Radio


The Problem With Jack: CJAQ's Rock N' Roll Failure

RadioMy shower radio is tuned to 92.5. That's Jack-FM, "Toronto's Best Rock Variety", and I listen to it in the shower because it just so happens my shower is perfectly timed with an ad-free block of old and new rock tunes on Jack. It's just a series of tunes, anything from Honeymoon Suite to Coldplay to Bruce Springsteen, and it starts my day nicely.

I don't expect Jack-FM to last much longer in its current incarnation. Nobody's listening, it seems. The recent BBM results give Jack-FM a 1.8 market share, which supposedly and unscientifically translates into 180,000 listeners. Q107, if you're looking for a comparison, scored a 6.3. 1.8 is brutal, which means I expect changes by Labour Day.

How did Jack fail so miserably? Why can't a station playing a great mix of rock n' roll gain any traction? As Jules Winnfield says in Pulp Fiction, personality goes a long way. And Jack doesn't have personality.

Their bland morning duo seems to double as their afternoon hosts. A station that once threatened to go without djs has instead decided to employ djs that fail to hold a listener's interest. There's certainly no compelling reason to tune in again to hear what he or she will say next. It's really all about the music, but if you're betting all your money on the shuffle, how can you possibly expect to win against iPods? Five years ago, when the Jack PD at the time said the station was just like listening to your iPod on shuffle, I asked whose iPod he was talking about? Radio can never, ever be the same experience as listening to your own iPod on shuffle. That's why you've gotta have personality.

In my recent interview with long time local radio duo Humble and Fred, I closed by asking the guys a simple question that was on my mind. Why the heck aren't Humble and Fred, as a duo, still on Toronto radio? Humble's answer hits Jack's nail on the head.

No idea... why not ask the PD at Jack FM, who's also the afternoon drive guy and janitor.

Things could have been different for Jack, but instead the sounds of Aerosmith and White Stripes have drifted well below the radar to a dismal 1.8 share. I'll bet nobody reads this closing sentence because I'll bet nobody cares.

jack2

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Things Are Awesome Until You Discover Money

moneyThings were better before I figured out they were businesses. Specifically, I'm thinking of sports and radio.

I remember a time when I knew every player on the Blue Jays roster and I didn't have a clue what any of them made. It didn't make a difference what the terms were for Dave Collins vs. George Bell. I knew Collins had lightning speed and Bell had power, and that was enough. Baseball, and sports in general, is best before you realize it's a business.

Radio is the same. As a kid, I'd surf the dial on my transistor radio and tune in stations from as far away as Cleveland. I loved radio, but at some point I figured out it too was a business. That's when radio lost a great deal of its charm.

This last realization ties in nicely with some of the sentiment expressed in the comments of my Martin Streek Out At Edge 102 / CFNY entry. Stations, like sports teams, are out to make a buck. The value of "winning", "integrity", "loyalty" and such is only existent when tied to economic metrics. Edge 102 doesn't care that there are 20 or so of us hankering for a return to the good 'ol days. Edge 102 wants as many ears in their targeted demo listening as possible so they can extract more money from advertisers. That's their bottom line.

Sports and radio were better before I figured that out.

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Humble and Fred's 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories

PodcastBack on May 2, 2009, a bunch of us old time Humble and Fred fans got together at a Toronto pub to witness the recording of the 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories.

And lo and behold, here it is! It's a couple of hours long, and over 100MB, so be gentle. The home page for this podcast, should you want to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or stream the MP3, is https://www.torontomike.com/humbleandfred/.

Enjoy!

Thanks to Acme Pictures for donating the web space and Dan Duran for producing the audio. Oh yeah, and thanks to Humble and Fred for two hours of great radio audio.

If you have any questions or issues playing this audio, leave a comment below and I'll get on it.

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Martin Streek Out At Edge 102.1 / CFNY

radioI listened to CFNY (Edge 102) throughout the 90s. It was my favourite radio station, not just for the tunes but for the personalities. I can't remember a time at 102 before Martin Streek.

Martin Streek always seemed to be there, hosting the Thursday 30 and live-to-air broadcasts from various Toronto clubs. Now I've learnt from @scroll on Twitter that he's been fired.

The first thing I did when I heard the news was visit his profile page on EDGE.ca. It's been removed. Here's the cached version from Google.

Streek

I then shot over to the Wikipedia write-up about Streek, and there's no word there on the firing. Here's what I did find:

Martin Streek is another of the three remaining personalities from the "Spirit of Radio" era. He currently hosts the Thursday 30, a four hour long show that counts down the top 30 songs of the past week (collected via record sales and listener voting), as well as introduces new music (a segment called the "Groundbreakers"), and flashes back to a previous year's countdown, as Streek recalls the top five songs of that week in a certain previous year.

Streek also hosts two live-to-air broadcasts from nightclubs: Saturday nights at the Phoenix and Sunday nights at Velvet Underground, both in downtown Toronto. Both shows run from 9:00 PM until 2:00 AM, and are broadcast without interruption (i.e., commercial-free), except for live ads imploring people to visit the club, after about 10:00 p.m.. Martin is also a huge fan of Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Depeche Mode and The Clash.

Martin has been voted DJ of the year a few times in Now Magazine's year-end public ballot.

Just recently he had to have his appendix removed surgically; he has recovered and is doing well.

Martin Streek, if you're out there, let us know where you're at. You've been a familiar voice over Toronto airwaves for about 20 years and you'll be missed.

Update: I see another name missing from the personalities line-up. Barry Taylor is also missing and his page at Edge.ca has been removed. Can someone shed some light on the disappearance of Barry Taylor and lifelong CFNYer Martin Streek?

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Billy Bob Thornton's Cringe-Worth Blow Up on CBC's Q

radioQ is a nice little radio show that airs on CBC Radio One. It's hosted by Jian Ghomeshi and airs live Monday to Friday at 10:00 a.m.

Q was visited this morning by country-pop band The Boxmasters. The Boxmasters's biggest claim to fame is that their singer is Oscar-winner Billy Bob Thornton. When Billy Bob takes offence to being referred to as an actor, it makes for some cringe-worthy audio you can hear below.


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CHUM Charts Plea to CTVglobemedia

MouseWhen I wrote about 1050 CHUM being re-branded as CP24 Radio 1050, I wondered aloud what would happen to all the CHUM Charts archived online at the CHUM web site. I grabbed the chart from the day I was born because when a station is re-branded this way, the old site is usually taken offline.

At some point this afternoon, that's exactly what happened. Visiting 1050chum.com now gets you redirected to cp24.com. The Google cache of the old 1050chum.com doesn't give you the old charts. They're no longer accessible, and that's a shame.

I love music, I love this city, and I love archiving. CTVglobemedia, if you're reading this, I would love to host the old CHUM Charts so they can be accessible to anyone who wants to peruse these historical artifacts of Toronto's radio history.

CTVglobemedia... free the CHUM Charts!

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1050 CHUM Now CP24 Radio 1050

RadioMy mom often talks about listening to 1050 CHUM back in the day. It sounds like it was quite the station, I'm sorry I missed the glory days of CHUM AM.

From the CTVglobemedia press release:

CTV also announced today that CP24 will further extend its well-established brand within the GTA with the launch of CP24 Radio 1050, going live tomorrow morning at 5 a.m. CP24 Radio 1050 will broaden the reach of CP24’s local news coverage even further by offering 24-hour news content on a whole new platform. Following the mantra "we’re always with you," viewers can watch CP24 on television, listen on the radio, and follow along online at cp24.com – no matter where they may be, at home, at work, or in the car.

It seems as if CTVglobemedia is going after more of Rogers' pie by pitting CP24 Radio 1050 against 680News. We'll see if this is another Team1050 in time, but for now I want to know what will happen with the awesome CHUM Charts archived at 1050chum.com.

Here's the chart from the day I was born. Grab the chart from the day you were born while you can.

chart.19740622A

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Mike Boone of the Montreal Gazette

newspaperWhen driving home from the office, I'll often listen to Prime Time Sports, hosted by Bob McCown on THEFAN590. Like any die hard Leaf fan, I love it when they explore the glorious fall of the Montreal Canadiens. The go-to guy lately, for such discussions, is Mike Boone of the Montreal Gazette.

Naturally, my ears always prick up when I hear McCown announced that Michael Boone or Mike Boone will be on. Not only do we share a name, but I'm fascinated by the topic. In their 100th season, Habs fans expected their team to win another cup. Instead, they're clinging to a playoff spot. Their beloved coach was just canned, their beloved goaltender with ice in his veins has stumbled back to earth and even us Leaf fans are taking delight in the free-fall.

Mike Boone has a blog, if you want to read his take on the Habs. Unfortunately, he likes to post garbage like this.

Who knew an extra "e" could make such a difference?

The Passion That Unites Us All

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The NEW 97.3 EZ Rock?

radioBillboards throughout the city are touting "the new 97.3 EZ Rock." 97.3 EZ Rock is the radio station that employs my pal Humble Howard in the mornings. I sat in and live-blogged that morning show back in October.

I've seen the billboards with the wallpaper and I've read the promo copy on the official EZ Rock web site, but I still can't figure out what exactly is new. Here's the site copy that's as clear as mud.

Welcome to the NEW 97.3 EZ Rock! No More Musical Wallpaper, and by that we mean... Fresh music, nothing too light or harsh that you can still enjoy at work or home. We now play the music that we all love and grew up with from the early 70's to today.

Start your day at 5:15am with The EZ Morning show: Humble, Kim, Colleen and Rick

Darryl Henry begins your Workday at 8:45am with 10 Great EZ Songs Every Hour, all day and brings back all your 80's memories with The 80's Lunch at noon.

KJ continues to be there for you At Work and on your drive home with My 3 Songs.

John Tesh has Intelligence for your life at 6 and Delilah takes over at 9pm with Love Songs and Dedications.

It's Only the Best Music on Today's New 97.3 EZ Rock.

Firstly, I think that's a typo in the second line. I think it's supposed to read "nothing too light or harsh that you can't still enjoy at work." Assuming that's true, what were they playing before? How has the playlist changed? Isn't the new EZ Rock exactly like the old one I sampled when Humble hit their airwaves last summer?

Here's the songs recently played on the new 97.3 EZ Rock. You'll see it's pretty much what you would have heard on EZ Rock when I was there four months ago.

Mar 02
07:15pm
CELINE DION HAVE A HEART
Mar 02
07:11pm
JASON MRAZ I M Yours
Mar 02
07:08pm
JOURNEY OPEN ARMS
Mar 02
07:02pm
JANN ARDEN IF YOU LOVED ME
Mar 02
06:59pm
SOUL II SOUL Back To Life
Mar 02
06:49pm
DAVID ARCHULETA CRUSH
Mar 02
06:44pm
PRINCE LITTLE RED CORVETTE
Mar 02
06:40pm
BURTON CUMMINGS I M SCARED
Mar 02
06:32pm
LEANN RIMES Can T Fight The Moonlight
Mar 02
06:28pm
One Republic (timbaland Pr Apologize
Mar 02
06:17pm
ALANNAH MYLES BLACK VELVET
Mar 02
06:14pm
DEBORAH COX BEAUTIFUL U R
Mar 02
06:08pm
Roxette Listen To Your Heart
Mar 02
06:04pm
NELLY FURTADO SAY IT RIGHT
Mar 02
05:56pm
Omd (orchestral Manouvers If You Leave
Mar 02
05:52pm
BEYONCE IF I WERE A BOY
Mar 02
05:46pm
Jesse Cook/the Bodeans Early On Tuesday
Mar 02
05:43pm
FAITH HILL THIS KISS
Mar 02
05:33pm
AMY SKY I WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU
Mar 02
05:29pm
Uncle Kracker/dobie Gray Drift Away
Mar 02
05:19pm
LIGHTS Drive My Soul
Mar 02
05:15pm
ABBA KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU
Mar 02
05:11pm
COLDPLAY VIVA LA VIDA
Mar 02
05:07pm
STEVIE WONDER HIGHER GROUND
Mar 02
05:04pm
MICHAEL MCDONALD By Michael Mcdonald
Mar 02
05:00pm
STEVE WINWOOD HIGHER LOVE
Mar 02
04:56pm
ALANIS MORISSETTE EVERYTHING
Mar 02
04:53pm
DIDO THANK YOU
Mar 02
04:47pm
ZAPPACOSTA When I Fall In Love Again
Mar 02
04:44pm
WHITNEY HOUSTON I M Every Woman
Mar 02
04:33pm
BRYAN ADAMS INSIDE OUT
Mar 02
04:29pm
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE What Goes Around Comes Around
Mar 02
04:17pm
NATASHA BEDINGFIELD POCKETFUL OF SUNSHINE
Mar 02
04:13pm
BARENAKED LADIES LOVERS IN A DANGEROUS TIME
Mar 02
04:09pm
Bob Seger/silver Bullet Ba We Ve Got Tonight
Mar 02
04:05pm
Carly Rae Jepsen Tug Of War
Mar 02
04:01pm
JANET JACKSON TOGETHER AGAIN
Mar 02
03:57pm
ROD STEWART SOUL ON SOUL
Mar 02
03:53pm
THE POLICE Every Little Thing She Does Is Magi
Mar 02
03:48pm
DAUGHTRY WHAT ABOUT NOW
Mar 02
03:45pm
KELLY CLARKSON A MOMENT LIKE THIS
Mar 02
03:41pm
CLUB NOUVEAU LEAN ON ME
Mar 02
03:29pm
NORAH JONES DON T KNOW WHY

In radio, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Especially with Spring Sweeps Season right around the corner.

ez-rock

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Mary Barrie, Andy Barrie's Wife, Passes

bereavementOn November 6, Andy Barrie took an indefinite leave of absence from his duties as host of Metro Morning on CBC Radio One. I heard his sign-off as he told us there were serious health issues in his family right now and he needed to leave his post in order to offer his full support there.

Last month, I wrote about how fiercely the CBC was protecting Andy's privacy, as they never referred to Andy's three month absence nor did they acknowledge he would one day return to the airwaves. I asked Andy if he was okay, and he replied.

I'm really touched that so many people are concerned. Let me reassure anyone who's worried about my welfare that I'm alright and that there's no wish on either the CBC's or my part to be mysterious. It's just as I said when I went on leave- I'm needed by my family. I might be a public person, but they're not. The CBC's been wonderfully supportive throughout all this. I miss my work, but not as much as I'd be missed at home if I weren't able to be here.

All the best to all...
Andy

Sadly, we now know why Andy has been on leave. His wife, Mary Barrie, has died of cancer.

TORONTO — Mary Barrie, the wife of popular CBC Radio host Andy Barrie, has died following a battle with cancer.

Barrie, the host of Metro Morning on CBC Toronto for some 12 years, had left the program last November to be with his ailing wife. She died Wednesday after recently retiring as director of the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto.

Prior to that, she worked at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto as the director of education and human resources planning.

A statement today on Metro Morning said the couple were married for almost 40 years and have one daughter.

The couple lived on a farm north of Toronto and it was there she spent the last few months of her life.

She sounds like she herself was an extraordinary lady. My condolences to Andy and his family on their loss.

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