Marsden’s New Spirit Of Radio Is Digital!

Marsden’s New Spirit Of Radio Is Digital!

When Durham region Conservative Party MP Erin O’Toole rises in the House of Parliament to pay tribute to your accomplishments, you must have done something right. And this was the accolade paid to legendary deejay David Marsden who recently ended an 11-year stint as a weekend host on Oshawa’s CKGE 94.9 The Rock radio station. Yes the same deejay who pioneered The Spirit of Radio concept at Toronto area radio station CFNY in the early Eighties, who reshaped formats at Vancouver’s Coast 104 FM in the Nineties and while, at CFNY, established the CASBY Awards as an awards program which recognized achievements by indie and alternative recording artists.

Seeing that his tenure at the Rock was coming to an end, Marsden accelerated his efforts to introduce a new on-line radio format NY The Spirit .com which was launched September 1st 2014,to showcase the great music of the 80s and promote new music being released by those artists. Also material that does not fall into established formats.

Depressed by the state of contemporary FM radio, Marsden, who had forged a career revamping formats and actively promoting new music, joined forces with Igor Loukine to create a subscription-based digital format which boasts live disc jockeys that are free to format their own shows with a guarantee never to play the same track twice in a 24-hour cycle.

“I had been talking with Igor about this idea for about 18 months,” explained Marsden as he and Loukine met with Music Express at a Liberty Village pub in Toronto to discuss their new project. “Initially, I had no idea my two shows at The Rock were coming to an end but in October I was advised the station was evolving and that my shows no longer fit their format so that was that. No regrets though, I had 11 terrific years at 94.9, it just meant we had to speed up the process to launch NY the Spirit.”

Igor Loukine
Igor Loukine

Recorded in a studio at Marsden’s home residence and featuring shows by Marsden, Ivar Hamilton, Rob Stuart and Don Berns, Marsden describes NY The Spirit as a place you can hear music that is rarely accessible anywhere else. “It’s primarily targeted at 80’s music fans who also want to hear new tracks by these artists,” Marsden explained. “For example I love the new Simple Minds’ album and we’ve programmed six tracks off the record, same with the new Depeche Mode record. No show by any of the deejays is going to be the same, there are no pre-conceived playlists, and they can play whatever they want.”

“At a time when kids can create their own playlists on their iPods, it becomes an even bigger task to reach an audience but we are committed to providing an outlet to expose new music by established artists. is a carefully currated music stream.”

Playing new music to a new audience is nothing new to Marsden. During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, he introduced North America to the likes of Depeche Mode, OMD and even Duran Duran via Brampton area radio station, CFNY – coining the phrase “The Spirit Of Radio” while at the same time providing valuable exposure to domestic talent like FM, The Spoons, Blue Peter, Images In Vogue and The Bare Naked Ladies. “We played the music, the fans caught on and they made that music powerful,” he noted.[quote]To me, radio was always about personality, it is the one thing that made each radio station unique[/quote]

“To me, radio was always about personality, it is the one thing that made each radio station unique,” noted Marsden. “You may have two or three people playing the same music but they each have to insert their own personality into the format. It was this approach which made CFNY so special back in the day.”

For a dyed-in-the-wool radio disc jockey, it is difficult for David Marsden to accept that personality is a lost element of contemporary radio but he draws on an analogy to show how formats can change and progress.

“When I was at CKGM in Montreal in the late 60’s FM radio was virtually none existent,” explained Marsden. “No car radios or transistor radios had an FM band. AM radio was the big money maker, FM was considered ‘little old ladies music’, the tuners for FM radio were the size of a Volkswagen. Then the Beatles’ released Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967 and people realized you could use two ears to listen to music and that FM would be ideal for this format.”

“So a bunch of folks at CKGM, tried to convince the owner Geoff Stirling to let them program rock music on the FM band and so on one Sunday night he let us play the entire second side of the Beatles’ Abbey Road LP because it ran together like one continuous song.

“Stirling was nervous, he hired extra security for the station because he thought his action would trigger a riot, and he had extra people on the switchboard expecting to be flooded with complaints. But the record played and they received a total of two phone calls, both raving about the format change. So from that point on, we were allowed to program rock music overnights on Saturday and Sunday and FM music took off from that point.

“Now of course, FM music is the big money earner and AM radio barely exists, but it proves my point that formats can change,” concluded Marsden. “Now music is available in so many different platforms, including receiving it on your computer, your cell phone, I-Pad, WiFI speakers and more – those people who are saying that a digital format will never work, just look at how drastic the music landscape has changed recently. We do believe NY The is one part of the future and I personally am looking forward to a new challenge. I believe we must include all the platforms available, when it comes to sharing the great music.”

For those interested in checking out Marsden’s new service you can log on to

Related posts

10 thoughts on “Marsden’s New Spirit Of Radio Is Digital!

  1. lala

    https:/ … So happy that David Marsden continues to fill our ears with the good stuff !!!

  2. Hi Keith – thanks for this. It was great fun for Igor and I to share a little food and some drink with you.

    Very happy with the article and look forward to doing more together in the future.


  3. Rick Blohm

    Hello all:

    Lately, I have found a new interest in a lot of the 80’s music I seemed to have passed on back in the day. I’m a true hard rock fan…Pink Floyd, Scorpions, Judas Priest, YES, Supertramp,Skynyrd, Aldo Nova, just to name a few. When the”new” music of the ’80s and the “image” was just something I didn’t identify with. I saw it as a bit flamboyant, with guys in lip stick and the nagging drum machine that seemed be the driving beat. I think it was more so the image that being a heterosexual guy I just didn’t identify with.

    I “discovered” the David Marsden Show recently on radio,, and I’m hearing some real gems being played on Saturday nights. I’m hearing some Gary Numan Simple Minds, Tubes!…and then I’m hearing songs with a great beat and synthesizer. My recent system (which was in storage) is sounding very clear and full bodied.

    I think what has happened with me lately after discovering David Marsden, it seems he has cherry picked all the best songs of the 80’s, and I’m hearing very good quality music that has been tried and tested. I could pull out one of my old tired rock albums, but I find it less inspiring than hearing something new… to me. Since listening to I feel I have a new daily playlist which I would put up head to head against any new artist of the week, (month), (hour), which seems to be the direction music has gone now.

    I’m sure if you play some of the heavy metal tunes of the ’80’s hair bands, they would be uninspiring to “discover” and accept wholeheartedly. Although, there are some gems that would enhance your listening pleasure I’m sure…..alas, there’s just no one to guide you through the slop. David you have given me so much newly discovered “gems” of music that truly enhance my day!

    I’m listening to regularly, and sure enough I’m adding awesome songs to my daily playlist. Somehow, you, with your choices in music have made my life a Total Jam!…I am now inspired enough to post my thoughts here….keep them coming David Marsden!


  4. David Marsden is a living legend, at least in my world. He has been giving us excellent radio since the 70’s. (Remember the Brown Paper Bag?)
    I recall listening to David on CHUM FM pre-1975 on Friday nights on my way to The Roxie Theater on the Danforth, for example where the two Gary’s ran the place.
    (“Those on your right, kindly move right to your left”) We were greeted by, of course Roxy Music playing in the theater. I use this as an example of the times when long hair and alternative music and lifestyles were the norm. Marsden resurfaced at CFNY The Spirit of Radio, in 1978 as I recall, its all fuzzy and foggy thanks to the times we found ourselves in. He changed the radio scene in Toronto for the better and introduced us to bands like Knobby Clegg (“Me Dad”), Sham 69 (“Poor Cow”), The Government (“Flat Tire”), The Pouges, The Spoons, Streetband (“Toast”), The Pukka Orchestra (” “Might As Well Be on Mars”), I could on and on, as those in the chatroom, can attest (I have to go back), anyways those songs I remember off the top of my head, were the soundtrack to our lives in the late 70’s early 80’s and we love them all dearly, thanks to David Marsden.
    He is without a doubt the best DJ “Personality” we have in Toronto and Canada and I am very grateful he has decided to continue the adventure on the internet LIVE and uncensored, as he should be. He is the best, and I love him.

  5. Sean Micley

    Thanks for a great article on a true icon of Canadian radio. The Rock’s loss is the world’s gain. By the way, it’s Rob Stuart not Ron.

    1. Keith Sharp

      Thanks, Ron has been corrected to Rob

  6. Alex Piskun

    Well done Keith. This article is chock full of insights.
    To clarify one point, it’s Rob Stuart (not Ron) that has a show on nythespirit.

    Rob Stuart’s Facebook page

    Rob’s YouTube

  7. Peter McMullin

    Thanks Keith for a well-written article about a radio icon who defies description in a single article… a series would be required to do justice.

    I have been listening to David Marsden’s music programming at every opportunity since his tenure at chumfm back in the early 1970’s, when he introduced Pink Floyd to the Canadian ears.

    David has done more to inform my taste in music than any other single influence for over 4 decades. is now a staple in our household for great music.

    Thank you David for that, and Keith for spreading the word.


  8. Leah Faulkner

    Thank you for writing such an informative piece on our Canadian gem, David Marsden. It was the late 70’s when I first started listening to David’s shows, and I have never looked back. I’m so grateful there was someone out there who understood the need for something a little different. A lot of wonderful music would not have reached such a wide audience had it not been for “the Marsbar”.

    This article must have been a bit daunting to write, given the subject. There is so much to say about David Marsden and the past, present, and future of music programming, that condensing it down to one page would have been a challenge! Hats off to you, Keith! And to David and Igor for opening up a new world to music listeners around the globe.


    * Please excuse my anal tendencies to correct small details, but please check the third paragraph for the spelling of “Marsden”. Thank you.

  9. Rick Blohm

    Sorry Keith,

    My previous comment was to do more with my new experience regarding David Marsden. Words like Icon, Legend, and Hero, applies to David Marsden who has conquered adversity in life…..and you can even add Fierce Warrior? Don’t let his mild appearance fool you, this active leading pioneer has admirable strengths. The term “role model” should apply in both his professional career and personal life. For a “deejay” who would rely totally only on his voice, don’t judge this man by his words, but more by his actions. With all of his accomplishments, (too many to mention here) he is a tried and tested leader we trust to guide us into the new frontier.

    David Marsden is supporting the great songs of the ’80’s…not the Corey Hart, Madonna, and loud hair bands. David has a good ear and supports music based on good quality and nothing else. Some groups and songs were the “casualties of the 80’s war” and David Marsden is the only voice championing these songs and artists today.

    These days, with nothing new to get excited about in the current music scene…you’re not waiting for the latest album to arrive and listen and recognize a new anthem or something shared to be called “Our Song.” If your partner or the kids are rolling their eyes when you put on that old band tour t-shirt (still 2 sizes too small) and play an old record, it’s time to give David Marsden’s a try. It could be a way for everyone in the household to discover “new” music together.

    I submit to any rocker or pop lover to take the following challenge…play these 4 songs when you have some free time. . I list 2 rock and 2 more easy listening choices.
    The Comsat Angels – You Move Me .. The Cure – Fascination Street .. Tom Robinson – Listen to the Radio .. Peter Murphy – All Night Long. These are a few that I myself am enjoying lately. These are just samples of great music that David Marsden shares with us on his Saturday and Sunday live shows.

    Visit and read some of the forums for other excellent choices in music. Or check out the commercial free

    Lead us into battle David Marsden, we follow and support you, as you guide us into the New Frontier!


    p.s. Keith, this is a great interview you have put together here.

Comments are closed.