Quick Toronto Radio Hits

Quick Toronto Radio HitsThere have been a few Toronto radio developments I thought we might want to discuss, so here's a big fat juicy three-fer.

Indie88 PD Vacancy
The first involves Indie88. They're looking for a new Program Director. I've exchanged emails with their old Program Director, Adam Thompson, and he even promised to appear on my podcast. I should have known something was up when he changed his mind.

The Marsbar Theatre
Then there's David Marsden on 94.9 The Rock. His Marsden Theatre, an Oshawa staple since 2003, airs for the last time on December 14. He's going to focus on his NYthespirit.com project where $5.99 / month gets you a "boutique 80s stream curated by David Marsden".

Humble and Fred on Toronto Mike'd
Humble and Fred are appearing on my podcast next week, together. I'll finally get to use all three microphones at once. Let me know if you have any questions for this duo, celebrating 25 years together.

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Comments (16 - click here to join in!)

Ryan G

I had thought Indie 88 got Kiss 92's PD, but I could be mistaken. Either way, it seems the station has veered further away from the original promise based on that excellent first set of music played at launch with Alan Cross at the helm. In fact, the playlist nowadays is a distant cousin of that first set of music. Repetition is still too high and not enough respect for the alt classics, but that's just me.

As for Marsbar, I'm sure there will be a few people who would pay for this but I don't think I would. We're just so used to "radio" being free. Marsden's a legend though which could help, and it looks as if he's having some old cfny dj's do shows too including Don Berns and Ivar Hamilton.

One thing you didn't mention was that failed experiment at the Edge morning show. The chemistry wasn't great, and maybe I'm an Accent Racist but I generally find the Scottish accent hard to take - I just feel like my ears are constantly being stabbed. I'm not a huge fan of your arch enemy Mike - Fred what's his face, but at least their chemistry is better. I think he mentioned today or yesterday that he's a huge fan of the Fast And The Furious movies so he instantly loses points in my book.

December 3, 2014 @ 4:13 PM

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@Ryan G

That Scottish guy, Dominik Diamond, is on 640 this week, and I heard he's been on Q107 and other Corus properties.

My Diamond update was here: http://www.torontomike.com/2014/08/1021_the_edge_shuffles_show_deck.html

I talked to Marsden when I was putting together the Martin Streek tribute episode and it was a thrill. He's a living legend.

December 3, 2014 @ 4:20 PM

Sam in Pickering

I do a kick ass Marsden impression.

The radio will miss him!

December 3, 2014 @ 4:34 PM

karim kanji

Ask Fred if they've ever looked at a monetization plan similar to what Mark Maron has with WTF. He doesn't necessarily look for sponsors himself but uses a broker of sorts.

Have they also ever discussed crowdfunding like Canadaland.

Curious how they've made a viable business (that pays the both of them a living wage) of their podcast.

December 3, 2014 @ 4:34 PM

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Adam Thompson is going home to Edmonton.

December 3, 2014 @ 4:54 PM

Ryan G

Dear Indie Ad

I would be pleased to be your new PD. My only conditions are this:

First, I'd like maximum compensation and praise when things go well, and when things don't, point your finger at interns, Ferguson, Missouri or the tv box.

Second, my office must be on the penthouse roof of the building, have glass walls, a secret escape door with batpole and a small pond stocked with Koi. Said pond must have a "babbling brook" sound to relax me. I must also have a fully equipped gun range on the patio with a foxy brunette about 25 who cannot speak english, but can say "pull" as I'm about to fire my weapon.

That is all.

December 3, 2014 @ 5:00 PM


Ryan: babbling brook is a place in Calgary in Canyon Meadows. What type of gun?

Mike: sonic 102.9. Good morning show and not a bad Rogers station. And the station is just up the street from the gentlemans club

December 3, 2014 @ 6:05 PM



Excellent... I'm really happy for him.


December 3, 2014 @ 10:04 PM


The wit and wisdom of Indie88's junior DJs


I think I'm the only person ever to have Limp Bizket stuck in their head while in an art gallery.


I left my Bagel Bites in the microwave for to long and now they're rock hard. I'm feeling 8 year old sad right now.

December 3, 2014 @ 10:33 PM


I've stopped listening to Indie 88 and have gone back to CBC radio 2. I'm able to hear a good mix of new, old and quirky.

Indie 88 started out strong but is going nowhere in a hurry

December 4, 2014 @ 8:43 AM



Indie has did reasonably well in the ratings & in the realm it operates (commercial radio) that makes it successful.

People need to get over that Indie repeats music somewhat frequent. Exactly what is "playing a song too much?". Again, if you want open free form alternative radio, stream CKUA and tell me how open you were to it's format.

I read a comment someplace that slams this Adam guy for returning to Edmonton to work at Sonic. Something about it being a step down? The Edmonton radio market is highly competitive, diverse and produces a quality product. The morning show host on Hot 107 in Edmonton (name is Ryder) came to Edmonton from Vancouver. He publicly commented how "good" the radio was in E-Town. And while this might surprise some of you in Toronto, not everyone wants to live in Southern Ontario.

And given the current state of commercial radio why fault a guy for fleeing to "more secure pastures"?. People don't just get fired in radio anymore, they get put out to pasture & they are never employed again. 102.9 Sonic FM produces good solid ratings & is part of a cluster which has held it's own. Sister station, 91.7 The Bounce has 4 real competitors. 2 CHR's and 2 Hot AC's (in a market with 1 million people). It has held it's own & one might gather Rogers has the goal of making it work.

December 4, 2014 @ 9:33 AM


I don't think Adam was doing a bad job. He made himself known and available to listeners, and to criticism. How many other PD's do you know from listening to the station? I would expect a new station to have rapid turnover of staff, there has been surprisingly little change so far, or it could be coming.
I'm wondering how long before they can change their format.
Alan Cross did not run 88. He was hired after, shortly before launch, and if I read and listen correctly- he is an advocate of high repeats.
COB (the parent corp) has ads for their other stations as well. Hiring all positions including on air and PD. This is strange, there is very little turnover at COB.

December 4, 2014 @ 6:49 PM


Adam did a really good job of creating a radio station that sounds like a 19 year old girl's spotify playlist who just moved to Toronto from Sudbury and thinks she's cool. He also did an awesome job of presenting the 'you choose the music' gimmick as though it wasn't just a lowest common-denominator focus group exercise that every other radio station does. Indie is a heavily formatted station, plays chart hits and I cringe when I picture the production meetings where they talk about 'being where the kids live and having an online social presence" then just post what are essentially buzzfeed and blogto top 10 lists. It's a boringly prosaic exercise in radio. The only difference between the edge and indie is that edge calls the city Toronto while indie refers to it as YYZ. Even their 'adventure' picks for rotation are identical --- Cake, Blur (Song 2 only though) Bob Marley, Fatboy Slim, Clash (Rock the Casbah, Should I stay or Should I go or Train in Vain) and a random 90s buzzband (Urge Overkill, Marcy Playground, Harvey Danger)

December 5, 2014 @ 1:32 PM


A certain amount of talking per day was enshrined in its licence. You'd think they'd have gotten better people to execute it, though.

The one exception is Bookie, who is approximately 55 years old, and has been around long enough that he doesn't need to try so hard to get people to pay attention to him.

December 5, 2014 @ 4:30 PM


The on air 'talent' is unbearable. Carlin in particular, who has fortunately been demoted to swing shift is especially irksome. Raina's forced segues are cringe worthy and the morning show is a cluster fuck. They've squandered an amazing opportunity. It's like first year Humber grads playing radio.

December 6, 2014 @ 3:44 PM

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