Radio Station 104.5 CHUM FM from Toronto is the number one radio station in Canada attracting a staggering 1.3 million listeners.
For the last twenty-three years 104.5 CHUM FM have been broadcasting their morning show with Roger, Rick and Marilyn live from Barbados for one week every year. Now Darren B. Lamb has taken over from Rick with Roger, Darren and Marilyn.
The idea first came about when Irv Skinner, a Barbadian who was working at 104.5 CHUM FM suggested that they run a competition for listeners to win a trip to his Caribbean home of Barbados and that Roger Ashby, the breakfast show host should broadcast a show from here at the same time.
The first broadcast from Barbados came from a property known back then as 'Heywoods' as it was located on Heywood's beach, now 23 years later Roger is back at the same property, which is these days known as 'Almond Beach Village Beach Resort'.
That was back in 1986 and the interactive promotion has gone from strength to strength every year since.
On their first trip to Barbados, Roger recalls how they were invited to Eddy Grant's house in Bayliss on the east coast of Barbados to meet up with Mick Jagger. On this trip they brought down 10 winners from the competition.
Rick then joined the show later on that year and Marilyn joined the show the following year and the three of them have been entertaining listeners every morning in Toronto ever since. With the departure of Rick, Darren B. Lamb took over his duties and ever since the group of 3 remain - Roger, Darren and Marilyn.
This year was a major expansion on previous years, with all of 104.5 CHUM FM sister stations broadcasting their morning shows live from various locations around Barbados.
From CHUM Winnipeg affiliate live broadcast from Sandy Bay, Ottawa from Amaryllis, Edmonton from Mango Bay and Calgary from Southern Palms, Vancouver winners joined the Amaryllis group and Victoria winners Mango.
In the build up to 'Breakfast in Barbados', 104.5 CHUM FM played a pre recorded snippet of Roger, Rick and Marilyn ten times throughout the day and then listeners have to call in when they heard it. Every twenty-fifth caller was then selected to win an all expenses paid trip to Barbados for the entire week of the live broadcasts. This included airfare, all inclusive accommodation and $500 Canadian dollars spending money. This year 104.5 CHUM FM brought down a total of 33 couples. They also gave away the first two winners for 2009 during the weeklong broadcast.
Loretta Tate, Director of Promotions and Marketing at 104.5 CHUM FM said, "We love coming to Barbados and really encourage our winners to get out and see the island. Barbados has so much to offer, it is such a safe and friendly island. We all really look forward to coming down and really appreciate all the work that the Barbados Tourism Authority does for us in bringing it all together and Air Canada who help us to bring all the winners down too."
Totally Barbados were invited along to one of the live morning broadcasts and got to enjoy watching Roger, Rick and Marilyn as opposed to just listening to them. It was all very professionally put together, as you would expect from Canada's leading radio station. We were given a set of headphones so that we heard exactly what all the listeners in Toronto were hearing, which was very strange as we sat on the beach, with the temperature at about 28 degrees listening to the weather broadcast in Toronto in February!
There was then a live performance from 'Hedley', who had the crowd very excited, as Jacob the lead singer wore nothing except the smallest pair of red shorts! Hedley had been flown to Barbados especially for the event. 'Hedley' are a Canadian rock band from British Columbia.
The lead singer is Jacob Hoggard, who was an 18 year old carpenter working on a construction site when his mother and girlfriend urged him to enter 'Canadian Idol' four years ago. He played in his band "Hedley' as a hobby and then his fellow band member placed a bet that he wouldn't enter. Given Jacob's eccentric personality, it his was all he needed to push him forward. So he entered and became an overnight success story, who has even supported Bon Jovi on tour.
Jacob says, "It worked out better for me to have come third in the competition than actually winning, once it got serious I just stopped going along and that got me even more attention'.
It resulted in 'Hedley' being signed by Universal Records in Canada and the band being reformed with new members Tommy Mac on bass guitar, Dave Rossin on guitar and Chris Crippin on drums.
After they finished their performance the band members then went to meet and greet all the competition winners where they signed autographs and posed for photographs.
TotallyBarbados.com caught up with the boys from 'Hedley' on the beach to find out what drives these four young men and to ask what they thought of Barbados.
Surprisingly, these four are still very young - all under twenty five and yet all of them are already married except for Tommy, who claims he is just married to rock and roll! The other three say that being married keeps them grounded, and it is nice to be reigned back in by their families when the fame goes to their heads.
After doing so well since being signed it is no wonder that fame might go to their heads, the band have done exceptionally well in the last four years with a total of six hit singles and a number one 'On my own', which were all released from the debut album 'Villain'. And they hit number one again with 'She's so sorry' from their second album 'Famous Last Words'.
They said that being in Barbados is a great life experience for them, and that they use all life experiences when it comes to writing their music. They were also using their time in Barbados to make the video for their next single; we tried to ask exactly where on the island they would be filming but only received the reply 'On the beach, right next to the water!'
Perhaps after it is released they may reveal where on the island they used for the location, we believe it was going to be out on a catamaran.
We asked them what they thought of Barbados, and the reply was a resounding 'awesome' from all four of them. They described Barbados as the 'Candle of the Caribbean', and their best experience so far had been swimming with the turtles.
They were also very keen to show us how they had learned to 'wuk up', which is the local term for dancing, and in particular all about the hip movement; they were kind enough to even demonstrate this for us on the beach.
They recommend Barbados for the food, which they claimed is great, especially the Barbadian delicacy of Flying Fish.
They were staying at The Hilton in Barbados, which they also recommend.
When it came to their favourite place on the island, again they were all in agreement that Bathsheba is a must see when visiting Barbados.
Finally we asked them if there was anything that they would really like to do while they were in Barbados and strangely enough the only thing they wanted to do was eat sugar cane!
104.5 CHUM FM also flew in Serena Ryder, who also performed a live set on air on the final day of Breakfast in Barbados. Serena is still young, aged only twenty-three but already her voice is mature beyond her years, she has a unique sound in country and blues and has also shot to fame in Canada over the last couple of years.
Serena has been performing since she was just two years old and was delighted to be in Barbados. Her late father was from neighbouring Trinidad and was also a musician who played guitar in a band called 'Tradewinds'.
In previous years 104.5 CHUM FM has flown in international artists such as Bryan Adams, Nelly Furtado, and Michael Buble who have all performed on the main event of the week - the Breakfast in Barbados Concert, which is held on the 'Big Stage on the Beach' at Harbour Lights nightclub on the south coast.
Finally, we were able to have a few words with the man himself Roger Ashby, who was on the very first trip to Barbados with 104.5 CHUM FM twenty-three years ago - the same year that Serena Ryder and most of Hedley were born!
We asked Roger his thoughts on Barbados and what he would recommend to visitors who may not have been here before.
Roger said, "Barbados is a very safe and friendly place. And one of the first things you have to do is book yourself on the 'Island Safari', so that you get out and see the entire island."
Roger says that Barbados has some great golf courses and that is what he enjoys doing with his afternoons here when he finishes the breakfast show. And in the evenings he likes to go out for a good meal, as there are so many fantastic restaurants in Barbados.
Roger added. "After coming here for twenty-three years, I know my way around now, so I always hire a car and I like to drive out to somewhere different every day and I would advise any visitor to Barbados to do the same."