Thursday, August 19, 2010

ROBBLOG #128.2 W E E K E N D Edition

The Ex is open!

Does that mean summer is coming to an…
I can’t say it.
I know the EX is on through Labour Day but don’t ask me to say summer is…

The Grand Dame of the Lake Ontario shoreline-The Canadian National Exhibition, just keeps plugging along. I love the CNE.
I always have.
The CNE is where I saw my first Colour Television.
I saw Frank Sinatra there.
Anne Murray- the first time- in the pouring rain.
Bob Hope.
Uncle Bobby at the CFTO all glass studio.

The Ex is also the place where the radio bug hit me- hard.
In the early 60’s, I stood and watched the guys and gals at many Toronto Stations “live” at the EX- although, the “ladies” were mostly there just for “T & A appeal”. Very seldom did you hear a female voice on radio in the 60’s- especially on commercial radio.

1050 CHUM was always just inside the Princess Gate. It was the CHUM Satellite Station. Live entertainment- like Bobby Curtola, and the CHUM DJ’s as The Chumingbirds.
See the picture above and the tiny black and white image towards the bottom of the page.

CKEY 590 and the Good Guys were further along the boulevard in the CKEY Circus Wagon. The ID- “CKEY HitLine”, was heard before a song was played from the top 25 of the 40 or 50 songs on their chart

CFGM, a country music station was there. Didn’t take much notice actually. I wasn’t into country except for the occasional “country-type” song that CHUM played from their Moose Parade in the early days.. The “Moose Parade” was a country chart of 5 songs featured on the legendary CHUM Chart.

CFRB 1010- Ontario’s Authoritative Newsvoice- they aren’t any more by the way, was at the Salada Tea Room directly behind the CNE Bandshell.

I don’t remember ever speaking with any of the announcers. I was just too shy and after all a small town boy like me, considered them to be “big stars”.

These days you are lucky to see a Radio Station at the Ex actually broadcasting. Usually they are just there with their signs, station giveaways and monitors playing the sound of the announcer and music from back at the studio. AM740- Zoomer Radio from Moses Znaimer, is there year after year. I remember seeing something called Zed 103 last year. Betcha they say “Zee”. Maybe even CHFI was there in an RV.

This year I would bet you’ll see VINYL out of Hamilton on location as well as Toronto LGBT station- PROUD FM. Proud FM is presenting Debbie Reynolds at the Bandshell on September 2nd. Abba-Dabba-Dabba…..

I actually e-mailed the Media Department at the EX more than a week ago saying I would air CNE Radio spots in exchange for free admission to the grounds. I explained what Swisssh Radio was all about. I mentioned my broadcasting background and my interest in watching those early “hit” stations at the CNE- as I mentioned above. No answer yet.
Some media department, huh? Maybe they’re just cheap!
Doesn’t matter.

I’ll be at the EX again this year. It’s a fun day with a lot of walking and unhealthy snacking but it’s also a stress- reliever!

Here are a few things to keep in mind when visiting the Canadian National Exhibition.

1. Always take a lot of money although ABM’s abound. Before two people step inside the actual CNE boundaries, it can run you about 50 dollars. At least 20 dollars for parking and 14 bucks each for admission.

2. The grounds are somewhat smaller. The area near the Dufferin Gates is the western boundary. The old Ontario Government Building (The Casino) and the Medieval Times are outside the Ex perimeters- at least they were last year.

3. Don’t lose your wallet or purse. Keep it on a long, heavy chain and secure it in your back pocket. That’s what my Dad always told me to do!

4. Make sure you save a few bucks for an Ice Cream Waffle. The Original Ice Cream Waffles are there every year on the midway. Same waffle but cheap “no name” ice cream. Just have one for your memory’s sake!

5. Look for that huge Canadian Red Maple Leaf Flag flying on that tall pole along the Lakeshore.

6. Every year Tom and I head for the Food Building for great sausages or Schnitzel on a bun. Schwartzwaldhaus, I believe, is the name of the booth.

7. Wash your hands-a lot!

8. Usually the cleanest washrooms I have found are in the Ricoh Building opposite the Coliseum entrance.

9. Vacuum Cleaners, Victorian Antiques, Vending Machines, Variety Shows and Vomit can all be found at the EX. Sorry about mentioning “vomit”. That happens only on the midway, so if you stay clear of the midway, you’ll be fine!

10. Most importantly- just have fun!

Have a great day!