Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The walk last night was tremendous fun. Sorry you missed it.
Of particular interest was the time we spent at the old burial grounds the first real cemetery in Halifax. Andy Smith pointed the place where General Robert Ross is buried. He and his men set fire to the presidents mansion during the war of 1812. It was so badly damaged that they had to white wash it several times. It became known as the White House as a result of all that work.
We also heard stories of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the problem with prostitutes in Old Halifax, George Wright (a Haligonian who perished on the Titanic, and whose building remains standing in downtown Halifax), and plenty of ghost stories.
It was well worth the 10 bucks per person.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Dawn Sloane, on her facebook site, says she has a secret she is keeping to herself until it goes public next week. I asked her if she has a man, and she said no. We'll have to wait until next week. I am guessing it may have something to do with a concert coming to Halifax, but who knows which one? Darn these public officials!
Just spoke with Patricia, who informs me that there is a rumour that Elton John will return to Halifax soon, this time with Billy Joel. Hmm. Let's see what the announcement is next week.
I have my Toastmasters meeting tonight, and then a 2 hour ghost walk afterward. I'll not be home much before 10pm. Feed the cat, pull out some more comic books to give out to the little darlings on Friday night, and go to bed.
I'll try to get through a chapter of "Point of Impact" before I go to my meeting in 40 minutes.
Gee, wonder what type of books adsimba likes to read?
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
(I still have the cassette tapes for the course around the house somewhere; the notes are in another part of the house. Before I die, I want them to say hello to each other again.)
The course was endlessly fascinating. I learned so much about different forms of music. I may not listen to those genres to this day, but I learned to appreciate them and to understand that these seemingly disparate types of music often have common antecedents and explore similar themes.
I also learned that no musical "generation" has ever cornered the market on the grotesque, and that none has ever shied away from pissing off the parents of the day.
I actually wrote a paper that year about blues music; the urban branch of it is really where we get jazz from.
I became interested in the musician Cab Calloway. As a naive young 'un, I had no idea that Calloway existed and was shocked to learn that he had been recording tunes rife with drug references, and ones about loose, wanton women, back in the 1930's. This was 60+ years before hip hop artists did the same thing.
Herewith: a Betty Boop, supposedly banned, cartoon from 1932, featuring the song "Minnie the Moocher" by Cab Calloway (I can kinda see how it would be banned, because there are some pretty provocative images in this ancient cartoon).
How many drug references can you pick out?
We arrived at the Dalhousie Art Centre about 45 minutes early. While waiting to be allowed to get to our seat, I ran into a cousin of mine, who told me he had visited this blog. Hello, Delbert. His wife, Karen, actually tugged on the beard of the son of a friend of hers, as the beard reminded all of us of the tuft of hair on a billy goat's chin! If she hadn't, Patricia would have. If Patricia hadn't after Karen hadn't, then I would have been tempted.
Turns out that we sat in front of the agent for the band. She talked in a loud voice about how she was trying to become a Canadian citizen, how she was tired of living in Texas, etc.
She also said that the band had undergone some personnel changes. The brother-sister combo remained, but there were two new members. IF they had sufficiently rehearsed, it certainly didn't show as they were stumbling over each other's words, forgetting what songs they were about to do, and so on. The brother told a long, shaggy dog story about a fellow who raised bees as a hobby that elicited nary a chuckle from the audience. He told a funny-to-him story in French that he then translated into English for those of us who don't speak that language. And they played songs in such a perfunctory manner that one had the impression that they were late for another, more pressing, appointment.
Mercifully, the first half of the show was over. We decided to leave; Patricia was not feeling well, and we were not enjoying ourselves.
You know, Leonard Cohen toured Canada again last year and this. He purposely began the tour in Eastern Canada because he wanted to work the kinks out of the show before moving on to bigger markets and bigger cities. As far as I know, from what I heard, there were few if any bugs to stamp out. I will be charitable and hope that the Cottars are trying something similar here, and that they recognize that they need to make some improvements or they will burn up a lot of good will with their fans.
I think I'll give Delbert a call and ask him if the second half of the concert was any better than the first.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
My friend Sheldon Goldman decided he did not want to enter into a 10 year lease after this one expires in a month. Rather than that he has decided to retire
Not much more to say. Nothing lasts forever. He has seen many competitors come and go over the years and has outlasted them all
All the best in your retirement!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
The plumber arrived about 5 minutes after he said he would be there. He did his thing for about 2 hours and left, but not before Patricia wrote him a cheque for a nice, round number. We cleaned out the fridge, threw out a few things we could not recognize, and left around 1pm. Arrived home around 3:45.
Not sure what happened, but I lost internet connectivity on the BlackBerry overnight. It remained messed up until I got back to Halifax, at which time I removed the battery and put it back in. The complete reboot worked, and I got connectivity again. I missed my little friend.
Tonight, I have to buy some groceries. Down to my last thing of mustard and 3 crusts of bread. Few drops of soy milk.
Everyone shops on Sundays now, since we got Sunday shopping in Nova Scotia a couple of years ago. Something had to give for people, and that seems to be Saturday night shopping, so it's a great night to buy my weekly victuals. Nobody's in the store.
When do you guys buy groceries? And where?
Friday, October 24, 2008
Had supper tonight in Enfield at a place called Curly Portable's Pub and Grub . Wonder what my NoCal readers think of that name?!
Got here about 2 hours ago. Watched the two most recent episodes of "Supernatural" tonight. Patricia is watching "Ugly Betty". I am turning in.
Busy day tomorrow.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Bought the Special 2-Disc Special edition DVD of True Romance today during lunch. Looking forward to seeing this film, directed by Tony Scott and written by Quentin Tarantino.
Going to the cottage Friday night. The plumber will be by Saturday morning to turn off the water for us. It is quite an ordeal, believe it or not. Returning to the city Saturday afternoon or evening.
Word of the blog continues to spread. Getting closer to 16000 hits. Adsimba: Please continue to tell your buddies about this blog. Want all the readers in Northern California that I can get. We all can. After all, that is where the girls are warm.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The red caps on the meters indicate that they are only good for 30 minutes max. For whatever reason, they yield something like 5 times what a typical meter does.
There are few enough reasons to shop downtown as it is. Nearly all of the things I need, I can get out here. I work downtown and eat there and go to some concerts there, but if I could do those things elsewhere -- where I don't have to pay for parking, where I do not have to endure the snotty so-and-so's that give out tickets, where I do not get the impression that they don't care if I shop downtown or not -- I would. In a heartbeat.
The fact that these parking meters exist and are so efficient just speaks to the fact that I'd rather shop some place where parking is free, and my patronage is appreciated.
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Very interesting view of a man's life. Check it out.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Neither do I.
I am thinking about this kind of stuff because an old friend from high school found me on facebook last night. I was watching Dancing with the Stars when my BlackBerry buzzed to let me know of an update to my Facebook. It was Heidi, who was trolling the friends of friends of hers and saw my name. She remembered me fondly, for some damn reason, and contacted me.
She called me "Karl Heinz" last night in an e-mail. That was the name I was given in German class, where we all had to assume a German name. Wolfgang was already taken, by Reg, the "RWS" who sometimes posts comments to this blog. I had that assumed name for 3 years, and apparently, Heidi remembers me more for that name than my actual one. I guess over all it is not a bad way to be remembered.
We have been writing each other a bit over the last 22 hours. She still lives in the same community she grew up in. I love that community myself. I still sometimes wish I had never left my home town and moved to the "big" city of Dartmouth, then Halifax, some 20 years ago.
So, if you're reading this, Heidi, hello! I hope you like the blog. Share it with everyone who remembers me.
Karl Heinz, er, Bevboy
Monday, October 20, 2008
As proof, I thought you might like to see some of my recent status updates.
Back to work this morning. It was nice to be back, but we miss the cottage. A week away from digital cable, high speed internet, showers.
Newbie collapsed from exhaustion last night. He doesn't travel well. Neither do I, for that matter.
Had dinner last night in the small town of Truro. We had eaten there before, but the food last night was gross. We will never go back there.
Dancing with the Stars is on tonight. Cloris Leachman is still there. Hmm. Cloris Leachman. Hubba hubba.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Adsimba, please continue to tell everyone you know down there about this Blog. Tell folks at your work. Tell them at the grocery store. Tell them at your church or synagogue. Just tell them. Thanks!
And I want to congratulate Dawn Sloane on winning her seat again tonight in the municipal elections here in Halifax. Thank goodness for Facebook where I saw her update about 45 minutes ago. Go back and read my interview with her if you haven't already. It is post 375
Have a great evening!
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Friday, October 17, 2008
I am not writing on my BlackBerry. I am instead at a local cap site in River John, Nova Scotia. It is the village library, actually. I will write her for a spell, check out a couple of websites I have been neglecting, and wander around the library a bit. It is a small library, so my wandering will not take very long.
Our last day off has been very lazy for both of us. We both slept in today and remain bleary-eyed this afternoon. We thought that if we didn't get out of the house, our sloth and indolence would take us over completely.
I see that "adsimba" has been reading my blog, and has been kind enough to reply to some posts. I have been replying to some of those comments. I hope that you continue to read and enjoy the blog, and that you get as many of your friends and colleagues as possible in Southern California to read the blog, day in and day out.
Some of you may be wondering why I continue to update the blog even when I am on vacation. Patricia certainly does! Simple question, not that simple an answer. I recall seeing Joan Rivers on television last fall. She was in Halifax doing a couple of shows at the casino. She was asked about her blog on her website, and why she updates it so frequently. She replied that she feels a blog must be updated on a regular basis in order for it to remain relevant and interesting to her readers. If not updated regularly, the blog quickly becomes stale and uninteresting, and regular readers will go elsewhere.
I agree with her, not that she cares or anything. I know quite a few people who read this blog every day. It is a regular thing for them to do, like drinking a coffee at Tim Hortons a couple of times a day, going over the sports scores online each morning, or checking their fly upon leaving the washroom.
If I did not update the blog every day, or pert near every day, then I'd quickly lose those readers as they moved on to other things. A blog must be a living, breathing entity, Joan and I believe. To remain one, it needs to be constantly fed by its owner, moi in in this case, Joan Rivers in hers. I do not mind it. I enjoy having a near-daily deadline and usually take a bit of time during the day (breaks, Kevin, breaks!) to think about what I want to write about that evening. Sometimes my imagination is fertile enough to justify multiple blog updates in one day. Consider that a bonus, gentle reader.
As this blog approaches its 500th post, in less than a year of existence, I am reminded of the reasons why I started it in the first place. I wanted a forum to express myself. I wanted to write the kinds of posts that I would want to read if I were just a reader and not a writer of these things. And I wanted a friendly place for these readers to hang out, similar to the message board I quit in the summer of '07 before it went South on me. I hope that I have accomplished these meager goals and trust that you, my readers, agree with me. If you do, and especially if you don't, then feel free to comment on this or any other post. Rest assured that I read all of these comments, and reply to most of them.
All the best.
See you tomorrow.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Had a very quiet day. Went to River John tonight to pick up some Chinese food. The food was pricey and awful. We will never go back there again. A 45 dollar lesson
Quiet evening. Watching "Life on Mars" now
See you tomorrow
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008
This morning, around 8am, I pretty much decided I would go. The problem was that I was more than 2 hours away, in Pictou County. Despite the cost of gas, and the long drive, I drove to Halifax around 10:45 this morning, arriving here just before 1pm. I showered, because I had been at the cottage for 4 days and hadn't in all that time, and picked out my Johnny Cash outfit (black shirts, black pants, black shoes) to wear to the meeting. I found time to wash my dishes, meaning that the dishes would not come to life and threaten the populace of Halifax. You may recall that I have that fear.
I cooked and ate an early supper before leaving the house at 4:30. I got a nice parking space downtown, ran a quick errand, grabbed some better shoes to wear to the meeting from my work and got to the meeting place around 5:30.
We had a special guest speaker tonight. It was a fellow who had been a member in the 1980's until the early 1990's: Member of Parliament Geoff Regan. He spoke about how he became interested in politics, how Toastmasters had helped him prepare for a public life, and how it had even helped him when he had addressed the United Nations in 2004. He was generous with his time, witty, urbane, and entertaining. A wonderful time. The icing on the cake (which we also had) was how we had inducted three new members tonight. Mr. Regan (he asked me to call him Geoff, so I will refer to him that way from now on) spoke directly to them about how TM had helped him and would help them to, if they gave it a chance. What an ambassador for Toastmasters!!
After the meeting, I returned to my work to drop off my TM binder and checked my facebook on my BlackBerry. Dawn Sloane, the local Halifax councillor, was having a meet and greet at a local magazine store called Paperchase. I am frightened of an employee of that store as he looks like the Predator, but I took a chance that he might not be there and went anyway. As luck would have it, that scary young man wasn't on duty.
I hung out with Dawn and her friend Johnathan. I asked Dawn to speak with Patricia at the cottage and she did. Around 9, we left together, where I ended up at her place in an effort to decide where to place more of her election signs. My out-of-province readers may not know that municipal elections are this Saturday in Nova Scotia. I spent the next 90 minutes or so helping them put up signs around her district before coming back here and writing for a spell.
I woke up this morning in Pictou County, not having yet decided to return to the city for the day. I had no idea that this day would be so long, and be so rich with incident. I wish every day could be like this. I wish I had manned up a bit more and remained out tonight, helping Dawn and Johnathan erect signs under cover of darkness.
I'll return to the cottage sometime on Thursday morning. Need sleep now.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The Real Great Depression -- ChronicleReview.com
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Monday, October 13, 2008
She went out last week and hunted down and killed a turkey. She removed the feathers from before eviscerating it. She has seen the climactic scenes in "Braveheart" several times and therefore has a good hand on how to go about doing this
She finished preparing the turkey from scratch for dinner tonight. Best turkey ever in the history of turkeys
Cloris Leachman is just getting ready to start dancing. Gotta go
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Sunday, October 12, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
I run hot and cold on that station. The morning and afternoon news reports do not exactly engender or encourage continued listening. The news wheel is so rigidly formatted that I can't imagine that there is a lot of room for creativity for them. But they say their ratings are way up. When I met Andrew Krystal this Spring, he told me his ratings had gone up by 50%. Local stations are in a ratings period now, so we'll see how things work out for them.
They are at their strongest covering live events like storms and things like the fire this summer in Dartmouth. Then, they provided wall-to-wall coverage all weekend, along with, oddly enough, Q104. Local tv stations had only their regular news broadcasts. Even CBC radio only had their 4 minute news hits at the top of the hour. But News 95.7 and Q104 were there all weekend.
There is far too much sports coverage on that station. They run ESPN radio all night long. The only local content then would be the pre-recorded weather and local commercials.
I do not know why they think this is a good approach to overnight radio. There are plenty of more compelling programs they could run, most notably Coast to Coast AM, which used to run locally on CJCH. They could also run The X Zone radio show if they wanted to, which also ran on CJ as recently as 2007.
I have heard in a couple of places that News 95.7 and its other network partners in Moncton and St. John will soon have more local programming in the evening. Some kind of talk show. And they're gonna do something with Sundays, too. Dunno what, yet.
Anyway, I wish the station well. I hope they have many more years on Halifax radio!
Here are the false starts for the interview, courtesy of youtube:
My comment is that Murphy was pretty unprofessional about this. It is not unusual to ask for a re-ask of a question and to re-start the tape. When CBC radio interviewed me last month, I asked to re-start a couple of times. Big deal!
And there is enough ambiguity in Murphy's question that it might confuse most anybody. I mean, being P.M. now? Or since the last election in January of '06? When? The question could have been worded a whole lot better.
Dion asked to start over, and for clarification, and he didn't really get it. I am no apologist for Stephane Dion, but he deserved to be treated better than that. And Steve Murphy should know better.
I don't know how much crap Steve Murphy will have to endure because of running these outtakes on the news last night. However much it is, it won't be enough.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Here. Read the new story. You can also read the full text of the man's letter.
I will now go on the record that, as a child, when I didn't know any better, when I was foolish and uncaring, I removed the tag from my parents' couch. You know, the one that says that if you remove it, you will be arrested? Yes. That one. I tore that little tag off.
I have gone through life and love all of these years, carrying the burden and the shame of that youthful indiscretion, one which may yet have a huge consequence for me now by this admission. I can only try to make things right now by... I am not sure what. Mailing $10 to a random person all of these years later doesn't make any sense to me.
I suppose I could contact the manufacturer of the couch (or, "the chesterfield" as my parents call it) and throw myself at their mercy. Perhaps, in light of the positive contributions I have made to society in the intervening years, they will not throw the full weight of the law at me.
Maybe I will just be sentenced to a few hundred hours of community service.
I could get behind that.
I feel better already!
Anyway, if you want to hear the story, it's now online here.
Check it out. You'll get to hear what I sound like when I am not snoring.
Speaking of freecycle: I could use a new(er) monitor for home. They're always offering crt monitors on freecycle, so I just have to bide my time.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I can't get over the imagination of the person who photoshopped it. What was he thinking? What made him think to do this, to take such a seminal photograph and turn it into, well, this:
I have never been able to think of Lee Harvey Oswald in quite the same way since.
You probably won't be able to, either.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
We chatted for about 15 minutes about things we liked and things we did not like. We discussed the Paula Gallant murder. We are all at the point where we can say what we were doing that night in 2005, even if we cannot contribute anything that would be useful to the police. Like I have stated here before: I refuse to engage in rumour and innuendo about the Paula Gallant murder. This blog is not the place for it. Let the police handle these rumours and investigate them.
Anyway, it is not pleasant to have one's mail misdirected. It is happening more and more lately. But, this time at least, there was a happy ending. I got my mail (a tax receipt!), and I met a nice person.
Not a bad evening over all.
Cloris Leachman was not voted off Dancing with the Stars this evening. Senile old crone.
The mother of the boy who broke into my house doesn't like me very much.
Obviously, I cannot reveal who this woman is, because that would indirectly reveal the name of the charming young man. Then, guess who would be in trouble? Your humble blogger, that's who. I know enough about the law to know that the odds are stacked up against the victim of crime, that the perpetrators, particularly if they are young, do not fully have to deal with the consequences of their slovenly behaviour in the same way that an adult would, and the poor victim has to put up or shut up. Sucks, but that is the way things are. I don't like it, but I accept it. Even when people told me that I should consider how the boy felt, or the parents of the boy, I had to grin and bear it and say, "Yup! I feel for them." It seems that I do not merit any kind of consideration in this matter.
Anyway, the mother of so-and-so has never been what I would call friendly to me. Her husband is fine, and their daughter has always been nice to me; but the mother, not so much. Ever since the break-in, however, she has been nearly hostile to me. I will say hello to her; she'll grunt to me if I am lucky. The son, of course, is probably mad at me because he got caught. I don't know. I have only spoken to her once since the break-in.
I do not understand her attitude at all. Just this evening, when I got home from work, she drove to her home, which is within sight of my own. She remained in her car, with her hand covering her face, until I went into my own house.
Maybe I am making something out of this when there is nothing at all.
Maybe. But then again, maybe not.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Had a good day at work. Well, it was the kind of day where a silly little thing that should work, doesn't; but things like this happen all the time in my line of work.
Voted online for the local municipal elections today. Took maybe 5 minutes. While the Coast newspaper has misgivings about the process, I have no reason to feel that way, so I voted with no hesitation. Saves me the time and trouble necessary to drive to the polling station. Any time away from the tv is time I resent, so voting this way works for me.
BTW, I found a page about Dawn Sloane on the Coast website that references my interview with her on this blog. Not sure how they found it, but it was nice of them to provide that link here. Here: I'll return the favour!!
Dancing with the Stars is on tonight. Will Cloris Leachman stink up the joint again? Will she even know where she is? Let's find out together, shall we?
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Cat back with me after taking an hour to track him down at my parents today: Check
Offered newbie to my father. Check
He refused Newbie. Check
Washed some clothes tonight: Check
Watched the episode of the Sarah Connor chronicles from 2 weeks ago: Check
Turning in early: Check
Back to work tomorrow: Check
See you on Monday even if I don't know what I will be writing about: Check
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Saturday, October 4, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
I wish him all the best. Like I said, he was the best thing about that station, and they made a big mistake letting him go. Of course, with that format and their ratings, it would take a miracle for that station to be successful.
They were giving away 20 free cups of coffee to Rudy's on their station this morning. Quite a prize, huh? If I had a chance to win that or to see, say, Tina Turner in Miami, then I would have quite a decision to make.
Never eat at The Split Crow.
It is not that the food is bad or anything. It is just that I don't usually like to eat at places where there is no interac payment option. I had to go downstairs to one of those generic bank machines to get the cash to pay for my lunch with... Mr. Jeff Cogswell, radio broadcaster extraordinaire!
Jeff and I had been playing e-mail tag for a few months. Finally, we decided to meet for an early lunch on September 25th. We found our way to the Split Crow, tried to avoid the loud speakers blaring music so that my digital voice recorder could pick up our conversation, and started to talk.
Bevboy: I recall that Computer Talk Online is the place where I first heard your name on the radio [it was a locally-based computer-based talk show on CJCH radio from mid-1995 until mid-1998]. You were some kind of production assistant (but I don't know what your actual job title was). What was your first on air gig?
Jeff Cogswell: My first on air gig was with C100 and as you mentioned I was a production assistant with them at the time. We had our summer promotion on C100 Wave Patrol. My boss, Terry Williams, knew that I wanted to get on air. I sent him some stuff, and he was like, "It's not bad. It's ok."
Well, one day, he had to let go one of the guys on the Wave Patrol. There was about three weeks left to go in the summer. So, he calls me and he says, "Do you want to do it?" "Yeah, I want to do it!". And I was on the air that night. I did my first cut-in ever. I had everything. I was so nervous. I had everything written out word-for-word. And that was my first time ever on air on C100.
BB: That was around '95, '96?
JC: Around '95, '96, yeah.
BB: As a follow up, I remember a year or so after that I remember that Terry didn't think you had enough on air experience and he farmed you out to MBS [Maritime Broadcasting Systems, home now of FX101.9 and Hal-FM]. You did some shifts at CHNS-AM and maybe even Country 101, too. [Country 101 is the old name for FX101.9]
JC: Yeah, I would pull a couple of shifts on the weekend at Country 101 because at the time CHUM and Maritime Broadcasting were working pretty closely with each other. There was a rumour that there was going to be an LMA, a Local Management Agreement between the two companies. So that's why Terry had no problem with me being a production assistant with C100 and CJ and doing on air work with MBS. That went to Hell in a handbasket. That was pretty ugly. I'll leave it at that.
BB: Fair Enough.
JC: I ended there and eventually got to do some part-time on air stuff with C100, just filling in and stuff like that. Weekends and that kind of thing.
BB: And then came Q104.
JC: And then came Q104. The merger [between Chum and Newcap] happened in '98 with Q104 and Sun FM at the time and 780 KIXX. They were restructuring and then they got in a jam where I think it was one other person decided, "I don't want to do this", and left. So, it was like, "We need another announcer". And that is when I started getting even more part-time work with primarily C100, Sun FM, and 780 KIXX. Ron Young left, vacating a spot on Q104, and in November of '98, I was hired as a full-time swing announcer.
BB: What does swing announcer mean?
JC: A swing announcer does evenings and weekends. My shift was that I was off Mondays and Tuesdays and I would work Wednesday through to Sunday. I did a lot of voice tracking[pre-recording such things as weather reports, time checks, and psa's, which are then dropped into pre-allocated slots on a computer before being broadcast]. I loved it. I loved doing my job. It was so much fun. I couldn't believe it. I was used to waking up with B.J. Wilson, Harv and Lisa [on Q104]. It was so cool, and here I was on the radio station.
And then B.J. Wilson left. We brought Jay MacNeil in for a year or two I think it was. Then, he went to Toronto and Jaime [Patterson] came in for a year or two, and then old B.J. Burke came back to roost.
BB: Lots of BJ's at that station!
JC: Lots of BJ's, yeah. They don't change the imagine too much there.
BB: We won't go down that road.
BB: What are your thoughts on the demise of CJCH-AM and the Hotline?
JC: Sad. But it was inevitable. CJCH back in its heyday, back in the '70's (and I obviously wasn't listening back then), [was king]. Brian Phillips and all the big guys that were on there. It was huge. It was larger than life. In my opinion, I think it might have been bigger than FM radio is today. Today, there is so much of it.
BB: There were 3 [private] stations back then.
JC: That's it. It was just a matter of time before it was going to happen. AM radio, unfortunately, is dying because... would you rather listen to an AM station or an FM station? What's clearer? FM radio. And they don't make any money any more. So, it was no great shock to anybody that they applied for an FM license and that they got it, as did 780 KIXX.
BB: And, Rogers has bought it.
JC: Yes, Rogers has bought the license. Rick Howe is great. It was sad to see Philly [Brian Phillips] go, and to see Rick and for that radio icon to be silenced. But, like I said: It is one of those things where you have to change with the times, and that's FM radio.
BB: I think I heard Brian Phillips do some commercials on C100 this summer. I am not sure if he is still dabbling, or if he is retired, or what is going on there.
JC: There are still commercials with me on C100.
BB: Are there really?
JC: Bedroom Depot. When I left back in '04, they had to sign a waiver that stated that they were allowed to use my voice for any existing commercials that they had after a six month period. I said, "I don't care". But, yeah, I heard one the other day. I was like, "You've gotta be kidding me. That's Bedroom Depot!". Kinda funny.
BB: So, you don't know what's going on with Brian?
JC: I don't know, to be honest. I haven't talked to Deb [Smith] in a while. I know that Philly was off for quite a while because he had both of his knees replaced. So, I don't know what is going on with Philly. I'd hate to see him just go off in the distance because he is Phillips. He is Brian Phillips. He's awesome.
BB: He is.
BB: What is your opinion of CBC radio? What do you think of CBC radio as an entity? I am not going to ask you if you listen to anything on it, but what do you think of it as what it is?
JC: Personally, I don't listen. That's just the kind of person I am. To be honest with you, I don't really think they're gearing toward people like me anyway. I think it is like the other radio stations in this market: It provides a service for its core demographic. So, from that standpoint, of course, it is government owned. They have some amazing people over there who used to be with CJCH.
BB: Stan Carew. Doug Barron.
JC: There are some big names there. They're amazing radio talents. But they also have longevity there. Maybe I am blowing it out of proportion, but it seems that you're always hearing about layoffs there. For me, it's too volatile a situation to ever entertain [an offer]. Like I said: It's not my thing. But I think it definitely serves a purpose in this market.
BB: Well, CBC Radio 2 is going a little bit younger too. They got Buck 65 to do the afternoon show.
JC: He is awesome. He's a funny guy. Really nice.
BB: But you can tune into this show on CBC Radio Two.
BB: You have?
BB: Nor have I.
JC: No. But I can only imagine that it would probably be pretty good because he is quite a character.
BB: What music do you listen to when you are not on the clock?
JC: Everything, except for country.
BB: Was it a challenge to do voicetracking at 780 KIXX or Country 101?
JC: You know what? When I say "not country", [I mean] I enjoy 780 KIXX. I like the classic country. I am not a fan of the new country. People like Keith Urban and [others]. They're amazing artists and everything. It's just not my bag. But I like the Hank Snow and Waylon Jennings and Don Williams. So, no, for me it was a real treat when I got to fill in on the [780 KIXX] morning show for three months a few years back because, first of all, I wanted to do a morning show and second of all, I just got a kick out of doing 780 KIXX. It will be kind of sad to see that go, too.
BB: What is the best piece of professional advice you have ever received, and who gave it to you?
JC: Terry Williams. It was when I first started on C100. I was so excited. And, apparently, I was yelling. And talking a little too much. He was very matter-of fact; he wasn't rude. He just said, "Jeff, stop yelling at me. And, you don't get paid by the word. Remember that. Be concise. Get on. Get the message out there with as few words as possible but still get the message across. But don't throw in words that you don't need to."
From then on in, I have always been rather conscious of, ok, "What are we going to do here coming up?" That changes a little bit with the morning show. We're a little more laid back and we're not as structured. But, yeah, that's where I clicked in and went, "OK. Nobody wants to hear you ramble on about whatever. Get on there. Tell them what they need to know. Get off.
BB: Terry seems to have been quite a influence on your career.
JC: Terry was a big influence. He almost fired me. [laughter]. Terry went to Confederation College. He was in the first graduating class. I believe it was 1971 or 1972. He loves it when I point that out. And I went to Confederation College. He had just arrived at C100 and CJCH a few months prior to me arriving there to do my job placement for school. We just kind of hit it off. I went back to Ontario. I came back. I just happened to call Kirstie, my supervisor. I said, "I just want to let you know that I am back in town. If anything pops up, give me a holler. Here's my number. " It was just my dad and I at the time. My dad said, "Boy, they're not just going to call you and offer you a job."
She called me the next day and offered me a job, part-time working as a board operator. That's when CJ had flipped to talk radio; and they had to have a live board operator in there 24 hours a day.
JC: Yeah. So, that's how I got my foot in the door. My first real job in radio was as a board operator for CJCH.
But I have been friends with Terry for a long time. He is the guy who put me on the radio. He is the one who kicked my career off, so there is always going to be that special bond with him.
BB: And he almost fired you? Do you want to talk about that?
JC: [Chuckles]. Yeah. Well, I went from board op to part-time production assistant and it was quite the jump because admittedly in college I wasn't the most technically... I don't even know the word I'm looking for.
JC: Yeah. I was definitely not technically adept. It was a big learning curve for me. I had made a few mistakes, which I did learn from. Terry was always big on that. "I don't mind you making mistakes, but learn from it and don't make the same mistake twice."
JC: Well, one night we were running a Tom Petty album release. The entire live feed went to air. You heard, "OK, Mark. Tom Petty starting in four". There was all this stuff that was supposed to be cut out. Well, Terry called me and said, "Jeff, I don't think this is working out. I think we're going to have to take a look at maybe you doing something else somewhere else." I said to him, "Terry, I accept responsibility for this, but I was told to do this with it, and not to cut it. I thought that somebody else was going to cut it." And that is the God's honest truth. He said ok. And then he gave me another shot. I won't say that I never screwed up again, but I never did something like that again. So, I was pretty close to being booted out the door. But, thankfully, he took another chance on me and away we went.
BB: And unfortunately he is gone. I don't know what happened there.
JC: You know, it's unfortunate. The great thing about radio is that it seems like they can say that they're moving in another direction, and you no longer fit our plans for that direction. I don't know what happened either. Terry hasn't talked to me about it. But like I said, he is a friend, and it is unfortunate to see a friend leave the industry like that.
BB: Is he still in town?
JC: Yeah, he is still in town. He lives with his wife Christine. [Son] Aaron is getting married. He is on his own. And [the other son] Zach is on his own, too. But he is entrenched here. The last time I talked to him his intention was to stay. I woudn't be surprised to see him do some consulting work. He has a great programming mind.
BB: Where do you see yourself in five years?
JC: Hopefully still at Z103. We have no desire to move anywhere. My wife and I consider Halifax home. I am hoping that Z can tolerate me for at least another five years or so. In this day and age, you never know what's going to happen, right? I could get a job offer from Toronto. Or they could restructure the station and I don't fit that format any more. I guess it's the same way with a lot of industries, but if you think you're not expendable, you are wrong. But I am really happy where I am at. I'm really enjoying the format a lot more than I thought I would.
JC: You see, when I went from Q, that was my thing. I wanted to be a morning show jock at a rock station. And then I went to K100 in Saint John, and it was like a softer version of C100. So, I made that transition. That was the first question they asked me in my interview. Greg Diamond and Paul Evanov, owner of the company. They asked me, "Rumour has it that you are a rock jock.". I said I was, but I said, "I made the transition to an AC [Adult Contemporary] station, and I'm pretty sure I can go to a CHR [Contemporary Hit Radio]. I think the fact that I was able to answer it that quickly kind of swayed them in [my] favour a little bit. I guess I am getting a little off topic here a bit, but if I stayed at Z for the rest of my career, it wouldn't bother me a bit. My wife and I left Halifax to advance my career. When we were gone, we realized we didn't want to be away from here again. So, I really can't see me going anywhere else.
Mind you, if someone wants to offer me a boatload of money, that might change things a bit. But I won't wait by the phone.
BB: Does it help to like the music that you play?
JC: Oh, definitely.
BB: What if you don't like the music that you play? You can still be professional enough to make it compelling to the listener, can you not?
JC: Oh, absolutely. Any announcer that is worth their salt should be able to pull off almost any format. Sometimes there is going to be a format that you are just not going to be able to do, and that happens, right? But in a perfect world, we'd all work for the format that is our first choice. That doesn't happen very often. Obviously you have your exceptions. But, yeah, I was a little tentative. I was unsure how I'd mix with the dance and the hip hop and the r&b ad everything, but if you check my ipod, it's all Z music.
BB: I'll listen a bit more. How's that?
JC: Yeah. You have to give it a shot. I got my dad listening. He listens because I'm on there, but he gets a kick out of some of the music. He started spouting off Busta Rhymes one day. He goes, "I love that tune!". I said, "Dad, don't do that. You're embarrassing me". [laughter]
BB: Ok, why is it Zee 103, and not Zed?
JC: [chuckles] You know what's weird is that we were having this conversation because Boss Dan usually comes into the studio when he gets into work. The four of us (Shane, Nikki, and I and Boss Dan) were sitting there and he was telling us about a telephone call he had received from someone asking, "Why is it Zee and not Zed?" Zee is Americanized, and Zed is Canadian. But it is a marketing brand. "Zee 103.5" rolls better off the tongue than "Zed 103.5". And that's why. We're not branding the letter Z. We're branding the station's name. We are Zee 103.5, the Beat of Halifax. And it's the same as our mother ship in Toronto, Z103.5.
BB: It's usually 103.5, isn't it? That frequency?
JC: You know what? I think that was a fluke. I don't know if they did that on purpose. They might have. I'm not privy to those conversations, fortunately, because I wouldn't understand them anyway. But, yeah, that really worked out for us.
BB: Is there a musical genre you feel is underserved in Halifax?
JC: I would have to say it would be a soft AC format.
BB: Adult Contemporary for my readers, right?
JC: Yes. That was Sun FM, which is now Kool. Kool is really close to the Q as far as the format goes.
BB: Well, they play anything now.
JC: Yes. C100, ever since The Bounce has signed on, might have backed off on some of the music a little bit. But really for hardcore soft AC fans, there is really not much here. I'd have to say that's one of the only ones. Outside of New Rock, [there is] Alternative Rock, which is dying. There used to be a lot of alternative rock stations that used to be here in Canada, and they just aren't any more. These XFM's that you saw popping up are all gone.
BB: So, the Rogers station, when they take over ownership of the license that 780 KIXX has...
BB: ... the rumour was that it would be alternative rock. That may not be a good idea. If you were the p.d. [program director] there, you might not recommend that they do that.
JC: I would be surprised if they did. I wouldn't be surprised to see them be a New Rock station, infused with a little bit of alternative rock, but I find there is a fine line between those two genres anyway. And with Q104 playing New Rock as well as classic rock... I don't know. That could be a hard sell for them.
BB: There is not much place for a new station to go any more, is there? Soft AC?
JC: Well, there's not, really. We went from having C100, Q104, Country 101, and 96.5. To now we have Hal FM, News Talk, and us. And, now, The Bounce. We have doubled in size as far as FM stations in just this market. There are only so many pieces of the pie. And everyone wants the biggest chunk.
BB: How do you prepare for a show? You radio personalities always cite studies or unusual news stories. Do you get this stuff from prep services, or are you just really good at trolling the internet for that material?
JC: Both. We do have a prep service that our company subscribes to. Nikki checks that every day. I have an internal prep service that a friend shares with me. He's actually a radio guy. He's got a global list of other radio people here in the Maritimes that he shares, stuff that he finds. And there are a few different sites that I check every day for whatever might be funny or interesting. And Shane comes up with some stuff.
BB: So, if I didn't subscribe to a prep service, and I wanted to find some of those things that you guys cite, I could just go into google, right? Type in "weird news stories" or something. Is that what these prep services do?
JC: Yeah. Some of them are bad. Some of them are pretty good. Sometimes the joke stories are fabricated. But these are mostly just things that happen around the world. Like today, I came across a story from Mexico City where an elephant got loose from the zoo and got hit by a bus. Unfortunately, it killed the driver, the elephant. It was just one of those things. You just have to know where to look, really. That's essentially what we do, really. "Well, all you do is surf the internet". Well, we do a lot of surfing.
BB: But the prep services do a lot of that stuff for you. Is that how they find their own material?
JC: Yeah. They do a lot of that stuff for you. They do tv drops from tv shows from the night before. They give you the low down on what is happening in the entertainment world. That kind of thing. Sometimes they give you phone topic ideas. It is basically all put together for you.
BB: And there are several companies that provide this type of service?
JC: Oh, they're a dime a dozen. Like I said: Some are good. Some, not so much.
BB: And stations typically subscribe to one of the better services? Or a couple of them?
JC: It's funny, because you work for one station, and you might think that one prep service is really good. And you go to another station, and they don't like that one at all. They have a totally different one. They enjoy that one better. It's a personal taste, really, because we switched prep services. The one we had, we weren't digging a whole lot. We found this other one, and we thought, "Hey, this is pretty cool". So we decided to switch.
But if you rely on what you're going to do on your show on your prep service... you really need some substance to your show, as opposed to "Hey, today is National Balloon Day. Go buy a balloon". Who cares?
BB: It's good for ten seconds.
JC: It's good for ten seconds. And, really, honestly, do you care that it's National Balloon Day?
BB: That's a lot of air time, when you're not playing music, isn't it? Four and a half hours a day, five days a week?
JC: It's not that much. I think we do about ten minutes of talk time each hour. We're a pretty music intense radio station. We just have so much fun. And we like to interact with the listeners. A lot of times, they're the star of the show.
Tomorrow [September 26th] is our two year anniversary of our being together as a team. We're having someone come into the studio. We want to have a listener come in and be part of the show for that day. We gave them a mock interview. Completely asinine questions. One of them was, "What is red and green and goes 150 miles an hour? A frog in a blender". And just to hear these people go, "Are they serious?" [Another question] was, "What size shoes does Stephen Harper wear?". They go, "I don't know. Size 10?" The answer is, "Nobody really cares" [laughter]
Their reaction is great. They end up doing the work and helping us. That's why I love doing it. I think it's great.
BB: I have noticed on Z103.5 that you project your voice differently now than how you did when you worked at the Q or C100 of Sun FM. Is this a conscious decision to sound a bit different?
JC: No. I think that as I have grown and matured (and I use that term loosely) my voice has matured as well. I definitely sound different, I think. I don't know what it is, but when I first started here, we did live airs at the clubs, and were at the Dome one night. My wife came down. I did an in-house announcement or whatever it was, and she said, "Oh, my God. The Rock Guy is gone. You totally sound like you should be doing this music." I said, "Really?" I didn't think I had changed any. But people have, "You do sound a little different." But I think it's just adjusting to the different format. It's different energy.
BB: If you worked at a classical music station, playing Montovani, you would sound a bit different in your delivery, I presume. .
JC: [British Aristrocratic Accent] I'd try to sound a little more like this. [laughter]
BB: What was it like to be the "voice" of Empire Theatres for all those years? I still expect you to tell me to put my trash into the nearest waste receptacle.
JC: You mean I'm not the voice there any more?
BB: I don't hear you there any more.
JC: You know what? I totally forgot about that. Until you sent that to me this morning. I did that, it must be, Holy Moley, 8 years ago.
BB: They ran those things for years?
JC: It was kind of neat. The first time I heard my voice on the radio, it was a commercial or whatever, that was kind of freaky. That is one of the questions we get asked the most now when people meet us. [They ask us], "Is it weird hearing yourself on the radio?" No. Not any more. The novelty is gone. My kids will go, "Daddy, is that you?". "Yeah, it's me". My daughter is very proud of me. She tells everybody. She will be 8 next June.
BB: So, she has friends who may listen to your station?
JC: Yeah. And, frankly, she is a little too proud. We'll walk into a place, and she'll go, "This is Jeff Cogswell from Z103.5". [laughter]. But the best is when they go, "Who the Hell is that? I don't know the guy. Whatever."
BB: OK. All right, Jeff. Thank you very much for doing this. I appreciate your time. I know you're busy, and thanks very much for doing this.
JC: It's my pleasure, Bev. Thank you so much.
BB: I'm a big radio fan.
JC: I know you are!
BB: My name gets around. I'd love to interview the people you work with, Nikki and Shane. If you could put in a good word for me...
JC: Sure, buddy. I'll tell them.
BB: I'll buy their lunch.
JC: Oh, I won't tell them that part!