Red Robinson Reminisces on his 60 years in Radio and Vancouver Entertainment
The Legendary Red Robinson
Legends of Rock and Roll Show, Corporate Speaker and MC
With a broadcasting career extending back to his teens, Red Robinson was there for the beginning of Rock n’ Roll. While still in high school in 1954, Robinson started working as a disc jockey at the age of 16 at radio station CJOR. He quickly became instrumental to the voice of radio, turning the stations he worked for into Rock and Roll powerhouses.
Red has been the emcee for countless historical events. For example, 1957 he was the emcee for the Elvis Presley show, and in 1964 for The Beatles concert, both at Vancouver’s Empire Stadium. He promoted “The Legends of Rock ‘n Roll” at Expo 86, presenting dozens of Rock and Roll giants at the Expo Theatre, including Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, and Fats Domino.
In 2005, Red produced and emceed the annual Red Robinson Talent Showdown at the PNE.
He has been the host of countless other showcases, festivals, and concerts across Vancouver and British Columbia.
In 1969, Red diversified and entered the advertising business. He was the founder of Trend Advertising (later Palmer Jarvis Advertising). He then moved on to Vrlak Robinson Advertising, which merged with Hayhurst communications in 1987 to form one of Vancouver’s largest advertising and most successful agencies.
Red was recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a pioneer rock 'n roll deejay by having some of his memorabilia, photos, and historic recorded interviews included in a hall exhibit. Red was elected into the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2000. As well, in his honour, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation opened the 1100-seat Red Robinson Show Theatre at Coquitlam’s Boulevard Casino in September 2006. In 2008, Red received two honours, the first was the Bruce Allen/Sam Feldman Legend Award, and secondly, The Royal British Columbia Museum acknowledged Red as one of the 123 influential British Columbians by being included in a giant collage known as “The Party.”
Red has also hosted TV shows, appeared in commercials, and has been called one of history’s most influential 150 people by the B.C. government.
Although he officially ‘retired’, Red continued to host “Red Rock Diner” on CISL-FM until summer 2017. He has signed off but he’s never going far. New projects are always on the horizon.
“Rock ‘n roll would have happened in Vancouver but it might have happened later if not for the enthusiasm of Red Robinson. - Tom Harrison, The Province
Red Robinson Show Packages Red Robinson is available in a number of different contexts including:
Public Speaker - Red Robinson speaks of his years in the advertising business, in the media, as a DJ and as a concert promoter.
MC - Red is available to MC your corporate, private or public event.
The Red Robinson Legends of Rock ‘n Roll Show - Red will talk about working with Elvis, The Beatles, Ray Charles, Roy Orbison and many more. Interspersed with Red’s talk will be still and video images from Red’s enormous archive! Visuals presented with live band accompaniment. After the presentation, the live band will continue playing music of the 50s and 60s and Red will be on hand to talk and reminisce.
by Robin Brunet, Published October 2016 from Harbour Publishing
The Last Deejay –
The definitive biography of a British Columbia icon.
Red Robinson details the life and career of Red Robinson, one of Canada’s most celebrated pioneers of rock and roll. Robinson began spinning hits while in high school in the early 1950s, laying the foundation for what would become a glamorous, impossible-to-stop and ultimately fulfilling career that has made him a household name west of the Rockies.
Raised by a single mother, Robinson worked as a delivery boy to help support the family. From such humble beginnings, he developed a strong work ethic and unflappable moral core that enabled him to pursue a career that has endured. Here is the account of how Robinson pranked his way into his first radio job. Readers will be delighted by behind-the-scenes stories from close encounters with Vancouver’s visiting celebrities, like the time Robinson spent an hour with Elvis Presley in the BC Lions dressing room talking cars, women, movies and opera, or when Robinson nearly killed Roy Orbison and Bobby Goldsboro in a 1962 Grand Parisienne convertible while speeding to catch the Nanaimo ferry.
Robinson’s vast career highlights are remarkable, from introducing The Beatles to the stage, ushering Randy Bachman to the status of superstardom, and as part of EXPO ’86, presenting The Legends of Rock’n’Roll featuring Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Righteous Brothers.
Red Robinson recalls the highs, hurdles and triumphs of a celebrated time in rock-and-roll history, presented by the man who dug into the guts, glory and glitz that only a champion of the frontlines of music really can.