Since posting three pieces on Hodge last week, my unique visits have gone through the roof. If you google Rick Hodge, the FreddieP.ca posting are right near the top.
From what I understand, Roger and Marilyn announced Hodge’s departure on their show yesterday, and this prompted major action on the internet, and FreddieP.ca was a benefactor of that.
There’s still no official word on what Hodge will do with Astral media. We can only assume he’ll be part of CFRB which must have a few other people shaking in their boots up there.
Further to that, Leslie Roberts announced that he’d be leaving his 10am to noon slot at ‘RB shortly, which leads to a whole other pile of speculation.
I doubt Hodge would take that shift; because I imagine sports will continue to be his thing and that slot will not be all sports on CFRB.
I’m sure Jim Richards would like to get off the evening shift, but his irreverence, intelligence and bizarre outlook on the world might be a little too much for CFRB listeners at that time of the day, even though its precisely what ‘RB needs at this point in its history.
Other than that, I can’t imagine who they’ll plug into the slot.
Hopefully CFRB will trail blaze a bit and stay away from someone extremely safe, or someone from outside of radio, one of those experts who has a lot of knowledge but has trouble communicating it.
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?
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.
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"
"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."
"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.