CJRN-AM NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO.After a period of media burn-out in Thunder Bay, Bud returned to Welland as morning announcer and programme director. Again, he became the commercial producer and leading announcer for the station. He was then noticed by Jim O'Brien, the new owner of the Niagara Falls radio station CHVC who revamped it with new call letters, CJRN, and moved from under the Rainbow Bridge to new studios on Clifton Hill overlooking the Niagara Parkway and the falls. O'Brien recruited Bud in 1966, to host the mid-morning show, "Coffee Club" featuring daily give-aways such as sponsor's products and gifts of jewelry. He occasionally filled in for the morning man John Michael. Another of his duties was to host a short phone-in programme titled Trading Post, an on-air classified service. Bud also voice-tracked a three hour Sunday afternoon show.
John Michael (Cackett) was the morning man, but eventually became a popular and sometimes controversial talk show host, bouncing between CJRN and CKTB in St. Catharines. Screen Gems featured John in a TV version of his show "Street Talk" in the 1970s. John's radio career started with English language pirate radio in 1960-1961 when he and Doug Stanley (from Ottawa) founded the short-lived CNBC service broadcasting from the Dutch-owned ship Radio Veronica. The call letters stood for Commercial Neutral Broadcasting Company. Shortly after, John migrated to London Ontario and CKSL and then to Niagara Falls and CJRN where he did the morning show and eventually took over the talk show from MP Judy Lamarsh. John retired from Canadian radio in 2003 and died five years later at the age of 72. As a teenage athlete, John was a champion diver representing Britain at the Olympics. Click here for John's obituary. Also Click here for John's involvement with Radio Veronica. Click for Pirate Radio Hall of Fame
News director Rick Smith ran a tight but creative news department. He also handled the talk show and his interviews were always productive. He also established a popular daily commentary, "One Man's Opinion." He migrated to CKPR in Thunder Bay where he distinguished himself as a talk show host/commentator and eventually retired.
Sports announcer Rick Jeanneret was affable and knowledgeable about all sports but he specialized in hockey. Before long, in 1972, he graduated from announcing Jr. "A" Niagara Falls Flyers games to the NHL Buffalo Sabre's organization. At this point, 2012 after 40 years, he's the longest tenured NHL play-by-play announcer in modern hockey history. In 2011, Rick was inducted into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame. He now shares the play-by-play duties with Vin Scully, cutting back on his workload.
Newsman Robert Payne helped make CJRN news an important community service. He was a thoughtful writer with a voice that exuded authority. He began his career in Quebec while he was studying at Laval University but found his way to Niagara Falls in 1966. He left Niagara for CJOE in London, Ontario, in 1967. CHUM News hired him in 1969. After a period as a freelancer doing occasional shifts at CKFH in the early 70s, he became an important news voice on CKEY in Toronto. For several years Bob wrote a column for the Toronto Sun newspaper. In 1989 he was appointed Chair of the Ontario Board of Censors, a post he held until 1992. Four years later he founded his own communications company, Citizen Payne Publishing which performs various services such as media monitoring and speech writing. Click here for more on Robert Payne
Norman Fetterley started his newsreporting career in 1967 at CJRN at Niagara Falls, his home town. By 1972, he was doing news at CKPR-AM radio and CHFD/CKPR-TV in Thunder Bay. From there he went to CFCF Montreal and then to CFTO-TV in Toronto. He was the parliamentary reporter for CTV and later for CJOH, Ottawa.
CJRN owner Jim O'Brien and his brother Bob O'Brien, the operations manager, were concidered by many to be the dynamic duo of broadcasting. Bob was a former art college student (OAC) in Toronto. He was always interested in creative solutions to programming problems. Jim had been a business student at Ryerson and had created a solid reputation as the sales manager of CFGM Richmond Hill. Jim bought CHVC from Howard Bedford in 1965 and changed the call letters to CJRN. The studios were located under the Rainbow Bridge which was a major problem because there was no way to monitor the radio signal through the bridge's tons of concrete. When the transmitter in Stevensville near Fort Erie would accidently trip off it could be several hours before the operators would know. Previous owner Bedford had an arrangement with a cab driver to drive down to the transmitter shack and re-set the transmitter. Jim quickly solved the problem by moving the studios to the Park Motor Hotel on Clifton Hill near the Niagara River Parkway. In 1971, the studios were moved to St. Clair Avenue. Jim was a charismatic leader. Because of his dynamic personality and drive he was concidered one of the best salesmen in the broadcast industry. Read Bob's reflections on the Blizzard of '77, an excerpt from Erno Rossi's book, White Death
Kent Hodgson came to CJRN from Welland`s C-HOW.
John Walter (aka Dick Mather), came to Niagara from western Canada. Born in Edmonton, Alberta, he started in radio at CKLN Fort St. John, B.C. in 1962. In 1963 he was at CKEK Cranbrook, B.C. before moving to CKYL Peace River. He joined CJRN in Niagara Falls in 1965. In 1969 Dick did a short news stint at WKBW in Buffalo but green card issues sent him back to Ontario. He left Niagara Falls to work in Hamilton. From there he went to Calgary and then to his home town of Edmonton to be news director of CFRN in 1970. Edmonton where won many awards for a series of documentaries on his "Eye To Eye" programme. Dick worked with CHQT in morning news and then QCTV until he opened his own radio station, CKST in St. Albert. Dick had a franchise for Texaco and owned Squeaky Clean Pressure Washing. Dick won an election in 1983 as public school trustee and was Chair of the Edmonton Public School Board for two terms. In 1995 he won election as City Councilor. Dick died in office on Aug. 13, 1997 at 56. A public park in Edmonton is named in his honour. Click for more on CKST
Chuck McCoy was a bright young talent, fresh from Regina, Sask. His first CJRN assignment was to join Bud Riley for a remote at a local mall. He and Bud were required to climb onto a flat-bed truck to hand out free bottles of Mountain Dew to supermarket customers. In the late 60s he joined Bud at CHUM when his long time friend J. Robert Wood hired him. Today Chuck is an executive with Rogers Communications in Toronto. (see more on Chuck at CHUM)
Rusty Draper was not only a CJRN disc jockey but was also the station's on-staff musician/guitar player and the most popular guy at the staff Christmas parties. These days, Rusty has traded his guitar for a mandolin. Rusty started in radio in Hunstville at CKAR but shortly joined CJRN. In 1968 he moved to CFOR to take over the morning show where he stayed for 20 year. He then moved up the highway to Bracebridge and CFBG-FM. He stayed there for a year. Today, Rusty, who still resides Orillia, is still on the microphone but these days it is in the pulpit as a fill-in Baptist minister and retired pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church.
Joe Chrysdale (sometimes Crysdale) was a leading personality on the station. Self-described as "The voice of the Toronto Maple Leaf Ball Club", he hosted a music show at CJRN, "Niagara By Night". His show emanated from the Skylon Tower overlooking the Falls. In the early days when Jack Kent Cooke ran a publishing and radio operation, CKEY and Liberty Magazine, Joe voiced the Maple Leaf Baseball games but he did it from the CKEY studio, picking up progress of the game from the a telegraph operator in the stadium with recorded crowd noise playing in the background. This was a system pioneered and perfected by Kent and Chrysdale and later adopted by American broadcasters. He began his broadcasting career in 1939 with CKOC in Hamilton, Ontario. In 1944 he joined CKEY (originally named CKCL) where he was director of sports until 1961. That year Chrysdale moved to CFTO to become the first broadcaster to announce televised baseball in Toronto. Joe eventually went into the furniture business opening a store in Oshawa and began a period as a freelancer. After his time in Niagara Falls, he continued freelance work as a sportscaster with several radio stations including CFRB and CJMR. In 1980, he donated his collection of sports interview programmes to the Canadian Archives which included Crysdale Sportslights and Crysdale and Company. Joe died at 65 in March 1982 in Toronto.
George Matheson, the owner of a Toronto graphic arts company, was hired by CJRT to create flip chart presentations for the station's national sales pitches. George was a former creative director for Hallmark Cards of Canada and later was the head of public relations for Westinghouse Canada in Hamilton, Ontario. He attributed his creative instincts to his upbringing as the son of Canadian missionaries in India where he was left alone to create his own diversions in a barren outpost. At Jim O'Brien's urging, he moved his business to Niagara Falls. In the 1970s he moved to Port Hope, Ontario, where he began a publishing business producing his first edition, "No Change Please." Later moving to Lumby, B .C., and then to a mountain home in Vernon, B.C. he obtained ownership of Kettle Valley Publishing Inc. George wrote several books himself, including, "Cactus In Your Shorts" and a book about his life in Cabbage Town, Toronto, "Cabbages and Kings." His company produced an historical TV programme of the Kettle Valley Railway (see a short video sample on the left) George died at his computer in 2009.
Don Derry, another of Bud's Ryerson classmates, was the station production manager. He left CJRN after a couple of years to take up a post as an audio-visual manager at a leading Ontario university.
Other staff: Joey Hague who kept the books, Alma Miles did traffic logs and Nellie Carr was accounts receivable. Sales staff consisted of John Wood (who came from CKKW Kitchener and later went to CHUM), Walt Manjos, Dave Dixon and Art Blakely (a former naval officer). The copy department consisted of Ruth Taylor,Verna Reid and Kerry Kane. Receptionist was Angie Gudgeon.
Cheryl French was CJRN's secretary. This St. Catharines girl met Paul Smith when he joined CJRN as a writer. They eventually married and Paul set up his own design company in Toronto. They are now living in Vancouver where Paul manages his company Storysmithing Inc.
Lorraine Griffin (now Randall) was a listener to Bud Riley's mid-morning Coffee Club and won so many of his on-air music contests the station hired her as an assistant music librarian. She succeeded her boss, Herb Bubar in the late 60s. Her media career continued at CHSC and CKTB in St. Catharines and with the Niagara Falls Review newspaper.
Niagara Falls-born Maureen McCutcheon started as a receptionist but eventually was given responsibility for the daily commercial schedule (log) and was recruited to voice some local commercials. In 1969, two years after he left CJRN to work in Toronto, she and Bud Riley married. After signing with talent agent Jo Penny, she began a career as a model and started doing TV commercials and other projects. Click here for Maureen's print ads.
Gary Hooper, from Orillia, Ontario, was the station engineer.
Video and Audio clips from www.rockradioscrapbook.com and private collections of Doug Thompson, CHUM Archives, Charlie Ritenberg,
Bud Riley, Westlyn Mather, Don Shuttleworth and others.
Wayne Maclure came to CJRN from CKTB in St. Catherines. One of his assignments was to host a nightly show from the Skylon Tower overlooking the falls. On the weekend he hosted CJRN's "Saturday Night Dance Party." Wayne moved to CFCO Chatham, stayed for two years then returned to CKTB. In 1988 he moved over to CHRE-FM. Wayne was popular with Niagara Penninsula listeners because of his friendly, comforting voice. Commercial producers loved to work with him because of his smooth, expressive, professional reading style. He began doing freelance spots for all Pizza Pizza outlets on Toronto radio and TV. He was also the voice on radio for Marineland in the Falls, and was the announcer for all events at Marineland. Wayne retired in 2000 and lives in north St. Catharines with Pat, his wife of 52 years. Click here for more on Wayne Maclure
Wayne's Saturday Night Dance Party on CJRT was voice- tracked.
Wayne's weekend air-check on CHRE St. Catharines 1999.
Wayne's radio spots --montage #1 & 2
Don Gordon (on the left) was known as "Trader Don" after establishing a feature titled "Trading Post" which invited listeners to buy and sell used items on the air. On the side, Don managed and taught radio at Career Academy. When he left CJRN, he hosted the afternoon show at CHSC in St. Catherines, Ontario. After several years there, Don moved down to L.A. and from there he went to Hawaii where he is presumed to be living in retirement.
(photo: Don with Wayne MacLure at CKTB in 1976 -- the facial hair was for a promotion to support the local hockey team...the did not shave until the team won a couple of months later) )
CJRN Today: In the 1970s, the station abandoned AM and went to an FM frequency. CJRN then became a tourist information outlet. For more on CJRN today, see this recent (Oct. 2012) article from the Niagara Falls Review .
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Jim O'Brien commissioned an artist to produce sketches of the on-air staff. He was not satisfied with the charcoal rendering of Bud so it was never framed and placed on the walls of the reception area as were the others. Bud saved it for his own memorabilia collection.
Jim O'Brien ordered special sterling silver cuff links and tie pins for the on-air staff. For Bud, he made a special order of a tie pin in the figure of a coffee cup, saucer and spoon to represent Bud's mid-morning Coffee Club Show.