Canadian Media

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 205: Chris Zelkovich

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 205In this 205th episode, Mike chats with sports media critic Chris Zelkovich about his years at The Toronto Star and Yahoo! and the current state of Toronto sports media. This episode is exactly 1:14:31.

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

Chris Zelkovich and me

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Corus Makes Cuts at Global TV

Corus recently bought Global TV owner Shaw Media for $2.65 billion in cash and shares. Yesterday, they made a few significant cuts.

Let's start with the cancellation of 16X9. 16X9 was an award-winning Canadian newsmagazine program. We're talking investigative news at a time when fewer and fewer news outlets are employing such people. Troy Reeb, Corus Entertainment’s SVP news, radio and station operations, issued a memo lauding 16X9.

Over its eight seasons, it broke ground editorially and visually – winning countless awards and international recognition. The program, and its team, has made lasting contributions to the field of investigative journalism, and we are committed to continuing to invest in this area.

Nothing demonstrates a commitment to investigative journalism like the cancellation of 16X9. I've never been an SVP of anything, but this seems like a rather large step in the exact opposite direction.

16X9_logo_pos_colour-1024x392

Meanwhile, on Global TV's The Morning Show, host Liza Fromer has been let go. Technically, her contract isn't being renewed, but the result is the same. You won't see Liza Fromer on Global TV any longer.

This move has upset my mother who still misses Dave Gerry on that show. She's been a fan of Fromer's since her Breakfast Television days.

Kris Reyes, it seems, has quit her job on Global TV.

Like so many people, we want to be more creative, we want to test out new methods and we want a chance to work on something that we can grow. Personally, I just want to tell more stories. All the while, finding new adventures and sticking together.

Kris and I want the exact same thing.

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Rogers Hockey Changes Official

Rogers has made it official. George Stroumboulopoulos is no longer part of the Rogers Hockey broadcast team. According to the press release, he will "depart the company to explore new creative opportunities."

That same release tells us Ron MacLean "is returning to host hockey’s biggest night alongside David Amber". MacLean will keep his Coach's Corner co-hosting and Rogers Hometown Hockey duties.

According to David Shoalts, additional on-air changes include the departure of Glenn Healy, Leah Hextall, Corey Hirsch, Chantal Desjardins, Billy Jaffe and P.J. Stock. I know people loved to hate Healy, but I never minded his contribution from between the bench. And when he guested on the Fan 590 radio shows, I found his opinions insightful and interesting.

Andy Frost has also tweeted that his contract was not renewed and after 17 years there will be a new public address announcer at the ACC.

Damien Cox, it was previously announced, has left to become Bob McCown's permanent co-host on the Fan 590's Prime Time Sports. Panelists Elliotte Friedman, Kelly Hrudey, and Nick Kypreos join MacLean and Amber in-studio Saturday nights, to round out the A team.

According to Chris Zelkovich, fourteen staff in total were fired today, many of them working behind the scenes.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the only thing that will improve ratings on Hockey Night in Canada will be competitive Canadian teams. In particularly, a rising Maple Leaf star will do wonders for Numeris PPM numbers.

There was nothing Strombo could do to compensate for zero Canadian teams in the 2015-16 NHL playoffs.

Related:

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Patty Sullivan Released of Kids' CBC Duties

If you include her hosting duties at TVOKids, Patty Sullivan has been a television friend to our kids since 1994. My three oldest kids have all enjoyed her work as host of Kids' CBC where she's been since 2003. Sadly, my youngest won't have that pleasure.

Kids' CBC is rebranding this coming winter, and that means no more Patty Sullivan, Sid Bobb or Mamma Yamma.

patty

For the short in-house segments — which Markle likens to short stories — the goal of the "total rebranding" is to create videos that work on television as well as on digital and mobile platforms.

"We're going to have a new studio and set that will allow us to create content that is platform agnostic and go anywhere," he said.

"Kids watch television, use iPads, YouTube, mobile devices. We will be creating excellent, worthwhile, funny, entertaining content that will be at home broadcast first or shared and highly interactive."

It's a shame. I spent many a morning with Patty and will miss her.

Update: Patty is on the air until September, so she'll visit me for an episode of Toronto Mike'd then. I'm looking forward to it.

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Strombo Talks About Hockey Night in Canada

The big news in this country is that George Stroumboulopoulos is being replaced as host of Hockey Night in Canada by Ron MacLean. Ron MacLean had the gig before Strombo, and Strombo visited my basement a few months into his first season as host to talk about the big change.

We actually had to discuss his start on The Fan 590, his role on 102.1 the Edge, MuchMusic and his CBC shows first, so I've done you a favour and edited the 1:50:46 of audio (the longest episode of Toronto Mike'd at the time) down to the twenty minutes of Hockey Night in Canada chatter.

Here's George Stroumboulopoulos talking to me about criticism of his new role at Rogers Hockey. Considering this week's news, it's a rather interesting listen.

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Ron MacLean to Replace George Stroumboulopoulos as Host of Hockey Night in Canada

According to The Toronto Star's Dave Feschuk, George Stroumboulopoulos won’t return as host of Hockey Night in Canada next season. His replacement will be the man he replaced, Ron MacLean.

Strombo is a tremendous broadcaster, and I was lucky enough to converse with him for almost two hours during episode 103 of my podcast. He's a natural interviewer, with several passions that make him one of this country's finest. Subjective, I know, but I thought he was just fine as host of Hockey Night in Canada. I just believe the position should never have been open in the first place.

As Ron MacLean told me during his recent visit to my home podcast studio for episode 165, he lost his Hockey Night in Canada hosting duties because he refused to give Gary Bettman a free pass. MacLean strikes me as someone who struggles with the ethics of journalism, and simply won't toe the line for any job, ever. During the last two seasons, he was grossly underutilized by Rogers Hockey, and I told him that.

Ron MacLean and Me strombo and me

I'm happy to see a wrong righted with MacLean, but sorry to see it come at the expense of Strombo. You won't find two nicer, more accommodating broadcasters in this country.

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The Untold True Story of Ann Rohmer's Two Retirements from CP24

Ann Rohmer has been a fixture on Toronto television for decades. Before joining Citytv in 1986, she was a features reporter for Canada AM. At Citytv, she was the CityPulse Weekend sports anchor before joining David Onley as the first hosts of Breakfast Television on September 6, 1989.

Ann hosted BT for 12 years until she took an anchor position at CP24. CP24 and Citytv, you will recall, were both owned by CHUM Limited at the time. Ann would become an institution on CP24, hosting a wide variety of shows in addition to her anchor duties. Here's a sample of Ann Rohmer-hosted programs on CP24, either as primary host or fill-in host.

  • Hot Property
  • Animal House Calls
  • HomePage
  • Perfect Fit
  • More On CP24
  • Live at Noon
  • CP24 Breakfast

Needless to say, Ann became the most recognizable face on CP24, which is why I found it so puzzling when she announced her retirement in June 2010.

As you'll recall, there was a massive sendoff on CP24 as Ann was leaving the industry for a job in aviation. No specifics were given, but this Toronto Star article at the time quoted Ann.

And then, literally, the sky’s the limit. Though she can’t yet be specific, Rohmer will follow family tradition for a new career in the aviation industry. “Air travel, airlines, flight, it’s in our blood,” says Rohmer, whose father, General Richard Rohmer, is a former fighter pilot and chief of the air reserve. She herself was a Nordair flight attendant in the ’70s.

I assumed Ann was going to become head of communications at Porter Airlines or something like that, but by that fall, she was back on CP24 as if she had never left in the first place. CP24 did not address the reason for her return, or even the fact that she had returned to the anchor desk. This is when I began my quest to learn what really happened.

The closest I came to learning what really happened was when Steve Anthony visited my home for episode 123 of my podcast, Toronto Mike'd. I grilled Steve on the subject, and he did his best to answer. But, in retrospect, he was careful. Too careful.

Our story resumes in November 2015. That's when Ann once again announced she was retiring from broadcasting and CP24. Here's video footage of her big announcement.

Once again, gifts were purchased for Ann, a party was thrown and cake was sliced and devoured by many. Once again, Ann was cryptic about why she was retiring from broadcasting, only to say she was moving to Collingwood for the next chapter of her life. There was no mention of Ann's first retirement during celebrations for her second retirement. I even closed my entry about this second retirement with a snarky "Happy retirement, Ann! See you back on CP24 in a few months..."

ann

And here we are, about eight months later, and Ann is back on CP24. Once again, it's as if the retirement and public farewell never happened. But this time, I know the untold true story of why Ann has retired twice and returned to CP24 twice. My sources are impeccable, and I share this information with nothing but admiration for Ann. The following paragraphs took me six years to write.

In 2010, Ann complained to management about having to host CP24 breakfast and anchor the 5pm newscast. It was a gruelling schedule, and she was a veteran broadcaster. She told management she'd do one or the other, but not both.

Management called her bluff, and when the smoke cleared, Ann decided to retire in an attempt to recreate the happiest moments of her professional life. Those were her years as a flight attendant in the 1970s. She was a flight attendant for Air Canada when she was in university, and was an award-winning flight attandant at Nordair. Her first retirement in 2010 was not to head communications at Porter Airlines but to recapture the joys of her youth as a flight attendant.

It was only after her retirement party and departure from CP24 that Ann received her new compensation plan. It was far less than anticipated, and Ann negotiated a return to CP24, at a much reduced rate. And her return to the aviation industry was never spoken of again.

In the fall of 2015, Ann had her sights set on another role. She wanted to become Attorney General of Ontario. Ann is not a lawyer, but neither was Marion Boyd, so there is precedent. Of course, every other Attorney General of Ontario was a lawyer, but Ann was confident being the daughter of General Richard Rohmer would carry a great deal of weight in this regard, and she was no doubt inspired by former colleague David Onley who spent seven years as the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

It's become apparent her campaign to be Attorney General of Ontario will bear no fruit, and Ann has negotiated another return to the airwaves. The question remains, is she merely back for the summer or longer term?

And when she retires a third time, will there be gifts and cake? And will it finally stick?

I'll stay on this story, as long as it takes.

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Ann Rohmer Returns to CP24 (Again!)

Over six years ago, Ann Rohmer left her job at CP24 for a position in the aviation industry. (Note: It took me 6 years, but I finally have the untold true story about this retirement and will share it here another day.) Then, mere months later, Ann returned as if she had never left in the first place.

I spoke to Steve Anthony about this in episode 123 of my podcast as he tried to make sense of it all. Give it a spin if you have an hour to spare.

Then, with a farewell cake and everything, Ann Rohmer retired once more from CP24. Speculation at the time was that she was stepping down in order to save another's job during the Bell Media cuts of November 2015.

A few days ago, there were several Ann Rohmer sightings on CP24. Comments like this one started arriving in my inbox. Is Ann Rohmer back for a third tour of duty at CP24?

According to the CP24 website right now, she's not only back, she's lead anchor.

ann

rohmer

My question is, when she announces her retirement for the third time, will anybody bother to show up for cake?

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Canada AM Cancelled

CTV has announced that Canada AM will broadcast its final episode tomorrow.

Canada AM first hit the airwaves on Sept. 11, 1972 as Canada’s first morning television news program and ran for 43 seasons.

Your final Canada AM hosts are Beverly Thomson, Marci Ien and Jeff Hutcheson.

Bell Media has yet to announce what program or programs will be assuming Canada AM's 6-9am weekday timeslot.

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Jennifer Valentyne Fired as Live Eye Host on Breakfast Television

I read every news item this morning with great skepticism. The morning of April 1 is when news organizations like to have fun with fake stories. When Breakfast Television posted this to their Facebook feed, I thought it was in very poor taste. What's funny about someone losing their job, especially when Rogers Media let go over 200 people earlier this year?

jenn

But then, I visited the Breakfast Television bios page. Yesterday, it included Jennifer Valentyne's biography. Today, this has been removed from the site.

jenn-bio

Jennifer started her career in 1987 at City as a weekend intern while attending school and performing as a cheerleader for the Toronto Argonauts. She had been on Breakfast Television since 1992. That was an impressive 24 year run.

I'm sorry this wasn't just a bad April Fool's Day joke. Here's hoping Jennifer lands on her feet.

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