Canadian Media

PROUD FM Firings: What's Going on at 103.9?

radioJust last month I took a tour of PROUD FM, the first radio station in Canada targeted specifically to an LGBT audience, and the first commercial terrestrial LGBT radio station in the world.

My contact there is Bob Willette, PROUD FM program director and former producer of the Humble and Fred show. Yes, Bob Willette is Bingo Bob. We use the PROUD FM studio to record our Humble and Fred podcasts.

Yesterday, PROUD FM fired four hosts.

The morning show team of Deb Pearce and Patrick Marano and the afternoon team of Shaun Proulx and Mark Wigmore have all been let go following, Proulx says, the foursome's insistence on a joint meeting with station manager Bruce Campbell.

The morning show and afternoon show are the most popular spots, and to fire both teams in one flail swoop is pretty unusual.

I sent Bob an email last night asking him if anything interesting happened at work. His official fit-for-print statement is this: "what happened is a private affair between Proud FM and the affected individuals. The differences are private in nature and won't be revealed by the company to the media at this or any other point."

Others suggest the Evanov Radio Group, the station's owner, has an ulterior motive. The CRTC is about to approve an application to increase power of PROUD FM to 250 watts from its current 50 watts. Evanov also owns Z103, and this could be a ploy to repeat Z103 in Toronto with the stronger downtown signal.

From what I've heard about the Evanov Radio Group, it's certainly not beneath them. What's going on at PROUD FM?

Humble and Fred @ PROUD FM

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Ann Rohmer Quits CP24

TVAnn Rohmer, a face you know best from City TV where she was host of Breakfast Television and an anchor at CP24, is leaving her role as host of CP24 Breakfast in mid June.

After 31 years in broadcasting and 25 years at 299 Queen Street West, Ann Rohmer has decided to hang-up her microphone mid-June, CP24 announced today. Rohmer is currently host of CP24 BREAKFAST, HOT PROPERTY, and ANIMAL HOUSE CALLS, in addition to her duties behind the anchor desk. Rohmer will remain the special guest host of ANIMAL HOUSE CALLS on CP24 and Animal Planet but has taken a position outside of the broadcast industry. Rohmer will break the news to her viewers Thursday morning on CP24 BREAKFAST.

They're spinning this as quite the amicable split, claiming Ann is quitting her job. I ain't buying it. This announcement reeks of spin doctoring and I'd bet my bottom dollar Ann was pushed.

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Andy Barrie Announces Retirement From CBC

radioYou've got to love Andy Barrie. He's been hosting Toronto's CBC Radio One program Metro Morning since 1995 and is one of the finest broadcasters working in this city. His Metro Morning has always been a favourite of mine.

This morning, on his 65th birthday, he announced that he's retiring and that his last show will take place the morning of March 1. After 15 years he deserves a chance to sleep in past 4am.

In 2008, I wrote about Andy's leave of absense. He was caring for his wife Mary, who passed away last February.

Good for Andy, stepping down while still at the top of his game.

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Anne Mroczkowski and Laura DiBattista Out at Citytv

city tvLate last year, Jim McKenny was shown the door at Citytv. He had been doing sports for Citytv since 1984. Prior to that, Rogers had purged several other Citytv institutions, for better or worse. These included the NewMusic, Ed the Sock, Amber Mac, Silverman Helps and Speakers Corner.

Similar to Jim McKenny, Anne Mroczkowski has been serving up CityPulse and CityNews news at Citytv for what seems like forever. Here she is co-hosting CityPulse Tonight with Gord Martineau in 1985.

This morning there's been a lot of noise about big personnel changes at Citytv, including the release of Anne Mroczkowski and long-time correspondent Laura DiBattista. I try not to post these items based solely on rumours, so I've waited until at least one reliable source went on the record. That would be @stephaniesmyth who just tweeted the following:

Anne Mroczkowski, Laura DiBattista reportedly both gone from CITY TV, along with writers/producers/editors/camera people.

Mroczkowski will be missed. She always delivered the news with class, even when being berated by colleagues. Here's hoping everyone who's part of this latest Rogers purge of Citytv staples lands on their feet.

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Jim McKenny Quits CityTV

city tvIf there's a face that symbolizes the Toronto sports scene, it's Jim McKenny's. I don't remember a time when Jim McKenny wasn't doing sports for CityTV. You can see him in this promo for CityTV's CityPulse sports back in 1984.

Jim McKenny, a.k.a. Howie, spent ten years in the NHL as a defenceman and winger with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Minnesota North Stars before joining Citytv in 1984 as Sports Anchor/Reporter on "CityNews Tonight" and he's been there ever since.

I've been told Jim McKenny closed his Sunday night's broadcast with an announcement that it would be his last broadcast with CityTV. He said he'll be moving on to different opportunities.

25 years at the same gig is a pretty amazing run for a sports broadcaster in this city. You couldn't help but like Jim McKenny - I wish him well in his next venture.


Jim McKenny joins the NewMusic, Ed the Sock, Amber Mac, Silverman Helps and Speakers Corner in the Rogers CITY-TV graveyard.

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Toronto Radio Ratings - Radio Top-Line Reports From BBM

radioPPM Top-line Radio Data for Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal has been released by bbm.

Below are the ratings for Toronto, covering August 31, 2009 through November 29, 2009. This is our first full ratings period since they switched to Portable People Meter (PPM) technology.

Call Letters Also Known As Share % Cume (000) Daily Cume (000)
CBLFM CBC Radio 2 1.7 1,935.50 148.4
CBLAFM CBC Radio One 9.3 2,163.40 484.3
CFMJ AM640 3 1,986.10 238.3
CFMZF+ Classical 96.3FM 4.2 2,742.30 287
CFNYFM 102.1 The Edge 5.4 3,771.40 521.7
CFRB Newstalk 1010 4.5 1,596.40 239.4
CFTR 680 News 8.4 3,601.60 864.1
CFXJFM FLOW 93.5 1.8 2,555.60 254.2
CFZM Zoomer Radio AM740 2.5 1,523.70 143.5
CHFIFM 98.1 CHFI 12.9 5,163.70 956.9
CHUM CP24 0.1 907.2 25.1
CHUMFM 104.5 - CHUM FM 12.1 5,038.40 1,046.30
CIDCFM Z103.5 2.7 3,511.00 492.4
CILQFM Q107 8.3 4,155.90 708.3
CINGFM Vinyl 95.3 0.9 2,259.00 144.5
CJBC La Première Chaîne 0.1 745.4 20.4
CJBCFM Radio-Canada 0.3 867.2 33.4
CJCL The Fan 590 2.9 1,911.10 289.1
CJEZFM 97.3 EZ Rock 6.5 5,139.80 702
CJRTFM JAZZ.FM91 1.5 1,857.90 142.7
CKDXFM 88.5 The Jewel 1.4 1,457.10 105.7
CKFMFM Virgin Radio 999 6.5 5,100.20 825.6
CKISFM Kiss 92.5 2 3,582.10 418.4

CHFI and CHUM-FM are hammering it out for top spot and there's still nobody listening to the old 1050 CHUM spot, now simulcasting CP24. All in all, very few surprises...

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Hodge and Stockwood Out, Humble and Colleen Remain @ EZ Rock

RadioI'm hearing from usually reliable sources that Rick Hodge and Kim Stockwood are no longer part of the EZ Rock morning show. It's now a two person booth with Humble Howard and Colleen Rusholme.

A lot of noise was made by Astral when Rick Hodge left CHUM-FM for EZ Rock and CFRB last year. Roger, Rick & Marilyn on 104.5 CHUM-FM was a Toronto radio staple, and my mom's favourite morning show. Apparently, the EZ Rock / CFRB experiment failed.

I'll preface the following editorial with the following. I've met Kim Stockwood twice: at a party at Humble's house and when I sat in on the EZ Rock morning show to live blog everything. She's absolutely lovely, and I'm very sorry to see she's become yet another Toronto radio victim. Rick Hodge, however, is another story.

I didn't blog everything I witnessed that morning. I was there from before 6am until the show ended at 9, and since they were nice enough to let me into their off-air world, I understood some things weren't fit for print. The main event that morning never made it to this blog.

** Note: I just did something I haven't done in 9525 entries. I've removed a paragraph. **

Furthermore, I don't believe a four-person crew can truly work. I realize a number of three-person teams have succeeded, such as the aforementioned Roger, Rick and Marilyn and The Dean Blundell Show, but the best morning show teams seem to consist of two people. When this new morning show launched on EZ Rock, my initial thoughts were it would be better as Humble and Colleen. They were the pillars. Kim Stockwood seemed too green and it always felt as if Rick Hodge was being forced into the show with a shoe horn. It never sounded natural and it was entirely too busy.

So Rick Hodge and Kim Stockwood are gone at EZ Rock, and the show is now Stu and Colleen with Humble playing the role of Stu. They're also playing nothing but Christmas music starting now, but I doubt they'll be playing Stockwood's "Marshmallow World". That's too bad, I've always liked her version.

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Country 95.3 Quits Country

radioCountry 95.3, a station with the call letters CING-FM broadcasting out of Hamilton, Ontario, billed itself as "Canada's Most Listened To Country Station". I didn't know that until exactly two minutes ago when I found out they've flipped formats. Country 95.3 is now The New 95.3: Southern Ontario's Greatest Hits.

"Southern Ontario's Greatest Hits" apparently means classic hits, or oldies if you prefer. There's no market in southern Ontario for country music, even if it's "Canada's Most Listened To Country Station".

Recent Toronto area radio ratings revealed there really is nobody listening. They scored a 1.1, the lowest score this side of CP24 Radio 1050.

Farewell New Country 95.3. I hardly knew thee...

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"No Interest" in Returning to Edge 102 Following Death of Martin Streek - Strombo

RadioMartin Streek took his own life in July. The last time I saw Martin, he was chumming around with his pal George Stroumboulopoulos at the Casby Awards. Here's a clip of them that night.

The first Sunday following Martin Streek's death, I tuned in 102.1 the Edge to hear The Strombo Show. I was hoping for a tribute of some kind. When 102.1 the Edge didn't air The Strombo Show and didn't utter Stroumboulopoulos's name, I asked aloud whether Strombo had quit Corus. I put on my detective badge and started to follow the clues.

Last Sunday, I noted that CFNY did not air the first Strombo Show following Martin Streek's death. I was speculating that perhaps Strombo, a good friend and fan of Martin, made this happen. His show did air on other Corus stations. I'm a big Strombo fan, and I was interested in his tribute to Streek. For my money, nobody could impart their passion for good music the way Streek and Strombo could.

In a new interview with CHARTattack to promote his new CBC Radio 2 show, Strombo has admitted that Streek's death played a role in his decision to leave Corus. Here's an except:

And to be honest, after [friend and colleague] Martin Streek died I had no interest in going back on The Edge [in Toronto]. So Corus was not the best place for me to be.

Radio may well be a business, where people are hired and fired all the time, but that doesn't mean it has to be entirely void of integrity. Strombo made a business decision with his heart, refusing to be a part of the machine that fired his friend after 20+ years of passionate service – his friend who literally had the station's call letters tattooed on his ass and remained one of the last links to the days at CFNY when spirit mattered. George took a stand and I admire the shit out of that.

Well done, George. Thanks for proving me right.

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Martin Streek Dead

Martin Streek DiesI'm not sure how to write this one, so I'm just going to tell you what I know.

As a long time fan of CFNY / Edge 102, I was sad to learn recently that Martin Streek had been fired after over 20 years of service. As of this writing, that entry had 88 comments from others who wanted to wish Martin well. Soon enough, Martin Streek himself chimed in to say thanks.

Thank to those of you who made comments, both good and bad...either way, it's proof that you listened and/or cared about the scene I/we were part of...

Earlier today, Martin Streek updated his Facebook status message with words that sound so ominous now. This, it turns out, is Martin's farewell to the world.

So...I guess that's it...thanks everyone...I'm sorry to those I should be sorry to, I love you to those that I love, and I will see you all again soon (not too soon though)... Let the stories begin.

My entry about Martin Streek leaving CFNY / Edge102 is #1 when you Google his name, and Steve did just that an hour ago.

I just heard that Martin has passed away... very sad to hear.... (I was a cfny staffer back in the 80s and just heard this from Earl J.)

At first, I thought it was a cruel joke. Martin Streek seemed so vibrant, so full of life. But after chatting with Steve, and seeing the Facebook status message, I'm afraid it's true.

Martin Streek has taken his own life.


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