Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 115: Amber Gero

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 115In this 115th episode, Mike chats with former Newstalk 1010 reporter Amber Gero about the lack of diversity in Toronto radio. This episode is exactly 1:04:50.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

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Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd at http://www.torontomike.com/podcast/.

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Handsome Rob

That was a quick turnaround from the initial tweets. Downloading now.....
Interested to hear the points of view.

March 19, 2015 @ 12:46 PM

Lynne

Mike and Amber, well done!

Amber, you are gutsy, strong and above all, you speak the truth.

Your interview speaks volumes about the inequities women and people of colour face in all areas of Canadian society, not only in radio, although your experiences say it loud and clear that your former radio station is still in the 1950s. (As an aside, that's why I can't handle most talk radio, 1010 particularly.)

This is a must-listen for all the middle-aged white managers (male and female), in all industries, out there.

It's 2015 people, let's get with it. Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world.

March 19, 2015 @ 1:07 PM

Lynne

When an employer "treats" any employee to 10 hour shifts with no break, it is often apparent to everyone but the employee that they are trying to get them to resign That way they don't have to pay severance. A labour lawyer or the Ministry might be worth consulting, even at this late date, even if you signed something at the end of your employment. It wouldn't hurt. I think it's called constructive dismissal when the terms of your employment get seriously downgraded or added to, at the same salary. Fourteen years, plus awards, will stand heavily in your favour.

March 19, 2015 @ 1:41 PM

Ryan

Great conversation! I think trying to arrange a podcast with Fitzroy Gordon from G98.7 would be interesting. He's the owner of the station and I'm sure he has an interesting perspective on the diversity of Toronto radio

March 19, 2015 @ 4:35 PM

Jack Dakasic

Why is it ok to hire someone because that someone is a woman, gay, lesbian, trans, serbian, peruvian, italian, mongolian, etc...

How many male mongolians are there in the media?

Why don't we hire people because they have a talent/skills to do the media job? Just because you are a host that is a woman/gay/lesbian/trans/serbian/peruvina/italian/mongolian, doesn't mean you are a good host.

Newstalk1010's Jim Richards's Show Producer is Britt Aharoni, a Persian woman who is obsessed with Llamas and Racoons.

I was born in Kragujevac, Serbia. I live in Toronto for the past 15+ years. How many serbian hosts are there?

Same applies for newspapers, tv stations and rest of media that is not radio (I work at a radio station).

Have you looked at non-main stream media? Like Torontoist who had Hamutal Dotan as their editor-in-chief for many years (woman).

Let's stop getting hosts/producers/etc...based on their gender, sexual orientation, colour of their skin and so forth and hire them because of their talent.

March 19, 2015 @ 4:39 PM

Lyle Lanley

Great episode. Thought provoking!

March 19, 2015 @ 4:39 PM

D-Rock

Isn't Amber's former direct News Manager a female?

March 19, 2015 @ 5:16 PM

dale

Very few people listen to radio anymore. It's only the OLDER generation.

Good podcast. Overall radio is dieing & stations & owners are scrambling & keep the older white males because that's what they want with hopefully continuing.

I can remember a few years ago Harold Hosein (weather) was let go by CITY TV & then a few weeks later gone from 680 News. Why & he was great. He's now back on 680 as weather forecaster on the weekends.

How did that happen?

March 19, 2015 @ 8:58 PM

Anonymous

Toronto: A diverse city run by whites.

March 19, 2015 @ 11:02 PM

McNulty

Why is it so hard to understand what Amber is saying?

She is not saying "You need to hire black people!"

She is asking, "Why haven't you?"

I am sure that the only people available for jobs in radio are not just white men. How can the fourth largest city in North America not have any talented people looking for jobs that happen to be non-white males? That's the question.
Amber gave quite a few examples of what she percieved to be sexism and racism. Each incident on its own doesn't seem like much but add them up over 14 years and she has a point that deserves a closer look.

I hope that speaking your mind won't affect your career, Amber. Bravo to you.

March 20, 2015 @ 8:44 AM

Frosty

All of these AM stations are pit stops for white guys of slightly above average or average intelligence who think they somehow have interesting points of view. They don't. p.s. I am white.

March 20, 2015 @ 10:25 AM

Rapsfan

Amber, you are brave. I salute you.

March 20, 2015 @ 10:45 AM

Sam in Pickering

This is quite the episode. Amber is angry, and rightfully so. I'm glad this discussion is happening.

March 20, 2015 @ 11:01 AM

Politically Incorrect

Listening to this episode, the word 'uppity' comes to mind.

March 20, 2015 @ 11:05 AM


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@D-Rock

Was that Suzette Francis? Amber mentioned Suzette Francis as the only other non-Caucasian in the newsroom during her 14 years at 1010.

March 20, 2015 @ 12:31 PM

Irv

@Ryan

Fitzroy would be a great guest to discuss this. I'm a frequent listener to G98.7 (love it) and I know they do have in-depth discussions about race relations, police brutality, etc.

Honestly, I think that the "pasty white" complexion of Toronto radio isn't so much about racism. I think it's about short sighted and a complete lack of vision in the industry. I mean, no secret the radio industry is devoid of any creativity or vision at ALL levels.

Go look at CFRB's ratings. The share is high but the CUME is exceptionally low (much lower than CBC Radio 1). And, the 25-54 share is lower than the 2+ share meaning the bulk of the audience is either under 25 or over 54 (take a guess duh). Maybe the problem isn't so much the station management but the audience that is tuning in & what they demand? Folks like to imagine Toronto is this cultured world class city. Recent events in Toronto have proved it much different.

March 20, 2015 @ 5:11 PM

Lynne

@McNulty Very well said. People don't want to understand Amber's message. Either that, or they have pre-set opinions on the subject of the podcast (racist attitudes?) without ever actually listening to her. Her message was very clear, fair and articulate.

@Irv I am well over 54, and not a radio listener at all. CBC Radio 1 is all I would select in the car. Then the Jian Ghomeshi thing happened, and now I am boycotting them too. They disregarded the sexism that was going on to protect their precious Q host, and their ratings. It will take a while longer to get me back.

From what I have gleaned from Mike's blog and podcasts, the radio industry in Toronto is pretty much a cesspool of sudden firings, hirings, a suicide, rampant misogyny, and racism. Throw in blatant disregard for labour laws and employee wellness, and you've got a stinking mess. How Amber stayed for 14 years is beyond me.

March 20, 2015 @ 6:53 PM

Irv

@lynne. and those r the good parts of radio.

March 20, 2015 @ 8:03 PM

Amber

Thanks everyone for your incredible support and understanding. Oh, and Mr. "Uppity" aka 'Politically Incorrect', and Jack Dakasic...I don't think it was your intention, but thanks for the help proving my point.

March 23, 2015 @ 12:23 AM

Rick C in Oakville

Another good interview Mike. Given how narrow the market is for Radio personalities with the big corps ownership, I hope Amber hasn't burned any bridges by coming out, no matter how brave she is.
Maybe you can mentor her on a podcast where she can keep her skills honed? Good Luck Amber

March 23, 2015 @ 8:23 AM

Tim

I really enjoyed this episode. I think it was probably more than just a coincidence that three women were fired. Amber speaks well and should consider podcasting. I would listen to her. Terrestrial radio is done, so railing against a dying machine is rather pointless.

March 27, 2015 @ 9:23 PM

Al The Royal Pain

Great episode. Very revealing.

March 31, 2015 @ 2:37 PM

Willy

While there may have been a degree of racism/sexism behind Amber's departure, I would suspect that her 14 years of employment at the station may have been a big factor in the decision. When departments have to align to their new budgets, the overall cost of the employee is usually the top consideration, not skin colour nor the awards they've won. Once the employee hits that tipping point where they're seen as no longer being "cost efficient", it really doesn't matter how good they are or how long they've been in the building, they're now a detriment to the bottom line.

July 20, 2015 @ 9:53 PM

JanelleB

Chris Mavridis, who was morning anchor at CFRB for a while, is half black.
Farah Nasser started her career at 1010 before becoming at TV reporter. That make almost 4 people of colour! Great job, Bell Media/Astral Radio/White ownership!

May 19, 2016 @ 7:59 PM

JanelleB

Chris Mavridis, who was morning anchor at CFRB for a while, is half black.
Farah Nasser started her career at 1010 before becoming at TV reporter. That make almost 4 people of colour! Great job, Bell Media/Astral Radio/White ownership!

May 19, 2016 @ 7:59 PM

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