The best blog in Canada. Probably the best blog there ever was. Comments are my own and not necessarily those of an employer. Because I am retired and do not have one.
Monday, June 30, 2008
299th Post - Tattoo Blogging
Tomorrow is the 300th post. And Canada day. Which one is more important?
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298th Post - Need a Chuckle?
Don't be drinking anything when you watch this. You'll squirt the liquid through your nose.
You have been warned.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
297th Post - Another Reason To Go On Living!
I am delighted to report that season six of the show commences tomorrow night. Check it out on your favourite PBS station.
Note that in Halifax there are two PBS stations. Channel Four, WGBH in Boston, oftentimes pre-empts it for other programming. I have missed out on a show or two over the years because of this. Instead, I tape the show off the Detroit PBS station, channel 35 in Halifax.
Check out this link for more information on The History Detectives!!
Friday, June 27, 2008
296th Post - Ever Closer!
I may break out part of one or more of those interviews and produce my first podcast for this blog, too. That would be fun.
Visiting my folks this weekend. Took my mother to the doctor this morning. About to head out to buy groceries for them before returning to their home to cook them dinner. Returning to the city on Sunday.
Saw The Boy this morning. You know, the one that broke into my house last year. Surly little punk. Can't wait until he gets a bit older and life kicks him in the ass until he hollers.
The thing is, if I say something to him, his parents will assail me. I'll be the bad guy. But it is hard to just let go, given that he invaded my home and stole stuff from me. If he is sorry about it, if he is regretful and contrite, if he truly regrets it, I do not see it in his demeanour. He is just a punk kid.
Time to head out to buy food for M&D.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
295th Post - Books I Want To Read
I wish it were not so. It kills me to get rid of much of anything. I have finally decided to unload a bunch of magazines I have read once, if at all, but I don't want to do it.
I have a lot of books I have never read, and never will read. I sift through them from time to time to find the ones I think will be collectable, and sell them on ebay.
Sometimes, I'll hear about an interesting series of books, and purchase one of them in the series. But before I read it, I think to myself that it would be good to start with the first book in that series, where the main character is introduced, so that I can get in on the ground floor as it were.
Such is the case with the Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell. At my previous job, one day they had a book sale. I went into it looking for something that might catch my eye. There were something like 17 of the Sharpe novels there, so I bought them all. I had heard of this series as being a good one. Since each book was a mere dollar each, I figured I was getting a bargain. I even managed to get one of those books from a guy who was already to buy just one of them. He saw my lean and hungry look and let me buy it instead. Thank you, Clarence. I hope you enjoyed the Thane Dunn concert as much as we did.
I got the books upstairs to my office and began to look at them. The publisher had listed all of the Sharpe novels in chronological order. I arranged the books in that order only to discover that the very first novel in the series, Sharpe's Tiger, was nowhere to be found.
What was I to do? I began to look through the used bookstores in Halifax. While they would often have many Sharpe novels, they didn't have that one.
When the Book Room closed in March, I purchased other novels written by Mr. Cornwell, ones not devoted to Richard Sharpe.
Finally, in May, I went into the bookstore in The Halifax Shopping Centre, and there it was: The first book in the Sharpe series (unless Cornwell decides to write another novel and retroactively insert it at the beginning).
So, now I have 18 of the books in the series.
Haven't read a word of them, other than things like the introduction or the author's note at the end of some of them.
You get the idea. There is another writer named Stephen Hunter who writes books about a sharpshooter named Bob Lee Swagger. One of those books became the basis of a Mark Wahlberg film called Shooter. Pretty good movie; go check it out.
I sought the book, and noticed to my horror that there were several books in this series with this character. And, he had a father, Earl Swagger, who also had a series of books. There are references to a grandfather (Charles Swagger), but am unaware of any such books. Jeepers, is there a greatgrandfather there somewhere? Ebenezer Swagger?
Not sure what to do. Do I buy all of the books, and then try to read them? Do I just try to read the one I do have, hoping that I do not become lost, wondering about the character's earlier adventures? Do I try out the Earl Swagger books first, since he is Bob Lee's daddy? Do I take up drinking?
Now you know about some of the stress in my life. Sharing the load is fun for me.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
294th Post - Hooky!
I will try to shoot some video of my niece this evening for the blog tomorrow.
Patricia wants to go to Henny Penny's, a fruit and vegetable store to beat all fruit and vegetable stores, at least in terms of price. If you want to go to a nice looking store, stay away from it. I keep thinking it will collapse every time I walk in. Been lucky so far.
Newbie is surprised to see me home this afternoon. Poor guy. He is a medium-haired cat and the heat must be bothering him.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
293rd Post - The 10000th Hit
I was plannng a retrospective evaluation of what this means, but the truth is, it probably doesn't mean much at all. A "hit", as I am learning, can mean many things. Everytime I refresh the main blog page, that increases the counter by one. If I log on to the blog to post to it, that is another hit. You get the idea.
I can check the statistics associated with this blog, and often do. I have had a few hundred hits in the past few days. Of those, many of them still are from folks googling Paula Gallant, the teacher whose body was found stuffed in the trunk of her in 2005, parked in the parking lot of the school where she taught. Like I have stated on this blog several times now, I know nothing more than what I have read in the papers. I have heard some rumours, and some are doozies; but this blog, no blog, is the place to air them. I have every confidence that the police are conducting an excellent investigation and that justice will one day be served.
I still get people googling Karen Begin/Darian O'Toole. For various reasons, this blog briefly became a place where friends and fans of hers hung out and posted quite a few comments. I am gratified that those folks found a positive place to discuss Karen and her life. If you haven't already, please read post #275, my interview with J.C. Douglas, as he was her boss and friend and comments about her there.
People are googling CJCH and its format change a lot, too. Folks, I have moved on. I do not like, and will not listen to, this new station, The Bounce, but defend their right to do what they did. I hate like Hell how they canceled the Hotline, and the Mooseheads games (although Rogers has spoken with John Moore, I'm told, and you may hear those games this Fall anyway). However, there is nothing I can do about the loss of this programming. You can only tilt at windmills for so long before you cut yourself on the blades. Move on, and let's remember the good times. And, if we are lucky, Rick Howe will be back on the radio again before you know it. Let's hope so, at least!
Some of the very old posts are coming back to haunt me, too. Type "You Know You're Over 40 When" and a blog post by that name comes up, eventually at least.
The time I stood up that girl is becoming a popular page. Someone wrote me to tell me that he found it hilarious, and well written, too. Coming from someone whose writing and broadcasting I respect a great deal, that meant a lot to me. Thanks, J.C.!
On that note, I thank you, my readers, for making Bevboy's Blog so much fun for me to continue doing. I am coming up on my 300th post. I had no idea that I could go much beyond, say, 150 or so. But here I am, and I still feel like I am just warming up.
Good night, Gracie. (Reference lost on younger readers!)
292nd Post - Special Guest Post
Just click on the title of this blog post, and you'll hear something special.
Monday, June 23, 2008
291st Post - Pictou County Musings
Patricia and I were in the town of Pictou for lunch on June 21st, at a place called Sharon's Place, where we have eaten many times. After that, we wandered around that lovely town, ending up at that coffee house where they teach wood carving in the fall and winter. Returning to the car, we drove along the waterfront in order to leave Pictou and return to the cottage. We drove past a group of people standing by a plaque. "That's Peter MacKay!", Patricia said. We decided to find out what was going on. As luck would have it, there was a parking space nearby. Had there not been, we would have given up and returned to the cottage.
We walked over to where the people were standing. Peter MacKay had just finished speaking and was posing for photographs with the local yokels. He agreed to pose with me, and you saw the result. Patricia wanted to go to the nearby farmer's market, so I hung around a bit more, and recognized Leslie Oliver at the same time he recognized me. I have always respected Dr. Oliver, ever since I met him when I was a student and he my director at the Computer Science Department at Acadia University. That he would remember me after all this time, after not having seen him in several years, really tells me something.
Rick Hillier was there with Peter MacKay. He had been posing for pics with local people too. As I was speaking with Dr. Oliver, he wandered past us, and agreed to pose with me. You saw that result, too. And I had to pose with Dr. Oliver. It is not often that two guys with girly names get to pose for a picture together.
So, nothing mysterious there. Just the right place and the right time. Doesn't happen often with me, but when it does, I take full advantage.
(Actually, FULL advantage would have been to ask these guys to say "Welcome to Bevboy's Blog" and put it up as video here; but I didn't feel comfortable asking them to do that. )
As I wrote a couple of times on Saturday: I love Pictou County. Beautiful part of the province. If you haven't been, check out the town of Pictou, too. Probably my favourite part of the county except for where the cottage is.
I won't be back there for several weeks, but the next time I am there, it will be for our two week vacation. I can hardly wait.
290th Post - Catch Up Time
Watched most of the episodes of season 4 of "Rescue Me". Just 3 more to go and we'll be caught up with the rest of the world. Seasons 5 and 6 will air back-to-back in the U.S. in 2009, and I presume that will be the case here as well. There will also be several "minisodes" in 2008, but I don't know if those will run up here or not.
Decided to take a vacation day today as I didn't feel like giving up the cottage just yet. I doubt if I will be back there before my vacation in late July. Too much to do around here until then.
My next post, if it works out, will be something you have never seen, or heard, on this blog before. It will be a guest post from... but that would be telling!
Saturday, June 21, 2008
289th Post - Me and Leslie
Here I am with Leslie Oliver. He was the director of the Computer Science Department at Acadia University back when I was a student there.
How often does a guy named Beverly get to pose for a picture with a guy named Leslie?
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288th Post - Me and Rick Hillier
Here I am with General Rick Hillier. Amazing who you run into in Pictou county.
Have I mentioned how much I love Pictou County?
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287th Post - Me and Peter Mackay
I love Pictou county!
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286th Post - Carver Blogging
I love Pictou county!
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Friday, June 20, 2008
285th Post - More Cottage Blogging
Patricia has been here all week and made me a salmon dinner with roasted potatoes and mixed vegetables. Absolutely delicious
Newbie has been here all week as well. Missed Patricia and him and Cindy very much.
It is nice to be home again with family
Just wish we had cable or satellite. Only 3 stations here
Tomorrow it will be lawn mowing time
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284th Post - My Misspent Youth.
I grew up reading pretty much whatever I wanted; watching whatever I could glean from a non-cable, non-satellite home; listening to what I could find on local and far away radio stations. I have never been in trouble with the law. I pay my taxes. I don't litter.
Here is an example of some of the stuff I used to read, and can still read if I choose to. These books were the scourge of 1950's America. I recently bought a book about the great comics scare of that decade and will read it after I finish the one about the Great Depression in Canada.
Hey, you guys reading this: When someone tells you not to read something; when someone tells you that you shouldn't watch that tv show; when someone goes on and on about the music you listen to: Read it, watch it, listen to it. I turned out fine.
Cottage again this weekend: Hey, boy who broke into my house last year: I'll be gone until Sunday. Knock yourself out.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
283rd Post - For Future Interviews
I have a new device to aid me in my blog interviews. I now have a digital voice recorder, or dvr for short. It is an RCA RP5022. It is the second such device I bought, having returned a panasonic dvr two days ago. I don't know what has happened with panasonic lately. I do not know who designs their products, but they are increasingly hard to use and figure out.
The Panasonic dvr came with software that was supposed to be able to translate speech to text, or text to an mp3 file. I don't think it worked. That, plus the clunky aspects of the actual device made me return it in short order. I was already to leave the store when the guy showed me this RCA device, which was about a third of the cost of the Panasonic one.
It is easier to use, and smaller. The storage capacity is quite a bit smaller, and there is no zoom mic, but I find that I can easily pick up someone speaking from across the room with the built-in mic. The device can record up to 26 hours in one recording mode, or something like 4.5 hours in the higher quality mode.
If you want to read more about the RCA RP5022, read this.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
282nd Post - Fish
Rumours were spread that he had swum upstream to that great spawning ground in the sky, but such is not the case. But, don't believe me. Check this out!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
281st Post - The Time Bevboy Stood Up a Girl
"Come on. Just tell us about it!", people at coffee pleaded today.
OK. OK! O-Kay!
Here is the story. I still feel I did the right thing. Once you read the full details, you will agree with me. I just know you will.
This was about 20 years ago. I had just moved to the city from the Annapolis Valley. I was homesick, and kept in touch with people from back home a lot.
A friend of my older sister's had a daughter. I thought she was pretty cute, if you must know. The mother had always been friendly with me; in fact, she was friendly with me this weekend when I saw her at a village supper. She put her arms around me and gave me a big hug, much to Patricia's... surprise. This is the same mother who thought I had nice legs back then, too. But that is another story for another time.
I was involved with one of the political parties back then, and spoke with the mother about this. She indicated that her daughter might be persuaded to consider voting for that party in the much-rumoured general election. I got her number.
In speaking with the daughter, she was friendly enough. I wasn't having much luck meeting women in the city, so I took a chance and asked her out. She agreed, which made my day. We made arrangements to meet at such and such a place at such and such a time. Company picnic. A movie. Whatever it was, we made arrangements.
After we rang off, I began to think about what I had just done. I began to think about it all the way through to its logical conclusion. If I dated this girl, who was a couple of years younger than I was at the time (come to think of it: She would still be the same number of years younger than I am now! Imagine that!) , it might open me up to ridicule, to censure, to opprobrium. I realized that dating her, even once, could set a deadly precedent, one from which I could never recover, one that would dog me for the rest of my life. I would never be able to hold my head up high again, if I spent any time with this young lady.
"What if we got married?", I asked myself. "I could conceivably become so confused, so out of sorts, that I could get up and put on the wrong set of clothes and go off to the wrong job! How could I do that to myself, and to my family?".
I figured that if we spent... quality time together, knocked boots, did the funky chicken, or whatever you crazy kids call it these days, then perhaps our children would not be completely normal. They might have an extra toe on their right foot. They might perhaps be unable to distinguish a Chardonnay from a Merlot, a Shiraz from a Pinot Noir. The children might even grow up with a confused sense of identity and purpose.
There was only one course of action. Only one thing I could do to extricate myself from this horribly unfortunate series of events.
I didn't show up for the date.
Never spoke to her again.
I have never even laid eyes on her since.
She went on to become tangentially involved with the music business. Met a fella. Had a couple of kids. I am very happy for her. Really, I am.
In case you were wondering what earth shattering secret she possessed, what terrible malady afflicted her, what physical anomaly so disfigured her, that I would run, shrieking, for the hills, the answers are 1) nothing; 2) she was healthy as far as I knew; and 3) she was very attractive, if you recall from what I wrote above.
The problem was...
Can I say it after all these years?
Her name was Beverly.
I just couldn't bring myself to date someone with the same name as mine. Never mind that Beverly was a man's name for hundreds of years before women usurped it (or tried to). Never mind that she was easy on the eyes. Never mind that her mother was hot. The name thing just got in the way.
It was a show stopper.
I know you agree with me. I did the right thing.
Confession is good for the soul!
Monday, June 16, 2008
280th Post - Least Favourite Favourites
But you probably have some "favourites" that you never visit. You're not sure how they even got in the list of favourites. Perhaps you received this link via an e-mail once and saved it to the list, thinking you might visit it, but promptly forgot about it. Maybe visiting it now makes you wonder what you were thinking about at that time.
This is what this post is all about.
I will go through my IE favourites list for my computer here at home and list and briefly describe 3 so-called favourites. Check them out if you wish, or dare, or have nothing better to do with your life.
1. Several years ago, I chanced upon a list of puzzle questions whose answers were well known adages and phrases. They were clever enough, and I thought I'd share it with some friends. Never did. Here are the answers to those "questions". The problem is, I no longer have the actual situations/questions that these are the answers to! Use your imagination.
2. You have perhaps heard of the Black Dahlia murder. Young Elizabeth Short was murdered in January 1947 in Los Angeles. I don't want to get into the gory details other than to say that they were gory. The murder remains unsolved. The ironic part of this tragedy is that Beth Short was a wannabe actress, but she only achieved her fame in her horrific death.
This is a website devoted to this crime and the various theories about who killed her, and why. Since this remains an ongoing case with the L.A.P.D., these are only theories, and the police aren't exactly going to confirm or deny much of anything, even though the chances of nabbing the bad guy 61 years later are poor at best. The Jack The Ripper case is still open as far as I know.
I visited it a few times, but not for quite a while now. Perhaps it will interest you, but likely not. Let me know what you think. There is even a mailing list for you to receive automatic updates!
3. In 1995 or so, there was a very short-lived television program called "Strange Luck". A small cultish following continues to exist for this show, and this arguably the best known website devoted to it. I think I have an episode, maybe two, of the show on a vhs tape somewhere in my house, but have never watched the show. I have no idea why it is in my list of favourites. Another website for the show is here. I guess if you have two or more websites devoted to you or something you did, your thing can be said to have a cult following.
4. Let's do one more. This is a catharctic experience for me. Hmm. Let's see here... Oh! I know. How about the official website of my least favourite comic book writer, Don McGregor? Even when I was a little kid, I found his stories long-winded and lugubrious. (Well, I didn't know "lugubrious" at that time, being 9 and all, but you catch my drift.) Story goes, they had to pay the letterers (yes, comics were hand-lettered back then, and were until 15 years or so ago) a special rate because they had to squeeze so much copy into each panel, without compromising the art.
The characters would blather on and on, and on, and on some more; meanwhile, the exposition would explain who everybody was, over and over, or point out things that were obvious in the art if the readers weren't too exhausted from having read each word.
I'll never forget one issue of a McGregor-written comic. A guy greets his wife or gf or whatever. "Oh, Lord, you feel good!", she exclaims as he hugs her. Patricia never says that to me. Either I am not doing something right, or this kind of stuff just doesn't happen in real life.
Anyway, I have no idea why I saved this favourite, but I did. Check it out if you dare.
I'll do this again sometime. In the mean time, include your least favourite favourites as replies to this post. We all could use a chuckle.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
279th Post - Classic Rock Musings
It sounds great. God, I would have killed for such a cool station when I was growing up down there. It comes in ok as far as Bayers Lake. I will try to tune it in when I go to bed tonight, using my CC Radio Plus. I'll write about how I acquired this radio at a later date.
(To those of you who study the art of writing, the above is an example of foreshadowing. )
I am fascinated about how one radio station reacts to another. I have to know how Magic 94.9 will react to this new upstart radio station. Will they actually spend some damn money on the station, and revise its musical format to make it, oh I don't know, entertaining?
It is probably sampling, but Patricia and I went into a lot of stores today. In many of them, they were playing K-Rock. That is good news indeed. It is just too bad that I missed out on the K-Rock cruiser because I could have scored a t-shirt or a hat or something. Rats!
We drove back this evening around supper time. Wanting an update on the Karissa Boudreau murder (there was an arrest today) we were delighted to hear a breaking news-type thing after 6pm. This would have been hours and hours after Magic 94.9 would have gone automated. Those guys are gonna have to beef up their local news component, and pronto, because K-Rock claim is local, local, local. It means an awful lot to people to be able to click on their local radio and hear local news, even on weekends.
Speaking of local radio, Q104 is doing an exemplary job covering the fires in Porters Lake, over on the Dartmouth side. They had Lisa Blackburn and Rich Horner discussing it less than an hour ago. And they'll be live until at least midnight tonight with further updates. My interview with JC Douglas fresh in my mind, I am happy that this coverage is taking place and that he wants his station to be on top of major news stories. Unless I am sadly mistaken, even the Rogers talk station is not covering the latest developments as well as the Q is. That is disappointing for a news talk station.
The last classic rock musing for tonight: There sure are a lot of songs about the rock star life, aren't there? Life on the road, groupies, drugs, and so on. You'd think that only other rock stars could relate to that stuff, but these are some of the most popular songs with regular folks. It makes me wonder if rock stars listen to songs about insurance company sales reps and guys who install aluminum siding?
278th Post - Me and Mommie
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Friday, June 13, 2008
277th Post - A Day Off
My cat, Newbie, doesn't understand why I occasionally sleep in. He expects me to feed him at a pretty early hour. And I usually do. But he doesn't get it when I sleep in past, say, 7 or so. He seems to get worried. He'll put a paw on my mouth to see if I react. Or he'll chirp at me; he is a Maine Coon so he doesn't really meow like you'd expect a cat to.
I did get up and mowed my lawn and part of Patricia's. Went to Bayers Lake where I got my father's Father's Day prezzie. He'll get it tomorrow when I see him.
Which reminds me: I have to get up very early tomorrow morning.
As I type these few words, Newbie is at my feet. He always has to know where I am.
He's stalking me!
Keep thinking of Maxine, that little kitten that the homeless girl had yesterday. It was perhaps naive of me to go ahead and buy that stuff for the cat yesterday, but I just could not bear for the cat to have a shoelace tied around its torso to prevent it from running away from the girl, where it would be run over by a car. I am off work until Tuesday. I will be thinking of both of them throughout the weekend. I hope to see them both next week.
Have a good night. I'll write more tomorrow. Perhaps I'll finally tell the tale of the time I stood up a girl for a date. I still think I did the right thing. You decide when you read my story.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
276th Post - Maxine
After work tonight I spent too much money on a harness and a tether for the cat. Also bought a couple cans of food for her.
Cute cat. Hate to see an animal suffer.
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275th Post - Interview with J.C. Douglas of Q104!
"Let's meet at the Pogue Fado". Agreed. Pogue Fado it is.
A few days later, JC writes: "There is a new pizza place at Bishop's Landing. Let's meet and eat there!"
And, 45 minutes before the lunch appointment, I get another e-mail. "It's a beautiful sunny day. Let's eat outside at the Harbourside restaurants at Historic Properties!"
Fine. Right. Whatever.
So, at 11:45, I grabbed my questions, an extra pen (my regular pen was nearly out of ink; it ran out this afternoon at work. Burial in the supply room Thursday at 2). I made my way to Historic Properties. I was a few minutes early because, well, I'm always a few minutes early. I plan to be a few minutes early for my funeral, which will be shortly after I am shot to death by a jealous husband at the age of 78. I'm 44 now. Lots of living left.
At 12:07, JC Douglas showed up, sheepish and apologetic, remarking that Deb Smith had only been two minutes late for her interview. We ordered our food, and sat down. JC interviewed me for a moment, asking me why I had a blog, how many people have written me, where in the world are they.
I replied that I write because I like having a forum to express myself as I see fit, and I write about whatever is on my mind at the moment. I have no master plan with this blog. I might write about my cats one moment, and radio stuff the next. I have received hits from all over the world. A guy in Sweden took the time to write over my confusion about the IIHF. I got a
couple thousand hits over the Karen Begin posts. Even the Steve Gerber posts are still floating out there. Totally different audiences.
Our food arrived. We went outside to talk. My interview of JC began.
How did you get your start in radio?
Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. My first professional gig was at CKBW in Bridgewater. In November of '85 I was hired by Q104, and I hit the air in December.
From then until 1998, I was at the Q. That year, I was the co-host on Breakfast Television before I jumped at the chance to program at Q104.
Why don't you play more new music? For example, Billy Talent?
I get a lot of complaints from people saying we play too much Fleetwood Mac. Or Rolling Stones. Or Bob Seger. If I compiled all the artists we get complaints about, that would make a great playlist! Everybody has a classic artist they don't like or they're sick of. But we have to be in a
competitive position against stations like Hal FM. It's finding the right balance between the new stuff and the classics.
We're proud of what the ratings are telling us, and it's confirmation that we're striking a good balance - in the last book, we were number one pretty much across the board. 12+. 18+. 25-54, and that's our sweet spot. So it wouldn't be too wise to start friggin' around with the era balance of the station right now. That's going to come off like bragging, but it's really just a good indication that the audience in general is digging the mix of music.
What is the best piece of professional advice you have ever received?
Radio is all about the listeners. It is not about you as the program director or the jocks.
You have to relate to the mindset of the audience. You relate to what they're interested in, what they're thinking and caring about. You can still talk about what YOU are doing, but it has to be done in a universal way. It would be fine if B.J. (Burke) talked about what happened when he
was BBQ'ing last night - it's about him, but if it has a universal element to it then the listener is following along, thinking, "Yeah, that happened to me too."
Patricia asked me to ask you why you work on Christmas Day. She worries about you and wants to bring you baked goods.
I hope that Patricia is doing better, Bev.
I choose to work on Christmas Day. I love it. Back in the day when we HAD to work Christmas Day, I discovered that it was actually pretty fun. It is a special day to be in there, live on the air. It's special for listeners and I find they're actually pretty empathetic! I put a lot of callers on
the air, and hey, I've even had baked goods dropped off at the station! Sweet. But I also like to think that SOMEBODY is on live on Christmas Day, because there ain't a lot of live interaction happening that day. It's good to stand out that way. So since I enjoy doing it, it gives everyone else the day off and we still get some live interaction plus some news and updated weather info and all that.
You have been both staff and management. When you were an on-air jock, you may have looked enviously at whoever your program director was and thought, "If only...". Now, you are the program director. What was your biggest surprise about becoming program director at Q104?
There were many times I wondered, "Why don't we do certain things?" I find that most of the times, it was just excuses. I find with effort and passion, you can do anything you can visualize and imagine.
I also found how little formal training people get in radio management. I have taken seminars and read as much material as I could on being a program director, but you're pretty much left to your own motivation. And I've discovered that's really universal too.
Help me and my readers understand the difference between a program director at a music-based radio station, and a music director. What is the division of duties?
A program director works in tandem with the music director. As p.d., I study audience research and determine what the radio station should be playing, particularly our gold rotations. And it's my job to execute the station's strategy ... to make sure we're on track with our competitive
goals. That includes working closely with Sales and Promotions, and all the departments at the radio station, as well as working with the jocks on developing their shows.
The music director takes care of compiling the new music. Anna (Zee) meets with the record reps and indy reps and she recommends to me what we should be playing. And from our weekly music meeting we put together our current playlist. Then Anna puts the daily music logs together, which is the last step before it goes to air. But it's a team effort.
Some nights the Q is live until quite late. Other nights, the station is voice tracked as soon as the Requesta Fiesta is over. How do you typically decide what hours of the day the Q is live, and when it is vt'd?
In the early evening, the jock on duty has other duties to perform. We're very music intensive through that period anyway - from a free ride to a six pack, etc. But they're almost always live Monday through Friday from nine till midnight. Sometimes, during the early evening, the jock is also live, depending on how they're making out with their other duties, that kind of
We can be live at any time we need or want to be. The fact is that some of the proudest moments for the radio station in the last ten years have taken place on our overnight show! I mean, we had Supertramp in from 12:30 until 2am doing a live "Rockline" show to all of North America. We had live on-the-scene coverage all night long during the Swiss Air disaster. And we
were on the air throughout Hurricane Juan, beginning at 8 in the evening ... I was in, doing live weather updates. So we're there at all times when the listener needs us to be.
Even when we are not live, we want to have interesting, compelling programming. That is why we have things like Alice Cooper over night, Monday through Friday.
As program director, you probably receive plenty of applications from people seeking on-air jobs with your station. What is the strangest job app you have ever received, and was that person successful in obtaining employment?
I was trying to fill an evening/swing position a few years ago. One resume bragged about how the applicant was good at fixing tractors and at small engine repair. Another one wrote about why he almost killed his boss. Yet another was seeking "job security". I would have thought those things were a joke if I read them on the internet. It's bizarre what some people will
put on their application.
Any thoughts about what happened with CJCH?
Welcome to 2008!
The Hotline remained on CJ in spite of the changes going on in the market.
Bevboy: I get why they had to flip to FM. I understand having to change formats. But I will miss the Hotline very much, even though it was anachronistic for them to keep it on the air when it was primarily a music station.
JC: Yes. That was hard to take on a personal level. I was bawling my eyes out listening to Rick Howe's last show.
CJCH was a pivotal station for me. I listened to it when visiting my step siblings in August of 1977. They'd keep the radio on all night long. I'd wake up at 3 in the morning, and there would be this guy on the air all pumped up, playing music. And I remember thinking, "Wow. He's there all
night long. Just in case I wake up." Delusions of grandeur! ha ha. But CJCH started me on the path to a career in radio.
If you lost your cell phone or BlackBerry, and I found it, what name in your address book would surprise me the most?
Sir Paul McCartney. But I don't have a direct line or anything, I've had peripheral contact with his publicist. It just looks better under Paul's name. And if I ever had to look up his publicist, I would remember his name!
There are some big names in the music business that it's pretty cool to have the ear of when I need it, like Alice Cooper and Steven Van Zant. And there are Canadian artists that I grew up idolizing who Anna and I are now on a first name basis with, like Kim Mitchell, Tom Cochrane. A lot of guys who I went to their concerts when I was 15, and now they're good friends of the
Also, it might surprise you to see the names of all kinds of people who work for our competition. The words seems to have gotten out that Newcap Halifax is a pretty keen place to work, so we hear from a lot of the competition.
If you had an unlimited budget, and you could say phooey to the CRTC and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, and you had complete autonomy with your bosses at Newcap, what radio format would you program and why?
It would sound a lot like BBC Radio Two. They play great music, it's very discerning. It is not trashy; it's pretty tasteful. And the presentation is intellectually stimulating. It can be fun, or serious, or informative, or silly at times. But they never insult the intelligence of their audience. And it's always compelling. I love it. And I've encouraged the jocks at Q to relate to the audience in that same way.
There are 5 radio stations in your building, owned by 2 different companies. To what extent is there competition between the Newcap stations (Q104, KIXX, Kool FM), and the CTV Globemedia stations (C100, the former CJCH)?
The on-air folks can't help but be competitive. With the morning shows, there is competition, but it's a friendly competition. They help each other out, but still they all want to be number one, it's only natural. Although they aren't vying for the same audience. They're all targeting a different
group of listeners.
Further to my previous question, you know plenty of people in local radio, and most of them are probably your friends. Yet, you have to compete against them for market share and advertising dollars. What is it like to have to compete against your friends? For example, Jeff Cogswell is probably your buddy, and he is a very nice person, but you have to do what you have to do to make your station more popular than his. How hard is it to do that, when perhaps making your station number one may result in a friend at a competing station losing his or new job if his ratings falter?
Jeff is a good friend, actually. He and Nicole were at my wedding last year.
It's like in any business. You know a lot of the people you're competing against, but when the day is done you're just as likely to go out and have a beer with them. We can be friends and socialize, and we know that it comes down to what happens on the air, "May the best station or the best product win". Not everyone feels that way though. When I was coming up a lot of people took it really personally, and even socializing with the "enemy" was frowned upon. I prefer to do battle on the air.
As far as putting someone out of work, well, if our station's success has come at someone else's expense, then maybe they shouldn't have been in that role in the first place. Or maybe they're the best thing about that radio station and were unjustly fired, in which case we should snap 'em up, hire that person.
But it's business, it's nothing personal. That old cliché, but it's true.
There was plenty of negative chatter after Karen Begin's death a couple of months ago. How about a good, positive Karen Begin story?
Well, one thing about Karen, she had the most amazing demo package I've ever seen. It was done up in the form of a glossy magazine, absolutely amazing. With all her big time clippings in it, from R&R and stuff. Never seen anything like it.
When she was hot, she was on fire. She had an incredible way with words. And she had a bizarre, twisted sense of humour. The first day I put her on in mid-day, filling in for Anna. And this was the day of the Shirley Street standoff a few years ago. And we were listening to her reel off one
hilarious one-liner after another about how if the authorities want him out of that house, just unleash her on the guy for five minutes, he'd be beggin' for an 8 by 10 cell. That kind of thing. It was outrageous and edgy, but topical, and local, and immediate, all the things great radio are supposed to be. We actually had to ask her to pull back a bit because the authorities were afraid if the guy was listening it could impact his decisions. Which was sort of chilling. But Karen could always get an emotional reaction out of you. I wish I had been rolling tape that day, but I figured that she would with us for a long time and this would be just an average day. That turned out not to be the case.
When I think of Karen, I feel very sad. Ultimately, I don't think she was satisfied with the gifts she had. She didn't really like who she was. And that was sad, and it led her down a tragic path.
At this point, we both looked at our watches. Some lunch hour! I owe my boss sixty minutes of free overtime. I'll make it up soon, Kevin. I promise.
(Oh, JC says we should check out www.reelradio.com if you want to hear classic radio airchecks, and see how things were done back in the 1960's when AM radio was king and FM rock radio first took off.)
We left the Harbourside. We walked back to JC's vehicle, but not before he deftly removed some C100 stickers from a Q104 banner. I guess there is competition between the two stations, after all!
Stay tuned here for further interviews!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
274th Post - Just Changed My Mind
(I have 3 more interviews lined up, by the way. And they're not all radio people, either. Details to follow.)
What I want to discuss this evening is the new radio station that is going on air on Thursday in the Annapolis Valley.
I grew up in that part of the world. As youngsters listening to the radio, we had the choice of listening to Annapolis Valley Radio, or the CBC. AVR was... how can I put this nicely, not very good. The worst music you could imagine. Not always professional-sounding jocks. As I understand it, they paid their staff not very much money, and the end product showed.
Got my first radio at the age of ten, and I quickly learned that there were radio stations I could listen to from outside the Valley, ones whose programming was compelling and invited me to come back for more. I could pick up the AM stations in Halifax, for example, like the late and lamented CJCH. At night, I could listen to radio stations like WINS or WCBS in New York.
Anyway, it seemed that very few people liked AVR. Maybe even some of the people who worked there.
In 1986, they started an FM service, or rather, they resumed their FM service, after having allowed the CBC to use that signal for many years. Magic 97 went on the air, and the best thing I can say about it is that it didn't suck. I rather liked it in the early years; and it was a disappointment once I moved to the city that I could not listen to that station despite my best efforts. Not the best FM signal booster, not the highest quality dipole antenna, not nothin', would let me pick up that station.
Magic 97's programming got worse and worse over the years. It eventually became Magic 94.9, a 100 000 watt station that I suppose I could pick up here at home if I wanted to try. But the quality of programming is just not there.
Well, tomorrow, residents will have what I prayed for as a young 'un: Competition in the private radio market. K-Rock 89.3 goes on the air just past 8am. 30 000 watts of signal should go through most of the Valley very nicely. And the music will be the stuff I typically like. The K-Rock format is over on Prince Edward Island at 105.5. I can pick up that Newcap station very well when we are at the cottage, and it is pretty good.
For what it is worth, and that probably ain't much, I wish this new radio venture all the best. There has been a huge musical void in the Valley, a massive itch that has never been satisfactorily scratched; and tomorrow that void will be filled. I feel a little sorry for the staff and management at that other station.
Wish I lived there again, if only to be able to hear that destined-to-be-cool radio station.
Tomorrow, I hope: post #275, which features an interview with... but that would be telling!
273rd Post - The First Three Stooges Post
I don't care much for that music. If I ever got a satellite radio, I would not memorize where that channel was.
I feel the same way about certain types of films, and even comedy acts. I am not the biggest Three Stooges fan who has ever lived. However, I am interested in the history of that troupe.
Most people, if they know the Stooges at all, will recite that the trio consisted of Larry, Moe and Curly. That is the best known configuration, but there were six official members of the act over the years.
Moe and Curly were brothers. There was a third brother, Shemp, who started with the Stooges, left for his own film career (paving the way for Curly), and returned to the Stooges when Curly had a stroke and had to retire/was fired.
This photo is the only one I know of that has all three Howard brothers in it. Larry Fine is nowhere to be seen.
Grabbed this photo from Mark Evanier's site.
Who were the other two Stooges? A story for another time. If you really want to know, you can google the Stooges, or ask me to write a subsequent post about these guys.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
272nd post - A razor change
Putting a post out there to let you know and so I will be able to determine just how long this one lasts
I will be disappointed if it doesn't last until at least Christmas
I shave 5 or 6 times a week
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Monday, June 9, 2008
271st Post - Words to Live By (Bevboy Edition)
I don't hate anybody.
I despise a few people.
I detest some others.
I intensely dislike a couple more.
But I don't hate anybody.
Words to live by!
270th Post - A sign the Economy is in Trouble?
Just took this picture while walking to the car
A pawn shop is going out of business!
Where will I fence my ill-gotten booties?
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269th Post - Attention: Karen Begin/Darian O'Toole Fans! Special Contest!
That issue features a few pages about Karen Begin/Darian O'Toole. It has a nice couple of pieces about her. It is not my impression that it is sensationalistic.
If you are interested in this issue, let me know via comments to this post. I will sift through the responses and select one. I will then mail the issue at no cost to that person.
Yes, by all means, tell your friends about this opportunity to receive this rare magazine for free. I want lots of participation!
All you have to do is tell me why you should be the person to receive this issue of Frank magazine. And tell me what part of the world you are in. I am not asking for your actual address, just a city and state, or a city and province is fine.
The "contest" begins now, and concludes on June 23rd, 2008 at noon ET.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
268th Post - The Kitties
We took some pictures of the two cats this afternoon at the cottage. I think this is the one that turned out the best.
Newbie on the left. Cindy Clawford on the right.
Patricia thinks that Newbie wants to... make love to Cindy.
We'll get them a room. Maybe play some seductive, kitty cat music for them. Perry White should work fine. (Not Barry White, folks. I am referring to Superman's boss at the Daily Planet. Great singer, underrated.) Newbie can do those moves I taught him, the moves that have stood me in good stead over the years with the ladies (they're easily transferrable from humans to cats, by the way), and let nature take its course. They're both fixed, so it's not like I'll have a litter of cats to worry about or anything.
Tomorrow, as preparation for post #275, I sit down with my next interview subject. It will be a good one, folks. I promise.
Bevboy: Blogger Extraordinaire!
Saturday, June 7, 2008
267th post. The cottage
Patricia just finished mowing part of the lawn. There is so much to do and it takes so long to mow a lawn this big that it cannot be done in one sitting
Went to a natural spring this afternoon to fill up a number of water jugs. The water is so delicious that it can't compete with water from any other source
Had lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant
Back to the city.tomorrow
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Friday, June 6, 2008
266th Post - Not our cottage
Got up at 330 this morning and hit the road just past 530. Got her shortly before 8. The plumber arrived around 830 to turn on the water. It took hours due to various complications that would bore you
Went into town for an early dinner and to pay the property taxes and buy groceries. We are here for the evening. Probably won't leave the property for the balance of the weekend
Will sleep in tomorrow morning. And turn in early tonight.
Will mow the lawn tomorrow. Even with a high powered lawn tractor it will take several hours
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Thursday, June 5, 2008
265th Post - The Inspection
Four new tires, two new wiper blades, oil change, and the actual inspection, along with applicable sales taxes and labour.
However, the car drives like a dream now. The new tires make all the difference in the world.
I am making a bit more money with this new job than I did in the previous one. However, I don't spend it on things like plasma tv's and exotic vacations. It seems that as soon as I get some overtime money, it is needed for something like a major car repair, or work at the cottage, or something like that. Not complaining, just explaining why I still shop at Frenchy's.
Going to the cottage first thing Friday morning, rather than today. The water isn't turned on yet, and it would be unpleasant not to have water during... crucial moments.
We'll leave around 5 tomorrow morning. The housesitters will show up here tonight anyway.
264th Post - An Unusual Grave Marker
I know it is really hard to make out the words on the bell, even if you click on the image and try to read it that way. You'll just have to trust me when I tell you that this is one of the grave markers for Charles Ramage Prescott, one of the fathers of the apple industry in Nova Scotia. His home is a museum run by the province.
After I took the image of my parents' home this morning I drove the short distance to this cemetary where Prescott is buried. He was a member of this church; upon his death, they took the bell from the church and used it to help mark his grave. The church continues to have a lovely piece of stained glass about Mr. Prescott.
I have been visiting the Prescott House museum and the surrounding gardens for over 30 years. I'd wile away many a summer afternoon there back in my pre-teen and early teen days, wandering around the gardens, pretending to be the lord of the manor lolling about his estate. Eventually, I began taking Patricia there, and she fell in love with the place, too.
Charles Prescott lived to be 87 years old back in a time when living to that age was unusual. I think he was married more than once. He was a businessman in Halifax before retiring at the age of 40 and moving to the Annapolis Valley. He was an MLA representing that part of the province. He developed many varieties of apples still used today (like the Gravenstein and the Spy, while many others are seldom seen or eaten nowadays). He seemed like an interesting guy who lived a long life and to whom much happened. Yet, nobody has bothered to research this man's life and write a book about him. I have often wondered why. I think his would be an interesting story to read about.
An additional clue: If you read the grave stone for Charles Prescott, you'll notice the honourific "The Honourable". This is usually reserved for folks who were not just elected as MLA's in Nova Scotia, but who became ministers of the crown, or a member of the provincial Executive Council. What was Charles Prescott minister of, more than 150 years ago?Maybe I should spend a day or two at the provincial archives...
263rd Post - The Homestead
In about 30 minutes I take off to have my car inspected.
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Wednesday, June 4, 2008
262nd post - My Old Bedroom
This is the actual 262nd post. I will fix the earlier number later.
This is the bookcase in my old bedroom. Books I have owned since high school are still there. Back issues of Ellery queens mystery magazine from 25 years ago are up there. I even have issues of that fine magazine from the 1960s up there. Will never read them again but hate to part with them. Throwing them out seems like such a waste
My advice to my readers: Never buy anything you can't eat or wear out. And if you do, find a way to get rid of it that doesn't result in guilt.
I have 25 years of National Geographic magazine at my parents' place. Putting them out with my recycling seems like a terrible waste to me. However, there is no after market for this magazines. Nobody wants to buy the back issues, and libraries are already burdened with them to the point where they will be impolitely refused if offered. What to do with this stuff?
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261st Post - Comfort food
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Tuesday, June 3, 2008
260th Post - Cottage country
I shudder at the thought of how long the grass must be down there. Will take all day to mow it.
But do not worry, gentle reader. I can still blog from there. You will hear from me every day via the BlackBerry
Can hardly wait!
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Monday, June 2, 2008
259th Post - Bevboy's Thoughts on the Thane Dunn Concert
I won the tickets off CJCH last Wednesday, May 28th. It was a minor miracle that I won them. They had a contest called Lyrical Pursuit where you had to complete the next line of a song that they teed up for you. It was a Bee Gees song where the next line was "And my woman keeps me warm".
The first person got the answer wrong. So did the second. And the third. By the time the first guy was told he was wrong, I was trying to call on my bluetooth headset. I was driving to work at the time.
Anyway, the phone rang and rang. People ahead of me were wrong, even dead wrong. "My woman keeps me strong". "My woman keeps me wrong". "My woman keeps me horny". Whatever the answers were, they were wrong, and I knew I was right.
Finally, as I was about to hang up, Deb Smith picked up the phone and asked for my answer. I recited the lyrics, told her and Chris Mills (and the listening audience) that I was using a handsfree phone as I drove to work. Deb said something about how people using bluetooth headsets look silly, but there was a valid reason in this case.
My winnings were two tickets to the 2008 Nova Scotia Tattoo, two tickets to the Thane Dunn Elvis concert, an autographed photo, and a chance to meet the guy backstage.
Off the air, Deb thanked me for getting through. They probably had these prizes to go through before the station was no more, although this was before the actual announcement about the end of the Hotline and when the flip to FM would take place. But Deb knew at this point, I am guessing. Deb asked how Patricia was doing, too, as she had visited Patricia in the hospital when Patricia was close to being at her sickest.
Picked up the winnings on Friday, right after the flip to FM took place. But enough about that, ok? I am trying to move on and be my usual sunny self.
Patricia and I went to the concert Saturday evening and were led backstage by Leslie, a sales person at the radio station. We special winners (there were a few others) met Thane Dunn, already in costume, and already in character as "Elvis". He is a New Brunswick boy, so he was pretty much at home. He signed a photo for Patricia, gave me a cd of his music, and agreed to pose for a couple of pictures with me, the ones you saw in those earlier posts. He is a very nice man. When I called him "sir", he told me his daddy was sir, and his name was Thane and I should call him that.
The concert itself was great fun. The opening act was a Roy Orbison sound alike, who tried mighty hard to hit Orbison's high notes, and usually succeeded. If you have a favourite Roy Orbison tune, R. Vance did it.
Thane Dunn started moments after R. Vance finished. Dunn has Elvis' mannerisms down pat. The swagger, the sneer, the pelvic gyrations, the knee that didn't stop shaking, even some of the mumbling. And he sings just like Elvis did. One could easily pretend that Elvis Presley was alive, young and vital again, and up there on stage singing for us.
Dunn is apparently the number 3 Elvis impersonator in the world. I can't imagine how much better #1 and #2 are.
One trivia note: Thane Dunn's costumes were designed by the same man who designed and created Elvis Presley's costumes. That man has since passed, making Thane Dunn's wardrobe one of a kind. He must spend a fortune in drycleaning!
Thane Dunn said that every concert he does is different. Next time he comes to town, I'm taking my best girl and will happily pay to go see this remarkable young man!
258th Post - Interesting Radio Development
Rumours are afoot about what will happen with News 95.7's line up now that Rick Howe is at loose ends, following the cancelation of the Hotline last week. One is that News 95.7's two talk shows will both broadcast exclusively to Halifax, with the afternoon one featuring Mr. Howe.
I have nothing against Tom Young, but his show is about New Brunswick, and doesn't interest me much. Replacing that afternoon show with something featuring Rick Howe works for me in a very special way.
Now, can they do something to some how bring Doug Reynolds and Rick Howe back together on the air at the same time? That would be neat!
Sunday, June 1, 2008
257th Post - My parents
256th post - Cake
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