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August 2007 Archives

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That Time Of The Year Again

August 31, 2007 @ 09:22

It's the third September since I was removed from the radio industry so I write this with a heavy heart.

In 2005 I was too shocked and freaked out to actually stop down and think about what was happening - but last year was a litte different.

There appeared to be an opportunity in the market which created some excitement but that vanished with more mind boggling head shaking radio logic.

Monday marks the first day of ratings, the all important fall book. That's why you'll hear a lot of "regulars" working on Labour Day.

Man oh man how I miss the competition. It was so much fun.

You came back after the summer and everything was in place for a run at an improved market share. Sure it meant goofy little contests, but there was more to it than that, a lot more.

As a matter of fact, I'm of the opinion that a good solid radio station doesn't need to throw money at listeners. That's not what people listen for. But somehow over the years it's become the norm, the thing to do, the safety net.

Over the years it blew me away how many listeners I met who "didn't" mention contests as the main reason they listened. Most of them, like 95 percent of them, didn't even take part in contests because they were of the opinion they didn't have a chance to win anyway.

The key to success and every announcer knows it, is being in the right place at the right time and delivering a product that best compliments a well run, well managed radio station with a solid marketing and promotions department and that's what has me thinking today.

I would love to be getting up Monday morning at 3:30 and heading for a radio station to do battle with the rest of the radio community.

To be honest, I'm jealous.

I'm jealous of the Dean Blundell Show. My best years in radio were spent at CFNY/The Edge so I know how much fun those guys are having under that format.

I'm jealous of John Derringer. He's doing a great show on a heritage station with virtually no competition.

I'm jealous of John Oakley who's doing exactly the type of morning show I would do if I could create my own show on a talk station.

I'm jealous of Erin Davis and Mike Cooper. Jealous of Erin, because she, more than anyone else in this market place has figured it out. Figured out what it takes to be successful. And I'm jealous of Mike because I know he's having the time of his life.

I'm jealous of Roger, Rick and Marilyn who've enjoyed close to twenty fall books at the same station under pretty much the same format - blowing to smitherines the attitude that age matters.

And I'm jealous of Don Landry and Gord Stellick at the Fan. I love sports. Can you imagine doing a morning show that deals with nothing but sports? I could be talked into that in half a second.

However, for the third September in a row, I'm not in the game. I'm on the outside looking in. And it sucks.

It sucks because to be honest. I don't know if I'll ever get to play again.

The logo at the top of the page stands for Bureau of Broadcast Measurement. (this is the company that deterimines the radio ratings.)
They send out diaries to entire families (you've probably never seen one or even heard of one.)
Then they get you to fill it out for an entire week. (most males never get around to it and then torwards the end of the week mom feels guilty and fills it out for everybody in the house writing down her favourite station or one she might of heard somebody else in the family talk about.)
At the end of the week the diaries are mailed back. (the return is woefully low)
That's how the ratings are deteriminted. (and that's how Toronto has been robbed of a lot of good radio over the years.)

Category: Radio

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Bruce Barker

August 31, 2007 @ 09:21

I received a fantastic phone call earlier this week. It was from my good friend and former colleague Bruce Barker.

He was in town and wanted to know if I'd meet him for breakfast to catch up on new things and old times.

I said yes, name a place and I'd be there. So yesterday I met Barks at the "Stage West Hotel" and we had breakfast with a special person.

We talked about the old days when Bruce was at CKO and the Mix and those wonderful but brief days of MOJO Radio when we worked together.

MOJO radio by the way, was a fabulous idea that if given more time would have become the most successful AM talk station in Toronto. Bar none. Of that I have no doubt.

Currently Bruce is the morning man at Cam-FM in Camrose, Alberta and he's enjoying himself immensely.

He's a man of many hats this Barker. Last year for example he was the voice of the local Camrose Junior Hockey Team, and he flew into every Rock game in Toronto to be their PA announcer.

This year could be just as busy as Barks is currently in negotiation to do a whole pile of other stuff.

One thing however is already in the bag, and here's Barks to tell you about it and you can meet our special guest.

Category: Radio

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On Her Way

August 31, 2007 @ 09:20

Yesterday, my friend Iain Grant responded to the Lauren Caitlin Upton posting with this.

It's an indication of how things work in the United States. Because of Lauren's horrific few moments at the Miss Teen USA pageant over the weekend she will probably become a star.

Already she's been a guest on several talk shows and I'm sure she's already acquired an agent to handle the calls that are coming in.

It's all part of the American star system and something we really can't relate to in Canada.

Up here we tend to eat our own and I'm sure a similar situation in Canada would result in someone like Lauren being banished to Wawa in shame.

Category: Stuff

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Lauren Caitlin Upton

August 30, 2007 @ 07:32

I've received a few e-mails about Lauren Caitlin Upton, the 17 year old girl from South Carolina who gained world wide attention last weekend when she answered a question at the Miss Teen USA contest.

A few of you want to know why I haven't commented on it, assuming I guess that I'd be ready to jump all over her.

I can't do it and I think it all comes back to fatherhood. I keep thinking what if that was my kid - how horrible I would feel for her.

No doubt when someone puts themselves in the position Lauren Upton did you have to be prepared for anything, but at the same time she is only 17 years old and obviously really didn't understand the question.

Or more likely, she was so nervous in front of a live audience and a huge television audience that she really didn't "hear" the question.

So she botched it from every angle imaginable and I'm sure she'll never live it down.

At the same time I'm sure this incident will push her to the front of the line as far as notoriety goes, but I still have trouble making fun of her.

Her looks are an asset but when you're that good looking the critics are waiting to pounce.

She's just a kid and she was caught up in a moment that turned terribly wrong. If she was 21 or 25 or 30 I might find it a lot more amusing.

But right now I just feel bad for the kid and I think of how painful it must be for her dad to see this happen to her.

If you haven't seen the video and want to - go somewhere else.

Category: Show Biz

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Amy Winehouse

August 30, 2007 @ 07:31

I found another "dad" story to be very amusing.

Several months ago my good friend Darren introduced me to British singer Amy Winehouse, who's only 23 years old.

She'a fabulously talented and her latest album called "Back to Black", featuring the hit single "Rehab" has sold over a million copies despite her not getting a lot of mainstream airplay.

I have the CD and whenever I play it at the trailer, it never fails that someone asks me who it is. It's infectious.

Problem is, Amy has a severe drug and alcohol problem and it's become a major issue in her family, especially for her father and father in law.

Her dad has almost given up. He says he's tried to get her help but she doesn't want it.

He says there seems to be only one solution for Amy, and that's for her to hit rock bottom before she finally decides she doesn't want to "do this" anymore.

A tough stance for a father to take because it must be excruciating to have a kid with such talent only to watch her attempt to throw it all away.

Her father in law has a different solution and he made it public this week. He says everyone should boycott her records until she gets off the junk.

Giles Fielder-Civil says Amy and his son Blake both are in abject denial over their cocaine and heroine use. They think they're nothing more than recreational users when it's painfully obvious they aren't.

Two fathers who are watching their kids literally kill themselves when there's so much to live for.

Category: Show Biz

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Andrea Roth

August 30, 2007 @ 07:30

I'm not much of a television guy. Outside of sports and news, I'm not really one for sitting down and watching dramas or sitcoms or crap.

One show I do enjoy however is "Rescue Me."

It's the brainchild of Dennis Leary and you can catch in Canada Tuesdays nights at ten o'clock on Showcase, and the new season started this week with a rather lethargic episode.

Apparently Leary lost a relative on 911 and it inspired him to write, produce and star in a series about New York City firemen and it's into its fourth season.

The show involves several intriguing characters including Andrea Roth who plays Leary's wife Janet.

Ever since I started watching the show I've got to admit Roth has grabbed my attention and I can't let go. She's beautiful in a unique and natural way and she's a solid actress.

Ok, I'll say it. She's a baby come on, lets be doing it, touch me where it counts kind of gal, and yesterday she became even more attractive when I found out she's Canadian.

I was googling some stuff about "Rescue Me" when I came upon Roth's bio and pleasantly surprised to find out that she's not only Canadian, but she keeps a home just north of Toronto.

She was born in Woodstock and came to Toronto just after high school to intern at an advertising agency. While there, someone hooked onto her country girls looks and got her into modeling.

From there she took acting lessons and the rest is history.

Category: Show Biz

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The Steven Truscott Story

August 29, 2007 @ 08:01

I felt as good as I could for Steven Truscott yesterday. He was justifiably acquitted of the murder of Lynn Harper yesterday, but it was a long and grueling, horribly unnecessary road.

He was acquitted, but not found innocent.

I've always had a special interest in this case because of a book I read in 1971 called the Steven Truscott Story written by Bill Trent after several interviews with Truscott.

I wanted to read the book because I had heard my mother talk about Steven Truscott on many occasions when I was a kid, and when I got the book I was precisely the age Truscott was when he was sentenced to hang.

Fourteen years old. Still a child.

When the book was published Truscott had already been in jail for 12 years and he was only 23 years old, unheard of in today's justice system but even more bizarre after you read this book, or any other book for that matter on the Truscott case.

Steven Truscott was the victim of a bungling local police force and one detective in particular who was more concerned with solving a case than he was putting an innocent kid behind bars.

To even consider that a 14 year old could be capable of the deplorable things that were done to Lynne Harper is ridicilous.

There was no case against Steven Truscott but that didn't matter to those who wanted accolades for solving a murder and the kid never stood a chance. And to make matters worse, the Crown took over after that and badgered Truscott long after he was released from prison and through several attempts to clear his name.

It became an embarrassment for a justice system and there was a long line up of people more concerned with saving face than they were serving justice.

Yesterday Truscott wasn't found innocent because it's literally impossible to do that without DNA evidence. But he was acquitted and in this case that's just as good because looking back there's no doubt that Steven Truscott had nothing to do with the murder of 12 year old Lynne Harper.

The only questions left to be asked are these, one of which will never be answered.

We'll never know who really killed Lynne Harper because there's a good chance whoever did is dead and buried.

The other question is this. How much does the Province of Ontario owe Steven Truscott?

Compensation is more than justified and considering that David Milgaard go ten million for spending 23 years in prison for nothing, Truscott definitely has to be in that category.

Although he only spent 10 years in prison, his life has been a living hell for close to 50 years and someone has to pay.

Category: Stuff

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FreddieP On TV

August 28, 2007 @ 08:04

I've been invited back to the CH Studios this afternoon for another segment of CH Live at 5:30 with Donna Skelly and Mark Hebscher.

This time we're talking sports and in particular, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Here's what we're going to kick around. How long should a city financial support a professional sports team before it actually returns the favour by putting a decent team on the field.

The city of Hamilton has made several concessions to the team over the past several years, but the Cats have responded with nothing but a string of last place finishes.

Should a shitty team continue to get civic support?

That is the question tonight on CH Live at 5:30.

Category: Television

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Here's The Deal

August 28, 2007 @ 08:02

I think it's only fair that I answer all the enquiries I've received about a posting I made, and then withdrew on Friday.

It dealt with a column by Dean Blundell is last weeks

Entitled "Radio People Are Weird" Dean uses his column to describe some of the more distasteful people he's met in the radio business since he came to Toronto about seven years ago.

Call me naive, but I figured if the column had been written and then published in a Toronto newspaper it had been cleared and it would be totally acceptable for me to have some fun with it.

In the column Dean describes people, but he doesn't name them, so I thought it would be fun on to play along and get my readers to actually guess who he was talking about.

Crazy me, I never dreamed that half the people Dean was talking about were people he works with at One Dundas West, including a couple I think quite highly of.

Needless to say a little bit of shit hit the fan over the Eye article in a corner office and I guess it didn't help that I had perpetuated the thing by asking my readers to play the "name game."

Hey, I'm not stupid, somebody in my position can't be pissing anyone off, so when I received an e-mail asking me to withdraw the posting, I did.

The person who asked me is a long time friend and colleague, dating back to the CFNY studios above the strip mall in Brampton, so as a favour to him I did what I thought was right.

And just so you don't have to play the name game in this case, I'll let you know that it was Edge Program Director Alan Cross.

I guess Alan didn't want anyone to suffer any further embarrassment and I can respect that.

I feel bad that what I first thought was an amusing and edgy article had become a bit of an issue between some people I know and respect..

On the flip side, the rapid response that got from someone of the stature of Alan Cross actually makes me feel pretty good.

And that's the truth.

Category: Radio

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The Mink

August 28, 2007 @ 08:01

Last week I wrote about a mink that had decided to live in my goddamn boat.

He loves to eat and shit in my boat and by the middle of last week it became a major problem. I could hardly keep up with the filthy bastard and I wanted to play long ball with his head and my boat paddle.

It's disgustingly unsanitary and unsafe because when threatened these buggers can get nasty.

On Thursday I noticed that there was an opening up under my steering wheel and a similar one on the other side so I soaked some J-clothes in Javex and stuffed them up there with a pile of moth balls. I thought this might force him out and avoid a violent confrontation.

It didn't help. If anything he became more determined to lay a freakin' claim to my Thundercraft and he ate more and he shit more.

By Sunday I was at my wits end but my two kids had come north and they wanted to go out in the boat.

Well didn't we crap our pants when halfway through out ride, right out in the middle of the lake, Mink the fuckin' weasel sticks his head out from the ass end of the boat where the battery is.

When my son Danny made a move to grab a paddle to smear the bastard, he runs towards the front of the boat where my daughter Melanie is driving.

But Mel didn't care that she was driving. It didn't stop her from screaming and standing straight up momentarily losing control of the watercraft.

After yelling at her to calm down and get back to navigating the skiff, I asked Danny if he saw where the mink rat went. He said it went back towards the battery compartment, so we flipped it open only to see nothing.

The son of a bitch had found another place to hide and we couldn't see him anywhere. But at least we knew he was in the boat.

This prompted a quick stop over at my friend Gus's who has all kinds of neat shit in a huge shed and among the neat shit is a series of traps, one of which is suitable for catching dirty rotten filthy varmints like weasel rats.(picture)

We got back to the dock and Danny quickly went into action. He loaded the trap while I pulled back the cushions in the bow-rider portion of my boat. I thought he might have gone up there by slinking up the ski well.

Man oh man. What a wonderful life this prick was leading. There are three compartments in the front of my boat and in short order this guy had moved in and made himself at home.

One compartment was for eating. It was covered in crawfish shells. The other compartment was for shitting, there were several piles. And the third was filled with soft stuff and leaves for his bed.

No wonder he loves my boat. How many mink weasel rats get a three room apartment rent free. Unfortunately was he was nowhere to be seen. He was still in a crevice, hiding like some Osama Bin Laden of rodents.

Danny had gotten some fresh fish guts from my neighbour Gerry and he loaded the trap which we put back near the battery and we waited.

And we waited and we waited.

Finally Danny had to leave about seven o'clock and he was disappointed that we hadn't trapped the animal - because like me, he was frustrated and he was in total agreement with my verdict - the mink had been sentenced to death.

Danny went home, but I left the trap in the boat fully expecting him to come out of hiding during the night and enter the trap that would be accidentally dropped off the end of the dock once he was inside.

I couldn't believe it when I got up this morning. There was no mink in the trap and there was no sign that he had been there.

No shit, no shells and the fish guts that had been placed in the trap were still there in all their aromatic glory.

I thought at the very least he would have attempted to eat the fish. But he hadn't.

In fact I quickly got the impression that he hadn't been there at all, like he had decided to move out without giving notice or taking his belongings.

What a prick. In some respects he had stolen my boat, and now he had robbed me of revenge.

But as I sit her in Brampton you should know, I haven't given up. The trap is still baited and from time to time another good friend named Papa Doug will check on it.

And if for some reason between now and Friday it captures the mink, Doug has promised to keep him in the cage and keep him alive.

I'll look after the rest.

Category: Stuff

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