Randy Owen

portraitrandyBorn and raised in Welland, Ont., Randy's award-winning broadcasting career began with two consecutive awards for the top mark in radio class at Niagara College. While a first year college student, he began working evenings and weekends at 1470 CHOW, his hometown country music station. Eventually, Randy worked his way to mid-day announcer and music director.

Randy spent nine years working afternoon drive at CKGL in Kitchener and went on to become music director. In 1988, he became the first (and only) person to win both national Canadian country music awards (RPM Big Country Awards, Canadian Country Music Association) for on-air personality in the same year.

In 1997, Randy hosted the popular cross-Canada country music request show "Cryin'', Lovin'' or Leavin''" via satellite for three years.

Randy came to Tillsonburg and Country 107.3 in October 2007, bringing a wealth of experience and love of country music, from the classics to today's hits.

Other career highlights include emceeing a concert in October 2009 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, serving as the voice announcer for the Ontario country music awards show, and inducting guitar great Wendell Ferguson into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

Randy has interviewed a long list of country music personalities, including Johnny Cash, Johnny Reid, Garth Brooks, Gord Bamford, Vince Gill, Terri Clark, Faith Hill, Paul Brandt, Waylon Jennings, Shania Twain, George Jones and many, many more! And you may catch him singing a Cash or Haggard song at a jam or concert in the area.

Join Randy weekdays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.


An Amazing Life Story, Well-Documented

Randy Owen
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Clothing store and restaurant businessman Saul Holiff was born on this date in 1925 in London, Ont.  He would later manage the career of country music legend Johnny Cash for 14 years (through the 1960's and early 1970's) and, at various times, also managed Tommy Hunter, George Jones and The Statler Brothers.  It was Saul who suggested a female artist be added to The Johnny Cash Show and recommended June Carter.  My friend, retired booking agent Marilyne Caswell graciously allowed me to copy a rare photo in her collection of Johnny, June, guitarist Luther Perkins and Saul in the Holiff London home in early 1963, about a month before Johnny recorded June's song "Ring of Fire."  Saul's amazing story is documented in his son Jonathan's excellent 2012 film "My Father and the Man in Black" and in author Julie Chadwick's book "The Man Who Carried Cash."  I highly recommend both.  Saul took his own life in 2005 and earlier this year was inducted posthumously into the London Music Hall of Fame.  Earlier this week, The University of Victoria (B.C.) launched a new online exhibit, "Volatile Attractions:  Saul Holiff, Johnny Cash, and Managing a Music Legend."  Saul had meticulously documented his career and life and Jonathan has donated some incredibly historic items, including his father's scrapebook (of which all 213 pages have been scanned).  (The collection can viewed at:  https://exhibits.library.uvic.ca/spotlight/holiff/feature/browse-collection-items)
 
Saul Holiff
 
Celebrating Birthdays Today:  Country 107 3 morning man Craig Fox marks another year around the sun; Barry Hutchens, of the brother trio The Hutchens, also turns a year older; pop singer Cyndi Lauper turns 65 (she released a country album in 2016, the same year The Lovelocks covered her hit "Time After Time"); Alan Osmond, of The Osmond Brothers, turns 69 (the brothers pursued a country music career in the mid-1980's); and legendary songwriter, singer, actor, Rhodes Scholar, former recording studio janitor and helicopter pilot Kris Kristofferson turns 82 (he co-starred in a mid-1980's HBO movie called "Flashpoint" in which he plays a Texas Border Patrol officer who discovers the truth about the JFK assassination - Kris autographed a picture disc I have of the soundtrack album).
 
Also Born on This Date:  singer/songwriter Roy Drusky, who had 42 singles on the country music charts from 1960-1977, in 1930 (he died in 2004).
 
Passages:  songwriter Bobby Boyd (among the songs he wrote or co-wrote were Alabama's "In Pictures," Garth Brooks' "Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House" and Aaron Tippin's "Workin' Man's Ph.D") one year ago today at age 69.
 
Happy Anniversary:  Saskatchewan singer/songwriter Codie Prevost and his wife, Ashley, celebrate 5 years of marriage today.
 
"Is This For Real?":  two years ago today, while I was doing a live interview with singer/songwriter Jessica Mitchell, a listener called in to say how much she enjoyed Jessica's music.  The caller was Terri Clark and, at first, Jessica thought it might have been a prank.  But it wasn't.  Terri and Jessica met later that night in Toronto and have since toured together.
 
Sad News:  seven years ago today, Glen Campbell's wife, Kim, announced the country music star had Alzheimer's Disease.  His battle with the affliction was documented in the film "I'll Be Me."  Glen died last year.
 
Hank's Royalties:  on this date in 1993, Cathy Yvonne Stone, the illegitimate daughter of country music icon Hank Williams, reached an out-of-court settlement ending her 8-year fight for a share of his royalties.  She performs under the name Jett Williams and was born five days after Hank had died.
 
Cable Wars:  23 years ago today, CMT (Country Music Television) in the U.S. announced it was obtaining a 20% interest in Canada's New Country Network (NCN).  When the Canadian channel was launched, the American CMT channel was removed from Canadian cable systems.  The Canadian channel became known as CMT Canada, which lasted until last year when they dropped their country music programming.
 
And on this date in 1846, Adolphe Sax patented his invention, the saxophone.  Although not consider a country music instrument, it has been used effectively on various country music songs.  Even the late Dan Seals played one in concert!
Last Updated ( Friday, 22 June 2018 07:39 )
 

Not Quite Ready for Success

Randy Owen
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Happy 59th birthday today to singer/songwriter Kathy Mattea!  Born in South Charleston, West Virginia, she was the whiz kid in her family, earning an engineering major, a civics major and a chemistry major!  Kathy was discovered in 1983 while working as a waitress in Nashville and signed her first recording contract on her birthday that year.  Although a successful music career had been a dream, she wasn't quite completely ready for it.  Mattea once said, "I didn't know how to be a star, how to wear makeup.  I didn't know how to buy clothes.  My first album cover, the shirt I had on came from K-Mart.  I am not kidding."  She went on to have 37 singles on the country music charts from 1983-2000, with four of them going all the way to the top.
 
Kathy Mattea
Kathy Mattea
 
Also Celebrating Birthdays Today:  Chandler Baldwin, bassist with the group LANCO, turns 26; singer/songwriter Allison Moorer, younger sister of singer Shelby Lynne, turns 46; Porter Howell, guitarist with Little Texas, turns 54; Thorndale, Ont. singer Donny Bentum turns 61 (catch him this Sat. afternoon performing at Casey's Park on Hwy 19 north of Tillsonburg); 3-time Canadian Open Singing Contest winner Joan Spalding also turns 61; singer, pianist and author Hillary Kanter turns 62; '80's country star Leon Everette turns 70; and bluegrass star Eddie Adcock turns 80.
 
Also Born on This Date:  Oklahoma-born songwriter Kenny O'Dell in 1944.  Among the hits he wrote or co-wrote were The Judds' "Mama He's Crazy" and Charlie Rich's "Behind Closed Doors."  Kenny died in March of this year.
 
All in the Family:  singer Jaydee Bixby's son, Brixton, turns 3 today; and Jason McCoy's daughter, Grace, turns 12.
 
Passages:  singer/songwriter Freddy Powers in 2016 at age 84 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease (a friend, he worked with Merle Haggard for decades with both writing such hits as "I Always Get Lucky With You," "A Friend in California" and "Let's Chase Each Other Around the Room Tonight"); and Cajun and country musician Jimmy C. Newman in 2014 at age 86 after a brief illness.
 
JoJo on the GoGo:  three years ago today, singer JoJo Mason released his first single, "It's All Good!"
 
In The Studio:  43 years ago today, Emmylou Harris recorded the Don Gibson song "Sweet Dreams."  The all-star musician lineup included James Burton on electric guitar, Emmylou and Bernie Leadon on acoustic guitars, Hank DeVito played pedal steel, Glen D. Hardin on piano, Emory Gordy on bass, and Rodney Crowell and Herb Pedersen sang backing vocals.  The song became Emmylou's second #1 hit.
 
That Was Special:  four years ago today, a Kiley Joe Masson performance at his dad's beautiful Crimson Hollow near Vienna, Ont. turned into a birthday party for Al Hubley, who turned 80, and Kiley's dad, Paul (also Al's son-in-law), turned 70.  I sang one of my standbys, Merle Haggard's "Silver Wings" and surprised everyone (including me) by doing the Conway & Loretta classic "Lousiana Woman/Mississippi Man" with Loretta Lynn tribute artist Amberley Beatty.  The looks on some of my friends' faces was priceless!
 
Kathy Mattea
photo by Tammy Gould
 
And 63 years ago today, Johnny Cash's first record, "Hey Porter" backed with "Cry, Cry, Cry," was released on the Sun record label.  In a 1988 interview with Johnny, he told me Sam Phillips gave him a 78rpm record of the songs and he immediately went to the local Memphis radio station, where the on-air DJ interviewed Cash and played one side of the record.  As he flipped the heavy 78 over to play the other side, it broke!  Johnny went back to Sam, heartbroken, thinking his career was over because he thought only one copy of the record had been made.  Sam pointed to a box and, as Johnny told me, "to my amazement, he had a box full of them!"
Last Updated ( Thursday, 21 June 2018 09:13 )
 

Persistance

Randy Owen
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Happy 26th birthday today to singer/songwriter Genevieve Fisher!  Born in London, Ont. of Aboriginal and Italian parents, the Western University graduate is a prime example of how persistance pays off.  Gen has released about 16 singles in her career (and, BTW, Country 107 3 is the only station to have played them all) but it wasn't until 2016 that she saw her first national hit.  Before "Take It On Home," her first Top 40 hit, had been released, I was given the opportunity to hear it and my reaction at the time was that this was the song that would take her to a whole new level in country music (I'm not always right about things like this, but am sure glad I was about this one).  Genevieve has been nominated for several national, provincial and local awards, winning the Jack Richardson London Music Awards for Country Artist of the Year last year.  Fisher has a busy summer schedule that includes a couple of performances in nearby Woodstock (July 1 and in August for their annual StreetFest), and big festivals like Manitoulin Country Fest, Boots & Hearts, the Havelock Jamboree and the CNE!  (Pic:  Genevieve during a photo shoot last year outside Purple Hill Country Music Hall)
 
Genevieve Fisher
Genevieve Fisher
 
Also Celebrating Birthdays Today:  Oakville, Ont. singer/songwriter Krista Earle marks another year around the sun; Yorkton, Sask. singer Samara Yung turns 31; singer Grace Potter, who sang with Kenny Chesney on his 2010 hit "You and Tequila," turns 35; Eli Young Band drummer Chris Thompson turns 38; singer/songwriter Chuck Wicks turns 39; singer Dan Tyminski, of Alison Krauss & Union Station turns 51; Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman, who's been married to Keith Urban since 2006, also turns 51; singer/guitarist Pam Perry of the late-80's all-girl group Wild Rose, turns 58; pop star Lionel Richie (who had a Top 10 country hit in 1987 with Alabama on "Deep River Woman") turns 69; and the legendary Anne Murray, who Elvis Presley once named as his favourite female singer, turns 73 (BTW, Anne married her late former husband Bill Langstroth on her birthday in 1975).
 
Also Born on This Date:  legendary guitarist and producer Chet Atkins, who got his first guitar in exchange for a rusty old pistol, in 1924 (he died in 2001); singer, songwriter and actor T. Texas Tyler, who wrote the classic "Deck of Cards," in 1916 (he died in 1972); and folksinger Jimmie Driftwood, best known for writing the song "The Battle of New Orleans," in 1907 (he died in 1998).
 
Stepping Up:  nine years ago today, at a concert in Edmonton, Charley Pride was given a key to the city of Leduc by its mayor.  Earlier that year, Charley heard Leduc fan Jaqueline Sharp had paid $1200 for a pair of concert tickets from an online resale website when they had a face value of $133 each.  Pride not only reimbursed Jaqueline the $1200, but he also gave her free front-row tickets to his Edmonton concert!
 
Poster Boy:  28 years ago today, Patty Loveless and Mark Collie played at Superstars, a club in Toronto.  Backstage, Mark autographed a poster for me.
 
Passages:  Grand Ole Opry comedian and musician Whitey Ford, nicknamed The Duke of Paducah, in 1986 at age 85; and Ira Louvin, of The Louvin Brothers duo, in 1965 at age 41 in a Missouri car crash.
 
Bigger Than the Beatles:  on this date in 1964, after having stayed at #1 on the country chart for 3 weeks, Buck Owens' hit "My Heart Skips a Beat" had been replaced by another Buck hit, "Together Again" (for 2 weeks), only to return and replace "Together Again" at the top spot for another 4 consecutive weeks!  1964 was the year The Beatles "conquered" America, but it was also the year Buck spent a total of 21 weeks at #1 on the country charts, more than the combined time the Beatles spent at #1 on the pop chart!
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 June 2018 07:18 )
 

Heart of Stone

Randy Owen
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Happy 62nd birthday today to singer/songwriter Douglas Brooks!  Born in Marietta, Georgia and raised in Newnan, he began performing in 1963.  Just as his recording career began to take off, Doug changed his last name to Stone to avoid any confusion with another star whose career was on the rise...Garth.  He had 22 singles on the Billboard country chart from 1990-2000, including four #1 hits.  Doug Stone has been plagued with heart problems and had resigned himself to that fact.  He once said, "I'm a high risk for stroke and heart attack.  That's just the way my body is.  After the second heart attack, I reached a place where I'm at peace with death."  Here's hoping it's a long way away.
 
Doug Stone
 
Also Celebrating Birthdays Today:  singer, musician and banjoist Scott Avett, of the alt-country band The Avett Brothers, turns 42; singer/songwriter and cancer survivor Sean Hogan marks another year around the sun (he's a past recipient of the Canadian Country Music Association Roots Artist and Independent Artist of the Year awards); and Nova Scotia-born Al Hubley, a local "jammer" in the Tillsonburg area and a mentor to me, turns 84.
 
Also Born on This Date:  actor "Pat" Buttram in 1915 (a sidekick to Gene Autry, he played Mr. Haney on TV's "Green Acres" and was a writer and character on "Hee Haw" before his death in 1994); musician, guitarist and singer Lester Flatt, of the legendary bluegrass duo Flatt & Scruggs, in 1914 (they were Grand Ole Opry members in 1955 and inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985 - Lester died in 1979); and Howard Dixon, of The Dixon Brothers, in 1903 (he died in 1961).
 
Passages:  singer Slim Whitman, known for his yodelling and 3-octave range, in 2013 of heart failure at age 90; and singer/guitarist Bobby Helms, whose version of  "Jingle Bell Rock" is a Christmas standard, in 1997 of emphysema at age 61 (although mainly regarded as a pop singer, his hits "Fraulein" and "My Special Angel" reached #1 on the country charts).
 
Welcome to the Hall:  six years ago today, the Canadian Country Music Association announced singers Johnny Burke and Ralph Murphy would be inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame later that year (Johnny passed away last year).
 
In the Studio:  45 years ago today, Conway Twitty recorded "(Lying Here With) Linda on My Mind."  It would become his 17th #1 country hit.
 
Workin' It:  58 years ago today, Loretta Lynn's first single, "Honky Tonk Girl," appeared on the Billboard country charts.  Neither the small record label nor Loretta had enough money to promote it, so she and her husband mailed copies to radio DJ's by hand!
 
That's a Lot of Vinyl:  42 years ago today, Eddy Arnold's 100th country hit, "Cowboy," debuted on the country charts.  It peaked at #13.
 
Opry History:  on this date in 1926, harmonica player Deford Bailey made his first appearance on the Opry, where he became one of the most popular Opry performers for the next decade-and-a-half.  Deford became the most important black performer in country music before Charley Pride, 40 years before Charley's Opry debut.  Bailey died in 1982.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 19 June 2018 07:29 )
 

Thanks for Another Great Turtlefest Downtown Block Party

Randy Owen
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Now that Turtlefest in Tillsonburg, Ont. is history for another year, it's a good time to say thanks to everyone involved, especially with the Downtown Block Party.  First, thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy the family-friendly concert.  It was nice to see so many old and new friends in the crowd.  I noticed one young man got right into Nicole Rayy's set and sat himself down near the front of the stage to absorb the experience!  Thanks to the many organizers and the army of volunteers who helped pull every detail into place.  Thanks to the many sponsors whose contributions make such an event possible, including the new ones who came onboard this year.  Thanks to the vendors on Broadway who embraced having the street closed to vehicular traffic for most of the day and made the most of it with their participation in the street event.  A huge thanks to the town of Tillsonburg for supporting the event, and their staff and crews who helped set up and tear down the site.  Usually, the opening ceremonies have been held elsewhere, but this year they were held on the Block Party stage.  At one point, I saw Mayor Stephen Molnar, fresh from being dumped a few times in the celebrity dunk tank, look at the crowd from the stage and seem overwhelmed by the turnout, exclaiming (off mic), "Wow!"  Thanks to the sound and stage crew.  And special thanks to the artists and musicians.
 
Turtlefest 2018
 
Luck and timing had a part in making this year's concert so timely.  Earlier in the week, it was announced the duo Buck Twenty would be representing Ontario in a contest with the winner getting a prime gig during Country Music Week in Hamilton in September!  Nicole Rayy's new single, "Bad Habits," was released on the very day of the Downtown Block Party!  Leah Daniels' current singe, "1st," continues to garner more and more radio airplay across Canada.  And having headliner Andrew Hyatt perform less than two weeks after being named Rising Star of the Year at the Ontario Country Music Awards was a huge bonus!  Plus, he's got a new single called "Habit," and he was announced as one of three finalists in SiriusXM's Top of the Country contest (with the winner to receive a cash prize of $25,000) earlier in the week!  It's gonna be hard to top the serendipity involved with each artist this year.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 19 June 2018 07:30 )
 

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