Stingray’s 17 Classic Rock and Classic Hits stations across the country, led by boom 97.3 (CHBM-FM) Toronto, will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 spaceflight and moon landing Saturday.
Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that first landed humans on the moon on July 20, 1969.
boom 97.3 program director Troy McCallum says starting Saturday at noon and continuing until midnight, all regular station imaging will be suspended and reproduced to sound like it’s coming from Houston Mission Control. In place of regular jock breaks, intros using clips from the five-day mission and lunar landing will play into songs relating to the occasion like Van Morrison’s Moondance, April Wine’s Bad Side of the Moon, The Police classic Walking on the Moon, and Prism’s Spaceship Superstar, to name a few.
At 10 p.m., a special version of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon will air, featuring a “best of” of lunar landing audio with the goal to have astronaut Neil Armstrong’s iconic line “one small step” to run at 10:56 p.m., exactly 50 years to the moment it happened going into the final song on the album, “Eclipse”.
“It’s been a lot of work but it’s going to sound cool,” said McCallum, who alongside imaging producer Derek Welsman, is one of the voices produced to sound like mission control.
“It’s kind of like a rock opera of the Apollo 11 mission for 12 hours, starting chronologically from lift off until they pack things up and head back to the Columbia command module to return to earth,” McCallum told Broadcast Dialogue.
“Every year we try to think of events that are coming up over the course of the year and how we can manipulate our station’s sound to pay tribute to them and this was a big year for Apollo 11,” said McCallum. “I had an idea originally to play Dark Side of The Moon coinciding with the time Neil Armstrong took his first step and then as it got closer we thought ‘how can we make it bigger?'”
McCallum had an old record of the NASA recordings bought at a yard sale, entitled Man on the Moon, which he transferred to mp3 and edited down to clips to be used to intro 46 different songs.
Stingray’s other 16 Classic Hits and Classic Rock stations across the country will pick up boom’s programming including K 97.5 (CKRV-FM) Kamloops, K 96.3 (CKKO-FM) Kelowna, K-97 (CIRK-FM) Edmonton, Zed 98.9 (CIZZ-FM) Red Deer, XL 103 (CFXL-FM) Calgary, Boom rural Alberta stations, Rewind 103.9 (CHNO-FM) Sudbury, C103 (CJMO-FM) Moncton, Rock 88.9 (CHNI-FM) Saint John, UP 93.1 (CIHI-FM) Fredericton, Q104 (CFRQ-FM) Halifax, Z97.9 (CKEZ-FM) New Glasgow, K-Rock 97.5 (VOCM-FM) St. John’s, NL, K-Rock rural Newfoundland, Ocean 100 (CHTN-FM) Charlottetown, and 89.3 K-Rock (CIJK-FM) Kentville, NS.
It’s not the first time, boom has undertaken what McCallum terms a “total domination.”
Several years ago, the station took its sound back to 1985 to mark the anniversary of the iconic Live Aid benefit concert, enlisting Toronto radio veteran Paul Cross to do news reflective of the era, while Evelyn Macko did traffic that included references to Highway 400 getting a three lane extension.
More recently The Rolling Stones and The Beatles have each dominated the boom morning show, while on Halloween the station is re-imaged as “boo 97.3.”
McCallum says it’s a creative way to keep the Classic Hits format fresh.
“I think radio has been labeled as being stale and we like to do things a little differently at boom. We’re faced with a Classic Hits format and our challenge is how to make it fresh and exciting and this is one way to do it,” said McCallum.
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