The Fred Patterson Interview
Fred Patterson, or Freddie P as he's often called, is best known as one half of the Humble & Fred morning show. I met him through Humble Howard and helped him with his popular blog, torontomike.com.
Q: How did Fred Patterson get his start in radio? Tell us about breaking into the biz and that little yellow house in Brampton.
A: After leaving Seneca College in 1978 I took a job at CKFH (now the Fan) writing traffic reports for the morning man who at the time was Brian Barker.
I worked three hours a day for $2.50 an hour. I had to walk half a mile from my house in Scaborough to the bus stop at Birchmount and Eglinton at 4:30 in the morning. CKFH was basically at Yonge and College.
I went all that way to earn $7.50 a day but it was worth it because it put me in the environment of a radio station that leaned heavily towards sports.
Before long I was working the board for Blue Jays baseball and helping out on Bob McCown's original sports talk show, "Talking of Sports."
It was great but I wanted to be "on air" at the folks at FH thought I was too young and green, so at McCowns urging I started to look around and that's how I ended up in Brampton at CHIC 790 - a disco station that needed a news and sports announcer.
It wasn't long before David Marsden hired me to do sports on CFNY (CHIC's sister station) and that's where I stayed for 22 glorious years.
Q: We're missing your voice on Toronto radio. What's next for Freddie P?
A: I have no idea. I'd love to get back into radio but I'm a realist. It's a different business today with less competition and way more interest in bottom line. Ideally I dream of having my own talk show in Toronto, but so do four thousand other people.
I miss the radio station environment and the interaction with people. I'd love to get up each day and have a show to create and present in my own way.
People might laugh at the comparison, but my website has been great therapy for me and in a way constructing it is much like you would a radio talk show. Take a subject, analyze it, give your opinion, piss off a few people, and then wait for the response.
Q: People my age are particularly fond of Mr. Goohead. I want to know the origin of Mr. Goohead and when we can expect a major motion picture featuring the character.
A: When someone makes me an offer. Fat chance.
Mr. Goohead was a real spring board for me. It was his creation that led to my move from sportscaster to morning show co-host. It showed that there was another side to me.
The first episode happened in 1987 with the "Time Change" episode on the Steve Anthony morning show. The clocks and just changed and something inspired me to call a Chinese restaurant and screw with the guy. The voice just came out and the name came from my brother in law who used to call people gooheads.
It got such a great reaction I just kept thinking of concepts and doing them.
At the same time, it was one of those things that after 15 years I grew tired of. Morning shows changed and so did the Humble and Fred Show and prank calls simply didn't inspire me any more.
I still have over a hundred episodes and feature them on my website. torontomike.com
Q: What happened to that BBQ show you hosted on television? Admittedly, my memory is a little hazy, but I remember you giving grilling tips. Was that a cool gig?
A: The money and the experience were fantastic. The product wasn't so great.
I was hired with the understanding that CTV wanted Fred Patterson, the down to earth every day guy who worked on CFNY. I was going to do a relaxed presentation, very casual and off the cuff.
But then the sponsor got involved.
Chinette plates decided they didn't want that image. They made high class paper plates so you couldn't have a guy sloppin' stuff on and off the barbeque. You know, reality.
Instead it turned into a formal and stiff segment that I wasn't especially proud of.
Q: You've done quite a bit of podcasting since you left radio. There's the work you do at beer.com and those awesome Humble & Fred podcasts we did from Dan Duran's house. Will there be another Humble & Fred podcast this Christmas?
A: They were well received so It would be a shame to let the tradition die. But who knows what will be happening by Labour Day let alone Christmas.
Q: What's your favourite movie?
A: The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Call it timing. The right movie at the right time for me and nothing has surpassed it.
Q: I've noticed a conservative slant at torontomike.com. When did you sell your soul to the devil?
A: How does the saying go. NDP at 20, Liberal at 30, then you grow up and become Conservative at 40. And I know of what I speak because I've voted for all three parties over the years.
Believe it or not, I'm not partisan. Just give me good honest government. Like that rat Mike Harris who did nothing but do what he said he was going to do. Some of it backfired, but nobody can say he lied to them.
It absolutely amazes me that after 13 years of corrupt Liberal government at the federal level, and four years of Liberal deceit at the provincial level that anyone could even dream of voting for that party.
But people seem to be so anti-conservative they're willing to forgive and forget anything.
Q: I'm a little young to remember Pete 'n Geets, but I hear amazing things. What was it like being a part of that genius?
A: Pete and Geets were fantastic. They were Canada's pioneer FM morning show, and here's what I mean by that. In the early days of CHUM-FM they changed the way morning radio was done.
Less music, more talk, irreverent instead of corny and they didn't yell at you like the am morning shows did. When they came to CFNY in 1980, it got even better.
I often find it amusing how much credit Howard Stern gets for bringing a different style of morning show to radio, but his "style" was being established by Pete and Geets before Stern was even out of college. But without the tits and ass.
And of course, Pete and Geets never got the credit they deserved, mainly because they never had huge ratings. But as we've learned over the years, ratings doesn't mean quality.
The current ratings system is a joke and has robbed Toronto of a lot of good radio over the years.
Q: Is there anything else you want to share with the Toronto Mike crowd?
A: Yea. You don't know what you've got till it's gone. Don't be sad it's over, be glad it happened. Eat lots of fibre and teach your children well.