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The John Downs Show

December 13, 2007 @ 09:58

I went to visit my mom and dad yesterday, and while driving home I caught several minutes of a very compelling John Downs Show on am 640.

Downs is a jack of all trades at 640 and on nights where there isn't any hockey he does a two hour call in show and he does it very well.

Last night between seven and eight the subject was the killing of Aqsa Parvez and how it's divided communities. Muslims and non-Muslims.

It really is remarkable how non-Muslims are so quick to write this off as an honour killing or the actions of another religious fanatic trying to force his beliefs upon the rest of us.

Meanwhile, several Muslims called into the Downs Show to put the breaks on and attempt to keep this in perspective. They didn't defend the killing, but they did dispute the honour killing angle.

Yes, honour killings happen and in the end it could prove to be true, but the rush to judgment is a sore point.

Other men have killed their children and it had nothing to do with religion or culture or customs. They were nothing more than whacked out maniacs who lost control for a moment and did something horrible.

Those who called the radio station last night insisted that everybody slow down and let the courts decide what happened. Nobody knows what actually took place in that Mississauga home the other night or what led up to it.

From that angle, I have to agree. Listening to the radio over the past couple of days it's almost like a feeding frenzy. Some people leave the impression they "want" it to be an honour killing, they "want" it be an example of religious fanaticism and its uncomfortable to listen to.

And don't worry; I realize I was just as guilty as anyone else, my posting from Tuesday was written with the assumption that this tragedy centered around a hijab.

There's little doubt that Muhammad Parvez strangled his daughter to death on Monday night, but to this point it's far from certain that he did it on behalf of Islam.

He's a despicable man and he should be held accountable to the far reaching limits of the law, but in the end he shouldn't be used as an excuse to pound a whole religion.

Category: Radio

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Dick Smyth On George Bush

December 13, 2007 @ 09:57

I know I'll probably be accused of being an am 640 "keener" but I'm sorry, I like the radio station and the balls it displays on a day to day basis.

Most Canadian radio stations would turn the other way or buffer their handling of sensitive issues in our society, but 640 takes the bull by the horns and allows their announcers to push the envelope.

Case in point, Dick Smyth.

Yesterday morning he delivered a comment and to say the shit hit the fan is an understatement.

It happened during John Oakley's Show and John had to field several calls from people who thought it was way over the line, and to his credit, Oakley wasn't afraid to admit he thought it was a tad "out there" as well.

Have a listen and see what you think.

Category: Radio

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And The Winner Is

December 4, 2007 @ 09:32

The radio ratings were released yesterday and it was a lot of the same. If CHUM-FM isn’t leading the pack then it’s CHFI and in this latest round it’s the latter.

CHFI has a 9.6 Share. CHUM-FM has an 8.9.

Canada has a flawed ratings system that sees mostly women fill out Bureau of Broadcast Measurement ballots and often they fill them out for the men of the house and end up writing down their own preferences.

You probably have no idea what I’m talking about because the vast majority of you have never seen or heard of a BBM ballot and therefore have no idea how ratings are arrived at.

A household gets a ballot or diary for every member of the family and during a given week they have to write down what radio station they listened to in quarter hour segments. (I'm not kidding)

Apparently, in the coming months BBM will be introducing something called people meters where a select few will agree to wear meters that will record all radio stations that they come into contact with during a day.

It too will have some flaws, but it will definitely be better than the current system, and will probably provide some surprises.

There a few stations in Toronto that probably don't have the audience they get credit for, they get numbers based on heritage and the fact that "mom" probably fills out ballots for dad and the kids.

When people ask me about ratings and I tell them who the perennial winners are they often can’t believe it and I feel for them because I have to admit I don’t know anyone who listens to CHUM-FM or CHFI either

I have kids in their twenties, friends in their 30’s, relatives in their 40’s and a spouse in her 50’s and none of them ever reference CHUM-FM or CHFI.

But don't get me wrong, this is not to criticize. These stations play the game and play it very well.

These are ratings “friendly” radio stations that can often be heard in doctor, dental and business offices but don’t honestly reflect the quality of radio that’s available in the city and their over-all standing does not tell the entire story.

CHFI and CHUM-FM lead the ratings with listeners 12 years of age and older and they dominate in most female demographics over 25 years and they make lots of money, but not a whole heck of a lot more than Q-107 which has a 6.3 share but owns the market in men over 25.

Or how about the Edge, it dropped to a 3.8 share in the latest book but it still dominates the male 18-34 demographic and that’s arguably the most lucrative demographic of all.

It’s also next to impossible to get an 18-34 year old male to fill out a ballot, so like it always has, The Edge has a lot more listeners than it ever gets credit for.

That’s why it’s often so hard for people to believe who the so-called leaders are when it comes to radio ratings. For someone who listens to the Edge, CHFI is not part of their world so why would they believe its Toronto’s top rated station?

From my perspective, if we could come up with a ratings system that actually worked, I’d expect Q-107 to be at or near the top.

There is no other radio station or morning show in Toronto that I hear referenced more than Q-107 and the Derringer Show by both men and women alike and there’s no bias here because I’m not really a classic rock guy.

I am however a fan of good solid entertaining radio and there is not a better FM morning show in the city right now than the Derringer Show and if ratings were based on quality, Derringer would leave all other shows in the dust.

There are other quirky stories related to the BBM, too many to relate actually, and it the end it really doesn’t matter because the system is what the system is.

It’s flawed but empires are won and jobs are lost based on a system that requires what it rarely gets.

Accurate feedback.

Category: Radio

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Hung Out To Dry

December 3, 2007 @ 11:44

Over the next couple of days The Fan 590 will respond to a threatened lawsuit by Sean Avery of the New York Rangers.

It deals with an incident a few weeks ago during the pre-game skate at the ACC. Darcy Tucker took exception to Avery's trash talk which was apparently directed at the Leafs Jason Blake.

The Fan's Howard Berger reported that he had talked to an unnamed source within the Rangers dressing room who said Avery had been yapping about Blake's battle with cancer.

Avery denied it and the end result is that Berger was hung out to dry.

Last week Avery's lawyer served The Fan with a libel notice so the radio station decided it was best if they aired retractions and given the situation its hard to argue with that.

But the question begs to be asked, why haven't Tucker or Blake had anything to say about the incident, and where's the unnamed source?

This whole issue could have been cleared up is somewhere along the way either Tucker or Blake had confirmed what was said, but neither will comment on it.

Obviously something cut pretty deep that night or Tucker wouldn't have reacted the way he did, and it must have been bad enough for one of Avery's team mates to actually talk about it, but nobody will confirm anything.

I realize when it comes to the professional sports fraternity; the welfare or reputation of a radio reporter doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot, but in this case how about a little decency?

This entire controversy could have been nipped in the bud by either Tucker or Blake with confirmation of what was said. I can't believe that if Avery actually had something to say about Blake's cancer that he and Tucker would put Avery's reputation above Berger's

On second thought, let me put it this way. I don't "want" to believe it.

Category: Radio

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Last Week On The Bill Watters Show

November 26, 2007 @ 08:38

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the people at Standard Broadcasting and Corus Entertainment for giving me the opportunity to host the Bill Watters Show several times over the last couple of months.

It was a lot of fun, and working with Bill is something I won't soon forget.

Watters is a special breed of Canadian personality, much like Don Cherry. However unlike Cherry, Watters is well spoken, articulate and possesses a much larger background in sports.

Bill is definitely on to something with his new show now positioned in afternoon drive.

On Saturday afternoon I hosted a Grey Cup charity event for Weber Barbeques on Front St. and I was amazed at how many people told me they had heard me on Bill's show.

It reminded me of the early days of MOJO radio when it seemed that every guy over 35 years old had discovered the station and claimed it as their new favourite.

The persistent question has always been; can Toronto support two sports radio stations especially after the disaster that was the Team 1050.

Well in this case I think it can because am 640 is not full time sports, and the Watters Show seems to be gaining a reputation as a nice alternative to the other sports offering in town.

As solid and established as the other show is, the Bill Watters Show is hockey centric with a more "fun" approach. Again, that's not to take anything away from Prime Time Sports because it's top notch quality, but the Watters show offers a distinct alternative that seems to be gaining a lot of steam.

There may not be room for two sports radio stations in town, but there's definitely room for the Bill Watters Show.

Category: Radio

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The Hawk And The Rock

November 25, 2007 @ 09:36

Just so you know, I'm still doing bits every Monday and Wednesday on the Hawk and the Rock.

On Mondays at 7:15 I join McArther and Face on the 103.9 The Hawk in London/Woodstock, and on Wednesdays I join Craig and Matt on 100.7 The Rock in Windsor/Detroit.

We talk about all kinds of stuff, but usually stuff I've written on my blog that all the boys find interesting.

Please listen if you can.

Category: Radio


Today On The Bill Watters Show

November 22, 2007 @ 11:30

We're doing the show from the Convention Centre today and tomorrow, headquarters for Grey Cup Festival 2007.

We're in the South Building, level 700, right near Riderville.

We have a jam packed show today with the main focus on the Grey Cup. Among our guest today will be CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon.

If you're in the area, drop in a say hello to Billy, he's a good fella who was drafted by the Argos way back in the early 60s.... in case you didn't know.

am 640 Toronto - 4pm - 7pm - The Bill Watters Show with Fred Patterson (this week)

Category: Radio

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Brother Jake

November 20, 2007 @ 09:35

Here's a name from Toronto's radio past. Brother Jake.

In case you're wondering Jake is still alive and kickin' and doing great radio in Vancouver while enjoying great success.

He's the morning man at Classic Rock 101 in Vancouver. Jake is still having fun, he's still doing The Champ and he's got some other great bits.

The other day I happened upon this one. A guy named Steve told an entire story by using the name of rock bands. Have a listen.

Category: Radio

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Bruce Barker Checks In

November 19, 2007 @ 09:10

He's a very sweet man and he loves what he does.

Bruce Barker is the morning man at Cam-fm Radio in Camrose, Alberta and up until last season he was also the arena voice of the Toronto Rock.

Barks used to get on a plane and fly east for every Rock game, but this year his schedule will become a little easier.

Barker is now the arena voice of the Edmonton Rush of the National Lacrosse League and you can read about it here.

Category: Radio

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The Blame Game

November 7, 2007 @ 09:53

It was a fascinating day of talk radio in the city yesterday. The reaction to the proposal for black only schools in Toronto was met head on by those who actually care and just like the schools would do, the reaction only served to divide.

From what I could gather people from the Caribbean are strongly in support of black only schools, while most other people are dead against it.

I can honestly say the vast majority of those who called in support of the black only schools yesterday had Caribbean accents and they're convinced it's the system that's failing their children and not their parenting skills.

Not once did anyone accept any level of responsibility for the large drop out rate among young black males, instead they blamed the schools, the teachers and the "R" word.

It was absolutely amazing.

One guy who called the Charles Adler Show was downright belligerent as he called other callers stupid, the school system useless and teachers uncaring, but he like many others was unable to explain why most other ethnic groups aren't having the same problem.

And that seems to be the key to this issue and it remains unanswered. Why don't Asian, East Asian and other visible minorities have the same problem?

Some might argue that it's a question of expectations. Expectations in the home are much higher and those parents don't have time for excuses or accusations, they simply expect their kids to get the job and provide the foundation for them to succeed.

Of course others who love to lean on excuses might look at that and somehow twist it into a racist perspective, but that's par for the course and something we all have to live with.

It was encouraging to see the Premier speak out against black only schools yesterday, but as usual he passed the buck and said it would ultimately be up to the Toronto school board. Just once it would be nice to see him take a stand and say something like "there will be no black schools under my watch." But that's a lot to ask of this guy.

It was even more refreshing to hear the position of Zanana Akande, the first black woman elected to the Ontario Legislature and the first in Canada to serve as a cabinet minister and Harold Brathwaite, former director of education at the Peel public board.

Both reject the idea saying it's a step backward because it's exactly what blacks fought against for decades.


Category: Radio

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