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).




It was only rock 'n' roll, but CHUM liked it - CHUM Historical Article

It was only rock 'n' roll, but CHUM liked it

In 1957, media maverick Allan Waters invested a few thousand dollars in an obscure radio station called CHUM-AM, a move his broadcast rivals predicted would be a colossal flop.

But the tiny Toronto radio station - which originally aired only from sunrise to sunset - revamped its format and shot out of the gates as a 24-hour, Top-40 rock station that swept the city by storm.

Skeptics said rock 'n' roll (a.k.a. the devil's music) would fade. Instead, it flourished, and 1050 CHUM grew up with it.

Crowds thronged to its central Yonge Street location to catch a glimpse of the steady stream of music legends who walked through its doors, including Paul McCartney, Elton John, the Rolling Stones and Wolfman Jack.

CHUM and its famed DJs were a must-stop for talent when they came to town. And inclusion in the CHUM chart could make or break a band. "It ranked among the top five radio stations in North America," says 1960s DJ Bob Laine, who is assembling the station's archives.

"And if you didn't have a CHUM chart number, your records wouldn't get picked up in record stores."

Today, the radio station Mr. Waters bought for an estimated $5,000 is celebrating its 50th birthday with studio tours and a free concert at 4 p.m. with Gordon Lightfoot. Little Caesar & the Consuls are also on the playbill at Nathan Phillips Square.

Long-time employees like Mr. Laine and fellow DJ Duff Roman say the tribute is a bittersweet salute to a station whose glory days are past.
(It now plays golden oldies.)

However, CHUM still remains the venerable cornerstone on which the Waters family built a company that now includes 34 radio stations, 12 local TV stations including CITY-TV, and 21 specialty channels such as the wildly popular MuchMusic.

Pending regulatory approval, CHUM - whose 84-year-old founder passed away fewer than two years ago - will soon pass into the hands of CTVglobemedia, marking the end of a family-run era.

"This weekend is really a tribute to Allan Waters, who was like a surrogate father to us all," says Mr. Roman, who started working at CHUM in 1965.

"There are no members of the family in the building any more, which feels a bit odd," agrees Roger Ashby, who joined 1050 CHUM 38 years ago and now hosts the popular morning show "Roger, Rick and Marilyn," on CHUM FM 104.5.

"[Mr. Waters's sons] Ron and Jim were around my age, and we all grew up together here. CHUM always felt like one big family."

Mr. Laine, who started his career at CHUM in 1958 as the all-night jock, likens the energy of the 1960s-era 1050 CHUM to MuchMusic today. "Everybody came here, from the Monkees, Bay City Rollers and Ronnie Hawkins," he remembers proudly.

"Neil Young told Rolling Stone that going to bed with his radio tuned to 1050 CHUM was when he really became aware of what was going on in music."

For Mr. Laine, Mr. Roman and Mr. Ashby, the highlight of their CHUM career was unquestionably a top-secret club concert that the station was asked to organize for the Rolling Stones.

At a chance meeting at Toronto's Three Small Rooms restaurant in the late 1970s, Mr. Roman ran into Mick Jagger, who expressed an interest in doing an intimate concert performance.

The radio station ran a contest to choose the audience, who were led to believe they were going to see April Wine. They handpicked 600 people to go by bus to the El Mocambo, where the surprise showstoppers, the Stones, performed for two nights.

"[Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's wife] Maggie showed up and - for security reasons - snipers were posted on the roof," Mr. Roman remembers. "It was the same year that Keith Richards was busted by Toronto police for heroin possession. It was a scene none of us will ever forget."

Allan Waters died in December, 2006, on the same night of the CHUM Christmas party. Even in the month before his death, he was a presence in CHUM headquarters, riding the elevator to his office with his wife.

"Allan Waters, probably to this day, is the most honest person I know," Mr. Laine says. "The CHUM family persisted for 50 years because they operated under the premise that it was a privilege to have a licence to communicate.

"With the ownership change, we hope the culture of CHUM and CITY-TV will continue to prevail."

Reeling in the years

CHUM's "Walking Man" giveaway promotion in 1959 drew 10,000 people to the streets and caused such chaos that CHUM apologized on air over an eight-hour period.
When the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup in 1964, Johnny Bower went on national radio and television to thank the CHUM witch, Mabel Leaf, who could hex hockey rivals.

Elvis Presley had heard CHUM's documentary on the Beatles and loved it so much he told his associates to co-operate with CHUM, in 1975, on The Elvis Presley Story.

When Scottish pop/rock band Bay City Rollers visited CHUM in 1976, Yonge Street had to be shut down because of the thousands of screaming fans.

CHUM was the only radio station Paul McCartney visited while in Toronto in 1991, because he fondly remembered CHUM's history and support from the 1960s.

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"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


Monday, May 27, 1957

Chart Number: 1
10Presley, ElvisAll Shook Up0
20Boone, PatLove Letters In The Sand0
30Williams, AndyI Like Your Kind Of Love0
40Everly Brothers, TheBye Bye Love0
50Mineo, SalStart Movin' (In My Direction)0
60Storm, GaleDark Moon0
70Robbins, MartyA White Sport Coat (And A Pink Carnation)0
80Gracie, CharlieFabulous0
90Como, PerryGirl With The Golden Braids, The0
100Ray, JohnnieYes Tonight, Josephine0
110Diamonds, TheLittle Darlin'0
120Dell-Vikings, TheCome Go With Me0
130Boone, PatWhy Baby Why0
140Husky, FerlinGone0
150Como, PerryRound And Round0
160Berry, ChuckSchool Day0
170Knox, BuddyParty Doll0
170Lawrence, SteveParty Doll0
180Dorsey Orchestra, JimmySo Rare0
190Domino, FatsI'm Walkin'0
190Nelson, RickyI'm Walkin'0
200Gracie, CharlieButterfly0
200Williams, AndyButterfly0
210Belafonte, HarryMama Look At Bubu0
220Lowe, JimFour Walls0
220Reeves, JimFour Walls0
230Dee, JohnnySittin' In The Balcony0
230Cornell, DonSittin' In The Balcony0
230Cochran, EddieSittin' In The Balcony0
240Mathis, JohnnyWonderful! Wonderful!0
250Mello-Tones, TheRosie Lee0
250Tune Drops, TheRosie Lee0
260Coasters, TheYoung Blood0
270Domino, FatsValley Of Tears0
280Draper, RustyFreight Train0
290Gilkyson, Terry & The Easy RidersMarianne0
290Hilltoppers, TheMarianne0
300Bowen, JimmyI'm Stickin' With You0
310Laine, FrankieLove Is A Golden Ring0
320Platters, TheI'm Sorry0
330Hunter, Ivory JoeEmpty Arms0
330Brewer, TeresaEmpty Arms0
340Sands, TommyTeen-Age Crush0
350Little RichardLucille0
360Sands, TommyMy Love Song0
370Starr, KayJamie Boy0
380Starr, RandyAfter School0
390Johnson, BettyLittle White Lies0
400Bennett, TonyOne For My Baby (And One More For The Road)0
410Knox, BuddyRock Your Little Baby To Sleep0
420Clooney, RosemaryMangos0
430Cornell, DonMama Guitar0
440Belloc, DanFlip Top0
450Baker, LavernJim Dandy Got Married0
460Boone, PatBernardine0
470Copeland, KenPledge Of Love0
470Torok, MitchellPledge Of Love0
480Four Lads, TheI Just Don't Know0
490Armenian Jazz SextetHarem Dance0
500Williams, BillyI'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter0

John Gilbert "No Charge"

Mike Cooper's April Fools Joke

80's PROMO

Bob Sam Robbie - 1050 CHUM Morning Show - 1992

Tom Rivers 1982

John Majhor CHUM 1050 Morning show 1986

1050 CHUM Card 1983