Martin Streek Remembered ~ A Tribute to Martin Streek


Where's Strombo? Did He Quit Corus?

questionmarkI'm plugging myself back in after a long weekend of kayaking, BBQing, chilling with the family and playing beach volleyball under sunny skies. My radio is tuned into Edge 102.1 for The Strombo Show, one of Corus' best radio shows. I've always liked George Stroumboulopoulos.

This is the first airing of The Strombo Show since Martin Streek died. It's no secret Stroumboulopoulos and Streek were tight. I saw them together as recently as last year's CASBY Awards and Strombo was swooning in the presence of Streek, a man he clearly admired. Then, there's this quote from Strombo, which has resurfaced since Streek's death.

Martin Streek (and David Bookman) are so important to this city, what they do for music ... Streek when he’s on the radio... quality wins. They believe in music. They are the snipers waiting by the window keeping everyone on their game. Because their music knowledge is impeccable, their passion is unrivalled and they’re not afraid to tell you. They understand how important a record can be to your life.

I've got CFNY on the radio, trying to listen to Strombo to hear what he'd say about Martin, but I'm not hearing The Strombo Show. I'm hearing a guy named Jeff Leake playing the typical music 102.1 plays these days, and there's no mention of George Stroumboulopoulos or The Strombo Show. The "S" word hasn't been uttered once.

Did Strombo quit Corus? Does anyone know where his radio show has gone?

Update: I'm told The Strombo Show was on Corus tonight, just not Edge 102.1. edge.ca is promoting the show as airing from 2pm - 5pm, a change I've obviously missed! It was always 5pm - 8pm.

Apparently there's nothing to see here, move along....

Update 2: When I wondered aloud if The Strombo Show aired here at 2pm, a Strombo fan who would like to remain anonymous replied and said "not today they didn't ... this afternoon Todd had some sort of bikini thing goin' on ... they didn't broadcast in T.O today "

The plot thickens...

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Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros' Redemption Song for Martin Streek

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Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros - Redemption Song
Martin Streek's death has me feeling so sad. The world can mourn the King of Pop, I'm mourning the loss of a person I felt I knew, even though I doubt he knew my name.

On Monday night I wrote this, but it's the entry about Martin that I wrote back on May 18 that's on my mind...

I listened to CFNY (Edge 102) throughout the 90s. It was my favourite radio station, not just for the tunes but for the personalities. I can't remember a time at 102 before Martin Streek.

Martin Streek, if you're out there, let us know where you're at. You've been a familiar voice over Toronto airwaves for about 20 years and you'll be missed.

I remember writing that "let us know where you're at" line. I originally typed "let us know you're okay". I changed the sentence, thinking to myself that he's just lost his job, he hadn't died.

This city seems far less cool today than it did only a few days ago. Martin was so damn cool. He looked cool, he sounded cool, he promoted cool music and was always doing cool things. I wanted to be Martin Streek.

I'm assured a big public event in honour of Martin is being planned by those who knew him best. This city needs to assemble and do what he'd want us to do: arrive early and stay late. I'm sure we'll play this song. For Martin.

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Local Newspapers Drop Ball With Martin Streek Death Coverage

Toronto NewspaperI've been blogging here since 2002 with almost 10,000 entries under my belt. During that time, I've broken a few stories, usually local radio hirings and firings. Last night, I broke a story here that still has me dazed.

The comments in my entry about Martin Streek's death, from dozens of people who knew him and loved him, confirm what I always suspected. Martin was a genuine good guy who loved what he did and treated everyone he encountered with class, good humour and respect. So many Torontonians felt a connection with Martin, and the 148 comments (and counting) prove he struck a chord with this city in a personal way few media personalities can equal.

The mainstream media coverage of Martin Streek's death, especially from our local newspapers, was abysmal. Martin deserved so much better for what he gave this city. I'm going to address the coverage from the Toronto Sun, National Post, Toronto Star and Globe & Mail.

Toronto Sun

Toronto Sun

Get used to this picture of Martin. It was his Facebook profile picture, and the same one I used last night. You'll be seeing a lot of it in this local MSM analysis.

I'm leading with the Sun's coverage because their factual errors really hit home with me. "The news broke on an Internet message board post by David Marden". When I clicked through, I did find a comment by Marsden on someone else's post, but the post was published over an hour after my entry about Streek's death. Clearly, a little Googling is too much fact checking to expect from the Sun.

The remainder of the article could have been written by anyone with a web browser.

National Post 1

Eye Weekly

There's that picture again. You have to admit, it's a great shot. I don't think Martin would mind one bit if the media failed to find another.

This first entry from the National Post really infuriates me with their ignorance. "One blogger named Marsden (luvradio) posted the following today." Are you kidding me, National Post? Calling Marsden "one blogger" is inexcusable. David Marsden was the driving force behind CFNY in the 1980s and a local radio legend. How does the Post not recognize that?

National Post 2

National Post

Again, the National Post's coverage of Martin Streek's suicide could have been thrown together by any teen with wifi. It's his final Facebook status message, a mini-bio, and that picture we all know and love.

The National Post did, however, give me credit as a source alongside the CBC, which is almost enough for me to forgive their inabilty to scratch beneath the surface. A popular local DJ who was on the air for over two decades before his inexplicable firing at the hands of Corus Entertainment kills himself at the age of 45 and we're once again fed lazy jounalism from one of our many dailies.

Toronto Star

Star

I'm most disappointed in the Toronto Star for their coverage of this tragic event. The Toronto Star is my paper, the one I read daily and the one I've been reading daily ever since I discovered Blue Jays box scores and For Better of For Worse comics in the early 80s.

The Toronto Star should be ashamed for this reprint of the Canadian Press release. Couldn't the Star find a reporter to dig around, give us some insight, try and give this appearingly senseless act some context? The Canadian Press coverage is a paint-by-numbers statement that Streek lived, worked at 102.1, was fired and died. For shame.

Globe & Mail

Globe and Mail

I saved the Globe & Mail's article for last, because it's so offensive I couldn't get past the headline. It was very late in the day when I took this screen cap, and they were still misspelling Martin's name. It reminds me of that old axiom there's no such thing as bad publicity so long as they spell your name right. Poor Martin didn't get that honour.

Toronto is a huge city with a glut of media stationed here and many, many passionate citizens who are deeply feeling this loss. The service we've received from our newspapers is truly disgusting, especially when contrasted with the coverage given to a memorial service held in Los Angeles this afternoon.

We deserve so much better.

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The Ride for Mental Health

bikeI had a good chat with my buddy Elvis this morning, about Martin Streek, suicide and mental health. We were debating whether someone of sound mind and body can consciously decide to end their life without mental illness playing a role. It sounds so rock n' roll, the whole "better to burn out than fade away" thing, but it's such a final, drastic step. It's always darkest before the dawn, and when you lose that perspective, you need help.

[09:53] eLvIs: I was going to ask/tell you about this closer to the day but in light of the Martin Streek news, I thought this could be appropriate. Christy's uncle is currently riding across Canada on his bicycle to raise awareness about Mental Health. Would you be interested in posting about him?
[09:53] eLvIs: He arrives in Toronto for a rally on the 17th.
[09:54] eLvIs: http://therideformentalhealth.blogspot.com/
[09:54] eLvIs: http://www.therideformentalhealth.org/

Elvis' wife's uncle, Mel Thompson, is doing something to help those living with mental illness. His bike ride across Canada hits our fair city on July 17th. Come out and support him and this worthy cause if you can.

Friday, July 17, 2009
Toronto Pep Rally (12pm-2pm)

Come out and support Mel Thompson, Vice President, Customer Services, as he embarks on the final leg of The Ride for Mental Health, Nathan Phillips Square has hosted many remarkable events since its inception. Let’s make this one for the record books.

Featuring

  • Entertainment
  • Guest speakers
  • A few surprises & more…

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Martin Streek's Unseen Demo for Martin Streek's Backstage

videoI'm still stunned that Martin Streek left us this early when there were so many other options available to him. It's a tragic story that really hits me, because I spent hundreds of nights listening to him on the Thursday 30 and his Live to Air broadcasts on CFNY 102.1 / The Edge. Furthermore, the world's collide all over the place with this one. I broke the sad news last night and have many friends who knew Martin personally and are mourning his loss in a far more personal way.

I was scheduled to meet up with Mike Wixson tonight. Mike worked with Martin, and now works with my good friend Humble Howard at RedFishEntertainment, producing his Man Up Canada game show. I was going to meet with Mike about some Man Up Canada web stuff when he cancelled because, as you can imagine, he's shattered.

Mike and I were exchanging emails this morning when he sent me this recent tid bit about Martin Streek that will likely be news to everybody.

We had just finished a pilot for a new show called Martin Streek's Backstage...he was brilliant. It was going to be popular and he would never have had to look back on radio. He was made for TV. I have a demo you need to see. He was headed toward a TV career at 1000 miles an hour.

Here's Martin Streek's demo for Martin Streek's Backstage, a show we'll never get to see developed. In this great clip, he's interviewing USS.

He looked and sounded great, didn't he?

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Martin Streek Dead

Martin Streek DiesI'm not sure how to write this one, so I'm just going to tell you what I know.

As a long time fan of CFNY / Edge 102, I was sad to learn recently that Martin Streek had been fired after over 20 years of service. As of this writing, that entry had 88 comments from others who wanted to wish Martin well. Soon enough, Martin Streek himself chimed in to say thanks.

Thank to those of you who made comments, both good and bad...either way, it's proof that you listened and/or cared about the scene I/we were part of...

Earlier today, Martin Streek updated his Facebook status message with words that sound so ominous now. This, it turns out, is Martin's farewell to the world.

So...I guess that's it...thanks everyone...I'm sorry to those I should be sorry to, I love you to those that I love, and I will see you all again soon (not too soon though)... Let the stories begin.

My entry about Martin Streek leaving CFNY / Edge102 is #1 when you Google his name, and Steve did just that an hour ago.

I just heard that Martin has passed away... very sad to hear.... (I was a cfny staffer back in the 80s and just heard this from Earl J.)

At first, I thought it was a cruel joke. Martin Streek seemed so vibrant, so full of life. But after chatting with Steve, and seeing the Facebook status message, I'm afraid it's true.

Martin Streek has taken his own life.

streek

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Martin Streek Out At Edge 102.1 / CFNY

radioI listened to CFNY (Edge 102) throughout the 90s. It was my favourite radio station, not just for the tunes but for the personalities. I can't remember a time at 102 before Martin Streek.

Martin Streek always seemed to be there, hosting the Thursday 30 and live-to-air broadcasts from various Toronto clubs. Now I've learnt from @scroll on Twitter that he's been fired.

The first thing I did when I heard the news was visit his profile page on EDGE.ca. It's been removed. Here's the cached version from Google.

Streek

I then shot over to the Wikipedia write-up about Streek, and there's no word there on the firing. Here's what I did find:

Martin Streek is another of the three remaining personalities from the "Spirit of Radio" era. He currently hosts the Thursday 30, a four hour long show that counts down the top 30 songs of the past week (collected via record sales and listener voting), as well as introduces new music (a segment called the "Groundbreakers"), and flashes back to a previous year's countdown, as Streek recalls the top five songs of that week in a certain previous year.

Streek also hosts two live-to-air broadcasts from nightclubs: Saturday nights at the Phoenix and Sunday nights at Velvet Underground, both in downtown Toronto. Both shows run from 9:00 PM until 2:00 AM, and are broadcast without interruption (i.e., commercial-free), except for live ads imploring people to visit the club, after about 10:00 p.m.. Martin is also a huge fan of Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Depeche Mode and The Clash.

Martin has been voted DJ of the year a few times in Now Magazine's year-end public ballot.

Just recently he had to have his appendix removed surgically; he has recovered and is doing well.

Martin Streek, if you're out there, let us know where you're at. You've been a familiar voice over Toronto airwaves for about 20 years and you'll be missed.

Update: I see another name missing from the personalities line-up. Barry Taylor is also missing and his page at Edge.ca has been removed. Can someone shed some light on the disappearance of Barry Taylor and lifelong CFNYer Martin Streek?

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