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June 2008 Archives

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Today With Neil Morrison

June 27, 2008 @ 18:09

Celebrating Canada.

Category: Radio

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Canada - Loving You

June 27, 2008 @ 10:28

Hello Canada.

I’m sitting in the tin palace right now, waiting for the Canada Day weekend to kick-off, and I feel inspired by only “one” subject today, and I want to talk about it at 4:20 this afternoon on Neil Morrison’s radio show in Vancouver.

But I have a problem.

I got up this morning revved about something I heard on the radio last night, but as I scour the internet, I can’t find anything in print.

It was a story about how much better Canada is than the United States.

We have a better economy right now and a better standard of living. On average we make more money than they do, work fewer hours per week and we’re a whole lot healthier than they are.

All wonderful things to hear, but before I bellowing about how much better this country is than the United States, I wouldn’t mind having some black and white on the issue, an article of some sort to back up the claim.

Some might argue I don’t need it, because it’s painfully obvious that we’ve got it all over the States when it comes to life in general, but if I’m going to make this a subject on Neil’s show, I need more.

I can’t even remember what station I heard it on last night. I was driving up the 115 when I heard it, but I can’t remember whether it was on 640, or 1010 or even when of the Peterborough stations.

I should have made a mental note and then actually called the station this morning looking for the source, but I didn’t. I was just cruising along, enjoying the ride, and I assumed I’d simply google the story this morning and it would be there.

I can’t find the bastard.

I’ll be honest, I’m a frequent viewer of Fox News because I’m fascinated by it. I’m impressed by the large collection of arsholes they’ve managed to assemble, and a constant theme on the channel how wonderful the United States is, with the often attached tag, the greatest country on earth.

It’s a bit frustrating for a Canadian because we sit on their northern border, but it’s like we don’t exist. Most references to Canada on Fox News or condescending or almost paternal, like we wouldn’t exist without them.

Shawn Hannity is probably the biggest culprit. He’s got his head stuffed so far up his ass it’s unbelievable, his delusional view of the United States is so twisted and over-rated its actually harmful.

But I won’t waste much time on this whack job, because I could keep writing until tomorrow afternoon.

Believe me, when it comes to Canadian politics, I lean to the right, but if I was an American, the likes of Shawn Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Fox News would turn me into a Democrat.

But I digress.

The original point of this column was to expose my frustration with not being able to find a written article attached to what I heard on the radio last night.

From top to bottom, from every goddamn angle possible, Canada is a better place to live than the United States.

I guess I shouldn’t care that much because it really doesn’t matter when you get right down to it. I live in Canada, I love Canada, and I know how great our country is.

Why should I care what anybody else thinks?

I’m sitting hear looking at the Canadian flag that flies at the end of my dock, knowing that tomorrow night the Tiki Bar will be crowded with people wearing red and white and celebrating something that Americans are oblivious to.

We have them beat from top to bottom.

Happy Canada Day everyone!

Category: Stuff

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Now The Longest

June 26, 2008 @ 08:36

Hey people, how's this for an interesting little Toronto radio tid-bit.

It was sent along by my friend and former colleague Jason Barr.

Now that Roger, Rick and Marilyn no longer exists in its original form, guess what Toronto "commercial" morning show is now the longest running in the city, the show that's been around longer than any other show currently on the air?

The Dean Blundell Show.

Good for you fellas, Dean, Jason and Todd.

Keep doing what you're doing.

Category: Radio

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Not Funny

June 26, 2008 @ 08:35

I read with mixed emotions the story of Ed the Sock yesterday.

He's become the latest of victim of the changes at City-TV. Rogers seems to have some distinct plans for the station, and the edgy off colour sock is not part of them.

People can bitch and complain all they want about what's fair and what's just and what makes sense and what doesn't, but it won't get you anywhere.

The broadcasting industry in Canada isn't what it used to be, and somehow "product" doesn't matter much any more. Bottom line is the ruler.

But on the subject of product, I have to say this. I was never a fan of Ed the Sock the show, but I was always a big fan of Ed the Sock the entity.

I can't explain it. I just never found the sock funny. He never made me laugh, he rarely made me smile. I don't care for the act, and I never got the humour.

Of course that means nothing in the over-all picture.

All that matters is that Steve Kerzner took and idea and made it extremely successful, and for that I'm a huge fan. Talk about perseverance.

Kerzner took an idea and developed it on cable TV and then took it to commercial TV and Ed the Sock became arguably one of the most recognizable characters in Canadian television history. That's impressive.

Steve Kerzner claims the cancellation of Ed the Sock on City-TV doesn't mean the end of the character, it only represents a new beginning, and that I'm glad to hear.

It may not be my cup of tea, but you can't argue with success and there are obviously enough people across this country that do enjoy Ed the Sock.

May he live on, and live long.

Category: Television

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Today With Craig And Matt

June 25, 2008 @ 11:47

Books, Carlin and Leafs..

Category: Radio


Cops In Schools

June 25, 2008 @ 11:46

I laugh at those who are opposed to uniformed, armed police officers in some Toronto high schools.

They feel its too intimidating, it leaves the wrong impression and it’s not necessary. They’d rather have the police unarmed, in casual garb to make the little darling’s roaming the halls feel more relaxed.

What a joke.

As Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair says, “if my officers are going into the schools, they’re not going to act as hall monitors.”

Bang on. If cops are going into the schools there shouldn’t be any question who they are and why they’re there. Unfortunately, things have gotten to the point in some Toronto schools that police patrols are necessary and it gets back to the same old thing.

If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Ideally, I think it’s the right thing to do, but man oh man do I ever feel sorry for the cops who will be put on this duty. They’re going to be left wide open for every accusation under the sun.

Already the failure of some kids in the system is blamed on teachers, the school board and anything else bad parenting can come up with.

Cops in the halls will only give them something else to point at.

But its got to be done.

Category: Stuff

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The Plan Unfolds

June 25, 2008 @ 11:45

It’s become quite obvious, Brian Burke wants the Leafs to clean house before he gets to Toronto within the next year or so.

Having picked Ron Wilson as coach, who has a reputation for working well with young players, Burke has obviously directed Cliff Fletcher to get rid of the baggage and that’s why they tied the can to three players yesterday.

Andrew Raycroft and Kyle Wellwood were put on waivers, while the buy out of Darcy Tucker was initiated.

You can’t change history so there’s no use obsessing over the disastrous moves that were Raycroft and Tucker.

Tucker was signed to a long term deal by John Ferguson Jr. just as it became apparent he could no longer do the things that warranted the contract, and Raycroft came here at a huge price – goaltending prospect Tuukka Rask who went to the Boston Bruins.

The only pressing move remaining for the Leafs now, is to finally cut the ties to Mats Sundin. Apparently if he doesn’t sign elsewhere, there’s a seven million dollar contract waiting for him with the Leafs, but that would be ridiculous.

It’s time to move on from Sundin, even if they don’t get anything in return.

To my mind, the Leafs should forget about Sundin, go into the season with Marlies as fillers, stay way below the salary cap, have a horrible season, another good draft and then start spending some money.

Traditionally it’s not what they do, but this is a good time to do it, and I think on the heels of three bad seasons, Leaf fans are ready for something radical as long as there seems to be a point to it all.

Burke seems to have a plan.

Category: Sports

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Rick Hodge

June 24, 2008 @ 00:02

It's a crazy business this radio business.

If anyone had ever told me that Rick Hodge would "not" retire from CHUM-FM, I'd have called them a silly looking bastard.

When the rumours first broke yesterday that Hodge was leaving CHUM-FM to join one of the Astral stations at 2 St Clair West, I didn't believe it. I thought it was just plain stupid.

Here's a guy who had been at CHUM for 34 years and was part of arguably the most successful morning show in Canadian radio history, part of brand that carried more weight than any other in the industry.

But it's true.

Rick Hodge is leaving CHUM-FM..... anything and everything is possible.

I'll be honest, I have never really listened to Roger, Rick and Marilyn because for most of their run I was working down the street during the same time slot. But even since I've been on my forced sabbatical it's not something I'd tune to because let's be honest, it really isn't a show designed for a fellow such as I.

But come on! Roger, Rick and Marilyn no more?

From strictly a branding point it's huge. So what if Rick had been taken off sports and his role reduced to something like mine was at the MIX, it was still Roger, Rick and Marilyn, and screwing with that brand is the radio equivalent of the "new" Coke disaster.

If I was one of the company thinkers, I would have voted to keep him on staff, just to protect the brand, even if he stayed home every day and called in once an hour.

Roger Rick and freakin' Marilyn. It's like Abbot without Costello, like Penn without Teller, Rowan without Martin, Wayne without Shuster, Starsky without Hutch, like Joanie without Chachi, Jesse without Gene, and like Humble without Fred. (OK, not that bad)

But you get my drift, this is a Toronto radio institution that didn't fade away, it looks like in part it got blown away.

I could be wrong, but for Hodge to leave after 34 years and in his late 50's, you get the impression he was either pushed or pissed.

Believe me ya buggers, these things happen.

Category: Radio

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I Almost Worked With Rick Hodge

June 24, 2008 @ 00:01

Taken from a work in progress, "A Radio Story" by Fred Patterson

It was the fall of 1980, I was in the newsroom of the little yellow house in Brampton when the phone rang.
The person on the other end asked for Fred Patterson and I identified myself.
The phone call was startling. The man on the other end of the line was Bob Wood, program director of CHUM-FM and AM.
He quickly deduced that I was in the newsroom and really couldn't talk so he gave me his number and asked me to call him at home that night.
I hung up and my head almost exploded. What the hell was that all about?
I told Mike Stafford and he quickly gave me an answer.
"It's a job offer"
"No way"
"You watch Freddie, that's what it's going to be. Why else would he call you".
Mike was right.
I called Wood that night and he told me there were some changes taking place at CHUM and they were interested in talking to me. Would I come down to 1335 Yonge St. and meet with him.
Of course I would. Problem was, it was a Tuesday, and he couldn't see me till Thursday. That meant two nights without sleep.
When Thursday finally arrived I did my shift on CFNY, then drove downtown. It was crazy, it was like I didn't want the car ride to end.
I felt good, I wanted to know what was in front of me but at the same time I was nervous and wanted more time before it happened.
I got out of the car and walked up Yonge Street. It was breathtaking as I approached the radio station and saw the big neon 1050 CHUM sign that hung out over the street.
I had seen it a million times before, but only in passing. I had no business being here. This was CHUM, the station that my family always listened to when I was a kid, the station that had the sportscasters who gave me the inspiration to follow that career path.
Yea, maybe I could work here some day, but not now. Not yet. I had only been on the air for a few months.
Surely Bob Wood wasn't going to offer me a job. It had to be something else. Maybe he had heard I was a good producer at CKFH a couple of years before and he wanted me to do the same thing at CHUM.
It couldn't be an on-air job. Come on. I was working in Brampton for shit sakes, how could I be ready for this.
Well, according to Mr. Bob Wood, at the time, Canada's most respected program director, I was ready.
He sat me down in his office and he made the pitch. They wanted me to be their number three sports guy. I would do weekend sportscasts and be a sports reporter for three days during the week.
But here was the best part, when the regular sportscasters were on holidays, I would fill in.
And you know who the regular sportscasters were. Rick Hodge and Brian Henderson.
Brian "freakin" Henderson. The guy who I had listened to while in high school and college. The guy I studied to the point of frustration wondering how he could say so much in such a short period of time, and Rick Hodge, Toronto's first "cool" FM sportscaster.
Bob Wood was asking me if I wanted to work with these guys?
Of course I did. I would be honored.
Wood took me down the hall to meet them.
Hodge and Henderson shared the same office and as I walked in Hodge was reading the sports section of the Star and Henderson was eating a dish of ice cream.
They both said hello and told me what the job would involve. Both guys were down to earth and easy going.and said I'd have a lot of fun and working at CHUM, it would be a good experience.
I was shaking in my boots.
We went back to Woods office and he started to give details. I would be a full time employee with full benefits and the compensation was 12 thousand dollars a year, roughly 50 percent more than I was making in Brampton.
This was all new to me so there wasn't much negotiation. In fact I actually didn't pay much attention to the twelve grand because I was still caught up in the idea of working at CHUM.
Wood asked me if I was interested, and I was.
He asked me if I wanted the job and I said yes.
He told me I'd have to come back in early the next week to sign some papers and he thought it would be a good idea if I gave my notice to CFNY as soon as possible. I agreed.
We shook hands and I walked out onto Yonge St and I remember standing there and thinking, "what the hell just happened".
Did that man just offer me a job at CHUM? Did I say yes?
Wow. I was numb. Like I was in some drug induced radio fantasy world. I got into the car and drove back to Brampton.
That evening I was in a great mood. Delyse and I went out for dinner. A little diner on Main Street that served great liver and onions.
I was excited and so was she. This was going to be great. Delyse and I had got married in June and she was still working in Scarborough. so we could move downtown and it would convenient for both of us.
Working weekends was going to be a bit of a drag, but what the hell, I was going to be a CHUM guy. Small price to pay.
After dinner we went back to our small apartment on Church St. (182 bucks a month) and went to bed. But I didn't sleep. I didn't sleep at all. I tossed and turned and thought about what was in front of me. Confidence and excitement turned to doubt and fear.
Did I really want to leave CFNY? I liked it there. I loved Stafford, and David Marsden and station manger Pat Hurly. I liked having weekends off and living out in the boonies.
When I got up in the morning and went to work, it hit me even more. I had only been in Brampton for 16 months but it felt like home. Yea, they were going to pay me a lot more money at CHUM but money wasn't everything.
Delyse and I were comfortable. I wasn't greedy.
I started to have grave reservations and I didn't know what to do.
Of course Stafford knew what to do.
He told me to use the situation to my advantage, even if I really didn't want to go to CHUM I should go in to Pat Hurly and use the offer to get more money out of CFNY.
But I couldn't. I wasn't ready for that. This was all too new to me. I was more interested in doing what felt right, not what paid the most.
Delyse told me to take my time and not feel pressured by anyone or anything. Just do what I wanted to do. We were young; there would be other opportunities, other offers.
Still I was mixed up and it was driving me crazy. Lucky the offer came on a Thursday so I had the weekend to think. But I couldn't think, my mind was mush. I needed some help, so I called Bob McCown.
I told Bob the entire situation and he started to laugh. He found it amusing that I couldn't get on the air at CKFH just a few months prior and now I was being pursued by CHUM.
He gave me some good, measured advice. McCown told me I was in a no lose situation. If I went to CHUM I'd be making more money and my profile would increase ten-fold. The only drawback might be my schedule. I'd only be doing actual sportscasts two days a week.
In Brampton I'd be on the air a whole lot more and I would be more likely to improve that way. He told me to relax and enjoy the situation. Most guys my age would love a job "period" let alone have a job and an offer.
I made him laugh again. When I first told him the story I forgot to mention that I had already agreed to take the CHUM job. It wasn't until after he gave me the advice that I touched on the fact I had actually shook hands on the deal with Bob Wood.
"So what are you asking me" said McCown.
"Whether I should take the job"
"It sounds to me like you've already taken the job. You shook on it."
"Yea, but I'll just phone him back and tell him I've changed my mind"
Then McCown really started to chuckle. "You don't do that to Bob Wood" he said.
My heart sunk. I was really in a fix now. I should have told Wood I wanted more time to think about the job rather than jumping at it.
After he stopped laughing, McCown told me to do what I had to do. There was no use going to CHUM if I wasn't going to be happy there. I should take the weekend and do what my gut told me to do.
And that's what I did. But it was the most uncomfortable phone call of my life.
"Hello.. Mr. Wood?"
"It's Fred Patterson."
"Hi Fred, when are you coming in?"
"Ah.... Yea... that's why I'm calling."
"I've decided to stay at CFNY."
"You've what?"
"I've talked it over with my wife, and I've decided to stay in Brampton".
"And why would that be?"
Through an immature stammer I proceeded to give him all the reasons I didn't want to come to CHUM, and to his credit, he received it well.
He told me what any rational thinking manager would say. Follow your heart and do what I thought would make me the happiest. Put myself in the environment that would best help me develop into the broadcaster I wanted to be. He showed a lot of class.
He also quickly hired Scott Ferguson to fill the job with Hodge and Henderson.
Ferguson ironically, went to school at Winston Churchill, my first high school. He then went on to have a solid career at CKFH, which became the Fan, and then at CFRB.
You know what they say, you make a decision and you live with it, and that's exactly what I did. I can honestly say I had no regrets about not going to CHUM.
In retrospect it turned out to be a good move. Twenty five years after my decision, Brian Henderson was still at CHUM am, and Rich Hodge was still at CHUM FM. If I had wanted to move forward in the CHUM chain it would have been in another city.
Meanwhile, life at CFNY was a lot of fun. It was an amazing atmosphere. I didn't really appreciate it at the time because I really didn't have a lot to compare it to.
But it was like family.

Category: Radio

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I Almost Killed Rick Hodge

June 24, 2008 @ 00:00

It was March of 1989, I was in Dunedin covering Blue Jays spring training and I was staying at the same hotel as Rick Hodge.

We sat through a couple of games at Grant Field together, and when the subject of the next day’s game in Sarasota came up, we agreed to travel together. I would drive.

Late he next morning Rick met me in the parking lot and we embarked.

We got into a great conversation that I gives me no recollection at this point, but it was shortly after we entered the Sarasota city limits that it happened,

Caught up in a story that Hodgy was telling me, I didn’t notice that the light had changed.

I was going full tilt boogy into an intersection that was a “no go” zone for me and at the last minute Rick grabbed my arm and said, “What are you doing, it’s red.”

I slammed on the binders and came to a halt just in time.

Just in time to ensure the legacy that is Roger, Rick and Marilyn.

Category: Radio

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