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December 31, 2018 9:47 am  #1


2018: The SOWNY Year In Radio & TV

Happy New Year and welcome to 2019 to all fellow SOWNY-ites and guest viewers. For those with a nostalgic bent (or like me, just plain bent!) here’s a look back at some of the stories of the year just passed as they appeared on the Big Yellow Board. Thanks for all your posts and here’s to more of them over the next 365 days.  
 
January
  
Jan. 22: Rogers Loosens Its “Vice” Grip
 
After pouring a lot of money into Vice News, a network primarily aimed at Millennials, Rogers cuts ties with the money losing network. That didn’t scare Bell Media, which later took up the cause and made a deal allowing Vice’s U.S. programming to remain in Canada. 
 
Jan. 26: Paul Bliss Gone From CTV
 
The fallout from the #MeToo movement claims a local broadcaster, when allegations arise about an incident between CTV’s Queen’s Park bureau chief Paul Bliss and a former intern. By January, he’s under suspension. By March 6th, he’s been fired. A lawsuit filed by Bliss against the network has yet to be heard. Another lawsuit has also been launched against the reporter himself, by the intern he’s accused of assaulting.  
 
 
February
 
Feb 5: Steve Paikin Gets Caught Up In #MeToo Hysteria
 
As endless mostly U.S. showbiz and TV types got hoist by their own petard in the #MeToo movement, an accusation arose locally, alleging TVO host Steve Paikin sexually harassed a former Toronto mayoral candidate. Paikin handled it well, got out ahead of it, encouraged an independent investigation and was allowed to remain on the air hosting “The Agenda.” In the end he was totally cleared, becoming one of the few who survived a #MeToo accusation without losing his job.
 
Feb. 6: Bell Says Lack Of Super Bowl SimSub Killed Its Ratings
 
It’s the story that won’t go away. After battling – and losing – a CRTC edict that banned simultaneous substitution on the Super Bowl broadcast so Canadians could see the American ads, Bell tried several Hail Mary passes, including a court case and a watch-and-win contest. The network insisted nothing helped and made the claim that it affected its ratings. Both Bell and the NFL have launched another court challenge to the CRTC ruling and even though it’s addressed in the new USMCA - aka the revamped Free Trade agreement - it appears the 2019 game will also allow the U.S. broadcast – and its ads – to air on cable and satellite here.  
 
Feb. 13: Jerry Howarth Retires As Voice Of The Blue Jays
 
Citing issues with his voice and following a battle against prostate cancer, Jerry Howarth surprised many by announcing his retirement as the longtime voice of the Toronto Blue Jays. He’d been behind the mic for 36 years – including both Jays’ World Series wins.
  
Feb. 15: Layoffs Hit Global
 
Just two months into the new year, the end came for 70 people across the country who worked for Global. Most were in Vancouver, where 21 people lost their jobs. The network blamed sagging ad revenue.
 
Feb. 25: CBC Radio 2 Gets New Name & Format
 
The CBC rebrands its fairly lackluster Radio 2 FM service with a new name: CBC Music. According to the ratings released in September, it’s only a middling success – at least in the GTA. The station was tied with CJRT’s Jazz-FM at a lowly 2.1 share.
 
Feb. 28: Joe Siddall Gets TV Gig, Replacing Gregg Zaun
 
Not long after Jerry Howarth confirmed he was leaving as the voice of the Blue Jays, the radio booth loses another popular personality. Joe Siddall is promoted to TV studio analyst for baseball on Rogers Sportsnet, replacing the troubled Gregg Zaun. Zaun was fired for his alleged treatment of some of his female colleagues.
 
 
March
 
March 24: Steve Anthony Calls It Quits
 
After years on air in the Toronto market – starting at MuchMusic and continuing at various radio stations, Steve Anthony announces he’ll be leaving the business and CP24 on March 29th. He’d been in broadcasting for at least 25 years. 
 
March 27: Ben Wagner & Dan Shulman Named New Radio Voices Of The Blue Jays
 
They waited until just days before the new season, but Rogers officially named former Buffalo Bisons play-by-play man Ben Wagner and seasoned veteran Dan Shulman as the new voices of the Jays. They joined Mike Wilner, who was given an expanded role. They also began experimenting with rotating analysts with varying degrees of success.                        
 
March 29: Don Imus Signs Off After 50 Year Career
 
He was never on the air in Canada, but Don Imus had been a radio legend for half a century down south, and was constantly surrounded by controversy as one of the industry’s original shock jocks. He did his final show on March 29th after weeks of hype. But for many it was a huge disappointment. He did a single live hour, then tipped over the mic and left. The final hours were filled with a “Best Of” show.
 
April
 
April 1: No More Motts
 
After years on radio on CJRN Niagara Falls, CKTB St. Catharines and various shifts on CFRB, the Motts announced their sudden retirement. It came on April 1st, forcing the couple to insist it wasn’t an April Fools joke. They’ve since opened an equestrian and event centre, and have sporadic spots advertising it on – where else? - radio. Former RB newscaster Dave Trafford is named as their weekend replacement,
 
April 3: Al Joynes Gone From Q107, Andy Frost To Follow As Station Retools
 
The first hint that Q107 was rebranding and changing some of its music mix came when Al Joynes was abruptly let go and it was confirmed that Andy Frost would soon be retiring from Psychedelic Sunday – and the station itself. A month later, John Scholes joined the revolving door at Q, although he still turns up on some of 640’s paid ad shows. He’d been on the FM side for 19 years.
 
April 6: Bus Crash Takes Out Humboldt Broncos and Play-By-Play Man
 
Rarely has a single story so gripped both Canadians and its media. A tragic bus crash killed and injured far too many players on the Humboldt Broncos, and also claimed the life of its play-by-play man, Tyler Bieber. It was a tragedy that was felt long after the impact and was the topic of radio newscasts and talk shows across the country for weeks and made headlines around the world. It was named by the Canadian Press as the #1 story of the year in Canada.
 
April 23: Ousted Tory Leader Patrick Brown Sues CTV
 
After a stunning series of quickly moving events that led to his sudden ouster as Ontario Tory leader, Patrick Brown sues CTV over its report that may have cost him the gig. Despite penning a tell-all book and looking like his career was over, Brown is a true survivor, emerging victorious later in the year as the new mayor of Brampton. But the lawsuit continues. 
 
April 24: Broadcaster Retires After Amazing 56 Year Run – At The Same Station!
 
He wasn’t a household name in Toronto, but when Ross Kentner retired on April 27th, he ended a remarkable 56 year run – all at the same place, 560 CFOS in Owen Sound. He would not be the last 50 year vet at the same place to leave a radio gig, as Roger Ashby listeners would find out a few months later.
 
April 25: CBS All Access Debuts In Canada
 
Outside of the latest Star Trek incarnation (already sold to Bell) and the sequel to The Good Wife, there might not have been much to encourage Canadians to subscribe to the new CBS All Access streaming service. But if they wanted to, they now could – it finally came across the border in late April.
 
May
 
May 10: Evanovs Propose Unique Frequency Switches For Pride FM and CIDC-FM
 
Forever trying to get better signals into the Toronto market, the Evavovs, owners of CIDC Orangeville and Pride FM among others, proposed a bizarre frequency swap to the CRTC that would move the former station from 103.5 to 103.7 and the latter to the vacated dial spot. This story became one of the most commented posts of the year on SOWNY.   
                                                                                                                                     
May 27: Psychedelic Sunday Bites The Dust
 
A Q107 staple since its early days signs off for the last time, as Andy Frost wraps up his time playing the greatest album cuts from the 60s and 70s and leaves the station, which is veering in a new musical direction.
 
 
June
 
June 1: Kevin Frankish Leaves BT  
 
Another veteran voice leaves a traditional perch, as the longtime Breakfast Television host does his final show on the City TV staple. He insists he would be working on future documentaries for the station, but so far, none of them have surfaced.
 
It would take another month before City TV stalwart Roger Petersen is named the new BT host.
 
June 5: Chuck McCoy Suffers Massive Heart Attack
 
A close call for a former CHUM jock sees Chuck McCoy rushed to a Phoenix hospital after suffering cardiac arrest at his home. Doctors worked a miracle and just four days later, he was home recovering. After his jock days were over, McCoy became a management honcho for many years at Rogers.
 
June 8: Mike Bullard Pleads Guilty, Gets Probation
 
Former CFRB host and comedian Mike Bullard ends a long series of court fights, pleading guilty in a case involving his former girlfriend, City TV reporter Cynthia Milligan. He gets probation amid uncertainty about his future hiring prospects. Those questions are answered later in the year when he lands the afternoon drive co-host gig on new Mississauga AM station CKNT.
 
June 15: Trouble Surfaces at Jazz-FM
 
The first in what will become a series of very troubling incidents surfaces at Jazz FM, after some personalities are let go and CEO Ross Porter is replaced in that role – but still remains on air. A lot more scandal for the station awaits.

Former Jazz-FM morning host sues station
Jazz-FM rejects Garvia Bailey’s Dismissal Suit
Jazz-FM falls short in fund raising drive 
Court orders Jazz-FM to make email addresses available to dissenting group
Jazz-FM goes to court to stop email order  

June 16: John Donabie Signs Off
 
The last show for SOWNY board member John Donabie comes on CIUT, as the radio veteran says a final farewell to his audience – and perhaps, to radio itself.
 
June 19: CKNT Finally Signs On
 
Seven years (!) after being granted a licence for a news/talk format, CKNT in Mississauga finally signs on the air with a test signal. Its “test’ goes on for many months, and regular programming doesn’t begin until after Labour Day.
 
June 26: Mike Richards Tears Into TSN & Bell In Stunning Video
 
Some called it a career killer. Others a breath of fresh air. Not long after being dismissed as the morning man for TSN 1050, Mike Richards went on a major video rant on YouTube ripping the lid off what he claimed was really going on at the station. It could have ended his time in radio. But instead, he managed to land a job as the morning man at the new CKNT Sauga 960 – although so far, the show has yet to debut.
 
July
 
July 16: Jamar McNeil Joins CHUM FM Morning Show
 
A former Chicago morning man crosses the border and joins Roger and Marilyn at CHUM-FM. Later in the year, he’ll assume a more prominent role as one of the city’s longest serving radio vets announces his retirement. 
 
July 19: Robert Fisher Let Go From CBC
 
A veteran political journeyman is suddenly cut loose from the CBC, where he’d worked for years. It came just as Ontario voters went to the polls. 
 
August
 
Aug. 14: Art Bell Dies
 
It wasn’t a conspiracy or a rumour, although he probably would have liked that. Art Bell, the creator and original host of Coast to Coast AM, passed away in Nevada at age 72. The coroner ruled his death came as a result of an accidental drug overdose.
 
September
 
Sept. 25: Lou Schizas And More Cut By GNR 640
 
A number of regular voices are dumped at the Corus AM station, led by business reporter Lou Schizas. Also gone: Sue-Anne Levy from the Toronto Sun and Cam Stewart, a Friday staple on the John Oakley Show.
 
October
 
Oct. 7: “Oh Wow” Radio, The Songs Oldies Stations Forgot, Launches Online
 
This normally wouldn’t make it into a list of the biggest stories of the year, but Rock Radio Scrapbook founder Dale Patterson’s idea to start an online radio station featuring charted songs that oldies stations refuse to play was an instant hit. The thread attracted over 17,000 page views, garnered more than 300 replies and stretched 11 pages, as users suggested songs for Dale’s online effort. Ranking as the most viewed post of 2018 earns it a spot here. And it may not be over yet.
 
Oct. 24: CFPT (aka ELMNT-FM) Toronto’s Newest FM Station, Debuts
 
The long awaited successor to CKAV, whose licence was pulled by the CRTC, debuts with a surprisingly terrific line-up at 106.5. It promises major exposure for Canadian Indigenous artists.
 
Oct. 25: Roger Ashby Announces Retirement After 50 Years On Air
 
The longest remaining talent on Toronto airwaves confirms he’ll be leaving his longtime morning show on CHUM-FM. Roger Ashby had been doing the gig for several decades and joined CHUM-AM in 1969 from CKOC. His final show, which aired on Dec. 5 from the Sheraton Centre, marked an ending in Toronto radio which may never be duplicated – 50 years on air, almost all of it with one station. It was revealed on that last show that Ashby may be off air but he’s not gone from radio. He’ll be creating and choosing the music for an all streaming channel set to launch in 2019.
 
November
 
Nov. 2: Rick Hodge Hangs Up His Headphones
 
Just days after his former colleague Roger Ashby’s announcement, ex-CHUM-FM and EZ rock St. Catharines morning show co-host leaves the business after 45 years in broadcasting. 
 
Nov. 20: Virgin Radio Cleans House
 
A month before Christmas, CKFM and other Virgin stations across Canada let several prominent staff members go, including its entire Toronto morning crew.
 
Nov. 30: Christmas Classic Pulled Over #MeToo Movement
 
Perhaps the silliest controversy of the year came late in 2018, when a Cleveland radio station pulled the seasonal  classic “Baby It’s Cold Outside” because of concerns it promoted date rape. The story spread throughout the world, with even Rogers and Bell amongst the Canadian radio owners pulling the tune from its playlists. A backlash saw some stations reinstituting the song after a few weeks due to complaints of overreactions.
 
December
 
Dec. 18: Indie 88.1 Tries For A Power Boost – Again
 
When all previous efforts at trying to get its signal reach extended in Toronto failed, Rock 95, the company that owns Indie 88.1, came up with a novel idea – swap antenna heights with Indigenous newcomer CFPT-FM and get it done that way. We won’t know until sometime in 2019 if the CRTC agrees to the request.
  
For the all-too long list of those we lost this year, see Dale Patterson’s post here.

 

December 31, 2018 11:43 am  #2


Re: 2018: The SOWNY Year In Radio & TV

Nice summary and it was an interesting year!  Im still waiting to know about CIDC-FM approval.

 

 

December 31, 2018 5:13 pm  #3


Re: 2018: The SOWNY Year In Radio & TV

What about December 31st...and CKNT still has bad sound quality!!!

Thanks for this post RA, well done and a great year in review...what a year it was!


Cheers!


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

January 1, 2019 11:03 am  #4


Re: 2018: The SOWNY Year In Radio & TV

Chuck99 wrote:

CKNT would be my pick for thread of the year.  So many pages of comments for a station with so few listeners.  

At first glance, the attention paid to CKNT seems way over the top. But when you look a little bit closer, you can see why it garnered so much of the spotlight.
 
Consider:
 
-It was awarded a licence in 2011, but took seven excruciating years to get on the air, with one delay and extension after another.
 
-It finally signed on in mid-June, only to go into a test mode that went on and on and on and on. Actual programming didn’t begin for months afterwards.
 
-This small station that has a very limited signal and almost no advertising has a news/talk format, probably the most expensive one they could have picked, especially for Mississauga. Yet that city is certainly covered by the larger Toronto stations in the area – which have far more resources. (And more than half the time, when I’ve tuned in, they’re not even dealing with news!)
 
-They’ve been on for nearly eight months, and they still don’t have a morning show, the most valuable time in all of radio! They hired former TSN host Mike Richards to take over the slot, after he publicly destroyed his previous employer in a YouTube post, but as of this posting, he’s still not on the air.
 
-They hired a very right wing former CRTC chairman to do mid-mornings and returned the troubled Mike Bullard back to the airwaves.
 
-Much of the time, the shows are at least partially distorted or horribly over-modulated and it never seems to get any better.

-It's partially owned by the guy who also owns the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, yet there's not a single mention that CKNT broadcasts all their games on the team's website.

-Speaking of websites, they launched without one, something almost no business would dare attempt these days, despite having seven years to plan for one. 
 
Add into it that it’s the very first new AM station in the area in a long time and that it makes WKRP in Cincinnati look like the CBC, and it was one of the most compelling local radio stories in 2018. 

     Thread Starter
 

January 1, 2019 6:02 pm  #5


Re: 2018: The SOWNY Year In Radio & TV

I'd like to see Durham get a news-talk station. I think it would be very popular, There's a lot happening in Pickerig-Ajax-Whitby-Oshawa-Clarington et al that could discussed on such a statiion, and no lack of news stories.


"The radio craze ... will soo fade." - Thomas Edison, 1922
 

January 1, 2019 9:35 pm  #6


Re: 2018: The SOWNY Year In Radio & TV

Dale Patterson wrote:

I'd like to see Durham get a news-talk station. I think it would be very popular, There's a lot happening in Pickerig-Ajax-Whitby-Oshawa-Clarington et al that could discussed on such a statiion, and no lack of news stories.

I guess there could be such a station, but where on the AM dial would you put it? I know you're an old DX-er at heart, so this is a fun thing to contemplate. 

1350 has gone to a new Brampton ethnic station, not yet on the air. 1490 will one of these days be a rebroadcaster of CHTO, already on the X-band, so that's out, as is the old CKAN Newmarket frequency of 1480.

It could have been 950, the surrendered home of the old CKBB in Barrie, but not with CKNT at 960.  

1280 was long ago grabbed up by Ryerson, but is so weak, I doubt you could get it in Whitby, Ajax or anywhere outside of its own parking lot.

Perhaps on 1190, where the old CJMR used to be before moving to 1320. But that would make it a daytime-only thing, so that probably wouldn't work. 

How about 790, the former home of the long defunct CHIC? That's a possibility, I suppose. Maybe even 710, after CJRN gave up the ghost. Or 1220, if Grapevine Radio never sees the light of day, which so far, it hasn't.

Assuming you could get the CRTC's approval for such a station, the pickings are slim! Which leads me to wonder - with the FM dial already way too crowded and barely an ounce of space left for anything there, is there any open frequency where even a lower powered station could reside in the GTA? Or are we basically out of room on AM, too?

     Thread Starter
 

January 1, 2019 9:49 pm  #7


Re: 2018: The SOWNY Year In Radio & TV

Sorry to reply to my own post, but I just remembered - wasn't the old CHOO licensed to Ajax? If so, perhaps 1390 might still work.

     Thread Starter
 

January 1, 2019 10:42 pm  #8


Re: 2018: The SOWNY Year In Radio & TV

A new, stand-alone, regional, News Talk radio station on an unfamiliar AM frequency is a suicide mission. Some may try (CKNT) but none will ever turn a profit. The economics simply don't support it.

Look at the failure-to-lunch full signal AMs (600/940) in Montreal, or even the FM-advantaged Rogers attempts in New Brunswick. 


 
 

January 2, 2019 12:32 am  #9


Re: 2018: The SOWNY Year In Radio & TV

RadioAaron wrote:

A new, stand-alone, regional, News Talk radio station on an unfamiliar AM frequency is a suicide mission. Some may try (CKNT) but none will ever turn a profit. The economics simply don't support it.

Look at the failure-to-lunch full signal AMs (600/940) in Montreal, or even the FM-advantaged Rogers attempts in New Brunswick. 

I agree with you. Still, it's fun to contemplate what aural real estate any hypothetical station might occupy. I can't imagine there's anything left open on FM except if it's so low power, it doesn't get beyond a few blocks.
 
There are still a few open AM frequencies around but I'm not sure what format might ever occupy them. And I wonder if the supposed oldies station set for 1220 in St. Catharines will ever materialize.

     Thread Starter
 

January 2, 2019 1:11 pm  #10


Re: 2018: The SOWNY Year In Radio & TV

Chuck99 wrote:

CKNT would be my pick for thread of the year.  So many pages of comments for a station with so few listeners.  

As Mr. Spock might have said on Star Trek, "I can't believe my ears!" I just heard a station I.D. jingle on CKNT.

It doesn't appear that it was done by one of the big companies, however. It was someone playing a generic guitar riff and a woman sounding like a subdued Janis Joplin singing, "Sauga 960" over it. It went by so fast, it took me about 10 seconds to realize what I'd just heard.

Normally production elements on a radio station don't surprise me. But for some reason, at least on this one, it did. What's next, a news sounder at the top of the hour? Stay tuned...

     Thread Starter
 

January 3, 2019 1:52 pm  #11


Re: 2018: The SOWNY Year In Radio & TV

All I could think of, as I glanced at the headlines, was 'All of this in a very good economy!??!  There's a theme song for the year R.A.    https://www.google.com/search?q=Fools+Rush+In%2C+Brook+Benton&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b

Where have all the smart ones gone?  Long time passing.

Last edited by Lee Marshall (January 3, 2019 7:38 pm)

 

January 3, 2019 9:36 pm  #12


Re: 2018: The SOWNY Year In Radio & TV

CKNT we be playing oldies again this time next year, and silent shortly after.