Roger Ashby (1969-1985)

1970's Roger Ashby promo pic (CHUM Archives/Doug Thompson)

“I always wanted to work at CHUM. Once I got here, I just never thought of leaving.” (Roger Ashby interview with the author in 2009)

Roger Ashby started at 1050 CHUM in late August of 1969 and remained with the company (through several owners) for nearly 50 years.

After beginning his radio career in Kitchener, he went to CKOC Hamilton, then was brought to CHUM by Program Director J. Robert Wood. As is tradition with new CHUM jocks, Roger began his career at 1331 Yonge Street on the all-night show.

In 1972, Roger was given the 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. air shift, replacing Johnny Mitchell. Roger was well prepared for any time slot they gave him at CHUM since he’d practiced being on-the-radio for many years growing up. "From the time I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be in radio. When I was 10, my father built me a small radio station in the basement. He hooked the microphone up to the radio upstairs so I could broadcast to my parents. I did that everyday for seven years.”

1970's Roger Ashby having fun on CHUM (CHUM Archives/Doug Thompson)

Roger came off the air for awhile to go into programming, but that wasn’t where his passion lay. “During my programming time, I was on the air only if someone was ill or on vacation, but I quickly realized that I’d rather be on air than behind a desk and fortunately, I was allowed to make that transition. I did swing shifts for awhile, but when [CHUM morning man] Tom Rivers was fired in 1982, they put me in mornings for three years.”

But being the guy who woke up Southern Ontario permanently was not in the cards for Roger Ashby, at least not on 1050 CHUM. When CHUM management gave the AM morning show to John Majhor and Mike Holland, CHUM-FM Program Director Ross Davies invited Roger to come over to CHUM-FM.

Cake time with Roger & Marilyn (CHUM Archives/Doug Thompson)

And that’s where Roger’s star really shone the brightest. Starting in early Fall of 1985 that became Roger, Rick and Marilyn, then transitioning into Roger, Darren and Marilyn and then Roger and Marilyn until the final team of Roger, Jamar and Marilyn. Besides winning the ‘Major Market Morning Show’ award at Canadian Music Week many times, Roger was inducted into the Canadian Music and Broadcast Hall of Fame in March of 2010. Despite all of his successes, Roger remains the same humble man who first walked through the doors of 1331 Yonge Street in 1969. His quick wit and encyclopedic knowledge of music has taken Roger (and kept him at) the very top of Canada’s most competitive radio market.

Roger finally shut off his alarm clock set for 4AM on December 5th, 2018 with a spectacular final broadcast from the Grand Ballroom at the Sheraton Centre in downtown Toronto that featured many guests from Roger’s past and present.

Roger returned to radio in March 2020 hosting the nationally syndicated 3 hour weekly program The Roger Ashby Oldies Show.

Doug Thompson

CHUM Archives

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