Q107's Birth was 40 Years Ago Today

Q107 is 40 years old today. The station signed on with Deodato's "Also sprach Zarathustra" back on May 22, 1977 and the first song played was "Hard Rock Town" by Murray McLauchlan. The first voice you heard belonged to John Rode.

A tweet by @arc185 led me to this page that has a soundcheck of Q107's debut, but I didn't like the dead air at the beginning, so I edited the audio and am pleased to share it with you here.

Just before grunge broke in the early 90s (thereby keeping me tuned to CFNY 102.1 constantly to hear as much Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden as possible), I would try not to miss Q107's Top Ten at Ten. That's where I discovered Guns N' Roses and The Tragically Hip, after all.

Happy 40th to the Mighty Q!

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Q107 personalities who have appeared on Toronto Mike'd:

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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.

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The Toronto Mike'd Studio: A Video Tour

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Chris Cornell, Dead at 52

Chris CornellChris Cornell was 52. He was best known as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter and rhythm guitarist for Soundgarden and as lead vocalist and songwriter for Audioslave.

This one hits me square in my youth. I had a Badmotorfinger poster hanging in my bedroom as a teen. I just searched this blog for the term 'cornell' and see I've been writing about him for 15 years.

As I glance at those old entries, it's clear I always deemed him the best vocalist of the grungers. I may have been a bigger fan of Pearl Jam, but Nirvana and Soundgarden were right there on Mount Rushmore. Here's a few copy and pastes from yesteryear.

  • "Of all the great grunge rockers I've enjoyed through the years, nobody can touch the voice of Chris Cornell."
  • "Some great rock voices emerged from Seattle in the late 80s and early 90s. Kurt Cobain had that wicked scream and Ed Vedder had that definitive angsty croon but Chris Cornell had that impossible range. He was the best of the bunch and "Jesus Christ Pose" is that song I first skip to when I'm craving some Soundgarden."
  • "When I first read that the members of Rage Against the Machine were forming a group with Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, it was music to my ears. I'm a huge fan of both Rage Against the Machine and Soundgarden, and Audioslave didn't disappoint."

From Soundgarden to Hunger Strike to Audioslave and his haunting and exceptional solo covers of "Nothing Compares 2 U", "Billie Jean" and more, there was no other voice like his, and I'm going to miss hearing new music from the man.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 237: Liana K and Steven Kerzner

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 237In this 237th episode, Mike chats with Liana K and Steven Kerzner about Live from Canada – it's Ed the Sock!, Liana's Lady Bits, Gamergate, what went wrong at MuchMusic, the Hard Rock Cafe closing and why Canada prefers to eat her own. This episode is exactly 1:40:00.

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Liana K and Steven Kerzner and Me

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Biko App Test Drive in Toronto

There's a new app for cyclists in Toronto, and it's called Biko. I installed the Biko App on my Android phone last week and have been using it to record my rides.

The key benefit of Biko is the digital reward points you collect for each kilometre you ride. These points are called "Bikos" and they can be exchanged for goods and services. New businesses are joining all the time and after a few rides I already qualified for ten free cold brews from Jimmy's Coffee, a free six pack of beer from Amsterdam Brewing or $40 off a tune up at Urbane Cyclist.

In addition to collecting Bikos, which is a whole lot of fun, the app measures your average speed, carbon emissions saved, and calories burned while recommending safe paths to ride. It couldn't be easier to use.

This valuable data on urban biking behaviour is shared with city planners looking to increase bike lanes and facilitate safe cycling. This cyclist thinks that's awesome.

For those interested in getting the Biko app, you can visit your phone’s app store or visit Bikoapp.com.

Here's my current home screen after my first four rides.

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Here's my current list of my rides.

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Details of each ride are easily accessible.

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And redeeming your Bikos is fun and easy.

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Redemption Song

Bob Marley released Redemption Song in late 1980, mere months before his death. It's a powerful song that always struck a chord with me. "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery" is Marley making Marcus Garvey's words immortal.

I love the song, but my go-to version isn't Marley, it's Joe Strummer. Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros recorded Redemption Song just prior to Strummer's death and it was released posthumously. Here it is, if you've never heard it.

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Toronto Mike'd is Now a PR-free Zone

I've recorded 236 episodes of my podcast, Toronto Mike'd. Once a guest has agreed to visit me, we agree on a day and time to record. Every single time I've dealt directly with the guest, this has gone smoothly. Almost every single time I've dealt with the PR Rep instead of the guest, it's been disastrous.

I'm not referring to times my guest has had to clear their appearance with their organization's PR department. Every guest I've had from the CBC, for example, has had to do this and they've all been approved without an issue. I'm talking about the few instances I've only corresponded with a PR Rep.

The first time was when I had Ash from USS over. I arranged his visit with Ash's PR Rep. Typically, I like 60-90 minutes with a guest, but Ash's PR Rep told me I had precisely 30 minutes. Ash (and his PR Rep) did show up and we had a great 30 minutes. I actually stole an extra four minutes, but let's keep that between you and me.

It's been all downhill since then. When Christopher Ward was promoting his book about MuchMusic, I dealt with PR for the book to arrange his visit. I did my homework, loaded up my sound clips and prepared for Christopher's visit. It never happened as his PR Representative cancelled at the last minute because they "couldn't fit it in".

It was the first time a scheduled guest had cancelled. It ticked me off because I schedule my busy life around these visits and was essentially blown off for something bigger. To Christopher's credit, he heard of my disappointment on Twitter, pled ignorance and agreed to do a full episode with me via Skype. We left the PR company out of that one.

Then, there's what happened to me last last week. I had been dealing with Hugh Dillon's PR Rep about his appearance next week. Everything was set up when I received an email telling me I only had 30 minutes with Hugh. I phoned the PR Rep and pleaded for 45 minutes. She agreed. Then, I said "you're not going to blow me off for something bigger, are you?" She laughed and promised me she and Hugh would see me Wednesday.

The very next day, I received the email below. If you're not fluent in corporate speak, something bigger came along and the independent broadcaster in his basement studio got shafted. I won't hold my breath waiting for the "circle back".

hugh-dillon

I'm all but certain Hugh Dillon is ignorant to all of this, and I don't blame him personally. In fact, everything I've heard about the man suggests he's a great guy, and I was really looking forward to our conversation. After all, I'm a fan.

What I've learned from all of this is that my podcast never feels more like a job than when I'm dealing with PR Reps, and I can no longer trust a guest will actually show up when I haven't spoken to him or her directly. As a result, I will no longer play this game. If I haven't corresponded directly with the guest, I'm not scheduling the guest. Toronto Mike'd is now a PR-free zone.

This decision may cost me some big name guests, but it will help me keep my sanity and save me from aggravation. When you're an independent podcaster broadcasting from his basement, you know where you stand with these people.

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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.

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The Raptors Riddle

Where do we go from here?

It's a valid question, and a rather polarizing one for Raptor fans. I've personally gone back and forth on this one since the Raptors were swept away by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.

For the second year in a row, the Raptors lost in the playoffs to LeBron and his Cavs. There's no doubt we're not good enough to beat them. Heck, except for game four, it wasn't even a contest. At least we won a couple of games against Cleveland last season.

Now the question is whether Masai Ujiri tears it down and rebuilds or works this summer to improve the team. On Sunday night, I wanted the tear down, but today I'm leaning towards remaining a great and entertaining regular season team that wins a round or two before losing to LeBron James.

What would you do? What should Masai do?

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