Dec. 15, 2021

Tom Bedell: Rocking the Atlantic

Tom Bedell is the afternoon drive host at Q104 in Halifax. His career started in the late 80's in Saint John, N.B at the legendary CFBC, and has been driving Metro Halifax home since 1998.

In this episode, Tom recalls those early days in New Brunswick and his early stints in Woodstock, NB, Halifax and later on up in Kentville, Nova Scotia working at Annapolis Valley Radio. We recall fondly how the area and the station and the people at those stations shaped both our radio careers, We also get into the history of Q104 and its durability as one of North America's premiere rock stations.


There are a few other episodes featuring Maritimers, all of whom were mentioned by Tom in the episode, including: Dave Bannerman, Darin Harvey, and JC Douglas.

To listen to Tom's show in Canada, use the Radioplayer Canada app.

Thanks also to the people who make this show possible every week including:

Promosuite

Justin Dove at Core Image Studios

Megatrax

Transcript


Tom Bedell  is the afternoon drive host at the legendary Q one Oh four in Halifax.

The station is in my top 10 rock radio listens in North America, and many of the same names I listened to back in the nineties are still making great radio on and off the air at Q 104 an A Z and a merry it.

Neil Spence, Anthony McNutt, Ken Gettys and others all have radio running through their veins.

The Maritimes is a part of the planet I'm very fond of.

I worked there for five years, still have lots of friends there, did my university there and got my start in radio there as well.

I remember listening to Tom doing some late night shifts back in the early nineties, and he's been doing Q one.

Oh, four afternoons since 1998.

You're listening to Tom Bedell.

This might be our the five o'clock traffic jam on Q 104.

Tom Bedell joins me from his home studio in Halifax.

Hey, do you remember the last time we saw each other?

I do.

It was the first and last time.

I think we we saw each other.

I remember dropping.

I was just talking to my wife a second ago about this, and we're dropping our daughter off at university and coming out of the residents after taking in a load of furniture.

And she said that the candle kit goes here.

The candle kit is going to the same university and and at that, very second I look up and say, That's Matt.

That's Matt Candle over there.

And, uh, yeah, that was, uh, four or some years ago, I think.

Yeah, I believe it was Campbell Hall at Mount Allison University.

That's right, That's right.

Yeah, my daughter's running the place up there now, too, I think so.

I think she's I think they're actually paying back some of her tuition which is kind of nice.

So time flies.

My son's upstairs on the couch.

Yeah.

Oh, great.

Just great.

You know How that four years ago?

Yeah, that was That was something, wasn't it?

That was I.

I just can't imagine that my daughter is older than me.

No, I don't know how that happened, but that's but here we are.

Yeah, Time flies.

It's like, didn't we just drop you off last week?

And the next thing you know, they're they're done.

Uh, don't you ever get into this radio thing in the first place?

I think the whole seed was planted probably when I was nine or 10 years old.

Grade six Class.

For some reason, we had a debate team.

We had a bunch of really smart kids.

And then we had me and my voice was the first one to change.

So everybody else, they they all sounded like 9 10 year old kids and I suddenly 11 morning sounded like Lauren Green.

And it hasn't changed one bit since I should probably point out, but for some reason, just speaking in front of people, it seemed like that really kind of made me stand out a little bit.

And I was always really good at speaking in class.

I was always good at reading out loud, and and I was a big sports guy to still am and so that gave me kind of, uh I think a bit of a head start and pronouncing like weird names like weird names and weird place names and things like that.

So I always look forward to being able to read out loud in front of people, and Mom and Dad would drag me to church and eventually I'd get up and they, you know, have kids get up and and read some stuff.

And I would read something one morning and I don't remember what it was.

I don't even think I knew at the time.

But just see, people just kind of sit up and look and and people kind of who were starting to doze off would, uh, you know, start to pay attention at that.

This might actually be something, and my dad always had a really, really deep voice, a really good, resonant kind of voice and a weird sense of humor.

So I think he really, really encouraged that and uh, I think so.

I think you kind of trace it.

Trace it back to that.

A long time ago, Pretty similar to a lot of folks.

I would, I would imagine.

Was the radio in the house?

Yeah, there was.

I grew up in Saint John, New Brunswick, and our local station was C F B C in ST John.

And this is back in the days of of AM radio.

And you had guys like Naughty Robertson and Mark Lee and Lee Beach Tom Young, who did the talk show every every day.

And these guys were absolute gods in, uh, in ST John.

And I suppose every, Uh, market like that every medium, every large market, back in the 70s and 80s, radio had the same sort of prestige.

And yeah, we would listen to C f B C and I would Eventually my dad just kind of said you should probably just call up Donny Robinson one morning and just see, you know, if you can give you a tour of the station or something like that.

And I didn't really think much of it until I got into probably grade 12.

And my, uh it was great 11 in my English teacher.

She was married to the news director at C F B.

C and said, Well, you should probably just go in and talk to him and just kind of, you know, start thinking about a career and he might be able to help you out.

And Brian MacLean was his name and I went in and I remember waiting for him six or seven o'clock at night.

He was just going to give me a little little quick tour.

And for some reason I think there was an announcer's meeting or some all staff meeting and every single announcer was there.

So the Donnie Robertson and then the Tom Young and Markley and all these guys whose voices I just recognized who were always in her house and they were standing around talking.

And the one thing that I remember most about that was just hearing the profanity of these radio announcers, these pillars of the community and hearing the just hearing the swear words and the combinations of swear words that I'd never heard before.

And as soon as I heard that, I think this is this is it for me.

I think this is where I truly belong.

Uh, the radio station at the time actually had its own broadcasting school.

Mark Lee, who ran the station.

He, uh, ran a broadcasting school like out of, like, just kind of a freelance thing.

And they would get, you know, 20 or 30 saps every year to come in one, you know, 11 night a week and read some copy and just learn the basics.

And at the end of it, uh, somebody would get a job like the course would end right around vacation season when that first started, so they would need people to come in and do the all night show.

And stuff like that is a source of cheap labor.

But it also got your foot in the door.

Your diploma was a job, basically, and that's, uh, that's that's how I started.

When I was I was going to university and I realized that really wasn't going anywhere.

And, yeah, I should probably give this a shot.

And six or seven months later, I've got I've got a job and then six months after that, I've got a full time job.

Say goodbye to university at that point, I was, you know, on my way when the road, the road to ruin.

So you know it started started pretty early.

What university did you skip out of the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, which has really evolved into a fine institution.

Um, at the time, it just seemed like high school with ashtrays.

It didn't really seem like it was all the same preppy kids that I would see at high school and all the different high schools from from around town.

So the University of New Brunswick and that fall when I first got the full time job, I think the same day I got the re enrollment papers for the next term.

And I just said, You know, that's one of these crossroads moments and I just said no, you know, I think I'm doing what I wanted to do right now, and I don't think there'll be.

I'd rather do something than actually learn about it.

I'd rather kind of be thrown in.

Uh, and I certainly was thrown in, and it was just a tremendous education, too, you know, to get in on the ground level like that.

It's laundry day here at my house.

Which is why I put on the Katy Axeman.

Oh, that's right.

You're a valley guy, too, That you spent some time in the in the Valley as well, didn't you?

Yeah.

Well, where was your first radio station?

Well, it was it was my hometown station, CFTC, And I was there for a couple of years, you know, overnights and swing.

And eventually it was production manager for a while, too, and for for a few horrifying months, like we had Christmas and municipal and federal election all at the same time.

So to be dropped into that.

And this is you know, this is, uh, in the days of carts and reel to reels and stuff like that.

It was just, Uh you know, sink or swim.

And there was a lot of sinking going on their 87 to late 89.

And then I remember talking to all the old announcers, and they'd all worked in a million different stations, and they'd all seeing so many different things.

And I thought, you know, I should I could stay here for the rest of my life probably, but it would be good to get to a smaller market and to experience some of that.

So I went to, uh, Woodstock, New Brunswick, where I was actually born, uh, and spent a couple years as a as a very young kid.

But C J C J in Woodstock, New Brunswick fiddlehead country.

Uh, frisky.

The fiddlehead was the what was the mascot And went up there in 1990.

And that was a real that was a real dose of reality, actually going to a small market and was a great station like it was so involved in the community.

As you know, all good stations are, but all the things that you kind of took for granted.

You know, you had an overnight announcer in a bigger place like ST John back in the days when stations had overnight announcers.

But here you had to go in in the morning and you had to sign the radios you had to turn the radio station on.

And when If you did a shift until midnight, you have to turn the radio station off.

So all those things that you have to set up your own remotes in your own car.

My Volkswagen Rabbit you blood All the equipment out to the church services and up up the, uh, you know, 40 50 miles away to the grocery store openings.

And just as every facet of radio, It was the afternoon guy.

I was the weekend morning guy.

I was the sports director.

I was It was absolutely incredible how you have to I have to fill so many, so many different roles.

And so that would have been, uh, early 19, a few months in 1990, and I thought I could have stayed there forever, too.

But then I heard of job in Halifax that had come up and I'd always wanted to be in in Halifax The first time I came and listen to Q104 as you know, a guy who was working at a CHR station playing Whitney Houston.

And you know, Michael Jackson and new kids on the block and they come to the radio station where you actually hear Iron Maiden and Judas Priest and stuff like that in stereo and to hear the attitude, the Q one oh four hat and the, Um and the connection that they had with artists and stuff.

It was just that as soon as I heard that, that's where I wanted to be.

So eventually got the Halifax in 1990, bounced around a little bit.

And, uh, and like that, you wound up on Q and A four digit was at late at night and it was Queen Square over in Dartmouth.

Yeah, yeah, there was such a great spot.

Yeah.

Queen Square right up at the top of the I had interviewed for a job there a bit earlier a couple of years earlier.

And, uh, I I saw the I saw the place.

So you go up the stairway to heaven up to the top, the top floor and looking out over the harbor and, you know, 20 floors up.

It was unbelievable.

And I thought, I've got to come back here, but eventually bounced around a little bit.

Ch n s, the CFTR CFTR was actually in the in the same building but bounced around a little bit before it was 1991.

I think I first cracked the mic on the one before.

That was my first time actually being on an FM station to which was really, uh, to hear yourself in Crystal Clear FM, like that is really is really a trip the first time.

You the first time you hear it have a story from a guy.

I think the name was James Monroe who was doing all nights on C F d r.

And he forgot to turn down The radio station at midnight because it was on 680, which I think is a clear channel, and they didn't turn it down and they were covering up a station in Florida.

68.

Yeah.

They're probably a station in Boston coming up there.

You know, w r K o.

I think was probably Oh, my God.

Yeah, I think he was there before my time.

I recognized that name, though, but that was that was an incredible place.

I mean, I'm just talking about that today.

We had some pretty big wins here in Halifax today, and you get up there in the top of the building and it's all glass like enclosed in plexiglass.

When a big storm starts, start blowing, you just those windows are rattling.

You think the whole thing is just gonna gonna fly right off into the harbor?

But such it's such an incredible, uh, such an incredible spot.

You know, being up that high when you say incredible winds.

Are you referring to the ratings winds?

W i N d s?

Yeah.

We were a few a few years away from that I think we were, uh it's still still kind of emerging.

I think it was.

Yeah, it was.

But the into the mid nineties, I think when the ratings still really started to take off as they as they say, but, Yeah.

So that would have been the early to mid 1990s.

Great atmosphere.

Great.

Great folks.

Great.

Uh, you know, some great stories.

I mean, Brother, Brother Jake, that's where he first started back.

He was o G.

Back in 83 when the station first signed on there.

I remember the major struggle for me was being nine floors up at Kroll Tower at Arcadia University, but still needing to put a metal antenna out the window so I could get the station to just sort of creep in over top of the valley.

Yeah.

Yeah.

You've got everything up there in the valley too, though I know when I worked out there for a couple of years.

And, uh, yeah, you get everything.

You get all the New Brunswick stations, you get all the Nova Scotia stations, and and it was just such a hub.

Probably get some pe i stations flying in there too late at night.

Yeah, there was 7.

20 Ch ch t n Yeah, you mentioned about your time up in the Valley.

I think you were up there around 90-93.

Maybe I was up there later than that.

I was up there well, back I was at Q.

And then automation came in like we were one of the first stations that I remember automating.

I remember a program director at the time.

I remember seeing the news release come in that the talk, uh, mandate.

The talk regulations had been eliminated on FM stations.

And I said in my program Director and well, that's what you know.

That's it for us then.

So you can't replace announcers.

He said, uh, smash cut to like, a month later.

And they laid everybody off So that would that would have been 93, and I kind of hung on there for for a little bit Until I went to the valley in 96 like 96-98, and, you know, I probably could.

I was down to part time at Q.

At that point, I probably could have stayed there, but I still I really wanted to get a full time gig somewhere.

It was a chance to get into a little bit of programming, so went up and met with Mike Mitchell.

Mike Mike stole there, I think.

And I I had actually been to a V R a few years earlier, like around 93 when B.

J.

Burke had left like B J.

Burke was there and he left.

I think he went to Fredericton for Newfoundland and he was bouncing around a bit.

And I met with Dave Bannerman, and the first thing I mean sending down and talking to Dave in the radio station.

I thought I would be replacing Howard Stern.

Just how much how how we enjoyed a B.

J.

Burke and just, uh, the kind of footsteps that you'd have to refill and is that not can't do this, but I eventually made it up there.

Um, yeah, 96 to 98 that was when Neil McMullen ran the place, too.

And that And when you look at small market stations, you look at great small market operations.

Uh, what Neil had there and all the all the people, what a great team a VR had up there, just the way they just the involvement in the community.

And so many people are still there to like Derek.

Well, Derek Harvey still in the Valley.

Obviously, I was there just before they got taken over by the by, the bigger company.

And so a lot of the soul of the, uh of the station.

It just wasn't the same after that.

So I was.

I was pretty fortunate to get up there For for a couple of years while it was still classic a VR Magic 97.

And it was just terrific time.

I still love going up the Annapolis Valley.

That is still we were just we were just up there last week.

It's such a gorgeous spot and so proud of their their radio to great, great great market.

Yeah, I think back to my departure in 92 sort of triggered for B.

J.

Burke to come in and start to do a little bit of work in the Valley, and I think he went there for close to a year before moving on.

Of course, he did very well here in Winnipeg, teaming up with Hal Anderson and and doing a whole bunch of stuff here and then going back to Halifax.

Um, you mentioned sort of 96 97.

I got to have a drink again with Neil McMullen, the owner of Annapolis Valley Radio and and Diane Best.

They came out, I think, was a Canadian association of broadcasters or some sort of crazy meeting.

But it was so good, you know, I have a drink with them.

And Edmund and I think I was the only person that they really wanted to have a drink with an event in that time.

He Neil sold it shortly after that.

And, wow, what a character he was owning those you know, the FM radio station and, of course, the Annapolis Valley.

You know, Radio Network, which is four sticks going, I think, from Digby Weymouth, Middleton Kent, Phil and and then Windsor.

And, of course, the next stop down the highway.

You arrive in Dartmouth Halifax.

After that Yeah, it was.

It was It was a one of a kind thing to like.

Ahh, the late H A Dave Morrison, who passed away a couple of years ago.

Who was the the engineer?

Uh, the and just a legend.

Uh, he pretty much invented that.

Like he tried to explain how that all worked.

Like getting all the different stations, all the commercial feeds on the different the different stations.

And it was just amazing how that worked.

And I was just a really, really one of a kind.

I think I was at CFB, see a couple of years, I guess this would have been, you know, late 80s and a bunch of the guys from the management from a VR came in just they would just do these little tours every once in a while and just kind of tell you how how they did things.

And, uh, Dave Bannerman was there Neil McMullen and, uh, and Dave Morrison, and we thought they were all nuts, honestly, with what are these people doing?

But it was so successful, it was so unique.

And it was so just just so one of a kind.

And I was just so glad to actually be part of that, even just just for a couple of years.

It was just just terrific, but they were nuts.

I can't believe I sent my tape in just for a summer job.

And there I was, working with nuts.

It was unusual.

It was really, you know, quite a lot of unique minds.

And they had the fortitude they had the They were given the rope by the owner, Neil McMullen, who said, Yes, go ahead, give it a try and do it.

A lot of small markets can be very rigid.

Neil wasn't No, not at all like And of course, when the owner has the private line into the control room, that's always trouble.

And that's, uh, but my first night, actually, you know, I'm still learning the board.

I've gone from a place that had been automated back to a place where you're playing C.

D.

S like you're playing scratchy C.

D.

S and you're putting them in the in the den in seat, not even the Dennen cartridge CD players.

But like the regular Yamaha CD players are all scratched up.

And, uh, private lines running times.

Neil McMullen.

You know, you sound great.

Yes, I'm going.

Well, you know, because there have been far worse conversations than that, Probably involving Neal.

But we are.

We always got along great.

It was just, uh, such a pistol to to be around, you know, broke the mold.

But he may have broken it himself.

He throwing it up against something.

And that was the end of that.

After a VR.

Did you head back to Halifax?

Yeah, I did.

I was.

So that would have been 98.

And right around the time that our first daughter, uh, was being born?

Uh, yeah, the November 98.

J.

C.

Douglas, who had been who you've talked to here.

He, uh, got a job on TV, breakfast, television.

And I first heard somebody I heard, like, some sort of, um And then I called, and eventually they called me back, and I was I was I got the job.

I mean, you wait.

I didn't think that he that JC would ever leave.

He was such an institution there.

And I got offered the job pretty.

I was in the delivery room, have you know, having our first daughter and talking to Terry Williams, who was the program director at the time.

He was offering me the job.

Can I call you back and just oh, yeah, yeah, don't worry.

You know, and, uh, yeah, so that was November.

It was, uh, yeah, October 28, Julia was born, So I've been at Q for exactly one Julia.

So I mean, we can use that time unit.

So, yeah, that would have been, uh, 98 October, October, November 98 when I first got back on the back on the queue and it was just it just felt natural since since then it just felt so good to be back there.

And, uh, it's it's been great, great ever since.

I've been pretty fortunate to have this this this sort of run in just a second.

We're going to get into the nuts and bolts of the region.

Halifax doesn't get as many concerts as, say, Montreal or Toronto, but when they do happen, they're pretty epic.

Also, we talk about what makes the region unique.

The music is homegrown and awesome, and we'll talk about some of the people who have passed through the Q one Oh, four studios.

And what are some of the things that make you wanna?

Four.

Consistently number one since the nineties, Grab a kiss or a schooner or a musette?

Yeah, and a reminder.

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How do you explain the longevity of the radio station?

It's been legendary since it launched in 1980 for its gone through.

You know, a few faces here and there, but it's been rock solid as far back as I can remember.

Why is that?

Well, the number of people that I talked to who remember that day that we signed on it was it was never just had our anniversary on November 28th, 1983 like that's when we first we first signed on and the number of people who, Uh oh, yeah, I was in high school.

I was in junior high.

I was never And there was a time a few weeks ahead where they were just testing the signal and they just played music Straight up music?

No.

Uh, you know, no one answers, and they would play like classic rock, which hadn't really been explored in Halifax.

But the number of people that have been with us since the very beginning, like the loyalty is, is absolutely incredible.

You know, if something sounds a little hinky, something sounds like you're going to hear about it pretty much immediately.

It's it's really amazing to just be even a small part of this like the you know, you're looking when it signed on with Jake Edwards.

People still talk about brother Jake.

People still remember the traffic reports they still remember Billy bought.

They remember the characters that that were there in the early days that have been there, you know, in 1983 they remember all that stuff.

The loyalty is just, um, absolutely incredible.

And something that you you certainly would never ever want to take take for granted.

You know.

I mean, you could say that's the same thing about heritage rock stations like Shalom City and Key 107 in places like that, like it's a really good.

It's really good, loyal audience.

If you if you do it right, I give the station or listen every once in a while and I still feel I still get excited when a song comes on Legendary station like Q104.

And it's not just the people who remember the beginning of the radio station because I got the numbers in front of me and you have a 14.1 share for adults 18-34.

So and most of those people, you know, not even born when the yeah, yeah, it's amazing.

Like like rock and roll by Led Zeppelin.

That's the song that we signed on with.

And like, every time I just hear that every time I hear that coming on, I just know that there and I'll talk to people to it.

I remember the first song you guys played Rock and roll by Led Zeppelin, you know, And, uh So, yeah, those people have been with us since the very very beginning like that.

And that's, uh, you know, a lot of those bands have come through.

Eventually, we had the Rolling Stones in Halifax, which is a really big deal a few years ago, and everybody will eventually come through here.

Paul McCartney came through, did a big show in Halifax Commons back in in 2000 and nine, and, uh, you know, just the rock audience.

I mean, there's so many knowledgeable music fans we have here, too, and they really stuck with us.

For the most part, it's been it's really gratifying.

I love how the station transcends generations, but the talent does as well.

You and Anna Z, who has been there longer than you.

Yeah, y'all don't sound old.

Thank you.

Thank you.

That's that's That's a compliment I'm gonna get today.

But yeah.

I mean, we we play the new stuff too, and I do the one oh, four every Sunday night at nine and play.

Um, so it's a great East Coast rock, like we've got a really good um, you know, we were because of geography.

Mostly, we we don't get a lot of the big shows, but so as a result, We've kind of had to make our own fun for so many years.

We've had so many great East Coast bands, and especially in the last I've been doing Route one, of course in since 2000.

The number of people that have come along.

I mean, the truth is, I think that's the first time the truce ever had any sort of airplane was on was on cue Matt Mays, another guy who's really I remember the first time meeting this guy.

You know, we've got such a great music community here to like not just music fans, but but actual musicians that, uh, that that have come through.

It's It's a really great, great great market for that fairly, very fertile and so many different.

So many different genres, too.

So, yeah, it's always there's.

There's always something new coming along, and I just love hearing.

I love hearing new music.

I love hearing the classic stuff, but I also love hearing and you, you know, a new band.

Who are these Greta Van Fleet.

Where are these guys like this is this is incredible.

To hear something new like that, that kind of keeps it.

It really keeps it fresh.

Try to explain the concert dynamic to our global audience because the Maritimes sort of located a little bit away.

There's no real tour through there.

How does the economics of concerts work?

Yeah, that's that is, uh, that's I mean, I I mean growing up.

I mean, being a, you know, growing up a metal fan in Saint John, New Brunswick.

And and I mean, there's no metal there.

There's no concerts there.

I mean, you had to drive to Portland's main.

There'd be about a six hour drive to Portland, Maine, to see Iron Maiden or to see Ozzy Osborne or to see any of those shows.

But it's mostly mostly geography, I think I mean, even Bangor, Maine.

Now, if you look at Bangor, Maine, I've got tickets to see the Foo Fighters.

The Foo Fighters are playing in Bangor, Maine, of all places.

This, uh, this summer, you know, hopefully It costs a lot of money, and it costs a lot of time for bands to come out here.

We did have a pretty good rush there, probably about 2009 2010, when a CD.

C.

came to magnetic hill and Monckton.

You know, we we had a couple of years.

There were was pretty good.

I mentioned the Stones and Paul McCartney and and and shows like that that happened.

But there's a fair amount of government money that went into stuff, and it caused a bit of a scandal here in Halifax.

But it costs a lot of money because it takes a lot of time for bands to actually come out here.

I mean, if you're going to throw in Newfoundland, that's that's another animal entirely.

But it's just it's just economics, that's what that's what.

That's what all the answer to all your questions is.

Money.

So you mentioned sports earlier on.

When you're growing up, who do you cheer for?

So who do you cheer for?

Boston Red Sox fan 1st and 1st and foremost, um, Montreal Canadians fan, too.

We were talking about the show something earlier, and I just think if I could get into a time machine and I could go back to any time, it would probably be the mid-70s in Montreal.

You know, uh, you know, they got the Olympics, the halves were good, and, uh, you know, you had such great radio and on shown and in places like that.

But you know, the Montreal Canadians fan, we've got some great sports here, too, Like we better on soccer team now the, uh, Halifax Wanderers.

They play some big outdoor games and get six or 7000 people on summer Day, and it's it's really great.

But you know, I live and die by the Red Sox.

It's been a good been a good few years Since 2004, but a lot of heartbreak and that.

And when I was growing up at 75 and 78 when they when they lost spectacularly 1986 and which I think is kind of actually, uh, colored my psyche over the years to when you think you may have something when you think you may actually have something in the bag, it can be taken from you at a second's notice that when you think you've got it all wrapped up, so that's that's something that stays with you, Tom.

I'm a Buffalo Bills fan.

You don't need to explain anything.

Yeah, wide.

Right wide right.

I think it's important to mention that because I remember being on the air and people were saying people would get piste off hearing.

What's that guy, Fergie, Whoever it was who was talking about the Jays the whole time and playing Blue Jays games when there was, like Red Sox fans all over the place.

Halifax and the Maritimes has this affinity with with Maine and New Hampshire and Boston and the teams.

And I mean the biggest major city to Halifax is Boston.

Yeah, that's right.

To you got Montreal, which I suppose it would be pretty close, but yeah, I mean, when I was when I was growing up, we would get the, you know, get the two stations from Bangor, and they'd always have Red Sox games on on Saturday afternoon.

And you'd always have Dick Stacy's country jamboree late at night.

You'd always have, uh, have that And Eddie Driscoll, you know, doing the great money movie and and and things like that.

And everybody remembers that stuff from the seventies and eighties.

And, yeah, like a lot of those Boston, uh, Boston and we still send the Christmas tree down to Boston every year to that.

Just won a few a few weeks ago.

I mean, they since the Halifax explosion like that, there's just been this great, you know, uh, camaraderie between the two cities.

So yeah, there there is a real affinity there with with New England and main and places like that.

It was just just great.

If rock royalty does come to Halifax, they're going to wind up being interviewed, most likely on your show.

So you've had some incredible people come through your studio just for fun shenanigans and whatnot.

So most memorable interview.

Yeah, Well, Alice Cooper, I don't know if you've talked to Alice Cooper before, but Alice, he is fantastic.

Like he is just just, uh it's amazing that he survived all those those years.

I remember talking to him and said, Yeah, I used to be addicted to drugs and alcohol and everything, but golf has replaced that, and that's that's that's his addiction now.

So he's always he's always terrific.

Um, Steve Van Zandt.

Little, Little, little Steven Van Zandt, Miami, Steve.

Whatever incarnation he's going with, I've talked to him a few times.

Anytime there's a Springsteen show, I'll wrangle.

Get backstage and talk to him.

I've interviewed him a few times over the years and just an encyclopedia on on soul music on rock music.

And I do remember going to see Bruce when he was Bruce and the E Street Band.

They played a magnetic hill, beautiful Saturday afternoon in in Monkton and, uh, brought a few people from the radio station back in some contest winners.

And we're talking with Steve and he's answering questions.

And, uh, J.

C.

Douglas had asked him and Murray questions.

Springsteen Open for Anne Murray back in the 70s and asked him about that telling a story.

And his guy comes in and you know, Steve there, they're waiting for you.

Bruce is waiting for you.

He's still signing some.

You can wait.

You can wait.

You know, I still say it's a couple more minutes signed more autographs, and it was, you know, and then hit the road.

So he's terrific.

Like he's just, uh there's so many different things you can talk to him about.

You've got you know, Springsteen.

You've got The Sopranos you can talk about.

It's just just incredible.

Well, I did actually get a chance backstage in Montreal to have a conversation, and by the way, both Alice Cooper and Stevie Van Zandt.

I believe I've had radio shows on cue, You know, for at one point or another.

Is that possible?

Yeah.

Yeah.

Alice is still there.

Alice does.

Still does our Saturday night, uh, Saturday night thing.

We used to run little Steven's under underground garage.

And, uh, yeah, just, uh, just terrific broadcasters to.

And Kim Mitchell.

That's another guy that we we didn't actually run his show, but he's got ton of stories as well, so it's always great when you run into run into people like that, Rick.

And it was one of the first one guys.

I talked to one of the first interviews I did, and I thought he was absolutely terrific.

He, uh, didn't suffer fools gladly.

I don't think, but he was.

He was always a great It was great to talk to.

When I spoke to Stevie Van Zandt backstage in Montreal, I asked him about being on The Sopranos and and also playing in the E Street Band.

And then he looks at me.

He says, Isn't that great?

How lucky am I the two greatest things that come out of New Jersey and I got to be part of both.

You have the greatest job in the world.

So I got the greatest three jobs in the world, you know.

Yeah.

I'm reading this book now, too, Which is great.

Yeah.

I'm actually rewatching The Sopranos right now.

Yeah, I keep meaning to do that.

I keep meaning to do that.

I'll follow me these rabbit holes every once in a while when I think of a and I think of a great scene and I'll type it into YouTube And, of course, it will bring up, like 10 or 15 other sopranos scenes that are, like, two or three minutes and so I can go down a rabbit hole there for two or three hours, but I have to go back and watch the the whole thing again.

We When the covid 1st 1st started here, uh, first thing we binged was breaking bad.

We watched breaking bad start to finish.

And my God, that was good.

That was so good.

And Netflix doesn't give you a chance to opt out.

I mean, when the episode finishes like the next one starts up in, like, five seconds, you got you gotta you're in.

You know whether you like it or not.

So that contributed best concert in Metro Halifax that you have seen That has been indoors.

Oh, indoors.

I have to say Pearl Jam.

Pearl Jam played here.

Uh, I think in 2000 and five and, uh, Bobby Mac, our morning show morning guy, he and I went pretty decent seats, and I wasn't a huge as Pearl Jam fan, but they played for about an hour.

I think it was terrific.

And talking to some real hardcore Pearl Jam fans, uh, they said that, uh, you know, the set list was unbelievable.

Play for about an hour, and then it was about an hour and a half of encores after that.

And Sleater Kinney was later.

Kenny were the opening act.

They came out.

They say Neil Young's Rockin in the free world.

Um, we still we still run clips from that show like they record all their shows and you can buy them.

So we spent 10 bucks and we bought the show.

We still play live tracks from that on the anniversary of the show every once in a while, and, uh, you know, So I'm gonna get me a Keith, he said.

Eddie Vedder said, And that was just That was just a great That was a great night.

Prince was here not that long after that.

I don't think, and that was that was great to just to see Prince and like the full band and everything.

And it was it was great.

So we will get.

It's been a while since we've had a real a real banger, but I think we're due for one here soon.

But yeah, Pearl Jam.

I put right at the top of the list and I wanted to make sure that I said indoor because you know what's coming next is what is the best outdoor concert that you got to see because you mentioned a whole bunch of them already.

But what's your most Memorable in Halifax?

I'd have to say I'd have to say Paul McCartney when he was here a few years ago, it was 2009 and Halifax calm and and right in the middle of the city like it was a beautiful summer night and he played all the solo stuff, all the Beatles stuff and all the It was just just glorious.

You know it was broadcast on TV.

I got a DVD of it.

I think this is Halifax.

I can't believe we're actually looking at Halifax now.

You know, it was just such an incredible shining moment to hear all those old Beatles songs.

Joel Plaskett, where our friend Joel Plaskett was the opening Act two and he was He was great.

It was a huge thrill for him, but I don't think you do a whole lot better.

The Stones played a little bit earlier, I think, a couple of years earlier, but rained and rained and rained.

And that was the Stones, Alice Cooper, Sloan and Kanye West.

Because why not?

You know?

So it was rain, rain, rain and a bunch of us from the station.

We actually got to meet the Stones before the show, and that was I don't know if you've met the Stones before, but it's pretty quick, like it's pretty.

It's pretty quick, like maybe the whole experience was maybe about about three minutes, tops.

They come in handshake, handshake, handshake, picture, other side of the room, handshake, handshake and picture hit the road and it's like, Did that just we just met the stones.

What would you know?

Incredible.

But no, they were They were They were great, too.

But I think the elements kind of held it back.

But it was It was still still a pretty, pretty memorable night.

I had a Van Halen experience just like that.

But I also wanted to mention you've met Kiss as well, haven't you?

Yeah, I met them.

They've been here a couple of times.

They played another one of those big outdoor shows, and I think the weekend after Paul McCartney was here, but it rained too.

And and that's that's, you know, you never know what the Maritimes how it's it's gonna be but yeah, that was that was that was pretty quick.

But they they said hi to a lot of people and they and they were pretty.

They were pretty cool about about the whole thing.

You know, there's a number of markets across North America that they'll tell you whether matters and truthfully, only a few really matter.

But I'm going to put Halifax on the list and say weather matters in Halifax try to explain what can happen.

Well, I remember going to see Big Sugar there was no great big sea used to put together these.

They were called The Great Big Picnic, and I remember one year there was a great big Sea was the headliner, and the chieftains were on the bill.

Colin James and the big band is little big band.

Los Lobos played one of them, but one of them Big Sugar played and we were up on the hill.

Beautiful, Sunny day, about noon on a Sunday afternoon Citadel Hill sitting there in the grass, and then the clouds roll in And the temperature drops at least 10°.

Then it rains.

There may have been a few snowflakes, and then it is.

Then it's sunny again, And this is all just during one set like this is all.

During a 45 minute set from big sugar, he had all four Seasons in one.

It's it's it's nothing to have all four seasons in one day, but during one you know, 45 minute period, it's pretty, You know that that's it's kind of par for the course.

Nobody was really all that shocked.

It sucked, but it was just Yeah, this is This is what we signed up for right here.

So I think that's it.

In a nutshell.

When did you first pick up a guitar?

Uh, yeah, You play all I do?

Yeah.

I don't know how I got started in that, to be honest, but yeah, that that was, you know, high school bands and then just kind of gave it up because I was I was a metal guy.

There's no way I'm gonna be able to sing like Rob Halford or Bruce Dickinson and stuff, but eventually my friend Stephen Cooke, who used to be we're mostly for the Chronicle Herald was a writer, and he also worked at K 104 doing news on the weekends.

He made me a mix tape of, like, Wilco and Son Volt like Wilco and one side son Volt on the other side.

Mid nineties, I said, God, this is pretty good.

I can I can kind of a lower register.

I could sing that stuff and no, And that's just been it's just kind of evolved out of, uh, just just knowing a lot of musicians and just kind of hanging out.

And it's, uh, kind of a neat hobby.

I mean, I know so many people who do actually know what they're doing.

I wouldn't put myself in that.

But it's a really cool thing to, you know, get out on the weekends and play some music and trying to keep it separate from the Tomba Del radio stuff to Tom Bedell music stuff.

I don't really like to have any, but it's been fun.

Hey, you're on the radio here.

That guy aren't You know, that's that's that's cool.

But I certainly don't seek that up, but it's it's a lot of it's a lot of fun, and it's just it exercises that other side of the brain, especially when you're trying to write.

It's easy to write songs.

It's not that easy to write, to write good songs.

And, you know, hearing guys like Springsteen and guys like Jason is Bull and John Prine and things like that really give you something to describe for us.

So it's really cool.

It's really fun, kind of hobby thing to do, but I really, really enjoy that.

Do you?

Do you play anything?

Do you do nothing?

No, no.

I mean, I played a little saxophone clarinet in in high school, but after that you know nothing.

I was on my way to that, too, after you know, the Judas Priest cover band we had in high school and we played the one gig and I thought, Well, that's it, that's I'm good.

And then that was it for another 15, 20 years.

Pretty much so.

It's just a cool just cool.

I'll be just a nice little way to get out on the weekends and stuff.

So for anyone who's listening, who is imagining that they, too, can have a very, very long career on a rock radio station?

What are the keys to being adaptive to going through all the changes?

Because radio is constantly changing all the time, yet you're a constant.

So how did you manage to stay a constant in that framework?

Well, there's a lot of luck.

There's a lot of hard work, and there has to be hard work, and there has to be locked.

There has to be a combination there, but, uh, yeah, I was just thinking about this like I forget who said this, but success is a wheel like if you have success and then you don't have success for awhile, stay on the road because it will come back to you.

If you hang in there, it'll all come back to you.

Like I look through the early part of my career, there was a lot of uncertainty.

Like there was a lot of, like, I mentioned the automation stuff earlier, and there wasn't a day ago goes by that I don't I don't think I can.

I do something else because it can I just get out of this and no, I can't.

I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing.

Just hang in there, hang in there.

And so you just, uh you do have to adapt.

I mean, there's not one industry anywhere on the planet that hasn't been affected by technology to some degree, and radio is certainly one of those.

I mean, they've been trying to kill radio for years.

I mean, when when t v first came in, Well, that's gonna be it for radio.

No, it's still there.

Podcasting, same sort of thing.

Radio live local radio, like actual personalities, actual people.

That's always going to be there and adapting to different different types of technology.

Like a lot of the technology we use now to record calls and to monitor traffic and things like that.

This this stuff didn't exist a few years ago and just just being open to, um, just just being open to those new technological changes.

I think that's really, uh, you know, just keeping an open mind is, uh is really the best.

The best thing I've known a few people over the years who just didn't really want to adapt to any of the new things, and it did pass them by eventually.

So just being open to new things is really the biggest.

is Halifax the most competitive market in the country?

Because I count 12 commercial radio stations and Count it again, actually, but I count 12.

That has changed since you first looked at it.

Yeah, well, but that's a that's a lot for that is Oh my God.

And what's the population of Halifax?

Dartmouth.

I have four or 500.

I think we're close to a million now in the in the province.

So I think maybe, like about 700 or so 1000 it's really been booming over the last the last few years.

The condos that have been they're just being thrown up everywhere, like on every block, it seems, but it's always been a really competitive market.

It's always been a really, um and and there's new stations I try to keep up.

I try to keep up in the different announcers and going through the different, different things.

But it is.

It is massively, it's always been.

It's always been very competitive, you know, Biggest market east of Montreal.

Yeah, it's always been.

It's always been really competitive.

And those the radio wars have always been, uh, you know, they're always been always been simmering.

You know, there's always been always been great things going on between the stations to I count 12 radio stations.

Two of them are CBC.

I know some people say, well, they don't count well, yes, they do count.

So, yeah, you have community stations all over the place now to like we have a really I live in Lower Sackville.

There's a good one here.

There's one out in Eastern Passage to that's always been, uh, Seaside FM, which has always been out there and just just an institution.

As far as community stations way inherit.

The late we inherited just passed away not long ago.

It was a real pioneer when it came to, uh, community stations, too.

So I mean the number of podcasts that are out here and there's so many so many different outlets for for people, the CKD you has always had a really good university station at Dalhousie.

That's always been a really good And for all our, uh, Ontario listeners, I said Del Housing Dalhousie which everybody?

Well, you know, doesn't that annoy you when you go to Ottawa?

And they pronounced at Dalhousie?

Yeah, it does.

The first time I was there and I thought, Well, what are you talking about?

Is the whole house e you know, and yeah, that that's a little jarring.

First time you hear it, what's wrong with you people?

Which a lot of people have said about Ottawa, I'm sure.

But you know, Yeah, pronunciations are interesting because I know like first time you get to the Maritimes and you have to say Shubin, aka D, that's not I must get to orbit.

That's a good one.

I mean, even though what do you think that are easy and quick?

Neil McMullen's story here because, uh, there's a little town on the way up to the Valley called Davenport.

Well, this guy right here said Avon Ports one night and Neil called up and said, Matt, your phones are blinking.

You've got a lot of calls that you're gonna have to answer, but just to let you know it's a import.

Not Avon Ports, Falmouth and Falmouth.

That's another one to like I said Falmouth first night I was.

I was on the air right next to right next to have import.

And yeah, I said Falmouth, Now that was foul mouth.

What?

No, it's yeah, whatever, you know?

But yeah, that's always That's always That's always fun.

And the nice thing is, somebody is always going to correct you.

Oh, yeah, that's always the immediacy of radio is always really, uh I found that with a VR.

If you said like immediately the you know, you know the power would be knocked out at the transmitter.

The transmitter go up and the signal no signal.

Within five seconds, you're off the air.

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

That's really helpful.

You know, Tom, thanks so much for being on the podcast.

It's it's great to finally get you on.

And, uh, I've been planning to do this for about four or five years now.

Yeah, Thanks, man.

It's a real honor.

I'm a big fan of the show here.

And, uh, thanks for thinking of me.

The Sound Off Podcast is written and hosted by Matt Kendell.

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