Rick Hodge Interview - Why He Left CHUM, the Sunday Funnies and More

MicrophoneI recently worked with Rick Hodge. Rick and I had a rocky start to our relationship, but as is often the case, the guy you most want to stab in the eye quickly becomes a solid bud.

Rick Hodge is no longer on the air, having been booted from the radio by Astral, but he's now writing very interesting prose on his blog. All bias aside, it's a very interesting perspective and he occasionally tells some pretty cool Toronto radio stories over there. I strongly urge you to check it out.

Here's an interview I conducted with Toronto radio legend Rick Hodge earlier today.

Q: I can't tell you how many Sunday nights I spent listening to you host the Sunday Night Funnies on CHUM-FM. How did that program come to be? Are you aware of how awesome it was?
A: I inherited the Sunday Funnies after the original host left. It was kind of make shift at the time so I thought it would be a good idea to get it organized. Because of content and language a lot of the material couldn't be used and it would take the producer hours to find all the edits. So I catalogued the entire library. Then I made a point of going to the big record stores downtown and bought up anything new I found. I remember coming across Jeff Foxworthy for the first time. I bought him, loved him and played him. After a couple of weeks I got a call from Sam the Record Man. The guy said "what the hell are you doing?" They were getting a non stop stream of people coming into the store asking for Jeff Foxworthy or that southern guy I heard on the Funnies. I also made runs to Buffalo about every 3 months because they had material that wasn't available in Canada. Don Ferguson from the Air Farce told me I had the largest comedy collection he had ever seen.

One thing I took pride in was promoting as much Canadian talent as I could. The 2 comics I got to know the best were Gerry D who cut a name for himself on "Last Comic Standing" in the US and Frank Spadone. I just happened to pick up Frank's cd one day and started playing it. I used it on the Funnies and he called to ask if he could do a ticket giveaway on the morning show. He did and the venue, which was only half sold, sold out. And he did it on Super Bowl Sunday.

The program director at the time wanted me to start cutting back on the older comics. He wanted the young comics I told him the problem with the young comics is that most of them live and die with "F" bomb. If he'd allow me let that word go in their bits it would open things up for all sorts of new material. He did and we only got one complaint.

To answer the question, no I never did realize how awesome it was.

Q: I used to catch you on television hosting Rinkside, a weekly AHL highlight show. How did you score that gig?
A: Actually they came to me. It was just after I won a sportscaster of the year award. I'm not a television guy so thank God it was pre-taped. The most fun I had was with the co-hosts. Brian Kilrea of the Ottawa 67's did regular bits one year and he was a hoot. Brad Smith (Motor City Smitty) was fun to work with. We discovered Jim Ralph when he was a goaltender with the Newmarket Saints. I knew from the start he had a career in sports casting. I also got to know Gord Stellick. Truly one of the nicest people I have ever met and another former non broadcaster who's done very well on hard work and talent as a talk show host.

Q: "Roger, Rick & Marilyn" was my mom's favourite radio show. The CHUM-FM morning show was tops in this city. Why did you leave?
A: Roger Rick and Marilyn was, and remains, the highlight of my broadcasting career. I was honoured to be asked to be part of Roger Ashby's induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. So, why did I leave? The station was evolving. My commentaries had been dropped, the Funnies were dropped and finally the sports casts in the morning were dropped. I disagreed at the time but in an industry that had become specialized I understand why they did what they did. I wanted to get back to doing sports and commentaries and I wanted to get involved with talk radio. There's more to the decision but basically when I was presented with the opportunity, I took it.

Q: Astral never seemed to know what to do with you once they landed you. You were on the EZ-Rock morning show, while running down the hall to be on CFRB. Then, without giving you a fair shot, they kicked you off the air. What the hell went wrong?
A: Good question.

Q: Do you have any resentment towards Astral?
A: No. Sometimes you forget it's a business and the people running that business will do what they feel is best for the company. I understand that. That doesn't mean it doesn't sting when it happens but at least you understand.

Q: What's next for Rick Hodge?
A: Well, I have to check the kitty litter, I have to fill out my NCAA brackets for the pool, Pardon the Interruption is on in about an hour (best show on TV), then I'll read some of the new book I just picked up. Lord I've got cabin fever. Actually I want to stay in radio. It's the old Joni Mitchell line "you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone." Getting up at some ridiculous hour never really bothered me. I love the early, early mornings and the drive to work at 2:30 am with virtually no traffic on the road. Where I'll end up I don't know and who knows, I may not end up anywhere.


Share this entry

Comments (37 - click here to join in!)

Jonluc

Great article! Roger, Rick & Marilyn was my only choice for morning radio... but like Rick, I left it behind.

March 15, 2010 @ 5:11 PM

hodgie

Hey Mike what's the deal with stabbing me in the eye?

March 15, 2010 @ 6:18 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Figure of speech, Hodgie. :-)

March 15, 2010 @ 6:44 PM

Cambo

Yah Hodgie...he followed it up with "Solid Bud"...lets all hug. ;)

March 15, 2010 @ 7:36 PM

Rick C in Oakville

Nice interview Mike, Hodgie is a class guy, good to see some positive outlook from his experiences.

March 15, 2010 @ 7:47 PM

Il Duce

Great interview T.O.

I loved the Sunday Night Funnies.

March 15, 2010 @ 8:33 PM

Down Goes Brown

Great interview. When I was in my early teens and my cool friends were getting into college radio and new music, I was listening to Sunday Funnies and getting into guys like George Carlin.

Along with David Letterman, Rick Hodge probably had more influence into whatever sense of humor I managed to developed than anyone.

Thanks Rick.

March 15, 2010 @ 9:22 PM

Lorne

Thanks for the interview, Mike, I really enjoyed it.

Rick (if you read the comments), maybe you can keep the Sunday Funnies going? Now that you're blogging, maybe on Sunday you post a link or a clip to a new or classic comic, or an interesting story/tidbit about the Funnies?

March 15, 2010 @ 11:01 PM

Steve

I always loved the Funnies too. I didn't live close enough to Toronto when I was growing up to listen to them every week, but whenever I found myself in the area or on those nights when it would come in clearly enough I would always be sure to listen.

Nice little interview here, Mike.

March 16, 2010 @ 7:37 AM

hodgie

Thanks for all the kind comments. Hopefully one day the funnies will be back somewhere. The last few months for me have remdinded me of 2 Seinfeld episodes, both involving George.

-Jerry tells him if every decision you've made in your life is wrong, then the opposite must be right!

-George gets upset when his girlfriend does a preemptice strike, breaks up with him and steals his line..."it's not you it's me" (you're not the problem I'm the problem)

March 16, 2010 @ 2:54 PM

Jay Hickey

I have every Sunday Funnies Christmas show from 1986 onwards on tape and still listen to them every year. They're digitally preserved now. I miss the show.

November 20, 2010 @ 12:20 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Hi Jay,

Any chance I could get a hold of these files? I'd love to share them here...

November 20, 2010 @ 9:40 AM

jim

hey hodgie allways enjoyed your style and delivery thanks for the memories......
p.s what happened to brian henderson from chum am?

June 15, 2011 @ 8:09 PM

DTK404

Used to end up on the road Sunday nights and listened to Sunday funnies every time. Almost drove off the road hearing "Kermit the Frog as a pimp". Living in the US now and just checked to see if I can stream the show on my computer. Such a shame it's gone. What a tradition to have ended. That and the Theatre of the Mind are missed by my wife and I to this day. TotM introduced me to The Lives of Harry Lime, so thanks are in order just for that.

October 1, 2011 @ 5:47 PM

jj

I use to listen to Chum FM every morning for years but I just couldn't get into it without Hodgie there. I stopped listening.

I miss him.

November 16, 2011 @ 9:08 AM

TED THOM

SURE MISS SUNDY FUNNIES. STILL HAVE SCROOGE STORRY I TAPED DEC. 1999 THANKS FOR BEING AN IMPORTANT PART OF MY LIFE

November 17, 2011 @ 11:33 AM

ym

Every time I see the ad on TV for Roger, ? and Marilyn, it just doesn't sound right... I also used to listen to this show, haven't for a while and always wondered what happened to Hodgie. Thanks for doing this interview, and thanks Hodgie for the many laughs, both in the am and on Sundays. Always a hoot! Miss you, and hope you get a gig involving something you love, and that I can actually find it when you do!

December 11, 2011 @ 12:29 PM

Lucy

Guys I have been looking online for almost an hour trying to find the archives for Sunday Funnies. I would like so badly to download them and listen to them again. Where can a person find archives of the Sunday Funnies???

December 26, 2011 @ 3:52 PM

Richard

When Hodgie left CHUMFM I stopped listening to the morning show. The Roger / Darryl(?) and Marilyn show is forced and plastic. ChumFM is all wrong now. They ruined a good thing.

January 22, 2012 @ 11:28 PM

BobT

Wow - So I'm not the only one who stopped listening to CHUM-FM in the morning after Hodge left - do they even know what they lost? (BTW, haven't heard of him since then until now :(

February 4, 2012 @ 2:09 PM

Anonymous

I am another LONG time listener of CHUM-FM who refused to tune in after Rick departed. Sounds like I am kne of many!

February 5, 2012 @ 7:25 PM

sowhen

Sooooo this is what happened to Mr. Hodge. Maybe its time for him to o to CBC where they actually do shows. And as they have Randy Bachman bantering on Saturday Nights - maybe its time for a funnies comeback on Sundays? Anyway - Rick - if you see this give Pat a hug for me!

February 5, 2012 @ 9:46 PM

Annoyed

Chumfm is not the same without Rick. Darren is annoying. Very intelligent but too goofy. I switch the station when Darren goes down that path. Marilyn's laughter is sooooo forced it too becomes annoying. Roger is the only person I enjoy listening to adn the reason I tune in.

April 10, 2012 @ 8:42 AM

d

i require atape of april 1 2007. show.

October 19, 2012 @ 11:35 AM

Kerri

I too used to listen to Roger Rick and Marilyn in the mornings. I left when i found out Rick was no longer a part of the show!

October 30, 2012 @ 2:56 PM

Jay Hickey

Hi Mike... crazy - doing a yearly search for Christmas Sunday Funnies/Theatre of the Mind and came across my post and your reply from nearly two years ago... I'd be happy to share the Funnies shows I have taped - please feel free to get in touch via the e-mail address I listed if you're still interested... Cheers...

December 4, 2012 @ 1:43 PM

Dave

Great interview, heard some rumors about why Hodge left CHUM but didn't know the real reasons. Met Rick and Roger a few times at different CHUM functions, both real good people. I was listening to CHUM when it was just Roger & Rick and I still think that was the best morning show on the air, sory not a Marilyn or Daren fan. Rick, hope you get back on the air somewhere. Dave

January 9, 2013 @ 7:36 AM

kashif

I stopped listening to 104.5 chum fm when Rick left. The morning show at Chum FM is no longer the same. Bring Rick back.

June 27, 2013 @ 12:09 AM

Bob

Holy cow Jay, it took you 2 years to respond to Mike... where you looking for the recordings during that time? :)

August 9, 2013 @ 3:41 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

2 years and then this magic happened:

Sunday Night Funnies 1986 Christmas Episode
http://www.torontomike.com/2012/12/sunday_night_funnies_1986_chri.html

August 9, 2013 @ 3:52 PM

Timmer

I agree with an earlier posting about Marilyn and her forced, fake laugh. Reminds me of the old laugh gag box.When you pushed the button, it laughed. And then she gets her own show?? Ok..enough about that. I don't mind Roger..only listen occasionally for him. But happy to hear Rick is back on 105.7 our of Niagara Falls,On:)Congrats!!

January 1, 2014 @ 1:25 PM

Bruce Laing

It was a sad day for me, when Rick Hodge left CHUM fm. It wasn't long afterward that I stopped listening to CHUM fm, after a life time of being a listener.
I don't like the way the station progressed and I would LOVE to hear Rick back on the air SOMEWHERE!

October 3, 2014 @ 10:33 AM


BobRH

I'm another who left CHUMFM in the mornings shortly after Hodgie flew the coop. For whatever reason, a few weeks ago started back to Roger, Darren and Marilyn - and lo and behold, now its down to just R & M!

Still miss Hodge!

September 30, 2015 @ 5:51 PM

Mark

I too left chum fm after Rick left. My wife still listens to it. I was suprised to hear recently that the other guy left. Glad Rick is well and would love to hear him on radio again.... Z103.5 ....Maybe lol

January 24, 2016 @ 9:26 PM

Stan

The morning show was not the same when Rick left. I used to listen to CHUMFM every morning. Now I am scanning stations...

March 13, 2016 @ 12:09 AM

Doug

I met Hodgie up in the Wal-Mart in Alliston when he was living in the Cookstown area. We had a wonderful conversation. He was a very gracious soul and didn't badmouth anyone he had worked with. Glad to hear that he's back on the air.

June 9, 2016 @ 9:18 PM

Leave a comment


Only 37 comments? C'mon, we can do better... Leave a comment above and let's keep this conversation going!


« The Great One and The Greatest One Rob Ford For Mayor? Not On My Watch... »