Toronto Mike

Barry Taylor Reveals All - CFNY: Top 40 With Grunge


On the heels of The Ballad of Martin Streek comes another super revealing look into the culture change at CFNY / Edge 102.1 under the direction of Program Director Ross Winters.  Glove tap to Shane Fame Alexander for this find.  Barry Taylor, fired Edge DJ, reveals all on his MySpace page.

There are no delusions of grandeur  going on here. But at the same time try and name another radio  personality that managed to use his name to create a play on words for  the title of a joke and a survey. Seriously. That’s pretty awesome.
The  inquiring emails have gotten out of control. At last count there were  7. Let’s deal with this before someone gets hurt. There were some  statistical rating issues at the Edge. These began a couple of years  ago when the station started to air six, two minute commercial breaks  an hour instead of three breaks of three to four minutes. The station  suffered - except for the morning show as they were the only time slot  that didn’t change to the six commercial break format.
This  new format created times when there would be two minutes of commercials  followed by a song followed by another two minutes of commercials  followed by a song, two more minutes of commercials, another song  followed by a minute long promo followed by a song.
It should  also be made clear that in radio the only times that really matter for  generating revenue are Monday to Friday between 6am and 6pm. I worked  Mon-Wed evenings starting at 7PM and weekend afternoons, A.K.A. – prime  time. And according to Ross Winters I was a problem.
Ross  Winters. The latest Program Director at one oh two point one the Edge.  The guy who continually calls all the shots. When one thinks of Ross  one word comes to mind: Adonis. Cut from the pages of a romance novel,  the man turns heads when he walks into a room; the ladies stare with  lustful eyes and the men stare with envy. He speaks with a slight  accent that moistens the loincloths of every female within ear shot.  The only thing sexier than his long, chestnut-brown hair are his  muscles. A man among boys.
The first thing Ross ever talked to  me about was how much money KROQ in Los Angeles made. This wasn’t a  good sign. He casually continued to express his ideas on making the  Edge like a Top 40 station but with grunge music. “Zee Edge must appear  sexier to all zee people of Toronto” he told me. “Like Paris Hilton.”  But he pronounced Paris like Pair-ee so I was confused at first. From  that point on I was pretty positive I was ####ed. Sounding like a  monotone burnout doesn’t really work with Top 40 Radio.
Changes  came quick with Ross. The music played on the station became incredibly  restricted and really repetitive. In the past I was allowed to have  input at the station’s music meetings. The meetings happened weekly and  it’s where we’d decide which songs to add. Enter Dr. Don Mitchell, the  Music Director and Assistant Program Director.
Don is a six  foot six, 300 pound African-Canadian who lives and breathes Gangster  Rap. When Don was hired a few years ago the Canadian Music Industry  instantly stopped and thought: Why, in the name of all things holy  would one of the biggest new rock stations on the planet, whose musical  integrity and credibility are unmatched, hire a music director that is  the absolute antithesis of the demographic they’re trying to reach? Don  became known in Toronto music circles for his catch phrase, “Nigga,  here’s my mother ####in’ philosophy…”
Ross and Doc decided all  music at the Edge would be based on what other stations were playing.  They also sent out for a ton of research to try and tune them into what  the demographic liked.
One of the last music meetings I was at  we were trying to decide which Canadian band to add. Ross liked band A  because he had met the lead singer and thought she was sexy. Don wanted  band B because they were being played in Edmonton and Calgary, I  offered band C. Band C had three sold out shows at Toronto’s Massey  Hall that month and band C’s iTune sales were exponentially greater  than band A and band B put together.
Dr. Don looked at me like  I just pissed in his soup. “Nigga, here’s my mother ####in philosophy,”  he snapped. “#### three sold out shows at Massy Hall. I could take a  shit on stage and sell out Massey Hall. Why don’t you take your Barry  Funny Ass out of this mother ####er. “ Ross agreed. I wasn’t allowed at  another music meeting.
Another nail in my coffin came with the  whole electric car chaos. Holy crap that upset people. The coverage  received more attention from outside media than any other thing that  happened on the Edge in the 7 years I was there. Awesome. Management is  gonna love the publicity. No. No they didn’t. I was immediately told to  not talk about the issue on air.
I was also told I talked too  much about music. The 420 Thought was replaced with familiar Foo  Fighter or Pearl Jam songs. The Blue Jay Breaks I did with my dad were  also axed and for the record, while we covered the Jays this season  they were 21-12. Since I was fired they’ve tanked to 49-51…yeah.  Pick a side.
As the station continued it’s homogenization it  became clear changes were coming for those who didn’t fit in. The music  became even more repetitive to the point where I’d be playing the same  song twice in a four hour shift. No artists were to be interviewed on  the air, aside from the morning show. Announcers were told to talk for  30 seconds or less and our content was heavily scrutinized.
Finally  on a Tuesday in May I was called in before my shift and let go for  rating reasons. As an email went out the following day the first person  to reach out was Martin Streek. He was very supportive and let me know  he had my back. A few hours later Ross had him come into the station  for the last time.
So that’s it. In the end it’s not a big  deal, it’s a business. The Edge’s number one goal is to make money.  Some have asked about Megaphoneman. Sadly he was let go too. Was it  discriminatory? Let me put it this way, now that he’s gone Corus  Entertainment employs no vocal-impaired Megaphonites. The days when a  former opera singer who lost his vocal capabilities due to expired  cough syrup and subsequently had to speak through a Megaphone was  allowed on the Edge are dead. But let us not forget those days and they  will live on as the Spirit of Radio.

That which we thought was true, is true.  CFNY is now a Top 40 station but with grunge music.

Author image
About Toronto Mike
I own TMDS and host Toronto MIke'd. Become a Patron.