Fearless Fred Talks About Toronto Mike

edge102I first heard of Fearless Fred when I broke the firing from CFNY / Edge 102 of Martin Streek and Barry Taylor. I was informed by my trustworthy tipster that Fearless Fred had been hired from Edmonton and would debut sometime in August.

About ten days ago, I wrote that Fearless Fred was on his way, and confirmed that Bookie was being bumped so Fearless Fred could take over the drive home slot. I understand that he premiered yesterday.

I just learned from a commenter that Fearless Fred spoke about this site and our discussions about Streek's dismissal and the recruitment of FF. It's an interview with Fred Kennedy on a comedy blog entitled From the Back of the Room.

Fred Kennedy is not Martin Streek – nor will he try to be – a fact that’s a sore point among Toronto radio devotees who view him as the poster boy for the literal and figurative death of quality radio.

“There’s some radio site called Toronto Mike or Mike in Toronto or something. It’s a prototypical website that’s full of people who’ve either been fired or are just starting out and are already jaded. Basically no matter what happens in the radio business they’re the people who will always say it’s for the worst. Joe Blow gets fired and it’s the worst thing that has ever happened in radio EVER! Even though when he was on air the week before they trashed him without remorse. All that typical nonsense.”

Fred, this isn't a radio site, but I do write about radio when it interests me. It's full of something, but not radio rejects. Hell, I'm the only author, and I've never worked in radio. I wasn't happy that Streek got fired, I sincerely was a long-time fan, but there was no trashing of Streek the week prior.

As puzzling as your description of this site is, it's your final statement in the interview that has me most puzzled.

“Let these people run their mouths. I work at the fucking Edge,” he says, “the best rock station in the country.”

I believe what you mean by that statement is that you work at the only non-classic rock station in Canada's largest city. At one time, it was the best, but that was a long, long time ago.


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Comments (56 - click here to join in!)

james edgar

He's a dipshit. I won't bother listening even for free PJ tickets.

August 18, 2009 @ 5:25 PM

VegasGeoff

I'm up here in Toronto visiting, and my 15 year old daughter put CFNY on while we drove to the Oshawa Centre. This Fred guy happened to be on, and after just a few minutes of listening, she says "Wow. This guy is not funny at all."

This was just about an hour ago when he was giving away the Pearl Jam tickets.

August 18, 2009 @ 5:38 PM

Jason Paris

He doesn't get it because he's relatively young, from Edmonton and now working for the big non-classic rock station in Canada's biggest city. He thinks people out there are setting it up as "Streek was better than Fred and now the Edge sucks,"but what they are actually saying is "Streek was the final connection to one of the world's most influential radio stations. Fearless Fred is probably a decent guy, but has no connection to CFNY's past and seems to be strutting himself as a younger Blundell." Basically, music will continue not to matter with this dude.

August 18, 2009 @ 5:41 PM

mike coffey

A younger Blundell? Thanks for the warning, I won't even go near that bandwidth anymore, not that I've been there lately anyway. His quote is enough to scare me off anyway, another blowhard, gonna save the city with his drivetime show. Uh, yeah!

August 18, 2009 @ 5:48 PM

Andrew

“Let these people run their mouths. I work at the fucking Edge,” he says, “the best rock station in the country.”

That is so full of win... I think the dude should do some research before he runs his mouth off... My wife listened to him on Friday for about 5 minutes before she called me to say she's done with it.

I was done with it a loooong time ago.

Cheers,
Andrew

August 18, 2009 @ 5:53 PM

coopy

he's a nice guy. I met him a few times in passing here in Edmonton.

that's all I'm going to say.

August 18, 2009 @ 6:02 PM

jason | Getyouroj.com

Sounds about as charming as Blundell and Shapiro

August 18, 2009 @ 6:02 PM

Ryan

This is the worst radio station site ever!!! It hardly ever references other stations.

Oh and Mike, when we were kids we used to pretend we were announcers or DJS and tape it. I remember it vividly. You have radio DJ background my friend. Maybe this jack-ass summed you and your site up perfectly!!! LOL

August 18, 2009 @ 6:34 PM

Toronto Mike

@Ryan

It's true. I've wanted to be Wolfman Jack ever since I first saw American Graffiti.

And yes, we made old tapes complete with DJ chatter. I wonder if I can dig one up...

August 18, 2009 @ 6:42 PM

BBM

There is no Toronto competition in afternoon drive for what FF is doing. His job is to get people to listen to the radio who aren't anymore, or never did. And good luck with that!

Matt Galloway and Rich Terfry, both on CBC Radio at the time, have already won over the more thinking elements of the old CFNY crowd.

August 18, 2009 @ 6:50 PM

BBM

Should also be noted that Galloway and Terfry are around 37 years old.

FF would love it if there was someone online every day baiting him with insults and complaints. Probably not gonna happen.

August 18, 2009 @ 6:52 PM

Carrie

That article (the one linked to, not yours, Mike) seems to really miss the point. I don't think anyone blamed Fearless Fred for what happened to Martin Streek - hell, at the time, no one even knew Fred was coming to TO. And no one's going to compare the two. They aren't even in the same ballpark.

I've listened to Fearless Fred for the last two afternoons. Had to see what all the fuss was about. He seems like a nice enough guy, and he'll play the bland music and read the bland prompts just as well as anyone else they could have replaced Bookie with. But he doesn't seem to really give a shit about the music he's playing, so he'll fit right in with the Corus standards.

Either way, it's not about Fearless Fred. It's about the station itself, Corus, and how they're trying to make this station into another one of their mindless, cookie-cutter frequencies. And they're succeeding.

August 18, 2009 @ 7:06 PM

Vness

Toronto Mike, you're fucking awesome!

August 18, 2009 @ 7:28 PM

BBM

@Carrie

"The Corus standards" = people who respond to radio advertising.

They don't read blogs. They don't know what blogs are. They also don't read much of anything.

Do you need to be reminded of all the millions of other alternatives?

August 18, 2009 @ 7:57 PM

andrew

Best station in the country??
Ratings are sheer $H1t.
Give up your comments about Martin - He did his deed.
I'm puking again & still.

August 18, 2009 @ 9:05 PM

Irvine

LOL, well look at this. The same group of people who immediately wrote this guy off WITHOUT EVEN HEARING HIM are upset because FF has the balls to speak his mind.

Oh and take note about how he said "rock station" not Alternative rock station. I'm not sure "best" is the word I'd use, but "biggest" would be.

Why are a Torontian and a Trojan Condom alike? Both are extra sensitive.


August 18, 2009 @ 9:45 PM

ADub

Any guy that comes out that fearless has got to be a dud. Prereq for FM rock radio nowadays: being a jackass.

August 18, 2009 @ 10:17 PM

Buffaloboymike

ITs sad really, A station that meant so much to so many is becoming faceless really. The music doesnt matter anymore, the only one who counts on that atation is Alan Cross who pretty much sells his soul to stay on there but I respect him as a music guy.
Other than him, I will tune in Sunday nights until they ultimately kill that night of good music.
Realistically I agree with the assessment that they are turning one of the most unique and influential new rock stations into basically the same damn thing that all of north American "edge" stations have become...drones. Its sad. CFNY used to play what no one else would. The DJS used to care about that. Now, they probably couldnt name more than a hand full of bands that mattered when this station was truly the Spirit of the Radio.
HE gets on giving away Pearl Jam tickets thinking hes going to win over the world by giving them away, Fred, show that you care about this stations past, show that this station means something more than just a pay check, otherwise take your ass back to Edmonton.

August 18, 2009 @ 10:26 PM

Toronto Icarus

The Edge was good, and so was Q107. Frankly both are really bad at times for completely different reasons.

The Edge has strayed from the music that made it great only 3 years ago and has become unlistenable.

Q107 has Alan Cross who is probably the most informative, interesting presenter of any show ever. Also Psychadelic Sunday is brilliant, but I think at this stage I can tell the time from what song Kim Mitchell in playing. Every Monday to Friday seems like the same set list.

August 18, 2009 @ 10:35 PM

Toronto Mike

@Toronto Icarus

"Q107 has Alan Cross".

I don't believe that's true. Although Alan works for Corus, and Q107 is a Corus station, I'm fairly certain Alan Cross doesn't actually appear on the 107.1 airwaves.

August 18, 2009 @ 11:28 PM

brad

bbm (not to be confused with buffalo boy mike) is right. the edge wants young idiots listening and young idiots don't read blogs or newspapers or anything.

the edge now appeals to the lowest common denominator and fearless fred is that guy.

sad but true--there are enough young idiotic males out there to make corus alot of money.

August 18, 2009 @ 11:39 PM

fearless

a little birdy told me he doesn't he know the music... he just does tons of research.

August 19, 2009 @ 1:10 AM

hector

So this is the guy they were so high on bringing in?? I know it has only been a couple of days, but he is so not funny and a bit of a goof.

He doesn't know the music, but pretends to. Where is this radio station heading???

Alan Cross must be just shaking his head everyday.

August 19, 2009 @ 8:22 AM

Andrew (needs a more distinct name)

Who says he doesn't know the music? While I think it is important, and that is a reason why I like Bookie so much, I haven't heard any proof that he doesn't know the music.
I have listen the past two days and he doesn't talk about the music. I am pretty sure he isn't supposed to.

Fred's schtick will be talking to listeners. That's what he will bring. As of right now I am ambievlent towards him. He has focused so much on saying, "I am the new guy" and, "I have Pearl Jam tickets" that we haven't got a good chance to really hear his ability.

I will give him a bit of time.

I also think that blog post wasn't that bad. He may have got the theme of the site wrong but he was probably taken aback by the major negative comments (mine included).

Don't hate the guy yet.

August 19, 2009 @ 8:46 AM

Ryan

I listened for about an hour first shift and all i kept hearing was "i'm the new guy" and "it's hot outside"...over and over and over.

i understand the new guy thing cuz it's the first shift, but he should have varied up his bits for each time he turned on his mic..i realize he's probably been told to be "immediate", and the weather is always immediate, but i could've thought about a dozen things to talk about..and i'm not a professional dj.

August 19, 2009 @ 11:12 AM

Steve Kasan

Is Bookie bumped from the slot or the entire company?
I have not listened to this station in a looonnggg time, please fill me in.

August 19, 2009 @ 4:00 PM

Larry L

Yeah, Bookie is moved from afternoon to 7-11pm slot. I knew this was going to be the end for me. Having Blundell and his gang of dick jokes and now this moron who is a) not funny and b)uninformed running the main drive shows is a death knell. Throw in that Guns n Roses keeps showing up more and more often and I think Don Mitchell (PD) has decided to run the station as a new rock form of Q107, pandering to the moron culture. Too bad music and history. I also asked Alan Cross if Bookie moving to 7-11pm means the end of Explore Music at the Edge. He didn't know. As many of you have said, I'm done. After 29 years of listening...so sad.

August 19, 2009 @ 4:36 PM

Steve Kasan

Larry L, thanks for the update. it is sad indeed.

August 19, 2009 @ 4:57 PM

correction...

Don is the Music Director and Ross Winters is the PD

August 19, 2009 @ 5:43 PM

Craig

Hey just a quick note. Give him a chance. He was great here in Edmonton and we were sorry to lose him. Things always change and that is what keeps life interesting.

August 19, 2009 @ 5:58 PM

@Craig

With all respect, Craig, having lived almost 44 years in this radio market, I think the issue is a little deeper than just not being willing to give the new guy a chance. It's about yet another - if not the final - nail in the coffin of a set of call letters and an FM frequency that many see as once being ground-breaking. Although I don't think it's ever been played on the station, Rush's "Spirit of Radio" is about CFNY. How many songs of that calibre exist about a major market radio station?

Terrestrial radio in North America (and maybe elsewhere too) has for decades been on a path to commercialization, homogenization, calicification, whatever descriptor you like. When I was heavily into AM radio growing up here in the early to mid-70s (before CFNY and Q107 arrived in 1977), I'd be all over the dial between CFTR, CHUM, CKOC, CHAM and even WGR. Yet each seemed different, even though they played a lot of the same tunes (all Top 40 formats). These days we have not just music formats but we have station formats. We have Jacks, Edges, EZ-Rocks and whatevers.

CFNY came along at the right time that it became something to some of us radiophiles in this market. Although the age of many of the participants of this list is, I think, a little young for the original days of CFNY, I think they share in the lamentation (is that a word?) that Corus has almost totally removed the connection of those call letters and that frequency to our collective past. It is now - in my opinion, which no one has yet expressed on this site as far as I know - turning Edge into Y108 from Hamilton - and they probably already have a number of those types of stations across the country. Y108 (107.9) is readily accessible in the Toronto market. However, despite having at least 2 other formats on the frequency previously, it doesn't have the history or resonance with those who grew up in this market.

So this "new guy", who may be a decent rock radio personality (haven't heard him) essentially represents the end of the old CFNY, and perhaps even the end of the Edge format (such as it had become) into some active rock format a la Y108.

I agree with you that change can be good, but change is not necessarily good if it reduces your options and takes something out of the market - especially something near and dear to a music-lover's heart. It's not as drastic as Mama Carlson changing to an all-news format, but it's not as far removed as you might think.

August 19, 2009 @ 8:17 PM

Nick

Just to start out, I couldn't agree more with what Carrie said, no one is "blaming" Fearless for Martins passing (Ross would be that target), it's the loss of people on 102.1 that know and love the music, its indie scene, and the station's history.

I'm the Edge's perfect listener, I'm a male in his young 20's with disposable income, with that said, what made the station great was the personal touches and the vast insight and variety to the music playing is becoming undone.

Maybe corus management can take a note on why the "new media" is so big. You Tube, blogs, Daily show, Huffington Post, etc. are so huge. It's the personal touches and personality people bring through on their topics. Hell has anyone watched CNN recently? They love their twitter and iReports, its not even a news staion anymore, but a forum for people to voice their (producer approved) opinion on the news.

If I wanted to just listen for the music, I'd turn on my iPod , and trust me, no one listens so they can be told what they are listening to. People want that connection, integration and free stuff.

I've made an effort to listen to fearless, he's a nice enough guy but generic, like he said in the article, he talks about what he is experienceing in life; new to T.O., "fancy street meat", being hot, etc. What I've noticed is his lack of interviews and personal anecdotes about the music/bands. Bookie is the only one left who has done this and hope he continues in his return.

I want Fred to be unique, and I certainly don't want him to feel as though he needs to emulate those who he is replacing, but show some knowledge and personality. However as Barry Taylor pointed out (He knew how to add the personal touches and why I loved him) Ross doesn't want that, its the same 40 songs with limited talking, and all I've heard Fred say is how nice so-and-so is in person (Hes mentioned this about Sam Roberts like 5 times).

The issue is much bigger than Fred and frankly, hes not the issue at all, it is the degradation into conformity of the station. It's not the announcer's fault, it's the management. If management thinks they have a winning formula they will take it and run and I won't blame them for that either that's their job.

The Edge isn't the best rock station in the country, it's the only rock station in Canada's biggest market, and changing announcers won't make it grow or diminish in market share, only severe change to the playlist, quirky contests, how adds are handled or competition will. I can only hope that Strombo brings an alternative radio station run for the music.

August 19, 2009 @ 8:48 PM

stan

In 2009 isn't being “the best rock station in the country” just a notch below being the world's tallest midget?

August 19, 2009 @ 9:16 PM

CQ

reply for @Craig 20:17
"How many songs of that calibre exist about a major market radio station?"

One of my favourite music groups BTW, of this decade, is Mighty Six Ninety. The band itself is named after a Tijuana / S. Cal. radio station. (Their sound: one singer Barenaked Ladies if they had started out five years earlier.)

August 19, 2009 @ 9:52 PM

@CQ

Sure, there are a few, no doubt. ZZ Top did one called "Heard it on the X" about a Mexican station. But I didn't say there weren't any others.

August 19, 2009 @ 10:02 PM

Chris

Show some knowledge and personality? I have a brilliant idea why don't you move half way across the country to what has been your "dream job" for 10 years? But before you go, make sure you have a bunch of people that don't know you lament the "degradation" of that job and how your very arrival is a prime example of that degradation.

How much "personality and knowledge" would you be showcasing? Probably not too much. None of us would.

So, maybe it would be best if you all kept your thoughts to yourself for a week or two. You will see how much knowledge he has about music - of all genres.

August 19, 2009 @ 10:05 PM

Gerry

He's an idiot is completely out of place here.

August 20, 2009 @ 2:11 PM

Jimmy

Edmonton? That says it all!

August 20, 2009 @ 3:26 PM

Brian S.

Here's my take on it. Radio's biggest competition these days is the iPod. On my iPod I can control the music I want to hear and what's better than that?

So what does radio have that's different than my iPod? 2 things; musical diversity (exposure to new music) and personality.

So where does that leave the Edge these days? Well, musically they're dead. In an environment where diverse music is more readily available than ever before, the Edge has taken more than a few steps backwards and carved their playlist to a very narrow wedge. The days of discovering something new on the Edge is long gone.

As for personality? Well, this is where the Edge could really make some head way. Personally I like Blundell. I don't always agree with him, and I think he has shit taste in music, but I get a laugh out of that crew and I listen most mornings, switching between them, Fan 590 and CBC depending on my mood. My initial take on Fearless Fred was pretty poor. His first few days he's come off as a bit nervous and trying too hard, but who can blame him. Perhaps when he settles in a bit he will be able to relax and be a bit more natural. Though he did come across as a bit of a douchebag in that interview.

August 20, 2009 @ 3:42 PM

Industry Vet

Fred's job is to stir the pot and make you, the listener talk about him and the station.

Based on what I've read on this blog, he's accomplishing that goal in spades.

He's generating publicity, probably one of the reasons they hired him.

Fred and I have worked in some of the same markets, yeah he's a bit of a loose cannon, but what decent jock isn't?

August 20, 2009 @ 11:31 PM

Sammi

People are only listening because of curiosity not because of any controversy or because he stirs the pot.

That curiosity ends very quickly. No depth...no passion...just like the station itself.

August 21, 2009 @ 10:31 AM

Carrie

@Industry Vet

They could have hired a cactus and we'd still be talking about the station and how they're destroying it.

August 21, 2009 @ 1:20 PM

Toronto Mike

I got my first taste of Fearless Fred this afternoon. He sounds like this stoner / slacker character named Jude on this Teletoon show my kids watch, 6Teen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fyt1WE9P8Ok

August 21, 2009 @ 4:04 PM

Pork

I listened as much as I could the first week. I liked him more everyday.

In my opinion, he's going to be a staple in this market for a long time!

Welcome to T.O. Fred!

August 23, 2009 @ 2:27 PM

Michele

I don't know how this guy (Fearless Fred) got on the radio, he has such a horrible voice for radio, listening to him is like "nails on a blackboard"; i can't stand Blundell because of his stupid jokes, but at least he has a radio voice. Fearless Fred has the most wimpy voice I think I have ever heard; to me, if you don't have the voice, you don't belong on radio.

I gave him a try, but I'll be listening to Bookie when his new show comes on just to see how it is.

August 26, 2009 @ 10:37 AM

Andrew

Have you ever thought about this...the edge does not want any of you to listen anymore. You liked the edge 20 years ago when you were in your teens. You miss the edge because you are growing old. The edge has to stay current that is what NEW ROCK means. In order to get the 16 yr old boys to like NEW ROCK, the edge has to play it over and over and over again. Alan Cross did not get it. He was the down fall of the station. He tried to cater to you. ROSS GETS IT!!! If you ask a 16 year old what their fav radio station is, they will say EDGE 100%. WHO CARES ABOUT HERITAGE. CHUM DOES NOT, 680 DOES NOT, 640 DOES NOT. Get a life, remember that this station is for 16 year olds and if you have a probelm, go away.
ps, since Alan was MOVED, the station is pulling in HUGE #'s, and making tons of money.

August 27, 2009 @ 10:25 PM

hahaha um what?

hey Andrew:
While I SOMEWHAT agree with a few of your statements (the station is for young folk), I feel the need to ask: what kind of crack are you smoking?

"If you ask a 16 year old what their fav radio station is, they will say EDGE 100%."

"ps, since Alan was MOVED, the station is pulling in HUGE #'s, and making tons of money."

WHAT?! you have no idea what you're talking about!

August 28, 2009 @ 7:53 AM

Andrew

really. Look at the ratings.

September 1, 2009 @ 6:01 PM

Bry

Is it me or is FF taped all the time? Everytime i have tuned in he is talking to someone on the phone about nonsense. He never sounds live on the air. Or is this how he does a show???

September 2, 2009 @ 1:42 PM

L.L.

As someone who has worked with FF I can safely say you're all totally out to lunch. Sure you may not like his voice or his bits or his anything... but you'll never meet a more hard working individual than Fred, I promise you that.

I agree with the previous commenter who pointed out people who listened to the Edge (or radio in general) 20 years ago are longing for outdated model of what radio is.

I'd also like to contest the point that Fred doesn't know the music. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't - I can't speak for him on that - but really, I've listened to the Edge (before and after Fred's arrival) and to other Corus "rock" stations and lemme tell you, there isn't a stitch of real rock and roll being played on any of them - which is certainly not the fault of the on air talent. Honestly, if you had to listen to garbage like Three Days Grace, State of Shock and Default all day, would YOU care about music? I don't think so.

Good luck to Fred - he'll do fine despite Toronto's jaded listeners.

September 2, 2009 @ 6:11 PM

S.K.

Totally agree!
Moved from Edmonton to Toronto for school and really missed Fearless Fred on the radio. I am so glad that I get to have him back and listen to him again!
He is missed in Edmonton but I wish him all the best!

September 7, 2009 @ 1:49 PM

FearlessFredFan

Fred will be sorely missed in Edmonton!! I will admit when he first came on the air I wasnt his biggest fan, but after a few months he became the only reason I listened to the radio. Give it some time Toronto and you will see why he is award worthy. You will not be disappointed!!!

September 9, 2009 @ 7:58 PM

hawky

There are tons of great articles on here and I appreciate how certain DJ's love the music more or know it more, but the bottom line is this guy is TERRIBLE. The music is still good on 102.1, but....I can't take this guy. I've switched off for the afternoons. Back to 97.7 in the afternoons. Kristy Knight is the best female DJ (in my opinion.) Yeah, there is some classic rock on there, but she is worth listening to! Mis-heard lyrics on Wednesday afternoons is hilarious!

September 17, 2009 @ 8:02 PM

PK

The thing is when you call in, you can talk about music with him or ask about obscure songs. If knows the music. It's a new job in a new place and everyone of you has done the same at some point. One bit he was known for here in edmonton is the good the bad and the ugly which was his discussion of current events of the day and if could be pretty insightful. Most of you sound like a bunch of high school girls judging the new girl. He's the only reason I listened to the bear. Now I mostly listen to cd's again. As for calling him a jackass, he's one of the most environmentally conscious and genuinely nice people you'll hear on the radio. Wow he must be from edmonton, that explains everything. Give me a break. Most of you sound more conservative than he is but clearly he must be a goof. Grow up!

October 2, 2009 @ 3:38 AM

mimi

Fearless Fred sucks. He belongs on a top 40 station.

I can't even listen to the Edge any more. Every time I try I get annoyed and switch it off.

October 28, 2009 @ 2:01 PM

Nancy

Honestly, how can one possibly think this guy is even remotely entertaining? I can't tell you how many times I've turned the station after listening to him rant and rave about some nonsensical drivel. And his pointless discussions with callers are really really hard to listen to. I really can't believe that this appeals to anyone. He's brutal.

November 3, 2009 @ 1:44 PM

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