Thursday September 03, 2015

Jurgen Gothe: CBC Host, & Music, Cat and Wine Lover

Photo: Jurgen Gothe

Photo: Jurgen Gothe (CBC Still Photo Collection)

Listen to Full Episode 54:59
Disc Drive

Jurgen Gothe (CBC Still Photo Collection)



​Jurgen Gothe was a familiar voice on CBC Radio Two where he hosted a program called Disc Drive for 23 years. If you tuned in weekdays between 3 and 6 pm in the years 1985 to 2008, you would have heard Jurgen playing an eclectic variety of music. But you'd get much more than that. In fact, you'd never be sure what you were going to hear. Jurgen lived and breathed music and could talk about it endlessly. His knowledge was encyclopedic. But he was also passionate about food and wine, cats and travel, and always happy to talk about any of them on the air. Or anything else that caught his fancy. Jurgen died earlier this spring of cancer. On this edition of Rewind, a reminder of how much fun it was to listen to him on the radio.

Janet Lea, one of his producers at CBC recalls that he was originally hired to host a typical straitlaced CBC concert program called Front Row, where he was asked to give the precise details of who was performing, the opus number of the piece, details like that. But it didn't take long before it sank in that he could do much more. It didn't take long before the birth of Disc Drive. The very first edition of Disc Drive aired in September 1985. You realized rather quickly that this wouldn't be the usual classical CBC music program. Jurgen's material was entirely unscripted. Jurgen was well known for his love of cats, so naturally, they often entered his meandering thoughts.  

Studio 20 Plaque

Studio 20 - Home of Disc Drive. (Grant Rowledge)

In 1990 Peter Gzowski talked to Jurgen on his program Morningside after he had hosted Disc Drive for five years.   The program continued for another 18 years, not ending until 2008. 

Disc Drive

Jurgen Gothe, December 7, 1990 (CBC Still Photo Collection)

One time, Jurgen showed up on the late night CBC program Nightlines with host David Wisdom. Between the two of them, they had a great time spinning some tunes. They also aired part of a recording of that 1970s classic The Sensuous Woman.

The end of Disc Drive wasn't the last of Jurgen Gothe on CBC Radio. He went on to host a once a week program of his favourite music. It was called Farrago, but if truth be told, his heart wasn't in it, and it only lasted a year.  However, Jurgen kept busy writing about wine and food, teaching, and enjoying life.. 

Jurgen was born in Berlin, and as Grant Rowledge, Jurgen's producer at CBC said, "Jurgen was out to debunk unnecessary cultural norms, things that seem stuffy and old fashioned and needed a shake-up. He loved to poke fun at the German stereotype of wanting things to be "ganz korrekt" (literally, "very correct")." So with that in mind, Rewind's tribute to Jurgen Gothe concludes with the classic Cole Porter song "Don't Fence Me In," one that he loved to play. It is performed by a rather unlikely duo, the German duo Hein und Oss.