Radio


Bob McCown Out at Prime Time Sports

Bob "Bobcat" McCown has been hosting Prime Time Sports on CJCL 1430 / 590 since 1989. Except for a brief period when Dan Shulman hosted the program, he's been the only host the show's ever had.

Tomorrow's his last day as he's been ousted by Rogers Sportsnet. This news was originally tweeted by TSM's Jonah and confirmed today by Sportsnet.

bob mccown

It seem Bob wants to talk about this, and I can't think of a better forum for him to do so than Toronto Mike'd. Bob, if you're reading this, contact me and we'll make it happen.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 470: Geets Romo

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 470In this 470th episode, Mike chats with David Haydu, better known as Geets Romo, about his career in radio, especially his years with Pete Griffin co-hosting the Pete N' Geets show on CHUM-FM and CFNY. This episode is exactly 1:36:15.

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Geets Romo and Me

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Dave "Bookie" Bookman, Dead at 58

Dave “Bookie” BookmanDave “Bookie” Bookman was 58. Bookie was as fine a radio personality as a city like Toronto could hope for. He loved the music, and it showed. After 21 years on 102.1 the Edge, he was let go in 2012, but quickly resurfaced on Indie 88 where he hosted a show until suffering a brain aneurysm in April.

I've made no secret of the fact Bookie was a highly sought guest on Toronto Mike'd, but he politely declined both invitations, citing a desire for privacy. I even asked him to appear on a Martin Streek tribute episode I put together for the fifth year anniversary of his untimely passing.

This isn't just a huge loss for Toronto radio, this is a big loss for the music scene as a whole in this city. Bookie hosted Nu Music Night at The Horseshoe Tavern forever. Bookie will be missed.

Next Thursday, Marc Weisblott from 12:36 will join me and we'll pay tribute to his friend Dave "Bookie" Bookman.

Bookie

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Biggs and Barr Leave GTA for Ottawa Radio

I've always liked the Biggs and Barr story. Jason Barr was a key member of the Dean Blundell Show before Edge 102 let him go. Meanwhile, Chris Biggs was on the air at Mix 99.9, until he was let go. The two hooked up, discovered they had chemistry, and started podcasting as Biggs and Barr.

Next thing you know, Biggs and Barr are the new morning show on 97.7 HTZ-FM where they've had great success these past eight years. I personally had them pegged as John Derringer's successors on Q107, and that may still happen, but for now Biggs and Barr will be calling Ottawa home.

htz

Biggs and Barr have given 97.7 HTZ-FM notice that they're leaving the Bell-owned station for a Rogers-owned station in Ottawa called 106.1 CHEZ. I won't pretend to know anything about 106.1 CHEZ, but I do know Biggs and Barr are replacing Doc and Woody, and if the schedule holds, will be followed by former 97.7 HTZ-FM afternoon drive host TJ Connors (son of Scruff!) who voice tracks that show from Winnipeg. TJ once guested on my podcast and I highly recommend you listen to our conversation.

1061chez

It's nice to share a radio story where the subjects control their own destiny. Good on Biggs and Barr for creating something of value and moving on to another market. And who knows, maybe they'll be back in the big smoke some day.

Jason Barr was a guest on my podcast in the early days and you can hear his episode 114 of Toronto Mike'd here.


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Tucker & Maura Mornings on energy 95.3 - Not Virgins Anymore!

I don't often write about Hamilton radio, but this one seems to have a Toronto slant. Back in November, 999 Virgin Radio cut their Tucker in the Morning with Maura Grierson morning show and replaced it with Virgin Mornings with Adam Wylde and TJ.

Meanwhile, over at Hamilton's 95.3 Fresh Radio, Corus turfed their morning show that featured Darrin Laidman and Colleen Rusholme.

Today, 95.3 Fresh Radio rebranded as energy 95.3 and unveiled their new Tucker & Maura morning show. And here's a cheeky tease for the new show.

tucker

And if you're a Colleen Rusholme fan like me, you'll be happy to see she's back on the station hosting the afternoon drive show from 2-6pm.

colleen

It seems Hamilton's new energy 95.3 will present itself as a Toronto station, fighting for a slice of the Virgin Radio / KiSS 92.5 / CHUM 104.5 / CHFI pie.

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Ashley Docking in at 590, Alan Carter and Jeff McArthur in at 640

Both Rogers and Corus issued press releases today announcing changes to their weekday lineups at The Fan 590 and Global News Radio 640 Toronto, respectively.

Ashley Docking will be co-hosting the 590 morning show with Greg Brady and Hugh Burrill. Ashley is the first non-white-guy to have a permanent hosting gig at The Fan during weekday hours in quite some time and assumes the spot left vacant when the station parted ways with Elliott Price. Good on The Fan for adding a little diversity to their frequency.

Ashley, if you haven't heard, was recently on my podcast and it's an interesting listen in retrospect.

Ashley Docking and me

Meanwhile, a little up the dial at 640, Alan Carter will host a new show from 12-1pm and Jeff McArthur will be on the air from 1-3. These slots were made vacant when Matt Gurney and Tasha Kheiriddin left the station. Kelly Cutrara will move to 9am - noon.

And that's your Toronto AM radio update for February 27.

All we hear is radio ga ga
Radio goo goo
Radio ga ga
All we hear is radio ga ga
Radio blah blah
Radio what's new?
Radio someone still loves you

~ Radio Ga Ga, Queen

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 435: Ted Woloshyn

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 435In this 435th episode, Mike chats with Ted Woloshyn about his years at Q107, CFNY, CKFM and CFRB / Newstalk 1010 and more. This episode is exactly 1:38:40.

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Ted Woloshyn and me

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Mike Cleaver, Dead at 72

Mike CleaverMike Cleaver was 72. He was the radio broadcaster best known around these parts for a couple of stints at CHUM, first as an afternoon anchor and morning co-anchor and then as an afternoon and morning news anchor. He was also on-air at CFRB and 680 News.

Mike Cleaver

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Save JAZZ.FM vs. JAZZ.FM91: An Open Letter From Heather Bambrick

I've written about the situation at JAZZ.FM91 many times, and have discussed it at length on Toronto Mike'd with such guests as Heather Bambrick, Mark Wigmore, Dani Elwell, Jaymz Bee, Bill King and Molly Johnson. JAZZ.FM91 has recently ratcheted up the rhetoric with regards to SAVE JAZZ FM's efforts to bring governance and operational changes to JAZZ.FM91.

Below is a guest blog entry written by jazz musician and broadcaster Heather Bambrick in which she seeks to bring clarity to this conflict.

Over the past 24 hours, I have received several messages from people - most of whom I don't know, but who know me from the station - asking for clarification regarding the battle for support in the current Jazz FM situation.  With all of the correspondence being sent out by both sides, people want to know who the “good guys” are.

So, let me be clear, as a former employee, a musician, and a donor, I support SAVE JAZZ FM and their efforts to effect positive change.  Here are a few things to consider:

  • This is NOT a hostile takeover. Donor members are, in effect, “shareholders” who are entitled to have a say in the body that governs the station.  The current Board isn’t allowing them to do so.
  • SAVE JAZZ FM is NOT a corporate conglomerate or a group being funded by “deep pockets”.  They are a group of listeners and supporters who are simply concerned about the wellbeing of the station and want to affect positive change.
  • The current Board has quietly appointed three new Directors just two weeks before the deadline to hold its annual general meeting.  Members could have been asked to put forth nominees or at least vote on these new Board Directors before they took their seats at the table.  However, the current Board chose to do this without any consultation or communication with donor members.
  • Jazz FM achieved just over 50% of their last fundraising campaign goal, despite a two-day extension of the campaign.  That clearly points to a body of donors reluctant to support this station.
  • Many other arts organizations – including the TSO, Shaw Festival, Stratford Festival, National Ballet of Canada, and Massey Hall - post their financials via their website, in an act of accountability to its supporters.  Jazz FM refuses to this and one has to wonder why. The fiscal year end was almost 6 months ago and there is still no sign of their financial statements.
  • In June of 2018, seven employees / contractors were fired due to financial concerns, according to the station.  Yet, in less than a year, nine new hosts have been hired. In light of the failure of the last campaign, one has to wonder how the previously cited financial concerns were alleviated allowing for the hiring of nine new hosts.
  • Several new programs have been announced, but that doesn’t address the termination of beloved hosts such as Walter Venafro, Jaymz Bee, Mark Wigmore, and others.  Similarly, the hiring of two new production staff doesn’t explain the termination of former morning show producer Billy Heaton.
  • In March of 2018, I joined twelve of my former colleagues in presenting a letter to the Board of Directors of Jazz FM outlining our concerns over a toxic work environment that included bullying and sexual harassment.  As of this writing, people about whom the allegations were made remain employed by the station, whereas each and every member of the group that brought forth the concerns was either terminated or resigned, unable to effectively function in the station’s continuing toxic work environment.
  • The toxic environment at Jazz FM continues to this day, as is evidenced not only in the mass firing of seven individuals as mentioned above, but also in the further resignations of five key employees / contractors over the past nine months, two of whom are currently involved in lawsuits against Jazz FM for various alleged violations on the part of the station.  Further anecdotal evidence by current employees paints a picture of a continued culture of fear and intimidation by senior management.
  • Toronto’s music community is becoming fragmented with many musicians refusing to offer their talent in support of Jazz FM in its current state, and others worrying that working for Jazz FM will affect their reputations amongst their colleagues.

This is not about creating new programming, Jazz safaris, or concert series.  This is about a Board and management that refuses to demonstrate transparency, accountability, or even accept responsibility for the ongoing serious problems at the station they are supposed to govern.  When those entrusted with the oversight and leadership of an organization refuse to lead, take action, take responsibility, or be forthcoming with their “stakeholders”, chronic negative elements remain and the organization is destined for failure.

I strongly encourage you to complete the BLUE PROXY sent to you by SAVE JAZZ FM and return it to them by mail or e-mail (savejazzfm@gmail.com).  And if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at heather@heatherbambrick.ca.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

heather

Heather Bambrick

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Matt Gurney No Longer on Global News Radio 640 Toronto

Matt Gurney, host of The Exchange with Matt Gurney from 9am to noon on Global News Radio 640 Toronto, is no longer with the station. He's been "restructured" out. Here's what Matt tweeted earlier today.

Anyway, SOME PERSONAL NEWS. (Which may eventually include some analysis of Starfleet operations, let's just see how this goes.)

As of yesterday, I was told that, due to a restructuring, Global News, though very grateful for all my contributions, no longer required them.

I was asked to not say anything until now, as other people were also being let go, and I was asked, simply as a gentleman, to allow that process to unfold. I was happy to grant that request. I don't know about any further impacts — turns out I'm off the email distribution list!

To any of my colleagues at Global News and specifically 640 Toronto who were also let go, I wish you every success and you all know where to find me if I can be helpful in any way. For those who remain, and new people who may now join, best of luck — truly.

It has been my genuine pleasure these few years to contribute to what has been a very successful period for the radio station, including many changes. The good work of the last two years will continue, and I'm sure I'll be listening.

Though I had less of an opportunity to work with my colleagues at the rest of Global News, I have huge admiration for the work those journalists do every day and have enjoyed my time with them. A great group of people, a great group of journalists. Good luck, Global News.

As news of this has been slowly getting out over the last day or so, I've had a lot of kind notes and texts/calls from old friends and colleagues, all asking if I'm OK. For anyone who's worried, don't be. I am fine.

That's not false bravado. Sincerely — I'm fine. Getting let go from a radio job isn't exactly unforeseeable, so I made sure I was prepared, emotionally and otherwise, for this day. It came sooner than I might have once hoped. But I knew with certainty it would.

I've also kept a few irons in a few fires, and I'll have more to say about those soon, after some, uhhh, "technicalities" are dealt with. But truly, don't worry about me.

In fact, in some ways, this has helped with my professional imposter syndrome. I've finally been shitcanned from a media job! I'm for real now! Whoo hoo!

I admit that I am bored this morning, though. First time I've been "at liberty" in 12 years.

One last note.

The above thread has been all about me — and, I mean, duh. I'm the guy who got blown out an airlock. Of course it's about me.

But I want to carve out a bit of time here for someone else. Some words for, and about, @supriyadwivedi.

Supriya Dwivedi is amazing and I love her.

When I joined Global in fall of 2016, Supriya and I were a team. This is something she and I had wanted to do years. We were so excited by the opportunity. Getting up at Oh-God-Kill-Me o'clock every morning to go to work was only tolerable because we were doing it together.

Our time as co-hosts was much shorter than I expected it to be, and if I have any regret for the last few years, it's that. Spending all morning talking with a close friend that you adore and admire and respect is a luxury for most people. For me, it was my frickin' job!

One of the reasons I'm so content to move on now, to whatever comes next, is because it simply wasn't near as fun once we weren't doing it together anymore. I've missed her every day. But she's still kicking ass every morning from 0530 to 0900, and I couldn't be prouder of her.

There are others I should thank, and I will later, but I wanted to end right now on that note. Thank you and good luck, my friend.

And to all of you.

If you'd like to hear my 2+ hour deep dive with Matt Gurney, here's episode 299 of Toronto Mike'd.

Matt Gurney and me

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