Amber Gero Shares Frustration Over "Rampant Racism and Sexism" at Newstalk 1010

Reporter Amber Gero was let go by Newstalk 1010 last summer. She, along with morning anchor Evelyn Macko and Queen’s Park reporter Katie Franzios, were dismissed due to what Bell Media calls "synergies".

Gero had spent 14 years at Newstalk 1010, and now she's letting loose on Twitter about what she calls "rampant racism and sexism" in radio.

She even took a shot at Bell's Let's Talk initiative. Bell owns Newstalk 1010.

Is Toronto radio too white and too male dominated? Does it fairly represent the city?


Share this entry

Comments (42 - click here to join in!)

Prime Minister Urquhart

As a white male in radio, you may very well think that, but I could not possibly comment. I don't know Ms. Gero personally and the time stamps on the tweets may explain her (understood) anger....but I've heard her on-air and never once realized or cared she was a woman of colour. She is a very strong news reporter. As is Ms. Macko. And Ms. Franzios. Amber brings up a point.....does diverse TO need quotas in radio? Best of luck to all three victims of "synergy", the worst fucking buzzword in any cutthroat business.

March 16, 2015 @ 3:46 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

What's interesting is that Amber Gero was let go last August, but all these tweets are from this past Saturday.

March 16, 2015 @ 4:10 PM

Speysidephil

And judging by the time might she have had a few cocktails?

March 16, 2015 @ 4:38 PM

Ambet

Give me a break guys, I've been getting up at 2-3am for years. It's something I still can't shake, despite owning my own business for which I can choose my own hours. No "cocktails" needed to speak the truth.

March 16, 2015 @ 5:06 PM

Anon

Salary continuance just end? Jezsus take Bell to OHRC for damages and don't advocate in the middle of the night on Twitter. Social media slacktivism can't beat a real issue with gender/race. Flick the chip off your shoulder....some people support you!

March 16, 2015 @ 5:40 PM

Accountant

The tweets likely marked the end of a six-month severance where she was still getting paid.

Amber would be a great addition to a station like G98.7. They'd also have her doing twice the work for half the money.

Part of the frustration is that no one in mid-career is going to get paid like they did in the 20th century.

March 16, 2015 @ 5:41 PM

Karim Kanji

Wow. A conversation with Amber and her thoughts above would make for a great podcast!

March 16, 2015 @ 7:18 PM

Little Tony

Not commenting specifically on Amber's case, but as a Bell employee, I can tell you the whole Let's Talk thing is regarded as a big joke within Bell. This Company is all about style over substance, as it honestly it creates an awful work environment for its employees.

With the exception of a lucky few who are for the most part overly compensated and pure examples of the Peter Principle, the company is devoid of any creativity and has no empathy for its own employees which results in a passionless environment. You either say 'fuck it' and just go through the motions or move on. Most of those who stay are miserable, and there is really no hope of any change. You either shut up and do it...or don't.

But yeah...Let's Talk!

March 16, 2015 @ 7:21 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

She's coming on to talk about it.

March 16, 2015 @ 7:32 PM

Rick C in Oakville

All I can say is she seemed to work her tail off when she was on air, always doing the leg work on the street and reporting back. Glad I'm not in Radio, it just seems to be such a cut throat, thank less industry, especially with most stations controlled by the big corps. Good Luck to her

March 16, 2015 @ 9:31 PM

YouDamnRight

Why must a Black woman be accused of having a chip on her shoulder for accurately describing Toronto's mostly White media scene? Learn to understand the criticism instead of dismissing it.
And for those who blamed it on "alcohol" - bullshit. Amber is free to speak her mind. She's talking about what others are afraid of stating. Good for her!!

March 17, 2015 @ 12:56 AM

Amber

Thanks for your kind words "YouDamnRight", but obviously a young, strong Black woman MUST be intoxicated to voice her honest opinion. I think my point has already been proven.

March 17, 2015 @ 2:53 AM

Josh

I know racism is still a problem and I've witnessed a fair share of it but I have a serious question....

How do we distinguish between someone being a racist or just an asshole?
How do we ensure this is racism and not a misguided assumption?

I look forward to the podcast. I just hope there is more to this story because these days people can throw out serious accusations without substance damaging ones reputation with no evidence.

If she was somehow let go because the colour of her skin I truly feel terrible for her and hopefully this story gains some more traction.

March 17, 2015 @ 6:17 AM

Mike from Lowville

@ T.O. Mike you asked: "Is Toronto radio too white and too male dominated? Does it fairly represent the city?"

Why when someone is treated badly must the gender/race/religion/sexual preference card be played? I 'm all for equal opportunity when it comes to whatever kinds or place of employment. The best qualified should get the job. But when you start mixing a quota system to better reflect "THE COMMUNITY" then all goes to hell in a hand basket.

No, the system may not be perfect or fair/unfair for some and that part of life. We will ALL at one time or another in our lives eat some sour grapes.

But hey! WTF do I know?


March 17, 2015 @ 6:19 AM

Argie

@Mike from Lowville
100% correct.

If Ms Gero was fired because of her race or gender, then by all means sue her former employers.

Re: Quotas
Two wrongs don't make a right - let the most qualified person get the job.

March 17, 2015 @ 8:21 AM

McNulty

I think just dismissing what Amber has to say is ridiculous.

Her experiences trump Mike (Lowville) and Argie's assumptions.

I would love to her what she has to say. Her dismissal from 1010 was a surprise to me. And she has a very good point most of the talk radio in the Toronto are hosted by white males. It's not that diverse for the 4th largest city in North America. It's also a city that brags about it's diversity but doesn't represent it very well.

I'm a white male. I want to hear what other people think. Not just other white males.

I look forward to the podcast (even though it's hosted by a white male).

March 17, 2015 @ 9:01 AM

Irvine

Few things Amber:

My research on Bell's "LetsTalk" is that it was a condition of the purchase of Astral Media. If that is the case, then it's not charity whatsoever because it's a requirement - > The plan also includes $3.5 million in spending for the Bell Let's Talk campaign for mental illness. Though no one can complain about a charity program, competitors said this was an inappropriate use of benefits funds because it's not a broadcasting venture.

See more at: http://j-source.ca/article/proposed-bell-astral-deal-its-opposition-and-what-it-means-media-concentration#sthash.z9gtyGFA.dpuf

As for is radio "white male", if you put aside the emotional & political ideology, I would say yes it it. There are very few women led morning shows in this country. I can think of two off hand. Further, if you analyze the photos public facing staff in media, very often the photos of females have been doctored/photoshopped (yes, you can tell that). And, on top of that, often women in radio cut their maternity leave short or broadcast from their basement, etc. Do they love their job or are they worried about being replaced? Not saying this is the case every time either but it happens. I rarely see this in other industries.

Finally Amber, as much as this seems like a "white thing" it's more a "business thing". If you rewind years ago the black community was very angry when Flow 93.5 was "sold to the man". The original mandate of the station was the promotion of "black" music/culture in Toronto. Slowly that mandate changed & it enraged the black community in Toronto (as it should have). In radio a "promise" is equivalent to me going to a bar, telling a woman what she wants to hear under the premise of long term dating when I really just want to fuck her.

Finally..when I was a young lad, I was pretty anti authority & anti business. A university prof I had told me the best way to change business was not to protest against it, but to join it & change it from inside. Go forth & kick their ass.

March 17, 2015 @ 9:27 AM

Argie

@McNulty
I'm not dismissing anything nor am I making any assumptions. I'm just stating my opinion that quotas are wrong - which they are.

Should we also have quotas for hiring brain surgeons or airplane pilots?

March 17, 2015 @ 10:33 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I'm glad Amber wrote those tweets. They've got me thinking... why have I recorded 114 episodes of my podcast with a single guest who isn't white? And that single guest? She's my wife!

When I have Amber on, I'll elaborate further on why I think this is. It's certainly not by design... I've asked Maestro many, many times, Matt Galloway has agreed to come on, I've invited Master T, Michael Williams and Rudy Blair, but it is interesting that every single famous guest has been white.

It's important we have these discussions.

March 17, 2015 @ 10:36 AM

Argie

@Mike
You should ask Paul Jones of the Raps' broadcast team to come on and discuss his career and the chances of the Raps in the Playoffs. He was also a teacher and principal.

March 17, 2015 @ 10:48 AM

Irvine

Well Mike, perhaps those that come on your podcast do so as a means of marketing? So in the end they read this forum & decide whether or not spending time on your podcast has any real benefit to them? For a casual observer, they'd assume the audience of this blog/podcast is one that appeals to 30 something white guys with a Pearl Jam fetish.

And, while my next comment might seem sort of mean, I hope you don't see it as that. Too much of your podcast is focused on media people. Now, one can't begrudge you for using your contacts in media TO bring in media people, but I ask you this. As a brand, how much does "Toronto Mike" really reflect Toronto as a whole? You do a good job at representing a narrow slice of Toronto but why not venture out. Maybe if you brought in some black community leaders to talk about issues in their community a guy like Maestro might notice it? Or members of the gay community? Or members of any community who would appreciate a voice for their side of the debate? My guess is that would broaden your scope WAY beyond having some radio guy.

And I say this in a positive sense not one to cut your down or start a flame war. Not you in specific, but sometimes we 'white people' think we understand other cultures. We assume if we consume their culture we get it. It's sort of an arrogance on our behalf.

Be "Toronto Mike" not "Mike in Toronto".

March 17, 2015 @ 11:32 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Irvine

Right now, I'm chatting with people I'm interested in chatting with. Most are in radio, but not all. There have been musicians, television personalities, bloggers, etc. I've never actually considered the colour of a guest's skin or their sexual preference.

Truthfully, I've been trying to represent the narrowest slice of Toronto, as in one guy. I aim to create content I'd be interested in. And yes, I'm a 40-year old heterosexual white guy.

But I've never claimed otherwise. I've never claimed to represent all of Toronto. I represent myself, and I'm very interested in what Amber has to say about diversity in Toronto radio.

March 17, 2015 @ 12:08 PM

this guest

There is a great cartoon showing 'equality' and 'equity.'
Some kids are standing on boxes looking at a ball game on
the other side of the fence. The kids in panel one are all
standing on the same size of box. Hence one can see over
the fence. In panel two they all have different sizes of
boxes and now all can see over the fence.

Equity and equality are two different things.

March 17, 2015 @ 2:11 PM

this guest

just to segue: Who was that brilliant English (I think)
writer who said 'The law in all its majesty forbids both
the poor and the rich from sleeping beneath bridges.'
ha.

March 17, 2015 @ 2:17 PM

this guest

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

Anatole France

March 17, 2015 @ 2:20 PM

Amber

FYI, I NEVER said I was laid off because of the colour of my skin. Let's make this clear. However, the fact that the three women with the most experience in the newsroom were all laid off as part of the so-called "synergies" initiative raises many questions. Add to this the fact that I can count the number of Black on-air hosts/news people on ONE HAND, despite having worked at this station for more than 14years!!! No one wants to be a pity quota hire, but come on. Oh, and by the way, I am a mixed race woman, despite the fact that I identify as Black...because that frankly is all that people see. I have Scottish and Native blood running through my veins as well.

March 17, 2015 @ 3:12 PM

Anonymous

Isn't the whole point of corporate media to reinforce the prevailing narrative.

March 17, 2015 @ 5:02 PM

Anon

Had a girlfriend, huge resume, try for a job at CITY in 1989. She was told no because she wasn't of colour. Cannot wait to hear AG on how CFRB suddenly became a white golf club. Jesus Christ where did you think you signed on?

March 17, 2015 @ 6:58 PM

Anon

As an ex-employee of Newstalk 1010. There is a whole lot under that hood that has been building for a long time. I admire Amber for speaking up and speaking out. Ask around and you'd find more than a few stories of sexism.

March 17, 2015 @ 8:33 PM

Another Anon

Anon @ 18:58 - you do realize CityTV and CFRB are 2 different companies, right? Not quite sure where you're going with that comparison.

And if you also think that in 2015 having a media outlet not reflect how culturally diverse our city is acceptable because that's how it's always been (going by your 'where do you think you signed on' comment), you need to give your head a good shake.


Anon @ 20:33 - You are bang on. Kudos to Amber for speaking up and speaking out.

March 18, 2015 @ 9:58 AM

Argie

If CFRB/1010 (which is owned by Bell media) figures its in their bets interest to hire more visible minorities, they'll do it. its show business - they keyword being "business." If a consultant tells them they will get belter numbers with more visible minorities, you'll see more VMs at CFRB.

Private companies should never be forced to hire people based on their gender, race or religion. On the other hand, CBC which is owned by the taxpayers might be governed by these types of initiatives.

March 18, 2015 @ 10:09 AM

Anonymous

We need more 10Klan10 radio that's for sure.

March 18, 2015 @ 2:48 PM

Anonymous

Is the Klan even around anymore?

March 18, 2015 @ 3:22 PM

Tron

I think Amber touched on something I been thinking for a long time walk talking about AM talk radio. Not just looking visually with their gender or race but personality as well. If the city host is a representation of the actually city, this city would be 95% white males with right-wing leaning opinion. It is kind of crazy when you look at it, as odd as it sounds CFRB might be the most diversity even though they are a 100% white hosts during the weekday. But at least you have a woman (Barb) working evening and a guy who is left of centre (Moore) in the morning.

AM640 is even more ridiculous, I always laugh when they have the Oakley in the morning, Carroll in the afternoon TV commerical. I always thought wow what range, you can have a middle-aged ginger conservative or you can have the other middle-aged ginger conservative. With a roster of Stafford and a guy named McArthur as the rest of the hosts on AM640 is this the line up of a radio station in the one of the most diverse cities in the world or a male family get together in the smallest villiage in Ireland? Sports radio is not much better with with a roster full of white guys on The Fan and now the alternative of a station full of white guys on TSNradio.

What really strange is that we DO have a "talkish" radio station in the city, and that's the public broadcaster CBC radio 1, Mike could possibly confirm it but their ratings are very good. Much better than the talk station on the corporate side . They seem to have people who look like represent the city more equally, not just visually but personality wise. I always find it very odd that CFRB or 640 doesn't try to expand there demo just a bit more, CBC radio shows there is a market for that.

As for non-white people that would be good guests for this blog. Desomnd Cole from the
Torontoist has really been impressing me recently, he's also been doing more electronic media as now a host on CFRB sunday afternoon for an hour, and a panellist on TV regularly these days on CP24 and Global.

March 18, 2015 @ 5:54 PM

Jillian

Mike- when Amber's in tomorrow could you ask her... what's her issue with her former employer? If she feels she was treated unfairly why not issue a formal complaint rather than a twitter rant? This makes her look like she wants attention rather than change.
Another point..is it possible that the only people who apply for radio jobs are white guys? I find it hard to believe management makes a conscious decision to ignore all non-white candidates but maybe I'm naive?
Maybe ask a radio PD if this is the case.

March 18, 2015 @ 7:33 PM

Irvine

@Jillian

Exactly what is "issue a formal complaint"? What do employees use, the labour board or something where little will happen. Or, she can hire a lawyer on her former radio salary. Start with the $5000.00 retainer & then the $200.00 per hour and go after them. If she's lucky she might end up with an out of court settlement. Or she can fight through against a public company that has much deeper pockets and consume her entire life savings & then put a second mortgage on her home.

I disagree it looks like she wants attention. She looks like the "average" person who wants to take on the system but doesn't make a 6 figure income & have a bank account with 6 figures before the decimal point.

March 18, 2015 @ 8:30 PM

Anonymous

look at the colour of Toronto's city councillors if you want an indication of how representative things are in this city.

March 18, 2015 @ 9:19 PM

Jillian

More than 10 years ago I was working for a company that was owned by one of the big radio companies in Toronto. I was wrongly dismissed while on maternity leave so I took them to court in hopes of getting my small severance increased. They dragged it out as long as they could and settled at the last minute. They doubled the initial amount, paid my lawyers fee and (reluctantly) gave me a letter of reference. Oh yeah...and told my lawyer "She'll never work in radio in this city,! "Which was hilarious since my job with them had nothing to do with radio.
So it is possible but I understand why it's not common as it was an unpleasant experience for me.

March 18, 2015 @ 9:55 PM

Argie

Whay about Fire fighters or Navy Seals? They're dominated by while males. Should we make those areas more diverse? Should we go out and tell visible minorities and women that they should join the Navy or Fire dept? Should we also make it EASIER for people who fit into those two categories to make it?

While we're at it, how about cab drivers? Should insist the cab companies hire more women and white people in general?

March 19, 2015 @ 9:51 AM

Mike from Lowville

@ Irvine

"Be "Toronto Mike" not "Mike in Toronto". "


Hey! Was that a jab?

March 19, 2015 @ 9:53 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Here's my conversation with Amber in which she elaborated a great deal: http://www.torontomike.com/2015/03/toronto_miked_podcast_episode_115.html

March 20, 2015 @ 11:03 AM

Anon

I can't speak to racism but sexism in broadcasting is alive and well. Consideration is still given to whether or not a woman should be put on a show regardless of how many men are there. The term Morning Man is still very much in the vernacular. The last several "layoffs" at a rival AM station were all women 40-plus. Amber, you should be thanked for being willing to speak publicly about this issue. It's one of radio's dirty little secrets.

March 23, 2015 @ 7:51 AM

Leave a comment


Only 42 comments? C'mon, we can do better... Leave a comment above and let's keep this conversation going!


« Our Twitter in 1985 Tuesday Open Mike »