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Paul Hanover, Hamilton’s “Mayor of the Morning,” passes at 96

Paul Hanover, Hamilton’s “Mayor of the Morning,” passes at 96

When you think of Paul Hanover, who dominated the airwaves in Hamilton as CHML’s “Mayor of the Morning,” for decades, you are taken back to the time of personality-driven radio. Every major market had a dominant “morning man” who anchored three or four hours of radio that would generate the largest part of a station’s sales for the entire day. Television had taken away radio’s evening listenership but radio still was the dominant medium in the morning when people were getting ready for work, or in their cars driving to work.

Paul Hanover whose radio career spanned parts of five decades, died at the age of 96 on Monday according to a statement issued by his family..

Born Solomon Yanover, in a 2016 article in the Hamilton Jewish News, he told editor Wendy Schneider that he got the performance bug as a student at Westdale Collegiate where he was the self-admitted class clown. He recalled appearing in a student production of Julius Caesar, and lacking a toga, he appeared in his sister’s prom dress. “I remember that I walked out, stopped, looked out at the audience and went straight into a monologue, and they received it very well. So that gave me the whole inspiration to get into radio, because radio was the only outlet for that sort of stuff.”

He started his radio career as a 17-year-old working in Sault Ste Marie. The war was on and talent was scarce. He must have had talent because in 1945, he went directly from the SOO to CHML Hamilton, which was one of the top radio stations in Canada at that time. He would remain there for the next 41 years. Bob Bratina who worked alongside Hanover for the last 15 years of Hanover’s time at CHML told the Bay Observer, “Paul was really a mentor for me.  When  I worked at CKOC he was the Mayor of the Morning so I called myself the alderman of the afternoon. When I came to CHML I did helicopter traffic reports on his show and 20 years later I took over the CHML Morning Show. 

Paul interviewing bandleader Guy Lombardo

Bratina continued,”Paul was  called  on to emcee many important Hamilton events such as the B’nai Brith sports banquet and was legendary for his sometimes racy humor. He kept a card file of jokes organized by topics and always had clever introductions for celebrities in the audience  such as “Here’s the best mayor money can buy”!  He called his show “Rise and Shine”  His sign on was “Hi all, here’s Paul” and his sign off was “Do as you would be did by!” Paul was the consummate professional. He came in well before showtime to prep, including his weather character Jolly Cholly who was in fact Paul with his voice speeded up on tape.:

In addition to his radio duties and community work Hanover hosted a CTV game show for years which required frequent plane trips to Montreal to tape the show and for a while he was also track announcer at the old Greenwood Race Track. He later admitted that the hectic schedule took its toll on him, but in those days in broadcasting you didn’t say no to opportunities because “you were afraid to let anything go.”

In 1986, after 41 years at CHML, Paul became the first morning man at rival station CKLH (K-Lite) where he remained for another five years before his retirement in 1991. His honours in the Community included being named to Hamilton’s Gallery of Distinction – recognizing contributions to charitable boards and committees – as well as being named Citizen of the Year for the JNF Negev Dinner in 1974. At the height of his career the city named a special day for Hanover which was the subject of a CHCH TV special.

In 2008, this reporter interviewed the then 83-year-old Hanover about his early days in broadcasting when he hosted live broadcasts from the Brant Inn which featured all the big band stars of the 1940s and 1950’s, He still had his radio chops as he described those early days.

Hanover, is survived by his sister Fay, sons Ian and Lawrence, three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His family thanked doctors, nurses, PSWs and other professionals who had helped Hanover in his final years in their statement. In a last request, Hanover asked anyone who wanted to make a donation in his memory to choose their own charity. The funeral service will take place Wednesday at the United Hebrew Memorial Chapel at 28 Ewen Rd., Hamilton.

Editor’s note: Correcting some biographical information.

View Comment (1)
  • Radio is still great but I can’t listen to CHML anymore because I can’t stand to hear the punk CORUS ENTERTANINMENT corporate announcer telling me every 5 minutes how great the station is. CHML still has a great news staff but I don’t listen because of this constant corporate promo drumbeat

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