My theory was that the audience would be intrigued to hear directly from the human being behind the voices they knew and relied upon, like family. Part of Dennett's duties included delivering the top-rated 8 am news, which was always sold-out with national sponsors such as Ford, who would have to wait years for an opening to occur just to get into the commercial rotation.
When Jack rolled into the studio (just a year before he was to leave us at age 59), he told some wonderful stories about his life, work and a few interesting inside radio station stories. Dennett was so highly thought of, it would take him an hour to cross the floor of a convention centre fund-raiser event, as everyone who saw him wanted to say "hello" and happily shake his hand.
Jack had the prime-time morning news shift, which meant that he was on air with major newscasts in and around number-one rated Crouter. Yet his modesty came through, as he mentioned that Wally's huge audience, not his own talents, was responsible for the station's highest ratings, even greater than those of New York. No wonder that listeners loved the warm-voiced, thoughtfully intelligent delivery that came through each morning as people began their daily toils. He was the real deal, modest to the core and totally unaffected by his public stature.
My favourite as Jack told it, was one about Sinclair. Long before the famous station was to move "uptown" to Yonge and St. Clair (which "Sinc" bellyached about because he thought the marble hallways and state-of-the-art studios were too "upscale" for his taste), it was located more in the commercial heart of town in the old Creed's building on Bloor Street, where the cement towers of the Manulife Centre now stand. It was a frequent habit of Dennett and Sinclair to dine together at a luncheonette further along the busy Toronto east-west thoroughfare.
As Mr. Dennett told us, it was one of the coldest days of the year as he and publicly-proclaimed millionaire newsman Gordon Sinclair (who liked to challenge the audience by saying: "If I can do it, so can you!") headed out in their warmest winter finery. On their way along the high-rent district, they passed a beggar on the sidewalk, with his hand out for a contribution. Sinclair muttered his complaint to Dennett, suggesting that the man's fate would be different if he would simply get a job.
Upon reaching the simple restaurant, Gordon told Jack to order his usual; he had remembered to get something left behind at the radio station. A few minutes later when Sinclair returned, his companion noticed he was without his expensive Harris Tweed overcoat, and mentioned it to Sinc. Gordon growled, remarked that he must have left it back at his office, and would not talk about it further.