“I remember the first time I found Streamingoldies. It was not only a delight, but a feeling that I had landed in a safe place. There was and still is a wonderful comfort zone each time I visit. I trust it. I love it.”
He entered my life on September 29, 2007. That was the date ‘kpatch’ became a member of Streamingoldies.com. At the time, I was grateful to have another person who enjoyed the site but beyond that, I didn’t give it much thought.
But then I received an email from him and the site – and my life – changed forever.
The guy said he had a radio background and he just couldn’t stop raving about my site. He had, as he put it, “stumbled upon” the site while surfing the Internet. That was it, nothing more than a very nice email which made me feel good about what had happened. Of course I didn’t know his real name yet.
Over the next few weeks, ‘kpatch‘ and I exchanged emails on an almost daily basis. He would offer praise and the occasional suggestion of something I might want to consider. I would weakly respond with a simple thank you. By now I knew his first name was John. That was it. John.
And then “IT” happened. About one month after John joined, he sent me an unsolicited audio file, just a few things the accompanying email said I might be able to use. Well, I thought it was worth a listen. After all, he did say he had a background in radio.
It was the voice of God…
I can say very honestly that was my first impression when I heard that magnificent voice coming through my speakers. I have been around a lot of guys with “great pipes” over the last 35 years and I had never heard anything like that!
My first thought was to write back … immediately. Returning to his email, it was then that I noticed he had finally included his last name.
Now I have a passion for everything related to radio. I am a rabid history buff when it comes to some of the great names who were spinning tunes on the radio when I was a teenager. It didn’t matter what market they were in; East Coast, West Coast, even Canada. Yeah, Canada. This couldn’t be that John Dolan … could it?
If you grew up in Edmonton, Alberta during the late 50s and early 60s, you probably listened to CHED. Their morning guy was John Dolan.
If you grew up in Toronto in the 60s and 70s, you might have listened to CKEY, CHUM, CFRB or CJEZ-FM. Each of those stations employed a guy named John Dolan. If you ever heard the “Big Brother” Character on the ESPY Awards TV Promos, you were listening to John Dolan. If you’re old enough to remember those Kraft Foods commercials (“Dripping with goodness in each rich, creamy mouthful“), you were listening to John Dolan.
Why would a guy with that type of background be interested in a website run by a guy living in northern New England? A guy who was one of the most creative voiceover talents in Canada wanted to help me? It couldn’t be that John Dolan.
It wasn’t long before phone numbers had been exchanged and I would listen to this marvelous gentleman share stories of what radio had been in the fifties and sixties. He sent me sound clips by the dozens, some of them precious and rare. He even sent me a huge CD package of every theme song from every television show from the early fifties to 2000.
He then popped the question I had never expected. Would it be possible, he asked, to record liners and jingle packages for Streamingoldies? Oh yeah, I thought, what is that going to cost me? I believe I insulted him when I brought up the subject of cost. He didn’t want to be paid for his time; he simply wanted to help out a site he said was “the best music site I have ever seen or heard.”
He was tireless. Day after day, week after week, year after year, he would send me something. Knowing my passion for the history of radio jocks, he meticulously went through his archives and sent me dozens and dozens of sound clips. And of course he sent me an endless supply of jingles and liners. If you listen to the Oldies Stream, you have undoubtedly heard him.
THE FIRST LINER JOHN SENT ME
Just before the end of 2009. John sent me a piece he had created. He called it A Mantra For Peace. I was so impressed with it that I told him it would be the first article posted in 2010. It was the last recorded material he ever sent me.
A few months after he had recorded that piece, I received an email from John, telling me had just received some “life altering” news but didn’t want to share the details in an email. He said he was headed out of town but promised to call when he returned. The call never came but six months later, I again received an email from John, this one more sobering than the first. He said he was returning home and would call, and again mentioned the “life altering” news. Again, the call never came.
I waited a few months before contacting Sharon Edwards, a friend of John’s – and an extraordinary woman – who told me the sad news. John had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and was in hospice.
Let me back up briefly. During one of our phone calls, I had laughed and told John one of my goals in life was to give him a hug. He laughed right back and told me there was plenty of time for that.
I told Sharon about the conversation and during her next visit with John, she graciously gave him the hug I never had the chance to give. I will never forget her kindness then, nor will I ever forget her keeping in touch with me with updates as John slowly faded away.
John passed away on February 28, 2011 in Calgary at the age of 75.
He possessed an extraordinary talent, but his endless giving made him one of the most special people I will ever know. He was a true gentleman, a complete professional, and a genuine human being. People like John come along once in a lifetime. I will treasure every phone call, every email, every memory … forever.
John may no longer be with us but his voice will continue to live on via the Streamingoldies music streams. On the Oldies Stream, his voice shares “liners” between the music with several of us, but on the Fifties Stream – premiering tomorrow on the anniversary of the date I first heard from ‘kpatch’ – his will be the only voice heard on the stream’s liners … exactly as it should be.