March 30 is officially Red Robinson Day in Vancouver, as the legendary local DJ reaches his 80th birthday and is still going strong.
He began his career in 1954 at the age of 16, and was the first disc jockey to even play rock ‘n’ roll in the city, and has been the recipient of a various of awards.
He’s interviewed countless rock ‘n’ rollers, but does any musical artist today stack up to some of the greats, like Elvis Presley or Buddy Holly, whose music he played in the past?
“Bruno Mars, I think he’s terrific. You know why? Because he’s an entertainer.”
Robinson recalls meeting Elvis for the first time when he was 20-years-old, just a year younger than the musician was at the time.
He says over the course of his career, he’s encountered just a few artists who have a certain commanding presence about them that he’ll never forget.
“There’s an ambiance about some people, like Nat King Cole… and when they walk in the room you know they’re somebody. No one has to tell you who they are, they’re somebody… Elvis was like a guy I’d gone to school with. Down to Earth, wanted to talk to you about things you liked, amazing!”
Things have changed a great deal since those days of radio, and Robinson weighs in on how the industry’s looking right now.
He says many people running stations are taking the show out of the business, but despite a grey landscape he doesn’t believe radio will die, just take on a different form.
“Are you entertaining me, are you informing me? If you have those qualities, you can win.”
So how has Red Robinson managed to have such a long career in the radio world? According to him, it’s simple.
“I would see trends coming, I still do.”