Posted in Montreal, Radio

Cat Spencer to replace Aaron Rand at CFQR

Aaron Rand

Mere hours after veteran host Aaron Rand announced during Friday’s morning show that he will be leaving CFQR (92.5 the Q), news emerged that CJFM (Virgin Radio 96) morning host Cat Spencer has been tapped to replace him.

Staff at CFQR were informed of Rand’s decision on Thursday after the morning show was over. On Friday at 10am, a meeting was reportedly convened at Astral Media to announce that Cat Spencer would be leaving CJFM and moving to CFQR in September.

Rand says he was completely unaware of his employer’s decision to hire Spencer until he was called into his boss’s office after Friday’s show. During the show, Rand said he would stay on for a few more weeks (officially until the end of April) so his station could find a replacement, but now that it seems they’ve found that replacement, Rand says he’s not sure how long he’ll still be there.

Reached by telephone on Friday afternoon, Rand was clearly unhappy about how his bosses handled the situation, concealing from him their decision to hire Spencer and allowing him to give a statement in which he “looked like an idiot” by saying the station hadn’t found someone to replace him when in fact it had.

Still, the decision to leave is Rand’s, both technically and realistically. He says he met with his bosses last week as negotiations were set to begin for his contract renewal (his contract ends Sept. 1), and it seemed immediately apparent that management was not particularly excited about improving his contract, nor was he particularly excited about staying.

He said he was trying to be as honourable as he could, a stark contrast to his former co-hosts Suzanne Desautels and Paul “Tasso” Zakaib, who were fired without being given a chance to say goodbye on air (though Rand put Zakaib on air via telephone and a few months later hosted a party in their honour). It all went fine until he found out about Spencer. Not that he has a problem with Spencer, or the hiring, or even the timing of such. It’s the fact that he wasn’t told that’s left him pissed.

Rand’s enjoyment of the morning job went down significantly after long-time partner Zakaib was turfed in 2009 (they had been hosting the morning show at CFQR for almost 20 years, and had co-hosted together before that for other stations since 1984). He told The Gazette in 2009 that he felt “survivor’s guilt” afterward.

The format change that came with the firings also didn’t work so well for Rand. The station wanted “more music” in an effort to boost ratings, so Rand’s time at the mike was significantly reduced as the station began to sound more like a juke box than live radio. “I’m not a DJ,” Rand told me.

In all, Rand’s career on the Montreal airwaves spans 26 years, notably with CKGM, CFCF and CFQR, but during his early years he had jobs with CJFM, CHOM and CJAD.

The announcement of Rand’s departure comes less than a month after CFQR was officially acquired by Cogeco Diffusion as part of the huge purchase of Corus Quebec, though there’s no indication of any direct link between this decision and the change in ownership. Rand himself says linking the two is “pure speculation.”

My attempts to reach management at CJFM and CFQR for comment have so far proved unsuccessful. Spencer also hasn’t gotten back to me yet. But Mark Dickie, the Q’s general manager, took time out of not returning my calls to tell The Gazette’s Bill Brownstein that “Aaron Rand has been the cornerstone of this station for years and has consistently delivered us great radio. We wish him only the best.”

The announcement

The following was said on air by Rand shortly before 7:30 Friday morning:

I have decided that I’m going to be leaving the radio station and my job here as host of the morning show. After almost 26 years of sitting down to start my day by telling a couple of stories and sharing some laughs with you, my time here is coming to an end. It’s never an easy decision to make, but as the expression goes “when it’s time, it’s time.” And now is that time.

It’s been a great run. I’ve been blessed to work with some really talented people, not the least of whom was my partner for most of those years, Tasso, who I told about my decision yesterday. And I’m also proud of the fact that as a native Montrealer I was lucky enough to work at a job I love in a city I love for my entire career. That’s truly special to me.

As far as what’s next, I don’t really know. I do know I’m not ready to retire yet, so I’m going to spend the next little while thinking about what I’m going to do next, and sleeping in. But I promise to keep you updated through my Facebook page and let you know when I know exactly what’s next. In the meantime, I’ll still be here for the next few weeks while the station goes about the business of finding someone new to fill my seat.

I want to sincerely thank everyone I’ve ever worked with on the show over the years. Talented people like Patrick Charles, Leo Da Estrela, Murray Sherriffs, Suzanne Desautels, Glenn Repas, Melody Pierson, Sandy Weigens and Pierre Arcand. And most of all, I want to thank you. You who listen every morning, especially those of you who have been loyal listeners for longer than I care to remember.

Thank you for allowing me the privilege of entertaining you for so many years. Please believe me when I say the pleasure has been all mine.

Thank you.

You can listen to audio of this announcement in MP3 format here.

Rand said the text of the announcement was given to management beforehand, and had he known about Spencer’s impending hiring he would have deleted the sentence about sticking around as the station finds someone new.

Shortly after the announcement aired, Rand got a call from his mother (in reality, it was Zakaib, performing one of the many popular characters he brought to the morning show). Rand said the bit was a way to take the tension away after such a serious announcement.

It was good thinking. He just surprised thousands of people by telling them he’s breaking up with them after 20 years together.

Last of his era

If this seems like more than just a simple case of a long-time radio personality hanging up the mike (he’s pushing 60, but he said he’s “not ready to retire”), it’s because Rand is one of the few remaining people in commercial music radio in Montreal’s anglo market who isn’t afraid not to sound like a marketer sometimes. Where the standard procedure might have been to pretend his departed co-hosts never existed, Rand granted interview requests, spoke highly of them, gave Zakaib a chance to say goodbye on air and even organized a party in their honour for long-time listeners to attend.

Talk radio still has some true personalities, people like Mitch Melnick and Tommy Schnurmacher. Maybe it’s inevitable that the music side can no longer afford the same kind of broadcasters, and hosts across the schedule at CHOM, CFQR and CJFM (Virgin Radio 96) will all become interchangeable parts without real personalities or even last names. If people are constantly pushing for “more music”, maybe they don’t care what voice tells them what song was just played and what time it is.

If that’s true, you can hardly blame the stations for moving in this direction.

Stopped being fun

Though Rand’s departure was clearly more amicable than was Ted Bird’s from CHOM last year (Bird has since taken a job at K103 Kahnawake), there are similarities in the motivations, as hinted by Rand himself shortly after Bird’s departure:

When I read about Ted Bird (who I know only in passing) and his reasons for leaving, I was struck by one central theme. Not the fact that big corporations now control the business (it’s been that way for awhile), not that they seek to, as he said, take the craft out of the hands of the craftsmen (which naively maybe I choose not to believe) but by the fact that it stopped being fun for him. And in a business where translating that fun you feel into fun an audience can share, once you’ve lost that feeling, it’s time to move on, I respect Ted for that.

I still get up every morning (at 4 not 3) and look forward to going to work. Yes, I miss seeing the faces and hearing the voices of the friends I shared that studio with for what seems like forever, but I’m a realist. You can’t help but see and feel the business changing, and the choice is to either embrace that change, or be left behind by it.

Is it the right thing to do, am I still being true to myself as a performer by staying? Honestly, I don’t know, but I’m willing to at least give it a shot and then make that decision with a bit of perspective to reflect on. The truth is, I still have fun doing what I do on the radio every morning. The only difference is now I’m working with other talented people who offer new perspectives, a different outlook, and maybe, a glimpse into what the future of this business will become.

It’s not better, it’s not worse, it’s just different, But it’s still fun. The day it no longer is, I’ll walk away too.

On Friday, Rand agreed that a lack of fun was a big reason for leaving. “It became more and more obvious that there was less and less for me to do,” he said. “You feel at some point that you’re just spinning your wheels. It’s time for a new challenge.”

So what’s next? Rand says he would like to stay in Montreal, and would like to stay in radio, but even though having creative freedom is more important to him than money right now, obviously his options are limited. K103 already has a big-name morning man (besides, Rand jokes, he doesn’t smoke, and doesn’t want to cross the Mercier every day). Like Bird, he highly doubts the CBC would be interested in his talents. So that leaves the Astral-owned stations: CHOM, CJFM and CJAD.

Rand said he has had some discussions with Astral, but nothing has been set yet. CJAD might be a good fit for a radio host with a talent for humour, but CHOM would also work if it would be willing to give him enough freedom. The question is whether either of them is in a hiring mood.

One thing is for sure, Rand doesn’t want to retire. “I’m not for a second thinking I’m done,” he said. “I can’t imagine sitting around all day doing nothing.”

Coverage

The Gazette posted a brief based on information above, and Bill Brownstein wrote a story for Saturday’s city section.

CTV Montreal takes the story a step further and reports about a source saying Cat Spencer is quitting Virgin Radio and coming to the Q. Christine Long mentions the news during the noon newscast almost as an aside to a CHOM FM bikini parade.

Reaction

It didn’t take long for Rand’s colleagues in the Montreal radio industry to comment.

Friend of the blog Terry DiMonte comments via Facebook and Twitter that Rand, a competitor for many years, is “a class act”. DiMonte, you’ll remember, also left Montreal’s music radio market after finding it wasn’t fun anymore.

From CHOM’s Rob Kemp: “The Montreal radio landscape will never be the same. … Good luck Aaron…you are an original pro.”

From co-host Murray Sherriffs: “I sitting not 2 feet from you and my resistance to get off my chair and go over an hug is waning, you big lug.”

From former Q92 program director Ted Silver: “Aaron, You are the man. The best revenge will be the big numbers you put up at your next station. All the best my friend!. … Aaron, You had a long run as the TOP morning show. This was not by accident. The station declined and you became a scapegoat. I don’t know how things would have been if I was still there, but I do know that I would not have dismantled an iconic morning show. Keep in touch!”

From radio listener Sheldon Harvey: “I personally believe that when the history book is written on Montreal English
radio, Aaron Rand will probably deserve a chapter of his own. I feel that his ground-breaking afternoon drive show on the old CFCF/CIQC 600 is still one of Montreal radio’s shining moments in broadcasting.”

From the public, the reaction so far is supportive, but sad. Though there are some who are still ticked off that Tasso was given the boot.

Those wanting to express themselves to the Q about Rand’s departure can do so on their Facebook page (though the station has shut that down in the past to clamp down on negative commentary becoming public) or by calling or emailing management. There’s also Rand’s own Facebook page, which he plans to keep using.

Meanwhile, in other radio staffing news

The Rand and Spencer show obscured another shifting of personalities in the anglo radio sphere on Friday. Sonali Karnick, a longtime member of the CBC Daybreak team – most recently as its sports reporter – is leaving for Toronto to be a national sports reporter for CBC. Friday was her last day on Daybreak.

And similarly, it didn’t take long for a replacement to be announced. Mitch Melnick announced on his Team 990 show on Friday afternoon that his colleague Andie Bennett is heading to Daybreak to fill that void.

UPDATE: Mike Cohen reports that Freeway Frank, who used to be the morning guy at CHUM’s Kool 101.5 in Calgary, will be Spencer’s replacement at CJFM and will cohost the Virgin Radio morning show with Lisa Player.

53 thoughts on “Cat Spencer to replace Aaron Rand at CFQR

  1. MARY GERVASI

    Good Luck AARON,

    You will be missed…..The morning show will not be the same without you……

    All the very best and hope that we will see you soon……

    One of your loyal listeners.
    Take care
    Mary

    Reply
  2. Jake

    Although I never met Arron,I loved and respected his work as one of Montreal’s great broadcasters,another Radio Personality leaving Montreal’s airwaves,you will be missed.
    We seem to be going the way of the typewriter repairman.

    Jake Lawrence

    Reply
  3. Nancy

    Maybe he has something in the works. Maybe he and Tasso have been recruited by another station to reprise their magic. I’ve got my fingers crossed!

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      1. steve

        100% agree Maureen.Aaron and Tasso together again on CHOM would be amazing.it would bring back many more listeners to CHOM whom I dropped when Ted left and Pete came in.many people gave up on Aaron on the Q because of the music.there a lots of rockers who would definetely listen to Aaronover at 977.

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  4. Just A Listener

    I’d love to see Aaron/Tasso/Suzanne do another CIQC type show maybe on CJAD. Replace Dan Laxer or Kim Fraser perhaps. Or maybe have them on weekends. We could use a showlike that again. I still remember listening to Aaron & Tasso in college… THAT was radio! In light of recent events, they could even reuse some of their brilliant Ghadhfi bits!

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  5. john

    Good Luck Aaron….The Best Times Where When You Had Your Afternoon Show On cfcf600…Classic Radio..I Will Always Remember, Thanks Suzanne,Tasso….Johnny

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  6. Steve Hatton

    I’ve been a huge fan of Aaron and Tasso ever since I first heard them on CFCF radio in the ’80s. Aaron Rand will be missed. The only silver lining in all of this is that maybe he’ll get a job at another station allowing him to once again work with Tasso.

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  7. Steve W

    My guess is that it wasn’t necessary Aaron Rand’s own decision to leave The Q morning show gig. He’s among the highest paid radio broadcasters in Canada, & way way overpaid. His Q morning show had become stagnant for many years(his best stuff was maybe 15+ years ago), & the ratings didn’t justify him getting such a very high salary.

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    1. Fagstein Post author

      He’s among the highest paid radio broadcasters in Canada

      What’s your source for this information? I’m sure Rand was making good money, but that doesn’t mean he can’t find more money elsewhere. Just ask Terry DiMonte.

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      1. Steve W

        Someone who has connections with the industry, & has been involved in the business. This person is reliable. I was boggled when I heard his salary(shocked!!). Aaron hasn’t been dominant in the radio ratings in ages.

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        1. Fagstein Post author

          Aaron hasn’t been dominant in the radio ratings in ages.

          But he’s been in radio for ages, and he and Tasso did bring in ratings success way back when. And it’s always easier to increase someone’s salary than to bring it down.

          Not that I’m defending his salary (I don’t even know what it is), but it’s understandable that he’d be among the higher-paid music radio station hosts, though I doubt he’s the highest-paid DJ in the country.

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      2. Steve W

        Terry DiMonte leaving Montreal for his current salary on Calgary radio, is not even close to what Aaron Rand is making at The Q(DiMonte rumoured guaranteed $450,000 a year). My guess Aaron’s salary is competitive with anyone working in French radio or television in Montreal(or anyone in Canada media for that matter). The Q couldn’t afford to keep paying Aaron that type of salary, & he knew it. That’s why he left(just an educated guess). BTW, Aaron’s mid-80’s CFCF radio show is still my all-time favourite radio show on Montreal radio. So I was a long time fan of his(I even remember him at CJAD & CHOM radio). I tried listening to his radio show in recent years, it’s still decent, but not the same anymore(quality-wise).

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  8. Alex H

    First off, I have to say that Aaron Rand has a great run, and is (as you said) one of the last of his kind in Montreal. His presence will be missed by many.

    That being said, I can’t help but get the feeling that the new Cogeco masters came down and suggested changes, and perhaps those changes didn’t go over very well. I have a feeling they are about to re-brand or re-market “The Q”, to try to narrow the gap to Virgin Radio. Cat Spencer would certainly be an interesting move, you can certainly imagine some fans tuning across.

    Now, if Aaron Rand turns up on Virgin in the morning, then we really have something. :)

    Sadly, with only two radio companies pretty much running radio in Montreal, it is unlikely he will turn up at either. It’s sort of a sad end.

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    1. Fagstein Post author

      I can’t help but get the feeling that the new Cogeco masters came down and suggested changes, and perhaps those changes didn’t go over very well.

      From my conversation with Rand, this doesn’t seem to be the case. The big changes that set this in motion came in 2009 when Tasso was axed. With Rand’s contract up this year, and negotiations beginning for a renewal, he said it became quickly clear that neither side really wanted to continue. Though Cogeco would definitely have had a say in this, it hadn’t even gotten to the point where Cogeco could suggest changes.

      (Besides, Cogeco doesn’t really have a lot of experience in anglo radio, and they haven’t made any changes yet at the station management level. When a new owner wants to make changes, that’s usually where they start.)

      I have a feeling they are about to re-brand or re-market “The Q”, to try to narrow the gap to Virgin Radio.

      It’s no secret that CFQR is trying to catch up to CJFM in the ratings. But I’ve noticed that the Montreal anglo ratings numbers tend not to really shift that much in the short term. They just rebranded “the Q” from Q92, and they’re pushing “more music” to try for that ratings boost.

      Now, if Aaron Rand turns up on Virgin in the morning, then we really have something. :)

      Though I suppose it could theoretically happen, I don’t think Virgin is going to give Rand more creative control and more time to talk than CFQR did. Not to mention how ridiculous it would be for the two stations to essentially just swap personalities.

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      1. Alex H

        I am not aware how much or how little Cogeco is on the day to day, but if Aaron Rand was getting paid at the levels suggested here, I wouldn’t be shocked if there was some discussion on the matter. Clearly the fun left the building when Tasso and Suzanne got tossed, and I suspect that the next contract wouldn’t have been anywhere near as enjoyable. If that was old management or new management, it’s hard to tell. Again, for the type of money being spent for one, I suspect they got Cat Spencer and have plenty of money left over to play with.

        “The Q” branding is actually just about to be 2 years old already, which is a short time in Radio but a long time overall. Considering that the Virgin Radio thing only came into place just over 2 years ago, it is amazing to think that it feels like a much longer time. With new owners (and a new morning show on the way) I could easily see them working a new play list, and perhaps even a re-branding or re-emphasis of brand coming up. It is always interesting to see how much they can push the CRTC format restrictions while edging closer to the AC format of Virgin.

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  9. Sheldon

    I think the station that needs a complete overhaul more than any of them is CHOM-FM. I’ve yet to understand the acquisition of P.J. Stock as basically a part-timer on the morning show. Yesterday’s fiasco of a 40th anniversary bathing suit parade on the streets of Montreal with a group of people (from the photos, the majority being under 30) who I feel would be hard-pressed to find CHOM on a radio, let alone listen to it regularly, shows how they are grasping at straws. Just who was that young lady in a CHOM logo emblazened bikini? Yeah, like she went out and bought a CHOM coloured swimsuit at Bikini Village just for this event! Would real CHOM listeners be parading around the streets of Montreal in bathing suits in late February? I think not.

    If you read the history page at CHOM with comments from listeners about their 40th anniversary, the majority of the posts talk about the very early years at CKGM-FM in the late 60’s and early CHOM in the 70’s. There really isn’t very much said about times at CHOM throughout the 80s and 90s.

    CHOM’s days of cutting edge radio are long, long behind them. Right now they seem to be going through some sort of identity crisis. They want to be classic rock; they want to be new rock; they want to appeal to audiences for those formats, but they are also trying to pull alternative rock listeners from The Buzz, thus trying to be too many things at the same time.

    Rock music still attracts a predominantly male audience. The young people I see listening to rock of any kind are either from the metal-heads, or today’s “hippie” culture out there trying to capture the time of when Zeppelin was king. I think there is a potential audience out there that wold gravitate to a re-structured and clearly defined CHOM. Would someone like Aaron Rand fit into that model? I’m not sure. He is from a time of personality driven radio, when people listen to who was on the air, as much as they listened for the music they were playing. In a radio world of “just play the music and shut up”, I’m not sure where Aaron Rand would fit, particularly here in Montreal.

    How about independent with money, and willing to take a chance with something completely different, stepping up to the plate, grabbing a clear channel 940 AM frequency and putting a creative, not knowing what’s coming next radio station on the air here in what is supposed to be one of the most forward-thinking and ground-breaking cities in the world? Build it and they will come.

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    1. lr

      SHeldon: how old are you? there are a lot of CHOM listeners enjoying the 80s & 90s rock scene and listening to CHOM. I’m betting their female audience has increased too. I’m enjoying the music being played on CHOM lately and happy with the morning crew. Ted’s rants were getting old and so were the GUESS WHO. CHOM is a nice change from the repetitive garbage on Virgin or the snooze fest on the Q.

      Maybe what Montreal needs is a 55 yrs + music radio station on the FM airwaves. Who’s willing to give that a shot?

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      1. Sheldon

        How old am I? I’m 57 and I’m a rock guy. When I do tune in terrestrial radio these days, the only so-called local station I do listen to is the Buzz from Plattsburgh. I personally feel that the quality of rock music being released today, and the bands releasing it, is some of the best I have heard since the rock heydays of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Of course, that’s my opinion. I guess I’m one of those odd people who wants to hear music on the radio that I DON’T recognize immediately.

        That’s why I’m finding myself listening more and more to music stations on Sirius/XM. Whether I feel like peeling the paint off the walls one day with metal music or hard rock stations; sitting back and relaxing to The Coffee House or The Loft channels; or flashing back to my musical roots with the Classic Rewind and Deep Cuts channels; or the “never know what’s next” approach from channels like The Spectrum, for less than the price of a one first-run movie and popcorn per month, I have all of this available to me, commercial-free, with many personable DJs who know something about the music they are playing. I can also branch out into jazz, classical, country, popular standards, rap-hip/hop, R&B, you name it.

        However, even with all this, it would still be nice to turn on the old radio and find something local, entertaining and informative, with someone live on the air with something to say; something with some meat to it; something other than “Entertainment Tonight” style journalism, with a constant beat behind it.

        If it ever did happen??? Priceless. Will it ever happen again??? Highly unlikely. Fortunately we have alternatives available to us. Unfortunately we have to go elsewhere and use a different form of vehicle to get there.

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        1. ATSC

          Sheldon, I’m with you on this. Montreal radio sucks. I as well only listen to WBTZ-FM 99.9 (The Buzz) from Burlington. The best music station in Montreal isn’t even in Montreal. But, when I’m not in the car, it’s Sirius at home and at work. My favorite, Alt Nation. Love the fact that I can use my Sirius Radio at home, and stream at work.

          Nothing will improve in English Montreal radio unless CFQR, CHOM, CJFM are each owned separately by small risk taking owners with a spark and a sense of the now.

          Montreal Radio is a lot like the Montreal Canadiens, great past, but no future. Always looking at ones behind for the glory days. When you’re looking in that direction, nothing good will come you way. The glory will just keep getting further and further away from you.

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    2. Alex H

      Sheldon, to be fair, the age of “cutting edge radio” is behind us as a whole. It is now a refined science, competing with other mediums and other delivery methods for music that don’t involve DJs, commercials, or any of the like. All those white earbuds you see on people? Those are the people specifically not listening to radio anymore. The nature of the game now is to try to be the least offensive, and give people the least reason to turn the dial. Light, friendly, and “more music”.

      The Buzz is the last good thing to happen to Montreal radio, and it went past it’s stale date about 4 years ago too. Sort of telling when their best on air voice ends up doing weekend 6AM shows on CHOM.

      AM is dead and gone for all intents and purposes. It is very unlikely that anyone will come along and pick up the open channels (600, 940, and so on) to do anything. They can build it, but it will be as ignored as the stations that were there before were. We are forward thinking, that’s why we have talk radio on FM and music stations failing on AM.

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    3. What's In A Name?

      Agree Sheldon. Aaron & Tasso, Ted Bird, anybody else out there with a maverick spirit. Call it CMTL-Pirate Radio. Wont even have to pay for a logo.

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  10. Vahan

    Radio stopped being fun for us listeners too. Thankfully large corporations all have the same scorched earth mentality, we can all predict how the purchase of many ” items” by one corporation or another will bring that “item” down to lowest common denominator of the whole package. The print industry was killed by Transcon and Quebecor when they bought out independents and made them all the same cookie cutter shop. No innovation. Just numbers and suits. Then the Internet put in the last knife. Now radio is being done in by suits and the net will do away with them also. Hey much like the middle east and Africa. Cookie cutter dictators going down. I can’t wait for the history to come out about all this. We’ll say remember how we used to listen to radio and get information and our grandkids will just snicker at our outdated nostalgia.

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  11. Marc

    Today’s CHOM is better than its worst era, which was as far as I’m concerned, post-Howard Stern, pre-acquisition by Standard. That would be 1998-2002. Back then they were “Montreal’s Best Music.” The only thing missing was Britney Spears from their playlist.

    The “parade” on Friday had everything to do with a cheap “sex sells” publicity stunt rather than marking their 40th. I still like to see the glass as half-full; put quality on the air, anywhere, and people will listen. I do enjoy listening to Picard and TooTall on the weekends. It seems they’ve been given more creative freedom than anyone else there.

    Pete, Chantal and passionate Habs-hater PJ Stock in the mornings are downright irritating to listen to.

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    1. Sheldon

      I would say no chance of it at all. They have local Montreal appeal, particularly to their loyal followers but I don’t really think they have something that would draw satellite listeners. Their best shot might be to set up some sort of Internet radio show, much like Peter Anthony Holder, Kelly Alexander, and others. However, those types of outlets don’t go far in paying their bills.

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  12. ATSC

    I’ve posted in the past about HD Radio. And as I see the events over at CFQR-FM 92.5, I think the case for getting HD Radio up and running is better than ever. If CFQR wanted to have more music or less Aaron, things could have been arranged with the use of HD Radios’ ability to provide digital sub-channels. They could have left things with Aaron on their main 92.5, and provided all music on 92.5-HD1. Or vise versa. They could have even provided something else on 92.5-HD3. The technology is there that would allow expansion of options without the need to force things to end with some popular personalities.

    WVPS-FM 107.9 in Burlington, VT offers HD Radio. Actually most NPR stations do. !07.9 is their regular NPR programming. 107.9-HD2 runs classical music. 107-9-HD3 runs the BBC World Service. To receive the two added sub-channels that the station offers, you would need a new AM/FM radio with the HD Radio chip.

    So yes, it would require a new AM/FM radio with the HD Radio function on it. But, you can find lower priced models of units, as well as tuners, and mobile car kit and home kit units ala Sirius Radio style models. And no monthly fees. Google HD Radio to get to the info site. By the way the HD in HD Radio means Hybrid Digital. This is the digital format that the FCC has approved for the US. I believe Canada is looking into it since DAB has been such a flop in this country for the past decade. What? You’ve never heard of DAB in Canada? It’s okay, most people haven’t. It required a new radio which operated on a separate band, and it offered nothing more than the already licensed AM/FM stations on air which suck. And no US stations used it or could be received. Wonder why it’s dead in Canada?

    It’s clear that Montreal radio (English in particular) really sucks. Something needs to happen to improve it. New technology can help that. But, no matter how much new technology is applied, the concentration of station ownership will always subvert innovation. And that seems to be what we have in place. Popular Montreal radio personalities being pushed aside with no other outlets that they can work at. Very bad.

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    1. Fagstein Post author

      It’s clear that Montreal radio (English in particular) really sucks. Something needs to happen to improve it. New technology can help that.

      Perhaps, but I don’t see how digital subchannels will do anything but fragment an already small audience. Few people have digital radios, and those few who do tend to be Sirius/XM satellite radio or Internet streaming.

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      1. ATSC

        The question then becomes, goes radio want to re-capture that audience by offering music channels such as those offered by Sirius. That is what the HD Radio sub-channels can offer. That, and no monthly fee.

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  13. Kevin

    Meh. I had to give up commercial radio because I grew tired of the BLAHBLAHBLAH here’s another American Top-40 artist or some ancient rocker.

    Heck, I left the city for a decade, and when I came back and tuned into CHOM, I heard a song I had not heard in 10 years – promptly followed by three more songs I hadn’t heard since the mid-90s.

    IF I’m listening to music radio, I tune into CBC Radio 2 or 3–seems to be the only place you can hear good music.

    Reply
    1. Steve W

      If I were to take a guess, I could see Patrick Charles reuniting with Cat, & going back to the Q morning show. The current Q program director Leo D’estrella would bring back his best friend, & his partner in crime for several of their skits when they both worked on the Aaron Rand Q morning show(Leo D’Estrella worked with Aaron on his morning show for years).

      Reply
    2. HK

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. I’m 37 and I still like my radio personalities to have well – a personality! Something that I think both Ken and Cat have. In spite of CJFM leading the anglo market, I’m gotten tired of them playing the same lame music over and over again ever since Bob Harris was at the helm (the same man who fired Ken Connors). The Montreal radio scene has gotten stale – but the thought of Ken and Cat reuniting is interesting. If the Q can strike a balance between personalities and music, I just might find myself switching over. For now, if CJFM continues to play the likes of Rihanna (S and M, really?) and Katy Perry (have you ever heard her “sing” live?) ad nauseum, I’ll just switch to independent internet radio or pop in my favourites on CD.

      Reply
  14. George stetka

    Hi .. Although I found this article very interesting and read it top to bottom .. The title (and main reason I clicked on it) was to find out what happened to CAT Spencer and why he’s not at Virgin anymore ! Maybe a better title for your story would have been Aaron Rand replaced by Cat Spencer ! Or Aaron Rand leaving CFQR !? Is there another article that explains why Cat left Virgin ?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Is there another article that explains why Cat left Virgin ?

      He’s not talking publicly about it, but he left Virgin because he was hired away by the Q. It’s that simple.

      Reply
  15. Pingback: No way to treat your listeners – Fagstein

  16. Esther Herbst

    I was saddened when Tasso and Suzanne left, and now I am
    really heart broken that Aaron is leaving…it will definitely not
    be the same listening to Q92.5…although I still am a big fan
    of Murray…if you ever decide to work at another radio station
    I will without hesitation tune in to that channel….as for now, I guess
    I will be playing with the buttons on my radio (like on a TV remote).
    Good Luck Aaron with all your future endeavours….you will truly be
    missed (by me)!

    Reply
  17. JT

    I always said that more music and less talk was an excuse by these buisness people to ease there pocket books. Who wants to hear the same song over and over? We need real people like Terry, Ted, never a dull moment and yes informative. They want to atract younger listenners but they forget its the older ones that are listenning every day. Now maby people will start to put on the CD”s instead of boring radio.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I always said that more music and less talk was an excuse by these buisness people to ease there pocket books.

      Though business people always want to ease their pocket books, the “less talk more music” mantra comes out of focus groups and polling, not management delusions. People who listen to music stations want to hear music.

      If anything, the problem is in the other direction – stations always say they have more music, but then they try to cram every hour with traffic reports, advertising, entertainment news, contests and random host banter.

      Reply
  18. j. Elston

    Aaron, you will be missed, who will i share my morning coffee with,

    Good luck, all the best, live life to the fullest, i
    hope you will come back to the ” q ” for the
    occasional visit,,,,,

    Reply
  19. Jane

    Aaron, I can’t believe that I will not be hearing your voice when I wake up every morning. I have in the past 25 years, listening to you. Raised a child to manhood, divorced after 28 years, (1993) reunited with a childhood sweetheart (spent 17 years with him) until his death last year. I feel as though you were my shoulder as many times I wanted to cry or was crying and then voila out came a joke from you or a silly comment and my tears would change to laughter. God bless you and I hope where ever you end up I will be able to hear you again. I wish for you a future of happiness and joy, the same way you have given it to others. I salute you and say bye for now.

    Reply
  20. Anonymous

    Aaron and Tasso were comedy gold. They were topical, good-natured and hysterical. I can no longer listen to Montreal morning radio. I seriously don’t know what to do with my clock radio, except maybe put it on buzzer.

    Reply
  21. Pingback: Aaron Rand moves on – Fagstein

  22. bonnie pridmore

    I lost interest in CFQR in 2009 when Tasso, Suzanne, and the other regulars
    left. I felt really bad for you Aaron having to go the show without your buddies.

    I havent listened to it since.

    Reply
  23. mario de giglio

    All the best aaron ,you and tasso were IT.Since you left and signed off well I,ve signed off q and now listening to some other radio stations.It will never be the same i,m just hoping that one day i will hear you and tasso at another radio station and i,ll tune in trust me …hear you soon THANKS for all the laughs…

    Reply

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