Originally published on the ECOreport

After six years and a half years of entering our homes every Sunday at 3:00, that distinguished sounding voice that introduced many Cortes Community Radio listeners to classical music is going away. Doug Butt left Allegro.

(There is more detail in the podcast above)

Doug Butt Saying Good-Bye

He explained, “I’m 85, that’s one reason and there is a time when one stops this sort of thing. I believe, as a matter of principle, that any sort of volunteer work should be rotated. Somebody should take over and do it his or her way, instead of just me having on. And the last few weeks the last few weeks, I have been excited about it … [Producing Allegro] has been a chore. When I go in, as of late, the routine is to push the buttons and get started. I needed to come home and listen to some of the long and loud pieces that I can’t really play on the program … Before that, I was just listening to the shorter pieces that I was going to play: auditioning them so to speak; and trying to balance them with chamber music and vocal and full orchestral music - to try to have a balanced program, which I always did.”

Before Cortes

The man we all know as the voice of classical music on CKTZ is a former consulting actuary, who resided in Majorca for around 26 years. He occasionally returned to Toronto to work. Doug also once bought and operated a hotel in England, which was successful in every way but monetary. He and his wife purchased property on Cortes in 1996 and used it in the summer.

“When I saw the view at Seaford, that was it. This Cortes grabs people. Once they are here, they are here,” Doug explained.

He  returned, alone, in 2010, as a permanent resident.

Origins Of Allegro

Doug’s interest in classical music began in high school, when he decided to study that instead of German. He started collecting vinyl records in 1955 and has given them away on two separate occasions. The switch to CDs occurred in the 80s and Doug has 600 or so in his home.

After seeing the image at the top of this page, he emailed, “The rehearsal image is a good one as my instrument is the cello. Mine was 250 years old and I donated it to U Vic for use by advanced students.”

“I have a very eclectic taste. I tend to prefer early music: baroque and occasionally some of the renaissance stuff, but I also like Shostakovich and some of the more contemporary composers. Arvo Pärt particularly: he’s a composer that scares some people away, but I like him and play a fair amount on the program.”

One evening when Doug was having dinner with the Corks, Gary suggested that his wife Eleanor and Doug produce a program about classical music for Cortes Community Radio.

“We actually did the first program together in February, 2011, and then she felt she did not want to commit to weekly programs. I did and I was scared out of my mind that I would push the wrong button or move the wrong slider - and I did that on frequent occasions in the first year.”

“I’d write out everything I said, because in Classical music you can’t ad lib. You structure it so that you say something that’s pertinent but relatively short. You can’t yak on about all the different items of the composer’s history. I’m reading all this stuff and trying to make it sound like I’m just talking.” Most of Doug’s memories of broadcasts revolve around goofs.

First Broadcast

“My very first [solo] broadcast Sean told me would come and help orient me to the equipment. He came with his two kids during my broadcast when I was somehow winging it. I pushed the wrong button and turned the CD off. He came rushing up and restored to where he more or less thought was right. I would not have known how to do that.”

The Christmas Broadcast of 2011

Christmas Day 2011 fell on a Sunday. Normally the station would be on autoplay, but Doug asked if he could play the Messiah. Cortes Community Radio had just received it’s license from the CRTC.

“They had rules at that time that for the first six week of broadcast, every show had to be interrupted every 15 minutes with a previously printed announcement that this is CKTZ and we are broadcasting here and if you have any complaint about this, or it is interfering with you let us know at blah, blah, blah phone number.”

He thought, “ I’m not going to interrupt the Messiah every fifteen minutes. Lets see if I can get away with not doing so.”

As the Messiah is in three parts, he read the announcement at the conclusion of each part.

One of the other DJs dropped by the station to remind Doug he should be making the announcement more often. This became unnecessary after Amber, the station’s President at that time, contacted the CRTC and obtained permission to skip it altogether during the Messiah.

Power Outage

Allegro’s only power outage occurred fairly recently. The power failed five minutes into the program but, because the station now has back-up, the station continued to provide stuff online.

Looking For Someone To Broadcast Classical Music

Cortes Community Radio currently has no one to fill the void left by Doug Butt’s departure.

We hope to soon find someone else willing to broadcast classics music.

Top Photo Credit: Dress rehearsal for Handel’s Messiah by the Hobart Baroque Chorus - by Stefan Karpiniec via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)