Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 66: Alan Cross

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 66In this 66th episode, Mike chats with Alan Cross about his days at CFNY 102.1, the Ongoing History of New Music, Martin Streek, Dean Blundell, Edgefests, Indie88, Courtney Love, the future of terrestrial radio and more. This episode is exactly 57:24.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Alan Cross and Me

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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Heh. What was the last question you were going to ask him?

Enjoyed it!

January 30, 2014 @ 3:54 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


You finished the hour fast! Must be listening at 2x the speed...

I had to leave a bunch of questions on the floor because of time, but I was about to say "have you ever listened to an episode of Toronto Mike'd".

January 30, 2014 @ 4:16 PM


Yeah 2x speed, though I had to slow it down at the end because I couldn't quite hear him say "Peter Gabriel" on his list of favourite bands. Just too much content to listen to podcasts at real-time. Generally 2x is fine, but I find on shows where there are guests with unfamiliar voices, I often have trouble understanding them. If I didn't speed them up, I'd never get around to listening to any more music.

Welp, I share a favourite in the Stone Roses.

January 30, 2014 @ 4:25 PM



Great questions and great answers. Very informative!

January 30, 2014 @ 4:27 PM

A Friend

Fact: You've been promoting this podcast with Alan Cross for a while. I saw the tweets, I saw the entry asking for questions for Alan. Everyone knew.

Fact: Your supposed friends Humble and Fred called Alan and talked to him this morning. It's Alan's first appearance on their show in months. They contacted Alan - they called him - they wanted him on today's show.

Fact: That's a punk move. They made efforts to ensure you didn't have an Alan Cross exclusive today. They could have had him on any day but chose today - the only day you've ever had Alan Cross on. They read your blog and follow you on Twitter. They knew.

Fact: You did a much better job engaging Alan and asking the right questions. You sounded like you gave a shit about the subject matter and gave us a great hour.

Fact: Humble and Fred are douchebags for this and you might laugh it off on the podcast but the facts will speak for themselves.

January 30, 2014 @ 4:43 PM

Al Reda

Where is Chris Sheppard? Great questions... let's see what Alan finds out for us.

Great episode, Mike.

January 30, 2014 @ 4:45 PM

Sam in Pickering

@A Friend

I was thinking the exact same thing. That was not a coincidence.

January 30, 2014 @ 4:45 PM


Alan told his story on Geeks & Beats first, so it was hardly an exclusive.

January 30, 2014 @ 6:10 PM

A Friend

Still a punk move.

January 30, 2014 @ 6:37 PM

Mike from Lowville

You never asked him my question!

January 30, 2014 @ 6:50 PM


The parts about Martin Streek were riveting.... Not much was discussed about the Dean Blundell Show I would have liked to know what Alan thought of Dean,Jason and Todd and what they were like when the mic was off. Alan seemed to want to steer clear of the subject.

January 30, 2014 @ 6:57 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


It was clear to me that he wasn't going to go there... if I thought there was a chance he'd open up, like he did about Martin Streek, I'd have pressed.

January 30, 2014 @ 6:59 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Mike from Lowville

I had a bunch of questions I couldn't get to... I cut a bunch when I got the 15 minute warning. Sorry!

January 30, 2014 @ 7:00 PM


Can someone explain Alan's answer to my question about terrestrial radio? That went right over my head....and i went to college!!!

I too would be curious as to H&F's explanation for the scoop

January 30, 2014 @ 7:00 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@A Friend

It's all good... H+F are buds.

January 30, 2014 @ 7:01 PM

Lyle Lanley

@Toronto MIke

Good on you for taking the high road and not making this an issue, but like Wayner said, it would be nice to hear from Humble and/or Fred as to why they called Alan to be on this morning of all mornings.

That Courtney Love story had been around for a week. I think they purposely called Alan today because they knew he was coming on your podcast.

January 30, 2014 @ 7:04 PM


@Mike -

And what about "A Friend's" remarks? I've listened to them since day one, and find it hard to believe they'd do anything malicious like that towards you. Did you know in advance Cross would be on H&F today or were you surprised?

January 30, 2014 @ 7:05 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Completely surprised. I found out when I started listening at 10am this morning.

January 30, 2014 @ 7:07 PM


I can't speculate to H+F's motives, but I would argue that it hardly matters. No offence to Mike, but I suspect his audience is comparatively small. The vast majority of Humble & Fred listeners are not listening to Toronto Mike'd.

H&F have often(/always?) called Cross when they have no other guest lined up, or someone has cancelled. Alan was the only guest on their show today. It did seem that they were completely unprepared, but they really might not have planned for it.

I'd say the timing sucks, but they and Mike are operating in different leagues. And as I mentioned earlier, it was hardly a "scoop", just the biggest thing going on in Alan's world these days.

Anyway, it was just a tiny part of Mike's interview. The Martin Streek stuff was great. Alan told us a lot, yet stayed quiet when it was appropriate.

January 30, 2014 @ 7:11 PM


@Mike - Interesting. Well in that case, in the off chance that was a deliberate move, I'm going to skip downloading their podcast from today (I'm always one day behind) and listen to yours instead. I don't need to hear two Cross interviews.

January 30, 2014 @ 7:20 PM

Brothers And Sisters

Chris Sheppard has spent the better part of the past decade studying music and neuroscience at the PhD level; doesn't seem to have been published or have a position that would make him show up on Google.

But he's done gigs as DJ Dogwhistle every so often-- people on that scene know it's him.

So he's not hiding but seems to have gotten his fill of being in the public eye. (Got it out of his system before social media came along.)

January 30, 2014 @ 8:24 PM


Really? Do you actually believe that we would do something to sabotage our good friends show? The guy who's wedding we attended and who's friendship we cherish? Come on A Friend. You're not as good a friend as we are because clearly you don't thing we have Mike's best interest at heart. The fact is we've known Alan for over 25 years and have had him on our show many many times and the fact that Mike had him on his Podcast is a happy coincidence...nothing more.
Peace and Love

January 30, 2014 @ 8:26 PM



Yes I do believe.

January 30, 2014 @ 9:09 PM


Hard to believe Humble and Fred would intentionally sabotage Mikes podcast but it sure looks bad on them to interview Alan Cross on the same day.

January 30, 2014 @ 9:33 PM

A Friend


Even if you were going to have your old friend Alan Cross on your podcast, wouldn't you have him on any other day out of respect for Mike?

Why have him on the exact same day?

January 30, 2014 @ 9:52 PM


Just listened. It's great. So much history. I love it.

January 30, 2014 @ 10:03 PM


@Mike Great show! I didn't expect to hear much new out of Alan, but you got something extra even on topics well known. Good job by Alan too.
The CNE connection, hilarious.
I'm wondering though- you managed to cover most of our questions in one way or another, but I didn't think Alan was aware of the context/attitude the original questions came out of re Indie 88 from your readers. Do you think you blindsided him a bit? He certainly didn't hesitate with his answers.

I was completely gobsmacked by his description of his role at Indie. That's the first I've heard beyond his usual 'guidance councillor' quip. I would not have imagined. Completely disappointed. He gave the exact same explanation Adam (PD at Indie) gives about balancing the playlist, there must be a poster tacked to the wall at Indie.

Didn't listen to H&F yet, so I was pleased to hear him talk about the real Courtney Love. That was a question I wanted to ask.

January 30, 2014 @ 10:06 PM


I doubt H&F tried to stomp on Mike, but as Freddie P often says- it's just bad optics.

What about the Dan scoop? Live phone call, on air. The next big thing. Did H&F get that?

January 30, 2014 @ 10:13 PM


Great interview Mike… I even learned a few things I didn't know.
I still won't listen to Indie 88…


January 30, 2014 @ 11:05 PM

this guest

two cakes
are better
than one
for a big

same with

January 30, 2014 @ 11:59 PM


It was really great to hear Alan talk a bit about Martin. I'll always miss that man. Thanks for this.

January 31, 2014 @ 3:30 AM


Exceptional job, Mike!

January 31, 2014 @ 5:46 AM


Great job Mike. I love listening to Alan. I have a lot of respect for him and everything he does.

I do not believe however, that Indie is the least formatted station in Toronto as he states. Everyone at Indie says the same thing. It is like they are reading from a script, just like their programming. I listened on and off yesterday and the repetitive loop just kept going on and on.

January 31, 2014 @ 6:18 AM

519 Rob

Great interview Mike. I truly enjoyed it.

As a long time fan/listener of Alan's I knew a lot of the stories he told (as some have said, the Courtney tale was told in detail on this weeks Geeks & Beats podcast). But the Martin Streek stories were moving. I went back and relistened to that part.

Now if I was to compare this one to the Jonathan Torrens interview, I think I enjoyed Jono more, only because almost all of those stories were new to me.

But still, well done sir. You did a fantastic job with Alan.

January 31, 2014 @ 8:47 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Thanks everybody.

The Jonathan Torrens interview and the Alan Cross interview were both great fun for me because I was interested in both individuals and thoroughly enjoyed both conversations.

So long as I'm doing this for free I'll only chat up people I sincerely like and care about... I've got a short list of potentially attainable guests that fit this bill.

January 31, 2014 @ 8:56 AM


@Toronto Mike,

You really need to give Trailer Park Boys another chance!

Any guests coming up that you can share? How about other former CFNY royalty like Dave Bookman or Kim Hughes? What's that George Stroumboulopoulos guy doing nowadays? Think you could find him?

January 31, 2014 @ 9:28 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Todd Shapiro is coming on... hopefully next week.

Otherwise, I haven't asked anyone else... although Jim Richards is doing a phoner with Elvis and I.

When I have some time, I'll start reaching out to those I want to chat with. We'll see who says yes.

January 31, 2014 @ 9:58 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

And to my friends Humble and Fred

January 31, 2014 @ 9:58 AM


A few disappointments with this week's podcast.
AC's voice kept drifting out - as though he was leaning away while talking; Mike's voice would then sound distinctly louder when he chimed back in. Other podcast episodes sounded a lot better.
The first 45 minutes of the hour was taken up with old news / biography of AC. I would guess that most of your interested listeners already knew of a lot of this background material.
AC was providing a favour(!), being on the hour-long podcast. His cellphone call taking marred his professionalism towards Mike. So did his ongoing voice trailings.
I felt that Mike was issuing softball questions, once he got to the 2013 onwards material. Two others which I felt Mike might have also prepared:
1) For AC who is all about keeping up with technology advances, I am stunned by the mishmash of 88.1's website. Per a recent visit, it is a neverending scroll of main page mini-photos.
2) For AC who made his fame with a dedicated program - from 20 years ago, why aren't there very many individual programs within current commercial radio (overall - not just Indie 88)? Every past favoured DJ or host I can think of had had a specific programming identity attached to them.
For example, Toronto is an International city, AC is a music traveller; where is the weekly East Asian, Australian, or European content of 15, 30, or 40 minutes? For at least a decade, (IMO) radio is just about whoever is voice tracking for X number of hours before anyone else does the exact same thing while fronting the exact same sounds.
3) I also feel that AC got unchallenged with an expectable 'That's the way it is' response as to content variety and newness. He's (amongst many radio individuals) been taking the money for nearly 30 years. The public masses, as music listeners, have had to put up with that industry compliance. Or else we've predominantly abandoned FM commercial radio in droves.

January 31, 2014 @ 1:23 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


It's true, Alan would drift a little from the mic. He'd lean back...

I wanted this to be a definitive interview... so I wanted to revisit his start at CFNY and experiences there.

He warned me he had an important call to take.

Once Alan explained that he only made suggestions that could be followed or ignored, I wasn't about to beat him up over the website and get all hardball on his ass.

You're an awfully negative guy, CQ. I suspect there was no way this interview was going to completely satisfy you.

January 31, 2014 @ 1:28 PM


I think I ram extremely positive. (I was known as the happy-face kid, as a youth). I strive for better. AC shouldn't have kept leaning back from the microphone.

January 31, 2014 @ 1:49 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Your history precedes you... I'm actually hungry for constructive feedback, but I find you to be extremely negative. That happy faced kid seems to be long gone. I hope he returns.

Two further points:

1. I'm face to face with the subject, literally looking him in the eyes. I'm playing off of that, getting a sense of when there's more, and a sense of when there isn't. I tried to be fair regarding Indie88, even quoting a commenter re: repetition and playlist, but I'm not chatting with Alan so he leaves hating my guts and feeling railroaded. I'm doing my best to get answers and to understand exactly how he's involved and why things are the way they are.

2. My target audience for my podcast is me. It's a personal hobby with no sponsor and no financial return to speak of. In other words, it's not a job, so it absolutely has to be fun for me. Taking out Cross because you don't like and people don't want to hear the same song more than once a day isn't as much fun as it sounds.

January 31, 2014 @ 1:56 PM


Already mentioned this on Twitter, but that was my first exposure to your podcast, and enjoyed it immensely. Even knowing some of the info beforehand, I found it to be extremely interesting. I will definitely be listening to your show again! Finally, have to say it again: Lowest of the Low as a fade? Brilliant! Love that band!

January 31, 2014 @ 2:24 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike



Lowest of the Low's Rosy and Grey has been the closing song for all 66 episodes.

Please subscribe at and leave a nice comment on iTunes and I'll be your best friend.

January 31, 2014 @ 2:27 PM

New guy

New reader, first time commenting but nice job putting CQ in his place! Who complains about free, informative interviews? Get a life! Thanks Mike, great stuff. Not everyone is a regular so this was all new to me!

January 31, 2014 @ 2:27 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@New guy


You should comment more often...

January 31, 2014 @ 2:31 PM


Did I really hear Alan Cross say he was ordered to fire Martin Streek more than once and flat out refused because he knew it would kill him?

Then new PD comes in and first Martin Streek and he's dead 2 months later?

That's fucking huge. I had to listen twice. Wow.

January 31, 2014 @ 2:34 PM


Good Interview..I enjoyed it..
Try for a member of PJ next :)

January 31, 2014 @ 3:49 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Ed's already blown me off for Bono once... not gonna let it happen again.


Alan confirmed much of what I always suspected with regards to Martin Streek. I really appreciated his honesty.

January 31, 2014 @ 3:54 PM


Hey Boon,

I appreciate that you take the time to do these podcasts and share them with us - I enjoy them immensely. I like the backstories about working with The Great Andrew Stokely (sp?) to get your studio up to snuff. Your podcasts are simply enjoyable conversations. I'm happy for your 'great gets' in the guest department (yes, Elvis, this even includes you :).

You're not a dick so why would you act like one when 'in conversation' with your guests. To that point, to push AC in those areas where he clearly backed off just wouldn't be the thing to do.


You're clearly an engaged participant in Mike's blog and listener of his podcasts. You have to put the whole thing in some kind of perspective. This is Toronto Mike, not Mike Fucking Wallace. His creations play by his rules. For as long as I can remember Mike has always asked for feedback. Shitting on him doesn't pass as feedback.

@The Fuckwads Shitting On Humble & Fred

Hear me now and understand me later. Get a clue and pay attention. Because there's evidence that you might not be paying attention. Mike is close friends with BOTH Howard and Fred and Howard's Lady Friend, Amanda. There's no way, no how, that H&F would try to sabotage Mike in any way, at all. Mike has done a lot of work with H&F over the years. Mike invited them to HIS WEDDING, for Christ's sake (and Howard was so moved, he had to make a now legendary speech :) So, relationships; personal and professional.

Anyway, you can't apply logic where logic just won't go.

Boon, keep on keeping on. You're getting better and better. Thanks again for sharing your creations with us (and now I'm going to channel The Elvis and sure to be a dick and get THE REST OF THE STORY out of Tickles, though, you mother effer :)

January 31, 2014 @ 7:44 PM


Liz, your passion is admirable, but you can't believe that the bad guys are going to take your opinion to heart, can you? With all due respect, you're this site's über-cheeleader. If Mike decided to post a daily pic of his morning dump, you'd declare each one a masterpiece, and thank him profusely for sharing such an intimate part of his life. One day you'll realize that Mike's an idiot. ;)

January 31, 2014 @ 8:08 PM



Well, I've been called a lot of things in my day, but never a cheerleader so thanks, Corey. They say you always remember your first.

If I thought Mike was an idiot why would I listen to his podcasts and visit and participate in the blog nonsense? Oh, wait. I think that's what other people do - and then enjoy the shit-apocalypse.

Thanks for the 'with all due respect' ('cause I'll certainly take it where I can get it) but that usually prefaces some level of disrespect. I'm a little bit brighter than you make me out to be, Corey. I think Mike should be the only one celebrating his dumps.

The idiot isn't Boon - or me.

January 31, 2014 @ 8:23 PM



Wow. I try not to use emoticons unless I think they're going to be absolutely necessary. Looks like it didn't help this time. The "idiot" comment followed by ;) means I was being sarcastic - it's something I've started after being called an idiot by Mike a few times.

January 31, 2014 @ 8:41 PM


@ Liz,

Stokley, Stoakley it's all good.
I'm writing this from Montreal getting ready start the 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Huge setup with over 100 inputs. I posed two pictures to my Twitter account of the board and patch bay, but I can't remember how to post them to Mike's blog.

I think what I like about Mike's podcast is that it's not 'pro'. This is a hobby for him, he is not a professional, however, his quality of podcast rivals that of some high quality studios (cough, cough!).

The mics that Mike has in his studio are true, broadcast quality radio mics. I know, 'cause I chose them for him. The reason Alan sounded distant is because he was off mic and when that happens, well, your voice disappears. I wanted to chose mics for Toronto Mic'd that would give him great isolation because he was using them in an area that isn't built for silence. As well, he's not using compressors or gates or any type of limiting aides that a lot of other studios would have.

Anyway, it was great to hear Alan in a different light than his weekly podcast with Michael Hainsworth - Geeks and Beats.

Hope I made sense… the interview was exactly what I was expecting. I'm also glad he enjoyed the caribbean fried rice at Calypso Gardens at 83 Kennedy Road south… it was my favourite too!!!

Curling is on TSN all week… check it out. Let's hope there is LOTS of swearing. It'll make my days that more exciting!


January 31, 2014 @ 9:04 PM



Haha the one time I used an emoticon here backfired too.

January 31, 2014 @ 9:47 PM

Il Duce

@ A Friend

Alan Cross is a very busy person so being aware that he was in the 'hood,' it only made sense for H+F to book Alan on the same day.

Humble and Fred would never try to scoop Mike or hurt him in any way. I know Humble and personally, they're good friends with Mike and quite frankly H+F aren't that bright to 'conspire' against Mike. I know Mike says 'all is good' but in the back of his warped left mind he thinks he was scooped but he really wasn't.

@ A Friend you're trying to stir up shit and part of me wishes I would have thought of your comments first. Remember, I'm the only one who can bust Mike's balls... nothing to see here, move a long now....

February 1, 2014 @ 8:42 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Il Duce

I actually thought "A Friend" might be you...

I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my hour with Alan Cross, and it's completely different than what Humble and Fred would do. There was no "scoop" to speak of because my questions were mainly about his days at CFNY, Martin Streek, the Edgefests, the DBS, Ongoing History of New Music and Indie88. H+F were only talking Courtney Love, which I was going to cover, but it was going to be less than 5% of my show.

FYI: Being "in the hood" was irrelevant considering Alan Cross was on Humble and Fred via phone.

February 1, 2014 @ 9:51 AM

Il Duce

Alan was on the phone with H+F? Well there goes my 'hood' theory!!

@ Toronto Mike uh I mean 'A Friend' (nudge nudge wink wink) you were right H+F were trying to sabotage Mike's interview with Alan. It was part of their master plan to overthrow the Panamanian government.

February 1, 2014 @ 12:33 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Il Duce

I talked to Fred that day (about another matter) and Howard yesterday. I'll tell you what I told them... I never thought for a second they were trying to sabotage my podcast.

Although I have noticed a strange car parked across the street from my house since I posted this entry:

February 1, 2014 @ 12:39 PM


@ Toronto Mike and Il Duce

Do you know how hard it was to drive that bloody thing! Holy crap… no power steering and the thing was boat. I preferred driving the Clarion Car Audio Cruiser - it also had a kick ass stereo!!


Andrew " Audio Andy"

February 1, 2014 @ 12:53 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


So that's you parked outside my house right now?

February 1, 2014 @ 12:54 PM


@ Toronto Mike,

Yeah, via Montreal! Watch some curling.. it's goof for you!

February 1, 2014 @ 1:00 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Is it the gold medal match in the Olympics featuring Canada? Because that's the only time I'll watch curling. :)

My boy's got a hockey game soon, then I want to watch the Leafs... jam-packed Saturday!

February 1, 2014 @ 1:03 PM


I really wish he talked more about Dean, Todd, Jason, Derek et al and what happened with them. I know hes been off the station for awhile, but surely he runs in the same circles and knows a lot of what happened behind the scenes.

I hope you get to the bottom of it, Mike, when you have Todd on - Im really looking forward to that interview and hope you ask the questions the people want to hear!

February 3, 2014 @ 12:36 AM



Your comment(s) are awesome. I seriously think you might do a great Podcast, maybe Mike can have you guest to see how it goes? If it works out and you want to continue, I will provide you free podcast hosting. I'm very serious.

@TOMike, nice interview, very well done. I have an ever increasing respect for Mr Alan Cross. I always have and am constantly surprised that someone can just keep building that rep. His words about Martin Streek were great to hear. Such a good person.


February 5, 2014 @ 4:33 PM

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