In 1959 “Big Daddy” Dave McCormick was hosting the Hi Fi Club, a syndicated radio show, on C-FUN. The producers would send the package but the local deejay would run the contests, read the commercials and follow the scripts supplied. Dave’s show became so popular station management suggested he take over programming, and Dave took C-FUN to its very first Top 40 format.
Dave was creative and went up against established CKWX and won the ratings battle. He was inventive, promotion minded and saw the future. He knew what the kids wanted and delivered with great deejays and music. Dave hired Frosty Forst, Jerry Landa, Brian Lord, Andy Laughland and Al Jordan and called them The Good Guys. He was the first in North America to use this phrase.
I returned to CKWX after working in the U.S. in 1961, but times had changed and C-FUN was now King of the Hill. When Dave quit C-FUN in 1962 to take a job in California radio, we worked together on the transition. We both announced the C-FUN top 50 songs of the week on a 4 hour radio show.
Dave returned in later years to CFMI with his new show and a feature he called Discumentary.
Dave McCormick passed away yesterday and the radio people who knew him loved him as listeners over the decades will long remember his gifts to Vancouver radio. We all will miss him. Rest in Peace old friend.
Back in December 2009 I wrote about this painting on redrobinson.com.
“The timing couldn’t be better for the genius of Bruce Stewart to strike again with this brand new “fantasy” painting of Dave McCormick and the original C-FUN deejays. Bruce has the ability to capture the essence of an era. This period at C-FUN was the first fling at Top 40 that was totally driven by Dave. He left in early 1962 and that is when I joined the illustrious group. Brian “Baby Blue” Lord left at the same time.
For more on C-FUN, visit Jim Bower’s FUN-tastic site Vancouver Top 40 Radio. Jim was kind enough to pass along Bruce’s note:
‘Late evening – summer of 1961. I, as a boy of almost fifteen, in hospital for a small procedure, but bed-bound for almost two weeks. Nothing to do but count the holes in the acoustic ceiling tiles, over and over — and listen to C-FUN, when Roy the Boy was ‘Crying’, and Paul Anka was ‘Kissing on the Phone’… all I could think of was the hot days and how they were passing me by, outside my window.
And that imaginary summer view inside another window: the ‘Control Room’ and the board, where mischief was afoot, with Big Daddy at the controls, the Good Guys providing backup, awaiting their turn at the mike, taking requests, spinning the disks and weaving the magic! A fantasy image of what the listener (me) imagined just what the DJ board at C-FUN might look like amid the chaos of a Summer Soundathon week — if radio had pictures! Only in the mind’s eye of a listener, out there, everywhere around a place called Funland!
In the late 60s, when I was working summers at UBC, I did an illustration for a dual Ampex tape deck module (reel to reel) commissioned by Stan Davis, whose company Broadcast Technical Services produced the module. Long after, I learned that Stan (now sadly passed) designed and built the technical end of C-FUN in the early 60s. I guess he was my inspiration for this piece, although a lot of my ‘technical’ input was made up — part of my ‘imagining’ concept. It IS a change from the other illustrations on the Vancouver Top 40 site, however! I kept adding more and more ‘stuff’, until it became a bit of a MAD Magazine piece with subplots abounding… cats keeping the mice population down, and Frosty passing a chipped 45 to a harried and overworked Dave!’”
(More on Dave McCormick from RadioWest: “We Taught The City How To Rock” – Dave McCormick By Glen Livingstone)