Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 166: Blind Derek

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 166In this 166th episode, Mike chats with radio vet Blind Derek Welsman about his years at 102.1 the Edge, producing the Dean Blundell Show, the jury controversy that got the show cancelled and cost him his job and how he landed on his feet at Boom and The Move. There's also plenty of media chatter about Jennifer Valentyne, Gord Martineau, Kelly Cutrara and others. This episode is exactly 1:51:45.

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Rob J

It's in the queue...looking forward to it!

April 7, 2016 @ 6:40 PM

Tim

Great podcast Mike. I love Derek he seems to be a really genuine and kind guy. I am glad he landed on his feet. I wish you could get Dean, that would be amazing!!!!!

April 8, 2016 @ 9:05 AM

Jason from Sudbury

Great podcast. Enjoyed this one. Yeah I remember Jonathan the inside Edge guy.

April 8, 2016 @ 9:24 AM

Andrew

Ah crap... I wish I had known Derek was coming in... I would have come and said hello. We go waaaaaaaaaay back to our RTA days.

Great guy... his wife is the funniest lady I've ever met!

Cheers,
Andrew

April 8, 2016 @ 10:10 AM

Jody Thornton

Yes Mike, Dan Freeman and Jesse and Gene both did stints on AM 640 (though no longer the "Hog" at that point) just after CFTR ditched the CHR format in June 1993.
:)

April 8, 2016 @ 10:47 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Jody Thornton

Yes, I remembered Tarzan Dan on 640, but I couldn't remember if it was post-Hog or not. I do remember The Hog was heavier than the tunes Dan would spin. He was dining on New Kids on the Block for quite some time.

April 8, 2016 @ 10:50 AM

Jody Thornton

Yeah the Hog basically started as a not-so poppy CHR in July 1990 (Jane Child, Jeff Lynee's "Every Little Thing" and the odd Janet/Rhythm Nation track. I'd say by spring 1991, it was pretty much a full fledged Rock 40, with the odd KLF or the like thrown in.
:)

April 8, 2016 @ 11:10 AM

Irv

Jody,

Tarzan Dan recently worked in Calgary for KOOL FM which is sort of a Top 40 station that does some 90s and 2000's stuff. He was fired a while ago. I believe he was working out in Vancouver or Victoria at one time.

The Hog was a Rock 40 station at first, no? The idea probably made sense, it was just the AM factor that killed it. By 1990 music was destined to leave the AM dial.

April 8, 2016 @ 1:18 PM

Jody Thornton

Yeah but AC/DC didn't make it to the playlist (with then current "Thunderstruck" stuff) until about year's end. The first weeks, they played the death out of Jane Child's "...Wanna" and Jeff Lynne's "Every Little Thing". But I never heard any New Kids or Milli Vanill on 640.
:)

April 8, 2016 @ 1:34 PM

Irv

I remember a news guy on The Hog referring to an accident victim as "road kill" or something. I was long gone from FM radio then.

FYI, on the topic of AC DC Thunderstruck, did you know the morning after the Ashley Madison hack, staff arrived, turned on their computers and Thunderstruck started playing. Now THAT'S good music programming ;-). Myself, I think #HellsBells is a bit more ominous.

April 8, 2016 @ 1:45 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I distinctly remember driving in my '85 Ford Escort in the early 90s and hearing Joey Lawrence's Nothing My Love Can't Fix on 640. Post 640 The Hog, when it was AM 640: The Beat Of Toronto, before turning to talk in '95.

Fun Fact: AM 640: The Beat Of Toronto was the last top 40 station in Toronto until 92.5 adopted the format in 1999.

April 8, 2016 @ 1:46 PM

Irv

@TM

Well technically you could argue that Hits 103.5 was a Toronto station though licensed to Orangeville (but CFNY is technically licensed to Brampton). If I recall the 640 (and 680 antennas) are in Niagara Region near Beamsville (I think).

92.5 was originally called Power 92, but the owners of Power 88.5 took legal action so it became Kiss.

April 8, 2016 @ 1:55 PM

Jody Thornton

@Mike:

I can corroborate your "fun fact". I was driving westbound on King Street past Kenilworth Avenue in Hamilton, when Kenny the Hit Man (yes of SOWNY/Housecoat fame ...lol) played Brownstone in early October 1995. One of the recurrents that hour was a year-old track from Whigfield (remember "Saturday Night"?) This was on the drive home show.

I STILL can't believe that I ever EVER EVER heard those songs on an AM signal. Think in the same era, there were people at home clicking on a Start Menu to launch Netscape Navigator on Windows 95, and in Toronto pop music could still be heard on AM radio. It was kind of the same time warp feeling as getting Jagged Little Pill on a German imported LP. (In 1995, whenever I told someone I had Alanis Morrissette on an LP, no one believed me until they saw it ...lol)

April 8, 2016 @ 4:23 PM

Irv

Jody

Not to be "The Stickler" but Windows 95 was released in August of 1995. The internet was a "curiosity" at best in 1995. So it was unlikely there was many people clicking on Start to launch Netscape Navigator. But they could stream audio in Real Player.

As for Kenny The Hitman, is he still making 6 figures working in his housecoat. That comment got SOWNY more worked up than a typical post by me. I guess the real question is, why would I want to listen to Whigfield on AM lol. I know, I know, AM Stereo still has a chance.

April 8, 2016 @ 5:38 PM

Jody Thornton

I'm not saying that you'd want to hear Whigfield on AM ever ...lol. I just mean to say that it was weird that such an occurrence ever happened. And no I was listening on a mono AM radio ...lol.

By the way, I was using 16-bit versions of Navigator Gold on Windows 3.1 in 1994 and 1995. And I used IBM Web Explorer for a short time on OS/2 Warp 3.0 ...lol. But at JMG Compushoppe, we were setting up a number of people with dial up on Windows 95, and I started there in September 1995. I know it got a tad more common in 1996. All I was saying was it was odd to think AM Top 40 still lived in Toronto in the mid 90s, that's all.
:)

April 8, 2016 @ 5:52 PM

Irv

Well the irony about music on AM is that most of the early internet streams had a quality worse than AM. I can recall streaming Bandit 105 from Stockholm in 16 kbps. I can remember listening to 24 Kbps streams and thinking "wow, this sounds great"

I recall Trumpet Winsock on Windows 3.1 and it was not a feature friendly configuration. I used Slackware (Linux) back then & it was worse. Netscape Beta 0.9 came out in 1994 if I recall. Navigator 2 was a big improvement.

It was IE which incorporated streaming into the browser. I remember them talking about it on Energy 108. Netscape came to the end not long afterward.

April 8, 2016 @ 6:06 PM

Jody Thornton

Really? So did IE include Real Audio codecs (or at least associate them with stream links? I can't remember. I do remember when Energy played imaging promos during Tom Allen's show saying "You can listen to us in Streaming Audio".

The only dial up connections I ever worked with in any xNix environment were remote serial terminal connections, mostly on SCO Open Server with the uucp commands. I miss those days. We were supporting accounting software on SCO boxes. I liked the old Wyse terminals and keyboards. They just felt so nice to type with.

April 8, 2016 @ 8:43 PM

Jody Thornton

@Mike:

I know Energy Radio (which more or less became a CHR station on Victoria Day weekend of 1998) was technically a "Hamilton" station. But wouldn't that be the re-entry of Top 40 in to the GTA market as opposed to Power 92 in 1999? Corus networked Energy in Westdale (Hamilton), London and Barrie with the reworked format.

@Irv - oh right, I forgot about 103.5. I remember they tried doing mornings with Don Berns (RIP) and Tom Allan, and later with Jesse Dylan, and they were going by "Toronto's All Hit Music Station" in 1997 (I only remember that because they were playing "Your Woman" by White Town at the time). So I guess we still did have a lone CHR in the market.

April 9, 2016 @ 8:11 AM

Brandon

Solid episode! I hadn't been that familiar with Welsman and enjoyed learning about him through this. Comes across as articulate and intelligent.

Derek mentioned Wayne Webster at one point. I recall the name from brief segments Webster (then "Mix 99.9" Music Director) used to do with John Donabie when Donabie was doing the Newstalk 1010 (CFRB) Saturday and Sunday morning slots prior to Larry Fedoruk and prior to current incarnation The Motts. Webster would outline the upcoming month of new music releases, play clips and talk with Donabie about it to put some of the artists in context about how the label is promoting them and other styles/artists it might be reminiscent of.

Although one could easily get upcoming release information online, one thing I appreciated was the "digest" format of the segment and the feeling of being a "fly on the wall" to listen to Donabie and Webster chat about it.

@TorontoMike, I know you generally interview on-air figures on the podcast but Webster might be an interesting guy to talk with in the future about how he's seen the business change, corporate ownership (I'm curious how much decision about individual station playlists remain local to the station vs. corporate across-the-board programming and testing/focus groups), that kind of business-side stuff of music radio.

April 9, 2016 @ 9:39 AM

Jillian

Great podcast! Derek wasn't allowed to speak much when he was 102 so it was interesting to hear his opinion on so many topics.
however- one thing I always wonder. Why don't your guests simply say "I don't want to answer that question" rather than answering with an obvious lie? You asked Derek about Todd's firing and he said he had no idea what went down- he was outside having a coffee. Really? And he never asked his co-workers about it after? Probably did but didn't want to share this info and that's fine- but don't expect us to believe you have no idea what happened.

April 11, 2016 @ 2:32 PM

Derek

@TM Just heard from Peter Wildman. The lip sync sketch you brought up was not a Frantics creation. Maybe Vacant Lot?

April 12, 2016 @ 10:21 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Derek

Disappointed!

I must find this skit...

April 12, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

That's Not My Name

re: 17:30 - 23:00 (especially 19:00 onwards)

From one of the 'restructured' people who used to work in the biz, THANK YOU Derek for saying publicly what so many can't or won't.

April 13, 2016 @ 11:33 AM

MrDan

@Jillian, think of it this way...

An "I don't know" is easier for others to take, rather than an "I don't want to talk about it or answer that" which might be met with further questions to probe for the truth or extra coaxing for answers.

May 23, 2016 @ 3:20 PM

Bruce

Maybe we should tell jokes about blind people on the air as well. What a jerk off!!

January 7, 2017 @ 11:05 AM

Derek

@Bruce ... It's been done.

March 8, 2017 @ 6:28 PM

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