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December 6, 2018 11:42 am  #1

The Difference A Good Radio Owner Can Make

Not sure how many here remember the great Ted Bird, who worked at CFTR in the early 80s. He was a hilarious guy but he had to leave Toronto for Montreal before he achieved the fame he was seeking, if not the fortune. He was the subject of another TR alum, Jim JJ Johnston's, ongoing profiles of worthy Canadian radio personalities.

A Salute To Ted Bird

But even if you don't know his name, there was one part that really stood out for me (beyond his comparing the legendary Robert Holiday to Joseph Stalin!)  He talked about his years working for CHOM-FM in Montreal and what happened when the station changed hands. 

"Gary Slaight and family sold Standard Radio to Astral in 2007. Says Ted: “It ushered in a palpable change in day-to-day operations. The Slaights were professional broadcasters who worked collaboratively with talent because they understood that the creative and business ends of radio nurtured each other.

They valued input and feedback from on-air people and left us to our own devices within the bounds of reason, trusting that we were diligent professionals who would perform to the best of our ability. They rewarded you if you produced and showed you the door if you didn't. That's eminently fair.

The Astral philosophy seemed to be more in line with a scornful stepmother: ‘We're not interested in what you think, and you'll do what we tell you, whether you like it or not’. I didn't like it, so I quit.”

I get what he's saying. I worked at one place that changed owners while I was there and the difference was palpable. Where once we'd stressed creativity and high standards, the new owner was only interested in making money, getting rid of as many salaries as possible, and just keeping the thing on the air with as little expense as they could.

Today, while it boasts a lot more bells and whistles, it's a shadow of its former self and is coasting on the fumes of what the previous owner made it into. Sadly, this is a familiar refrain at all too many stations these days. Jobs being as scarce as they I'm not quite so sure I'd take Ted's quitting route that quickly, but I admire him for his independence and standards. (Or should that be "Standards?")

These days, there are too many Astrals and not enough Slaights. And the industry - and its employees and listeners - are all poorer for it.   


December 7, 2018 6:30 am  #2

Re: The Difference A Good Radio Owner Can Make

When FM 97.7 "the Beach" didn't deliver local news, weather, traffic, sports & entertainment, as had been promised, Wasaga's Chamber of Commerce quietly but effectively boycotted it so the owner (who is in fact a real estate speculator & not a broadcaster) packed his staff's microphone and left town, leaving local airways open for applications to the CRTC for someone who will deliver on the original promises