Radio


Jason Barr Fired from Edge 102

radioEdge 102 (or CFNY if you're an old guy like me) has removed all traces of Jason Barr from their website.

If you visit his bio page or his blog, you'll find this:

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Also, The Dean Blundell Show is now being promoted as a duo: Dean Blundell and Todd Shapiro. Jason Barr isn't part of the team, despite being a holdover from the Humble and Fred show (Danger Boy, anyone?) and a founding member of DBS on Edge 102.

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I liked Jason, not just because he was a holdover from my Humble and Fred Show, but because he hooked me up with CASBY and Edgefest tickets. I honestly don't know if he was fired, but it wouldn't surprise me. You can visit my Edge 102 ~ CFNY category page to relive the rapid decline of this once stellar station.

Jason, I hope you've landed on your feet. Let us know how you're doing when you get a chance. An uninterrupted decade doing mornings in Toronto is no small feat.

Update: I've confirmed it with a credible source. Jason Barr was indeed let go by Corus earlier today.

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My Songza Radio Station

radioI've been playing around with Songza, which lets you program your own internet radio station.

Click on over to http://songza.com/listen/toronto-mike and give it a listen. I'll be adding new songs soon.

boombox

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The Edge 102 Tribute to Martin Streek - All 3 Hours as MP3s

mp3Yesterday, in my entry about the one year anniversary of Martin Streek's passing, I shared all five hours of David Marsden's tribute to Martin. In the comments of that entry, someone asked if I had the three hours of Edge 102's tribute to Martin that aired on July 19, 2009.

I did have those MP3s, and now I'm pleased to share them with you.

» Martin Streek Tribute on The Edge 102.1 PART 1
» Martin Streek Tribute on The Edge 102.1 PART 2
» Martin Streek Tribute on The Edge 102.1 PART 3

Here's the entry I wrote immediately after listening to this tribute on CFNY / The Edge 102.1.

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Martin Streek: The Day the Spirit Died

Martin StreekOne year ago today, I wrote the toughest entry I've ever had to write. It was about Martin Streek.

I'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.

Martin's death hit me hard. I know I wasn't alone, because I heard from hundreds and hundreds of Martin's friends and fans over the weeks that followed. This black cloud eventually took the form of an entry I wrote entitled "Thoughts on 102.1 Tribute to Martin Streek, Shitty Facts, Closure Sought."

As insinuated in this excellent Globe and Mail piece by Bert Archer (in which I'm quoted), Martin's death also acted as a tragic final nail in the coffin of what was "the spirit of radio". CFNY / Edge 102 was my go-to station for as long as I can remember, but I hardly listened this past year. Martin epitomized passion for music, was a rare link to the David Marsden era, and literally had the spirit of radio logo tattooed on his ass. When he was let go six weeks prior to his suicide, it marked more than the loss of an energetic, knowledgeable and beloved local deejay. It marked the end of an era.

I've put all my Martin Streek entries in a new Martin Streek Remembered category, so if you want to read more I've made it easy for you. At the end of this entry, I'm posting all five hours of David Marsden's excellent tribute to Martin that aired on 94.9 The Rock out of Oshawa.

We lost Martin one year ago today, but we'll never forget him. His spirit lives on.

» Martin Streek Tribute with David Marsden PART 1
» Martin Streek Tribute with David Marsden PART 2
» Martin Streek Tribute with David Marsden PART 3
» Martin Streek Tribute with David Marsden PART 4
» Martin Streek Tribute with David Marsden PART 5

Martin Streek1

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Lydia Stratus Fired, Along With Virgin's Jimmy T, Chris Biggs and Taylor Kaye

radioI don't listen to Virgin Radio 999 FM, but I hear they've recently purged most of their on-air talent. It's an Astral-owned company, so this isn't particularly surprising. Astral's been doing a lot of this lately, I just hope my buddy Humble is safe.

Joining Jimmy T, Chris Biggs and Taylor Kaye in the unemployment line is Lydia Stratus. The 999 Virgin Radio show listing is now primarily made up of imported syndicated shows, by Ryan Seacrest, Perez Hilton and Akon. The only actual local personalities left are the morning duo of Mad Dog and Billie, a lady named Kella and a gentleman named Adam Wylde.

Chatter at the SOWNY forum suggests these latest firings have little to do with ratings and everything to do with a salary dump. Someone there named ahl puts it like this:

It was explained to me by a person in a position to know that it's all about share holders getting a return on their investment. If they can't get it with improved ratings and higher sales then the next option is to cut expenses and the easiest target is salaries. With a few exceptions "spend to make" is gone from the corporate vocabulary replaced with "slash to make".

It sounds like Astral and Rogers employ similar radio management methodologies. Virgin Radio listeners, were Chris Biggs, Taylor Kaye, Jimmy T and Lydia Stratus good hosts? Does their absence have you considering another radio station?

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FAN 590 Suggestion: Turn to Gold

radioWell, that happened fast. Last Tuesday, I wrote that big changes at the FAN 590 were imminent. On Wednesday, we were tossing around ideas for the new FAN 590 morning show. By Thursday, just about everybody outside of Prime Time was gone.

According to sources, the departed include morning co-hosts Don Landry and Gord Stellick, mid-morning host Mike Hogan and news announcer Rick Ralph. In addition, Jack Armstrong’s mid-afternoon show has been killed, though Armstrong and co-host Eric Smith may remain on staff.

Rogers Sportsnet’s Daren Millard, host of the noon hockey show, has been replaced by Greg Brady. Millard will likely return to a full-time job at Sportsnet.

That's right, even Gord Stellick got the boot. Stellick seemed like such a staple at the FAN, I didn't think he'd ever be let go.

The FAN 590 will hang on to their all-sports format, I'm sure. But if they ever decided to think outside that format, they may want to step into the 590 time machine and turn to gold.


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Is The Mike Richards Show Coming to The FAN 590?

radioJust yesterday, I wrote about changes at The FAN 590 being imminent. Paul Romanuk, a guy who knows a thing or two about sports radio in this city, chimed in with a comment.

Mike Richards, from the FAN in Calgary.

Mike Richards hosts The Mike Richards Show on The Fan 960 in Calgary, and I understand it's the most listened to sports radio morning show in the country. I remember Mike Richards from his days at The FAN 590 and he was one funny mofo. It would make sense for him to get the call back to the big leagues to take over for Don Landry and Gord Stellick here in Toronto.

If you're unfamiliar with Mike Richards, here's his Fan 960 bio.

After 20 years in the business, I realize that I'm not going to change. There will be no personal growth; no new found maturity; no insights into life of any depth….nothing. I'm ok with this. Mike Richards in the Morning is a culmination of working at many radio stations, CKBB, 1050 CHUM, CKFM (MIX) 99.9, FAN 590, Y-95, KISS- FM Toronto, The TEAM Radio Network and figuring out…..I wasn't doing my kind of radio at any of these stations. The FAN 960 represents what I want to do and how I want to do it.

It sounds different than other radio show because it's host has a strange, if not varied background. Born in Stouffville, Ontario, I played hockey at a high enough level that one of my summer coaches was Mike Keenan and my goalie coach was Jacques Martin. Through an ignorance about junior hockey, I basically threw my hockey away. About this time I started performing at Yuk Yuks in downtown Toronto as a stand up/impressionist. I was 18.

In athletics, I've been to the Ontario Provincial Finals in 4 different sports and an MVP in 2 of them. I've played the drums since I was 13 and still believe I'm Neil Peart. Currently, my greatest and most rewarding time is spent on the football field as a coach at St. Mary's High School.

We'll see if Romy's right about this one.

Update: I'm reading that Greg Brady has resigned from AM 640 and rumours are rampant that he's the guy who will take over mornings at The FAN 590. I'm hoping Greg Brady gets another time slot on The FAN and Mike Richards is still brought over for mornings. Remember, only Bob McCown is safe.

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FAN 590 Changes Imminent

radioThe other morning I was listening to Don Landry on the FAN 590 morning show and he sounded like a dead man walking. In a brief and unscripted aside, Landry all but admitted to guest Charlie Pallilo that Rogers didn't value the current morning team. Personnel changes on the radio often happens while the kids are out of school, and by all accounts significant changes at the FAN 590 are imminent.

If you follow the local Toronto radio scene, this isn't a bombshell. Earlier this month, in a throwaway line in an article about Mike Wilner's suspension, Bruce Dowbiggin opened with "The FAN 590's new brain trust has made no secret that it's going to make changes."

I've read further speculation at the Toronto Sports Media Blog.

So, I’ve heard from more people confirming what I wrote about yesterday morning. What I have been told, and in response to some of the questions and comments is that someone who is currently a radio personality- “not a sports guy” has been hired to fill a daytime slot. Apparently this person has been on the radio in Toronto before.

And our favourite bitter blogger, William Houston, says this:

Will George Stroumboulopoulos be the next host of the Fan590’s morning show?

That’s the speculation making the rounds in the Toronto radio business.

Stroumboulopoulos would replace Don Landry and presumably Gord Stellick, although it’s not clear what Stellick’s status at the station would be. Stellick is a survivor and, arguably, nobody in Toronto broadcasting has done as much with as little talent as Gord.

As for Landry, he appears to be on his way out. His strong words in support of Blue Jays reporter Mike Wilner (and his implicit criticism of program director Don Kollins) last week were seen as a clear sign that he is done and knows it. Wilner was suspended for three days for the sole offense, apparently, of rankling Jays manager Cito Gaston.

Seems like only Bob McCown is safe at the FAN 590 this summer.

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Mike Wilner Fan 590 Suspension Optically Unsound

radioI used to watch Mike Wilner on a cable 10 show called "Let's Talk Sports". I'm thinking it was around 1990 when my brothers and I would tune in to watch Mike Wilner and this other guy discuss current sporting events. I thought Mike knew his baseball then, and I think Mike knows his baseball now.

Mike Wilner was suspended from working this weekend's series against the Yankees for The Fan 590 following an exchange he had with Cito Gaston.

During Gaston's daily media scrum on Wednesday afternoon, Wilner raised questions about the way Gaston had used his bullpen in Tuesday night's 7-6 loss to Tampa Bay. A brief but tense exchange followed.

Later on his Fan 590 blog, Wilner wrote at length about the exchange, asserting that Gaston had "painted himself into a corner" by using relievers Shawn Camp and Scott Downs too early. Wilner also wrote that Gaston had "belittled" him in front of other reporters.

The optics here are terrible for The Fan 590. The Fan is owned by Rogers, the same company that owns the Blue Jays. From what I've read or heard, Wilner did his job as a reporter. For that he was suspended, essentially a shot across the bows for other Rogers employees (and remember, it's not just The Fan, but Sportsnet as well) regarding criticism of the Blue Jays and Jays management.

When your pay cheque is signed by the same person financing the team you're covering, should we expect unbiased, fair and balanced reporting? Clearly not.

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The History of 97.3 - From Easy to Boom

RewindYouTube user Retrontario frequently uploads fantastic retro-Toronto-centric gems. These clips never fail to bring back a ton of memories for me, so I feature them from time to time.

I've been listening to Boom 97.3 since it launched last Boxing Day. If you're looking for some 80s stuff, I recommend checking it out.

Before becoming Boom 97.3, it was EZ Rock since 1995. Before EZ Rock, 97.3 was a classic hits station known as Z 97.3FM, but it didn't start that way. It started as Easy 97.3, Toronto's easy listening music station.

Here's an old ad for Easy 97.3, a station I'm certain I would have hated.


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