Listen on the long weekends for your favourite pop classics from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Jim is fortunate to have had two careers in his lifetime. Radio Broadcasting was his first and foremost love from a very early age and being a policeman and helping people was a second deep seated interest. He has been fortunate to have both dreams come true.
First About Radio
At about 11 years of age, as with many prospective radio enthusiasts, Jim, with the help of his dad and a best friend Wally (who went on to become an exceptional Professional Engineer) built a small studio in the basement of his family home. Thanks to Wally, it was equipped with a very low power transmitter. Jim therefore could put on "shows" and broadcast wireless signals to radios in other parts of the house. Yes, his mother, father and sister were the "captive" listeners and were always very supportive despite how bad those early shows may have been.
CJBQ Control Room, Early 1960s
Playing in the basement studio eventually led to a desire to pursue "the real thing". In high school, Jim joined the Radio Club and each week, community-minded CJBQ aired a 15 minute on-air program hosted by various secondary school radio enthusiasts. The broadcasts were comprised of school news, team sports and a song or two. The first song Jim ever introduced on the air at CJBQ with the Moira Secondary School Radio Club was "It Might As Well Rain Until September" by Carole King. Well, Jim was smitten with the broadcast business. He participated in and excelled at a CJBQ radio operator's course and not too long afterwards began part-time work at the radio station doing whatever needed to be done. At this time the radio station was located in a compact building at 11 Victoria Avenue. It really didn't matter if he was asked to do menial tasks, Jim had a foot inside the door and was on cloud nine. 1965: Jim in the new CJBQ control room Jobs gradually expanded to those ranging from filing records in the music library to writing commercials to behind the scenes production work. When Jim began his employment with Quinte Broadcasting, CJBQ AM had been on the air for about 16 years. Jim was there and clearly remembers the sign-on of CJBQ FM (now Mix 97) and the relocation of the company to brand new facilities at 45 Bridge Street East (southwest corner of Bridge and Pinnacle Streets). To Jim, the new station was like paradise.
Jim's first on-air "break" came when reports were received at the radio station of a military aircraft crashing into the Bay of Quinte. The duty announcer at the time, Larry MacDonald said "Jim, you've got to take over while I cover this disastrous crash." It was Larry MacDonald who gave Jim that big break. To this day, Larry teases Jim about having a tape of that first broadcast and threatens jokingly to someday make it public. Dear Lord, it must have sounded like a disaster itself. Despite this however, Jim was gradually given more on-air responsibilities and became a back-up announcer for whomever may have been away. Since Jim was still a high school student, he worked mainly on the weekends and through the summers.
In those early days, Jim was very fortunate to have worked with so many fine staff members. Frank Murray was the General Manager when Jim began and Hamie MacDonald was the Assistant Manager. Gerry Boyce, a very well-known Belleville resident had worked at CJBQ prior to Jim's arrival and interestingly became Jim's high school home room teacher. Other staff Jim was very proud to work with included Tom Hookings, Phil Flagler, Lee Jourard, Jack Devine, Ted Snider, Larry MacDonald, Eugene Lang, Cam Findley, Al and Margo Hall, Dave Charles, Dick Lovering, Dave Sovereign, Milt Johnston, John Ferguson, Casey Baldwin, Neil Kirby, Art Watkins, Peter Thompson and many others. Behind the scenes were station engineers Jack Buchanan, Doug Vanderwater and department staff including Marcia Wildgen, Marg Farrell, Carol Palmer and Ethel McQuaid. Of course Jim will never forget the opportunities and support given to him by the owners/operators of Quinte Broadcasting - the Morton family. Jim first worked under the oversight of Myles Morton and has nothing but praise for his encouragement and support of young talent.
Jim left Belleville to attend Queen's University in Kingston. His employment with CJBQ continued weekends and summers through all his university years. From his CJBQ salary savings, Jim was able to pay for most of his own university education (with a little help from his family as needed along the way).
Jim's return to CJBQ in 2000
Below you will find an outline of Jim living out a second occupational dream as a police officer. Suffice to say at this point, not long after his O.P.P. retirement, Jim was rehired as an announcer at Quinte Broadcasting by then Program Director Peter Thompson. Jim restarted his radio career in 2000 with CJTN AM and then a short time later, was reassigned weekend shifts at 800 CJBQ Jim, now a senior, he recently stepped down from the weekend shift. Now he will only work long weekends. He is fully aware but saddened that he is in the autumn of his broadcasting career but he has enjoyed every aspect, every opportunity provided him and will eventually leave the business feeling fulfilled, content and very appreciative to all those who gave him a chance to live out a passionate dream. Jim on the air at CJBQ in 2013 It's hard to believe, but Jim has worked for Quinte Broadcasting over a 54 year period. Jim always has a great deal of gratitude to his listeners and fans and since his return to CJBQ in 2000, he once again is totally indebted to the Morton family, still owners and operators of Quinte Broadcasting now with Bill Morton as CEO/President and Ginny Morton as Vice President.
ABOUT JIM'S POLICING CAREER
After graduation from Queen's University and work in radio, Jim joined the Ontario Provincial Police in 1972. Even as a youngster Jim always had a real interest in law enforcement, helping people and putting bad guys where they belonged. He first joined the O.P.P. Auxiliary just to get a "taste" of a policeman's life. This experience excited and motivated Jim to apply to and be accepted as a Provincial Constable with the O.P.P. It was a proud moment for him. His policing career began July 10th, 1972. He was first posted to Peterborough and then to General Headquarters in Toronto which, in 1992, relocated to Orillia, Ontario. As a police officer, Jim discovered a whole other side of life, which up to this point he had never known. Jim recalls one early experience as a patrol officer. (Jim loves to tell some of his policing "stories" and often says he should write a book.) Just after training, while still with his coaching officer Bill, Jim stopped an impaired driver on Hwy 7 and found the female operator to be highly intoxicated. She was unable to follow instructions or to even move. As Jim was lifting her from behind the steering wheel, he suddenly felt a warm wet sensation on his legs. Yes, it was urine. The intoxicated woman emptied her apparently full bladder through his uniform and pee ran all the way down Jim's legs, over his boots and onto the pavement. Well, what an introduction to the realities of policing. Being a police officer, of course, can be very dangerous. Jim and his partner once actually faced a rifle pointing at them from very close range by a confused and distressed father of an RCMP officer. No shots were fired and the situation was successfully resolved without violence. That's a memory Jim will never forget. Although the policing role often had very sad and difficult emotional aspects associated with it, most former police officers will tell you, like Jim, there's simply nothing like serving your community and province in such a front-line manner.
Jim was promoted to Corporal after seven years on the O.P.P. and was transferred to Staff Services Branch at General Headquarters in Toronto. The Ontario Provincial Police had just changed the way it recruited new officers and Jim was one of three interviewers who would conduct in-depth one-on-one interviews with prospective O.P.P. applicants. On the basis of that interview, Jim and the other recruiters would recommend hiring an individual or declining their application. Jim actually hired hundreds and hundreds of new constables. Over time, the O.P.P. grew and so did the human resource department. With that growth came new responsibilities for Jim until eventually he became the Director of the entire department which became known as "O.P.P. Human Resource Services". Jim managed a large office. Responsibilities, in addition to hiring, also involved the "release" of unsuitable probationary officers, transfers and relocation of uniform members, assessing performance evaluations of all constables within the O.P.P. , dealing with daily and on-going human resource issues at all Force locations in the province, and the list goes on. In the course of his positions, Jim has traveled throughout all of Ontario (many citizens simply have no understanding as to just how large an area Ontario covers), Montreal, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary and Vancouver.
One applicant Jim interviewed and hired in the 1980's was Provincial Constable Vince Hawkes. Constable Hawkes went on to enjoy a very impressive career including becoming one of North America's most credible crime scene specialists in the field of "blood spattering". Vince was promoted several times, reaching the pinnacle of positions by becoming the O.P.P. Commissioner in March 2014. Jim always thought one of his "hires" would become Commissioner and that is a dream come true for him". He congratulates Commissioner Hawkes and is extremely proud of him.
Jim was promoted several times and became a Commissioned Officer. Due to an illness in the family, Jim reluctantly decided to accept an early retirement bonus package offered by the Ontario Government and retired after 28 years of service. He relocated to Belleville. Three months later he was back working with Quinte Broadcasting.
SOME QUICK FACTS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT JIM
- Jim was born in Campbellford, Ontario and due to the nature of his father's work with Ontario Hydro, moved to different area communities including Peterborough, Trenton, Frankford and Belleville
- Jim moved to Belleville in time to start Grade 7 at Bayview Public School on Dundas Street East (no longer standing). Grade 8 was spent in the auditorium of Queen Elizabeth Public School on MacDonald Ave. (Harry J. Clarke Public School was under construction and not yet ready for occupancy.)
- Jim was both a Cub and Boy Scout
- Jim has never been without a job since he was 7 years old (including being a paperboy, working in a snack bar, setting pins in a bowling alley before automation)
- Jim attended Moira Secondary School from grades 9 - 13
- Jim became an Air Cadet with 608 Belleville Squadron. He became a Squadron Flight Sergeant and attended Air Cadet Camp at C.F.B. Trenton
- When in Grade 12, Jim was the Grand Champion of the Rotary, Belleville and area, Science Fair. He went on to compete at the National Science Fair held at the University of Manitoba where he received an Honourable Mention
- Jim received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Queen's University. His major was Political Science with a minor in Sociology
- In 1971-72, Jim was the on-air anchor for the noon news at CKWS TV. See a clip below!
- Jim earned his "wings" as a private pilot at Belleville Flying Club in his early 20s
- As a teenager working at CJBQ in the 1960s, Jim became good friends with CJBQ's first Rock and Roll D.J. Dave Charles. Dave was a "mover and groover" and truly turned Belleville on its ear. Dave was a leader in promoting Canadian talent and brought many well know groups to dances/concerts he called "Dave's Gigs" held at the Belleville Memorial Centre. Jim was often a guest emcee.
- In 1965, Dave Charles was able to acquire tickets to see The Beatles in concert at Maple Leaf Gardens. He took along Jim and Sandra Flagler (daughter of CJBQ's Phil Flagler). The concert was amazing but what was a more amazing surprise was that Dave had also acquired tickets to a press conference held in the Garden's "Hot Stove Lounge" immediately following the concert. There, Jim found himself just steps away from "The Fab Four". Jim asked a question which was answered by John Lennon. Jim was also able to take three photos on his personal camera and for the first time, shares one of those photos with his listeners. Jim still has the Concert Program and the Media tickets allowing access to the Beatles press conference plus his own photos
- Jim also attended Neil Diamond and Johnny Cash concerts
- With only two years policing experience, Jim was trained as a "Coach Officer" and assigned one the graduates from the very first Women's Recruit Class of 1974
- Jim was successful in passing the O.P.P. "Marine's Officer's" training course held on Lake Simcoe and given summer duties on boat patrols and winter duties on snowmobiles
- Jim was successful in become a "Training Officer" and taught in-service training to O.P.P. uniform officers. He was also a guest lecturer at the Ontario Police College.
- When moving radar was first introduced into the province, Jim wrote a training manual for his own use as a training officer. A Deputy Commissioner at General Headquarters, however, felt the manual was so well done he directed it be printed, distributed and used by all in-service trainers throughout the province
- For many years in the 1970s and early 1980s, Jim was the commentator for the Ontario Provincial Motorcycle Precision Riding Team "The Golden Helmets". The team traveled to and participated in various parades and fall fairs. On one occasion, Jim and the team performed before a massive grandstand audience at the Canadian National Exhibition
- Jim was a member of a major study group tasked with the introduction of a new province-wide O.P.P. Communications System
- Jim was the recipient of "The Ginette Hince Memorial Award" for "Most Outstanding Recruiter". Ginette was a uniform Officer who sadly passed away as a result of breast cancer when she was just in her mid-twenties.
- Following his O.P.P. retirement, Jim moved from Orillia back to the Belleville area and established residence at the Wright Family Homestead. Jim owns two farms once owned and operated by his grandparents, Ambrose and Ruby Wright. One farm is located east of Highway 62 and the other on the west side. Since at least 1925, it is known the larger farm was named "Maple Grove Farm" and Jim has kept that name in the forefront even today. The current phone number at the farm is original to the 20th century date a telephone was first installed.
Jim has three grown dapple coloured mini-dachshund(wiener dogs!) Kally, Lola and Ozzie keeps him busy and they are his best pal.
To all those who have lent a hand, provided an opportunity, been faithful friends, loyal sponsors and listeners, or simply admired acquaintances, please know that Jim will be forever grateful.
Thanks, from Jim
Jim loves hearing from his listeners and may be reached:
by fax at 613-969-8122 or
via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or
via our Online Form Here or
by regular mail by writing to Jim Wright, CJBQ Radio, 10 South Front Street, Belleville K8N 2Y3