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April 13, 2020 4:27 pm  #1


When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

I was listening to some old airchecks on Monday and was surprised to hear a Jay Nelson show on CHUM in the morning. Why surprised? He was doing his regular 6-10 AM shift - on a Saturday. A few more checks showed all of their storied jocks from back then worked six day weeks. Essentially, their week went from Monday to Saturday, with only Sunday as their sole day off. 

It would be almost unthinkable to have your morning man toil that many hours these days, yet I seem to recall that was the norm back then. If memory serves, even Wally Crouter on CFRB worked the one day of the weekend. 

The question - when did that change? At some point, jocks began working the same five day week that's familiar to most of the rest of us. And having anyone burn themselves out doing six days in a row as their permanent shift - minus the very occasional remote - would be almost unthinkable today. I'm curious if anyone knows when this changed. And - given how cheap radio owners were even back then - how the on-air talent managed to actually reduce their time at work on a permanent basis? I can't imagine how they talked management into it.

 

April 13, 2020 6:59 pm  #2


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

Technology. Didn't Saturday become the "best of" "encore presentation" day? 

 

April 13, 2020 7:25 pm  #3


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

What year were the airchecks from RA?  Six days a week was not the norm as far as I know. They could have been short staffed, someone sick, day off or over a holiday period but a regular six days a week  doesn't sound right.   Maybe in the sixties, early 70's it was possible.  Swing shift announcers could work six days a week but again that was usually when a station was short staffed, sickness or holidays. All during my time on air five days a week was the norm, and that was when we were fully staffed.   If Wally Crouter worked six days a week it must have been earlier in his career or again filling in but not on a regular basis.

 

April 13, 2020 7:53 pm  #4


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

These were from the later 60s and early 70s, as you suspected. And it was definitely the norm, not a fill-in. Those were just the shifts. You worked Monday-Saturday and had Sunday off.

My question was how and when did this change? 

     Thread Starter
 

April 14, 2020 6:12 am  #5


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

My first contact with commercial radio was 1975 and five day on air shifts were the norm.  So I guess the change may have come in the early 70's.  Although I knew a few morning hosts from the late 60's and early 70's and their normal shift was five days a week.  There could be the occasional remote but on air talent usually wouldn't mind doing these since it was good money.    Could be that larger stations like CHUM and RB worked on contracts with all of their on air talent and this was a stipulation at one point?  In my on air career I did work a fair bit of six days a week, but this was always because of holidays, sickness or short staff.    Maybe some CHUM or CFRB alumni could chime in and give us some insights.  

Funny thing today is the fact that some on air staff at Bell, Rogers, Corus, Stingray voice track on many stations, or are moving to more network shows.  I  knew one person that was on three different stations, three different formats, five days a week.  The morning show locally was live, the other two daytime shifts in other markets voice tracked.  I heard one of the voice tracked shows, and to the untrained ear it sounded like it was live.

 

April 14, 2020 8:07 am  #6


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

Here's two recordings  that may some shed some light.

The first is from May/75. Pete Griffin  on a Friday and around the 8 minute point Pete mentions to Warren Downs that he will be working the Saturday.

The second recording is from John Donabie 1973. The main part of the recording is from Aug 1973. I know b/c he references a Beach Boys concert which I attended on September 2, 1973 and where I was quite surprised to see Dennis Wilson smoking a doobie on Shutter street with Blondie Chaplin in between shows. I tagged on a small snippet from John's Sock Hop oldies show at the end and I don't know when I recorded that. My guess is 1973 or 1974. John is working and he says at  the 11:30 point that Brian Master is next filling in for the vacationing David Marsden. The Sock Hop show was on Saturdays.

Pete Griffin 1975

John Donabie 1973


 

Last edited by Fitz (April 14, 2020 8:10 am)


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April 14, 2020 5:44 pm  #7


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

In 1976  I was a not-very-good jock  at a not-very-good station  where  6-days-a-week was the norm as it was elsewhere, IIRC.   Worse, the 6th day was usually 6 hours instead of 4.   I had already decided to get out of the business mainly because of that 6-day week  (Honest!)  when I found myself in the company of CHML legend Paul Hanover. (Is there anything better about The Biz than trading stories with other guys in The Biz?) As a snot-nosed kid I just listened to PH for the most part, as befitted his status.  But I did happen to mention that I was leaving Radio because of the 6-day week.  I can't swear to it, but I'm sure he looked wistful as  he said, "I've been working 6 days for 30 years."  Paul freakin' Hanover!!  Not some schmoe like me.  Not some 2-bit station, but CHML!!  It was a Road to Damascus moment.  I've always been grateful to Paul for, however unwittingly, cementing my decision to work on civvy street. 

(Btw, I remember hearing Jay Nelson early one Saturday morning while I was getting ready for work at a summer job  in the late 60's.  The segment I heard was something. Completely out out (his on-air) character.  At the time Harold Ballard was embroiled in one of his many controversies (he eventually served time in prison) and Nelson went on a rant defending him. He said Ballard didn't get credit for the many good things he did like making Maple Leaf Gardens ice  available to kids with special needs. All these years later, I remember it as being heart-felt and genuine. It was something to hear and about as un-CHUM-like as it can get. But yeah,  Jay Nelson also worked 6 days a week. And Paul Hanover. )

 

April 15, 2020 1:37 am  #8


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

It depends on the station. At WABC, some of the Monday-Friday regulars were working weekends into the '80s.

https://www.musicradio77.com/schedule.html


"The radio craze ... will soon fade." - Thomas Edison, 1922
 

April 15, 2020 4:42 am  #9


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

I have (or had) an aircheck of CHUM on a Saturday morning in May 1974. Dave Charles was doing the 5-9 a.m. shift.


"The radio craze ... will soon fade." - Thomas Edison, 1922
 

April 15, 2020 7:58 am  #10


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

During my brief stay at CKFH ('74-'75), I recall the weekday jocks (Mal Faris, Al Kingdon and Rob Cowan), alternated on Saturday mornings.

Also - at WGR - weekday jocks Stan Roberts, Larry Anderson, Frank Benny and Shane never worked weekends at least not from the mid-'70s on.


"The radio craze ... will soon fade." - Thomas Edison, 1922
 

April 15, 2020 8:16 am  #11


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

Technology changes a lot of things. 
I remember listening to a VT'd Jesse and Gene week-ends on Q 107 doing the Rock 30 countdown back in 1996. 
Okay, so that's not a Saturday morning shift, but it's still extra work on top of their usual morning show. 

I guess the 1960's & early 70's didn't have the technology to fill Saturday mornings with a countdown or something...(?)
 

Last edited by Radiowiz (April 15, 2020 8:29 am)

 

April 15, 2020 8:30 am  #12


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

Radiowiz wrote:

Technology changes a lot of things. 
I remember a VT'd Jesse and Gene week-ends on Q 107 doing the Rock 30 countdown. 
Okay, so that's not a Saturday morning shift, but it's still extra work on top of their usual morning show. 

I guess the 1960's & early 70's didn't have the technology to fill Saturday mornings with a countdown or something...(?)
 

You could do non live programming via tape and I believe some programs even distributed weekly vinyl albums to stations. I actually have a set of those from  the 1980's.


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April 15, 2020 8:57 am  #13


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

I have a few box set of these. Each box contains one program with 4 records and various sheets.

https://lettheuniverseanswer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/img455-scaled.jpg
https://lettheuniverseanswer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/img456-scaled.jpg
https://lettheuniverseanswer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/img458-scaled.jpg
https://lettheuniverseanswer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/img459-scaled.jpg

Last edited by Fitz (April 15, 2020 8:58 am)


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April 15, 2020 9:02 am  #14


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

I guess mysteriously I lucked out then.  From the mid 70's until the early 90's  I worked at much smaller stations than WABC  and 5 days a week was the schedule for all announcers other than swing, someone part time,  covering for holiday, sickness or we were short staffed.  I actually did the scheduling for 4 years at one of the stations I worked for.  And shifts always weren't Monday to Friday, especially evenings or all night.   My first shift in radio was evenings 6-10 Tuesday to Saturday.

I recall friends and colleagues of mine working at other stations in Western Canada in 1976-80, and were working 5 days per week.  Maybe radio stations, which come under federal labour laws, had a longer work week with more than 40 hours or 5 days as the standard?  Possibly back then they could schedule 6 days per week, I don't know.
  
As mentioned before, many on air announcers at larger stations worked under contract, which included various perks and obligations, possibly stipulating 6 day airshifts at the stations discretion,   On the  WABC schedule, I wonder what the public service programming was at 5am and 10pm on Sundays?  Maybe a news magazine show or public access? 

 

April 15, 2020 10:49 pm  #15


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

The original host for "Soundtrack of the 60's" was Murray the K, who I worked with at CHUM FM in 1968 when CHUM brought him in to do the evening shift.  He only lasted a few months before returning to New York.  When Tom Rounds from Watermark launched "Soundtrack", Murray was the host.  Unfortunately, Murray had been diagnosed with cancer and had to bow out of the program.  Gary Owens then became the host for the rest of the series run.  I worked with Gary several times in LA on various projects and commercials.  He was so damn funny and incredibly witty.  Besides "Laugh In", Gary was also the voice of Roger Ramjet.. 

Last edited by Doug Thompson (April 16, 2020 8:46 pm)

 

April 16, 2020 6:56 am  #16


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

Doug Thompson wrote:

The original host for "Soundtrack of the 60's" was Murray the K, who I worked with at CHUM FM in 1968 when CHUM brought him in to do the evening shift.  He only lasted a few months before returning to New York.  When Tom Rounds from Watermark launched "Soundtrack" in the Murray was the host.  Unfortunately, Murray had been diagnosed with cancer and had to bow out of the program.  Gary Owens then became the host for the rest of the series run.  I worked with Gary several times in LA on various projects and commercials.  He was so damn funny and incredibly witty.  Besides "Laugh In", Gary was also the voice of Roger Ramjet.. 

I did not know that about Murray The K (maybe the most famous fifth Beatle after Pete Best). Don't remember hearing him hosting the show. I do have tapes I recorded off CKTB and WBUF FM and possibly WGR of Gary Owens hosting the show. I guess that was the VT of the day. There were other programs that were live by satellite and syndicated like Dick Bartley's Solid Gold Saturday Night that also allowed for the regular DJ's to have an off night. 

Last edited by Fitz (April 16, 2020 7:00 am)


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April 16, 2020 7:54 am  #17


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

It was just a one time think but I clearly remember a Saturday night back in the late 70's when CFTR morning man Jim Brady filled in on a Saturday night.   The reason I remember it so clearly is that he did it as if it was a regular morning shift.    They ran the regular produced Brady in the Morning I'Ds, his regular cast of characters, and I believe even traffic reports from their regular morning traffic guy.   It was terrific and I thought quite clever.    

 

April 16, 2020 10:28 am  #18


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

Brian Skinner did a Saturday night  oldies show on CHUM in the 60's called the Groove Yard. I wasn't in The Biz then but in retrospect it was probably VT'd.  Cousin Brucie also had a Saturday night shift on WABC which I think was live.  It had an instrumental BG.  I wrote to them asking  what it was, and they replied!.  You've Got to Pay the Price by Al Kent. First chance, I went down to Sam's or A&A  and bought it! Disappointment. It didn't sound the same as what Cousin Brucie was playing. It must have been the reverb! 

 

April 16, 2020 2:44 pm  #19


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

Perhaps the Grooveyard was on Saturdays when it began and I am not sure when that was. I have a CHUM Chart from Jan/67 that indicates it was on Wednesdays from 930 -10. I would have scanned that but there's a few doodles on my copy but there is a clean copy of that chart cover at the CHUM Tribute site. At that that age I found the show to be well a bit old and I preferred the contemporary programing.

Last edited by Fitz (April 16, 2020 2:51 pm)


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April 16, 2020 8:16 pm  #20


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

Doug Thompson wrote:

The original host for "Soundtrack of the 60's" was Murray the K, who I worked with at CHUM FM in 1968 when CHUM brought him in to do the evening shift.  He only lasted a few months before returning to New York.  When Tom Rounds from Watermark launched "Soundtrack" in the Murray was the host.  Unfortunately, Murray had been diagnosed with cancer and had to bow out of the program.  Gary Owens then became the host for the rest of the series run.  I worked with Gary several times in LA on various projects and commercials.  He was so damn funny and incredibly witty.  Besides "Laugh In", Gary was also the voice of Roger Ramjet.. 

Our station used to run this show on the weekends and it was great. I'll always remember Gary Owens' sign-off:

'Until next week, this is Gary Owens saying -- "Hello!" "

     Thread Starter
 

April 16, 2020 8:44 pm  #21


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

RE:  The Grooveyard.- Brian Skinner came to CHUM from CKEY in 1963.  I don't know when he started doing The Grooveyard but I got to CHUM on February 1st, 1965 which was a Monday.  That Saturday, I board op/produced my first Grooveyard with 'The Prez".  He was always live in the studio.  Every week.  Brian took over the 7 to 10 shift from Dave Johnson in the Fall of '65.  He continued to do the Saturday Grooveyard show LIVE as well as Wednesdays. I was a board operator for 2 years before being promoted into the production department and the only voicetrack shift I can recall was Sunday night all night (into Monday morning) which Bob Laine had off.  We had a portable Ampex reel-to-reel in the control room and Bob would VT that shift most weeks on 7" reels @ 7.5 ips..  I worked that shift quite a few times.  Six day weeks were normal for announcers and operators at CHUM back then until at least '67 or '68..   

Last edited by Doug Thompson (April 16, 2020 9:22 pm)

 

April 17, 2020 7:45 pm  #22


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

6-day work weeks were almost the norm in radio until about the early 70's when they first started with giving the morning hosts 5-day weeks. By the 80's I believe 5-day weeks were more common for other shifts although some  stations had 3 or 4 announcers who would rotate having a 6-day week. 

 

April 17, 2020 11:01 pm  #23


Re: When Did Radio's 6-Day Work Week Change?

When I had CFNY we were always live Saturday and part of Sunday. Saturday evening was when Chris Sheppard zoomed into a revered place in many people's ears. 

We did special weekends starting with 54 in 84. Weekends could be anything special from All Import to Jocks Off.............:-)