Dave Charles – Still Rockin’ Radio After All These Years

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Dave Charles talks with the enthusiasm of a teenager, which is what he was over 4 decades ago when he first started out as a young disc jockey at CJBQ (Belleville) in the news department, circa 1964. This enthusiasm is what gave the station the faith to give this young music fan his own show, and so the romance between Dave Charles and radio began.

‘Back then dances were a great way for Canadian bands to get new fans and it was a great way to meet our listeners and get ‘out there’. My first pay cheque in radio was $37.00 and I got it up to a whopping  $55.00. Running these shows in the arena sometimes brought in $ 2,000.00 a week. Connecting with the fans and bands. It was the beginning of my love for Canadian music. I got to book Mandala, David Clayton Thomas, JB and the Playboys, MG & The Escorts, you name them, I probably had the pleasure of booking them.’

Charles also played 50% CANCON on the radio station, long before the CRTC made in mandatory.  A true champion of the true north, his dedication to finding these records and playing them earned the station in Belleville the nickname ‘Belleville – the Capitol of Canadian Music’.

‘I was at the right place at the right time. I had the pleasure of working with and playing bands on the air like The Stampeders, The Staccatos (Five Man Electrical Band) Chad Allan & The Guess Who. I started to send RPM Weekly our charts, and Stan and Walt used them to gauge what was going on out there. If you sent me your single, everybody got a shot.’

Radio was firmly pumping in his blood, so being young and ready to try on new stations, Charles moved around a bit after Belleville had hit his peak for him. Ending up with 5 years of training with the great Nevin Grant at CKOC (one of the stations that still maintains the same Oldies format as it did in 1967 during Charles’ time there) led to stints with Edmonton’s CHQT, Slaight’s CFGM, CHUM (as MD) and consulting various stations like Montreal's CFOX all led to a position that would change his life.

Dave Charles and Friends in the land of AuzDave Charles and Friends in the land of Auz‘The application for Q 107 was actually a brand new station on the dial and we never thought we would get it, but wanted to take a shot at it anyways thanks to the legendary Alan Slaight and Tony Viner for their support. Joint Communications was born as a result of Q107's success. John Parikhal was my business partner and mutual trailblazer. In May 1977, we changed the face of Toronto radio with Q 107. the face of TorontoWe had what would be legendary voices in this industry like icon Bob Mackowycz, the late, great Mark Daly who became ‘the voice’ of City TV years later; so many great voices sat in the chair at 'Q' like John Donabie and Ted Woloshyn.  We had 40% Canadian content, were a major part of the club scene, had rock reports while other stations had news reports. I will never forget the two songs we played the day we went on the air for the first time; ‘Turn Me On (I’m a Radio’) (Joni Mitchell) and ‘Hard Rock Town'. (Murray McLauchlan). It was a wonderful music time to be in radio.’

Within two years there were offers to do research in the U.S. and the two partners two partners became consultants and strategists for other stations. ‘We would go in and find their market, teach them to build good radio, by asking the listeners what they wanted to hear.’

In 1994, an offer was made to join the Austereo Radio Group based in Brisbane, Australia, a company that developed duopoly radio networks in every capitol city. Out of this grew Austereo Entertainment, formed to grow new and innovative programming for all the stations in the group. Charles then formed a super media consultancy with partner Greg Smith, ESP (Entertainment Specialty Programming) to develop commercial radio in Malaysia, Singapore, Europe and South Africa.

‘It was the most successful move of my life. I spent over 13 years ‘down under’ and as a result I learned how to make radio more relevant. Since those days, I sold John (Parikhal) 50% of Joint (Communications) and Greg  Smith has retired.  In 2009 my Mom took ill, and I came home to Canada after being away for over 16 years.  In 2011, I took a job at JAZZ FM (Toronto) as Program Director and continued to consult. It was when the idea for Media Results International was in the building mode.’

Back home to stay for awhile in Canada, and now Toronto based, Charles is delivering cutting edge media strategies through Mri (Media Results International). ‘ The internet has truly been an amazing situation for this current climate. By 2015, all motor vehicles will have internet capacities. This makes it easier for music and product to be promoted. It is a pure radio environment where you can truly engage your customers.’

This fearless entrepreneur is now on to his latest adventure. ‘I have teamed up with Greg Nisbet of www.mediazoic.com. We have created a platform where you can have your own radio show. The question of course, is anyone could do this, but the difference is we do all the legal paperwork to make it right. We report to 41 different music rights organizations, so that is the price of admission for the work we do. With the huge issue of free downloads, and so many internet radio shows on the air who do not pay the music rights, they are technically stealing from the creator. If you are not going to pay royalties, then you are ripping people off, and you should not be operating. Mediazoic has morals, and with us, anyone who wants their own radio ‘station’ can do so, with us you are your own boss. This idea is a new way of promoting  businesses.  For example, Canadian Tire or Cameron’s Brewery can have their own station, and control their own programming.  Internet has changed the world, and we are here to honour the past and embrace the new. Just contact us if you are interested in knowing more about this great new way of promoting your product linked to music.’

Dave Charles calls himself a fan of music, and has always created these ventures for the right reasons. ‘I never looked in the rear view mirror, but always looked ahead to go down the road. This time the road is a very exciting one, and I am looking forward to the next journey.’

For information visit www.mediaresults.ca