The CHUM Story: From the Charts to Your Hearts

Description

260 pages
Contains Photos, Index
$29.95
ISBN 0-7737-6263-9
DDC 384.54'06'5713541

Year

2001

Contributor

Julie Rekai Rickerd is a Toronto-based broadcaster and public-relations
consultant.

Review

CHUM radio, founded as a 250-watt station in Toronto in 1945, is today
part of the CHUM Group, with 28 radio stations, 7 television stations,
and 30 specialty channels across Canada. Allen Farrell, CHUM’s
promotion director, chronicles the station’s remarkable success from
inception to 1967 (“perhaps the most colourful years of a very
colourful history”).

“CHUM had it all: leadership, vision, financial management,
super-aggressive sales, programming insight, catch-fire competitiveness,
unreasonable expectations of performance, and perhaps the finest pool of
on-air and behind-the-scenes talent ever housed under one rocker
roof.” Teens and their hip parents all listened to CHUM; unhip parents
denounced its brassy rock and roll. Interspersed with the Top Fifty
music chart were outrageous promotions, contests, and the groaner jokes
of the Amazing Al Boliska. The station was original, audacious, and
irreverent.

Amid CHUM’s hipness were serious broadcasters like Harvey Kirck, who
later became the national news anchor at CTV; Monty Hall, who rose to
fame as host of the U.S. program Let’s Make a Deal; Larry Mann, who
became a Hollywood actor; and Jeanne Becker, who went on to Much Music
and Fashion Television. But, like it or not, “music was CHUM’s fuel,
CHUM’s engine and CHUM’s energy.” Any musician of note passing
through Toronto—from Elvis and Buddy Holly to Paul Anka and Gordon
Lightfoot—made sure that a stopover at CHUM was part of the itinerary.

Farrell’s reminiscences will intrigue younger generations and evoke
great nostalgia in those who grew up with CHUM. Many wonderful vintage
photographs of music stars of the 1950s and 1960s help to bring the era
into sharp focus.

Citation

Farrell, Allen., “The CHUM Story: From the Charts to Your Hearts,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/7194.