Of Fearless Fred and Barry Taylor (Or Why I Don't Know Shit)

radioI've listened to less CFNY this past year than I have in any 12 month period since becoming a teenager. I'll tune in periodically in my car for the tunes, but it's no longer my go-to station. I haven't felt comfortable listening to Edge 102 since they fired Martin Streek and Barry Taylor.

The past couple of afternoons I've listened to the man they call Fearless Fred. You might remember Fearless Fred coming to town from Edmonton, bumping Bookie. He even talked about me.

I honestly don't know how Fearless Fred got this gig. Without a hint of bias, I sincerely think he's horrible. He aims for the slacker persona, pretending not to care about much, and it's not informative nor entertaining. What gets me is they fired a guy who played that same card. Fearless Fred is Barry Taylor, only Barry was a great deal funnier.

This is when I'm convinced I really don't know shit about radio or being a program director. You see, I'd have kept Barry Taylor. Of course, I'd have also kept Martin Streek, a guy who clearly knew his music and loved talking about it. Then again, I wouldn't have turned a once legendary station into top 40 with grunge.

I'm not one of those old guys who hearkens for the CFNY of the 80s when David Marsden was calling the shots. I'm not greedy. I'd be very happy with the CFNY of the 90s that played The Clash, REM, The Pixies, and The Smiths alongside their Rage Against the Machine and Nirvana. I just don't need to hear "1979" and "Black" every single day.

Now we're stuck with a station almost completely void of personality. I can't stand the morning show, I can't stand the afternoon drive show and I can't stand the program director.

I clearly don't know shit.


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Comments (43 - click here to join in!)

J9

While I liked Bookie, who was a personality who knew his s**t, I don't mind Fearless Fred. I find him mildly entertaining as a talking head on my commute home.

The Edge does play some new stuff, so keeps me current to some degree. Who else is playing The Temper Trap in this market? Or Phoenix? They were the first station I heard Cage the Elephant on. So, no, they are not perfect, but they do still play new music.

Cheers.

April 8, 2010 @ 7:44 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@J9

You're wrong about Fearless Fred. He's not even mildly entertaining.

April 8, 2010 @ 7:45 PM

Neil

Cannot stand the Fearless Fred show. Just unlistenable. Switched to Rich Terfry on CBC 2.

April 8, 2010 @ 8:02 PM

elvis

A couple of things:

1. You're not stuck with anything - there are many other stations out there to choose from. The problem is, they are as shit or shittier.
2. Name a station that isn't independent or the CBC that HAS a personality...really.
3. You have a few more years to go before you hear the "classics" on whatever the 1050CHUM version is on the air in 2025.

April 8, 2010 @ 8:16 PM

Yeesh

@TorontoMike: In regards to your reply to @J9, so you're saying if someone doesn't agree with you that means they're wrong? Honestly, I mostly agreed with this entry until i saw that comment. It makes you sound like a baby having a tantrum.

April 8, 2010 @ 8:38 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

C'mon Yeesh, where's your sense of humour?

April 8, 2010 @ 8:42 PM

Yeesh

Ah yes the "I was just kidding card". Nicely played.
Time to think about switching the dial to q107 mike - they're starting to play your longed for tunes of yesteryear.

April 8, 2010 @ 8:48 PM

mrk

You can add me to the don't know shit list. I agree with you 100% here.

April 8, 2010 @ 8:49 PM

Buffalo Boy Mike

Mike, I listen to Fearless Fred and this scene comes to mind: Fearless Fred being John Candy of course

April 8, 2010 @ 9:28 PM

Digger

I'll join you on "the list". To me, radio is supposed to be at least somewhat entertaining. That is where the "personalities" a.k.a. on-air talent (that last word gets tossed around too easily, and you can't call them "DJs" anymore since they have no influence on what gets played, let alone when, anymore) come in. If it is just music that I want, the radio does not go on. Radio - entertain me. Unfortunately, the Edge is simply not very entertaining.

@J9 - yes, the Edge is the only one playing new music. As large as Toronto and the GTA radio market are, the really, really sad fact is that there really isn't any "alternative" out there. That does not count any show from Alan Cross or David Marsden.

Thank goodness for streaming on the internet. While I was working at my desk today, I was treated to the following - all on one station (just a sampling): Weezer, New York Dolls, Biffy Clyro, White Rabbits, The Whigs, The Foo Fighters, Franz Ferdinand, Stone Temple Pilots (and only once today, not the same song NINE times in 24 hours), The Smiths, Radiohead, The Bravery, Iggy Pop, XTC, Paramore, The Clash and much more. Only once did I have to say "I'm not listening to that". Some decent alternative, older and newer, with lots of variety.

April 8, 2010 @ 9:45 PM

James Edgar

Now i listen To Mcowen or Watters in that time slot. IF I listen to radio at all and not CD's. Fearles fred is BLAND.

April 8, 2010 @ 9:45 PM

dale

Q107 starting to play a lot more of Nirvana, REM & THIP lately from 80's. They must be changing with the times.

April 8, 2010 @ 9:49 PM

JF

IMHO, CFNY has sucked for a long time, period (or as the Brits would say, "full stop"). To be fair, most radio does, and that saddens me as I grew up on, and until recent history, would describe myself as a radio-lover. I do still tune in for "Explore Music" and those music news/docu. type programs.

If I could only find an mp3 player that also had AM radio so I can get the news when I wanted it, I'd be quite happy. Nothing beats the ipod with the song-crossover playing the tracks that you choose in the first place :)

April 8, 2010 @ 10:00 PM

James

I also have stopped listening to The Edge. It's become....douchebaggy (if that's indeed the right word).

I usually listen to McCown or the CBC. I like the CBC a lot, but I think they could do a lot more.

April 8, 2010 @ 11:27 PM

CQ

To J9, a) cool handle. b) I had touted Temper Trap at #32 on a 2008 year-end 'mostly pop' song list (yet don't know of Cage the Elephant, never cared for 'Edge rock').

To Mike, I'd have fired Streek, and co-staff, given that they regularly used to chase away the Sunday Night audience whenever the playlist slid into the heavier industrial goth sound after awhile; it was exactly why I stopped listening wayback when - before a Top 40 switch during the late 80s.

Local radio? Too busy listening to a latest [Mar. 28 entry] listing of d/l retro friendly pop songs.

April 8, 2010 @ 11:47 PM

john

PLAIN AND SIMPLE, FEARLESS FRED SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 8, 2010 @ 11:48 PM

Romy

I wrote comment along these lines over on Freddie's blog (which was deleted, BTW) ... I too was a huge "Spirit of Radio" listener. I loved it, but I think that warm recollection has as much to do with where I was in my life at the time (late 20s, everything seems possible, optimism and so on). That's the stage most people are at in their 20s; so it only makes sense that you'll recall a lot of things from that time period as being "the best". probably kids who listen to EDGE now will think the same in 20 years. i don't know. What I do know, however, is that the last time I was home and had a chance to listen to the radio ... it was, to my ears, pretty much all formatted, characterless shite. Truly awful, recycled garbage. Nothing even remotely innovative at all (save for CBC radio).

April 9, 2010 @ 4:18 AM

Il Duce

@T.O. Mike

Finally we agree on something... you don't know shit!

April 9, 2010 @ 5:51 AM

McNulty

I've tried to get into Fearless Fred. I have listened on and off since he started. At first I hated him but he grew on me a little. After that I realised that I didn't like him. He repeated the same stock jokes, "You look beautiful today...." and now I just don't listen. I listen to Bullard on 820.

I am waiting for the OJ to show up and complain that you're complaining. Maybe he's on vacation.

April 9, 2010 @ 7:58 AM

Wayner

There is an interesting post on the “Freddie P” site started by his confession of a love of “Hall and Oats”.

I have been listening to CFNY on and off for more than 25 years. During those years, I graduated high school & university, buried a parent, got married, bought a house and had two kids. My life has changed, for better and worse (mostly better) why should I not expect my radio station and music in general not to do the same? I was upset when “grundge” was popular but still stayed to listen. I was upset when Pete and Geets were replaced by Humble and Fred but stayed to listen. Likewise I was upset when Humble and Fred were replaced by the Blundell show. I was upset when Bookie lost his spot to Fearless Fred but yet stayed to listen. I’m not saying “ya gotta support your team no matter what”. What I am saying is that you have to recognize things will always change, good or bad, whether you like it or not.

As 17-18 year old I had CFNY (& CFNY only) on 24/7, called in for contests & requests, went to all the picnics, knew all the personalities and went on weekly pilgrimages to the “Record Peddler” in TO to buy the records I heard first heard on CFNY (remember EPs?). Basically CFNY to me and my friends was our life.

Today, CFNY and radio stations in general are the “background music” to my life. It is the soundtrack for the ride to and from work, backyard BBQ’s and lazy Sunday afternoons…if I don’t like what’s on at the time I can change the station or flip on my mp3 player. Radio takes a back seat to life as I’m no longer 18 years old …Oh and Fearless Fred is not so bad his comments can be insightful. He makes the ride home relaxing and today that’s what I find important…

April 9, 2010 @ 8:17 AM

Digger

Last night when I was looking at the comments that followed mine above, I looked down at the old computer speakers I have been contemplating tossing out. Then the thought hit me as my notebook was in the same line of sight - I do not listen to local radio when I am in the house, so why should I when I am outside/around the house? The builder wired my house with Cat5 and I have wireless. I have a ton of music files, but I can stream the same stations I love to listen to while I am in my home office while I am in my wireless range, plugging the old speaker set into my notebook. "Radio" is going to much better in the back yard this year.

April 9, 2010 @ 9:17 AM

Karl Parsons

I've tried to listen to the Edge since the firing of BT but the station is just horrible now. I've caught Fearless Fred a couple times, just a horrible DJ, nowhere near the laughs or interesting conversation BT used to have. You may not know shit but it looks like no one in the industry knows shit as well...

April 9, 2010 @ 9:21 AM

Ryan

i'm an old cfny fan too, and while i agree with the general sentiment here, i think we're all just getting old.

when we were 18 or 25 or whatever,listening to cfny, there were 35-45 year olds complaining that there was nothing good on the radio then, just like we are now.

when television first came out in the 50's, i'm sure there was some resistance and melancholy from those who spent their formative teen -20's years listening only to radio dramas. then when they got older and tv came out, many probably lamented the death of "real entertainment".

it's part of every generation, and ours is not immune.

April 9, 2010 @ 9:49 AM

Chase

Fearless Fred…. I can’t stand him. Since he got hired I have started to create playlists on my Iphone for the ride home from work. Better music, no commercials and no Fred.

April 9, 2010 @ 10:31 AM

Mike from Lowville

CFN ...Who?

April 9, 2010 @ 11:26 AM

jason | getyouroj.com

Sorry to hear you're "Stuck" if you ever get unstuck maybe you can find a new dead horse to beat

April 9, 2010 @ 5:30 PM

David

re: getting old. apparently I'm way ahead of all of you, as I try to understand why there are only 3 comments on the passing of Malcolm McLaren and 27 for this horse - long since flogged to death and beyond

April 9, 2010 @ 6:28 PM

bluemlein

mike, first of all i see most of your comments are from guys.
so let me add my bit from the other side.

the edge, which is definitely a mite dull now, is aimed at the 17-25-year-old guy with his own cah, a job that gives him the wad of cash he blows on weekends(let us leave for now the location of same wad, which could make for mildy entertaining double entendres) who still lives at home, and his cah is the only place where he can crank the volume and have a blast.

i don't know which is worse, the got-my-head-in-my-arse rib-nudging, jejune humour in the morning or the fake cheeriness of the bimbo at noon who sounds as if she has her head in a universe of mirrors all reflecting her idiocy.

recently i was asked to fill out a survey for the station.

there was nothing good to say. except:

where is barry taylor?

April 9, 2010 @ 8:49 PM

jason | getyouroj.com

David - think about it in the context of who reads this blog. Oddly enough, Malcolm still got more comments here than anything involving Freddie P

April 10, 2010 @ 8:08 AM

Digger

Toronto is one of the top ten markets in North America (number five or six, depending on how you measure it). For virtually every other format except country (and we've been down that road when 95.3 became Vinyl), there is competition in the market.

We have no alternative. Pun intended.

See? Effin' WHY?

April 10, 2010 @ 10:51 AM

Romy

@ bluemlein

"...the got-my-head-in-my-arse rib-nudging, jejune humour in the morning or the fake cheeriness of the bimbo at noon who sounds as if she has her head in a universe of mirrors all reflecting her idiocy."

Possibly one of the funniest descriptions I've ever read. I'll steal that one.

April 10, 2010 @ 12:08 PM

Irvine

Mike, Fred is an excellent broadcaster. The issue is not Fred, it's what you expect of CFNY.

You want CFNY to be that "intelligent" alternative rock station. It has chosen to do the opposite..go low brow & target a certain type of male. From Dean Blundell, to a mid day host dudes wanna bang to Fred who is a de-facto "rock radio" DJ.

I dont like Edge but what they're doing works. It's Bookie that sounds out of place.

Perhaps the issue isn't CFNY it's you. You are just the modern version of the dudes that pine for the Spirit days forgetting it's over (and will be forever)

Move on.

April 11, 2010 @ 5:40 PM

McNulty

Fred is not an excellent broadcaster. Perhaps he suits his demographics but so does Justin Bieber and that doesn't make Bieber an excellent singer.

Fred is not that knowledgeable, repeats the same schtick and is grating over time.

This has nothing to do with The Edge's playlist or the Spirit of Radio. It has to do with talent. Fred lacks it.

April 12, 2010 @ 8:22 AM

Duds

Fearless Fred is the worst. Most annoying guy on the radio. I have switched my afternoon station permanently till this untalented douche is off the air.

April 13, 2010 @ 3:25 PM

Stephen from Kitchener

Mike, glad to see you agree with me and others about Fred. Does he even do his hours live? Everything is so fake and pre-recorded and set up, moreover with phone calls. His banter with callers and in general puts graining stress on my ears to the point where I have to turn my radio down until the music starts playing again...

...then I hear "Black Hole Sun" for the 3rd time that day...heard it twice the day before. Ah well, thanks to the mp3 players and Internet, radio as we know it will be dead soon enough.

Go back to Edmondton, Fred. You are not cut out for the big time.

April 23, 2010 @ 10:52 AM

Agree

Fred is a hack. Maybe he had a following out in the prairies, but he's not a good fit for Toronto. Mediocre funny, mediocre clever. Corporate's idea of an "edgy" DJ.

May 22, 2010 @ 1:47 AM

Agree

Fred is a hack. Maybe he had a following out in the prairies, but he's not a good fit for Toronto. Mediocre funny, mediocre clever. Corporate's idea of an "edgy" DJ.

May 22, 2010 @ 1:50 AM

Len

i've listened to CFNY for over 30 years, I've seen and heard everything watched it grow and flounder at times, my problem or rather concern is what mike said re top 40 grunge,, I like diversity in music and listening to various songs but several days, I had heard The Goodlife 6 times within a 4 hours period, that was an afternoon show not to mention listening to it when I get up and every 2.5 hours to 3 hours I hear a repeat of the same songs, some i don't mind,, but folks there are millions of alternative songs, I get you have to play the top ones enough to keep everyone coming back,, but I can not remember when any other radio station did that except for an am station,,,,, thank the lord for alan cross

June 21, 2010 @ 9:23 AM

face

I agree with this blog except for that I dont mind hearing 1979 and black everyday....they are welcomed any time over three days grace and pheonix

September 8, 2010 @ 10:51 PM

Wayne

Fred is an awful DJ! I'd like to know where BT went. Barry was very entertaining, and now the station sucks.

September 9, 2010 @ 11:42 PM

J

Barry Taylor is on Twitter (@btjokes) and facebook. I wish he would do 7pm-12am and Bookie could be back at 2pm-7pm with Adam. remember how they used to tell us about all the shows you need to be at? they don't do that anymore because of stupid Fearless Fred who doesn't know shit about music. at least Dave Bookman has music knowledge. I learnt a lot from him over the years. I remember when he used to do the interviews like a long time back. Bookie really cares about the music scene.

Josie is amazing. I know she might be a bimbo or whatever but AT LEAST she's entertaining and educational. I think she hates me but I still enjoy listening to her so I think she should stay forever.

also now I listen to NME radio (from the UK) they play the best music ever! David Bowie, Yeasayer, M.I.A, Kasabian, Holy Fuck, The Libertines, Carl Barat, The Ramones, The Arctic Monkeys. (unlike the Edge they play the really amazing songs by those bands). they're basically the best radio station in the world right now that only play good music. I love listening to them and they reply on twitter sometimes and say your name on the radio. http://www.twitter.com/nmeradio

I listen on my iPhone and it makes me feel like I'm living in another world, it's pretty awesome. I love the british accents! I really love the Edge too but since they added Fearless Fred and changed Bookie, fired Barry and Streek they started sucking. Bookie should be doing mornings or afternoons again so I can know about secret shows! Bookie knows everything. I think the morning show got slightly better after firing Danger Boy but I still really hate Dean Blundell and Todd because they're so fake and talk behind people's backs like girls pretty much.

but if anyone wants to listen to a good radio station listen to NME radio! it changed my life! I starting listening last year I think or before. they have an iPhone app I think. it comes from the wonderful music magazine NME magazine http://www.nme.com but I hope the Edge stays! Martin believed in it and he was such a loyal person!!

as long as Alan Cross, Darrin Pfeiffer, Dave Bookman, Josie, Adam works there everything will be fine. they used to be better before. everything used to be better before but I'm still hoping the Edge doesn't die. btw "Spirit of the Edge" is so depressing! I think that's what caused Martin's death. NME plays new relevant music and I love that. it's like a good music blog's radio station.

September 29, 2010 @ 10:44 PM

Derweezy

I only tune in until Josie Dye's show ends. I'm sure Fred is a nice person, I just don't enjoy him as an on air personality. Barry Taylor was much more entertaining.

June 22, 2011 @ 4:29 PM

Nicole

Thank god! I thought I was the only one not drinking the kool-aid! Fearless Fred is quite possibly the most grating radio "personality" (if you can call it that). I turn the radio station without fail everytime I hear his voice come on. Maybe if he had anything to offer me other than an annoying and UNfunny sense of humour.

I miss Barry Taylor.

September 16, 2011 @ 5:01 PM

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