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Red Robinson on CKWX
early March 1962
near the end of Red's run on WX

Red interviews Gene McDaniels
who is in Vancouver
performing at Isey's Supper Club.

Also heard is Des Kearney reading the news.
(Length: 19 min. Scoped)

Jingle: "Brings You the Best"

Jingle: "CKWX is the Thing"

By late 1961 CKWX had gone to a typewritten,
mimeographed survey like the one opposite.   .

Listen to Red Robinson's Last "Platter Party" - March 16, 1962
Click on arrow in orange circle to listen within this page

CKWX 1962
A Retrospective
By Jim Bower

   I was thirteen years old in 1962 and an avid listener of Red Robinson's Platter Party on CKWX. What I have written here is based in part on my memories and perceptions as a young listener from that time period, although I did have a smidgeon of inside information as well, the source of which I prefer not to specify.
   It was Friday, March 16, 1962, the day before St. Patrick's Day, and just a few seconds before midnight. I was listening at the very moment when Red signed off with his last words as a DJ on CKWX.  He had been taking calls from loyal listeners all evening but told them he could not say where he would be going.  (It would be C-FUN as we were to learn.)
    The Fabulous Forty survey had already been discontinued two weeks earlier. Red had continued on, occasionally lamenting on air that the station no longer had a survey, although he sometimes referred to a song's position on one of the national charts.

   But let go back to a year earlier, March 1961.  As a much heralded event Red had returned to CKWX from his stint in the U.S.A.  At this time, from this listener's point of view, things looked rosier than ever for WX as a Top 40 station.  Red was back in the lineup, joining WX's two other young DJs, Buddy Clyde and Del Erickson and this young trio had locked up the afternoon, evening and overnight time slots.  (Veteran Cal George remained in the housewive's slot and the morning slot was occupied by the duo of Steve Woodman and Keith Rich.)
   With this young blood CKWX seemed to be hitting its stride as a Top 40 station and was able, for the first time, to go head-to-head with the young DJs at C-FUN, at last shedding its image as the "old man's" Top 40 station. They even sponsored the local Saturday afternoon Dance Party TV show on CHAN-TV. with Red as the show's first guest.  (Buddy Clyde was the second a week later.) The station continued riding this high streak right through the summer of '61.  That year Vancouver actually had two great Top 40 stations.
   But unfortunately the momentum that C-FUN had gained could not be reversed.  Red himself acknowledged in later years that "the action was with C-FUN."  Even my friends said they listened to C-FUN and I couldn't persuade them otherwise.
    Changes came gradually.  In the Fall of '61
the morning time slot occupied by Woodman and Rich, was supplanted by Vancouver's first "open line" or "talk" show with Barrie Clark (who had previously worked for WX as a DJ.) Further changes came by the years'

end which found DJs Buddy Clyde, Del Erickson and Nick Sands, playing M-O-R music, as was Cal George--a WX stalwart who had been at the station for many years prior to the start of "Top Forty" back in 58, and would be there for another five years--and who simply carried on in a format he was probably more comfortable with anyway. All this left Red as the only remaining Rock/Pop DJ on the station, as he had been when he first joined WX back in 57.   And then Red resigned in early March 1962.
   Returning to that final night in 1962, with Red's sign-off, CKWX had completed its gradual exit from the Rock/Pop format to the Middle-of-Road format. There was no fanfare or even any acknowledgment of the change, and one might wonder if anyone had even noticed this passing.

   Compared to its rival C-FUN, CKWX  was a larger operation, with its more expansive news and sports departments, the latter which included Mounties baseball games and WHL Canucks hockey, both of which cut heavily into Red's broadcast time. So perhaps CKWX was better suited to the M-O-R format anyway.  Furthermore, as Red Robinson once told me, management simply did not understand the dynamics of Rock and Roll.
   Today, when I come across a a brief history or chronology of CKWX, either on the internet or elsewhere, I find little mention of its years as a "Top 40" station.  To that I say, BROADCAST HISTORIANS TAKE NOTE: From 1957 to early 1962 CKWX was a "Top 40" giant in Vancouver radio, and gave our region's younger listeners the "Sensational Sixty" and the "Fabulous Forty" along with slogans such as "stacks of wax" and "a greater measure of listening pleasure." And they gave us personalities which included Red Robinson and his "Teen Canteen" and "Platter Party," and whose efforts they backed to bring Elvis to town in 1957, his first visit to Canada. And then there was the DJ with the squeeze-horn at his side--Buddy Clyde, and Del Erickson who occupied the late night slot, but who also sang and recorded local hits like "Two" and "Rockin' Band" both of which charted high on the CKWX survey. And one can only wonder what it would have been like hearing Norm Grohman, Jim Robson, and Barrie Clark, spinning Elvis records.
   The departure of CKWX from "Top 40" left CFUN in total possession of the reins, for a few years, at least. But that's another story.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *
It should be added that the end of "Top 40" at CKWX was hardly the end for the station.  They lived on as a leader in Vancouver radio, continuing in the M-O-R & Talk radio format with strong news and sports coverage.  In 1973 they switched to a country music format which lasted for 26 years.  Then in 1996 they adopted an all-news format in which it continues to this day.  In fact, of Vancouver's AM stations, CKWX and CKNW are the only two that still retain their call letters.

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