Radio as it was and as it still could be: Red Robinson looks back at his final day on-air in a new book

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s been nearly three years since Red Robinson hung up his headphones for the last time and Vancouver radio hasn’t been the same since. Now, the story of his final show is being told in a new book.

When we last spoke with Robinson, he was signing off from his Red Rock Diner show after more than 60 years in in the business.

In the summer of 2017, his beloved CISL changed owners, from Newcap to Rogers, and changed formats too, from oldies to Sportsnet 650.

Now, that final air shift is the subject of the bookRed Robinson: The Last Broadcast.

LISTEN: Red Robinson

Biographer Robin Brunet weaves together a play-by-play of the show as well as flashing back and forth through Robinson’s career.

“This book has got Pat O’Day in it, Bruce Allen, and myself,” Robinson explains. “And we look back at what [radio] was like and then brought it up to the present.”

When asked about what is lacking in radio today, besides him of course, Robinson answers with one word:  personality.

“I got into the business because I connected with who was on the air.  And I think that’s missing,” he says. “You know, you don’t have the personality types. You have a few, but not as many.”

But don’t think Robinsoren is stuck in the past.

Thanks to close friend and business partner Phil Mackesy, he has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and SoundCloud.

He also perks up when the subject of podcasting is brought up.  “Oh, I’m all for it,” he says.  “There’s got to be something where we’re communicating with each other.  And that’s what, to me, radio was always about.”

The inevitable question is, does Robinson miss being on-air? “Yeah, no, I miss it.  Of course!  You know, it’s like saying to a painter, ‘Put down the brush!'”

At 82, he admittedly doesn’t get around as much as he used to, but he’s not exactly sitting around, twiddling his thumbs either.

“I have an office of my own and I go there everyday. Gotta do something,” he explains. “You know, the wife doesn’t want you hanging around like a sick dog, throwing up on the rug. You know what I mean,” he says with his trademark chuckle.

No chat with Robinson would be complete without a piece of advice.

“If you’re young and have an ambition, for whatever it is, mine was radio, you can achieve it, but you have to dedicate yourself to the proposition that you could fail.”

Look for Red Robinson: The Last Broadcast from Friesen Books.

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