Monday Morning Musings

Posted on January 29, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with 4 comments

Happy ( Cabot ) Trails, Don


So long, Don!

It’s the end of an era.

I met Don Connolly in the late 1960’s. He was in the final throes of his illustrious educational career at St.F.X. I was just beginning mine. Even though he was from Northern New Brunswick, it was no surprise that he chose Antigonish as his mother ( a MacDonald )  grew up here…. and he was born here.

Radio. Golden radio.

Max Ferguson. Allen McPhee.

Don finished a 42 year career in radio last Friday. I know that many of you had your radios on and were listening to every word of the program like I did.

Radio is so special. It is intimate and personal. At least it was in a bygone era. Regular readers know that I am routinely plagued with bouts of nostalgia but it is truly sad that our children and grandchildren might never have the pleasure of listening to (quality) live radio with so many other distractions.

Foster Hewitt. Danny Gallivan.

Don had a rare gift for a media star: humility. He was just one of the guys to most of us. Listening to his early morning show, you felt that he was sitting in your kitchen by the wood stove, having a coffee as you dawdled around in your tattered sweater and worn out slippers.

Don Tremaine. Liz Logan. Costas Halavrezos.

Don had a conversation with his listeners. He was the facilitator and provocateur. He was a great speaker but God gave him two ears so he was blessed with a rare skill: listening. Unlike so many media darlings today, Don didn’t interrupt. He knew that the show wasn’t about him.

Stuart McLean.

“Oh radio, oh radio, where art thou?”

Like many sports enthusiasts, I listened to the World Series and NHL hockey games on my rocket radio. Our local radio station was no slouch when it came to excellent programming. We had “People’s School” and “Farmer’s Forum” and “Fun at Five.”

Rhonda. Marilyn.

John “a Go Go.” Dr. Cecil and Ken, Ray Mac, Gus, Armond Soucy and the Old Timer.

Don Connolly shared many passions including The Habs and golf. At University it was a tossup who had the biggest afro!

On air, Don talked with you, not at you. He had such a wonderful sense of humour. As one person said at his on air tribute last Friday, “Don was well informed and curious.”

Barbara Frum. Possibly one of the best interviewers of all time.

I don’t play golf anymore. I used to bump into Don and his Black Street Aces cronies at the Cape Breton Highland Links on Labour Day weekend. I don’t think anybody enjoyed life more than those fellows. I might just make a trip up there this fall and caddy for Don. I’m sure I could get enough material in 5 hours for another book!

Peter Gzowski.

Farewell, Don. It is the end of an era and like many people my age, there is a feeling of sadness. Not only have we lost Don but we have also lost a part of our youth and our past. Make no mistake, radio still plays a vital role in our daily lives but as baby boomers are wont to say, “It’s just not like the old times.”

Don Connolly.

Have a great retirement, Don.


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4 Responses to Monday Morning Musings

  1. Brenda Rose says:

    Sigh . . . whomever is chosen to be the new Information Morning host will have enormous shoes to fill. There aren’t many of his calibre around any more. A lovely piece, Len . . .

  2. Bethalee says:

    Enjoyed your article Len and we must not forget Peter Zwaskie(SP?)

    • Richard Perry says:

      Yes, my wife and I were huge Peter Gzowski fans. We were fortunate to be able to get a ticket so Shelley’s father could attend Peter’s last show…in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan…the town where he got his start.

  3. Miriam Gillis says:

    Thank heavens you did not neglect to mention Barbara Frum and Costas Halavrezos. I still miss them and I shall miss Don. Radio is special and CBC still plays a significant role in my life. Both Don and Costas were in the Class of 69. They are special people and one is never bored when in their company. Thanks for this article, Len!!!☺

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