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June 16, 2018 9:58 am  #1


More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

As a listener and perpetual donor, I find the events and changes at Jazz FM to be quite alarming, I truly enjoy what this station does and am wondering if this is the beginning of the end for a "Listener Supported" radio station, that does so much for the arts and the local jazz and music scene in Toronto.

As a donor, you want to give to a cause you believe in and I find myself questioning continuing my support, especially since it is unclear as to what we are going to get by listening to the station...



There are two articles in the Globe and Mail this week, one with respect to a sex scandal investigation with Ross Porter and the other with respect to the dismissals or 5 on air staffers...



This was in the Globe and Mail this week and it becomes clearer as to what's gone on this week and past 6 weeks, with staff being let go or leaving...


Former CEO Ross Porter has been embroiled in a sex scandal at the station...

Here is more on that story...


https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/article-torontos-jazzfm91-ceo-steps-down-in-wake-of-probe-into-sexual/



Here is the article about the sudden layoffs and changes


https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/music/article-torontos-jazzfm91-sees-an-exodus-of-regular-on-air-voices/


This is shocking, dissappointing, but in this day and age, nothing is surprising, sadly...



 

Last edited by Muffaraw Joe (June 16, 2018 2:26 pm)


The world would be so good if it weren't for some people...
 

June 16, 2018 9:18 pm  #2


Re: More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

Any day now, there's going to be an article or three about how we are becoming numb to all the harrassment allegations reported, and how it's impacting the workplace, the way entertainment - comedy and drama, movies and TV is being written.

I like, liked listening to Jazz FM once in a blue moon, not the free form crap, um the hardcore obscure jazz, but the classics from the 30's and 40's, it was a mini vacation from talk radio, rock and pop radio, and skimming around the dial.

I don't think I can enjoy the station anymore. Wonder what's going on behind the scenes that could possibly justify this implosion. Can another station capitalize on the situation.

Could the talent that left resurface with a jazz podcast, and use Patreon to help sustain it. Twitter would be free promotion, former Jazz FM listeners would follow them I'm certain.

Thanks for the update Muffaraw Joe, please keep us posted, ( if you'd like to ) I'd like to know what happens, and listen and support them post Porter.

Last edited by betaylored (June 16, 2018 9:22 pm)

 

June 17, 2018 10:21 am  #3


Re: More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

This is slightly off topic, but #metoo related. Anyone who's ever watched AMC is familiar with Chris Hardwick, who hosts a talk show after each episode of "The Walking Dead." He's been so successful, they gave him his own general chat show that was given a lot of publicity and was supposed to debut Sunday night.

But now it's been pulled at the last minute and the self-professed uber-nerd will likely be out of a job after his ex-girlfriend levelled serious abuse allegations against him. 

Chris Hardwick's Talking Pulled at AMC Following Sexual Assault Allegations

He also hosts an NBC game show called "The Wall" which is not currently on at the air at the moment. But NBC will have to decide what to do about it, as well.

Once again, I'm divided on this happening to a well known person. One the one hand, you can't have an alleged abuser of women on your network for a whole host of reasons. On the other, absolutely nothing has been proven and these allegations are just that.

But it's enough to once again pull the plug on a career that was just gaining momentum, even though Hardwick unequivically denies the charges. It will be interesting to watch whether we ever see him again doing anything of note. 

 

June 17, 2018 8:01 pm  #4


Re: More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

Hi Irvine, I get your take about Ross Porter, but what concerns me more is that 6 on air people have gone...what is next for the station? Can it survive these cuts that happened on Friday and then the Ross Porter incident is bad press too! Also, will donors bail? Will advertisers cancel?

There is a big mountain to climb and nobody on interim management is saying anything to keep listeners, donors, advertisers on board!

If Ross Porter is found not guilty, then bring him back, if that is even in the best interest of the stations growth!

 

Last edited by Muffaraw Joe (June 17, 2018 8:02 pm)


The world would be so good if it weren't for some people...
     Thread Starter
 

June 18, 2018 7:28 am  #5


Re: More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

So, there's no morning host.  The station is on auto pilot this morning.  BBC news came on 10 minutes early.  You'd think they'd have a live voice on one of the most import shifts of the day.  The purge was poorly planned and executed.

The business side of the station has always been run very privately despite being listener supported and a charity.  I doubt we'll know more unless someone goes public with allegations.  According to the email I received "While the investigator found that a number of the complaints were unsubstantiated, the Board took immediate action where it was necessary."  So something happened but that's all we're getting.

I am likely to pull my perpetual donation but I will give it a few days.  As an old boss said, "this doesn't pass the smell test."

Last edited by Leslieville Bill (June 18, 2018 7:31 am)


- Not an industry person.  Just a guy with a love of Toronto radio. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/cute.gif
 

June 18, 2018 8:08 am  #6


Re: More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

Leslieville Bill wrote:

there's no morning host.  The station is on auto pilot this morning.  You'd think they'd have a live voice on one of the most import shifts of the day.  The purge was poorly planned and executed.

Question: at this point within the evolution of the medium, do we really need morning hosts? Other than their inane banter and forced giggling, what's the benefit these days? Habit, time and weather checks, end-cuts of quirky show preppy stories? To some brave station out there, why not give it a try? It could be worth listening to.
 

 

June 18, 2018 9:36 am  #7


Re: More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

I've been reading the coverage here (at least two separate threads) since this story broke.

I'm so disappointed to learn about what's happened. The station has lost some people I really enjoyed listening to. Not to take anything away from the others but particularly sad for me is the loss of Walter Venafro. I loved his Saturday afternoon groove. And I didn't know that Dani Elwell, had left prior to this. Really disappointing...

I think I'm missing something... How do these layoffs correlate to the allegations against Porter? While the court of public opinion seems to supersede any formal legal process these days, and yes, people are innocent until proven guilty, I do have concern about some of the other rumors that have been shared about Porter's leadership style. Specifically, what sound to me like bullying tactics. There's a certain toxicity to that type of behavior that may not have the same outcome should the other allegations be pursued and turn out to be true.

I think it was Irvine on one of the other threads who shared his/her vision for what I would call a modernized Jazz FM. Targeting a younger audience etc. I like the sounds of this. The challenge would be risking losing the financial support of their older contributors. The ones with the deepest pockets. When the station went all jazz, they faced a similar challenge though. What to do about the loyal listeners to Peter Kiegh's classical program, for example.

This could end really poorly if not properly managed. On the other hand, there's a great opportunity for the right team supported by the right leader to create something new.

 

June 18, 2018 9:41 am  #8


Re: More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

I always look at morning radio hosts as the grown-ups version of Mom and Dad waking you up, getting you through your morning routine with an eye on the clock, and out the door, and into your day with a bit of momentum.

There's very little room for profound, lengthy creativity in morning radio. It's really good classic diner food, not an eight course meal.

Regarding cGrant's idea of no host just music: the sound of the human voice, and the ability to provide company, entertainment, news etc. is the greatest advantage radio has, and it's what will carry it forward in some shape, or form, or rather plat-form these days.

Give Jazz FM a bit of time to sort itself out. If things are still as effed up in two weeks, well.. then it might be as dire as appearances would suggest.

 

June 18, 2018 11:08 am  #9


Re: More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

So, just to follow up on a few points.

As of now it appears, no one has been re-assigned to any of the vacated spots.  There is still an afternoon drive with Brad Barker.  He was not cut.  As soon as this happened, why wouldn't you get someone to fill in for your morning drive since you're keeping afternoons?  From what I see, there are stations on near auto-pilot but they have live people on the drive times. 

In the letter to supporters, the reason for the staff cuts was a decline in corporate support.  Financials are not released to the public so this cannot be verified.

The original complaint about Porter was written by former and current employees.  Their names have not been made public so we do not know if these were the same people cut last week.  To be clear, I have no knowledge nor am I implying any connection between the two.

The morning show at JazzFM was light as morning shows tend to be are but they ended up with some good interviews in the 9am-10am hour.

Last edited by Leslieville Bill (June 18, 2018 11:09 am)


- Not an industry person.  Just a guy with a love of Toronto radio. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/cute.gif
 

June 18, 2018 11:31 am  #10


Re: More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

Leslieville Bill wrote:

In the letter to supporters, the reason for the staff cuts was a decline in corporate support.

Well, a cursory look and it seems to boil down to capitalism at its very best. People weren't "donating" and sponsors weren't plenty. Interesting example of reality. Perhaps, time to rebrand and debut a country format that, clearly, is in need in Cabbagetown.
 

 

June 18, 2018 5:37 pm  #11


Re: More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

I used to listen to the show On Point on NPR regularly. Was a great show and I was surprised to hear that earlier this year the host Tom Ashbrook had created an "abusive work environment and was dismissed.

On Point Host Dismissed for Creating an Abusive Work Environment 


Cool Airchecks and More:
http://www.lettheuniverseanswer.com/
 

July 29, 2018 8:22 am  #12


Re: More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

The latest on the "he said-they said" drama at the station is outlined in this interesting article from the Toronto Star. (Be aware with their paywall, you only get 5 free looks a month, so you have to decide if this is one of them.)

But it shows the great divide between those who made the complaints and those who deny they're true. 

Perhaps the most surprising thing to me in the entire piece is that JAZZ-FM has only 143,000 listeners daily. I realize they're a specialty kind of format that relies on donations, but how is that sustainable in the long run, even for a non-profit?

Jazz.FM workers say the CEO harassed them. Now, they’re accused of plotting a coup

 

July 29, 2018 1:14 pm  #13


Re: More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

I registered (name, email only) with the Star, which allows me to currently maintain free unlimited access.

When they announce the commencement of the paywall, I will not sign up for that option;  but in the interim the usual unlimited access applies.  The only pain is that there is no "keep me signed in" checkbox,  so you have to sign in each time you initially open the website.

 

July 29, 2018 1:43 pm  #14


Re: More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

It may be a charity but it has a board of directors that the listeners don't choose.  Unless there is some accountability to donors then I think they may be doomed.  Making donors into owners and allowing them to elect some of the directors would change this.


- Not an industry person.  Just a guy with a love of Toronto radio. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/cute.gif
 

July 29, 2018 2:27 pm  #15


Re: More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

Media Observer wrote:

I registered (name, email only) with the Star, which allows me to currently maintain free unlimited access.

When they announce the commencement of the paywall, I will not sign up for that option;  but in the interim the usual unlimited access applies.  The only pain is that there is no "keep me signed in" checkbox,  so you have to sign in each time you initially open the website.

You should check this again. I also did the same thing as you, but I saw a box that offered an option to stay signed in. When I go there, I'm still logged in. Not sure if that's because I'm a Saturday-only subscriber or not, but it definitely saves a lot of time.  
 

 

July 29, 2018 3:07 pm  #16


Re: More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

No joy.  I'm guessing they want to see how many sign ins they get from non-subscribers such as myself.

 

July 29, 2018 3:54 pm  #17


Re: More on the staff changes & controversy at Jazz FM...

Toronto Public Library cardholders can access articles from the Star and many other newspapers at the following link.
https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDMEDB0196&R=EDB0196