I met Bingo Bob for the first time when we all showed up at Dan Duran's house to record the 17th annual Humble & Fred Christmas Show. He used to produce the Humble & Fred morning show and recently scored a cool gig producing the morning show at 103.9 Proud FM, the first radio station in Canada catering to the LGBT crowd. I just Googled it... LGBT means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender, in case you didn't already know that.
When I threw these questions at Bob, I thought Proud FM had already launched. It turns out I was just hearing a test of the signal. Nevertheless, here's my interview with Bingo Bob.
Q: People know Bingo Bob from The Humble & Fred morning show. What went down in July of 2006. Spill the deets...
A: July 2006 was the end of a very significant part of my life. It had already been a strange 11 or 12 months...as Fred was let go a year earlier...leaving Humble Howard and myself the last two left from way back at the Edge days working together. But on July 15th I got a call from the assistant to the GM at Standard Radio Toronto at about 3:30 in the afternoon asking me to come in to the station at 5:30...yikes. I knew exactly what was coming. It was one of the worst feelings in the world. I had never been fired from anything, never mind something I cared so much about. Humble's explanation of how it felt in his article in the Post was very accurate. It's quite surreal. I wasn't even married a year yet, and it was the day before a planned two week vacation in London and Paris...talk about putting a damper on the festivities. I got to the station, my GM told me they are "going in a different direction in mornings"...and that was that. They walked me out...told me I could come back and get my stuff if I wanted...but I didn't...I stopped off at the morning show office and took as many office supplies as possible.
Q: How did you get the nickname Bingo Bob?
A: When I first walked into The Humble and Fred Show @ Edge102 to become an intern, Humble asked me what I did...and lucky me I was a bingo caller/runner/manager. So I immediately became Bingo Bob.
Q: Congrats on being the first Morning Show Producer for the new Proud FM. How is it working with Ken Kostick and Mary Jo Eustace?
A: They are terrific...very nice people who have a great chemistry...I can't wait to get on the air with them...and they cook! It's awesome.
Q: The launch of Proud FM was awfully quiet. You're the first gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender focused station in the country. Shouldn't you be bringing the noise?
A: Well, we aren't launched as of yet. If you do happen upon 103.9 while in your car, what you are hearing is merely a test of the signal...we don't launch until Mid-April.
Q: I'm a heterosexual male. Am I allowed to listen?
A: We are an inclusionary station, we don't JUST cater to the LGBT crowd, we are for everyone.
Q: Who's funnier? Humble or Fred?
A: Hmmmm...actually neither of them. I find them both to be quite serious and somewhat melancholy.
Q: In some quarters, Proud FM is probably a little controversial. Have you had any negative response? Do you receive homophobic email?
A: I haven't yet, but I know some people who were involved in the CRTC application have received death threats.
Q: The Proud FM website has been coming soon for a while now. Do you need a little help with that?
A: Let me ask around...I like your stuff...so we will see!
Q: I live a little west of the downtown core. I get 103.9, but it's a little fuzzy. Any plans to boost the signal so you come in clear throughout the 416?
A: Right now our signal is one of the smallest in Toronto...depending on where you are in the 416 you might have a hard time picking it up on a home stereo...but if you are listening in your car, we are coming in quite well all over the place. My dad called me the other day to say that he was listening while working in Brampton.
Q: Is there anything else you want to share with the Toronto Mike crowd?
A: Not that I can think of...Just that they should keep checking your site as often as possible, anybody who loves Humble and Fred, Pearl Jam and The Simpson's can't be half bad. (Those too are three of my favourite things) And of course to check out my blog too: http://blog.myspace.com/bingobob I have to admit I have been a little light on the postings as of late...who knew building a radio station from the ground up would be so much work?