Q: Are any Ongoing History shows available for on-demand listening?
A: Sadly, no–at least not on an on-demand basis. The good news is that now that I’m back at Corus, The Ongoing History has returned on the radio. I’m working on a way to make them available for on-demand listening, but that’s a huge regulatory hurdle that involves music licensing. It’ll be difficult, but not impossible. It will, however, take time.
However, if you search for my name on iTunes, you’ll find a big whack of audio books. They don’t feature music (more licensing issues) but it’s me telling all kinds of stories.
Q: Really? That’s a bummer.
A: Yeah, I know. But a new option is to go to Flink.to to see what’s we’re currently making available. If I were you, I’d subscribe and start contributing to all the stories.
Q: Can I download any Ongoing History or The Secret History of Rock shows for listening on my own time?
A: Like I said, I wish. We can’t provide downloads because of copyright and licensing issues surrounding the music embedded in the programs. Believe me, if we could, we would.
Q: Can I hang out with you?
A: Really? I’m not that exciting. But I’m flattered.
I’ve always been a geek. Just ask anyone I went to school with or any the girls I tried to date.
My obsession with music began at age six when my grandmother gave me a transistor radio—an old Lloyds—which spawned an all-consuming fascination with things that came over airwaves. A few years later, my uncle—who moonlighted by servicing jukeboxes—kick started my record collection by dumping a box of old 7-inch singles on me one Sunday afternoon. I was hooked.
In 1980, I got my start CKUW at the University of Winnipeg, which, at the time, was a closed-circuit station. Our broadcast range was limited to one hallway and one cafeteria.
After graduating I ended up at CJRL in Kenora, a 1,000 watt AM station that broadcast to the people and wildlife of Northwestern Ontario. From there, it was on to KX-96/Brandon and Q94-FM/Winnipeg before I ended up at CFNY (renamed The Edge) in October 1986. I’d first heard about the place through Rush’s “Spirit of Radio” when I was still in high school and remember thinking to myself “Wouldn’t it be cool to work there one day?”
After fifteen years as a CFNY/Edge in a variety of announcer gigs, I moved to program director at Y95 in Hamilton, overseeing, in part, a frequency change which made the station Y108.
In 2004, I started a four year stint as the station’s Program Director (where I was somehow was named Canada’s PD of the year in 2005, 2006 and 2008), my latent geekiness once again came to the fore and I became Senior Program Director for Corus Interactive, the online arm of Corus Radio. My last project with Corus was as Head Curator of ExploreMusic, a truly unique online and on-air feature dedicated to music discovery.
Oh, and that radio show. The Ongoing History of New Music debuted in February 1993 and since then it’s…well, it’s taken on a life of its own. There have been over 690 one-hour episodes making it (I think) the longest-running music documentary in Canada and one of the longest in North America—if not the world!
When that (temporarily) ended, I started a new show called The Secret History of Rock which ran for 100 two-hour episodes on stations across the country.
After leaving The Edge/Corus in June 2011, I spent a couple of years working with various broadcasters: Astral/Bell, Jazz-FM, Pattison and NewCap. Then I hooked up with Central Ontario Broadcasting, the Barrie, Ontario-based company that owns Indie 88 in Toronto. I was part of the team that launched the station and became the voice of Indie for a year.
On August 1, 2014, I moved back to Corus as a sort of consultant/strategist–and The Ongoing History was revived as of September 1 of that year. That’s where I am now.
If you’re into reading, I have a weekly national newspaper column in the Metro commuter paper, four published reference works on alt-rock and four audio books, The Alan Cross Guide to Alternative Rock.
What else? There was ExploreMusic-TV on Bite-TV and Aux. The inflight audio programming I did for Air Canada for years. The various TV guest appearances. The official biographies I wrote for rock bands. Appearances in dozens of documentaries. The magazine articles. The narrations. The voicework, The consulting. The speaking gigs and lecture series.
Jeezus, no wonder we don’t have kids.
© 2014, Alan Cross. All rights reserved