The people have spoken. And Christmas came early. The boys are back in town!
After a rollercoaster of a ride and skyrocketing radio ratings through the ’80s and ’90s, in 1994 best pals Tom and Larry were forced to part ways to work on competing radio stations. They maintained their careers, separately, until recently when they found themselves at the end of their contracts. But despite their history of building large fanbases across the country and getting fired, they’ve maintained an off-air friendship that nobody could dissolve. There was talk last September of teaming up again, followed by numerous phone calls to every station in town. When those phone calls weren’t returned, the boys decided to take it into their own hands.
They believed DJs these days didn’t seem to be having as much fun as they used to, and that’s what Tom and Larry are about to bring back in their brand new show. “It’s always come back to Tom and Larry,” says Larry Updike. “And,” says Tom, “we’re going to write the next chapter.”
For as long as he can remember, Tom wanted to be on the radio. To pursue that end, Tom attended Seneca College in Toronto for Radio and Television Arts. Of course, he didn’t spend much time in class, but camped in the college radio station, getting on the air as often as possible.
Near the end of the two-year course, he sent out roughly 150 tapes across Canada and ended up with a gig at a new classical music station, CFMX-FM in Cobourg, Ont, having lied about knowing anything at all about classical music! After begging for a chance, he ended up doing the midday show at their sister station, CHUC, a few months later.
Tom continued to send out tapes, and eventually landed at CFMC-FM, a rock station in Saskatoon. Rock radio! Where he’d always wanted to be! After a couple of years there on afternoon drive, he got the call from Q94 to come to Winnipeg. This was short-lived, as he was soon hired to do middays at the new 97 Kiss FM, where it really all began.
It was then that Tom met the former minister, Larry Updike, who was doing a call-in, help-line type show. After introducing him to beer and such, they became fast friends and developed a chemistry on the air that took them to the top of the ratings in Winnipeg, First at Kiss, and then – after being fired – at 92 CITI FM.
That led to a job in Vancouver at CFMI FM, Rock 101, where they quickly took the station from second place to sixth in one rating period! Vancouver, it seems, didn’t take to Tom and Larry, or as we say, just weren’t ready for Tom and Larry. Of course, they were fired.
“Contractual crap” led to the boys returning to different stations in Winnipeg. Tom came back to CITI FM, and Larry went to Power 97. Tom thoroughly enjoyed the past 18 years hosting the Tom and Joe Morning Show with his buddy Joe Aiello, but eventually, of course, he was fired.
The two constants for Larry and Tom over the years would be a) that they always had the time of their lives doing their show together, and b) they would always eventually get fired.
Many years have transpired since Tom and Larry returned to Winnipeg from Vancouver, but they have always kept in touch. Every month over the years, you’d find them at Bella Vista, talking about when we they used to work together again over many beers and laughs.Now, the time has come for them to re-join forces – as Larry says, they have some unfinished business!
(And this time, they can’t get fired!)
Larry has been performing in public since he was ten years old. As a boy, he sang and played to audiences all over southern Ontario as part of a family singing ensemble.
He leapt through high school, finished theological training and had become an ordained minister by the age of 21. His radio career began as a means to supplement his income at a small parish, but quickly became his full time career.
By the early ’80s, Larry was becoming well known in Winnipeg rock radio as one half of the legendary Tom and Larry Show. In 1995, Larry went to news/talk station CJOB/68 where he helped create an evening talk show, hosted the drive home show and finally moved to The CJOB Morning Show where he remained for nine years.
In the autumn of 2009 Larry was inducted into the Manitoba Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame for his unique contributions to the radio industry as a broadcaster and a mentor.
While continuing to build on his profession, Larry went back to school and finished a degree in Theology at the University of Winnipeg in 1986. Subsequently, he proceeded to undertake and complete a second degree in Philosophy in 1995. Larry won the university’s Plato Prize for a paper he wrote contrasting the works of Plato and Wittgenstein. In 2010, Larry was given the honour of Distinguished Alumni from the University of Winnipeg.
Larry has been an advocate for the less fortunate during his career. He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 for his work with the War Amps, and has been an advocate for individuals with autism ever since his son Gordon’s diagnosis in 1994. From September 2009 until August 2010, Larry worked as a spokesperson for Siloam Mission, advocating on behalf of those experiencing poverty and homelessness.
In the last three years, Larry hosted the CBC Radio afternoon program Up to Speed, taking its ratings past its nearest format competitor in two of the three hours it was on the air.
In his spare time, Larry enjoys time with his family, and plays guitar and sings in his band The B-Side Apostles.