By Bob Laine
Five years ago, Doug Thompson, one of Canada's best radio creative minds got together with me to preserve the history and memories that were 1050 CHUM. Our first job was to put together a complete set of CHUM Charts, something that had never been done. Since the charts began in May of 1957, leftover charts were usually thrown out so CHUM never had that full set. After many days of detective work, we have now recreated that full set of CHUM charts, carefully protected in acid free covers.
A parallel project belonged to Doug who searched out air checks of as many of the '60s and '70s D.J.s as we could find. And we found them in the weirdest places. A small piece of Dave Johnson's evening show in the '60s was discovered by accident on the reverse side of a tape. Doug found hours of my shows (I had only one hour in which to mirror a very long career.) Al Boliska was the best known CHUM Jock but we never found so much a one minute of his hilarious morning show. However, we now have a collection of hundreds of hours of CHUM shows.
Sometime in CHUM's past, thousands of pictures were discarded and we needed these memories. Doug and I searched high and low and now we have a few thousand pictures of the jocks at various events as well as those now–famous CNE giveaways. We found the original art work for the first CHUM Chart done by artist Ben Wilson in early 1957. A cute story evolved out of this find.
The CHUM mascot on that chart was a cat. I asked Ben how the cat came to be. It was Allan Waters' idea, he told me. So I called Allan and asked him why he chose a cat. “I didn't do that! It was Ben Wilson.” So the mystery continues and now, as time marches on, no one knows.
We discovered the first ads CHUM ran after the very first Elliot-Haynes ratings that showed major audience increases and we found the September 1957 ad that showed CHUM #1...ahead of the giants of Toronto radio, CFRB and CKEY. With the passing of Allan Waters it became even more critical that we save these memories and artefacts. Jim Waters' support of our passion is immense and both Doug and I are indebted to him for this help.
I started with CHUM in May of 1958 and never left. I retired in 2003 but came back the following week to begin gathering the CHUM Collection and Archives, which, one day will be on display for all to see through the Museum of Canadian Broadcasting. This way, we can fulfill Allan Waters' motto…“1050 CHUM Forever”. By the way, that slogan is etched in stone on his grave marker.