During the mid-1970’s, I had a lot of fun being part of Winnipeg’s People Station – CJOB.
Recently, I found some old newspaper clippings that my mother had saved. These were advertisements that ran in the Winnipeg newspapers in 1975. While I was never a “household name”, the people I worked with were.
Let’s start with Peter Warren. As I recall, Peter took over the talk host role from John Harvard, who later went on to be a Member of Parliament. In 1971, Peter left the Winnipeg Tribune and started the CJOB Action Line. His trademark opening line was “let’s get right down to business”. And he certainly did. Peter was relentless.
For a few years, I was the producer of the Action Line. One of the fun things that I had to do was make sure that Peter started his show ten seconds before it actually went on the air. This was because of the “tape delay”. Most open line shows were delayed by ten seconds so that anything inappropriate could be censored. In those pre-digital days, the delay was achieved by recording the program on a continuous loop of tape, and playing it back on the air ten seconds later. If something got out of hand, Peter could just push a button and the offensive material would not make it on the air. This happened very rarely.
CJOB was the People Station in more ways than one. Open line callers showed up on three direct phone lines. Part of my job was to screen the calls, in large part to make sure that callers had turned off their radios. This was necessary because of the ten second delay, which would confuse them if they tried to listen to Peter over the phone and at the same time over the radio with its delay. Also, screening was occasionally required to prevent certain abusive callers from getting on the air. Occasionally, we also tried to make sure that callers were “on topic”.
There was a period during the 1970’s when Peter Warren had the largest market share of any talk radio show in North America. Not everyone liked him, but nearly everyone listened. There was rarely a dull moment. And for the producer, the three hours passed very quickly.
People Station – Lots of Memories
When I was a teen, I would spend a lot of time listening to the Man About Midnight on CKY. His name was Jim Coghill. Ten years later, Jim and I both found ourselves working at CJOB’s People Station. I enjoyed working with Jim very much, and even better, we became friends. Gentleman Jim encouraged my love of jazz. And every time I enjoy a Drambuie, I think of Jim. He passed away in 2005.
Bruce Miles was a local minister who did a regular feature called In Touch With Today. These were 90 seconds of reflection and inspiration. Bruce was the pastor at First Presbyterian Church just down Portage Avenue from the CJOB studios.
It was hard to beat the sports lineup at CJOB during the 1970’s. Can you imagine both Jack Wells and Jim Matheson, in addition to Ken Nicholson and Bob Irving? Incredible. Bob Beaton was a long-time reporter covering the Manitoba Legislature. Ihor Shawarsky was also a hard working news guy, who was my friend and a groomsman at my wedding.
Lastly, Carol Partridge did another open line show on OB which I also got to produce. It started out as The Womens’ Show, which as actually a very progressive experiment on a radio station that catered mainly to older folks.