The Vinyl Cafe

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The Vinyl Cafe
Genre Variety show
Running time 1 hour
Country of origin Canada
Language(s) English
Home station CBC Radio
Syndicates Public Radio International
Starring Stuart McLean
Produced by Jess Milton
Original release 1994 – 2015
No. of episodes 400+
Website The Vinyl Cafe
Podcast Vinyl Cafe Stories

The Vinyl Cafe is an hour-long radio variety show hosted by Stuart McLean that was broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's radio service and was syndicated to approximately 80 U.S. public radio stations through Public Radio International.[1] It aired on Sunday at noon EST and Tuesday at 11:00 pm EST on CBC Radio One and Saturday at 9 am EST on CBC Radio 2. The program is also available as a podcast, although the podcasts are usually just McLean's stories for studio episodes because of copyright restrictions on recorded music.[2] CBC Radio also currently airs a weekday afternoon program, under the title Vinyl Cafe Stories, which consists of two previously recorded Dave and Morley stories per episode.

The show was independently produced by McLean and sold to the CBC. Each season had approximately 22 new episodes. Half of those were recorded in the studio and the other half were done with live audiences in theatres across Canada and the United States. One episode was recorded onboard VIA Rail's transcontinental passenger train The Canadian from the dome observation car, complete with an audience of passengers and featured a rail travel theme. The musical guest was singer songwriter Reid Jamieson.

The Vinyl Cafe stopped touring and producing new episodes following McLean's diagnosis with melanoma in November 2015.[3] McLean announced on December 13, 2016 that he required a second round of treatment, meaning further delay in producing new episodes, and that repeats of past shows would stop airing on CBC Radio One effective January 2017 to "make room for others to share their work on the radio."[4] McLean died on February 15, 2017.[5]

Content[edit]

The show featured essays, fiction and music; while frequently humorous, the weekly programs were also often wistfully nostalgic. The live episodes often began with Stuart reciting a complimentary description of the venue's community about its character and history. The show also endeavoured to introduce listeners to new Canadian musical talent, through playing recordings in studio episodes and performances in the live audience ones.

A major feature of many of McLean's shows were the "Dave and Morley Stories", which featured a fictional Toronto family. The name "Vinyl Cafe" referred both to the show's musical content and the fictional record shop owned by McLean's character Dave. This aspect of the show had spawned a number of books of short stories, as well as audio recordings. Another feature was "The Vinyl Cafe Story Exchange", where listeners were invited to send in personal true stories to the producers who read selections on air. The series also presented an annual set of awards that were called the "Arthur Awards", which were intended to commend various people who had performed extraordinary good deeds in the preceding year.

Every episode ended with McLean's signature sign-off, "I'm Stuart McLean, so long for now" and followed by the show's folksy guitar theme song, "Happy Meeting In Glory" (as performed by Ry Cooder). The show was produced by Jess Milton. Meg Masters was the "long-suffering" story editor and the show's founding producer was Dave Amer. Julie Penner was the musical director.

Since 2012 the show has also aired a "best of" spin-off series under the new title of Vinyl Cafe Stories. It features previously recorded stories about Dave and Morley and organized around a common theme, and with one or two studio-recorded musical tracks, but without the live music or local introductions typical of the original run of the show.

Dave and Morley Stories[edit]

Although they are not featured in every episode of The Vinyl Cafe, the "Dave and Morley Stories" were by far the show's most famous segment. The stories, written and read by McLean, himself, described the many misadventures of Dave, his wife Morley, their children and pets, as well as friends and neighbours.

For his live performances, McLean alters his famous stories to keep his audience engaged.

Collections of stories in book form[edit]

Canadian Editions

U.S. Editions

  • Home from the Vinyl Cafe (Simon & Schuster, 2005) *

UK Editions

  • Home from the Vinyl Cafe (Granta, 2005)
  • Vinyl Cafe Unplugged (Granta, 2006)
  • The U.S. and UK editions of Home from the Vinyl Cafe are a compilation of stories from the Canadian editions, Stories from the Vinyl Cafe and Home from the Vinyl Cafe.

Collections of stories in audio form[edit]

The covers of the Canadian editions of Vinyl Cafe Diaries, Secrets from the Vinyl Cafe, The Vinyl Cafe Coast to Coast Story Service and A Story-gram from the Vinyl Cafe were designed and illustrated by noted writer, artist and cartoonist Seth.[citation needed]

McLean's Vinyl Cafe stories can also be purchased in audio form from the web label Zunior. In addition, older stories are being podcast at CBC's Vinyl Cafe website.

Collections of essays in book form[edit]

Reception[edit]

In 2011, Apple announced their "Best of the Year" awards and The Vinyl Cafe podcast was chosen as the best audio podcast of the year.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean - The Official Website - How to listen on your radio in the USA.". CBC. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean - Official Website". CBC. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  3. ^ "Stuart McLean cancels Vinyl Cafe Christmas tour due to melanoma". CBC News. November 21, 2015. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  4. ^ McLean, Stuart. "A message from Stuart McLean". CBC Radio. 
  5. ^ Sumanac-Johnson, Deana (February 15, 2017). "Stuart McLean, CBC Radio host and award-winning humorist, dead at 68". CBC. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 

External links[edit]