Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 129: John Downs

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 129In this 129th episode, Mike chats with John Downs about his years in radio at 680 News, AM640 and 1010. We also discuss his recent night in jail, his work with Sun News Network and why he thinks Doug Ford got him canned. This episode is exactly 1:18:17.

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Eager to check this one out, Mike.

July 15, 2015 @ 2:26 PM


I'll give it a listen. I seriously doubt Ford could or would have got him canned. Sometimes its just about performance - or lack thereof.

BTW, Alex Pierson has been awesome filling in for the ever-vacationing John Moore at 1010. Gotta love a conservative chick.

July 15, 2015 @ 3:37 PM


Listening while walking down King Street. I'm about 20 minutes in. Downs knows full fucking well what I'm talking about. He filled in for Stafford - and, that week - he most definitely "broke the show'. Everyone was going mental. I'll continue to listen to see where he goes with this.

I'll gladly remind him - should he not remember. Stafford had a shit ton to say when he got back from vacation.

July 15, 2015 @ 5:47 PM


@Liz, I haven't listen to the show yet (I will tonight) but I know what you are talking about. That's when Stafford and his listeners all sounded like whiny bitches. I lost all respect for Stafford after that.

I know Boom is a fan of his, but I sorry nothing is worse than somebody who can dish it out but can't take it. Stafford always makes fun of downtowners or people who live in specific parts of the city. (Heck even I think Stafford SoB south of bloor, is kinda funny) Downs just hit back with "Downtown is where you go live, while the suburb go where you die". Then Stafford and his listeners get all defensive. Come on, he trashes part of the city all the time but then cry sensitivity when it's returned fire. That's weak.

I was a big fan of Downs on 640. In a culture of overpaid and lazy talk show hosts, Downs always worked really hard. He would fill in for every spot, do evening shows, do city hall reporting, and come in on the weekends as the more highly paid/famous names do their shift and leave. I also liked Downs chemistry with Ryan Doyle on CFRB evening show.

I am looking forward to hear your interview with him tonight. I do think it's interesting that so many rats that jumped the sunken ship of Sun News all ended up on CFRB. Who needs credibility in talk radio.

July 15, 2015 @ 6:31 PM


I concur with everything Tron said. The listeners were total whiny bitches that week. It was Stafford himself who said that Downs "broke the show". 640 listeners just couldn't take a host who had a counter narrative. The low foreheads got all hot and bothered.

I was surprised that Stafford could so easily throw a colleague under the bus. Perhaps, he meant it tongue in cheek, but it didn't come across that way.

Either way, Downs is far superior to anyone that 640am has filling in now days.

July 15, 2015 @ 7:32 PM


Just finished the episode - full value. Really loved it. John is a wildly compelling communicator. You could have gone another hour and I would have been right there with you guys.

Mike, you were a natural with Downs. Nice flow - a pleasure to listen to.

John Downs is exceptionally bright and well spoken. I love his voice. On the 640 front, I think John got in his own way. 'Thump your dashboard' radio just isn't where he belongs. He's too balanced and not nearly pissed off enough at the things that send 905'ers into a blind fucking rage. I remember him talking about house hunting in the city - sharing the experiences he and his girlfriend were having. Even that interesting topic somehow devolved into his being a leftie bastard etc.

Try as some of them might, Stafford's P1 listeners weren't always able to align or didn't identify with John - and, as he admitted, he lives a different life and holds differing views than the targeted demo. He's a hard worker - always uber prepared but I can't help but think his passive aggressive stuff didn't help him at 'angry white guy' radio.

I'm SOOO not 640's demo. I still, however, love, love, love Mike Stafford and his show - along with Ryan Bonner and the radio savant, Patrick Malkin (sp?). I catch that show when I can but that's all the talk radio I check out now. I listen to several podcasts and a few terrestrial stations in the US (one from Buffalo and one from San Francisco).

Again, thoroughly enjoy this episode!

July 15, 2015 @ 9:30 PM


Oops. Posted too quickly - I really should read my nonsense before sending it.

...thoroughly enjoyed - not enjoy.

Ha ha! Typo on Ryan's last name - Bonnar.

July 15, 2015 @ 9:59 PM


Obviously I'm going to side with Stafford. Not just because I'm on the right side of the political spectrum but also due to the fact that Downs couldn't carry Stafford's pop filter.

July 15, 2015 @ 10:20 PM

James Edgar

I listened. Seems like a good and smart guy.

Weird how he was fired. I'm not convinced he was assisted out the door by Doug Ford but I wouldn't be surprised.

July 16, 2015 @ 12:09 PM


My little anecdote about smalltown homophobia...

I went to university in Ottawa and my first-year roommate was from a small Ontario town. His friends came to visit at one point, and they just stared at me when I introduced myself. Roommate came to my defence, "oh don't worry about him, he just talks like that because he's from fagtown."

Used to have guys in trucks buzz me on my bicycle while screaming "faaaaaaaaaaaaaag" out the window.

I used to resent being called a leftie when I felt I had more right-wing beliefs, or at the very least, was centrist, but I've since come to embrace it and feel "the left" is correct about a lot more things than "the right". So uh, good job guys.

July 16, 2015 @ 1:24 PM


I don't care if someone is on the left side of things. It only bothers me when someone from either side tries their best to stifle any opinion that doesn't go with the crowd.

Many on the left like to do that by using disparaging words like "homophobe", "racist", "islamaphobe" or the latest to join the list "transphobe".

Oh, and if by giving the above opinion makes me all of those things - so be it.

July 16, 2015 @ 3:55 PM

Rick C in Oakville

Nice interview Mike, maybe I had him all wrong, thought he was a bit pretentious in the past, but seemed like he was quite honest, and personable.

July 16, 2015 @ 4:59 PM


I was wondering what happened to Downs.Now on second thought I'm glad he's off the radio.Pretentious twit.Ba bye!!

July 16, 2015 @ 7:59 PM


Listened to the interview and it was great. I could totally buy the Ford trying to muscle Downs out of 640. They been doing that to journalist and media that been critical of them all the time. But the blame still has to go to the Program director for buckling. No politician should have the power or be able to threat people who just doing there job.

As for the Stafford thing, I don't even view it as a right/left thing. It's just a real annoying personality trait IMO. I can handle a bully, some people are just aggressive in nature. I can handle a whiner, some people are sensitive. What I can't stand is the whining bully. We all know people like that in our personal life, Who loves to dish it out but when it's returned they get super moody.

Speaking of sensitive, is it me or people in radio are really thinned skin. Which is ironic consider their entire profession consists of being critical of others (politicians, athletes, union worker, society in general lol) but they hate places like the "big yellow board" and as we heard this week, this site that had an honest look at media practices. How many hours in the day does Ben Dixon or his hosts were critical of other profession, but when somebody puts the spotlight on them, they get really b*tchy about it.

I like that you brought up the point with Downs that there a lot of Irish guys in talk radio, especially on 640, seems to be all Irish dudes, and I thought it was strange, until I heard Dave Farough was the GM of Corus radio stations, I saw this picture and it all makes sense now LOL

July 17, 2015 @ 4:06 PM


Not that I need to defend myself, being thin-skinned and all "Tron" but I couldn't
care less who's filling in while I'm on vacation. Downs would be on for me while I was in Vegas, San Diego, etc and listeners would bombard me with negative emails. Because they thought it was me. One listener, when Downs was telling people he was an athiest, said it wouldn't matter, he guessed, if he put a bullet in my head. That one went the cops. The "he broke the show" was a joke. The same joke was used when Tina hosted or Ryan or Dominick. No big deal.

I believe I know who Tron is and I'm not surprised. Who Googles Dave Farough in a leprechaun outfit? That guy....just to make a point. I really don't give a fuck
about anon posts from bitter people anymore. And I did not throw John Downs under any bus. Seen it happen in this business and I have the tire tracks on my back to prove it from CFRB.

July 21, 2015 @ 2:38 PM

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