Dial-Hopping In Toronto On An April In 1954 – Past Daily Weekend Gallimaufry
One thing about Popular culture, it’s everywhere. And as long as there has been a desire to be hip and “in the know”, it’s always been that way.
And radio, since its inception up to the late 70s/early 80s, has been the bellwether of Pop Culture, imparting knowledge and turning people on to things that may find important.
When radio became more localized, after World War 2 and during the advent of television, the audience depended more on the messengers; those people who knew what was going on, knew where it was going on and knew when it was going on, were depended upon to deliver all the much needed information and latest news about those events we really needed to be aware of.
And this slice of radio, from radio station CJVC in Toronto covered a lot of the bases at the time. It was, if anything, a snapshot view of what people were listening to casually, and what they were paying attention to intently. And towards the end of this two-hour glimpse, the hits of the day come on, sharing air-space with the latest offerings from Count Basie and Chet Baker, beside Roy Hamilton or The Hilltoppers – even down to an Eartha Kitt rendition of the Halo Shampoo song. It’s a slice and it’s happening in real time.
And like most radio at the time, it was only as good as where you lived. No streaming – FM only if you could afford it, and Jerry-rig an antenna to keep the signal from fading in and out every time a car passed by. So the sound is going to be a bit iffy over the next two hours – it’s just what you had to contend with in order to get your daily dose of Pop Culture.
Later in the 50s there were the revolutionary Transistor Radios, that bulged out of your pocket and produced an earphone that bore a strong resemblance to a hearing aid. That was a very big deal. And if you were a kid, you could conveniently hide one under your pillow and listen to radio all night.
But for now – for 1954, this is what was happening and this was something that would most likely shape your cultural life.