Brian Murphy (broadcaster)

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Brian Murphy (born May 24, 1941, Kingston, Ontario; d. October 31, 2005, Ottawa, Ontario) was a notable and award-winning broadcaster and music historian.[1] He is particularly noted for his association with Ottawa radio station CHEZ-FM between 1977 and 1993.

History[edit | edit source]

Brian was a pretty intimidating guy, and could be overwhelming when he talked about music, but music was all he was. At his house, there were albums everywhere. His basement was floor to ceiling records. They were on his stairs and in hallways. I've never seen so many albums in my life.
Steve Colwill, Music Director, CHEZ-FM, 2005[2][3]
I always thought TB Sheets was a sort of one-off inspiration of Van Morrison's, but in fact, it's part of a long blues tradition. A wonderful Ottawa-area DJ named Brian Murphy, who used to do a roots show at a local rock station back when we still had such things, once played a whole series of TB-sheets songs, ending in Morrison's. Who knew?
Posting to "The Great Souls of Our Time: Van Morrison", January 29, 2008.[4]
I remember staying up late at night, listening to CHEZ 106 from Ottawa. Brian Murphy would be on talking in that low, deep, warm voice describing the music in such vivid terms that made me think he was magic, and that the songs were, as he was, larger than life.
Posting to "Your Radio Memories", December 14, 2008.[5]

Brian Murphy's career was closely intertwined with that of Ottawa record retailer, music promoter and radio station owner Harvey Glatt. While still in his teens, Murphy commenced working for Glatt at Glatt's flagship Treble Clef record store on Sparks Street in Ottawa, ultimately becoming the manager of the store. Murphy later developed a weekend overnight radio show, Free Form Radio, on Ottawa's CKBY-FM station. When Glatt started CHEZ-FM, in 1977, Murphy joined the station as its first Music Director[6] and ultimately developed three weekly radio shows on which he regularly appeared: The Source, Blues 106 and Jazz 106.[2]

Brian's music room

Murphy's position at CHEZ was eliminated in the summer of 1993, amidst a change at the station to a "Classic Rock" format. Murphy never returned to radio, and went into a period of slow decline from 1993 until his death twelve years later. He supported himself through providing mix tapes to commercial establishments, as well as selling most of his record collection.[2]

In 2000, Murphy was the recipient of the Blues Heart Award from the Ottawa Blues Society, awarded annually to "an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to fostering appreciation and awareness of blues music".[7]

In 2006, the Brian Murphy award was established with the Ottawa-Carleton School Board, to be given annually to the graduating student chosen by teachers as best representing Brian's characteristics of knowledge, passion, and generosity in music.[8]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Also described as a musicologist. See Notice of Death, October 31, 2005;
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Brian Murphy Obituary Profile, The Ottawa Citizen, November 1, 2005
  3. "One of Mr. Colwill's more vivid memories is of Brian backstage at a Steve Miller concert, lecturing the mesmerized star about the Grateful Dead. Brian knew more about the Dead than the Dead knew about themselves. They were his favourite band." As quoted by Chris Cobb in "Brian Murphy Obituary Profile", The Ottawa Citizen, November 1, 2005
  4. By "alias clio" on The American Digest: Dispatches From The New America;
  5. By "Chris";
  6. Uncredited, "New FM station bows in Ottawa". Billboard, March 5, 1977.
  7. Ottawa Blues Society, List of Blues Heart Award Recipients;
  8. Personal, K. Kilburn