Tasso, Suzanne leave CFQR morning show

Tasso: gone

Paul "Tasso" Zakaib

After 20 years in morning radio in Montreal, Aaron and Tasso is just Aaron.

CFQR a.k.a. 92.5 the Q a.k.a. Q92 Program Director Brian DePoe announced on Wednesday that two thirds of its long-running morning trio would be leaving the station: Paul Zakaib (aka Tasso Patsikakis) and Suzanne Desautels. No reason was given beyond a vague statement of making changes.

The Aaron and Tasso show began on CFQR in 1989, but their collaboration began years before that when they worked at CKGM and CFCF radio. The CFCF partnership ended in 1987 when management decided Tasso was no longer a good fit for the ratings-stalled show hosted by Aaron Rand. Later, when they were teamed up for Q92’s morning show and the ratings skyrocketed, the powers that be learned their lesson, and Aaron and Tasso stuck together throughout the 90s and most of this decade.

Considering the revolving doors of morning shows at the competition CHOM, CJFM and even CJAD, it’s astonishing that they stuck around for so long, cementing their names into the city’s consciousness. (I remember one morning a while back when a woman got a surprise call from the CHOM morning show – the hosts asked if she knew who they were, and she said “Oh, it’s Aaron and Tasso!” There was a bit of an awkward silence after that, but it demonstrates how they were the most recognizable of the morning teams.)

Suzanne Desautels

Suzanne Desautels

Desautels also hails from the old days of CFCF radio, where she started off as an intern in the early 80s. But she spent most of her career at CFCF television, as a weather presenter and co-host of its Travel Travel program. In 1999, when the budget axe fell there, she moved to CFQR as a news reader and has been there since, eventually moving to morning traffic and then recently as a full partner in the morning team.

So far, the plan is to keep Aaron Rand going solo, with a scaled-back morning show (less talk, more music). I can’t help but wonder if that may be an indication that the two-men-one-woman morning crew format we see on Montreal’s anglo music stations might be a bit excessive on the talent for these belt-tightening times.

Those who want to express their opinion on the dumpings can do so on the station’s Facebook page or by contacting management directly. (UPDATE: The station has shut down the discussion forums on its Facebook group page after being swarmed with comments about the programming change. Listeners are being asked to email PD Brian DePoe directly, presumably so negative comments are kept out of public view)

UPDATE: Coverage from CTV Montreal and The Gazette, both of which have been flooded with comments about the move.

Neither The Gazette nor CTV (nor I) have gotten any comment from the two fired personalities. Instead, Aaron Rand has been stuck in the unenviable position of explaining the decision of someone else to fire a good friend.

UPDATE (Aug. 21): Some insightful comments from radio buff Sheldon Harvey.

UPDATE (Aug. 25): Comments from Aaron Rand, who says he’s passing along people’s thoughts to Tasso and Suzanne, even while the two of them remain silent.

47 thoughts on “Tasso, Suzanne leave CFQR morning show

  1. Lewis

    Why don’t they just dump Aaron as well? The morning show became pretty pointless since they re-branded to the Q.

    Reply
  2. Steve

    Aaron & Tasso didn’t first work together on radio at CFCF radio. It was before that at CKGM radio(then they were lured to CFCF radio).

    Reply
      1. Steve

        Mits on the CTV Montreal noon hour newscast also made the same mistake(& CTV Montreal online story on it, has since been slightly altered to omitt mentioning CFCF Radio, after I tried posting a comment there to say that Mits got the information wrong).

        Reply
  3. antonella

    I was really shocked when I heard the news this morning. Although I love Aaron, the morning show just won’t be the same! The three were like a family and brightened my day with their laughter and crazy jokes. I hope that somehow, Aaron, Tasso and Suzanne will be back together again.

    Reply
  4. Pamela

    I agree – I just can’t see Aaron working it alone. I always preferred Tasso and I thought Suzanne was a great addition. I used to wake up to them every morning – I guess I’ll have to switch back to Mix 96 (or Virgin whatever).

    Reply
  5. DEBBIE

    I AM VERY SHOCKED WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING AARON, TASSO & SUZANNE BEING ONLY AARON NOW. i FOUND THEY WORKED REALLY WELL AS A GROUP AND I BELEIVE THAT HAVING ONLY AARON IN THE MORNING WON’T BE AS SUCCESSFUL AS HAVING ALL THREE. I WILL LISTEN FOR A WHILE BUT I DON’T THINK IT WILL BE AS SUCCESSFUL AS BEFORE AND I THINK YOU WILL BE LOSING ALOT OF LISTENERS DUE TO THIS UNFORTUNATE UPHEAVAL. BRING THEM BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  6. TV Dude

    The Aaron Rand show on CFCF radio circa 1985-86 was the BEST radio I have ever heard in this town. Get a hold of some tapes, you will not regret it…

    Reply
    1. canuckistani.john in victoria

      About the Aaron Rand Show on CFCF – with Tasso and Melody… spoke some french was one of the most original bits of radio I have ever enjoyed. Left Mtl years ago but I still replay fragments in (what passes for) my mind.
      Q: Where would I hope to get my hands on soundbytes, tapes, whatever format!
      This stuff deserves to live – and be enjoyed by future generations.

      Appreciate any response to this longshot question.

      Reply
  7. Al Reade

    Sad, Sad, Very Very Sad!

    This is the way of Montreal Radio nowadays! Rob Kemp was demoted last week over at CHOM and it seems desperation is now the situation at all stations. Personally I’m now listening to Sirius Radio full time except for news and traffic for 15 – 30 minutes in the morning.
    Best of luck to Tasso and Suzanne… You were great to wake up to… you’ll be missed!

    Reply
  8. dan

    good riddance. i dreaded seeing that guy’s ugly mug every morning at vendome station in one of the station’s obnoxious posters reading “funnier the queen boarding at berri!” the best part was when someone grafittied “which isn’t funny at all” beneath it.

    Reply
  9. Barbara

    Well this looks like a sign that Q92 is going down the drain. I think that the station will loose a lot of followers Aaron is great, but I don’t think he will survive without Tasso. Suzanne was a great addition to the team. Listners liked the morning banter between them. What a shame my best wishes to Tasso and Suzanne in their future endevors and good luck to Aaron who now has to fly solo.

    Reply
  10. Nancy

    Here we go again, some stupid bonehead suits messing with a great formula.

    This all started a few months ago when they virtually cut all of Tasso’s voices. When he used to do Stewart Jackée, Pariseau, the old lady, the old smoking cougar, etc. I used to convulse with laughter. Then they cut out Carla and Renato and Dave and I more or less stopped listening.

    Really, there’s nothing left in Montreal. It’s a wasteland as far as English radio is concerned.

    Reply
    1. christina

      I agree, Taso was hilarious. I will no longer be listening to the Q. they got rid of 2 icons!! shame on them

      Reply
  11. Vahan

    Yeah so what? I have been “let go” in the past too. I was pretty important to the day to day operations until I wasn’t needed anymore. I made the day of work a lighter place for my fellow employees and had fun doing it. Why did no one report that. Oh I didn’t have a big cushy nest egg to fall back on either.

    Reply
    1. Lynn

      Well, Vauhn, the subject here is Aaron, Tasso and Suzanne….not you.
      Hundreds of people listened and appreciated their silly banter on the way to work. This has nothing to do with nest eggs and axes to grind…it’s about disappointment of the general Anglo radio audience.
      Where you on the radio or are you just up in the air alla’ the time…evreywhere?

      Reply
  12. Radio guy from Mtl

    Well how unfortunate! I was a big fan of Montreal radio. I am 27 years old I grew up listenting To Terry Dimonte and Aaron and Tasso. Now what do I have to listen to? ahhhh it just goes to show which language is taking over this city and pretty soon english radio will be non existant just like in quebec City! What a joke!

    Reply
  13. tacosburritos

    how are you guys going to learn french if you hide out in a little anglo-media world? a channel for the tourists ok, but the rest of you, what’s your excuse?

    Reply
  14. Jim Collins

    What a waste of solid good humor the fantastic three brought to this wonderful city. Arron is great, but how long will this man go on without having a good part of his best friends being fired or what-ever. Someone made a big mistake here. I do hope that higher peers brings them back. HOORAY-HOORAY-HOORAY. Thank you Arron, Tasso, and Suzanne, for the wonderful perforance that you’ve given this wonderful city, Montreal. Good-luck Tasso and Suzanne. Will miss the Tassocinos and Suzannes’ brightness, traffic reports etc. PEOPLE!!!!!!!!. You’re losing another listener

    Reply
  15. Nancy

    To tacosburritos:

    What makes you think the people who listen to Aaron, Tasso and Suzanne don’t speak French? I happen to be speak French quite fluently. What business is it of yours what language anyone speaks, anyway? Take your separatist garbage somewhere else.

    Reply
  16. Freddy

    Hey Taccos, Anglos can learn french in school! I believe anglos want to listen to good anglo radio stations… If anglos have to learn french from a radio station, that might cause a little problem. If that is what you want lets just eliminate anything that has to do with the english language. Aaron and Tasso were a very good team, they always made me laugh on my way into work in the morning, and it is a shame that chorus decided to cut that! This is one listener that will now go out and buy a satellite radio.

    Reply
  17. tacosburritos

    What about living in a french civil society? you can’t go anywhere in montréal without people forcing english on you.

    ulster essentialists

    Reply
  18. Jim Collins

    Mr Fagstein, also Brian DePoe.. Wednesday evening…..It’s been a somewhat boring week without Tasso and Suzanne. I would like to know if higher peers like yourselves, are rethinking this situation about bringing back Tasso and Suzanne. Arron is just not the same alone. Thousands of ex-listeners are with me out there, I really adored this station. Daytime was wonderful. The famous trio in the morning, Terry demonte at lunch,, Donna Saker, and now, Donna and Ken Conners. How complete. So now I need an answer!!!!!!!
    Are you bringing back Tasso and Suzanne? I need to know. You must know by now that I was an avid listener. Like everyone else, I will move on. Thhere’s other radio stations, like the Virgin, which by now have brought a pile of new listeners. I expect complete honesty here. Will you bring them back!!!!!!! Yes or No….
    Thank-You Jimmy Collins

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I think, even despite the public response, it is highly unlikely you’ll see the decision simply reversed. These kinds of decisions aren’t made lightly, and once they’re made, they’re final.

      If Tasso and Suzanne do come back to radio, it would probably be at another station (one not owned by Corus).

      Reply
  19. Tony P.

    Hey Taco wake up.The French they speak on most of the radio station is a very poor French and I would’t like to learn it like that,and dont forget,in north america there are allmost 400 millions English and only about 6 million French so if you want move around you have to speack English.By the way I speak French-English-Spanish and Italian

    Reply
  20. Jim Collins

    Well, you said all I wanted to hear in a nutshell. So called Chorus will not be bringing Tass and Suzanne back. Have you honestly sat back and listen to what’s going on, on the morning show now. More stupid commercials, and being so hard-up your putting these so called game shows. The so called yodeller, The grocery game. Trying to bring back listeners. Shame on you. I still listen to Arron a bit, but the virgin has caught my ear. I sincerely hope you don’t fire Donna Saker and Ken Conners. The four o’clock drive is a wonderful way to come home, but as for the morning show… Big mistake without Tasso and suzanne.
    Regards. Jimmy Collins
    P.S.–Used to be a big time listener to the Q

    Reply
    1. Deb

      I agree, I like Sakers and Connors together too. But I still miss Benezra and Judy. AND I agree the games on the Q92 morning show were becoming ridiculous.

      Reply
  21. Alex H

    Here’s my take:

    Corus has shown to have a weird corporate tendancy to try to shrink into profits. They did their damndest to kill the english news channel, turning it into a news talk snoozer, and now finally into a moldy oldies station that has already max out at 2% market share. On the french side, they are doing more and more “network” programming, including running Dutrisac at noon on their “news” station simulcast from their FM station. They have also burned through a number of useless overnight formats, run “network” news for the first 5 minutes of the hour, kill the format of their news station in an attempt to save a few dollars on the way around on news readers for their other stations.

    Too often, “new format” is a code word for “get rid of expensive employees, replace with cheaper unknowns”. Aaron likely won’t have to face empty chairs for long, but the replacements might be doing the work for minimum wage.

    Reply
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  23. josie

    I feel since both Tasso and Suzanne
    are not on the show it’s not the same and will never be the same I loved it when they were talking they made me laugh before entering in my workplace. It’s a shame.
    I’d like to know what’s the rating since they left.

    Reply
    1. Jim Collins

      Hi Josie. I always appreiciate listening to other comments, although I still listen to Arron but when those stupid games come up, my nerves burn. The rating must be a lot lower then it was. I’ve commented 3 times before this and to no avail. I trust Suzanne and Tasso have moved on and I sure wish them well. Arron posted a somewhat of a gathering for them both, that I could not attend. Fagstein emailed me, saying that Suzanne and Tasso would not be coming back. Needless to say Josie or anyone else reading this comment. Could someone please tell me where Tasso has his restuarant. I believe that it’s on the west island somewhere. Keep well Arron

      Reply
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  25. Deb

    Well I guess I’m in the minority here. Although I really enjoyed Q92 from years ago, I found the last year or so it had become silly, rather than funny. The skits seemed juvenile and I also found Tasso to be arrogant. Never did like him. I like Suzanne Desautels though and I think it’s unfortunate they canned her. Murray Sherriffs I can take or leave…his mistakes in his news reports are annoying. I also can’t understand why they got rid of the Drive at 5 with Connors, Benezra and Judy. Now they were funny together!! Just my opinion here……

    Reply
  26. Allen Zakaib

    The whole point of the Q92 morning show was to have some fun listening to these 3 personalities. They were a dream team that regardless of their moods, played off each other to brighten our days and make us laugh.
    The powers that be don’t yet realize that we can get the news and music from any other radio station.

    Reply
  27. Tissooki

    Aaron accepted the fact the “firm“ got rid of Susanne and Tasso.
    My be Aaron can tell the following joke (buy the way no more jokes in the show)
    The lion did approach the white bull, the red bull. the black bull and the black-white bull to get their blessing to eat the orange bull. The reason given was that this bull did not integrate with the group, he was not a team player. The lion got the blessing and he did have a good supper that night. Few days later, he was obviousely hungry, gathered the white, the red and the balck bull to get blessing for eating the black-white bull. He was not pu, he was black and white. The king got the blessing and he had a nice supper that night.

    I will make it short at the end Aaron, sorry the white bull remained alone in front of the lion. The lion told hime simply he is going to have him for supper that night. Aaron, sorry the white bull, with deep regret said
    Yes king in fact I was eaten at the same instant you had eaten the orange bull.

    Aaron remember at the end the old lion (the king) get also srewed by monkeys.

    Suzanne and Tasso I love you for your smile, your warm voice, and the fact that you were always kind to Aaron in spite that …

    I may be too hard on Aaron but I am not naive integrity is a dream, but no body dreams anymore.

    May be a dream becomes a dream one day!

    Reply
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  29. Anonymous

    I like to say that Suzanne is really a lady and I like the way she presents herself not like some others that they always ha ha and hoo hoo they should have ladys on the radio stations like Suzanne Desautels

    Reply
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  33. Patrick

    A bit late to comment, but I really miss these guys on Q92. Aaron, Tasso and Suzanne were what made mornings awesome. Now they just suck. And 92.5 has become another pointless radio station that plays mostly Top 40 crap for teens with no taste in music to enjoy. I’m a teen myself, and I grew up waking up to Aaron & Tasso’s jokes in the morning before going to school. Sincerely disappointed with Q92’s management, they were the #1 radio in Montreal before they decided to screw things up by firing radio icons and re-branding for no reason.

    Reply
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