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October 8, 2021 10:19 am  #1

Jerry Agar Gets Sick On Air, Struggles To Continue Show

A very weird and frightening moment took place on Friday morning, during the 10 AM segment of the Jerry Agar Show on CFRB. The host was suddenly hit with what's called a "silent migraine" - the usual type of debilitating headache attack, only without the pain, admitting he's had it before but rarely this bad. 

He was forced to talk about it on air since it started affecting his performance. He was unable to read copy or text messages, and his delivery audibly slowed down, at times accompanied by very long pauses, as he tried to regain control of his thoughts. (At times, it almost sounded like he was having a stroke, but it didn't seem that serious and to his credit, he gamely kept going.)

Whether he'll be able to continue to press through it remains to be seen, but love him or hate him, it was definitely disturbing to hear an otherwise glib host unable to express himself at times, stuck on the radio live with no one to replace him for another two hours. 

I hope it passes and that he's OK. But it was pretty uncomfortable to listen to. 


October 8, 2021 10:25 am  #2

Re: Jerry Agar Gets Sick On Air, Struggles To Continue Show

Update: Ryan Doyle was called in to finish the last 90 mins. of the show. 

     Thread Starter

October 8, 2021 10:52 am  #3

Re: Jerry Agar Gets Sick On Air, Struggles To Continue Show

I heard a bit of his program as well, and I thought why is he still on?  He obviously was struggling at times and didn't seem to be able to concentrate.  Jerry didn't seem overly concerned however since he said this had happened quite a few times before and over many years.   Although he said it wasn't going away this time. Good that he wasn't in pain at least.  

The comment that he was "stuck on air" and no one to replace him for two hours was not accurate.  Various people could fill in on air for him quickly like Mike Bendixen, or John Moore and Ryan Doyle in fact was put in quickly. With all of the home set up's for hosts this makes it even easier. 

Hope Jerry is alright and he gets better soon and they find the cause of these silent migraines...


October 8, 2021 11:13 am  #4

Re: Jerry Agar Gets Sick On Air, Struggles To Continue Show

I actually wasn't thinking of all the home studios, so I suppose you're right - a replacement was somewhat easier in that a phone call had to be made and they didn't have to wait for someone to get to the station - which is what I was thinking when I made that statement. Ironically, COVID's broadcast-from-home strategy meant they had someone close by. Imagine what might have happened if everyone was still coming to Richmond St. 

This being Friday, I suspect John Moore would have been long gone by the time it happened. And I'm not sure if Bendixen would have been around to take over, either. 

Anyway, it worked out, but that 10-10:20 segment was definitely hard to listen to and I can't recall ever hearing anything quite like it. He definitely needs to see someone about it. What if it happened when he was driving? Not good. 

The only thing comparable to this - although it was far more serious - is a story I've mentioned here before. It involved the late Tom Gould, who was doing afternoon news on CKEY. His intro ran, "This is CKEY News at 5 PM. Now here is Tom Gould." He turned on his mic and at that exact moment, he had a serious heart attack.

All listeners heard after the opening was someone going "Aaargh, aaargh," and gasping for breath on air. They were forced to go to a series of spots and I don't think the news ever aired in that slot that day. An ambulance was called to the 25th floor of the Star building and took him away. He was gone for a long time after that and I can't quite recall if he ever came back. 

Thankfully, that's not what happened to Agar, but I'm sure it was still scary for him, nonetheless.

     Thread Starter

October 8, 2021 11:17 am  #5

Re: Jerry Agar Gets Sick On Air, Struggles To Continue Show

This reminds me of a similar situation from the mid 80s...  it happened at CING 108 when the the studios/offices were still on the South Service Road in Burlington. 

The Saturday afternoon host was on air, and was operating as well. The doors to the facility were also locked. 

Just after 3pm, the host missed a couple of cues, late rolls, some dead air. Then he started to slur his speech, and became very incoherent.

Luckily, a quick thinking listener realized what was happening, and called Halton Emergency services. Police, Fire, and Ambulance quickly attended, and gained access to the building (I think by this time, some other staff had also arrived at the studio).

The on air host was experiencing a medical event related to diabetes.  That quick thinking listener was most likely a nurse or doctor.



October 8, 2021 11:28 am  #6

Re: Jerry Agar Gets Sick On Air, Struggles To Continue Show

It's amazing how perceptive some listeners/viewers can be. 

Here are a couple of examples from the past few years. 

TV reporter discovers she has cancer after a viewer noticed a suspicious lump on her neck

Reporter thanks viewer for ‘saving her life’ after spotting something ‘strange’

     Thread Starter

October 8, 2021 11:39 am  #7

Re: Jerry Agar Gets Sick On Air, Struggles To Continue Show

Agar returned for an update at 11:30, and said he was feeling better and was headed to a doctor. He related how during that weird 20 minutes, he couldn't remember who anyone was and had a kind of brain fog. He managed to recognize Ryan Doyle's moniker, though, and seemed relieved when he took over. 

Given that and what I heard, I doubt he would have been able to finish the show. 

     Thread Starter

October 8, 2021 2:08 pm  #8

Re: Jerry Agar Gets Sick On Air, Struggles To Continue Show

A final word on this - Ryan Doyle got an early long weekend, thanks to his fill-in stint. Tamara Cherry was called in at the last minute to sit in on The Rush with Jay Michaels after 2 PM.  

     Thread Starter

October 12, 2021 9:14 am  #9

Re: Jerry Agar Gets Sick On Air, Struggles To Continue Show

Agar addressed his sudden illness on his show Tuesday, saying this problem stretches back at least 25 years, when he was working at another station in the U.S. and suddenly couldn't read his computer screen. He related that on Friday, he lost the ability to even remember certain words, phrases or people's names, and that he couldn't recall anything, even seconds after his producer told him what it was. 

He said she told him she was calling manager Mike Bendixen to try and replace him - and he had no idea who he was. He had a newspaper column to write and wanted to call in and cancel - but couldn't remember who to contact.

He called it frustrating and difficult and he was fortunate to be home, so he could get immediate help. His wife thought he was having a stroke and indeed, it did sound like that on air at times. 

In the end, it went away about two hours later and while he visited his doctor, he never did have to go to the ER - although he will be seeing a neurologist in the near future. 

All in all, a very scary yet inarguably fascinating moment in radio you fortunately don't hear very often.

     Thread Starter

October 14, 2021 1:11 am  #10

Re: Jerry Agar Gets Sick On Air, Struggles To Continue Show

I’m reminded of an on-air incident on CFPL-TV in London about 21-22 years ago. About a third of a way into the 6:00 newscast, anchor George Clark started having a coughing fit, and he asked co-anchor (and future MP) Kate Young to take over. He walked away and she did the rest of the newscast alone. George was back the next night.