Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 358: John Donabie

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 358In this 358th episode, Mike chats with John Donabie about his illustrious career in radio working at CKFH, CHUM-FM, Q107, CJCL, CFGM, CFRB, CKFM, CKEY, CISS-FM, Jazz-FM and CIUT, his interviews with John Lennon, attending The Last Waltz and so much more. This episode is exactly 2:05:59.

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Always great to hear stories about The Band of some of their awesome music, but would
be nice to hear something other than "The Weight!!" I know that the words as written above
might be equal to homegrown treason for some, but I've always been much more partial to
that heavy organ track "Chest Fever" from that same debut album "Music From Big Pink"

July 19, 2018 @ 1:42 PM


Great show and what an incredible career/stories. Possibly most arbitrary Toronto Mike'd
anecdote to date: When Mr. Donabie mentions at the end that he almost went on the road
with legendary soft rockers (and Baha'i faith spokespeople!!) Seals and Croft as their road
manager. Now I probably need to go crank up (literally!) some S and C on Youtube within the next couple of minutes!

July 19, 2018 @ 3:29 PM

Javed Jafri

Fascinating listen. I was a huge fan of JD on progressive CHUM FM and remember his days at CKFH 69-71. You can hear a clip of him from CHUM FM on my web site. Also quite a few pictures of the CKFH Charts with him in the "About" section of the site.

I mostly missed him on Q as I was a big listener to CFNY in 1977. Same goes for many of the other stations that he was on with the exception of CIUT. Tuned into that quite regularly ( or taped it). Impressive list though and perhaps a record for Toronto stations worked at by a TO Mike guest.

The Chuck thatJohn was trying to remember from Montreal was probably Chuck Azzarello who worked at CHUM FM at the same time as Rick Moranis as the station continued it's transition from free form to a more structured and mainstream rock station. The American "Scott" was Scott Carpenter on 1050 CHUM.

Regarding bad reel to reel tapes that have to be baked. I have recorded on and collected many tapes over the years and the brittleness is generally not a problem and most of those tapes will actually play fine. One may experience a an inch or three break and you are reeling in the tape.

The real problem tapes are those that suffer from something called "sticky shed syndrome". These tapes were mostly manufactured from the late 1970's to the mid 1980's. The Ampex brand was the worst offender. These tapes lose their oxide bonding as you play them and have to be baked, They are the minority at least in my collection.

July 22, 2018 @ 8:21 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I actually wrote you an email before John came over to see if you had any clips you wanted me to play.

July 22, 2018 @ 10:35 AM

Javed Jafri

Sorry Mike I missed the email. Went into a bulk folder but if anyone wants to listen to the clips just type John Donabie in the search function of the site.

July 22, 2018 @ 8:35 PM

Rick C in Oakville

What a career, heard John over the years on Chum (I think when it sounded like stoned DJ's with complete album sides being played), Q and CFRB as I got into talk radio.

July 25, 2018 @ 12:34 AM

jim pearce

i have no idea what this site is actually for, but i was looking for info on why John Donabie left CIUT and somehow ended up here. I was hoping to man the phones for John's Mixed Bag show fund-raising week, but I showed up at the station a couple of days late and missed him completely. I was a fan of his music choices and always thought if I had my own show, it would be pretty similar, with the Toronto bands from the 60s and 70s, and maybe a little Holy Modal Rounders thrown in for fun.
I believe I got to use his tickets to a performance of HAIR at the Royal Alex back in 1970[?] A girl friend of mine was interning at a hair salon in town and got to know John and next thing we were in the box seats watching long-haired hippies[!] sing and dance. I had auditioned for HAIR at the Rockpile, actually getting a second call, but that was as far as I got.
I was glad I got to hear you for the short time you were on CIUT and will miss your musical trips. Good luck from an old fan in the Beach.

July 28, 2018 @ 7:23 PM


CKFH! Both Leafs hockey and early 70's rock. I don't remember Donabie there but man that station was big on CanCon, they played above and beyond the requirements, as opposed to some other big stations. As Burton Cummings once said, "CHUM didn't do a damn thing for the Guess Who".

Country 59 was a decent country station during the early 90's New Country explosion, much better than the sanitized CISS. I remember Donabie there. I thought he was most generous with his time and stories, excellent episode! Only 7 comments, what a shame. He's been everywhere.

August 24, 2018 @ 5:40 AM

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