Hamilton Ontario’s 1150 CKOC is Canada’s oldest continuously operating radio station. The station has been playing Top 40 rock and oldies since 1960. That is about to come to an end next month when the station will switch to a all sports format. The memories and the magic will live on via the clips posted to the Radio Miscellany section of this site. Two new clips have just been uploaded.
WBZ FM switched to a automated Top 40 format in June 1973. This is a countdown show taped shortly after the switch. The voice over work seems to be by student listeners. There’s some humorous patter between most of the songs played. Later in the year the station employed some pros to do voice tracks.
This was a good time for Top 40 rock and there are some great tracks on the countdown. You will hear a few one or two hit wonders such as Albert Hammond’s Free Electric Band ( on clip one) and Gunhill Road, The Mighty Tom Cats and Andy Pratt ( on clip two).
Avenging Annie by Pratt was a big regional hit in parts of the east coast, including New England. The song was inspired by The Byrd’s version of Woody Guthrie’s Pretty Boy Floyd. Initially featured on free form progressive rock stations, the track eventually crossed over to Top 40. Soul Moussaka by by the Mighty Tom Cats can be described as either proto-disco or world music.
A most interesting playlist and a reminder that the early Top 40 stations on FM were more experimental than their AM counterparts.
The first clip features a bit of Benjy Karch on CHUM FM from the summer of 1975. He was the music director at the station and also did on-air fill in work. The station had tightened it’s format and some of the eclecticism of the free form days was gone.
This clip features mostly music and artists such as The Amazing Rhythm Aces, Free Beer, King Crimson, 10 CC and Robert Palmer provide a window into the state of the station at the time. The format had tightened but some musical diversity could still be heard. There’s a bit of dial twisting and I eventually end up on WBUF FM and you will hear the great voice of Yola, who also worked at WGRQ FM and WKBW AM later in her career. I also seem to recall her on WPHD FM for a period before her stint at WBUF. BUF was at the peak of their free form format at the time but all you hear on this air check is a brief segment from Yola. I have other longer air checks from WBUF posted on the site.
Benjy Karch can be heard at 5:56 and Yola at 28:03. I had previously posted the bit from Yola in another section but include it here as it’s part of the source tape for this aircheck.
The date of the second air check is unknown but is likely from the late 80’s or early 90’s and features a segment from Roger Ashby’s Sunday Morning Oldies show. The show ran from 1980 to 2009 and was heard on CHUM AM for most of it’s run but it switched to CHUM FM for a period. This clip should be of interest to fans of Steve Winwood and The Spencer David group. Group leader Davis describes the inspiration for their signature hit Gimme Some Lovin’ and also how the cover of I’m A Man by Chicago probably came to be. Unfortunately very little of Mr Ashby is heard on the clip.