Local son keeping dad’s radio legacy alive
Paul Reid Christmas Show most requested
Mike Reid remembers well how his father, Paul Reid, would prepare each year to record his famous Christmas Show.
It was an annual thing and he usually started to worry about it in October,” Mike Reid, a Saint-Lazare resident, recalled.
At the peak of his career the radio announcer with the deep, smooth voice was featured in Time magazine, did voice work on several National Film Board of Canada documentaries, was asked to be the main voice for a California based documentary house (which he declined), and was in demand in several markets. He introduced an early version of the iconic Christmas Show while working as an announcer for CHML radio« in Hamilton, Ontario, where he’d created a niche reading poetry on the air as part of his show, Nightcap.
In 1964 Reid was enticed to move his family to Montreal and CJAD, one of the top three AM stations at the time.
His show, Paul Reid’s Wonderful World of Music, became a ratings success and listeners further embraced Reid when he played the Beatles song, Michelle, ten times in a row to celebrate the birth of his daughter of the same name.
It was also in Montreal that Reid’s Christmas Show was perfected. “He usually did a live three-hour show on Dec. 1 that was recorded,” Mike Reid said, and while the show included a few prerecorded pieces to give his dad a break, most of it was live.
The show features Reid’s smooth, measured voice reading classic stories such as the origins of Silent Night, or Charles Tazwell’s children’s story, The Littlest Angel.
“It’s timeless stories well told,” Reid said of the show. “It crosses all racial and religious backgrounds because every religion has the same basis: be good to each other.”
Reid says the notoriously cutthroat radio business took a toll on his dad, who moved back to Hamilton, Ont., for a time amid creative differences with his CJAD boss. Reid eventually came back to Montreal, though poor health dogged him and weakened his iconic voice. Reid passed away in January 1983.
Legacy lives on
Mike Reid, who owns the rights to all of his father’s works, says his mother probably left them to him because he was the best suited to preserve them.
Following in his dad’s footsteps to some degree, Reid, who owns his own West Island Audio Video studio, does a monthly stint on CJAD A.M. radio where he elaborates on emerging technologies.
He has painstakingly remastered hundreds of hours of his father’s work, raising more than $40,000 for children’s charities through their sales during the past 13 years.
He also manages a website dedicated to Paul Reid’s work where samples of the recorded versions of the famous show can be heard or purchased. And though the audience that once embraced the smooth voiced announcer is aging, Reid says the timelessness of his Christmas show will never go out of style. “The show is still the most requested one for the station so that says something, and for us his show will always be the best part of Christmas.”
The CJAD Paul Reid Christmas Show will air this Saturday, Dec. 21, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., Dec. 24 from 9 p.m. to midnight, and Dec. 25 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. To learn more, go to www.paulreidchristmas.com, or contact Mike Reid at 514 782-3000.
The Reid family getting
ready for Christmas.
Paul Reid in a 1967 CJAD publicity photo taken on the rooftop of the Mountain St. studios.