Edge 102 ~ CFNY
It's time for another Edge 102 rant from Cool Steve. Hold on to your hats, kids, this is another good one.
Hello again, Mike.
I visit the CFNY section of your blog now and again, so I just found out about the latest firings. I thought both personalities were decent and I certainly didn’t dislike them. I still can’t stand Fred though, and Josie has morphed into a shallow air-head. Only Adam and Bookie remain that I enjoy.
Since it was before my time, I gotta ask – this Pete guy from Pete and Geets who passed away at 81. Hasn’t CFNY always been youth orientated? Because he would have been in his 50s during his time at the station and, at least to me, he sounds out of place. Or maybe radio didn’t care about older age in a younger market back then, I dunno. I mean no disrespect to him; I am just surprised at his age.
I have to say that I don’t give 102.1 The Edge the time of day anymore, and when I do listen to the radio, it’s mostly stuck on 88.3 CJIQ which is ten years old now, or Boom 97.3 but its signal struggles in Kitchener. I drove to London a few weeks ago and 88.3 held out for as long as possible, and the playlist mix is night and day better than The Edge. My only gripe with them is that they have no playlist on their website, so when the DJ doesn’t give me the name of a song I don’t know, I can’t check back on it.
One of my favorite groups/artists is Matthew Good, and I always gave The Edge the smallest bit of points when it came to playing his solo singles as he got older. They spun the singles from his greatest hits collection in 2005, the ones from 2007’sHospital Music and 2009’s Vancouver. I decided to scroll back in their playlist three weeks to see if they were spinning “In Place Of Lesser Men” off Good’s recent album Lights of Endangered Species, as I heard it on the college station already back in April. I’m a bit shocked, but the song is no where to be found. They have no problem playing the same three/four songs from 1997-1999 era Matthew Good Band, but zero new Matthew Good. Why? Same label, Universal, released it and his last two albums. Is it because Good is turning 40 at the end of this month? He played the Casbys only two years ago. Perhaps an unfair comparison due to the levels of success – but Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighters are all hovering around the same age, and we hear their newest songs repeated several times a day. We still hear the new Beastie Boys as well – all in their mid 40s.
Radio is a fickle thing. As an artist as you get older, a station will only play your greatest hits from a certain period. Even if they play your newest songs over the next five years, they will still go back to the older stuff from when you were really big when your newest singles have died down. It makes you wonder when the oldest, ‘newest’ singles an artist released will ever get played again. Maybe they never will be. 102.1 The Edge has spun every one of Matthew Good’s solo singles since 2003’sAvalanche. After those songs have run their course, you only hear old Matthew Good Band tunes. And even then, they ignore the singles from the band’s first 1995 album and their last 2001 album because both didn’t do as well as 1997’s Underdogsor 1999’s Beautiful Midnight.
I know I’m only mentioning one artist/group above, but I’m sure the same applies for several. You may never hear “newer” 2000-2008 Oasis on The Edge again, but you can bet your ass they will still play the shit out of anything from the 1994-1997 period of the band. They spun the singles from the Gorillaz’s 2001 and 2005 releases but completely ignored 2010’s PlasticBeach. I didn’t even know they released a new album, The Fall, until a few days ago. The Edge also loved to play Sloan’s newest singles. Their newest song “Unkind” is a catchy tune, it’s all over college radio. Its no where on The Edge, only the band’s 90s tunes – did the band suddenly get too old and uncool? I wonder if Our Lady Peace’s upcoming release will get any air time?
At the end of day, I really shouldn’t care anymore. Terrestrial radio sucks the big one these days. No one is going to listen to lifeless and annoying DJs who talk over half the song, repetitive play lists, choppy radio edits, and ads everywhere in between. I only need it for weather, news and traffic reports these days. It ticks me off when good artists are ignored just because they are getting older. It’s almost like radio sabotages them and doesn’t want them to succeed anymore.
If you want more, his rants are buried within my rants right here.
You never hear Neil Young on 102.1 The Edge. Sure, they played City and Colour's cover of Cowgirl in the Sand, and Bono joining Pearl Jam for Rockin' in the Free World (fun fact: Ed Vedder chose Bono over me that night!), but I've never actually heard Neil.
Wait a minute... did Neil get any airplay during his Pearl Jam years, when he released Mirror Ball? Maybe Downtown? I don't think so...
Neil Young's getting plenty of airplay on 102.1 The Edge these days. Redlight King's Old Man samples Neil's Old Man and 102.1 is currently playing it every hour on the hour. Luckily, it's good.
Neil Young on 102.1 The Edge... better late than never.
* actual number probably lower
Pete Griffin was 81. He and David Haydu formed the comedy duo Pete & Geets, hosting a morning-drive radio show on CHUM-FM in the early 1970s that was later revived between 1982-1987 on CFNY.
Here's some great audio of Pete and Geets, originally shared here.
I once interviewed my buddy Freddie P about the Pete and Geets show, and asked him what it was like to be a part of it all. Here's what he told me:
Pete and Geets were fantastic. They were Canada's pioneer FM morning show, and here's what I mean by that. In the early days of CHUM-FM they changed the way morning radio was done.
Less music, more talk, irreverent instead of corny and they didn't yell at you like the am morning shows did. When they came to CFNY in 1980, it got even better.
I often find it amusing how much credit Howard Stern gets for bringing a different style of morning show to radio, but his "style" was being established by Pete and Geets before Stern was even out of college. But without the tits and ass.
And of course, Pete and Geets never got the credit they deserved, mainly because they never had huge ratings. But as we've learned over the years, ratings doesn't mean quality.
The current ratings system is a joke and has robbed Toronto of a lot of good radio over the years.
It sounds like I missed something special. Glove tap to @mondoville for letting me know about this loss and helping me verify his age.
Mammas don't let your babies grow up to be radio DJs. In radio, you're hired to be fired. And you don't get to say goodbye.
This entry started on Twitter. Mike Gamble let me know about LoriAnn and Darrin Pfeiffer's dismissals, and LoriAnn herself chimed in.
I first learned LoriAnn was fired from 102.1 The Edge in a comment on this blog on February 11th. In an email exchange with LoriAnn tonight I confirmed she was fired on February 10, told by Edge management "we're going in a different direction and unfortunately it affects your employment".
That's literally all she was told. She's not 100% sure what happened with Darrin Pfeiffer.
I believe they told him that they'd keep him on staff for emergency fill in and situations where they had nobody else... and after a few months re evaluated that and asked him what he wanted and he said let me go. Thats just hearsay tho.
The one good thing about being fired from radio is that you can't take it personally. All the greats have been canned once or twice during their career. It's a rite of passage.
There was a time I didn't miss The Thursday 30 on 102.1 The Edge. Back when it was hosted by Martin Streek, it was how I kept up with the latest tunes.
I don't catch it often these days, but I tuned in for a bit tonight. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" from her excellent 21 album.
I was surprised because Adele isn't really the kind of singer you'd expect to hear on 102.1 The Edge. She doesn't seem to fit alongside Rise Against, Foo Fighters and Sum 41, but she's a very welcome addition to an ever narrowing playlist. 21 is absolutely fantastic and it's physically impossible to dislike songs like this:
Better late than never. By the way, Cure fans... if you haven't heard 21 yet, you're missing out on a great cover of "Lovesong". Eat your heart out, 311.
Courtesy of Retrontario, here's a 1989 television ad for CFNY's Humble and Fred morning show.
Man, that Miami Vice look did not work for Humble. Fred, however, still dresses like that.
The JUNO Awards are tonight. The JUNOs always make me think about the U-Knows, CFNY's music awards for Canadian independent and alternative acts. The U-Knows have been called the CASBYs since 1986. Check out this clip of CFNY's Nick Charles celebrating Chalk Circle's 1986 CASBY win.
Mondoville is sharing highlights from the 1984 U-Know Awards held at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto on April 2, 1984. The host was Jim Carrey and you'll see the Spoons, Nash The Slash, Sherry Kean, Paul Humphries (Blue Peter), Live Earl Jive & Beverly Hills, Men Without Hats, Peter Noble, Parachute Club, Lorraine Segato, Billy Bryans, Billy Idol and the late BB Gabor.
Great find. Do you remember the U-Knows?
She calls herself Guelph Gal, and she recorded a bunch of CFNY audio from the 1990s. She's now in the process of uploading the audio to YouTube, and she's happy to have me spread the love here.
This is 13 minutes of The Thursday 30 with the late great Martin Streek and Pete Fowler. This was January 1997...
I'll have more in this series soon. Guelph Gal just has to get the audio off her cassettes...
I get letters. This one is from Chris who had something to get off his chest about CFNY a.k.a. Edge 102.
It's about 3:20am on a Monday night and a case of insomnia, largely fueled by the internet, had me surfing around the net looking up information to confirm what a friend told me, that Jason Barr was no longer with 102.1.
That leads me to your site - and pages and pages of critique on the state of 102.1... and I have to say that it's really refreshing to read something that reminds me I'm not crazy to feel, nor am I the only person out there, who feels totally ripped off by the direction that station has taken.
I'm 34. I've listened to CFNY since I was 12 and first got a stereo system that could pick up a signal from where I lived in the boonies. I know I just caught the last end of the dying gasps of that station and I can't help but feel bad for the young kids growing up today who will get yet another dose of corporate, top-40s music; instead of new, exciting, unheard of artists.
I had been traveling for a few years, and I come back to the death of Martin Streek, the loss of the few funny and interesting radio personalities, rap and hip-hop on 102.1, and the virtual takeover of the station by a bunch of middle-aged frat boys who have nothing more to offer than trite, juvenile, potty-humour.
It's a sad realization indeed to come to the conclusion that a former staple doesn't even warrant being programmed into the radio dial of a new car.
Thanks for taking the time to write about this - and not just write about it but recognizing the importance of the station - or what it used to be - in terms of it's impact on Toronto, and the surrounding area. Thousands people heard something new, got a taste for local musical flavour, and got to know people who truly cared about music. It truly mattered. I can remember vividly where I was when Martin Streek introduced Burning Inside by Ministry on a late night weekend show years and years ago. That was my introduction to industrial. I'm sure hundreds of people have similar memories.
It's too bad that's apparently gone for good.
Looking for the next best station,
By the way, Chris... Jason Barr is half of the new Biggs and Barr team on HTZ 97.7. Has anyone heard the show yet? What did you think?
If anyone wants to do what Chris did and peruse my CFNY / Edge 102 ramblings, they're all waiting for you at https://www.torontomike.com/cfny_edge_102/.
Because you don't follow me on Twitter, you didn't get the heads up last night. What else of interest could have possibly been taking place last night?
Here's the tweet you missed.
They start January 17.
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