Glen Woodcock, the current iron man of Toronto radio, grew up in the city and fell in love with big band music as a teenager, at the height of the rock ’n’ roll craze. He bought as many big band and jazz LPs as he could afford, first at Sam’s original store on College Street, then at Sam’s and A&A Records’ Yonge Street locations. He also frequented antique and junk stores where he would buy every 78 rpm big band record he could find.
Those LPs formed the basis of the collection he still uses on The Big Bands with Glen Woodcock, which will celebrate its 42nd anniversary on JAZZFM.91 in September, 2018.
Glen studied Radio & Television Arts at Ryerson in the 1960s, then switched to the school’s Journalism program. Before graduation he landed his dream job – as a sportswriter for the old Toronto Telegram. When the Tely folded in 1971 Glen was one of the 62 people who started the Toronto Sun, eventually becoming its Associate Editor. But he always kept a hand in broadcasting and, in 1975, when CJRT-FM offered him the chance to host The Big Bands, he was ready.
During his years as a broadcaster, and entertainment editor at the Telegram, he got to meet some of the greats in the world of jazz – Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme and many, many more. He says, “I looked like such a kid when I was the Tely’s entertainment editor that Ella gave me the singular honour of letting my sit through one of her rehearsals for a gig at the Royal York Hotel’s Imperial Room – something, I was told, that almost never happened.”
Thanks to the compact disc, Glen says the biggest difference between now and when he started is the number of Canadian big band recordings available for use on his shows. In the 1990s he and wife Connie launched their own small record label, formed to preserve the sounds of Canadian big bands in the 1940s.In November, 2017 he was given the Ken Page Memorial Trust’s Lifetime Achievement Award at a gala, star-studded jazz dinner at the Old Mill in Toronto.
You can reach Glen at firstname.lastname@example.org