Peter Webb’s son, Stephen, called me yesterday to say that his dad died on Sunday of kidney failure. The funeral was a private family affair only. Peter would have been in his late seventies. As you know, he was the Sales Manager at CHLO when I started there. In fact, Peter helped convince the owner, John Moore, that they definitely needed a PD and that he should hire me. I was always grateful to Peter for that, not to mention a friendship that lasted all the years I knew him. He would later move from CHLO to CJOB as Sales Manager. It was Peter who strongly recommended you to me when I was doing reference checks on you before you came to CHUM from CJOB. So that was a second reason I was indebted to him. Later, we hired him at CHUM where, within a few months, he became the top billing salesperson at the station. He retired about five years ago. He spent the last ten years of his career as Manager of Martin Rosenthal’s Classical 96 in Toronto – a position which he enjoyed and at which he did very well.
According to his son, his favourite memories involved those glorious years at CHLO when we converted the station to Top 40 and became the top station in the market in a matter of months. Revenues went through the roof, and Peter was enjoying every moment of it. Not just because of the billings, but because he and his sales guys were a part of the whole, outlandish Top 40 scene that we had going at the time. While Chuck McCoy, Paul Ski, Hal Weaver and the rest of us were winning on the air, Peter and his guys were winning on the street. We all had a blast. I remember once when he was having trouble convincing a major London department store advertiser to move his advertising from CFPL to CHLO. He asked me to come with him to see if I could help him get the sale. It was a Saturday morning and I remember Peter and I telling the store owner that even though we were a youth oriented station, it was the kids who determined a large number of the purchases in the household. The store owner agreed but said, “How do I know the kids listen to you guys?” I said “There are about nine kids in your store right now. I bet if you ask them, ALL of them will tell you that we are their favourite station.” He did, and they did, and Peter got the sale. On another occasion, Peter and I were out late one night doing a little market research at some of London’s favourite watering holes. When we finally called it a night, we stepped out onto the street only to discover that my car was gone. Peter knew immediately that it must have been towed because I had parked in a no parking zone. So he drove me over to the compound where cars were impounded until the owner’s showed up with the $75 fine required to retrieve their car. It was about 2am. I snuck in through the fence, Peter held the gate open, and I drove off into the night without having to pay the fine. We laughed about that for a long time.
Peter was a very savvy radio guy. Like a lot of radio guys, he never received the recognition he deserved but he was a great broadcaster nevertheless. He made the people he worked with – and the stations he worked for – better. Radio will miss him, and so especially will those of us who had the privilege of working with him.