November 2017 Archives

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Gregg Zaun Fired by Rogers Sportsnet

Gregg Zaun will no longer be a part of Blue Jays telecasts. He was fired today. Rick Brace, President of Rogers Media, sent the following email to employees this afternoon.

This week, we received complaints from multiple employees at Sportsnet regarding inappropriate behaviour and comments by Gregg Zaun in the workplace. After investigating the matter, we decided to terminate his contract, effective immediately.

This type of behaviour completely contradicts our standards and our core values. We must all be held to the same standard - regardless of our position, our contributions or our status.

We believe in a professional workplace where all employees feel comfortable and respected. We believe in a culture where our employees share their feedback or our status.

We are grateful to the employees who spoke wth us and we will take every measure to protect their privacy.

If you have concerns related to inappropriate behaviour of any kind, I encourage you to talk to your manager, HR business partner, or phone our anonymous hotline.

Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment.

Rick

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 288: Steve Simmons Kicks Out the Jams!

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 288In this 288th episode, Mike and Steve discuss several topics including the recent Postmedia and Torstar swap and cut, Cash Pomer, the cancellation of The Reporters, Bob Elliott, The Athletic, the Argos, TFC, Roy Halladay, Phil Kessel, Joey Bats, his diabetes, his sleep disorder, the death of his brother and haters on Twitter before they play and discuss his ten favourite songs. This episode is exactly 2:17:42.

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Jim Nabors, Dead at 87

JimJim Nabors was 87. He was the singer and actor best known for his role as Gomer Pyle on "The Andy Griffith Show." His character was spun-off into a new series, "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," which ran for five seasons.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 287: Ed Keenan Kicks Out the Jams!

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 287In this 287th episode, Mike and Ed discuss yesterday's Postmedia and Torstar newspaper closures and the demise of the alt-weeklies before they play and discuss his ten favourite songs. This episode is exactly 2:12:45.

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36 Local Newspapers Shut Down After Massive Postmedia-Torstar Trade

I can't remember anything like this happening in the past... there was a massive local newspaper trade today between Postmedia and Torstar. 41 papers were involved and 36 of them will be shut down. That means hundreds of people (300+) were dismissed today, as a result.

Here's a list of newspapers being shut down by their new owner:

  1. 24 Hours Toronto
  2. 24 Hours Vancouver
  3. Barrie Examiner
  4. Bradford Times
  5. Collingwood Enterprise Bulletin
  6. Fort Erie Times
  7. Innisfil Examiner
  8. Inport News (Port Colborne)
  9. Niagara Advance
  10. Northumberland Today
  11. Orillia Packet & Times
  12. Pelham News
  13. Thorold Niagara News
  14. Belleville News
  15. Brant News
  16. Central Hastings News
  17. Frontenac Gazette
  18. Kanata Kourier-Standard
  19. Kingston Heritage
  20. Meaford Express
  21. Metro Ottawa
  22. Metro Winnipeg
  23. Nepean/Barrhaven News
  24. Norfolk News
  25. Orleans News
  26. Ottawa East News
  27. Ottawa South News
  28. Ottawa West News
  29. Our London
  30. Quinte West News
  31. St. Lawrence News
  32. St. Mary’s Journal-Argus (and the St. Mary’s Weekender)
  33. St. Thomas/Elgin Weekly News
  34. Stittsville News
  35. Stratford City Gazette
  36. West Carleton Review

Here are the papers that were swapped but will remain open:

  1. Exeter Times-Advocate (and the Exeter Weekender)
  2. St. Catharines Standard
  3. Niagara Falls Review
  4. Welland Tribune
  5. Peterborough Examiner

These lists were cobbled together based on press releases and tweets from trustworthy sources like Jaren Kerr. If I got anything wrong, please let me know and I'll update the lists.

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Argos: 2017 Grey Cup Champions

ray

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 286: Aaron Bronsteter Kicks Out the Jams!

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 286In this 286th episode, Mike and Aaron discuss his role as Editor of UFC content and Producer of Talent Relations at TSN before they play and discuss his ten favourite songs. This episode is exactly 2:05:37.

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Stranger Things is Overrated

Just my opinion, of course, but I think Stranger Thing is overrated. I've watched both seasons and thought it was okay, but nothing special. My favourite thing about the series, and the reason I've watched every episode, is the nostalgia factor. I was about the same age in the early-to-mid-80s and I love the look and feel of the era.

My teenagers think Stranger Things is top shelf, and the general feedback is overwhelmingly positive, so I'm filing this one in the "not my cup of tea" drawer. It's not you, it's me. To be honest, I found the whole upside down world boring.

The kids are cute, though... and the opening title sequence and theme is perfect.

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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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List of GTA On-Air Talent Laid Off This Month

As Bell Media continues to make cuts across this country, I thought I would put together a list of GTA on-air talent who have been advised their services are no longer required.

I've already written about Joe Tilley and Lance Brown at CTV Toronto, and Paulie Morris at 97.7 HTZ FM, but here's the full list of names familiar to Torontonians. Several of these people have a history at their respective stations going back to the 70s and 80s.

  • Joe Tilley - CTV Toronto
  • Lance Brown - CTV Toronto
  • Paul Morris - 97.7 HTZ FM
  • Brittany Anastacio - 97.7 HTZ FM
  • Michael Kane - BNN
  • Amber Payie - CP24 / CHUM
  • Bob Summers - CP24 / CHUM
  • Jeff Howatt - CHUM FM / Newstalk 1010

Many behind-the-scenes people have also been let go, but I'll only maintain this list of on-air people as I learn more names.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 285: Alexandra Beaton Kicks Out the Jams!

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 285In this 285th episode, Mike and Alexandra Beaton discuss her acting career before they play and discuss her ten favourite songs. This episode is exactly 1:18:25.

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David Cassidy, Dead at 67

David CassidyDavid Cassidy was 67. He was the1970s pop culture idol who starred as Keith Partridge in “The Partridge Family.”

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Top casinos to visit in Canada

Canada has become a well travelled destination for a number of reasons. The country encompasses a wide range of nature as well as culture. For instance, many gambling fans plan holidays here to visit some of the country’s top casinos.

Parq Vancouver
This British Columbian casino is found right in the heart of Vancouver and is probably the best gambling venue in the province. Here the casino offers a range of table games number around 75. Games such as baccarat, blackjack, craps, roulette and poker can be played. The slot machines at the Parq can appeal to a number of bankrolls with the lowest denominations all the way to the highest, it is recommended you practice your online slot skills before your visit. The casino’s Parq Progressive offers the chance to win a sizable jackpot when playing linked machines.

Casino de Charlevoix
Quebec is a city that many enjoy visiting for its distinctly French-Canadian culture. It is also a great place to gamble at the Casino de Charlevoix. Both slot machines and table games are offered as well as a special keno room. The casino is part of a larger resort that includes swimming, a spa, health club and golf course.  Also included are a variety of restaurants to appeal to many different tastes.

Casino de Montreal
Located in the second largest Canadian City, the Casino de Montreal is the largest casino. The casino is comprised of a total of six floors with gaming to please everyone from the novice gambler to high rollers. Slot machine enthusiasts will be pleased with the immense selection of over 3200 slot machines. Those that prefer table games will be equally impressed with more than 115 gaming tables offering all of the most popular casino games.

The next time you find yourself planning a trip to Canada, consider allowing time in your itinerary to enjoy one of the fabulous Canadian casinos.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 284: David Shoalts Kicks Out the Jams!

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 284In this 284th episode, Mike and Globe & Mail writer David Shoalts chat about the latest sports media stories before they play and discuss his ten favourite songs. This episode is exactly 1:57:17.

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Argos Grey Cup Bound and My TSN Cameo

I was at BMO Field for the Argonaut's Eastern Conference Final against the Saskatchewan Roughriders earlier today. It was so much fun watching a great game in great conditions with a big crowd. 24,929 were there, the biggest crowd to ever watch the Argos at BMO Field.

The Argos won with a last minute touchdown that happened right in front of Bob Willette and me. If you were one of the millions watching on TSN, you might have seen me celebrating.

TSN

Before the thrilling ending, we got some face time with the biggest celebrity around.

Argos

Grey Cup bound!

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 283: John Gallagher

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 283In this 283rd episode, Mike chats with John Gallagher about his drug use, his unbelievable but true stories, his new book and his father. This episode is exactly 1:54:36.

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Malcolm Young, Dead at 64

Malcolm YoungMalcolm Young was 64. He was the legendary guitarist who co-founded AC/DC with his younger brother, Angus Young.

Malcolm-Young

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Lance Brown and Joe Tilley Laid Off as Bell Media Job Cuts Continue

Lance Brown and Joe Tilley have delivered sports updates for CFTO News, now CTV Toronto News, since the mid-80s. Lance started in 1985 and Joe in 1984. If my math is right, that's over thirty years for each of them.

Bell Media has cut over 50 jobs across Canada, including Lance Brown and Joe Tilley. Earlier today, Paulie Morris was let go by 97.7 HTZ FM. CTV Toronto News will now save money by utilizing TSN resources for their sports updates when local sports go off the air on December 27.

lance

joe

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97.7 HTZ FM's Paulie Morris Let Go By Bell Media

You may have heard that Bell Media is making cuts across the country. Today, they let some people go in St. Catharines, including long time 97.7 HTZ FM host and music director Paulie Morris.

If you've ever listened to 97.7 HTZ FM, you've heard Paulie Morris. He helped build that station back in 1986, and except for a few years in the mid-90s, he's been there ever since.

Paulie-Morris-HTZ

The St. Catharines Standard secured this quote from Bell Media.

“The reductions in St. Catharines were part of a restructuring of local radio and TV at Bell Media stations across the country. I’m not going to get into the specific numbers, but I can say that like other Canadian broadcasters, we are confronting rapid change in the media marketplace including new broadcast technologies and viewing options and fast-growing international competition,” said Bell Media spokesperson Matthew Garrow. “As the media marketplace evolves, local radio and TV stations are facing significant declines in advertising, their only source of revenue. We need to reorganize and reduce costs to manage the impact. At the same time, we do not expect any changes in local programming.”

Paulie Morris's daughter is Newstalk 1010 reporter Siobhan Morris who appeared on my podcast back in 2014 and recently returned to kick out the jams.

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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 282: Stephen Stanley Kicks Out the Jams!

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 282In this 282nd episode, Mike and Stephen Stanley chat about his career in music as part of the Lowest of the Low and the Stephen Stanley Band, and then play and discuss his ten favourite songs. This episode is exactly 1:30:23.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 281: Paul Romanuk

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 281In this 281st episode, Mike chats with Paul Romanuk about his years at TSN, his move to The Team 1050, living in England and his triumphant return to Canada calling games on Hockey Night in Canada for Sportsnet. This episode is exactly 1:44:00.

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One Way to Unwind Between Biking

No matter what form of physical activity you do, there comes a time when you want to chill out and step away from your bike, gym clothes or running shoes. Sometimes you need to be able to truly let yourself go and simply relax, investing your time in recreational activities such as binge watching TV shows and gaming on your devices. When it comes to gaming, there’s no end of options out there to suit various needs, however for the majority, the most easiest means of gaming to access is iGaming.

In case you’re not familiar with that term, in which case where have you been, then we’d like to point you in the direction of a website called Platinum Play Casino. This Malta based brand has been around since 2003, and so you can be confident in its continued ability to supply good quality experiences, not to mention new releases. When we’re away from our bikes, we always prefer to tap open an app and load up an activity, simply due to how convenient it is. What is more, it’s so far removed from what we do normally do on a daily basis.

The beauty of opting for a casino rather than just a single title is that you have the opportunity to play multiple activities, some of which you wouldn’t normally try, and secondly, you don’t have to necessarily pay in order to play. Even though casinos are seen as these money making machines that take advantage of you, a lot of the time they’re good to their customers and provide freeplay action. When this happens, you’re able to play most of the titles for nothing, all the while relaxing and stepping away from the daily grind.

It should be said, continuing on from this, that if you should decide to become more than a play for fun casual gamer, you can look forward to lots of additional perks that go hand in hand with membership. We’re not suggesting that this is the way that everyone should go, but it’s certainly something to consider if you find gaming to be your best form of escape from the outside world.

Often when someone admits that they game for downtime, others can see it as a adolescent way of relaxing, and yet lots of research, not to mention personal experiences, have all shown signs that they can help you to get out of your headspace for a while. Additionally, that they help you to tune into something else. Furthermore, it could be argued that by doing this, you’ll be more refreshed when you get back to your training/exercise regime the next day. We always find ourselves more than ready for a lengthy ride once we’ve been able to switch off and focus on something else.

As with all recreational fun, there’s plenty of other ways to unwind after a hard day of working out, but nobody can deny how entertaining and relaxing gaming can be, especially the more convenient forms. So next time you need to chill out, why not unlock that smartphone and tap open an app to start a quick cooldown routine of your own design.

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My Thoughts on the King Street Transit Pilot

As you've likely heard by now, they've implemented the King Street Transit Pilot between Bathurst Street and Jarvis Street. Rules are in place to prioritize streetcar traffic and to prevent private vehicles from driving through this stretch of King.

I don't currently drive on King Street, nor do I take the streetcar there, but this is what I know. King Street is the busiest surface transit route in the city, moving more than 65,000 riders on an average weekday. The tweets I've seen from some of these 65,000 riders has been overwhelmingly positive. Commute times have been dramatically reduced and streetcars are just cruising.

king streetcar

The 20,000 vehicles who use King Street each day have and will find alternate routes. Perhaps some of these drivers will leave the car at home and take the streetcar now that it's faster, less crowded and better spaced. Common sense suggests it's far easier to move the 20,000 vehicles than the 65,000 people on streetcars.

If you used to drive KIng Street along this stretch, I'd love to hear from you in the comments. And if you're one of the 65,000 who ride a King streetcar, please let me know how things have improved.

From where I sit, this looks like it will be a tremendous success.

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Why Didn't Roy Halladay End Up Working With Blue Jays Minor Leaguers?

I have a great deal of respect for Bob Elliott. In fact, when he visited me eleven months ago, I let him become the first guest in 207 episodes to go beyond two hours. Elliott spent decades covering the Expos and Blue Jays and the players trusted him and confided in him. I wanted to hear as many stories as possible.

Bob Elliott and Me

Following the tragic death of Roy Halladay, Elliott wrote a great article about Roy for the Canadian Baseball Network. It included this nugget that caught my eye.

This off season he wanted to work with Blue Jays minor leaguers. He applied -- yes Roy Halladay was made to apply for a job with the Blue Jays -- with the high performance committee.

And then the decision whether to hire him was kicked upstairs.

The Jays did not hire him. Instead, he was re-hired by the Phillies to work with their young pitchers.

I read this and was left wondering why Roy Halladay didn't end up working with the Blue Jays' minor leaguers. There may be an excellent reason Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins took a pass on utilizing Roy's services, but I'd rather not speculate. I'd like to know.

I tweeted about my desire to know and was accused of piling on current management.

Admittedly, a few moves made by Shapiro and Atkins have me scratching my head, but I certainly have no interest in "piling on". Someone linked me to Andrew Stoeten's entry about the piling on but I still think it's absolutely fair to ask why the Blue Jays didn't want Roy Halladay working with their minor leaguers. Our loss was Philadelphia's gain, as you'll read in this Philadelphia Inquirer article.

Again, I don't know anything is rotten here, and I'm well aware knowing the truth won't bring Roy back, but my hope is that one of this city's fine sports journalists investigates the story and brings to light the truth.

I think we fans deserve to know.

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One Man's Mozart is Another Man's Pitbull: Of Rusty's Fluke

If you've ever listened to a Kick Out the Jams! episode of my podcast, you've heard me talk about the potent power of nostalgia. I've often said the music you loved as a teenager will stick with you the rest of your life.

I was 20 when I first heard Rusty, but my ears loved it. I thought Fluke was the greatest album. In fact, a mere decade ago, I included Fluke on my list of my ten favourite Canadian albums of all-time.

Groovy Dead, Wake Me, California, Misogyny... I never understood why everyone wasn't raving about Rusty. Didn't you all hear what I heard? Ah, the subjectivity of music... one man's Mozart is another man's PItbull.

Last night, I made the very cold late-night bike ride to the Mod Club to catch Dearly Beloved and Rusty and they still sound great. I had extra tickets, and couldn't give them away, which tells you how popular Rusty is in 2017, but I had an absolute blast.

On my chilly ride home west along the waterfront trail in the wee hours of the morning, you could hear me bellowing the hook to Wake Me over and over again. My apologies to the Canada geese trying to sleep by Windermere.

Rusty

What's your Rusty? You know, a band that can't fill the Mod Club but to you is like seeing U2 or Springsteen?

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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 280: Blake Carter

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 280In this 280th episode, Mike chats with The Move's morning show host Blake Carter about her career in radio, the recent format change at The Move, her cosmetic surgery and more. This episode is exactly 1:30:17.

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Roy Halladay, Dead at 40

Roy HalladayRoy Halladay was 40. He was the greatest starting pitcher in Blue Jays history and one of my all-time favourite players. If you search this site for the keyword "halladay" you will find dozens and dozens of entries about the man.

Roy

Here are a few of my favourites:

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 279: Brad Fay Kicks Out the Jams!

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 279In this 279th episode, Mike and Sportsnet's Brad Fay chat about his career in sports media, whether he'll take over for Bob McCown hosting Prime Time Sports, and then play and discuss his ten favourite songs. This episode is exactly 1:51:51.

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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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The Kick Out the Jams! Episodes are Awesome and You Should Listen To Them

Last night, we recorded the 20th Kick Out the Jams! episode of Toronto Mike'd. Sure, I'm biased, but when I listen back to these episodes I absolutely love the music and stories. You learn so much about someone by hearing them tell you why they love the songs they love. The Kick Out the Jams! episodes are awesome and you should listen to them.

Here are the first twenty to take the plunge:

The Full (and Ongoing) History of Toronto Mike Kick Out The Jams Episodes is here and you can subscribe to Kick Out the Jams! episodes here.

Do you have a favourite? Let me know in the comments!

More jam kickers are coming, as are more deep dives. Thanks for listening!

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 278: Sarah Boesveld Kicks Out the Jams!

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 278In this 278th episode, Mike and Chatelaine Senior Writer Sarah Boesveld play and discuss her ten favourite songs. This episode is exactly 1:43:36.

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