Dave Bookman

Dave "Bookie" Bookman (May 30, 1960 – May 21, 2019) was a Canadian radio personality, most noted for his long career in the Toronto radio market.[1] Associated primarily with CFNY-FM (102.1 the Edge) and later with CIND-FM (Indie 88), he was known as a passionate promoter of indie music[2] and as an excellent interviewer with a gift for getting even famously "difficult" or reclusive musicians, such as David Byrne, Jeff Tweedy and Elvis Costello, to open up more than usual in interviews.[1]

Dave Bookman
Born(1960-05-30)May 30, 1960
DiedMay 21, 2019(2019-05-21) (aged 58)
AwardsUnsung Hero Award from the Canadian Independent Music Awards
Station(s)CFNY-FM, CIND-FM


He began his radio career in the 1980s, hosting various shows on the University of Toronto's campus radio station CIUT-FM[3] and working as a sportscaster for CKAR's local broadcasts of Oshawa Generals hockey games.[4] He was also active as a musician in this era, forming the folk punk band The Bookmen with Dave Kiner and Tim Mech, and releasing the independent album Volume One: Delicatessen in 1987.[4] The band also recorded a cover of Costello's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding", which appeared on a split 7-inch single with Fluid Waffle in 1988.

He joined CFNY in 1991, initially as a reporter for Live in Toronto.[5] In 1993 he launched "Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite", a long-running Tuesday night concert series at The Horseshoe Tavern;[6] although primarily a showcase for emerging bands who were not yet big enough to secure prime weekend slots at the bar, over the course of its run it also hosted free shows by major touring acts such as Old 97's, Ash, Spoon, Son Volt, Band of Horses, Matchbox 20, Whiskeytown, Eels, Nada Surf, Linkin Park, The Strokes, Thom Yorke and Foo Fighters.[7] In 1996, he also programmed the Alternative Afternoons concert series at the CNE Bandshell.[8]

With the Bookmen having broken up by this time, he launched the new band Midi Ogres with Dave Bidini.[9] As a solo artist, he contributed a cover of Bob Snider's "Parkette" to the 1996 tribute album Poetreason: The Songs of Bob Snider; he was also the host of the live concert at which the album was recorded.[10]

Over the course of his time with CFNY, he hosted the Indie Hour, weekend shifts and daytime afternoon drive,[11] until he left the station in 2012.[12] He joined Indie 88 the following year, hosting both a weekday shift and a weekend show on which he would freely play any music he liked regardless of whether it was part of the station's regularly formatted playlist.[13]

In 2018, he won the Unsung Hero Award from the Canadian Independent Music Awards.[14]


In April 2019, Bookman suffered an aneurysm, and spent several weeks in intensive care until his death on May 21, 2019.[15] On the day his death was announced to the public, Indie 88 suspended regular programming to air a live tribute program that blended some of Bookman's favourite music with reminiscences from his colleagues and on-air phonecalls from listeners, friends and musicians.

On May 29, 2019, Indie 88 aired a special fundraising radiothon, "A Day to Make Music Count", to raise money in Bookman's memory for MusiCounts, the music education initiative of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.[16] The broadcast raised over CA$69,000, significantly exceeding the station's CA$50,000 goal.[16] A private memorial party for Bookman the following evening included live performances by Sloan, Blue Rodeo, Billy Talent, and Broken Social Scene,[16] hosted by his good friend and sports TV personality Dave Hodge.

In November 2019, Bookman's family and friends organized another fundraiser for MusiCounts, making his vinyl record collection available for sale in conjunction with Toronto independent record store Rotate This.[17]


  1. ^ a b "Toronto radio host Dave (Bookie) Bookman of Indie88 dies at 58". CTV News, May 21, 2019.
  2. ^ "In memoriam: Dave "Bookie" Bookman was one of Toronto's greatest supporters of independent music". Now, May 22, 2019.
  3. ^ "R.I.P. Toronto Radio Legend Dave "Bookie" Bookman". Exclaim!, May 21, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "A Toronto band's nine-year wait finally pays off with its first album". Ottawa Citizen, December 4, 1987.
  5. ^ "Edgefest: new music at 57-a-band". Toronto Star, August 3, 1995.
  6. ^ "The Legendary Free Music Night You’ve Never Heard Of". Vice, July 25, 2017.
  7. ^ "RIP: Dave "Bookie" Bookman". FYI Music News, May 21, 2019.
  8. ^ "Bandshell gets hip, proudly". Toronto Star, August 15, 1996.
  9. ^ "Reviews". Toronto Star, October 17, 1996.
  10. ^ "Sound Advice: New singer-songwriters". Victoria Times-Colonist, March 30, 1996.
  11. ^ "Beloved Toronto radio personality Dave Bookman, a.k.a. Bookie, has died: Alan Cross". Global News, May 21, 2019.
  12. ^ "Dave Bookman departs The Edge". Toronto Star, December 11, 2012.
  13. ^ "Toronto radio personality known for love of new music dies at 58". CBC News Toronto, May 21, 2019.
  14. ^ "Canada's CIMA Awards Honor eOne Music's Chris Taylor, Pandyamonium's Sandy Pandya & More". Billboard, June 12, 2018.
  15. ^ "Canadian Radio Host and Indie Music Advocate Dave 'Bookie' Bookman Dies". Billboard, May 21, 2019.
  16. ^ a b c "In Memory of Dave "Bookie" Bookman Donate To MusiCounts". Samaritan Mag, May 23, 2019.
  17. ^ Raju Mudhar, "Bookie’s music will play on as sale divides up vinyl collection of late radio personality Dave Bookman". Toronto Star, November 21, 2019.