Beloved Toronto radio personality Dave Bookman, a.k.a. Bookie, has died: Alan Cross

Alan Cross and David Bookman at an Indie 88 birthday event at Lee's Palace. Courtesy of Alan Cross

Dave Bookman, a fixture on Toronto radio and one of the best friends Canadian music could ever have, died peacefully at 12:45 a.m. on Tuesday. He was just nine days short of his 59th birthday.

He’d been in intensive care after suffering a medical issue a little more than a month ago.

Goddammit. Everyone — and I mean everyone — was hoping he’d pull through.

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I’ve known Bookie (his well-known and oft-used nickname) for more than a quarter-century, first as a colleague at 102.1 the Edge when he was brought in as a contributor for our supper hour music magazine, Live in Toronto. He later graduated to doing a variety of shows, including The Indie Hour and weekend on-air shifts.

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And every Tuesday, he could be found welcoming people at the door to the back room at The Horseshoe for his legendary Nu Music Night. Hundreds of bands played that event over more than two decades.

READ MORE: Legendary Toronto radio personality Dave Bookman dead at 58

When I became program director at The Edge and I needed an afternoon drive personality, the only person I had in mind was Bookie. His style was somewhat unconventional, but that was the point. There was no one like him.

The man lived and breathed music and radio.

He was real. He was genuine. He was authentic. He loved music. He was curious. He was well-connected within the industry. His music knowledge was extremely deep. He was a pop culture junkie (he never missed The Young and the Restless). He was an exceptional interviewer.

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When you needed a moral compass, you could look to Bookie for some sage advice. And if you ever needed a recommendation on a restaurant, Bookie knew them all.

I thought he was the best.

We’d have long debates and discussions about music. I could never really understand his love of Wilco and Dinosaur Jr. He couldn’t understand my infatuation with Nine Inch Nails.

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As an interviewer, Bookie was fearless. If he worked from notes, I never saw them. He once took on all four members of U2 live in the studio in front of hundreds of fans. Bono even gave him a shoulder massage.

But times change and in time, both of us left The Edge. I landed with the group that put Indie 88 on the air and when Bookie needed a job, I lobbied management for them to hire Bookie — which they did. It was perhaps the most perfect fit in the history of Canadian radio.

LISTEN: Alan Carter is joined by Alan Cross to remember Dave “Bookie” Bookman.

When Bookie didn’t show for a shift back in April — he was never late — everyone knew that something was very wrong. Something was — Bookie was transported to hospital where family and close friends stood vigil. He fought hard but in the end…

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Josie Dye, a colleague of Bookie’s at both 102.1 The Edge and Indie 88 penned this lovely tribute.

Anyone who has ever met Bookie will tell you that he was kind, caring, highly principled, hard-working, and a great friend. 

He will be missed. A lot.

Alan Cross is a broadcaster with Q107 and 102.1 the Edge and a commentator for Global News.

Subscribe to Alan’s Ongoing History of New Music Podcast now on Apple Podcast or Google Play

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