Small-Town Radio


In Splat Creek, you can pick up the radio station from Poutine-Ville, an hour away, in Quebec.  

You gotta love the home-made commercials.  Like when an English Monsieur Carreau gets into a dialogue with a French truck driver called Ti-Boc about the new restaurant on the highway.  For those of you unfamiliar with French-Canadian culture, Mr. Carreau is not too far off of “Mr. Square-head” which is a mild slur against the English.  Ti-Boc is the American equivalent of “Bubba Joe”.   

The two of them will chat simultaneously in both languages and it’s kinda confusing.  But whatever your background, I’m sorry, you haven’t lived till you’ve heard the Ti-Boc commercial. 

During the evenings, people phone in their requests on a first-come, first-serve basis.  The station sticks the songs onto a computer that runs all night.   

After 8:00 PM, you never know what you might get.  It could be something decent.  Maybe Zeppelin or The Eagles.  The next song might be “Chim-Chimeree” from Mary Poppins.  Or the theme song from the Brady Bunch.   (I shit you not!  They routinely play TV theme songs!)  Or you might end up with a recording of “Toothless Joe Tabernaque” playing his tappin’ spoons at the Upper Carcajou Fiddle Festival.  

Saturday, all day, is Bluegrass gospel music.  But not the cheerful fun kind like they play on Hee-Haw.  These tunes are the creepy kind that whine and drone on.  

It reminds me of Deepest Appalachia, where toothless idiot-savants duel with banjos, mate with their sisters, and the fat sheriff might give you 30 days on the “county farm” for  having a broken taillight.  If you’ve seen the movie O Brother Where Art Thou?  you can relate.

Let’s not forget the stellar cast of “professional” deejays.  (Did I forget to mention this is an “all volunteer” station?)  

On one of shows, Great-Grampa Gargamel hosts a “Psychedelic Rock and Roll” show.  This might sound cool, but it’s not.   Not unless you like to hear someone talk through their dentures about the Byrds or Bob Dylan.  I suspect Great-Grampa was already in his 90’s when the Beatles broke up.  

I love the lady on Sunday afternoons.  A ball of fire, that one is: 

“It’s…uhhhh…ten minutes after two…And…hhh…what was that last song?…(20 seconds of silence)…Banjo Zeke and his Hillbilly Orchestra…playing…uhhh…I seem to haveforgotten…(where is it?)…uhhhhh…No, wait…here it is…”Nearest to thee, Lord Take my Shotgun or I’ll blow your Head Off”

“…The weather forecast for Poutine-Ville…(10 seconds of silence)…I’m looking out the window…its sunnny…uhhh…uhhhhhh…..the thermometer says 26 degrees…that’s warm, I think…Let’s play…uhhhhhhhh…another record.”

I”ve saved the best to last: Radio Bingo.  

Ho-Lee Shit.  As if Bingo wasn’t boring enough to see in person, imagine hearing on the radio, and BILINGUAL.  With the microphone right next to the Bingo machine, so you can hear the noise when the balls turn:

“(Rumble rumble rumble)… BEE….EIGHT…..BAY….HWITTE…(rumble rumble rumble)…..GEE…TWENTY FOUR….JAY VAINT KAT….(rumble rumble rumble)…OH SIXTY SEVEN…OH…SWASSANTE DEESE SET……(rumble rumble rumble)…”

Do you get the idea…?

I was listening to this once, driving my car.  And, not unlike watching a car crash, I had this morbid curiosity and for the love of me, I could NOT turn off the station. 

“(rumble rumble rumble) ….EYE FIFTEEN….”

Finally, after several minutes, I snapped out of it and turned the radio off.  

Twenty minutes later, I thought surely, the Bingo was done now…For God’s sake, nobody with a good conscience would put anything that heinous on the radio, for THAT long. Mabye the music computer is has started again..maybe they’re playing Def Leppard or Wayne Newton right now. 

So I risked it and turned the radio on again:

“…(rumble rumble rumble)….ENN TIRTEE TWO……ENN TRAWNTE DEU………(rumble rumble rumble)…”.

ARRRGH!   They were STILL at it!!!   

And God knows for how long, because I shut the radio off (after resisting the urge to drive into the oncoming headlights).

You know, there are certain things that should just NOT be allowed on the air!  

Where is the CRTC when you need it?



Explore posts in the same categories: Small Town Ontario

Tags: , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

12 Comments on “Small-Town Radio”

  1. Nicole Says:

    LOL! That’s hilarious stuff! How does that work exactly, I wonder. Are there really people playing along at home with their Bingo cards and colorful ink daubers mumbling, “C’mon.. I just need B9! B9!” Then they frantically dial in, desperately hoping no one gets there before them, “BINGO! I got BINGO!”
    I think it would be fun to call in to Ms. Fireball one Sunday afternoon and do that, just to see how she would react, “BINGO! I’ve got BINGO! What do I win?!”

    By the way, hi! 🙂 I just discovered your blog via Brett.

  2. Brett Legree Says:


    Glad you came over to check out Friar’s blog – he does some pretty neat stuff, and I really like his cartoons too (they often arrive in my email at work, and cheer me up when the drudgery of cubicle life is getting to me).


    And that’s why I listen to or “digital downloads” (ARRRR!!!). Hey, I really like this cartoon. You know, this is a perfect example of what we’ve been talking about the last few days.

  3. Friar Says:

    @ Nicole. Welcome to my blog. I have to thank Brett for the introduction . I kinda jumped his coat-tails, and it’s through him that I’m meeting all kinds of nice people.

    Radio Bingo. Yeah. Un-freaking believable, isn’t it? I can just picture Gramma Tibadou and Mama Tante Lucille, in their trailers (or log cabins), clutching their cards, screaming BINGO.

    I wonder what the grand prize is? A butter churn?

    @Brett. When I’m driving, I will often listen to the station by default (The only other choices are the country station, or the same-old same-old FM hits station). I think as long as I avoid the radio bingo, I’ll be okay.

    I think I should sit down one of these evenings, draw a bunch of these cartoons, and fire them off to you. It would be interesting to see what kind of ideas you get. That’s precisely the kind of synergy we’ve been talking about.

  4. @Friar, I don’t think my town even has its own radio station anymore 😦 but we did when I was a little kid. That’s why I subscribe to podcasts. You get the small town vibe from a lot of them, quaint and charming 🙂

  5. Friar Says:


    Wow! Your town must have been pretty important if it had it’s own radio station.
    Not that Splat Creek couldn’t have had one. But I dont’ think they ever WANTED one (which is something I could never figure out).

    Podcasts are great (something we never could have done not too long ago).

    When driving at night, I also love AM radio (especially when travelling in remote parts of the U.S.). Oboy. You really get a sense of small town vibe there!

  6. Ellen Wilson Says:

    Ahhh! Now the cartoons come out! Poutine Ville reminds me of what Canadians put on their fries. Isn’t it called Poutine? This gravy like stuff that saturates the grease?

  7. Friar Says:

    You ain’t seen nothing yet! I’m going to be including more cartoons on a regular basis.

    Heh heh. Good for you, for catching the reference to Poutine. It’s something every American should try…at least ONCE. That is, if your coronary arteries can take it.

    Poutine is the grease-equivalent to a Philly Cheese-steak Sandwhich.

    Mmmm…..Philly Cheese Steak (Drool…..)

  8. Mania Says:

    Once in a while, I get a craving for Poutine, but it has to be from a chip wagon or a hot dog/hamburger joint. The adulterated version served in some restaurants doesn’t count as Poutine. It’s served in a Styrofoam container, and often eaten in the car, or in the summer at a picnic table.

    Poutine starts with a layer of fries, not the sanitized frozen version sold by McCain’s but fries made from large old potatoes, (they make a sweeter tasting fry). The hot fries are covered with a layer of white cheddar cheese curds, smothered with hot brown gravy. This is repeated again–fries, curds, gravy. Then the chip wagon chef squashes this overflowing mess in the Styrofoam container with a plastic lid. When you dig into this mess with your plastic fork you get a mess of fries, gravy and strings of melted cheese. Mmmmmm! For us Poutine connoisseurs, we’ve died and gone to heaven. Cholesterol/sodium overdose! What I hate most is when the fries or gravy are not hot enough and the curds squeak on my teeth when I bite into them. It’s important to find a reputable Poutine source, and stay with it. I have a favourite one at a Canadian Tire parking lot. Quebec has many great poutine places.

    If you’re interested in the authenic history of poutine, check out this website:

    My I add, some people find the sight of poutine revolting, it’s not apretty sight.

  9. Friar Says:


    You should see the local truck stop where I live. They have an even more brutal version of poutine. It’s a huge steaming plate of cheese and gravy and fries, with piles of fried MEAT added on top.

    Talk about an Angioplasty Special! Hey, I’m known for my appetite, but there’s no way I could finish something like that. Even the Friar has his limits.

  10. Hey, I’m Brett’s friend from when we were in the joint. Did he tell you he did some time? Minumum securiy prison affectionately called Mac by its inmates.

    I used to do a lot of travelling in the US and Canada on my bike. I always brought my Sony walkman and listened to the local station wherever I stopped. Some freaky people out there. In Wisconsin there is a station where they read the bible, all day, everyday, and twice on Sundays….

    But the cool think is you can get NPR (National Public Radio) almost everywhere. Even in the middle of the Nevada desert (signal was bouncing off the low clouds). At least you could get some decent music and some good shows with intelligent content.

    I digress. Nice blog, love the ‘toons.

    Francis (did 4 years) Kopke

  11. Friar Says:

    Hey Francis…

    Glad you dropped by.

    Hey, I hear ya. I did some MAJOR HARD TIME at Mac. (That’s where I first met Brett). Mabye I saw you there, too, without realizing it.

    I’ve also driven across the states…I agree, you get some really MESSED UP stations in the rural southwest. (Can you say “Children of the Corn”?)

    I find NPR is like Canada’s CBC. It’s everywhere, all the times. (I don’t like the CBC, but I’ll listen to it by default if I’m up in Northern Armpit, and there is nothing else on the radio).

    The best is when I was driving near Inuvik, and I heard them speak “Eskimo” on the radio.

    “Tukluktutluk Tutquilkut Catlukluk (Click click)….”.

    Ti-Boc would be proud.

  12. […] “I’ll have another Cash Draw,  three Hop Scotches,  a Free Quickie, Sixteen Power Plays, and the Radio Bingo…” […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: