Chris Myers: Wired for Radio
The first time I heard about some of the great work Chris Myers was doing was when he was programming the Beat in Vancouver. I managed to get the before story and everything that happened next. It a very extensive collection of working with innovative companies and talented on air people. Companies like Rawlco, Bell Media, Harvard Broadcasting, and smaller outfits like Focus Entertainment, the first owners of the Beat in Vancouver.
Chris was recently caught up in layoffs from one of the aforementioned groups, and took to Twitter to solicit audio from anyone willing to send it to him for free feedback.
Chris was recently caught up in layoffs from one of the aforementioned groups, and took to Twitter to solicit audio from anyone willing to send it to him for free feedback. What a great opportunity considering nearly half of all air talent believe they do not get enough feedback as it is. Send Chris some audio or talk to him about his next opportunity.
Tara Sands (Voiceover) 0:02
The Sound Off Podcast The Show about, podcast and broadcast - starts now.
Matt Cundill 0:13
This week I'm speaking with chris myers, who's worked at the BT in Vancouver, few places in Saskatchewan and a few places in Edmonton. Recently, Chris was caught up in the layoffs from Harvard broadcasting. Now I'm never really sure if in between opportunities is the right time to bring someone on the show. But you know what it is. I saw that Chris made a really kind gesture soliciting audio from talent for feedback via Twitter. Doesn't matter if it was podcast or broadcast. You can connect with Chris if you want to take him up on his offer. Send him something. I'll give you a little feedback infos on the episode page at sound off podcast.com. Now Chris myers joins me from Edmonton, Alberta, home of the recently eliminated Edmonton Oilers.
Chris Myers 0:56
My career started 30 years ago 1993 graduated from ch it broadcasting school in Edmonton, Mel Stevenson, and got my first gig at CK CK in Regina. It was all oldies at the time. I was doing weekends. And you know, I was I was the weekend talent at the time, I wasn't getting Air Checks. It wasn't getting groomed for anything. So I just felt like it was just, you know, a big waste really. And I really wanted to do top 40 radio at the time. And in Canada. There just wasn't a lot of options for for a guy like me. So I looked so and I started sending out demos to the US to every medium market, small market that had a top 40 station. And I got an offer actually from a station in Laramie, Wyoming power 103. And I was told that, Hey, as long as they're offering you a job, no issues, no problems while there were problems. And, you know, obviously I couldn't work there. So mail Stephenson at the time, had closed down his school in Edmonton and started a radio station in Drayton Valley. So I was probably one of Mel's pet students, I would say and he offered me a job. So I did that for a bit, did a morning show with Kevin Becker. And yeah, I was there for I don't know, maybe about a year or so. And wanted to get back home to Saskatoon. So I'm trying to get through this as quickly as I can. There's just so I get so many. You've
Matt Cundill 2:28
conjured up a memory and that was, you know, Mel Stevenson school. We used to have interns come in and hang with us from from that school.
Chris Myers 2:35
And where were you at the time?
Matt Cundill 2:36
I was at the bear in Edmonton. Okay, right. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Chris Myers 2:41
So Mel was a interesting teacher would probably be canceled if he was still around today. But, you know, he was, he was great. He was what I needed at the time. I was, you know, I was I was a kid who loved radio, with really low self esteem and Mel kind of shut that out of me. So, yeah, so after Drayton, you know, it's everyone's dream to work in their hometown, I think so I went to work at CJ WW and hot 93. in Saskatoon I was doing a little bit of everything I was doing some writing and then I became a full time swing jock. And that's right around the time 1996 Now where Scott studios came in and automation and the cut the evening guys, and so I was I was looking for a job again. And that was the last time I was unemployed actually was 1996. And, you know, I did bar gigs, just kind of sat on my ass, you know, hoping for another job and in a market like Saskatoon or bigger and just wasn't getting any bites, you know? So, after my, you know, after my parents, you know, threatened to kick me out because I was staying at their place, of course. I said, Screw it, I'm gonna go back down to the bottom and start again. And I had some some friends up in Peace River, Alberta, working at CK yml and at the time, they were just launching a brand new station kicks 106. So I applied for that. Got it. And I was doing afternoon drive there. And that was the best thing that could have ever happened for my career because I never had that real small town experience where I did, every everything. I did imaging, I scheduled music, and was on every single shift. It was it was a great experience. And that's where my career really kind of started again. So I did that for a couple couple years. And after that I wanted to hit back to Saskatoon again. On the mighty CNIT five, you know, that was a station I grew up listening to. And so I got an offer to go to C 95 to do evenings. I show up at Rothko on Eighth streets and I'm greeted by Jamie Wall the time who says hey, what? So we got to, we got to change here. You're not going to be evenings on C 95. You're going to be offering a show on Newstalk. Okay, so I quit my job and Peace River after two and a half years to being off on the news talk station. But you know what I was I was back home. And I was going to prove to them that, that I that I could do more than that. And at the time, there was Dr. Opening on CK LM FM at the time, which is now rock 102. So I did that for a little bit. But that was just temporary. And they had a bunch of plants at that time for rebranding a bunch of stuff. And I wasn't part of that. So after catching wind, I went to Harvard broadcasting and Regina, kiss 92, where I was mad dog Meyers. And that name still follows me around today. It wasn't. It wasn't my choice. I was I was given that name. And I didn't want to take it because Toronto obviously had Mad Dog Michaels. And I didn't want to be seen as a copycat, but I didn't really have much of a choice. So I did drive there. Then I went over to mornings. And it was, it was that stint and mornings. That was another eye opener in my career. I really liked the money. It was the best money I've ever made to that point. But I hated the job. You know, mornings wasn't really for me. I was paired with, with a co host who I didn't really get along with. We didn't really see eye to eye on a lot of stuff. But I liked the money. So I'm like, Okay, well, I'm really passionate about programming in the music side of things. So yeah, maybe maybe this is my new path and Peace River broadcasting, they were hiring a program director at that time where I had worked for two and a half years. So I went back there to program and that was another two and a half year stint. Peace River is one of my probably one of my favorite places in Western Canada to the state. And then from there, you know, it was it was time to move on to a bigger market perhaps. And on milkman, I saw an ad for a program director at the BT 94.5 of Vancouver, which was fairly new at that time, they were going through a lot of changes. I knew that I'm just this, you know, this kid and Peace River with his first PD gig. You know, there's no way that I'm going to get this job, but I'm going to send a resume anyway. Because I love the format's, hey, Vancouver, why not? And then I got a phone call, you know, about a week later from Jennifer Smith. And she said, we might have a gig for you. It's not it's not the PD gag. We gave that to Scott Turner. But we want you to come be our music director APD. And so I'm like, Yeah, I mean, that sounds great. Yeah, still just an amazing opportunity from somebody from Peace River to go to Vancouver. So, yeah, I mean, it was, it was it was a real great time being a, you know, a full time MD. Scott was great to work with. And then about a year later, Scott went back to Ontario. And, you know, just went into the the GMs office at the time, and I said, I want to be the PD, you know, he said, Okay, all right, well, we're gonna we're gonna advertise for the job. You know, but here's what we're gonna do. We're gonna we're gonna let you go through the fall book, we're gonna change formats, we're gonna go from urban to CHR. Because said 95 had gone hot AC at that time. And he said, at the one on one, the ratings come out, if the ratings are up, they got the gig. So we went from, I think it was, like, maybe a 3.5 with a team 34 to like a five share was something like that. So they're like, good job, you get the job now. So, so So I did that for four years. There's a
Matt Cundill 8:57
lot going on in that market, right around that time. And you mentioned that Z95 That was sort of abandoning, and had a lot of struggles with CHR. And I guess they really didn't figure out how to sell it, or at least continued, you know, because CHR goes up, it goes down, it goes up, but then the beat came in, and just we're going to take the spot, and we're going to own the CHR spot. And that will be that. And that was that.
Chris Myers 9:19
It was happening. And we did great. I'm the guy who put good Carson in, in mornings for the first time, which I mean, it worked fantastic for us. I mean, he was a instant hits, you know, the the station just kept continuing to grow, not just 18-34 but now we were seeing good numbers and you know, 25-54 we were commonly top five and by the time I had left in 2007. We were number one females 25-54. And we're just acquired at that time by by the chum Radio Group. So, we had CHQM as a sister station and feel kind of cool to be this this brand new station in the building and oh The sudden we're number one with women now it was it was, it was, it was pretty cool.
Matt Cundill 10:04
I guess the be part of that tumultuous pneus at the end of that in 2007 is standard got sold to astral. And of course, Zed went through the moments where they decided to become craved for a bit. And I guess all that instability around you was a good thing.
For sure. I mean, it helped. You know, I think I did a pretty good job there. I had, I had a great onair lineup, a good team. But yeah, there, you know, the circumstances at the time was said, Crave, whoever they were, I mean, they I mean, they really, they really helped us quite a bit as well, because they were really trying to find who they were throughout throughout all of this.
So your new PD, and keep Carson's new in the morning, and lot of young talent around? Is this a case where you all learn together, and then the station all grows at once.
Chris Myers 10:56
I mean, I think that's part of it. We were all just like super hungry. I was able, as a program director to convince my bosses at the time to hire some consultants that that I had been, you know, reading about following seeing at conferences, and they said, hire whoever you want. I mean, at that time, we had a pretty big budget for that kind of stuff. And I've as a program director, I've always welcome outside help, I love it. So, you know, I got I think we had three people at one time actually, we had Randy Lane who joined us for on air coaching and he was really instrumental to helping kid and Paige Nienaber, I've always been a fan page. So he helped us with some crazy promotions at the time. And then we also worked with Jerry Clifton, who was working with Paige (Neinaber) at the time, so he was kind of helping us on the overall programming.
Matt Cundill 11:54
So I love Paige (Neinaber). I just think just working with somebody who deals in promotions and marketing, which is just so key to the success of a radio station. If you ask normal people and say what's the difference between all these radio stations? They're like, I don't know it's I guess the music. But then along comes some marketing. So what did Paige teach you? Or what did you manage to draw inspiration from the work that Paige says,
Chris Myers 12:18
Paige has always been about don't do the norm don't do what everybody else is doing? Have some fun with it. He's all about it's basically you know Hillsville talk about its promotion is much like a movie. You need to you need to write the beginning the middle and most importantly, you need to write the ending how does this thing end? And what can you add to it just to bring light to it. And so like Paige is definitely one of my my biggest mentors still is to this day I I've tried to get him on with other stations not not as successful. But yeah, I mean, especially back then because it was it was still diary. This is before ppm. So we just did We did a lot of crazy promotions that would, you know, would get the whole the whole city talking. If you asked me to name any of them, I would have a hard time remembering.
Matt Cundill 13:11
By the way for anybody who is looking for another podcast to listen to that's a lot shorter than this one that also talks about radio, but specifically promotions page has a podcast called three radio promotions in three minutes. And it is free advice. So help yourself to that. If you can. Tell me when your time in Vancouver came to an end. I think you went back to Saskatoon at that point. Yeah, that's right.
Chris Myers 13:35
So yeah, this was 2007. And I had just heard the news that Harvard broadcasting had won an FM license in Saskatoon things were going great at the beat. I loved it there. But you know, at the same time again, Saskatoon was my hometown and with radio, I always felt that maybe it wasn't the best radio out there. Radio in Saskatoon is pretty much been it's it's very safe. Never take chances don't offend anybody. And, you know, I just I wanted to be that guy to go back to my hometown and build a radio station from scratch. That will get the city excited about radio, you know, you know, see 95 at the time was probably doing 35 to 40 shares. And everybody listened. But not a lot of people loved them. They liked them. I mean, they always did a good job. They were always great in the community. But that market was just really missing something that was a little bit edgy. And the Harvard wanted to launch a Chr. So I called Michael Ahlstrom at the time in from Vancouver. And I said Michael, congratulations on the license. You know, I would love to move back home. I got two young kids, great place to raise a family I would love to launch your station. I would love to help launch that. And he just said Are you fucking crazy? Sorry, can I say that? You said you're at the number one top 40 station in Western Canada. What are you doing? It's home. It's home. I want to, you know, again, be close to my family, and really give Saskatoon something different, you know, and wired 96 Three was born.
Matt Cundill 15:18
Yeah, I remember that so well when it happened. And I thought back to all the C 95 demos that I had received over the years and nothing against the people who had sent it to me. But the brakes were really simple. And the station was pretty simple. Wasn't a very groundbreaking radio station. really right for the pickings. So when you go to an 18 to 34 is a full blown CHR where was that just gonna be a demo you wanted to take over?
Chris Myers 15:44
It was a full blown war. When word got out that I was moving back to Saskatoon. They actually had a couple people listen to Rocco had a bunch of couple of people listened to what I was doing on the beat, and they tried to basically copy everything I was doing on the beat on the C 95. They you know, they were kind of a mass appeal hot AC and then they went, they went for it. They went full blown. CHR so I'm sitting in Vancouver. I don't I'm not even in Saskatoon yet. I'm still working for the BT. Watching this all go down. I'm like, Oh, those dirty little. But you know, that's one thing Rawlco has always done very well. You know, they've, they're always they love it a challenge. Like nothing gets scored Rollinson more excited than a than a good little radio battle in the in the great attics, they really are. So I moved to Saskatoon in September 2007. We have plans to launch the station in December. So with with pages help, we have this big promotion, we are going to launch as a Christmas station Santa FM, and give Saskatoon what they really want Christmas music all the time. And then come December, somebody realizes that they forgot to file a very important piece of paper for the frequency change. So we were not ready to go on the middle of December, we had to wait for very long months to get approval from the CRTC. So we had we had the entire entire staff of the radio station was there. And the hill family, you know, at that time, they could have fired everybody they could have said everyone's laid off, you know, reapply when we actually get approval. But they didn't. We had a full time staff full Morning Show drive midday evenings, DJs sales, like we had everybody. And we were working out of the the GMs house at the time in the basement. We were just listening to radio stations, you know, coming up with promotions, and really just kind of going through the motions and you know, having, you know, music meetings and creating playlists, and it was it was a lot of fun. But it was, you know, it was pretty heartbreaking to to watch See 95 You know, become this really great top 40 station at the time and we don't have a stick yet so. So when it came time to launch wired in April, Paige said, You should do the Santa thing again. You should do the Christmas thing. It's even funnier now because it's April and it wouldn't make any sense. So we hired fifth the Santas. I think they were mostly broadcasting school students from WBC and yeah, we if the Santas all around Saskatoon brand new station 96.3. And man, was that market pretty choked up at the time. We had Johnny Jasna was our producer, and he was recording phone calls at the time just angry people like, are you serious? You're launching a brand new station, you're playing Christmas music like so many people fell for it. It was it was just insane. But hey, we got the market talking. They knew there was a brand new station coming. There was no no mistake in that.
Matt Cundill 18:55
And Don Scott had to put out a memo to the students saying, Well, we have a field trip today. And here's your Santa uniform.
Chris Myers 19:02
That's right. Yeah, yeah, that's right. So we let that trade go on for I don't think it was very long, maybe three or four days. And we just said, oops, the consultants screwed up. And when we were asking, you know, Saskatoon, what kind of music format they wanted? It turns out the Christmas music was dead last but we thought it was the top we just kind of screwed up. And yeah, then came wired.
Matt Cundill 19:28
You know, and I'm thinking with the creation of that radio station, it might have been the one to really sort of turn the tide for radio in in Saskatchewan overall, because then it became a little more creative. The demos from C 95 that I referenced earlier, which were all fairly rudimentary and, and darling, again, that's no shot at the talent. That's just what the radio was. And here you are, you're in Vancouver. He say I want to go back to Saskatoon and I want to make a change and cause a little bit of upheaval and then bring and sort of elevate the whole market. I don't necessarily think that was your intention.
Chris Myers 20:00
But you know, to be able to go back to Saskatoon and put a radio station on the air like wired, it really did sort of raise the game for everybody in the province. It did it forced everybody to be to be a whole lot better for sure. And you know, in doing a top 40 battle in Saskatoon with, you know, a station who had enjoyed, you know, dominating that market for so long, we knew we had to do something different. We knew we had to be a little bit edgier. So you know, I was very excited to bring Mark Michaels in because I knew that he was he was that guy who could really shake things up against the competition. And, you know, we had we had live DJs, they didn't. And again, we had all these great promotions that were just a little bit too edgy for the competition to try. So our first ratings book, we were number 118 34. That's all that's all we had wanted at that time. And that prompted a phone call from from Meralco.
Matt Cundill 20:56
And this was their big strategy was they're just going to destabilize the whole thing by luring you to cross the street.
Chris Myers 21:02
Yes. And the first time I said, I said, No, I said no way. I said, this is just way, way too much fun. And they mean, you know, and they really did back up on money truck. It was an insane offer. But I was so happy at that time working at Wired and for Harvard. I had everything you know, that I wanted. So I'm like, you know, thanks. No, thanks. And, you know, probably about a year later, they called again. And you know, this time I was a little more motivated. We were having some some house problems at the time. I'm like, You know what, that's that's a lot of money. I think I actually got to go and you know, to this day, I still tell people that that was the biggest regret ever in my career. You know, was was leaving Harvard at that time to go work for Rocco was great. You know, as great as it was the you know, they they treated me, they treated me greats. They welcomed me with open arms. But I just really wasn't having as much fun as I did over at Wired. Yeah, I had I had a little more money. But yeah, I did that for five years program, C 95, rock 102. And Zed 99. On and off.
Matt Cundill 22:11
That's a long time to be not having as much fun as another place. I mean, I usually I think three years would be the cap on that.
Chris Myers 22:21
Yeah. But again, at the end of the day, it's not just about fun. I mean, you do need some money to have fun, I guess.
Matt Cundill 22:28
You also had to manage that. 99 and Regina to right. That's right. Yep. Yeah. Yep. So
Chris Myers 22:33
that wasn't too bad. I live pretty close to the airport. And they would actually fly me down on this, whatever. It was a nine seater plane. So that was, that was every Wednesday, it was a lot looking back. But in my most recent situation at Harvard, I was also programming three stations as well. I guess my point was that it seemed very avant garde to be doing three stations back in 2006 and seven, maybe not so much a few you know, for some, but I thought maybe back then you had to have multiple stations that that was it definitely was was a lot for sure. For sure. And said 99 is you know, just like C 95 has, like always dominated that market as well. So it was a pretty pretty big station some some big talent there as well. So yeah, I had a pretty pretty full plate for sure. Is that nine seater? Is
Matt Cundill 23:24
that a commercial jet?
Chris Myers 23:25
All I know is that like that I got a free beer on the way back home. This station had a I think they had a contract deal. Obviously. That the paid for that to get the same seat every time. Yep. And I think that the best moment was we were delayed once it was a pretty snowy icy day. And I actually look out my window and I see people behind the plane pushing it because it's stuck. Yeah, we're in Saskatchewan.
Tara Sands (Voiceover) 23:55
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Matt Cundill 24:25
Saskatchewan is thought of as being a very safe and simple province. And you'd think the radio was the same and then in the end we find out it's not
Chris Myers 24:34
That's right. Let's do let's go at all 25-54 We're which of course, prompted Rocco to kind of change the strategies on both on both of their FM's as well. So things got, you know, pretty stale kind of boring, you know, and I got a phone call from David quarry who was running bell at the time. And he was in Saskatoon for a country conference. So I went for breakfast with him. And, you know, shortly after I was talking to Pat Cardinal, and they brought me to Edmonton to be the Program Director of virgin.
Matt Cundill 25:32
So I have a few questions about this one. Okay. Notably, because I've been in the building before, but I've always been curious about virgin in Edmonton, and why it never got traction in the market. Right? I'll preface but formerly 104.9 was a juggernaut, AC radio station. And then one day, I think precipitated by PPM and the numbers sort of surrounding AC radio, they move it to CHR they put the Virgin label on it at some point it anyhow, it's never really caught on the way you would expect a Virgin brand to.
Chris Myers 26:08
No, no, it You're right. And it still hasn't we, you know, we had done some research. And I think there were issues with the Virgin brand in general, just listeners knew that. It wasn't really an Edmonton product. And it was an international thing. Obviously, there were a lot of talent changes, they really expected peppered daylon to, you know, to drive this station to be a top top tier station. At the time, they thought maybe they could do this without promoting them. So you know, pepper and Dylan at the time would run into people on the street, they would say I I really miss you guys. I wish you were still on the bounce. And they'd be like, well, we're on 104.9 and like nobody knew nobody knew. I remember being in a board room with with all the big wigs you know David Corey, obviously their impact cardinal and as a group we're looking at this research that says that pepper and Dylan should be the number two Morning Show behind crashing bars in this market by a longshot. So we all agree hands in, we're betting all our money on pepper and Dylan we're and we're gonna go all the way in. Fast forward. Maybe about a month later, I get a phone call. Yeah, we've changed our mind, we're gonna let them go. We had a consultant, listen to them. And he just seemed he doesn't think they're right for the station. So we're going to we're going to try something new. I was I was the bad guy. And all of its, it was actually instructed that I had to go into the control room, and then fire them. The frustrating part was being part of a strategic meeting where everybody agrees that this is the hill we die on pepper and dill, and we're going for it. And then a month later to say now we changed our mind. You know, that was disheartening. Just talking about this I miss Pat Cardinal, me, Pat was an idol of mine, I you know, would go to power 92 probably once every couple months, and just, you know, out of the blue, just ask for Pat Cardinal give him a tape, I always wanted to work for him. So that was that was definitely part of the decision to you know, to to delete Saskatoon and go and go to Hamilton was to work with Pat. And you know, and, you know, I think it was maybe about a month later, he you know, pulls me in back into the office. And, you know, it's tells us about his, his his cancer, and that it's terminal. He doesn't have very long so that was that was a it was another hard day.
Matt Cundill 28:39
Yeah, it was pancreatic cancer.
Chris Myers 28:41
Matt Cundill 28:42
I mentioned that just because my dad passed to that. So it's, I think once you've experienced it, you kind of know what it's all about. And it was it's heart wrenching. And I still miss him today. And I know a lot of people who listen to this podcast, speak up Pat, and mark them down for a five when it comes to golf.
Chris Myers 29:01
Yeah, that's right. It was such a dream to work with a GM like Pat, you know, who was not just a, you know, radio programmer, but he was a, he loves top 40 He was very passionate about CHR as was I. And very sad day when I wasn't able to work with Pat anymore.
Matt Cundill 29:20
And so 18 months on Stony Plain Road, working with Belle, and then time comes to an end and look who's back. Harvard is back in your life.
Chris Myers 29:30
Christian Hall was in town he was. I think he was filling in as PD at the time for hot 107 and cruise. And he invited me out for a beer and he said, What do you think? What do you think about coming to program hot 107 Cruise I'm like, I like I make a lot of money. I don't know if you guys can, can can do that. And he goes, You know what? We're we're basically getting rid of two program directors and going With one so yeah, we we can afford it we. So I jumped at it because here I still get to do a top 40 station. But I never wanted to be typecast as the top 40 guy, personally, when I, you know when I'm out in the garage playing darts, it's it's classic rock all the way. So just to have that shot to do a format that I've never really done before. That was my favorite musical format. I'm like, Yeah, I saw I jumped at it. And this was my third time now with Harvard. And yeah, I mean, I jumped at it because Harvard was always a great company and always treated me very well. You know, they lacked some other resources. But at that time, they they really knew how to treat employees for sure.
Matt Cundill 30:49
What part of the conversation with Christian did he say we also have a condition in the license for some category three music?
Chris Myers 30:56
Yeah, well, yeah, I knew about that one. 15% category three traditional blues, basically, which is how many hours a week? I don't know. But it's basically like, nine to midnight 10 to midnight, some nights. Definitely a bit of a hinderance they've applied for relief on that recently. And the other, you know, the issue on 107. At the time was it was it was the last frequency commercial frequency to launch. That's when you know, the CRTC were handing out licenses left, right and center. And while it was John York's I guess, at the time who won that license, nobody wanted one Oh, 7.1 nobody, because it couldn't be full power at the time, the Edmonton Municipal Airport was still a thing. And we couldn't go over 40,000 Watts, I might have the story. I don't know if it's 100%. Pretty sure it's 40% or 40 40,000 Watts, it couldn't be any higher, because that would interfere with some some of their signals at the airport. So I mean, I had one station with, you know, not a great signal, and then another station with 15%. Cat three blues.
Matt Cundill 32:10
I should have mentioned earlier when we were talking about virgin and just talked about the CHR landscape at that time, who was involved in with CHR music there was hot 107
Chris Myers 32:20
Virgin Reuben the bounce at the time and Virgin? Yeah, the three of us. You know, so Harvard's take on hot when I was seven was, you know, pretty similar to what I had done at Wired was we need to be the one that's a little bit younger, a little bit edgier, maybe a little bit faster on the music, we'll play EDM and hip hop, and we won't do a party to just evenings. So it definitely had a little bit of an edge to it live DJs it was, you know, it was a big part of what that station was.
Matt Cundill 32:51
And how do you fight your way through all that mess? Because I mean, I'm going to answer the question for you. But it's talent. And he had some great talent, and imaging, great imaging promotions, you come fully stacked with with the marketing. But even with that, it can still be an uphill battle.
Chris Myers 33:08
I mean, it really is, it's not, there's just not a lot of loyalty. With those listeners. They're just really, at the end of the day, just in search of the best song. You know, except for mornings, you know, peppered Dylan had found a home at the bounce. And that's I mean, that's always been that station's sole focus with marketing is pepper and Dylan pepper and Dylan. And those guys have done really, really well. Virgin at that time was, you know, experimenting with new morning shows, like every four or five months, they tried to Brooke and Jubal thing. So it was really hard for Virgin to really make an impact. So at that time, it was really, it was really a battle between 91 seven and 107. You know, we had great talent and writer and Lisa. But I mean, again, one of the one of the struggles at Harvard as well was I was mentioning before about the resources. We just didn't have a big budget for you know, for marketing and contrasting it was it was pretty limited.
Matt Cundill 34:08
Yeah. And I guess that's sort of extends into the digital part and social send you like, oh, well, social media is free, and then you spend either too much time or not enough time depending on who you talk to. Creating content online.
Chris Myers 34:22
Yeah, I mean, that's that was a big part of it. And that entire crew on the station, they were they were they were always probably the top of their game in the markets. You know, when you looked at the other top 40 stations we were, you know, a lot more aggressive on social media.
Matt Cundill 34:36
And Lachlan crosses during the mornings that cruise he goes through one incarnation I believe it was so with co host Nicola. Yep. What's her last name? Nicola Crosby, Nicola Crosby. So Lachlan goes through an incarnation with Nicola Crosby as co host and then later on sort of develops into the locker room, which was sort of the incarnation that was over on the bear.
Chris Myers 34:56
Yeah, so when I went over to Harvard, one of my managers over a bell, trying to convince me to stay said, Yeah, you don't know what you're getting yourself into. I mean, Lachlan is a handful, he's, you know, you're gonna have a real hard time with him. He's super high maintenance. And, you know, when I went over to work with Lachlan, I mean sure. I mean, he Lachlan by a longshot is, I would say, the hardest working on air personality I've ever worked with. He's in incredibly early, he doesn't bail at 10 o'clock, he's there until noon, he's at home prepping, you get phone calls from him all the time. You know, just wanting to bounce ideas off you. So my, you know, seven and a half years at Harvard. Laughlin actually made it a lot a lot better, a lot easier. Because it was just it was so great to work with talent to who just wanted to work that hard. You know, and, again, there's there's no stopping lock. You know, if he has an idea, he'll run with it. He'll ask if you know, how do we make this better? You know, so lock was definitely, you know, again, I'm not gonna say high maintenance, but I love working with them. I wish there were more jocks like him.
Matt Cundill 36:13
Let's also remember that when he gets an idea, and the idea is wrong, he still has room left to double and triple down on that idea. quite yet, quite often. Yeah. That's one of the things I love about him.
Chris Myers 36:26
Yeah, whenever I would get a, an email from the CBSE, my inbox, I'm like, Ah, what did Lachlan do now? And you know, nine out of 10 times, it was something to do with luck.
Matt Cundill 36:37
I did have one question about the move from hot windows seven. It was power 107 for a little bit. And then came the infamous court case a cease and desist, which I can't believe did not go your way.
Chris Myers 36:51
Yeah, you know, Christian Hall. And I remember the moment we were in a hotel room, planning the station out. And we had that important phone call with a lawyer. And he looked at the trademarks and the fact that it you know that it had expired and was abandoned, basically, they said, Yeah, you guys got this, you have nothing to worry about. At all that I remember the day, we're like, maybe two months into power at this time, maybe a month, month or two. And the station is going great. The feedback is amazing in town, and then Tamara comes into my office closes the door, and puts, you know, puts the letter on my desk, the cease and desist letter and my shit. You know, and we went through with it. We were you know, we were gonna we were gonna fight the cease and desist, you know, obviously, that ended up going going to courts. Not in our favor. We could have continued, we could have appealed. But at this time, the hills, the hill family just said now is we've spent enough on this come up with a new name. So and that's, that's when play came in.
Matt Cundill 38:00
And I totally understand that as a radio owner. I guess if I were in court, I would be a terrible lawyer because I just be looking at the judge and I just sit there not even fucking using it. Keep it up, they abandon it. What are you doing? At least let the station use it. And then you can have the discretion to fight it out in court? That's right. Yeah. It just sort of said to me that this judge just had no concept of the business, the medium, even right to the level of trademarking. I don't even understand how you could even say, Oh, well, you know, it was like 20 years ago, it was called Power 92. But were called Power 107. But they haven't used power 92 in over a decade. And somehow that's a problem. Yeah,
Chris Myers 38:48
I you know, I think some of the issues that were pointed out, were some of the attributes that we were doing at that time, you know, having Gary James host a countdown. And you know, right down to the logo, the logo was pretty close. We got a jingle package that resembled you know, their their jingles. So, I mean, I think that's kind of what really screwed that up and looking back at it now.
Matt Cundill 39:09
I guess that's sort of the power of audio. It sounds like something that used to be in the market. And perhaps that judge was a fan of the radio station and saying, oh, yeah, this is bringing back memories for me. Totally. trademark infringement. Yeah, yeah. Right. Yeah. And then comes the end. And your time at Harvard is, has come. Yeah, that's that was.
Chris Myers 39:34
That was a shock. It was kind of out of nowhere. The you know, the company had gone through some changes at the very at the very top. Paul Hill, basically, you know, I don't think he's officially retired. But he, you know, his son Matt kind of took over the, you know, the media division. The company merged with this digital agency out of Regina. And so all of a sudden you have all These new players at the top with all these new ambitious ideas, and all of them are about digital. And they decided just to make a lot of changes on the broadcast side. And yeah, I mean, it's it's sent a shockwave, I think through not only the industry, but obviously, you know, the company. I remember being like go and one of the other program directors who was let go said, Oh, my God, am I next? I'm like, No, you're fine. They need you. They, you know, they can't have nobody in your market. So you're fine. Your job is 100% safe. And then of course, he calls me a couple days later, and, and he was termed and so was the other program director and Regina. So that market has zero program directors for three stations.
Matt Cundill 40:47
Listen, I don't want a Monday morning quarterback this thing. But no, it's a podcast. But here we are. So I don't mind doing it. But I mean, it's an incredibly large push into digital. I'm not sure that they're copying the Townsquare model in this in the US, which, you know, works rather well. But I think you need to have a very strong analog product in order to promote on the digital side. So I hope they find the right balance with this thing. And and it works. I really hope so do which is very odd strategy for me. Oh, I hope it works.
Chris Myers 41:21
I have a lot of great friends still in that company. I mean, that was my home for seven and a half years and my family really I know that sounds cheesy, but writer Lisa Lachlan, and it's just an amazing, amazing crew there. So I really hope that it works out.
Matt Cundill 41:39
Anybody listening to this, who wants to get in touch with you hire you, or perhaps even just send you something for some feedback.
Chris Myers 41:47
My email is chris myers 306 at gmail.com. I put it out on Twitter the other day, I was just sitting back thinking one day that one of the things that's hard for a program director of three radio stations to do is to help other talent who don't work for you. They send you audio quite often you're like, I can't even like get my air check with so and so in like how am I you know, how am I supposed to find the time to do this. And I've always really enjoyed helping others just get better at their craft. So I put it out on Twitter, you know, and I got I got a few replies from from talent across western Canada, saying yeah, I'll take a free air check while I figure out what the next chapter is. And I guess enjoy a little temporary vacation. I'm happy to help however, I can
Matt Cundill 42:39
make a bold prediction. What do you think you'll be doing next?
Chris Myers 42:43
It's a real tough question. And I love programming. I love working with talent and I'm open to a lot of stuff. I mean, I with my 30 years of radio I can kind of do everything in radio and I think that's I think that's been a big part of my success is I've been behind the mic I've written commercials I've produced I've scheduled so on and so forth the only thing I really haven't done the sales or engineering know even that even then I've been to a transmitter site here and there.
Tara Sands (Voiceover) 43:12
The Sound Off Podcast is written and hosted by Matt Cundill produced by Evan Surminski, edited by Chloe Emond-Lane social media by Aiden Glassey. Another great creation from The Sound Off Media Company. There's always more at http://www.soundoffpodcast.com