I just listened to the 3-hour tribute to Martin Streek aired on CFNY / Edge 102. Actually, I missed the first 10 minutes, because I wasn't planning to tune in, but then curiosity got the better of me.
Tomorrow night marks two weeks since Martin Streek took his own life. Yesterday marked two months since I wrote about his firing. Corus' firing of Streek ticked me off, Streek's suicide has followed me around like a black cloud for the past 13 days. The purpose of this entry is to throw down some thoughts on tonight's Corus tribute, accept a few realities and find some closure.
I had trouble getting passed the hypocrisy. The following sentiments were expressed over and over again:
- Martin Streek was my favourite DJ.
- Martin Streek was passionate about music.
- Martin Streek was an ideal colleague.
- Martin Streek was the consummate host.
- I love Martin Streek.
- I'll miss Martin Streek.
- There is no other Martin Streek.
- Martin was one of my heroes.
- Martin Streek was one of the best radio hosts.
I'm sure all of the above is true. CFNY / Edge 102 certainly celebrated Streek, but there was no reference that I heard to the fact they dismissed him in May. This is where the rock meets the hard place. Corus fired Streek, and Corus knows 99% of the listeners tonight are oblivious to this fact. Anyone reading this right now is in the 1% minority. If Martin was so exceptional, with musical passion and a way of connecting with listeners like no other rock DJ in this city, why fire him?
Streek's firing received not a word of exposure on the air. He was deleted from the corporate website and never again referred to on the air until he was found dead in his apartment. Tonight, it was a Streek love-in, with creepiness that only sets in when you've been mourning his absence for two months.
The music tonight was fantastic. A great collection of excellent tunes without commercial interruption. I was pleased with the playlist.
The Separation of Management and Colleagues
Potential hypocrisy aside, those who worked with Martin loved him, and those who worked with him aren't necessarily supportive of his dismissal in May. A chance to honour Streek at CFNY, the call letters Streek had tattooed on his body, was likely important to many at that station. If we separate those in management who discounted Streek's connection to us fans and deemed him expendable from those who sincerely liked him and miss him, tonight's tribute becomes far more palatable.
We also got to hear from some old friends, like Freddie P., Kneale Mann, Brother Bill and Maie Pauts. That was pretty cool.
The Thoughts of Others
I try not to live in a silo. Sometimes, I miss the mark. Via Twitter and this blog, I was able to get thoughts from some of you listening to the tribute, and I was able to read these thoughts in real-time.
Here's what some of you thought of tonight's tribute. In the comments, I'd love to hear from the rest of you.
If they missed him so much why did they fire him? I think its too little too late. - Buffalo Boy
Edge is dead to me. - @Sinnacledotcom
Maybe I'm just bitter, but it's really too bad that Streek's unfortunate death prompted Corus to properly acknowledge him. - @bkblades
Fired or not, I think it's a good move for the Edge to provide a tribute. There are years of history there. - @chadtweets
Last night at The Phoenix was a tad creepy and by far the best 102.1 live-to-air music played in a while. We have to remember that there are a lot of friends of Martin still at 102.1. They didn't fire him, management did. - @CraigMarketer
Choosing to think the tribute is coming from staff, rather than the machine. And the song choices so far seem to support that. - @CarrieGee
Cynic in me thinks they felt like they had to do something or they'd look bad. But there's genuine desire to pay tribute too. - @snosk
It's taken them THIS long to come up with a tribute? Waiting this long is just as bad as not having one at all. - @mike_cluett
I was disgusted to hear that CFNY was doing this tribute today. Firstly because, yes, indeed - they did fire the man 2 months ago and secondly because it took them 2 effing weeks to put it together. If the tribute was truly genuine it would have happened last Tuesday. As for Marsden's tribute - that was awesome - listened to and loved every minute. - Sarah
The other issue I am having with CFNY is that they are still running Martin's promo spots. Not cool CFNY - not cool. It seems to me like they are now trying to capitalize off of his death, given that they did not even acknowledge back in May that he was 'leaving' the station and did no tribute to his work at that time. This late in the game, a tribute seems like a ploy to cover up that they had fired him or a gimmick to get back in the public's good graces for having canned Streek in the first place given the recent negative backlash online for their poor handling of the situation. - Sarah
I was listening to it driving from the city... a few of the people are a little too bubbly if you ask me. - @Noeleen1
I'm listening now.....the music is good and they are saying some nice things, but they are making sound like he never left. They talk about how important he was to the Edge and music. What a bunch of hypocritical crap! - Hector
There's a great article in the Star this weekend about Billy from 99.9 only taking 6 weeks for mat leave because she didn't want to be away from her 'audience' for too long. It's a good article about what radio people mean to their listener's. I'm not so sure radio today is like it was a while ago - with that connection, but, as someone who knew Martin for a long time (I'm an old employee) he had a rabid and loyal following and the tribute Marsden played two weeks ago was outstanding. I can't bear to listen to what's on right now. - Andrew
Marsden's tribute was like a raw wake, while the Edge one is a "memorial" with more time to consider. The family is the family. - @valerieinto
I keep having dreams about Martin Streek - BNL did a lot of remotes, etc with him in the early days. So fucking sad. - @stevenpage
The Shitty Facts
Radio is a business. Corus is a corporation seeking to maximize returns. A friend of mine in the biz once told me, "it's a business run by douche bags who never did the thing that the talent they control do, and that's relate to the audience".
Program directors fire people all the time. If you like the personality getting the boot, you hate this. When you dislike the personality getting the boot, you like this. I liked Martin Streek, so his firing understandably pissed me off.
Martin Streek felt he had no other option than to take his own life. It's easy for us to scream at the top of our lungs that he had so many other options, but that's irrelevant. His state of mind had him convinced he'd be better off dead. At the end of the day, this is the shittiest fact of all.
To Martin's mother, his girlfriend and those who loved him in the "real world", my sincere condolences. If I've been feeling this weight for two weeks, I can only imagine what you've been feeling. Just know that he made an impact and won't soon be forgotten.
To fellow fans like myself, we need to move on. I suggest we download the five hour tribute to Martin hosted by David Marsden on The Rock. The MP3s are waiting for us at http://www.torontomike.com/2009/07/martin_streek_tribute_with_dav.html.
We'll always have the memories and we'll always have the music. Martin Streek, rest in peace.