In the early 1960s, CKPR was simulcasting on AM, FM and producing original programming on CKPR-TV. Bud wrote and produced a successful radio promotion series honouring that fact titled, "The Giant On The Hill" voiced by Graham Thompson, the most senior announcer on the staff. The promotion reflected the "Sleeping Giant" tourist attraction in the bay and a cartoon logo of a giant was adopted for the CKPR music chart that was distributed across the region each week. see a sample of the chart
Warren Knox was the main TV announcer in the early 60s but with the arrival of Bud, Steve Halinda and Ron Knight, his duties were eased considerably.
Bud and staff Standing: unknown, Trevor Kidd and Bill Moyer Seated: Bud Riley, Gary Parr and Jerry Godin
Support Staff writers Sandy Shaw and Betty Johnston bookkeeper Ann Polick music librarian Dorothy Hopkins secretaries and office staff Anellen Lark, Kay Hakula, Carolyn Runholm and Lorraine Alexander, (TV),
Manager and head of sales was George Jeffrey, salesmen Cal Dring and Jack Alexander. TV news photographers John Lark and Lorne Delinsky TV camera man, floor director, Allan Nykanen, Wilf (?) and Arnold (?) were also camera operators. Afternoon TV host Elinor Nicholson
Bud Riley (in disguise with cream pie in hand) teamed up with Cal to make a surprise visit to Elinore Nickolson's afternoon TV show. The popular hostess turned the tables on Bud and re-directed the pie into his own face.
Video and Audio clips from www.rockradioscrapbook.com and private collections of Doug Thompson, CHUM Archives, Charlie Ritenberg, Bill Dullmage, Bud Riley, Tom Fulton, Bob Carr, Westlyn Mather, Don Shuttleworth, David Ross, Mike Cleaver and others.
CKPR RADIO AND TV, THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO. In 1963, former C-HOW programme director Bill Moyer convinced Bud Riley to move to northwestern Ontario with the promise of some TV experience. Bud's day started with the morning show, 5 am to 10 a.m., continued with commercial production, noon TV weather "The Weather Outside", a midday interview programme "Meridian", another radio studio session producing commercials, then remote on-site live radio spots from a car dealership Consolidated Motors (3-5 PM), back to the studio to do TV weather again and later at 11pm, another TV weather presentation, introduction to the nightly movie feature and finally, the station sign-off at approximately 12:30 to 1 a.m. Bud also hosted a weekly local TV quiz show with various service clubs competing with each other. Bud, as radio programme supervisor, also undertook to revamp the music mix and oversee the creation of a promotional weekly top 40 music list distributed at record outlets and other popular venues. As a morning man he shook thinks up in Thunder Bay when he decided to wake up the Sleeping Giant, a local landmark in the bay which was shaped like a man lying down. Bud modified a tape recorder to play his voice back in a deep bass which became the giant's voice when bud woke him up each morning to tell a joke. Some locals wanted Bud fired for "desecrating" the image of their most important local icon. Finally, under protest, Bud relented and went back to telling jokes in his own voice.
This image below, "Miss CKPR", symbolized the power of CKPR radio communications in the Lakehead region. It was a floor-to-ceiling wooden cutout that was installed in the Fort William studios. Sometime after 1964, it was moved to CKPR's Port Arthur studios.
Tom Ross was CKPR's first chief engineer. He was responsible for moving the old transmitter to Fort William (Thunder Bay) in 1930 and was involved in the station's technical improvements over two decades. In the 50s and 60s Tom was fully in charge of the operating the transmitter and its maintenance. He retired after five decades but regularly visited the station and the technical staff. Tom died on July 6, 1993. (note the old "salt shaker" in the photo, more on Tom's favorite microphone )
CKPR'S Tower located between Port Arthur and Fort William in a region called Inter-city.
This was the transmitter that engineer Tom Ross brought up to Thunder Bay from Midland, Ontario, the station's original location.
This is the Gates 5000 watt transmitter commissioned in 1959 and in operation until it was replaced on July 5, 1984, by a Nautel solid state Ampfet-5.
Photos in this section below are courtesy of Dave Ross
Manfred Volbracht (left in the photo) and Willie Kristiansen (right) were Gerhard's assistants. Willy was the TV board switcher and a back-up technician. Both Willie and Manfred were innovators capable of building broadcast components from scratch using the latest solid-state transistor technology. Gerhardt, however, bucked the broadcast engineering trend of that day by insisting that only expensive, CSA approved and manufactured components could be used at CKPR. As Bud Riley remembers it, in 1963 Willie and Mandfred proudly showed off a transisterized, miniature amplifier they had mounted on an O'Henry chocolate bar cardboard insert and installed inside the tone arm of a studio turntable. Gerhardt was furious and forbid them to use it on his equipment. Undaunted by this, Willie on his own, undertook a commission from a start-up cable TV company to build the equipment, (including a studio camera), to service the isolated community of Terrace Bay, Ontario. In 1984, Manfred replaced Gerhard as chief engineer at CKPR-TV.
(Karl) Gerhard Buetow, born in Berlin 1914, arrived in Port Arthur in 1953 to become CKPR'S first TV and radio Chief engineer. Gerhardt's Image Orthicon camera tubes were CBC hand-me-downs with 500 hours used up on them. CKPR would add a recommended 500 more, but often, because of the cost, they would be pushed to 700 hours or more. It meant that the cameramen had to keep the cameras moving or risk burning a white ghost pattern image around the people or objects on screen. Gerhardt retired in 1984 and died on Feb 21, 2008 at the age of 94. More on Gerhard Buetow
The entire CKPR engineering and technology staff: left to right: Jerry Prettigiani, assistant Ellen Bohn, Ken Martunnen, Tom Ross, Manfred Volbracht, Willie Kristiansen, Gerhard Buetow
Tom's teenaged son David Ross was a fixture around CKPR in the early 60s, an unpaid assistant to his father, minding the transmitter at Inter-City and on Mount Baldy. He occasionally operated for the disc jockies. He followed in his father's footsteps and became an electronics technician working for Transport Canada until his retirement a few years ago. Dave's history note on CKPR
Ann Polick (Mrs. John Lark) was the CKPR bookkeeper.
CKPR TV had two programme producer/directors, John Ogden and Garnet Conger.
Photo by John Lark
Steve Hunter (real name was McGuire) was the evening jock. He was one of the first to play the Beatles on Canadian radio and was able to track the group down at their favourite club and interview them over the phone. Steve was very tech savy and formerly worked in the recording industry. Hunter was responsible for composing the Top 58 Music Chart. When he left CKPR, Bud Riley took over that task. see a chart from November 1963.
Phil Collins came to CKPR from Winnipeg and took over the evening shift from Steve Hunter.
Dave Ross & RCA FM transmitter
George Jeffrey was CKPR, manager and sales manager. He was one of the founders of the station. He was also known for his involvement in creation of the Northwestern Ontario Crippled Children's Centre officially opened in June, 1969, provide treatment and care for disabled children from surrounding communities. In 1983,the Centre was renamed the George Jeffrey Children's Treatment Centre in recognition of the former director and Chairman of the Board and for his dedication to children with disabilities.
John Lark, the CKPR news photographer and film maker, was married to Anellen but later divorced and married station bookkeeper Ann Polick. He went into sales for a few years. When he left CKPR, he worked for a number of years at the Thunder Bay Airport in security taking the pictures for background checks and security passes.
In 2006, Dougall applied to change the station's frequency to 91.5 FM. This application was approved by the CRTC on February 2, 2007. The transition occurred on June 4, 2007 at 12:00 PM ET and was simulcast on Thunder Bay Television. The AM 580 signal then went to a repeating message advising listeners to tune to 91.5 FM. It's believed that CKPR 580 AM had left the air for good on August 3, 2007, however, the 580 AM signal was to leave the air by early September of that year. At the switch, Fraser appeared on Rick Smith's talk show
This photo of Gerry's TV programme shows the popular host testing a glass of root beer offered by the manager of the local A & W
Willie Kristiansen died in Shebandewan, Ontario, c. 2000
Garnet Conger was a CKPR-TV producer/director in the 60s but advanced to station manager. Garnet produced Bud's weather report (see photo on left) He also achieved entrepreneurial success with his Toronto-based companies, Affiliates 21, Cardinal and Thunder North Broadcast Services. Garnet died in Elkton, Maryland, on Sept. 30, 2011.
Graham Thomson was the senior announcer on the staff. His voice was always in demand for radio commercials, especially the "Giant On The Hill" promo series (written and produced by Bud Riley) because of his authoritative tone. Graham also excelled in TV production. He was the host of several TV shows but the most popular one was his camping and outdoor show.
The Brill Co. buses in Port Arthur and Fort William were equipped with radios and antennae supplied by CKPR so passengers could listen to the station while riding the transit. Note the CKPR poster on the front of the bus promoting Ron Knight's news broadcasts.
This is the main board in the CKPR control room.
Gary Parr came to Thunder Bay from Newfoundland. He became a very successful programme director at several stations including a market leading CFOM in Quebec City.
RCA BTA 1,000 watt transmitter built in 1946 and used at CKPR in the late 40s
Many thanks to Don Shuttleworth and Dave Ross in Thunder Bay who provided this page with suggestions, names, audio clips and photographs
Hal Lee had an authoritative voice that made him an excellent newsman. He started as a newsman in Cornwall at CKSF (later re-named CJSS) in 1957. 1960 found him doing both radio and TV news and producing insightful, topical commentaries for CKPR-TV. Hal's voice and style fitted in well with the FM format and he eventually became the programme director for FM. He later moved to CKOY in Ottawa to create "Live Wire" a popular talk show. Country format station CKBY hired him in 1972 as senior news announcer which placed him in the Parliamentary Press Gallery where he stayed until 1987. He came to be affectionately known as "Hal "the Bear" Lee. A country music enthusiast, he hosted dozens of bus tours to Nashville and was a director of the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame. Hal himself was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a builder in 1996. Hal died on Tues. Dec. 29, 2010.
Jack Masters (born John Gerald Mastrangelo) started his broadcast career in 1952 with an announcer's job on CKPR radio but switched to TV in 1960 where he rose to become the TV station manager. He created the area's first live talk show titled "Focus" which eventually was renamed "Around Town" He was elected to Parliament in 1980 as the Liberal member for Thunder Bay-Nipigon (1980-1984) and then became mayor of Thunder Bay from 1985-1991.
Trevor Kidd brought a western outlook to the station. Trevor always exuded a serious demeanor even when delivering a funny story which made him the most entertaining announcers on the staff. He left for CFRA/CFMO-FM in Ottawa where he did the mid-afternoons before switching to the morning shift. He was there for about 26 years. In 1990, he was still at CFMO-FM, (later renamed CKKL). When the station went all talk format, he left.
Jerry Godin was another young Welland man hired by Bill Moyer. He did not have much interest in doing television so stayed with his afternoon radio programme. Later, he and his wife, an advertising model, opened an agency in Toronto. Jerry continued his announcing career with his own company. Zeller's Department Store hired his company to record daily and hourly sales specials for play-back in the stores.
The slide on the left was used on TV to promote Bud's morning radio show.
Video tape was not available to local TV stations in the early 1960s so commercials were done live. CKPR TV did not even have tele-prompters. Bud's first foray into live TV at Thunder Bay was on the noon-hour show hosted by Warren Knox. The show's focus was to introduce Bud to the community as the new morning announcer on CKPR radio. It was also Canadian Radio Week designated by the Canadian Radio Sales Bureau. The set was decorated with radio memorabilia, including Victrolas (wind up record players with large brass trumpets), old radios and posters commemorating Canadian radio history.
Fraser Dougall, who was to inherit his late father's radio and TV station, was too young to take over the company at that time but, by May of 1963, he graduated from university, turned 21, and was able to replace his mother as CEO. The new owner began the job of upgrading the Dougall operation which would eventually, with the addition of newspapers, become a Northwestern Ontario media giant.
Ron Knight, started his career in Ottawa at CFRA in 1954. The following year he was at CKRN Rouen Noranda, Quebec but in 1956 he moved to CHOV Pembroke. Back in Ottawa in 1957, he stayed through most of 1958, did a short stay at CHUM, and then landed in Fort William (now Thunder Bay) as news director at CJLX until 1961. His desire to experience TV production brought him to CKPR just down the street in Port Arthur. His nightly news programme was titled KNIGHT EDITION NEWS, with O'Keefe Brewery as his sponsor. The company logo was, appropriately, the head of an armoured knight. In 1969, Bud and Ron worked together briefly at CHUM in Toronto. From Oct 1967 to Sept. 1971, while he working part-time at CHUM, Ron was the Liberal MPP for Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay). Ron made political history as the first member to deliver a speech in a native language (Ojibway). At first, the Speaker of the House would not allow it but Premier Bill Davis spoke up and said he wanted to hear this piece of history. Later, in 1975, Ron hosted a talk show at CFGM Richmond Hill and did the morning show there for a short while before moving on in 1977 to CHAY-FM in Barrie where P.D. Bob Bowland had him slotted into the morning show from 6 a.m. to noon. It would seem like a long shift but most of it was pre-recorded with only four scripted breaks. He stayed for several years before moving on to other business pursuits.
During the Christmas season of 1963, Bud Riley was drafted to play Santa Clause on CKPR-TV which required two plump belly cushions. Meanwhile on radio, Hector Ede, a local postal worker, annually volunteered to be Santa's helper during the Christmas season, reading letters from children as, "George The Porter." He did this for many years.
Bill Moyer, came to CKPR Radio in 1962 as programme director. He enticed Bud Riley and Steve Halinda to follow him. After several years as pd and host of his afternoon "Carousel" music programme on FM, he left Thunder Bay for Kitchener where he had been a sports broadcaster at CKCR (CHYM) in 1953. Moyer wrote three books on regional history: "Waterloo County Diary" (1970), "This Unique Heritage" (1971) and "Kitchener: Yesterday Revisited: An Illustrated History" (1979).
Steve Halinda, an excellent radio announcer, had the look of a TV anchor man but at first, was not totally comfortable in the medium. Nevertheless, he took on his CKPR television assignments (the 11pm news for example) with resolve and did more than a credible job. He later moved to Winnipeg and then Edmonton. In both of those cities he worked in television as news director. In Winnipeg, he played a major role in a successful campaign to allow radio mics and TV cameras into the Manitoba Legislature. Steve married Connie Chicorli whom he met when both were working at C-HOW in Welland.
Cal Dring started as an announcer but by 1963 was moving into sales. Cal hosted two daytime shows on CKPR radio, the "Mixing Bowl" 11 AM to 12 noon and "Trading Post" from 1 to 2 PM. On TV he hosted "Kids Bids."
Gerry Isherwood was a colourful English-born personality who emigrated first to Halifax and then to N.Y City. He admitted to scamming his way into the United Nations press group and for a short time freelanced U.N. news to British and American news outlets. He landed a job at WOR, the N.Y. City talk show working on the Long John Neville show. Gerry was bold and brilliant and eventually went to work for Goodson-Todman on the afternoon Merv Griffin TV show. He was also a guest on "To Tell The Truth" a popular network TV show. In 1963 he arrived in Port Arthur and took over the mid-morning talk show from Bill Moyer on CKPR radio and became the most liked personality on the air. In the 1970s and 1980s, he hosted his own TV show, "Around Town", following the 6pm TV news. Among his on-air campaigns was an attempt to stop street racing with the creation of a drag strip for hot rods. He hosted a programme with Dave Cano, Jim Hamer and other members of a local car club to get approval of the idea. Despite Gerry's tireless efforts over several weeks, the idea failed to get official support. Gerry carried on tilting at a lot of other windmills in his time before the mic and the cameras.
Anellen Lark(photo, Dec. 1963) started in radio at CKPR and from there went to CBC in Vancouver. Her next broadcasting job was at CFNB in Fredericton, N.B. Anellen wrote commercials and did some on-air work there. She married John Lark and moved to his new Canadian Air Force posting in Senneterre, Que. Then, as civilians, the couple returned to home town Port Arthur where both were employed at CKPR. After the couple divorce in the late 60s, she, married Roy Clara and started a new family. Their son, Troy Clara, also started a broadcasting career at CKPR and eventually joined the sports network TSN and then Rogers where he is now the head director for the Toronto Blue Jays and director of the World Baseball in Phoenix Ariz. Widowed with the death of Roy, Anellen reconnected with John who had recently lost his wife Ann. Today, Anellen is an active member of the Elks Clown Band (she calls hereself "Nellie Belly") and regularly entertains seniors at nursing homes.