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April 7, 2020 6:29 pm  #1


The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

The interview may be brief, but it contains a lot of revelations about John Records Landecker, whom many will remember not only from WLS but for a brief time as the successor to Brady In The Morning on CFTR in the early 80s.
 
Among them:
 
-His early desires to be on the air and the machine he practiced into.
 
-His first bizarre appearance on the radio when he was still in high school.
 
-How two listeners he never met accidentally played a big part in his career.
 
-Why CKLW inadvertently figured in his first major exposure, even though he never actually worked there.
 
-The name he was forced to use in Philadelphia.
 
-Why his infamous “Boogie Check” feature at WLS was always a high wire act no one would dare try today.
 
-Why he wouldn’t recommend radio for young people now and
 
-The curious turn his career has taken at age 73.
 
If you’re interested in this radio veteran, you can read more about his story here.

 

April 7, 2020 8:41 pm  #2


Re: The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

In college and at my first job, John Landecker was one of my favourites. He was an entertainer and a great top 40 jock. When he moved to Toronto, I knew that CFTR was totally committed to unseat CHUM.  Some didn't like Landecker at CFTR but I thought he was great.  Not the same as WLS, how could he be?   He was now doing mornings not evening, you wouldn't do the same type of show. 

In his two years odd that he never really took off in Toronto.  To those of us in the radio biz and in top 40 radio John was the best of the best, however it is very possible the average Torontonian didn't know him, or didn't warm up to his style right away.

He did long comedy breaks which both Jim Brady and Jay Nelson tended to stay away from.  Brady and Nelson would do bits of 45 seconds to 1.5 minutes where Landecker could have bits or talk of 2 to 5 minutes. But Landecker was so good with people on the phones, with the news guys and  Daryl Dahmer on traffic, totally relaxed and natural. 

Roger Ashby took over 1050 CHUM's morning show in 1982 and the station regained the morning contemporary radio title from CFTR.  In the fall of 1983 John Landecker went back to the US and was replaced by Tom Rivers.  Of course Wally Crouter on CFRB was always the true king of the morning ratings during this period.  

 

April 7, 2020 8:53 pm  #3


Re: The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

The only segment I really remember during Landecker's stay in Toronto was his "TTC." It stood for Trudeau Talks Cute, and he'd take clips of then P.M. Pierre Trudeau (not the son) and set it up so his response at a press conference or a speech was the punch line. Other than that, Landecker's time was a big blank to me. 

I did meet him once while he was here. I remember asking him if he was planning to do "Boogie Check" in Toronto. He turned to me with an imperious look and scowled, "Why would I want to do that?" (Umm, maybe because it was your signature piece in Chicago?) And then he walked away. 

Great first and last impression and as much as I admired his work in the U.S., I've heard from some who worked with him that he was an egotistical nightmare when he came across the border. Rogers paid him a fortune to come north, but he left essentially a failure here. Which doesn't mean he wasn't a great jock. It's just for whatever reason he decided not to bring all the elements that made him so great in the Windy City to our city, And it wound up costing both him and the radio station big time.  

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April 7, 2020 10:31 pm  #4


Re: The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

Rogers would pay for his almost weekly weekend flights back to Chicago.  Don't know if it would have been wise to just do the same show here as in Chicago. Again he was evenings at WLS and some elements wouldn't really work well in the morning,  Mornings are a lot busier on air and time is tighter.           
Probably that was why John came here, to do a morning show and to try new things.  Actually I recall another interview with him and he said he was getting bored and wanted a change. He admitted to much drinking and drugs in the late 70's into the 80's and after he left CFTR he had an unsuccessful return to Chicago radio and a period he called in his book as the "descent into darkness." 

Sometimes it's difficult for personalities to change markets.  Just because you are a star or number one in one town doesn't mean it will happen again when you move.  I don't imagine if Wally Crouter or RB;s morning format had moved to Los Angeles or anywhere else, they would have had the audience share that they always enjoyed in Toronto. Howard Stern had a bit of a flurry here and much publicity at Q107 for a couple of years but he fizzled quickly.  Howard became an expensive burden for the station and the show had slid to the bottom of the top ten morning shows.

 

April 8, 2020 8:30 am  #5


Re: The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

Also contributing to the demise of Stern in Toronto was Q107's nervousness about listener complaints and having to deal with the CRTC. He was on a 20-30 minute tape delay on Q. He could be heard live at that time out of Buffalo on 92.9.

 

April 8, 2020 9:19 am  #6


Re: The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

One other thing that some don't know about Landecker was in his books title. His middle name really is Records. That was his mother's maiden name.  So John Records Landecker is 100% legit, and that is his legal name.

Both Q and the CRTC were reacting to many listener complaints about Stern. To me the tape delay was just more free publicity for the program. There was always talk within the industry that Q would heavily edited his show, which I also heard was BS and didn't happen.  But the bottom line is that his show's ratings in Toronto never justified the expense for Q107.  Toronto just didn't love Howard that much.                                                                                                                      

 I was disappointed with Stern when I listened to him because he never shut up. I didn't know his show was all talk, I assumed wrongly that the term "shock jock" was more like a Don Imus, who was outrageous but still played some music. I found it odd that a great music station like Q would have a morning show that was all talk.   Sterns huge long commercial breaks didn't help him here either.  I couldn't believe how long the breaks were.  Plus, back then I never found him very entertaining or funny, just juvenile potty humour which I usually grow tired of quickly.   And professionally I don't like announcers that are always talking about themselves, which Stern did a lot of.  But hey the guy seems more mature now, and I am still not a big fan but he does make $17 million a year so what the hell do I know?? https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/wassat.png
 

 

April 8, 2020 9:21 am  #7


Re: The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

This got me to thinking about other jocks who were established on one market, then went to another market for a short time, then returned to their own stomping grounds...

- Stan Roberts did WKBW's morning show for seven years (replacing Jay Nelson) before leaving for Boston's WHDH in 1970. He returned to Buffalo at WGR two years later.

- George Hamberger was a well-known Buffalo jock (WYSL-FM, WYSL-AM, WKBW) who moved to CFTR Toronto in 1980, lasted a couple of years, then went back to Buffalo as WGR's morning man.

- Robert W. Morgan was a star in L.A. radio as KHJ's morning man. He moved to WIND Chicago in 1970 only to return to his old shift in 1972.

- Dick Biondi, a legend in Chicago radio (WLS, WCFL), left the Windy City in the mid-'70s for a decade-long stint at WNMB-FM North Myrtle Beach (he was also at WSAI briefly in 1973), but returned to Chicago in the mid-'80s.

- Jim Brady left CFTR for KOPA Phoenix for a couple of months in 1978 then came back to his old shift.

- Marc Denis spent three years (1997-2000) at CJEZ Toronto before returning to Montreal where he had been a star on several stations, including CKGM in the '70s and early '80s.

- Cincinnati legend Dusty Rhodes left in 1966 for a year-long stay at CKLW Windsor. He then returned to  the Queen City where he continues to this day.in nearby Hamilton, Ohio at WMKV-FM.

Lots more, but there's a few.










 


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April 8, 2020 9:41 am  #8


Re: The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

George Hamberger is one of those great jocks who left the business altogether. He's still in Buffalo, where for the past few decades, he's been a very successful real estate agent.

His bio plays off that past experience:

"Since 1990 George Hamberger has successfully completed commercial real estate transactions in a variety of categories including office, industrial, investment, retail and restaurant sales and leasing.

"
Prior to commencing his career in commercial real estate, George enjoyed over 20 years in the broadcasting field, primarily as an on-air personality in Buffalo and Toronto, Canada. This invaluable experience continues to be a tremendous asset with proven communication skills and name recognition."

An odd career shift, perhaps, but it seems to have worked out for him, especially given the precarious state of the media and on air talent these days. He's now been in real estate longer than he was in radio.


How He Looked In His Radio Days (courtesy Rock Radio Scrapbook)
http://rockradioscrapbook.ca/george-hamberger.gif

How He Looks Today (From the Hanna Real Estate website)
http://www.hannacre.com/uploads/media/Buffalo/George-Hamberger-WEB.jpg
 

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April 8, 2020 9:59 am  #9


Re: The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

John Mahjor moved back and forth across the border a few times. Coming to CHUM in 1975 from WAPE in Jacksonville Florida at the age of 22.  Leaves CHUM in 1985 for LA's KLAC and KCBS and returns to CHUM Toronto in 1991 for eight years and returns to the US in 1999.

The great Brother Bill Gable came to CKLW in 1972 from KHBQ in Memphis. Leaves LW in 1973 for KHJ Los Angeles only to return to CKLW  later in 1973 and stays for 7 years before heading east down the 401 to CFTR and CHFI. Goes back to the US in 1982 to work in Cincinnati and Orlando and returns to Toronto 20 years later again working at CFTR/CHFI and finally retiring at Zoomer radio in 2014. 

 

April 11, 2020 10:31 pm  #10


Re: The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

Our radio heroes ... I asked JRL twice at the Detroit Radio Reunion "are you John Landecker?" and got the brush-off both times. The purpose of going to events like that is to be sociable and display your huge ego by talking about yourself as much as possible. Not to be Garbo.

He was "Dow Jones" on WTRX (AM 1330 in Flint) when their jocks were "The Jones Boys" and had air names that ended in Jones.

Dick Purtan left WKNR in the 60s and went to Baltimore, and came back to Detroit soon after, where he stayed until he retired.

Last edited by TomSanders (April 11, 2020 10:37 pm)

 

April 12, 2020 7:15 am  #11


Re: The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

paterson1 wrote:

John Mahjor moved back and forth across the border a few times. Coming to CHUM in 1975 from WAPE in Jacksonville Florida at the age of 22.  Leaves CHUM in 1985 for LA's KLAC and KCBS and returns to CHUM Toronto in 1991 for eight years and returns to the US in 1999.

The great Brother Bill Gable came to CKLW in 1972 from KHBQ in Memphis. Leaves LW in 1973 for KHJ Los Angeles only to return to CKLW  later in 1973 and stays for 7 years before heading east down the 401 to CFTR and CHFI. Goes back to the US in 1982 to work in Cincinnati and Orlando and returns to Toronto 20 years later again working at CFTR/CHFI and finally retiring at Zoomer radio in 2014. 

Not sure about John Mahjor being on CHUM from 1991 to 99. I don't remember him on 1050 CHUM but he may have worked for the CHUM group for some of that time . Here is what wiki says but I am not sure if it's 100 % accurate:

He is best known for his work in Toronto with various radio and television stations, beginning in 1975 at 1050 CHUM. His television work included one of the first Canadian music video programs, Toronto Rocks.He remained in Toronto during the 1980s and 1990s except for a stint hosting a radio programme in Los Angeles from 1987 to 1990, Then from 1990 to 1993, he became the first lead anchor of E Entertainment Television, and the internationally syndicated late night show "After Hours", in which he and Heidi Bohay travelled the world, interviewing top level celebrities. He was the morning man at EZ Rock 97.3 and another stint at CFRB. He was host of the Prime (Canada) show Bon Voyage,(1999) Citytv's Lunch Television and CFMT's Video Singles.In his later years, he became the program director and afternoon DJ of the "Bridge", in Charleston, South Carolina.
 

Last edited by Fitz (April 12, 2020 7:16 am)


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April 12, 2020 11:34 am  #12


Re: The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

Yes you are correct Fitz, I should have said he came back to Toronto 1991-99. He did work off and on with the Chum Group including his successful run on City TV.  As the wiki article also mentions also mornings at EZ Rock and a time at CFRB.

Shame about John passing so young at 53. I read he didn't have health insurance when he died in Minnesota.  He had become a Canadian citizen in 1996 and held dual citizenship. "The Maj" a great top 40 jock, smart, so talented and his humour was never dirty or self indulgent.  He was a good role model for young people wanting to get into announcing.  John was always top of the list as one of my favourite top 40 jocks.

He was excellent on TV and his groundbreaking Toronto Rocks video show commanded big ratings for City TV weekday afternoons. Also he hosted a travel program on the now defunct Prime TV with Bon Voyage.

John made the transition gracefully to more mature adult programming on EZ Rock, CFRB and hosting Lunch Television on City.  It's surprising the number of personalities that can't make that transition  as they grow older.  John Mahjor was able to leave his friendly cool older brother youth image to a more adult personality with credibility and integrity.

 

April 12, 2020 11:57 am  #13


Re: The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

Here's Majhor's obit from the Toronto Star back in Jan. 2007. It was written by someone who would eventually wind up behind a mic herself -Tamara Cherry. 

John Majhor, 53: Voice of CHUM

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April 12, 2020 12:30 pm  #14


Re: The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

Everyone remembers Majhor from City and Toronto Rocks, but how many recall he actually started on T.O. TV at CFMT? (Ironically, also known as MTV - for Multicultural Television back in the Dan Iannuzzi days.) Here's the first episode from Sept. 5, 1983. About a year later, he'd moved over to the House That Moses Built. 

I have to admit, I have absolutely no memory of this show. 

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April 13, 2020 10:37 am  #15


Re: The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

When John came to CFTR, I was doing a lot of freelance work with CFTR for Promotion Director Dan Plouffe.  John liked to do parodies, so Dan asked me to help him record them.  I'd worked at Eastern Sound on Yorkville (now The Four Seasons hotel), so we booked that studio and hired some great Toronto session musicians and we were set to go.  This was at the time when Trudeau (the elder) repatriated Canada's Constitution, so John wrote a Constitution parody to the Beatles song "Revolution".  "You say you want a Constitution, well you know...".  CFTR and John promoted this heavily.  WIthin an hour or so of first airing the parody, the station received a cease and desist from The Beatles Canadian publisher.  So that was done.  In 1982, after "ET The Extra Terrestrial" was a hit, John wrote another parody song, "ET Phone Me".  Recorded again at Eastern Sound and this time...no 'cease and desist'.  John was a hugely talented guy and great fun to work with..   

 

April 13, 2020 11:48 am  #16


Re: The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

Thanks for giving us the other side of this famous jock. There's no doubt he was and remains very talented. But I know from people who worked at TR at the time that many of them found him very standoffish during his tenure in T.O. Whether that was because he was new to the city, was actually feeling insecure or just came in with a 'big man on campus' complex, I'll never know. 

I'm glad you didn't experience that side of him. Frankly, I wish he'd done better in the ratings here. But it seemed that, for whatever reason, Landecker never really clicked with audiences here. But there was never any question about his talent for doing great radio.

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April 13, 2020 8:02 pm  #17


Re: The Things You Never Knew About A Famous Ex-WLS & CFTR Jock

I'd long forgotten I had this but came across it on Monday night. It was a coffee mug put out by CFTR with the slogan they used to promote Landecker's arrival at the station. "Landecker Has Landed," was on one side, while the call letters and frequency were on the other. I'm not sure how much of this promo material still exists, since his stay was so short. 

https://i.ibb.co/tsmc85g/SAM-0361.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/Dw6nCc3/SAM-0362.jpg
 

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