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SOWNY » J.J. Clarke (believed to be) gone from Bell's CJOH/CTV Ottawa » March 27, 2020 1:01 pm

He disappeared once before for a few months with no explanation from Bell. It led to quite a bit of on-line  speculation some of which bordered on slander, imo. .Still nothing from Bell. He reappeared looking gaunt and ill. His voice was thready to put it kindly.   And now he's gone again still without a peep from Bell. Very poor form.

SOWNY » Brutal ... » March 22, 2020 9:57 am

Oh, so that's who he is: a lightweight  who wrote hack pieces for the Sun for a few weeks before being shown the door.  Plus the editor's job. Also  for a few weeks.  And now he's got a radio gig full-time on the station  that used to have the most respected call letters in Canadian Broadcasting.  Nice.    An erstwhile Boy Wonder Mike Bendixen might have picked up the phone and called (let's say) John Donabie and said, "Hey John, I have this 2-hour gig. It only pays $50 bucks,though. Interested?"  I don't know John Donabie but I'll bet he would have walked to the studio where he would have performed professionally and credibly, unlike yesterday's disaster.   "You're only as good as your last show," also applies to Program Directors. 

SOWNY » Brutal ... » March 21, 2020 1:10 pm

... is just one word to describe what I heard on the radio at Noon today: what they called the Power Panel. It was hosted by some guy who shouldn't be able to get a job in  Bum F**k, Saskatchewan, but yet there he was coast to coast on the  IHeart Network Radio. Or something. He never did call it the same thing twice.  (I hesitate to name the host in case I get it wrong.)  A doctor-guest was lucid enough although he had to answer questions such as, "How do I wash my hands?" And the levels were bad. Then there was a text for Amanda Lang from BNNBloomberg, which the host also got wrong.  But she wasn't there. He went to break, although I thought he said it was a commercial-free program. When they came back he hacked and slashed his way through a paraphrasing of a question he could have simply read from the screen. I couldn't take it any more, and turned my radio off.  It could have been the Sermon on Mount, it simply wasn't worth the pain.  Shameful.

SOWNY » CBC/CTVBell » March 18, 2020 11:16 am

(With apologies to Mufferaw Joe...)

I'm one of those who could be hugely impacted by Covid-19.  In fact I could be a poster boy for people at risk. So, who do I turn to for information I trust? CBC.   Radio/TV/Internet.  Hands down. Almost exclusively actually.

I am aware of the opinion of many people in here when it comes to the CBC: the cost, the slant, etc.

(This is the Mufferaw part.

Who are you turning to?


SOWNY » Former Global News guy, Leslie Roberts on air in Ottawa now! » March 11, 2020 3:52 pm

They're working this guy for S!X HOURS a day?  Lordy!   No one can maintain that pace for long. 

SOWNY » Former Global News guy, Leslie Roberts on air in Ottawa now! » March 7, 2020 9:17 am

Will this have any implications real or imagined for "Bill the Shrill"?

SOWNY » Alex Trebek Reveals Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis » March 4, 2020 4:54 pm

Good for you Trebek!  And you're 100% right about the chemo!  Radiation hath no charm either. Proof of the expression: the cure is worse than the disease.


SOWNY » Beautiful Music » February 28, 2020 3:03 pm

@ Hoops McCann -- which I always thought was "an abomination" as  the God-botherers say. Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring is, IMO, one of the most beautiful compositions of all time.

SOWNY » Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!! » February 26, 2020 4:13 pm

Many years ago a savvy Radio executive asked me if I ever noticed what the top story was on CJAD.  On every newscast. As you read this the answer becomes immediately obvious but it wasn't to me at the time he asked the question.  Each newscast began with the current temp followed by a 24 (IIRC) forecast and a repeat of the temperature.  It took 20 seconds at the most. A few years later, in those per-smartphone days, my wife mentioned to me that  she didn't like having to waiting 5 minutes until the end of the newscast  to hear the weather when she was rushed in the morning. I mentioned it to the ND at the station where I worked at the time. He said she had a good point and in the time in took to write the memo and adjust the format the weather became the lede. 

PD's used to obsess over what they called "the basics."   Weather is the most basic of the basics. Don't mess with it.  In other words, "What you said, RA!"

SOWNY » The Reverend Michael Coren » February 23, 2020 11:42 am

It was while he was at Frank that Coren said that Ralph Benmurgui was an un-funny  no-talent hack, or words to that effect. (The CBC had billed Benmugui as a stand-up comedian.)  Benmurgui had his own TV show at the time so he invited Coren to appear to discuss those claims. I did tune in, but I remember nothing except the cringiness of it all.

SOWNY » Check your sources » February 21, 2020 5:48 pm

And proof-read before you hit "send."   Advice to Puget Sound Radio and the editor of the "Today in History" feature.


SOWNY » Beautiful Music » February 20, 2020 3:32 pm

I thought there was a difference between Beautiful Music and Easy Listening. Not much of a difference perhaps, but a difference nonetheless. Meh, what would life be without a few hairs to split?

Speaking of which, The Great American Songbook on PBS was hosted by Michael Feinstein.  I thought he shared his name with someone else  who is famous.... oops.  Google is your friend, but only if you use it.

SOWNY » Beautiful Music » February 19, 2020 5:42 pm

Co-incidentally I have been thinking about this very thing for the past few weeks and was going to pose the question here in SOWNY. I've come to the conclusion that "Beautiful Music" as I think we all define it wouldn't work.  In addition you have  PD's who would try to insert more contemporary stuff and adulterate the format.  However, notwithstanding that you have to keep those aforementioned PD's hands off it, a format I think might work is what one might call, "The American Songbook."   It's vast, very deep and varied. (Please note the de rigeur Radio alliteration).

A man with a famous name, but not the famous man (sorry but I just can't remember the name), had a series on PBS called just that, IIRC -- The American Songbook. I was surprised at how much it spoke to me, as it were. Just one "Oh Wow!" song after another. And could you ever be creative setting up the songs!  "Years before Frank Sinatra sang about the "City That Never Sleeps" he sang about another American city -- twice!" Make sure you don't clobber the vocal as Frank starts to sing, "Chhhhhicago, Chicago, that toddlin' town!" 

(Sorry got a bit carried away there. **blushes)

SOWNY » Christie Blatchford dies » February 14, 2020 4:55 pm

@ Saul and 6079 Smith ...

Two excellent posts. Bravo. And thank you.

SOWNY » I want Erin O'Toole to win the PC leaders race, said no CBC staff ever » February 14, 2020 4:52 pm

Low-hanging fruit. Pandering to the base. Thank you, next.

SOWNY » TVO turns the big 5-0 » February 13, 2020 3:48 pm

If someone were to ask me to describe TVO I would say, "They play kids' cartoons all day, every day. There's some kind of public affairs show on at night and the rest of the time it's BBC stuff."  Am I wrong? Maybe a bit, but I'm not far wrong.  The Ontario government gives TVO 39 million dollars a year, there are some charitable donations and I think they have a beg-a -thon as well, a la PBS. Plus, I'm sure there's some "must carry" cable revenue. That's a nice chunk of change for about 5 hours of TVO-produced programming a week. Yes, I know they have spotlights on some Ontario towns and cities, but the same features are very long-in-the-tooth and they are shamefully out of date. The one  for Ottawa, for example, focuses on a business that hasn't existed for years.

The CBC is constantly excoriated by people in here who resent paying $32 a year for it.  Fair enough. But it's also fair to say TVO gets a free ride, and not just in here.

SOWNY » The Giants Of Buffalo Radio » February 7, 2020 5:22 pm

In the mid-70's I caught Shane's act while on vacation. I had never heard a better communicator. When I got home I told my PD about him. I guess I did a petty good selling job because the PD called Shane and asked if he'd like to sit down and talk about moving to Canada. According to the PD, Shane said he had just signed a new deal with WGR  otherwise he would have loved to have discussed a possible move.  He was probably blowing smoke, but he was such a good communicator my PD believed him.

Jefferson Kaye: in my opinion the Greatest Radio Voice Ever. I guess today he'd be called  GOAT. 

SOWNY » Hamilton Spectator Building Sold for $25.5 Million » February 5, 2020 5:20 pm

Damn, it's heartbreaking to watch the death of newspapers. 

SOWNY » With Shrinking News Ratings, One U.S. Station Tries Something New At 6 » January 30, 2020 4:59 pm

NBC News is my choice each night and I noticed the 60 second break immediately.  I really like it, if for no other reason than it's far better than one of those  2-minute pharma spots. When inevitably NBC plays one (or 2) of those spots I surf, and I'm pretty sure CBS has moved up their "feel good" segment to about 1850 and it seems to be longer. I really like that too.

btw, commercials touting cures for what ails old people have always been the bane of the evening newscasts. I remember reading someone complain about all the Geritol spots in Walter Cronkite's newscast.

SOWNY » Evan Solomon’s Mom Calls Up To Criticize Him Live On Air » January 29, 2020 1:54 pm


Along with her on-air advice  I hope Momma also passed along some good genes to her son:  Bell is working him like a rented mule!

SOWNY » CRTC Plans Major Review To Radio Policy In Canada - With Your Input » January 28, 2020 5:26 pm

Hopefully, someone will "reach out" to you for further comment.   Please start any such comment with the now-obligatory, "So..."

SOWNY » Some Really Stupid Questions About Some Current Radio Spots » January 28, 2020 3:22 pm

It has always astounded me that when so much of a radio station's hour is made up of commercials so much drek gets on the air.  It was always thus.  When PDs bitched and moaned about having to play a Canadian record (Chester's one hit was less than 2 minutes, IIRC) they would turn a deaf ear to what was being churned out by copywriters they begrudged paying $75 a week. Wailing and gnashing of  teeth for a 2-minute record. Twenty minutes of real tune-outs: meh.

Look, I get it, not every commercial can be the St Crispin's Day speech, but crikey!  Won't somebody think of the children? .

Sales rep:  This could be a big sponsor for us!
Copy dude: OK,  we'll do a 2-voicer.


SOWNY » Oh Nuts! » January 24, 2020 2:10 pm

The kind of humour that destroyed AM Radio!

SOWNY » CBC Radio 1, AC & Country The Top Formats Tuned In Canada In 2019 » January 22, 2020 3:55 pm

I believe at one time, maybe still,  Montreal was the only major Canadian city in which the CBC didn't "clobber entire formats."

SOWNY » Have at it Big Yella...tell the CRTC what you want from CBC Radio » January 20, 2020 4:58 pm


I appreciate your measured and balanced observations.

Thank you.

SOWNY » Where Did This Bizarre Radio Programming Theory Come From? » January 17, 2020 5:50 pm

I worked for a guy who frowned on female singers at any time, "Except maybe Clio Lane and only once in a while." I was 20 and had no idea who she was. BUT the really quirky programming rule was that after a newscast the first record HAD to be an instrumental. "Because people have just been listening to a whole bunch of words and they don't want to hear any more right away."

SOWNY » What is Your Choice for the Greatest Top 40 Radio Station of All Time? » January 17, 2020 5:43 pm

I'm not going to pick a favourite but I loved WCFL. I found WLS too corporate, and I didn't like their jingles.
As you know CFL stood for the Chicago Federation of Labor who owned the station and they referenced that in their TOH ID -- "This is the Voice of Labor... etc"  

The story is told of  some poor schmoe working for 50 bucks a week in Kapuskasing in to late 60's early 70's who had heard that ID and thought it was something cool they said at big city stations. You know, like "Boss Radio."  So, he stole it. And incorporated it into his own station ID. Today I picture the recurring pimply-faced character in the Simpsons declaring, "This is the Voice of Labour, CKAP Kapuskasing! 580!"

SOWNY » Have at it Big Yella...tell the CRTC what you want from CBC Radio » January 17, 2020 10:10 am

One source says each Canadian pays about $35 a year for the CBC.   If you watch Corrie every night, all year you definitely ARE getting your money's worth. And they throw in HNIC and Marketplace for free. But let's says it's $260 a year, or a dollar a day for every day you watch Corrie. You can't buy a double-double for that. 

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