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December 31, 2017 9:07 am  #1

SOWNY’s 2017 Year In Radio & TV

What follows is a recap of just some of the highlights that lit up the SOWNY Board in 2017. It’s by no means complete because there just wasn’t room for everything. Each story is linked to the post that relates to it. The list is long, but what’s really sad is that the roster of those we lost in the last year, featured in Dale Patterson’s ”Gone But Not Forgotten” thread is almost the same length.
Here’s hoping both of our lists are a lot shorter at the end of 2018. Until then, have a great New Year.  


Jan. 31: First Of Many Bell Layoffs

Blaming the CRTC’s decision to allow the Super Bowl to air without simsub, Bell’s first bloodletting of 2017 takes down a host of well known names, including W5 veteran Victor Malarek and longtime CHUM-FM host Ingrid Schmuacher. Sadly, there would be more before the year was out.

Feb. 2: TVO Moves To Shut Down Most OTA Transmitters
The plan doesn’t last long, after the CRTC gets blasted with a ton of opposition to the move.
Feb. 5: Super Bowl Airs In Canada Without Simsub

Despite attempts at court intervention, the CRTC edict that there will be no simsub for the 2017 Super Bowl stands. It airs intact on both CTV and CBS, so viewers here can see the American commercials.
Feb. 8: Game Over For Blundell At The Fan 590
After a controversial departure from CFNY, Dean Blundell leaves his current gig at the Fan 590. He’d only been there for two years.
Feb. 14: Longtime City TV Staffer Joins Q107 Morning Show

Jennifer Valentyne resurfaces on radio at the Mighty Q, when else: on Valentine’s Day.
Feb. 19: CFRB Turns 90
But no one notices, including the station itself, which mostly fails to mention the milestone on air.

March 6: Zoomer Radio Zooms In On Studio – For A While
No one likes being watched at work, so when AM 740 installed a studio cam, it was at best a curiosity and at worst a nuisance for those who sat in front of it. At some point in 2017, it disappeared and is no longer active.

April 3: NT1010 Host Loses It On Air Over Break-Up
In a broadcast that would go viral and often get referred to on CFRB, afternoon host Jim Richards gets emotional and near tears as he relates breaking up with his girlfriend.
April 20: Cole Drops F-Bombs But Stays On Air At CFRB
Uber-police hater and activist Desmond Cole goes ballistic during a Police Services Board meeting and begins swearing a blue streak, despite knowing it was airing live on CP24. Despite his antics and being fired by the Toronto Star, his weekend show on sister station CFRB is still on the air. 
April 25: Jack Berkovits Returns To Host Radio Show
Jack’s back doing another radio talk show, surfacing on AM 640 to compete with Bell Media’s Tim Hudak. Although he promises on his first outing that it’s not an infomercial and has nothing to do with his jewelry business, somehow Omni seems to get mentioned repeatedly on every single show.

May 5: CHIN Finagles A Virtually New FM Station
CHIN Radio originally landed a repeater spot at 91.9 on Toronto’s increasingly crowded FM dial, claiming its weaker 1540 AM frequency couldn’t be heard at night in parts of the city. But they somehow convinced the CRTC that they should be able to air different non-simulcast programming on the FM side during daytime hours, essentially allowing them to have a new station from sunrise to sunset in the city.
May 12: Mike Stafford Foil Leaves AM 640
Ryan Bonnar, who became a huge part of Mike Stafford’s AM 640 morning show, leaves the station for a marketing job. Bonnar was frequently portrayed on air as a de facto idiot, although Stafford would always insist he was a fine producer.

June 5: Rogers Expands CityNews Brand Across Canada
After years of cutting both people and news coverage, Rogers announces it is spreading its “anchorless” CityNews format to other major markets, including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Montreal. The new shows start in September.
June 14: New Owner Gets 106.5 FM In Toronto
After the troubled Aboriginal Voices lost its licence for repeated and pretty outrageous violations, the hunt was on for a new Indigenous radio format. The winner was First Peoples Radio.
June 16: CRTC Says No To Added Transmitter For Vibe 105.5
It started out life as York University campus station CHRY. And after firing all its student volunteers, it somehow was allowed to transform itself into an apparently commercially competing entity in the Toronto market. But when management at Vibe 105.5 wanted a nested TX in Scarborough to reach parts of the GTA its current stick couldn’t get to, the CRTC wisely said “no way.”
June 30: Peter Mansbridge Says Final National Goodnight
After nearly 30 years as host of CBC’s flagship “The National,” Peter Mansbridge hosts his final newscast – and then returns for one last hurrah to front the Canada Day 150 celebrations. It caps a career that lasted half a century at the Mother Corp.
June 30: More HD Radio Turns Up In T.O.
Not that many in this country actually have an HD Radio, but that’s not stopping the rollout. Bell becomes the latest to add better quality to their existing stations, putting CFRB on HD2 at 99.9 while TSN 1050 piggybacks on CHUM-FM’s signal.

Aug 1: CBC Introduces Four Hosts For “The National”
Apparently it takes a quartet to replace Peter Mansbridge, as the CBC unveils its new anchors for its flagship newscast. Adrienne Arsenault and Ian Hanomansing are based in Toronto, Rosemary Barton holds down the fort in Ottawa, while Andrew Chang is out west in Vancouver. They debuted in September. 
Aug. 8: CBS All Access Coming To Canada
CBS’ newly minted All Access – which features exclusive shows like the new “Star Trek” and “The Good Fight”, a “Good Wife” sequel - confirms it will be coming to Canada at some point. But with many tangled rights in question, there’s no sure way to know what will be available when it does.
Aug. 16: CN Tower Fire Knocks Several Toronto FM Stations Off The Air
It went on for hours, during the morning rush. Stations ranging from CFNY to Boom 97.3 were gone from 4 AM to just before eight in the morning.
Aug. 27: Red Robinson Retires As Station Changes Format
The 80 year-old, arguably the first rock DJ in Canada, does his final show on CISL Vancouver, as the station readies to change to an all sports format. He’d been on the air at various B.C. stations for 64 years.  
Aug. 29: CKTB Host Reaches Major Milestone
Tim Denis reaches what’s becoming an increasingly rare milestone in radio, celebrating 22 years at 610.

Sep. 6: Russ Holden Retires
The longtime pilot, who’d been doing traffic for Rogers’ CFTR and CHFI for decades, retires after a 50-year career.

Oct. 25: Former City TV Sportscaster John Gallagher Tells All In New Book
The man with the big mouth has a lot to say and does it in the pages of a sensational book, outlining drug use and sexual encounters during a long career.

Nov. 18: Gary Bell Fired From AM 640 For Anti-Semitic Rant
Corus doesn’t wait to get rid of longtime producer and “View From Space” host Gary Bell, after he goes on air with a crazy anti-Semitic rant. His show had been on the station for years.
Nov. 18: Bell Cuts More Big Names
After a round of layoffs earlier in the year, more big shoes drop, including longtime traffic reporters Amber Payie and Bob Summers and CFRB/CHUM-FM newscaster Jeff Howatt. Also out but oddly still on the air until year’s end are CTV Toronto sportscasters Lance Brown and Joe Tilley.
Nov 23: AM 640 Finally Fills Night Slots
After years of rerolls, AM 640 finally fills their evening slots permanently, enlisting Alex Pierson in Ontario and Charles Adler from B.C.
Nov. 24: Montreal Radio Legend Retires
Tommy Schnurmacher calls it quits after 40 years.
Nov. 28: AM 640 Rebrands
They chose to change the name but not the content. AM 640 is now a mouthful with the moniker “Global News Radio 640 Toronto.” Hosts will spend the next week or so endlessly booting the phrase. 
Nov. 29: CKNT Gets Yet Another Extension
The world’s longest gestating radio station, Mississauga’s CKNT 960 AM, (now six years plus and counting) gets yet another extension to sign on, after the CRTC threatened to take back the licence if they weren’t on the air by the end of November. The station blames problems with transmitter locations for the endless delays. Latest drop-dead date: July 2018.
Nov. 30: Gregg Zaun Fired From Sportsnet
The #MeToo movement hits home, as sportscaster and former Blue Jay pitcher Gregg Zaun is let go from Sportsnet for untoward behaviour.

Dec. 1: Stephen LeDrew Fired From CP24
The longtime host is first suspended then given the boot altogether after appearing on Fox News. The reason for his ouster varies, with Bell citing the fact he “went on the competition.”
Dec. 4: Bob McCown Stays At Fan 590
He constantly threatened to leave but in the end, the Fan’s dean of sports hosts, Bob McCown, signs a lucrative long term deal to stay at the station’s “Prime Time Sports.”
Dec. 18: CRTC Drops Hammer On Z103.5
The CRTC orders as a condition of licence that CIDC, aka Z103.5, ID itself as being from Orangeville, instead of constantly trying to pretend it’s a Toronto station.   
Dec. 19: Coast-To-Coast Changes Affiliates In T.O.
In a major change that will affect the overnight programming on two stations, CFRB snagged the rights to the all night “Coast-To-Coast AM,” which has been a staple on rival AM 640 for years.
Dec. 22: Bryan Fysher Retires From 680 News

A class act calls it a career, leaving CFTR after 16 years at the station and 43 years in broadcasting.


December 31, 2017 9:48 am  #2

Re: SOWNY’s 2017 Year In Radio & TV

Wow, what a year, thanks for doing this and happy New Year too!



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