TORONTO, ON –
(September 11th, 2017) – Canadian Music Week is pleased to announce Robert ‘TooTall’ Wagenaar as the 2018 inductee to the Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame. ‘TooTall’ will be honored for his achievements and longstanding career in the music & broadcast industry at the annual Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards Gala Dinner at Rebel Nightclub in Toronto on Thursday May 10th, 2018.
“I am very excited to be able to honour TooTall by inducting him into the HOF. Too Tall and I go way way back as we share a common passion to promote new Canadian music in our country and around the world. This induction comes at a nostalgic time as Too Tall will be stepping away from the mic later this month, his efforts towards new Canadian music will always be remembered, cherished and definitely missed!” – Neill Dixon, President, Canadian Music Week
“Announcing my retirement after 40 years at CHOM led to an outpouring of well wishes and congratulations. I was totally overwhelmed and amazed. When it was announced (by Neill Dixon himself) that I would be inducted into the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame, I was first of all left speechless and then left scrambling to find more adjectives to describe this beyond belief honour. ( gobsmacked came to mind). For most of the last 47 years I’ve been behind a mic, playing some songs, back announcing , doing a “bit”, setting up the next set , going into spots and repeat. I hope I have done this in a way that is honourable enough for the induction. I’m also extremely proud of the work I’ve done to give a helping hand to emerging Canadian talent and the induction reflects that as well.” – Robert ‘TooTall’ Wagenaar
Robert was born in 1950 in Amsterdam and at the tender age of 7 came to Canada. His family settled in Regina and it was there that Robert grew up, eventually attending the U of Regina in the fall of 1968. Discussions that year with a couple of other students led to a plan to build a radio station (closed circuit) that was accomplished the following year and Robert’s dream to become a radio announcer started to become a reality. That dream originated in the sixties when Robert would listen to AM radio stations across North America and internationally on short wave. Beatlemania and the British Invasion exploding on the air waves led to a desire to become one of those jocks who brought you all this excitement.
In 1970 Robert was back in Holland looking for those elusive pirate radio stations that had studios there. Little realizing that those stations at sea were under attack by European governments Robert was met with a lot of suspicion and he never did find those studios. Back in Regina later that year Robert applied for and got a job at CJME. In promotion at first then managing to get air shifts. The two years there were like military basic training and what was learned there was never forgotten. At the same time, Regina cool guy around town Dave Warren was doing shifts at an easy listening FM station and playing rock album cuts, Robert also did shifts there. This was happening across North America creating a new form of radio. In Canada most notably CKLG in Vancouver, CHUM Toronto and CHOM in Montreal. Robert headed to Vancouver in 1973 and partnered up with Brian Leboe (Major Buzz) to form a mobile recording facility, recording bands on the lower mainland. Brian also worked at CKLG and through him Robert did odd shifts there but never acquired a full time job. Brian had also worked at CHOM in Montreal before coming to Vancouver and that is how Robert came to know of that magical station.
Off to Montreal in April 1977 Robert started working at CHOM in September of that year and has worked there ever since (except for 1981 on air at sister station CKGM). A little change though, because of the number of Bob’s and Roberts working there, Robert was nicknamed TooTall, used it on air as a bit of a lark and has used that name ever since. One thing that TooTall established at CKGM was a show called Made In Canada. The PD at the time hated cancon and TooTall suggested a two hour daily show featuring Canadian talent to take the load off cancon during the day. This was not a dumping ground as major artists (Randy Bachman, Burton Cummings, Bryan Adams, Gino Vanelli etc.) were interviewed and featured everyday. Countdowns, local talent and live concerts were also part of the menu. Made In Canada was brought back in 1987, at CHOM this time and ran for 21 years as a weekly feature. A total of 2400 interviews and features presented just about every Canadian artist or band that existed during those years.
Another project TooTall was involved with at CHOM was the L’Esprit talent competition which began in 1977, spearheading it until 2003. This talent show became a right of passage for many Montreal acts over the years. Bands not only played in Montreal but competed nationally in Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver. Canadian Music Week became an integral part of this competition as band were always welcomed to play there. L’Esprit successes…there were a few…Cinema V won the Yamaha contest in 1989 and headed off to Tokyo, The Respectables became superstars in Quebec, Jonas became a star here as well as across Canada and Mobile received a lot of airplay and managed to tour the world.
Now after 40 years at CHOM, TooTall will be dropping the mic at the end of September. He was hoping to go quietly but the recent announcement of his induction into the Canadian Broadcasting and Music Hall of Fame has made that impossible.
ABOUT CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK 2018
Now in its 36th year, CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK is recognized as one of the premier entertainment events in North America focusing on the business of music. We bring together Sound Recording, New Media and Broadcast for one spectacular week of events… Combining informative, intensive conferences, a cutting edge trade exhibition, award shows, film festival, comedy festival and Canada’s biggest New Music Festival. The Canadian Music Week festival spans 7 nights, May 7 – 13, of performances, with 1,000 showcasing bands at more than 40 live music venues in downtown Toronto. All convention functions take place at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.
IF YOU’RE GOING TO ATTEND ANY INTERNATIONAL MUSIC CONVENTION THIS YEAR… Make it CMW 2018 – Where Music Means Business!