In 1945, 1050 CHUM signed on the air in Toronto becoming the city's fifth AM station. For nearly a decade it placed fifth-last in the ratings. In 1954, Allan Waters sold his shares in two packaging companies and bought the station outright. He soon made Canadian radio history and his vision continues to be at the forefront of the 500-channel lineup.
Up until the 1950s, radio in Canada consisted of the CBC and a rag-tag group of independent stations who were restricted to non-network broadcast programming. Most stations were broadcasting "shows" -- usually live programs catering to various interests and tastes. It was a fit that did not suit Waters or CHUM well. At about this time, other stations in Canada were starting to experiment with the simple playing of popular records with program hosts known as "disc jockeys."
In 1954, Hal Yerxa turned his Camrose, Alberta station CFCW over to the exclusive broadcasting of country and western music, becoming Canada's first 24-hour country station. Waters took notice and also looked south where American stations had great success playing a limited number of contemporary new records in rotation day and night. On May 27th, 1957, Waters and CHUM brought Top 40 radio to Canada and Canadian format radio was born. It was only the beginning of history.
The baby boom saw a new age group with disposable income: the teenager. The record industry saw that radio was the best tool available to create million sellers. Top 40 radio became the dominant format throughout the 1960s as revenue kept pace with a growing audience.
Waters added CHUM-FM in 1963, and soon began buying up radio and TV stations across the country. In 1977, Moses Znaimer's independent Toronto UHF TV station Citytv was in financial straits. Waters bought the station and took its founder on board.
Znaimer literally turned television inside out and helped Waters' little radio station that could become a major force in Canadian TV. In 1984, Znaimer and CHUM launched Much Music, followed by Musique Plus, Much More Music and several other off-shoots. CHUM launched Bravo, an arts channel, in 1995, Space in 1997 as well as Canadian Learning Television, Star TV, Fashion Television, Book Television and Sex TV. All told, the CHUM empire now owns and operates 33 radio stations, 12 television stations and 21 specialty channels.
In 1988, Allan Waters was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Broadcast Hall of Fame. In 1993, he was awarded the prestigious Gold Ribbon for Broadcast Excellence. He was the first broadcaster to be honoured with the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award for contributions to the Canadian music industry, and was also inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame.
Waters stepped down from the position of chairman and president of CHUM in December, 2002 but remained as a board director until October, 2005. On his retirement, he became an honourary director.
Born: October 28, 1945, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
After a few reincarnations 1050 CHUM quietly passed away on March 26, 2009
1050 CHUM was a legendary Top 40 powerhouse from the late 1950s through to the early 1980s.
The station had a formula no other station has been able to duplicate.
Through the formative ‘50s, the unforgettable ‘60s and the interesting ‘70s, 1050 CHUM played a major role in shaping the radio landscape in Toronto. Recording acts from Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Guess Who, Elton John, The Eagles, The Doobie Brothers and Bob Seger not only graced the airwaves but walked the halls of 1050 CHUM.
The radio station was famous for the CHUM Chart. From 1957 to 1986, 1,512 consecutive weekly charts were published, making it the longest-running chart of its kind in the world.
Also, 1050 CHUM was noteworthy for hosting many famous rock concerts including, among others, visits to Maple Leaf Gardens by Elvis Presley (1957) and The Beatles (1964, '65, and '66).
"1050 CHUM" was a legendary Top 40 powerhouse during the late 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s. Early history and Top 40 format CHUM AM was launched as a dawn-to-dusk radio station on October 28, 1945 by Jack Q'Part, an entrepreneur in the business of patent medicines. The station, then operating from studios in the Mutual Street Arena, was taken over in December 1954 by Allan Waters, a salesman from Q'Parts' patent medicine business. Waters' first major move was to secure a license for 24-hour-a-day broadcasting for CHUM, along with a power increase to 5,000 watts. Less than three years after Waters acquired the station, and soon after bringing the new fulltime transmitter online, a major programming change was made. On May 27 1957, Waters switched to a "Top 50" format that had proven itself popular in some U.S. cities; Elvis Presley's "All Shook Up" was the first song played. "1050 CHUM" pioneered rock and roll radio in Toronto, and was noteworthy for hosting many noteworthy rock concerts including, among others, visits to Maple Leaf Gardens by Elvis Presley (1957) and The Beatles (1964, '65, and '66). While the station was rising to the top of the popularity ratings in Toronto in the early 1960s, it also built yet another new transmitter in Mississauga, Ontario (a few miles west of the current Toronto city line) along the Lake Ontario shoreline, and raised its power once again to its current 50,000 watts around the clock. CHUM DJs of the 1960s were zany morning man Al Boliska, who quit in late 1963 to go 'across the street' to CKEY.He was replaced by WKBW, Buffalo radio & TV personality Jay Nelson, popularly known as "Jungle Jay" from his role as host of a children's show on Buffalo's Channel 7 which was also popular among Toronto youngsters. He would be followed by housewives' jock John Spragge; singer/DJ Mike Darow; Pete Nordheimer, replaced in 1961 by witty Bob McAdorey; teen DJ Dave Johnson; and all night maven Bob Laine. Later additions to the CHUM DJ lineup included Duff Roman and Brian Skinner, both of whom came over from CKEY (then owned by Jack Kent Cooke). In the late 1960s, early 1970s, CHUM DJ's included Duke Roberts (also known as Gary Duke for a time), Johnny Mitchell (better known today as Sonny Fox), J. Michael Wilson, Tom Rivers, Scott Carpenter, Jim Van Horne, John Rode, Don Reagan, Terry Steele and Roger Ashby. Among their later mighttime hosts was John D. Roberts, who joined CHUM in 1977 and would eventually become known across North America as White House correspondent for CBS-TV and host of CNN's morning program "American Morning." CHUM was also well known for its contests, like the 1970s' "I Listen to CHUM" promotion, in which DJs would dial phone numbers at random and award $1,000 to anyone who answered the phone with that phrase. From gold-based to oldies By the mid-1980s, CHUM had lost ground in the Toronto ratings to competitor Top 40 station CFTR and FM-based music stations. On June 6, 1986, CHUM dropped its Top 40 format for a heavily gold-based adult contemporary format ("Favourites of Yesterday and Today"). By 1989, CHUM adopted an oldies format, drawing heavily on its previous Top 40 reputation to cater to the fans of that era's music.
Chart #1 - Monday, May 27, 1957 - TOP 50
CHART NUMBER 1
Monday, May 27, 1957
1050 CHUM ORIGINAL AUDIO
Mike Cooper's April Fools Joke
Bob Sam Robbie - 1050 CHUM Morning Show - 1992
Tom Rivers 1982