Jan 05, 2011
By Gene Stevens
Well happy new year; welcome to 2011 ! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas break and really enjoyed family and friends.
My daughters came up from NYC for a nice week-long stay, and my son popped by Christmas Eve for a great family get-together. So what’d we do ? We watched 6 movies in 2 days ! We LOVED it – we’re such movie fans. Yes – the first of the 6 was “It’s a Wonderful Life” – a classic of course – the others – not so much, but fun anyway.
So, the new year is upon us, and we ARE busy already. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that this Saturday (Jan.8th) is our TENTH anniversary as “AM 740”. Hard to believe it’s been TEN years since we first turned on that “740” frequency (it used to belong to the CBC, going back to the 1930s). The day was Monday, January 8th, 2001 – and almost everyone on staff was gathered together in or near the studio in our Oakville location.
Tom Fulton was our first morning host, and the then-owner Michael Caine, had joined him to welcome our listeners at exactly 7:40am. We had been playing music with some recorded announcements on “740”, in the weeks leading up to that day, while we broadcast on the original frequency at 1250 AM.
But at precisely 7:40am. on January 8th, Tom Fulton opened his microphone, welcomed the listeners, and introduced Michael Caine who gave a warm and cheery greeting to the listeners. Filming it all was a TV crew from CTV, and the local newspaper also filed a nice story.
It was exciting, and after the opening announcements, the very first song played on “AM 740” was “All The Way” – the then-new duet version by Celine Dion with Frank Sinatra. It was my personal pick since I thought it perfectly represented everything we were – a combination of classic standards and modern adult music, which we believed would indeed go “all the way”.
Our ratings shot up instantly – that first spring survey showed we had exploded from under 200,000 listeners to a half-million weekly. Great times launching a new station – although, technically, the station had been in existence since 1956 – it was always limited in its coverage due to a weak, local, coverage area. “740” would expand our coverage all over southern Ontario, and deep into the US – after sunset, we proudly claim: “…from Maine to Minnesota, the Carolinas to Thunder Bay”. And we sure heard from folks all over the place – including letters and e-mails from New Orleans, Florida, Chicago, Minnesota, Thunder Bay, Washington DC, New York City, Cape Cod, Montreal, Ottawa and many more…perhaps most impresisvely, from Bermuda !
Nowadays, of course, the station can be heard anywhere in the world – and in stereo at that – via the Internet, on-line at www.am740.ca. Locally, if you have reception problems working in offices or living in a high-rise, you could also tune us in via Rogers Cable, Channel 949.
OK – so what are we doing this weekend ? Well, we’ll give you a musical treat for 10 hours on Saturday, counting down The Top Ten Hits of Ten of our Very Best, strating at 11am.
Here’s the list: 11am. – Top Ten by Elvis (it’s HIS birthday the same day, you know) … noon, Top Ten by The Beatles … 1pm. Top Ten by Nat King Cole… 2pm. Top Ten by Neil Diamond … 3pm. Top Ten by Frank Sinatra … 6pm. Top Ten by British Invasion Stars of the 60s … 7pm. Top Ten by The Beach Boys … 8pm. Top Ten Hits on the Motown Record Label if the 60s and early 70s … 9pm. Top Ten Rock’n’Roll Artists of the 50s & 60s … 10pm. The Top Ten Soul Artists of the 60s.
Hope you can tune in and enjoy it all.
Speaking of Elvis – and it IS his birthday on Saturday as well – he’d’ve been 76… our sister TV station, Vision TV, is presenting a 3-night mini-series called ‘The Church of Elvis” on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Jan. 11-12-13th. Every day THIS week, we’ve been featuring interviews with key players in the film and in Elvis’ life mornings at 9:20am. and afternoons at 2:40pm. All the interviews are also available on our web-site, in case you missed them on-air.
So, I’ll wrap this up now – thanks to ALL our wonderful listeners over the past decade – you know we do this for YOU – it’s all FOR you. We remain Canada’s only radio station designed purely for the 45+ age group; but that’s a pretty big group, and that’s why we have over TWO DOZEN specialty shows through the entire week – it’s probable you don’t like them all, and don’t listen to them all. But we are unique in our variety approach – from great adult nostalgia for standards and oldies, to compelling mid-day consumer advocacy, countdowns, Scottish and Irish music, the big bands, rock’n’roll, rockin’ soul, romance and naughty, vintage and eclectic … plus relevant information and warm companionship too.
Celebrating TEN great years – we are ‘The Best of the Best’ – Zoomer Radio – AM 740. Cheers !