Nevin Grant was synonymous with the heyday of radio station CKOC and with the promotion of Canadian talent in the broadcasting industry. He passed away yesterday He had been named to receive the Allan Waters Lifetime Achievement Award and induction in the Canadian Broadcasters Hall of Fame this year. That ceremony will have to await the end of the current pandemic. In a career that spanned nearly four decades, 35 of which were as program head at CKOC he presided over the era of AM rock powerhouses like CKOC, CHUM, WABC New York and CKLW Windsor.
Nevin also boasted one of the most extensive record collections in Canada with over 15,000 45 RPM singles (not counting albums) from pop, rock, R & B, Soul and blues artists
Nevin Grant ‘The Hitmaker’ was music director and later became PD of 1150 CKOC Hamilton from 1968 to 2003.
“When I came the station was already a Top 40 station and we stayed a Top 40 station until 1991,” Grant mentioned in an article in Canadian Business Journal. “There were always format changes going on within, but no major change of format per se. The only big change I went through was in 1991 where we changed from a Top-40 to an Oldies format and that didn’t represent that big a change because we just were playing the music of the three generations of people before that. It was all familiar to us.”
Other than changes in personnel, the current basic format model stayed in place for years. During his 45 years at the station, Grant has seen a number of broadcasting legends come through CKOC.
“Dave Charles, who was our drive guy for five years during the 1970s,” is one of the top consultants in the world, working mostly in Asia the United States and Canada,” Grant told Canadian Business Journal, in an interview ten years ago “We’ve had Bob Bratina who’s now the mayor of Hamilton work for us on two different occasions, once as a midday announcer and then another time as a talk-show host. We’ve had Roger Ashby who is still doing mornings on CHUM-FM in Toronto and Bill Bright who went on to do mornings at CFRB in Toronto.” Newscaster Brent Sleightholm was a mainstay at CKOC.
Asked about the future of radio Grant once said “I think radio has been pronounced dead about 30 times and it usually comes back,” Grant states. “Television was supposed to kill radio but radio just reinvented itself and said we can’t do the Amos & Andy Show anymore – we can’t beat them (TV) at these quiz games but we’ll just play music and news and then talk shows came on very big.”
In his tribute to his mentor, Dave Charles wrote , “Nevin was a master at developing music research systems. His 1150 CKOC Hit Charts were very accurate because Nevin created amazing research systems and the record companies respected that. If CKOC charted a record, you’d better believe that was selling too. No amount of hype could change the honesty of Nevin’s chart research. The CKOC Top 40 charts were widely collected throughout Southern Ontario.” Nevin Grant is survived by his wife Heather.