You know that dead horse we like to beat over here? No, not that one, the other one. Yeah, I'm talking about CFNY a.k.a. Edge 102.
I just got this message from Brendan:
Brendan here - I just emailed Loriann from 102.1 The Edge to confirm but the edge has added KROQ's Loveline with Dr. Drew to their weekly line up Sunday to Thursday at 10 pm - 12 am. The big deal I had is that this removes The Spirit of the Edge (retro show) from the Sunday Night line-up. She did confirm that they will still do the show from the Velvet Underground on Long Weekends with DJ Hannah spinning retro. But no more weekly studio show featuring retro and classic alternative. Looks like they are one step closer to becoming their dream KROQ rip-off station.
It's far from surprising that Edge 102 would cancel their The Spirit of the Edge program to replace it with KROQ's Loveline with Dr. Drew. They cancelled Punkorama earlier this year, lost The Strombo Show to CBC Radio 2, and... aw heck, if you want to read the real-time account of the demise of this once great station, it's recorded in reverse chronological order right here.
Farewell, The Spirit of the Edge retro show. Hello Dr. Drew Pinsky.
YouTube 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.
In 1988, 104.5 Chum FM aired an ad featuring George Carlin. Carlin was a legend, but even legends need to pay the bills.
And yes, he closes the ad with a promo for Roger, Rick & Marilyn. What ever happened to that Rick guy?
Just 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?
I've listened to less CFNY this past year than I have in any 12 month period since becoming a teenager. I'll tune in periodically in my car for the tunes, but it's no longer my go-to station. I haven't felt comfortable listening to Edge 102 since they fired Martin Streek and Barry Taylor.
I honestly don't know how Fearless Fred got this gig. Without a hint of bias, I sincerely think he's horrible. He aims for the slacker persona, pretending not to care about much, and it's not informative nor entertaining. What gets me is they fired a guy who played that same card. Fearless Fred is Barry Taylor, only Barry was a great deal funnier.
This is when I'm convinced I really don't know shit about radio or being a program director. You see, I'd have kept Barry Taylor. Of course, I'd have also kept Martin Streek, a guy who clearly knew his music and loved talking about it. Then again, I wouldn't have turned a once legendary station into top 40 with grunge.
I'm not one of those old guys who hearkens for the CFNY of the 80s when David Marsden was calling the shots. I'm not greedy. I'd be very happy with the CFNY of the 90s that played The Clash, REM, The Pixies, and The Smiths alongside their Rage Against the Machine and Nirvana. I just don't need to hear "1979" and "Black" every single day.
Now we're stuck with a station almost completely void of personality. I can't stand the morning show, I can't stand the afternoon drive show and I can't stand the program director.
I clearly don't know shit.
I was given a tour of PROUD FM today by its program director, Bob Willette. I got to know Bob because he used to be known as Bingo Bob when he was producing the Humble and Fred show on CFNY and MOJO. I actually interviewed him three years ago when PROUD FM first launched.
Before I dive into the virtual tour, here's a little more background info on PROUD FM, copied straight from good ol' Wikipedia.
CIRR-FM, branded as 103.9 PROUD FM, is a radio station in Toronto, Ontario, licensed to serve the city's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities, launched in 2007. It is the first radio station in Canada targeted specifically to an LGBT audience, and the first commercial terrestrial LGBT radio station in the world - all earlier LGBT radio stations, such as Joy Melbourne in Australia, Radio Rosa in Denmark and SIRIUS OutQ on satellite radio, were operated by community non-profit groups or aired on non-traditional radio platforms.
PROUD FM is located at Church and Wellesley, at 65 Wellesley Street East. Here's a picture from the lobby showing it's in unit 201, right beside a TD Canada Trust office.
The first thing you see when you walk in is the PROUD FM wall of fame. You know some big names have roamed these halls when you see autographs from such megastars as Betty White and Chubby Checker.
The main studio is where all the magic happens, and that's where I spent the afternoon. Here's how it looked when I first walked in.
Here's a shot from the west side of the room. You can see the intersection of Church and Wellesley in the background.
When Bob left the room, I started rummaging through the prize binder and tapes, and started playing with the board. I hope he doesn't read this.
PROUD FM is a lot like other radio stations I've visited, only gayer. For example, here's a room where the talent might record voice overs and promo spots. Note the disco ball in the corner.
PROUD FM is looking to increase the station's signal from 50 to 128 watts. Unless you live downtown, you'll still have to listen online, which you can do at http://www.proudfm.com/.
I don't think I heard a single minute of Roger, Rick & Marilyn when the team ruled mornings on 104.5 CHUM-FM. That was my mom's station, not mine. Rick Hodge, the Rick in Roger, Rick & Marilyn, was a guy I knew better from The Sunday Funnies, a comedy clip show that introduced me to a great deal of funny during my formative years.
The first time I met Rick, he was having what I would best describe as a hissy fit. I wrote about that episode in this entry, and then did something I hadn't done in 9525 entries. I removed the entire paragraph. After I wrote that entry, Rick and I exchanged several emails and it didn't take long for me to realize I had simply caught him on a bad day. In fact, it's entirely possible he had his worst moment with an embedded journalist in the room.
Life really is funny. You never know who you'll work with next. I was pleasantly surprised when Rick came to me for blogosphere consulting and I helped set him up with a new home for his editorializing. He's been doing a great job for weeks now at http://www.thehodgeblog.com.
Fast forward to this week. Rick Hodge and I are shooting the shit over coffee, talking about everything from Scott Norwood to the old Team 1050 (sorry Romy). It was an effortless convo that eventually turned to social networking. "I'm told I need to be on Facebook", he said.
I'll never forget how surprised Rick was to learn Facebook was free. In hindsight, I should have told him it there was a new account fee and charged him for it. I set Rick up on Facebook, handed over the keys and set him loose. He's learning... very, very slowly.
Rick's also on Twitter and you can follow him at http://twitter.com/thehodgeblog. He's got the keys to the Twitter account, too... but I'll bet he never tweets. Well, he'll tweet, because I've used Twitterfeed to auto-tweet his blog entries, but he won't know he's tweeting.
Former radio star Rick Hodge is now living in an alien world of blogging, Facebook and Twitter. He's forgiven if he feels compelled to throw another hissy fit.
Dani Stover is no longer producer of the Dean Blundell Show on 102.1 The Edge. She's still on the air, however, on The Wolf 101.5 in Peterborough, another Corus owned station.
You're likely familiar with The Wolf 101.5's program director. He's a fellow we call Freddie P from the Humble and Fred show who blogs at Canadian Thinker. Just last year, he wrote about Dani's courage. Dani spoke openly and eloquently about her battles with depression. Here's a bit of what Dani had to say.
The reason I feel the need to be open about this condition is because, with clinical depression comes a lot of stigma. And there's no need for it. One in five people suffer from some sort of depression. And I'm not talking about occasional sadness or periods of feeling distressed or miserable. I'm talking about feeling day-to-day sadness, anxiety, pessimism and helplessness.
I'm glad Dani wrote about her condition. She wanted to "reduce the stigma behind depression" and I'm all for that. Clinical depression is not a defect, it's an illness, and deserves the same sympathy and support that we give those with other diseases.
In her Wolf bio she states that she always "wanted to be a radio star". That journey has now taken her to Peterborough where I'll be rooting for her.
I appeared on Montreal's only English sports radio station tonight, The Team 990. The show is called Game Points and they had me on following their discussion about my blog last week.
It's not easy being cocky when your team hasn't played a playoff game in five years but I think I pulled it off. Have a listen and tell me what you think.
I recently worked with Rick Hodge. Rick and I had a rocky start to our relationship, but as is often the case, the guy you most want to stab in the eye quickly becomes a solid bud.
Rick Hodge is no longer on the air, having been booted from the radio by Astral, but he's now writing very interesting prose on his blog. All bias aside, it's a very interesting perspective and he occasionally tells some pretty cool Toronto radio stories over there. I strongly urge you to check it out.
Here's an interview I conducted with Toronto radio legend Rick Hodge earlier today.
Q: I can't tell you how many Sunday nights I spent listening to you host the Sunday Night Funnies on CHUM-FM. How did that program come to be? Are you aware of how awesome it was?
A: I inherited the Sunday Funnies after the original host left. It was kind of make shift at the time so I thought it would be a good idea to get it organized. Because of content and language a lot of the material couldn't be used and it would take the producer hours to find all the edits. So I catalogued the entire library. Then I made a point of going to the big record stores downtown and bought up anything new I found. I remember coming across Jeff Foxworthy for the first time. I bought him, loved him and played him. After a couple of weeks I got a call from Sam the Record Man. The guy said "what the hell are you doing?" They were getting a non stop stream of people coming into the store asking for Jeff Foxworthy or that southern guy I heard on the Funnies. I also made runs to Buffalo about every 3 months because they had material that wasn't available in Canada. Don Ferguson from the Air Farce told me I had the largest comedy collection he had ever seen.
One thing I took pride in was promoting as much Canadian talent as I could. The 2 comics I got to know the best were Gerry D who cut a name for himself on "Last Comic Standing" in the US and Frank Spadone. I just happened to pick up Frank's cd one day and started playing it. I used it on the Funnies and he called to ask if he could do a ticket giveaway on the morning show. He did and the venue, which was only half sold, sold out. And he did it on Super Bowl Sunday.
The program director at the time wanted me to start cutting back on the older comics. He wanted the young comics I told him the problem with the young comics is that most of them live and die with "F" bomb. If he'd allow me let that word go in their bits it would open things up for all sorts of new material. He did and we only got one complaint.
To answer the question, no I never did realize how awesome it was.
Q: I used to catch you on television hosting Rinkside, a weekly AHL highlight show. How did you score that gig?
A: Actually they came to me. It was just after I won a sportscaster of the year award. I'm not a television guy so thank God it was pre-taped. The most fun I had was with the co-hosts. Brian Kilrea of the Ottawa 67's did regular bits one year and he was a hoot. Brad Smith (Motor City Smitty) was fun to work with. We discovered Jim Ralph when he was a goaltender with the Newmarket Saints. I knew from the start he had a career in sports casting. I also got to know Gord Stellick. Truly one of the nicest people I have ever met and another former non broadcaster who's done very well on hard work and talent as a talk show host.
Q: "Roger, Rick & Marilyn" was my mom's favourite radio show. The CHUM-FM morning show was tops in this city. Why did you leave?
A: Roger Rick and Marilyn was, and remains, the highlight of my broadcasting career. I was honoured to be asked to be part of Roger Ashby's induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. So, why did I leave? The station was evolving. My commentaries had been dropped, the Funnies were dropped and finally the sports casts in the morning were dropped. I disagreed at the time but in an industry that had become specialized I understand why they did what they did. I wanted to get back to doing sports and commentaries and I wanted to get involved with talk radio. There's more to the decision but basically when I was presented with the opportunity, I took it.
Q: Astral never seemed to know what to do with you once they landed you. You were on the EZ-Rock morning show, while running down the hall to be on CFRB. Then, without giving you a fair shot, they kicked you off the air. What the hell went wrong?
A: Good question.
Q: Do you have any resentment towards Astral?
A: No. Sometimes you forget it's a business and the people running that business will do what they feel is best for the company. I understand that. That doesn't mean it doesn't sting when it happens but at least you understand.
Q: What's next for Rick Hodge?
A: Well, I have to check the kitty litter, I have to fill out my NCAA brackets for the pool, Pardon the Interruption is on in about an hour (best show on TV), then I'll read some of the new book I just picked up. Lord I've got cabin fever. Actually I want to stay in radio. It's the old Joni Mitchell line "you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone." Getting up at some ridiculous hour never really bothered me. I love the early, early mornings and the drive to work at 2:30 am with virtually no traffic on the road. Where I'll end up I don't know and who knows, I may not end up anywhere.
Game Points with Matthew Ross is a sports radio show that airs on The Team 990 in Montreal. Minutes ago they spent an entire segment discussing my Subbanator Habs Fans Find New Way to Offend entry from Friday afternoon.
I wasn't just listening, I was recording the web stream with Audacity so I could share all 11:30 with you. Here's Metric Julie talking about Toronto Mike on Game Points.
I'm glad they laughed off this Leafs conspiracy angle that's gaining steam. This topic runs a little deeper than your run of the mill team rivalry.
Great job, Metric Julie!
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