God, those were fun days with Peter Griffin, Walter Soles, Larry Green, Tim Thomas, Reiner Schwartz, Hugh Curry, David Pritchard and not too long after that, the legendary David Marsden and the equally legendary John Donabie. Garry Ferrier left in late 1969 to go to Nashville to write on the Johnny Cash network TV show and Bob Laine took over as PD and Ops Manager. 

Last edited by Doug Thompson (July 5, 2024 3:44 pm)

 

July 5, 2024 4:18 pm  #7


Re: Remember When CHUM-FM Became A Progressive Rock Station?

I remember it well. I was living in Mount Forest at the time. I only had rabbit ears for an antenna and couldn't always get it. But I loved it.

Ironically, all these years later, I never listen to rock and I'm lamenting the absence of classical music on the radio.


I started out with nothing and I still have most of it.
 

July 5, 2024 7:15 pm  #8


Re: Remember When CHUM-FM Became A Progressive Rock Station?

turkeytop wrote:

I remember it well. I was living in Mount Forest at the time. I only had rabbit ears for an antenna and couldn't always get it. But I loved it.

Ironically, all these years later, I never listen to rock and I'm lamenting the absence of classical music on the radio.

to me what's even more lamentable is that there is nothing like the old CHUM FM on the radio any more. Rock, Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, Folk ,Country Rock , World music and classical all on one station with knowledgeable DJ's.

Still looking for an air check with Tim Thomas where he plays something like the Jim Kweskin Jug band.

Sirius XM with Deep Tracks and the Underground Garage is the closest thing. They also have  wide and often genre bending playlists and knowledgeable DJ's. Keeps the spirit of CHUM FM, WYSL FM, WPHD, WBUF, WZIR, WUWU and early CFNY alive. WZIR and WUWU were the best place to catch guitar orientated  punk and Power Pop in the 80's and they along with all of the other stations I mentioned had large and diverse playlists with DJ input.

A while back I heard a track by Cleveland's Cyrus Erie on Deep tracks. That was the group that Eric Carmen was in before the Raspberries. A great track, Deep Tracks also ventures into folk rock groups like  Pentangle and Steeleye Span. A fair amount of folk, jazz, blues and country orientated music. You are not likely to hear the progressive rock of a group like Renaissance anywhere else.  

The Underground Garage plays a lot of the classic Nuggets era 60's garage rock along with the same from the 70's and 80's. Plus R & B, soul, blues and many songs from the bottom 50 of the Hot 100.

I also enjoy the 60's top 40 songs played on 60's Gold as they do sometimes veer off the beaten track,

These three presets are enjoyable while driving but I do miss the creative commercials from the Prog era like the one Doug Thompson described above.

I remember a thread a while ago where some on the board were saying they wont subscribe or will cancel their subscription to Sirius  but as a huge fan of the radio stations I mentioned above from the 70's and 80's, I really like and am thankful that it exists. Good to have a place where the DJ's know about the music they are playing. Now I just have to get around to taping more for posterity as I don't know how long this will last. I did make a few tapes a few years ago but not enough. Hopefully I will before the whole thing goes kaput like the original CHUM FM.
 

Last edited by Fitz (July 5, 2024 7:18 pm)


Cool Airchecks and More:
http://www.lettheuniverseanswer.com/
 

July 6, 2024 7:56 am  #9


Re: Remember When CHUM-FM Became A Progressive Rock Station?

One more thing about Harper's Bizarre. Their leader Ted Templeman did indirectly make a mark on progressive radio as a producer for Captain Beefheart, The Doobie Bothers, Van Morrison and Little Feat. 


Cool Airchecks and More:
http://www.lettheuniverseanswer.com/
 

July 6, 2024 1:21 pm  #10


Re: Remember When CHUM-FM Became A Progressive Rock Station?

Yep, Larry Solway did not look like a guy who grooves out to prog rock music.

 

July 6, 2024 11:09 pm  #11


Re: Remember When CHUM-FM Became A Progressive Rock Station?

Fitz wrote:

turkeytop wrote:

I remember it well. I was living in Mount Forest at the time. I only had rabbit ears for an antenna and couldn't always get it. But I loved it.

Ironically, all these years later, I never listen to rock and I'm lamenting the absence of classical music on the radio.

to me what's even more lamentable is that there is nothing like the old CHUM FM on the radio any more. Rock, Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, Folk ,Country Rock , World music and classical all on one station with knowledgeable DJ's.

Still looking for an air check with Tim Thomas where he plays something like the Jim Kweskin Jug band.

Sirius XM with Deep Tracks and the Underground Garage is the closest thing. They also have  wide and often genre bending playlists and knowledgeable DJ's. Keeps the spirit of CHUM FM, WYSL FM, WPHD, WBUF, WZIR, WUWU and early CFNY alive. WZIR and WUWU were the best place to catch guitar orientated  punk and Power Pop in the 80's and they along with all of the other stations I mentioned had large and diverse playlists with DJ input.

A while back I heard a track by Cleveland's Cyrus Erie on Deep tracks. That was the group that Eric Carmen was in before the Raspberries. A great track, Deep Tracks also ventures into folk rock groups like  Pentangle and Steeleye Span. A fair amount of folk, jazz, blues and country orientated music. You are not likely to hear the progressive rock of a group like Renaissance anywhere else.  

The Underground Garage plays a lot of the classic Nuggets era 60's garage rock along with the same from the 70's and 80's. Plus R & B, soul, blues and many songs from the bottom 50 of the Hot 100.

I also enjoy the 60's top 40 songs played on 60's Gold as they do sometimes veer off the beaten track,

These three presets are enjoyable while driving but I do miss the creative commercials from the Prog era like the one Doug Thompson described above.

I remember a thread a while ago where some on the board were saying they wont subscribe or will cancel their subscription to Sirius  but as a huge fan of the radio stations I mentioned above from the 70's and 80's, I really like and am thankful that it exists. Good to have a place where the DJ's know about the music they are playing. Now I just have to get around to taping more for posterity as I don't know how long this will last. I did make a few tapes a few years ago but not enough. Hopefully I will before the whole thing goes kaput like the original CHUM FM.
 

Thanks to your great site, I've been able to hear CHUM-FM from in the early '70s, when they were still progressive rock. I'd love to unearth CHUM-FM airchecks from 1968 and-or 1969. Wish I'd recorded it when I had the chance!

I'm a SiriusM subscriber too. Pat St. John's fabulous 3-7 p.m. ET weekday show is worth the price of the subscription alone!
 

Last edited by Dale Patterson (July 6, 2024 11:12 pm)


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