New Book ‘Rock n Radio’ Explores Montreal’s Golden Age

Here’s a hit of nostalgia for any Montreal residents. Do you remember the golden era of rock radio in la belle province? When announcers like Dave Boxer, Dean Hagopian and Buddy G were the voices of Montreal? When AM gave way to FM, CKGM became CHOM, and the British Invasion hit the anglos first? If you answered yes to any of the above – or have no idea what any of this is about but enjoy the history of Canadian radio – then the new book Rock n Radio may be for you.

The book is all about “when DJs and rock music ruled the airwaves,” and is written by long-time Montrealer and first-time author Ian Howarth. He writes from the viewpoint of a radio hopeful-turned-teacher, channeling his passion into chronicling the development of rock radio in Montreal through the 60s, 70s, and beyond.

Sound interesting? You can buy the book direct from the publisher here – or read this release article from the Montreal Gazette for more details. Still need convincing? You can find the synopsis for Rock n Radio below.

“Rock ‘n’ Radio illustrates that Montreal was at the epicentre of the rock radio revolution in Canada, eventually attracting talented DJs from the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Their personal stories and the inevitable collision with the power of alternative FM rock radio in the late 60s take the reader through some of the best rock music recorded and the social changes that percolated in the background.
The period 1926 to 1949 can be considered the Golden Age of radio when it was the hearth of the North American family. Much to everyone’s surprise, it survived the incursion of television to live another Golden Age—the 1960s and 1970s when rock ‘n’ roll music seeped its way onto mainstream radio, pushing aside Perry Como and the Dorsey Brothers for Elvis and The Beatles.
The new golden era of radio spawned what would eventually be called Top 40 AM radio, whose premise was built on the philosophy: play all the hits, then play them again. Pioneer Top 40 DJs like Alan Freed in the U.S., widely recognized as the man who coined the phrase “rock ‘n’ roll,” spawned a new breed of radio personalities—the fast-talking salesman who delivered the goods. Hundreds of radio stations in North American gave up their entire programming day over to rock music. And with that came a legion of young, hungry Top 40 DJs such as Dave Boxer, Ralph Lockwood and Doug Pringle, looking for jobs at stations across Canada.”

Mathew Kahansky

Once upon a time, Mat studied journalism. That's how he became Alan's one-time intern and current-time contributor, and the rest is ongoing history - get it? Mat also studied biology and music, so he has a strangely specific knowledge set that doesn't really apply anywhere other than useless fun facts. He currently works for a music tech start-up in Halifax, and is a big fan of the em dash.

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