It's no secret that I have been a long-time radio fan for, well, a long time.
It's also no secret that the most popular program the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation produces is done by two guys and a horse out of Halifax.
Yes, a horse.
I write, of course, of the splendid program "Maritime Mornings" with Stan Carew and Doug Barron. Doug was Hal Harbour many years ago, when Q104 first went on the air. Stan Carew is best known to Q listeners for the time he walked off the air during a shift! Nobody seems to have a tape of that broadcast, but I know people who heard it, and they loved it. A few of his colleagues didn't like it, though. One woman broadcaster I talked to took him to task for what he did.
Why would I mention that it was a female broadcaster? Well, keep reading, dummy!
During the Q 25th anniversary broadcast a year ago, Stan admitted on the air that he was more angry because a female broadcaster was keeping her job at the Q while he was losing his. He did not regard this woman as being as capable as he. Of course, she would not have been, because he is, well, Stan Carew, and there aren't many broadcasters better at it than he is. I have always wondered, in putting two and two together, if the woman I spoke with late one night in 1995 was the same one Stan was thinking of? I'll probably never know. Probably.
Anyway, getting back to Stan's current show, I tune in every weekend I can. It starts at 6 o'clock on weekend mornings, and that is a tall order for me after working all week. But I love every damned minute of it. Stan and Doug put together an amazingly entertaining, funny, musically diverse program that I'm told would simply not work in private radio, or even be allowed to exist.
I have been lucky enough, over the years, to win several of Stan and Doug's "Mystery Vocalist" contests. They play a brief snippet of a song, or someone talking, and you have to identify who the person or band was. It is really hard to get through. About two-thirds of the time I've gotten through, I've been wrong. Sometimes, I'm not just wrong. I'm dead wrong. Sometimes, I'm not dead wrong. I'm so wrong that it is hard to imagine being more wrong. Of course, 100 000 or so people are listening to my folly.
I won this past weekend. I was getting ready to drive to the Valley for the day. Stan introduced a new contest, with a Christmas theme. I knew two of them, and suspected a third. But I decided to go with the fourth vocalist, who had simply said, "And a beer".
At the appointed time, I called. Busy signal. Drat! I had called too soon. I pressed "redial". The phone rang through! I was in the queue. Now, if only my guess wouldn't be taken. How many people would know the person behind, "And a beer"?
The first person correctly guessed another vocalist. I think the next person was wrong. Then, Stan said, "Hello? Who's this?" I identified myself. Stan said hi; he knows who I am after all these years. I told him I wanted to go for the fourth vocalist. "Is it...", I began hesitantly, "Bob McKenzie?"
"Yes, it is!", Stan exclaimed. I guess I could also have said "Dave Thomas", but he was in character as Bob McKenzie, so it would have been splitting hairs.
I won. Stan took my particulars, and said he'd mail me my prize.
Stan's show is done on a shoestring budget. No big prizes here. I got a cloth shopping bag with a Christmas CD stuffed in it. And... this letter, which I am sharing with you.
I'll share this link with Stan. Maybe he'll take a moment to read it. And, maybe, he'll recognize some of the names of his radio friends under the labels section and read an interview or two. And, just maybe, he'll agree to an interview with me.
Or, maybe it's too much to hope for.
After all, it is Stan Carew!