Thoughts on 102.1 Tribute to Martin Streek, Shitty Facts, Closure Sought

tribute to streekI just listened to the 3-hour tribute to Martin Streek aired on CFNY / Edge 102. Actually, I missed the first 10 minutes, because I wasn't planning to tune in, but then curiosity got the better of me.

Tomorrow night marks two weeks since Martin Streek took his own life. Yesterday marked two months since I wrote about his firing. Corus' firing of Streek ticked me off, Streek's suicide has followed me around like a black cloud for the past 13 days. The purpose of this entry is to throw down some thoughts on tonight's Corus tribute, accept a few realities and find some closure.

The Hypocrisy
I had trouble getting passed the hypocrisy. The following sentiments were expressed over and over again:

  • Martin Streek was my favourite DJ.
  • Martin Streek was passionate about music.
  • Martin Streek was an ideal colleague.
  • Martin Streek was the consummate host.
  • I love Martin Streek.
  • I'll miss Martin Streek.
  • There is no other Martin Streek.
  • Martin was one of my heroes.
  • Martin Streek was one of the best radio hosts.

I'm sure all of the above is true. CFNY / Edge 102 certainly celebrated Streek, but there was no reference that I heard to the fact they dismissed him in May. This is where the rock meets the hard place. Corus fired Streek, and Corus knows 99% of the listeners tonight are oblivious to this fact. Anyone reading this right now is in the 1% minority. If Martin was so exceptional, with musical passion and a way of connecting with listeners like no other rock DJ in this city, why fire him?

Streek's firing received not a word of exposure on the air. He was deleted from the corporate website and never again referred to on the air until he was found dead in his apartment. Tonight, it was a Streek love-in, with creepiness that only sets in when you've been mourning his absence for two months.

The Music
The music tonight was fantastic. A great collection of excellent tunes without commercial interruption. I was pleased with the playlist.

The Separation of Management and Colleagues
Potential hypocrisy aside, those who worked with Martin loved him, and those who worked with him aren't necessarily supportive of his dismissal in May. A chance to honour Streek at CFNY, the call letters Streek had tattooed on his body, was likely important to many at that station. If we separate those in management who discounted Streek's connection to us fans and deemed him expendable from those who sincerely liked him and miss him, tonight's tribute becomes far more palatable.

We also got to hear from some old friends, like Freddie P., Kneale Mann, Brother Bill and Maie Pauts. That was pretty cool.

The Thoughts of Others
I try not to live in a silo. Sometimes, I miss the mark. Via Twitter and this blog, I was able to get thoughts from some of you listening to the tribute, and I was able to read these thoughts in real-time.

Here's what some of you thought of tonight's tribute. In the comments, I'd love to hear from the rest of you.

If they missed him so much why did they fire him? I think its too little too late. - Buffalo Boy

Edge is dead to me. - @Sinnacledotcom

Maybe I'm just bitter, but it's really too bad that Streek's unfortunate death prompted Corus to properly acknowledge him. - @bkblades

Fired or not, I think it's a good move for the Edge to provide a tribute. There are years of history there. - @chadtweets

Last night at The Phoenix was a tad creepy and by far the best 102.1 live-to-air music played in a while. We have to remember that there are a lot of friends of Martin still at 102.1. They didn't fire him, management did. - @CraigMarketer

Choosing to think the tribute is coming from staff, rather than the machine. And the song choices so far seem to support that. - @CarrieGee

Cynic in me thinks they felt like they had to do something or they'd look bad. But there's genuine desire to pay tribute too. - @snosk

It's taken them THIS long to come up with a tribute? Waiting this long is just as bad as not having one at all. - @mike_cluett

I was disgusted to hear that CFNY was doing this tribute today. Firstly because, yes, indeed - they did fire the man 2 months ago and secondly because it took them 2 effing weeks to put it together. If the tribute was truly genuine it would have happened last Tuesday. As for Marsden's tribute - that was awesome - listened to and loved every minute. - Sarah

The other issue I am having with CFNY is that they are still running Martin's promo spots. Not cool CFNY - not cool. It seems to me like they are now trying to capitalize off of his death, given that they did not even acknowledge back in May that he was 'leaving' the station and did no tribute to his work at that time. This late in the game, a tribute seems like a ploy to cover up that they had fired him or a gimmick to get back in the public's good graces for having canned Streek in the first place given the recent negative backlash online for their poor handling of the situation. - Sarah

I was listening to it driving from the city... a few of the people are a little too bubbly if you ask me. - @Noeleen1

I'm listening now.....the music is good and they are saying some nice things, but they are making sound like he never left. They talk about how important he was to the Edge and music. What a bunch of hypocritical crap! - Hector

There's a great article in the Star this weekend about Billy from 99.9 only taking 6 weeks for mat leave because she didn't want to be away from her 'audience' for too long. It's a good article about what radio people mean to their listener's. I'm not so sure radio today is like it was a while ago - with that connection, but, as someone who knew Martin for a long time (I'm an old employee) he had a rabid and loyal following and the tribute Marsden played two weeks ago was outstanding. I can't bear to listen to what's on right now. - Andrew

Marsden's tribute was like a raw wake, while the Edge one is a "memorial" with more time to consider. The family is the family. - @valerieinto

I keep having dreams about Martin Streek - BNL did a lot of remotes, etc with him in the early days. So fucking sad. - @stevenpage

The Shitty Facts
Radio is a business. Corus is a corporation seeking to maximize returns. A friend of mine in the biz once told me, "it's a business run by douche bags who never did the thing that the talent they control do, and that's relate to the audience".

Program directors fire people all the time. If you like the personality getting the boot, you hate this. When you dislike the personality getting the boot, you like this. I liked Martin Streek, so his firing understandably pissed me off.

Martin Streek felt he had no other option than to take his own life. It's easy for us to scream at the top of our lungs that he had so many other options, but that's irrelevant. His state of mind had him convinced he'd be better off dead. At the end of the day, this is the shittiest fact of all.

Moving On
To Martin's mother, his girlfriend and those who loved him in the "real world", my sincere condolences. If I've been feeling this weight for two weeks, I can only imagine what you've been feeling. Just know that he made an impact and won't soon be forgotten.

To fellow fans like myself, we need to move on. I suggest we download the five hour tribute to Martin hosted by David Marsden on The Rock. The MP3s are waiting for us at http://www.torontomike.com/2009/07/martin_streek_tribute_with_dav.html.

We'll always have the memories and we'll always have the music. Martin Streek, rest in peace.



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Comments (22 - click here to join in!)

Sammi

I have had a lot of trouble with this and have not commented too much at all. I, like Mike, have had this pain in my gut for the past 2 weeks and I only now feel I can say a few words.

First off....Mike, I have often made fun of you and belittled your comments.....but your coverage of this whole thing has been exceptional. It is your blog that has brought me some peace. I still feel like crap, but we must move on.

I met Martin for the first time about 10 years ago. Sunday nights were always my favorite. Everything everyone has said is true. He was an amazing talent and a great guy. I don't think the people at Corus really get what CFNY meant to us. They just don't get it.

This whole tribute really pissed me off. I too was curious and listened. The music was amazing. Perhaps in an obscure way it gave the chance to the current DJ's to take an indirect swipe at their employer. If Martin was go great....why did they fire him??? I can't listen to the 'Edge' anymore. It just feels shallow, like the people who run it.

I can't go on anymore as I am still really upset. I miss you Marty....

July 19, 2009 @ 8:20 PM

Sarah

I too have had a hard time with the loss of Martin, and did not listen tonight on principle. I cannot stomach hyposcrisy.
Though I agree that the 'testimonials' that former colleagues may have given might have been sincere, that there has been no on air mention in the past couple of weeks of the fact that Corus both fired him and erased his existence unceremoniously is unforgivable.
I too need to find a way to move on from this but I don't think I am there yet. I was particularly upset when while at the Phoenix last night for the 'memorial' if you will, they continued to play his promo spots and clips of him throwing to a couple of songs. I think that was in very poor taste and it made me extremely uncomfortable. Every time I heard his voice I got the chills. I have not listened to CFNY a lot in recent years - I had honestly been saddened to feel that there was little reason to until a couple of weeks ago - but the way they have treated both Martin's firing and his death have turned me off the station for good and I pledge never again to be a listener. I am also left wondering, if Streek was such a phenomenal on air talent - which he unquestioningly was - why was he let go? And even if it was a decision that had to be made for financial or other reasons, after over 20 years with the station did he not deserve more than to be erased?
At a time in my life when I needed to feel like I wasn't missing everything, listening to Martin's Live to Airs from the Phoenix was my only window, and when I first met Martin in 96 and told him how much those shows had meant to me, he was gracious to say the least. Ever since then I have been running into him all over the city and he has always made a point of stopping to say hello and made it some what of a mission to convince me to go to a NIN show. I am thinking that in his honour, I probably should get around to that.
Anyway, what else is there to be said other than RIP Martin - I hope it's loud wherever you are. I might point out that I am also sick of people saying that he is 'looking down and smiling' - or some version of that - at all of this given that he didn't believe there was somewhere to be looking down from.

July 19, 2009 @ 9:25 PM

Buffaloboymike

Mike I couldnt have said it better myself, when is corus going to wake up and realize that its not just the music, its the personalities like Martin that ate, slept, and breathed CFNY, Obviously he lived it as well and when they cut him loose he felt a part of him had died with his career at CFNY. My perspective from south of the border is simply that CFNY will probably live on but after listening to the live to air tonight, the music is better than it has been in sometime and maybe, just maybe they learned from this, that CFNY is not just another radio station, its a feeling and those who listen to the likes of Martin, Pete and Getes, and Humble and Fred over the years love the music just as much as the personalities, the music hasnt changed much, if anything its been a little stagnant because the new music coming out these days isnt anywhere what it used to be, but that aside we tuned in because of those like Martin who had this enthusiasm and passion for the station, he could take a mediocre song and pump it up and make you feel good about listening to it because even if you didnt like a song, he did and it showed in the way he presented it, he is irreplacable andthey should have thought the move through a little more before doing what they did.
Martin inspired me at one point to do a little DJing, Ihave dozens of mix tapes that I just wanted to sound like a live to air.
Martin for me will always be the face of CFNY

July 20, 2009 @ 1:09 AM

James Edgar

Too much crap going on in my life this weekend and I missed it. I would have possibly listened but the hypocracy is a lot to take. CFNY is dead for me now. Sad. I've listened on and of since the 70's. Corus will never get it.

July 20, 2009 @ 8:35 AM

Gary

They should have been grooming Martin for bigger and better things at the radio station. Guys like him are rare these days....instead they fire him and now this. I couldn't listen on Sunday. I can't listen to CFNY anymore. Like Sammi said....they just don't get it.

July 20, 2009 @ 10:20 AM

Wayner

We were driving to the falls after Martin's death. As always we were listening to the edge (we like the blundell show and the music). After listening to all the on-air tributes that day we were left wondering whether Martin was indeed fired. Had I not read your blog I would never had known about the firing and would have assumed that he was still with the Edge at the time... i beleive that the announcers & DJs were working from a script that they had to stick to..also, perhaps some guilt on the part of the management

July 20, 2009 @ 10:33 AM

Toronto Mike

Playlist from 102.1 the Edge's tribute to Martin Streek:

Hour 1

The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary
Depeche Mode – Walking in My Shoes
Kyuss – Gardenia
Die Mannequin – Make it Witchu…live acoustic
Cabaret Voltaire – Sensoria
Dead Can Dance – The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove
The Tragically Hip – Bobcaygeon
The Beloved – The Sun Also Rises
Ministry – So What

Hour 2

Tool – 46 & 2
Nine Inch Nails – Terrible Lie
Rage Against The Machine – Renegades of Funk
Queens of the Stone Age – Mexicola
Soundgarden – Jesus Christ Pose
Underworld – Born Slippy (Nuxx)
Bob Marley – Three Little Birds
Joy Division – Atmosphere
Consolidated – Butyric Acid RU486
The Smashing Pumpkins – Mayonnaise

Hour 3

The Clash – White Riot
The Jam – That’s Entertainment
Nirvana – Aneurism…live
Bauhaus – She’s in Parties
Jane’s Addiction – Mountain Song
The Cure – Lullaby
Japan – Visions of China
Portishead – Roads
Faith No More – Last Cup of Sorrow
Sonic Youth – Kool Thing
The Church – Under the Milky Way
Massive Attack – Protection

July 20, 2009 @ 10:40 AM

Jason Paris

I didn't listen out of principal, but will admit they captured the spirit with that playlist.

I think all I have left to say about the matter is that Martin Streek's death has given the Sprit of Radio the funeral it never got to have. Both are now gone and the entire genre of "radio" is worse for it.

July 20, 2009 @ 10:48 AM

Steve

Well said Jason and Devon. I couldn't agree more.

Great music during the tribute that was full of hypocrisy. A sad ending to an era that meant something.

July 20, 2009 @ 10:56 AM

Tammy

Oh come on!

He played records and loved music. He was a coward and didn't want to reinvent himself. That's what every radio guy has to do. It is kind of shocking that he didn't get fired before now. Ask any radio person.

Everyone has been fired from every radio station many times.

Personally, I was fired from CFNY a few times, then rehired. These things happen. That is the nature of the business. They change formats and fire people. They re-hire them again afterwards. I am sad Marty did this. He had great enthusiasm for music he loved and I will miss him.

CFNY is now owned by CORUS and they made a business move. It was stupid but they aren't going to say on the air at his memorial, that they didn't mean to fire him.

July 20, 2009 @ 11:35 AM

Argie

Mike,

Can we have a moratorium on posts/tributes to Martin Streek. I know I'll take some heat for this but come on, enough is enough. I know its your blog and I don't have to read it but for chrissakes, move on.

This cat had problems none of us knew about. There are a lot of other terrible things in the world to worry about. There are also a lot of great things to be happy about. Now go back to living your life.

July 20, 2009 @ 11:49 AM

Mississauga Mike

Argie, I assume this whole summary entry and the closure tone of it is probably the end of Mike's entries on the subject. Just an assumption.

July 20, 2009 @ 12:25 PM

Toronto Mike

@Argie
Mississauga Mike is right. This entry is a natural end. I'm moving on.

July 20, 2009 @ 3:39 PM

Jason Paris

Besides, I think the discussion had also been about the demise of CFNY and of commercial radio in general, and that's not a subject I think we should necessarily have to "move on" about.

July 20, 2009 @ 4:32 PM

Jan

Thanks for the complete playlist Mike... The Edge's site only lists 22 of the 31 songs! Glad to see someone on the ball! Now if we can just find a download of the whole show...
cheers

July 20, 2009 @ 6:46 PM

Sammi

I think Tammy is missing the point completely. A lot of us grew up with something really special. When Martin was fired, the last string of what held it together seemed to go with him. Like Jason said, it was like a funeral for The Spirit of Radio.

CFNY mattered a lot and the loss of Martin just drove home that the Spirit is gone.

If it's just business for you Tammy, so be it. It meant more to some of us.

July 20, 2009 @ 6:51 PM

Hector

Nicely said, Sammi.

July 20, 2009 @ 6:53 PM

Ryan

Ditto what Sammi said. 100%!!! Tammi your comments are obvious and exactly why we aren't doing this for every personality that gets the shaft that we enjoy.

Martin was different. Martin was the reason they captured an entire generation of radio listeners.

July 20, 2009 @ 7:03 PM

Jessi

I, like Mike, have felt anger over the firing of Martin and now confusion and saddness over his death and I too am now ready for closure.

Thanks Mike, for having the answers about Martin being let go from the edge, for covering the past 2 months with respect, and for giving me access to Marsden's tribute.

RIP Martin,

July 20, 2009 @ 7:49 PM

Raph

RIP Marty. I miss you, pal.

July 21, 2009 @ 12:36 AM

Tammy

No, the reason this kind of memorial when other people are sacked is that they don't have a tattoo of their radio station tattooed on their butt, and kill themselves when they are canned. He felt bad and was deeply identified with CFNY. I get it.
He didn't want to have his second job interview of his life (!) and reinvent himself.
Really he should have done something useful with his strength. He could have been some use to a charity or a disabled person for 6 months and THEN done himself in.
My guess would be that he wouldn't have done that had he filled his time with more profound pursuits.
He was a wonderful supporter and enthusiastic about music. Absolutely.
He could have done so much more.

July 21, 2009 @ 3:14 AM

Shawn

Thanks for this Mike.
RIP Martin, you will be missed and can never be replaced or forgotten.

July 21, 2009 @ 10:01 PM

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