Posted in Montreal, Radio

Terry DiMonte returns to CHOM, and is back in Montreal for good

Terry DiMonte has lost some weight since leaving Montreal

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: They’re bringing back Terry DiMonte.

It was with a lot of excitement (well, one exclamation mark anyway) that Astral announced (in English and French) that DiMonte has been hired to host the morning show at CHOM for a third time. For DiMonte, the news was “a little bit bittersweet”, having to leave this new home in Calgary he had tried to make his own over the past three and a half years.

There is no word on who his co-hosts will be, but so far Pete Marier and Chantal Desjardins are expected to be able to keep their jobs at the station, even if they’re not on the morning show team.

The Gazette has posted a story about DiMonte’s return, as well as some videos that were created as part of a series on expat Montrealers in 2009: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. There were also briefs on CTV News and Global’s local newscast, but otherwise coverage has been light.

No date yet

When DiMonte will return to Montreal and its airwaves is still undecided. DiMonte signed a five-year contract with Calgary’s Q107 in late 2007, which means he still has about a year and a half left. The deal does allow him to get out early with six months notice, which was given on Wednesday. So depending on how the station plans to play this, it could be as late as Christmas before he’s allowed to return to Montreal.

“My intention was and is to fulfill my obligation for the next six months,” DiMonte told me over the phone on Thursday. Still, the decision is up to the station. They could have him keep working until December, or they could pay him not to work. But a small radio station with only four full-time staff that paid decent money to lure DiMonte to Calgary in the first place probably isn’t too eager to waste it on talent it can’t use.

“A bit defeated”

Though demand for DiMonte as a Montreal radio host was apparently high enough that Astral went out to get him, he admits that his time at Q107 hasn’t been a runaway success. “I didn’t meet my own expectations in Calgary,” he said, though he did say that “things have gone relatively well here.” Aside from some Montreal expats who remember him from his days here, there isn’t nearly the kind of familiarity in Calgary as there was here. Part of that is the simple fact that he’s only been in Calgary for three and a half years. But he also said he was disappointed that there wasn’t more done to market his station and its morning show. His face wasn’t on billboards or on TV, despite how much effort and money Corus went through to bring him there. The fact that the economy went down the toilet shortly after his contract began probably had something to do with that.

The result is that Q107 has been stagnant in the ratings. Its morning show has a 6.7% commercial market share, making it eighth out of 15 stations in that market. They’re better, but not much better. And as this 2008 Calgary Herald story made pretty clear, Q107 expected significant results by taking DiMonte on board.

“I believed that by the time 2012 comes around, my contract would expire and I wouldn’t be offered another one,” DiMonte said.

Still, it wasn’t him that made the first overture about coming back to Montreal. He was wooed.

“We made a mistake”

DiMonte said the first move happened in December, when he got an email just before Christmas from Martin Spalding, the Astral VP who is in charge of CHOM, CJFM and CJAD. The two have known each other for a long time. Spalding was once DiMonte’s personal assistant. So DiMonte didn’t think anything of it when this friend wanted to take him out to dinner during a visit to Calgary.

What DiMonte didn’t know at the time was that Spalding wasn’t on some tourist visit or there for some corporate meeting. The dinner with DiMonte was the purpose of the trip. Spalding wanted to bring DiMonte back to CHOM.

“I was, to be frank, a little stunned,” DiMonte said. Not only at the discussion of his coming back to CHOM, but at the idea that someone would fly to Calgary just to discuss the matter with him.

Spalding, DiMonte said, “paid me probably the highest complement I’ve ever had. He said: ‘When we let you get away we made a mistake, and we want you to come home.’”

Discussions continued over the coming months, and Spalding flew back and presented an offer.

Here’s where DiMonte did something that he wouldn’t have done five years ago: He took the deal to his lawyer. In 2007, he didn’t even have one for negotiating contracts. He has since learned their value. By March, it was clear DiMonte was going to be coming back, but the fine print had to be ironed out. Everything became official when he submitted his notice on Wednesday and Astral sent out its press release.

DiMonte said he has no regrets about going to Calgary when he did. “I was broken-hearted when I left Montreal,” he said, but “I think I did the right thing. I got out when I needed to get out.”

Bad blood

The story of DiMonte’s break from CHOM in 2007 is one of a personal conflict. His contract was up, and he was being asked to sign a document with a lot of fine print, he told The Gazette in 2009. “Don’t you dare bring in a lawyer,” he was reportedly told.

DiMonte said he had no issue with the station or its owners (CHOM was in the process of being purchased by Astral Media when he left), but said the problem was local management at the station, and particularly one individual, whose name he didn’t utter during our interview, perhaps out of fear he would have to follow it by spitting somewhere.

“My beef was not with Astral because I never got the chance to work with Astral,” DiMonte said. “My beef was with one guy running the radio station.”

A lot has changed since then. Former program director Bob Harris is in Hamilton, and Astral VP Rob Braide left the company and works as a consultant. CHOM’s management isn’t what it used to be. It isn’t even what it was when Ted Bird left – program director (they call them “brand directors” now) Daniel Tremblay, who replaced Harris and was the focus of Bird’s fallout with the station, left his position recently.

Glad to be back

“I try not to let sentiment interfere with any kind of business decision I’m making,” said DiMonte, who at 53 is a lot wiser about the business of radio than he was before he left CHOM.

An offer to go back to his old job, live in his home town again, just as it was becoming clear that his future in Calgary might not be so bright, seemed perfect.

The first thing he did, he said, was look at his contract with Q107, where he was “pleased and surprised to read” that the five-year contract had a clause allowing him to leave early on six months’ notice.

Thank God for lawyers, he thought. His had served him well here.

Still, even with the deal done, DiMonte had worries about returning to CHOM.

“I was concerned,” he said. “Am I going backwards? Am I covering territory I’ve already covered?” – These are sentiments echoed by a few online commenters who see this move as CHOM regressing to its comfortable old ways. DiMonte, like Bird, they say, is boring and stale, and CHOM should save its money and instead hire new, young, dynamic talent. There certainly in’t a labour shortage in Montreal’s radio industry.

When asked how much of his decision to return was a personal desire to move back home versus a business decision that this was best for his career, DiMonte said it was “50/50.”

“Okay, 60/40. Because money isn’t everything.”

DiMonte didn’t tell me what kind of money he’d be making at CHOM, but he did say the offer was “very reasonable” and fair for someone of his experience coming into a market like (anglo) Montreal.

He also pointed out that rumours of how much he was making at Q107 were wildly exaggerated.

Overwhelmed

“There seems to be a fair amount of goodwill associated with my name,” DiMonte said, as if he was genuinely surprised of this fact. “I’m pleased as punch that people still remember me four years after I left.”

That’s a bit of an understatement. Since news came out on Wednesday afternoon, DiMonte has been flooded with messages of congratulations from his Montreal fans. In the less than 48 hours since, he has received 316 posts on his Facebook wall (not including comments added to his messages, which also number in the hundreds), a few dozen messages of congratulations on Twitter (his name was even trending in the city when news erupted), and all sorts of other, less public messages from friends and fans.

It was so much that DiMonte at first clammed up online. A prolific Facebooker and budding Twitterrer, he stopped posting on both as the messages flooded in. I thought at first he might have been under some sort of gag order, unable to confirm the news. But he said he just couldn’t handle the sheer volume of messages. He’s put up a few mass thank-yous, and hopes to get back to everyone individually – maybe he’ll succeed by the time he starts at CHOM.

DiMonte mused that social media might have a lot to do with why he’s still remembered here. Rather than have him disappear completely from their minds, they can follow him online. He has more than 4,000 friends on Facebook, where he posts links that are of interest to fans in both cities. He also has 948 followers on Twitter.

While social media certainly helps, I think DiMonte underestimates the long memories of Montreal radio listeners.

The story was similar before DiMonte became active on social media, when he left the city in 2007.

“I was at my parents’ place just before Christmas when I left, with tears in my eyes trying to answer all the emails I got,” he said. “I had no idea I was reaching people in this way.”

It was enough that Corus decided to experiment with him doing a noon-hour show on Montreal’s CFQR from Calgary. But that lasted less than a year, ending in June 2009.

Mostly quiet on the Calgary front

While reaction to DiMonte’s return has been mostly positive here, it made a much smaller splash in Calgary. A handful of the Facebook posts he received were from disappointed Q107 listeners, and some took issue with the fact that they learned about this news through social networking or via Montreal media online rather than from DiMonte himself.

DiMonte hasn’t formally announced to his listeners that he’s leaving. He said he wanted to let Q107 make the call on his future there first, and give them something a little more definitive than saying he’ll be leaving at some point over the next six months. The Internet being what it is, many of his listeners still found out.

DiMonte knows he’s a smaller fish (somewhat literally, he’s lost a lot of weight since going to Calgary) in a bigger pond there. “I haven’t been here long enough to make the kind of impact I made in Montreal,” he said.

While news of his return resulted in an article in the Gazette and mention on at least two local TV newscasts, in Calgary there was just a brief in the Herald (and the comments on it are not particularly flattering to DiMonte – then again those on the Gazette piece aren’t the nicest either).

That said, DiMonte asked me to emphasize that he loves Calgary (particularly its lack of sales tax) and he appreciates the support he’s received from his listeners there. He also has nothing but kind words for Q107 and Corus, who have been good to him despite the tiny resources at the station.

He said he’s learned through his experiences that stereotypes about Canada’s regions are all bull, whether they’re Quebecers’ views about Calgary or Calgarians’ views of Quebec. Albertans aren’t all ultraconservative oil baron cowboys, and Quebecers aren’t all lazy separatist unilingual francophones.

Getting back into the Montreal mindset

When DiMonte first started at Q107, he found he had to let go of Montreal. “I was watching RDS and reading The Gazette and said ‘I gotta stop this.’” Though he remained a Montrealer at heart, he started transforming himself into a Calgarian.

Now he has to change back. He’s been watching Mutsumi Takahashi and this new kid Van der Heyden, “trying to replug a bit.”

Asked by Gazette managing editor Ray Brassard whether this means we can stop sending bagels, DiMonte laughed. But he added that he is a bit worried about coming back to Montreal and its food. He lost quite a bit of weight since moving out there, as he told The Gazette’s June Thompson last year, and credited being away from some Montreal restaurants with helping him keep it off. He said he’s “terrified” of gaining it all back.

Setting conditions

One of the nice things about being wooed for a job is being able to get some concessions. DiMonte didn’t demand a gold-plated helicopter or anything, but he did ask for – and receive – more creative control.

“I refuse to go into an office at 10 o’clock and have philosophical arguments with a guy who’s never done this before about what I’ve done on the air,” DiMonte said he told Spalding before accepting his offer. “I’m not going back into a situation like that.”

I know a few radio veterans who know very well what he’s talking about. I’ve heard stories of program directors – some with little or no on-air radio experience – critiquing the work of radio personalities who started in the business before those pencil-pushers were even born. This issue is a large part of why Ted Bird and Aaron Rand left their jobs.

You’re nobody, DiMonte

When DiMonte first started working at CHOM in 1984, he said he was making $30,000 a year. Seeing the ratings go up with him at the mic, he asked for – and was denied – a raise. He ended up leaving for CJFM, which at the time was owned by a different company. He recalls clearly being told he’d be nothing without rock records, and his boss at the time telling him not to bother coming back crawling to CHOM.

Of course, we all know DiMonte didn’t go crawling to any job since. He worked five years at Mix 96, another four at CJAD to replace (he preferred to use the term “follow”) George Balcan, and then back at CHOM where he was reunited with Ted Bird in an attempt to rebuild the station’s ratings after the station made the mistake of moving to a more alternative rock format to compete with WBTZ (99.9 The Buzz) across the border.

Terry and …

The big question on everyone’s minds, other than when he’s coming back, is who’s going to be sitting with him. Lots of his fans want him to be reunited with Bird yet again, even though Bird’s statements since indicate he’s happy at K103 in Kahnawake and he’s not expecting to come back.

What makes this debate interesting is that one of the concessions DiMonte sought in his contract with CHOM is co-approval of his morning team. Forced marriages, he said, don’t work, and he didn’t want to be in a position of working in a team that didn’t have chemistry.

DiMonte has seen the comments about Bird, and so far the response is “we’ll see.” DiMonte and Bird are good friends, and he certainly isn’t against the idea at first glance.

“There’s been two people in my work life that have been absolute dreams to work with, one is Patti and the other is Ted.”

Patti, of course, is “Peppermint” Patti MacNeil (formerly Lorange), who worked with DiMonte in Montreal and was reunited with him as his cohost at Q107 before she was dismissed last year. DiMonte currently does the Q107 morning show with another former Montrealer, Tim Morgan.

So could we see Terry and Ted again at CHOM? Maybe. Daniel Tremblay, the man most responsible for Bird’s departure, is no longer there. But there’s still a pretty scorched bridge between Bird and Astral, far more precarious than DiMonte’s. It will depend a lot on how bitter Astral’s management is about Bird’s departure, and how willing Bird is to forgive CHOM for the sake of working with DiMonte again. At the moment, there is no sign that Bird is on his way out at K103, even though he’s probably being paid more than they can afford there, and advertising hasn’t been as huge as the station might have hoped when it signed Bird.

UPDATE (June 29): Bird says as much in his own words on his Gazette blog:

To answer the obvious question: no, there are no plans for a Terry and Ted reunion at CHOM. That bridge is in worse shape than the Mercier, and even if I hadn’t blown it to bits, I’m having too much fun in Kahnawake to entertain a return to the corporate radio milieu, even with someone I admire and respect professionally, and with whom my friendship is as strong as ever.

Aaron Rand, who recently left the Q for similar reasons as Bird and DiMonte left CHOM (though on much better terms), is another possibility, technically. But Rand seemed to close the door on that shortly after the announcement about DiMonte’s return, posting on Facebook that he won’t be going to CHOM. He also hinted that “I hope to have an announcement soon to let you know what’s next for me.” Rand had considered going to CHOM, and there were discussions with Astral, but the fact that Rand wants to be repaired with Paul (Tasso) Zakaib means there’s not much room for DiMonte as well.

A more likely scenario might be DiMonte being teamed up with existing hosts Pete Marier and Chantal Desjardins, or something entirely different that nobody predicted. In any case, he and CHOM have some time to think about it.

CHOM indicated to The Gazette’s Brendan Kelly that there would be a shuffle of personalities, and that none of them would be kicked out. This presumably means Marier and Desjardins will get slots at other points of the schedule.

Two years, at least

Since DiMonte was able to get out of his Calgary contract early, I wondered about his deal in Montreal. It, too, has an out clause, though DiMonte has agreed to guarantee at least two years to the station. The contract is for five.

DiMonte knows this is all just business, and he can’t guarantee this latest job is for life. But, he said, at the end of this contract he’ll be 58, and he has no intention of moving again. One can never say never, but he’s pretty sure he’s back in Montreal to stay.

A reversal in Montreal radio

The most surprising thing about DiMonte’s return to the Montreal airwaves is that it seems to be going in the opposite direction of some recent moves. The music stations particularly have been shedding veteran talent and replacing them with younger, cheaper and less stubborn hosts. Bringing DiMonte back is the opposite.

When Spalding told DiMonte that letting him go was a mistake, was this a sign of some deeper change in perspective on behalf of Astral?

DiMonte said he looks to the United States, which he describes as a few years ahead of Canada in terms of trends in radio programming. He pointed to decisions made by ClearChannel to cut on-air staff, reduce talking time and play more music. He said the strategy worked in the short term, but people started to tune out as they lost their connections with the personalities.

“They’ve damaged their relationship with the community,” he said.

On the other hand, DiMonte said he looks at developments like a 10-year contract offered to John Derringer at Toronto’s Q107, which he described as “unheard of” in the radio business, as a sign that radio executives are starting to appreciate the value of veteran, familiar talent again.

UPDATE: Spalding’s view

I met with Spalding later to talk about DiMonte and other issues at Astral’s radio stations. You can read about that talk here.

Go to hell: Astral VP

I called up Spalding, the Astral VP in charge of CHOM, CJFM and CJAD who brought DiMonte back to Montreal, to get his take on this story and answer a few questions about the station’s plans.

Unfortunately, Spalding wasn’t interested in talking to me. The man who appeared in DiMonte’s story to be the height of professionalism and class said he was “not in the mood” to have a conversation with me about DiMonte (or anything else), suggested it had something to do with something I posted on Twitter (he didn’t specify what that was) and then said “this conversation is over” before hanging up the phone.

Mere moments after hearing praise from DiMonte about how fair I was in my reporting on this blog (compared to other Internet gossipers who spread bull around, he said), I had a surreal conversation with a media executive I had never met or written about (beyond quoting press releases) who apparently doesn’t appreciate what I say and figures the best way to deal with it is to childishly refuse to talk.

I guess some things don’t change.

UPDATE (June 27): Spalding sent me an email this morning – a mere five business minutes after this post was published – saying “Perhaps I was a little curt with you the other day.” He’s promised a meeting to explain. I’ll update afterward to include his take on DiMonte’s return.

68 thoughts on “Terry DiMonte returns to CHOM, and is back in Montreal for good

  1. AlexH

    Without getting the whole story (which we probably won’t get for years), I would have to say that this appears to be Astral blinking. It might also be a little bit of realization that they have competition in the radio market, even if they own most of the english market. That competition comes from the french side to some extent, but even more so comes from the apathy as people tune out to their ipods and mp3 players, and lose interest in radio overall. Terry cites the example of Clearchannel in the US, and I think that it is pretty much the same thing that is happening up here.

    Perhaps Astral and their “brand managers” work up one day and discovered that people relate to the personalities, that the attachment to the station is made up not just by the music (which is important) but also by the people who are on air, the family that people tune in to listen to. It’s double important in the morning, which can entirely set the tone for a person’s day. CHOM has made many mistakes in it’s morning programming, including the Howard Stern era, where they seem to have entirely forgotten the relationship between the listeners and the on air staff.

    Terry’s change of heart would appear to match up with the changing of the guard at Astral, with many of the programming manager types gone and replaced. I think it is very important that he has more creative control, I think that is a nice way of saying that the programming directors / brand managers won’t get to tell him what to do, at least for the first couple of years. I wouldn’t be shocked if the new brand manager was selected at least in part by DiMonte himself.

    What I hate to think of is Terry in the same place as Aaron Rand in a few years, pushing on to 60 with nowhere to go. Perhaps by that time the masses will have had enough of Andrew Carter and his absolutely grating personality, and perhaps Terry can “Balcan” his way to retirement.

    Reply
  2. Bruno

    I, for one, am very happy to have Terry back.

    Radio is not only about music, people have iPods for that. It’s about people, community, having a good laugh.

    That’s why I like Terry, he is authentic.

    Welcome back bro.

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  3. Peter

    Glad to see DiMonte is coming back, but why ? his ratings were poor back in 2007, why bring him back ? DiMonte had poor ratings in Calgary too. Montreal is very environmentally friendly with recycling it’s announcers. Spencer to Q, DiMonte to CHOM, Connors to weekends, Lauzon to Q92, Marier to who knows where. It’s nice to hear a new voice like Freeway Frank come to this city and bring a fresh perspective to morning radio and it obviously works based on the latest ratings. Spalding says he made a mistake back in 2007, but DiMonte was forced to leave his hometown thanks to his mistake. Managers like Spalding should be held accountable for these mistakes. So what does he do, he brings DiMonte back, won’t be long Bird will be back too. I’m sure Rand will surface somewhere soon. Marier will most likely lose his job, but that’s ok, he’ll be back in a few years. What happened to Rob Kemp who did a good job on the CHOM morning show and had good numbers. Radio execs say ratings matter, but do they ? If it was based entirely on ratings, DiMonte would not be rehired.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Spalding says he made a mistake back in 2007, but DiMonte was forced to leave his hometown thanks to his mistake.

      Spalding wasn’t in charge when DiMonte left. He was appointed afterward, and DiMonte made it very clear he had no beef with Astral. Those whose decisions led to DiMonte’s departure no longer work there., and that’s a large part of why he’s coming back.

      Reply
  4. ATSC

    Sounds like recycle time. I hope not.

    I guess Astral figures that they can get back some of their listeners for CHOM 97.7. I really doubt it.

    They have lost listeners not only to ipods and SiriusXM but also to the US border stations such as WEZF 92.9, WYUL 94.7, and in particular to WBTZ 99.9. I have even listened to the CKDG 105.1 afternoon drive, and they even have a better music selection.

    But, I will say that CHOM’s music mix has improved over the past year or two. But, not enough.

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  5. Vahan

    I always liked the Terry and Ted combo. They were great with Peppermint and then on CHOM with Thumbs in the background, hey they even brought out Cathy Coulombe from behind the “new desk” some times to let her shine. Terry and Ted shared the airwave with talent and it felt they pushed them into the light to get more airtime. Just my feeling. You could somehow feel the tension when Kim Rossi was around. She was awful, ill informed and simply a reader of scripts handed to her. I loved how Ted would challenge her on a news item she just read, he would simply ask for more details and she could never deliver. I suppose they had to play the game since she was with the boss. Those were dark days indeed. Honestly I don’t listen to radio for the music anymore, I get that on my iPod. I appreciate it if the radio channel I listen to could introduce me to new acts, but there are other places to find that out. If I listen to radio it is to be entertained and that is what Terry and Ted and team do.

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  6. Shawn

    I welcome Dimonte back to Montreal and CHOM. A reunion with Bird would not be to the benefit of either Dimonte or CHOM. It is often difficult to critique radio without coming off as insulting to the people behind the mics. So, apologies in advance.
    CHOM management/ executive are at fault for the mess that CHOM has been. Call is it poor judgement or miscalculation. Rob Kemp in the AM was a mistake, so was Marier who is a great drive home host. His personality is not suited for the mornings. Bad Pete has lost his edge. The CHOM rebranding, Harley logos and massive marketing to launch the new look was a huge waste of cash. Jo’s Garage was launched but did anyone actually listen to her before they put her on the air? Perhaps a talented TV presenter – it takes a much different set of skills to be a radio presenter.
    The old Terry and Ted duo was getting tired. Dimonte needs a younger pal to bounce off of – just because they were good together ten years ago, doesn’t mean they are or will be good together today. The stations need to groom a new sidekick. Andrew Carter started off as a sidekick & traffic reporter and whether you like him or not, he had/has the number two morning show.

    Reply
    1. Shawn

      I was going to write to say great piece, too… but if you got Joe Cannon telling you so, that’s about the highest compliment you can get.

      Bizarre turn by Spalding, tho.

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      1. Former Radio Guy

        Spalding is a weird guy. I had the opportunity to meet him a few years ago and he was the strangest man I ever met. I heard he fired some people who were working at Standard/Astral for years for the stupidest reasons (just ask Merv Williams) and was petty and childish when it came to the firings.

        First he fired them without telling them why, then when they asked why he insulted their intelligence by giving them inane stupid reasons.

        I don’t know how a corporation like Astral could keep a guy like this employed.

        Reply
  7. Lynn

    While I wish Terry well in Montreal, his ratings in Calgary were poor because he simply did not deliver. I am a regular listener to Q107 because it is the only classic rock station in Calgary. I listened before Terry arrived and I will continue to listen after Terry leaves. But honestly, I never understood what the big deal was. His shows lacked any sort of focus and for the most part he stumbled around like some amateur college DJ. He arrived in Calgary with great fanfare, boasting about how he was going to work hard and earn the respect of his listeners, yet he showed up day after day stammering and confused. Some days it was just too embarrassing to listen to, and more and more I found myself switching stations. Corus should cut its losses and let him go now. Tim Morgan and Brian “Hurricane” Smith are both very professional and a pleasure to listen to. You can tell that they value their listeners and really “show up” each and every day. Perhaps Terry is relevant in Montreal because he has a loyal fan-base there that “remembers when”. The value of a veteran broadcaster lies in their ability to grow their listener base, and Terry just doesn’t seem to have the ability to do that. He needs to take some of the responsibility for failing in Calgary and should not blame the station for not promoting him enough. There really was nothing to promote. If new listeners tuned in, they’d probably tune back out again soon enough. For the huge salary that he reportedly made, quite frankly, his employers, his colleagues, and his listeners deserved more.

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    1. Jim P.

      You are correct on his style – stumbling. He often sounds unfocused and unprepared. Polished he is not.

      I think he is extremely lucky to command a high salary and be sought after by industry suits. The public is not banging down the doors to have him back.

      Bringing him home is not going to be a gamechanger for CHOM. It will cause a ripple in our small pond for a short while.

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        1. bomberfan

          I stopped listening to Q 107 about a week after Terry and Patti took to the air. Lots of hot air and I was not interested in hearing about Patti s love life! May tune back in once the new morning crew takes the air.

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  8. MM

    Who cares? Why is this even news?
    CHOM has been irrelevant for the past 15 years. How is this going to change anything?

    Reply
  9. Just Me

    I didn’t listen to Mr. Dimonte before he left for Calgary, and I ain’t gonna listen to him when he returns to Montreal. Good luck, Mr. D., where are you going to next??

    Reply
  10. Bobby D

    Nice blog Steve, but disagree with your assessment about Martin Spalding, as he was graceful with me during a unrelated meeting, ( not about terry) a few months ago, and he gave me the time of day, gave me an hour….and much appreciated

    But one thing I will say is we talked about Terry in terms that I had recently talked or was going talk to Terry for a feature I was doing for my “Celebrity World” monthly column. ( I’ve included it here) a Lot of stuff in my feature here is reflected in our interview….and wow prophetic, especially in my last couple of paragraphs…looking back now..something was in the works……My article was the no.1 daily for Transcon and Verdun Messenger website for a week and since the news broke, a couple of extra hundred hits have been added…lol….so happy reading… and thanks for reading..and I do know of the perfect new sidekick for Terry, but that’s between Mr DiMonte and myself….:)

    http://www.messagerverdun.com/English-section/BOBBY-DS-CELEBRITY-WORLD/2011-04-14/article-2428518/Verdun-native-Terry-Dimonte%3B-still-missed-by-Montrealers/1

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      disagree with your assessment about Martin Spalding, as he was graceful with me…

      I don’t have an assessment of Martin Spalding. I’ve never met the man, I have no idea what he looks like or what his history is, and I’ve talked with him for less than a minute. I hold out hope that he’ll come around and eventually agree to talk to me, but for now “this conversation is over” is his comment. He clearly has some personal beef with me based on something I’ve written, but won’t tell me what that was.

      It’s great that you got him to talk to you. He also chatted with Mike Cohen of The Suburban a while back. Perhaps you can ask him the questions he refuses to answer to me. I’d be happy to link to anyone who gets answers and posts them online.

      Reply
  11. kim

    I’m extremely happy to hear that Terry Dimonte is back. I listened to his last show on MTL when he left for Calgary and cried all morning so to hae him back is the best news ever!

    But. I sooooo don’t want Ted Bird back with him! Granted they’ve had good chemistry in the past but honestly…it was getting old and having to listen to his wife bitch and complain about his lazy ass…nope…don’t miss it in the least!

    Best sidekick for Terry in my opinion would be our man Merv! Don’t know where he’s gotten to but the chemistry between those 2 wod be fantastic!

    I would move Bad Pete and Chantal to the drive home and get rid of the annoying sexist pain Bilhal!

    Anywho…thats my 2 cents worth!

    Reply
  12. Terry P.

    Although I welcome Terry Dimonte back to CHOM, and hopefully Ted Bird as well, CHOM has a long way to go to reclaim it ‘spirit’….starting with the music. Having listened to CHOM since it first started in 1969 (as CKGM-FM) when it was a commercial free underground station, it was really the music that propelled it. It was not a classic rock station…because the term did not yet exist….but rather a progressive rock station that played music from such emerging bands as Genesis, Supertramp and Patti Smith as well as established ones like Pink Floyd. The difference is that their music has stood the test of time and are still played. But who will be playing the music from the past ten years? Some will say that today’s music is progressive too but I beg to differ. Creativity is gone, they all sound the same (Nickelback anyone?) and I can hardly name 10 bands!! I don’t want to sound like my dad 40 years ago, but today’s music sucks and is talent free. They don’t evolve but rather stay the same, which is why I’ve stayed with Classic Rock (ie…pre-1990) and also moved into Jazz.

    The CHOM market research may want to target the baby-boomer market…thats right…the ones with the deeper pockets….and make CHOM all classic rock, but not spinning the same boring playlist as they do today. They should dig deeper, like The Deep End did (which they cancelled) and Little Stevens Underground Garage does. WDRV in Chicago has Vinyl Thursdays where they play an entire side…scratches and all. How refreshing to hear something ‘new’.

    Reply
    1. What's In A Name?

      “Today’s music sucks”? Don’t go by CHOM’s suicidal play list. There is new, vibrant, meaningful, exciting music out there. CHOM just doesn’t listen.

      Reply
  13. Paul in Calgary

    I’ve been in Calgary since ’06 and didn’t see DiMonte promoted much here (saw his face on the side of a bus once). I’m 48, ex-Montrealer and fan of the man.

    It’s great to see him going back. A few weeks before the announcement he was in Italy with family, maybe this was a factor.

    In any case, good stuff. Media needs personalities, have we all forgotten Rush’s ‘Spirit of Radio’?

    Reply
  14. Scotty

    Here’s one CHOM listener who won’t be tuning in any more. Dimonte, like Bird, Rand and Zakaib, Murray Sherrifs, etc., represented what was wrong with Montreal radio: “Diva” types who thought **they** were the stars with the music their inconsequential support act, and were doing us a favor to share their lame, stale comic skits, their overbearing opinions, and in Bird’s case, phone calls to the psycho wife and kid every so often. I want morning DJ’s who’ll give me the news without adding their own personal biased slants (Dimonte always came across sounding like a right-wing Reform Party fanatic, I’m surprised he’s leaving their heartland), tell us the weather, let us know what’s up with traffic then shut up and play the music! In fact, I remember emailing Dimonte once a few years complaining about his constantly injecting his opinions into the morning newscasts and he replied by telling me he refused to just be a “Dee-Jay.” He actually had the nerv to write that it was his show and he was the star!

    So he’ll be the star again. He’ll start bursting into obnoxious, childish laughter at his own lame jokes that ends up overloading the broadcast equipment, a few meatheads will request Black Betty or Knock and Knoll All Night over and over and over and CHOM will sink back into the same old mediocrity. Too bad. It was starting to get good lately with a mix of enthusiastic new blood like Bilal butt, Sharon Hyland, and others along with the one Montreal radio veteran who never let his ego get out of hand and has been a joy to listen to for years, Tootall.

    Actually from what I read on here awhile back about Lisa Player’s treatment of Patrick Charles, maybe she’d be the perfect match for Dimonte. Astral should move her over there and maybe entice Aaron Rand along too. Put the divas all on one station and then we can just tune them out for good. Come to think of it with all that raw ego on one room, we’d end up with giant crater on Fort street from the self-destruction!

    Reply
    1. Bruno

      Oh really! DiMonte was right when he told you he was the star of the show, he is! He is a radio personality and people tune in to listen to HIM first then for the music as a sidedish or else they would just listen too their iPod. It’s a good thing you will be tuning out when he is back. I wouldn’t want to be in the same room with you.

      Reply
  15. Pingback: Montreal Anglos Who Moved “Out West” | Ravenscraig

  16. dc

    I am overjoyed by the news; can wait for Calgary’s airwaves to be released from his bland shows. It was great when Patti Oneil hit the bricks as she was a no talent 80′s a.m morning show hack. Bring back Bruce Kenyon, Young Stephen Murray and Sue Deyel in the q107 morning slot. They had the brains and originality & quit wit/sarcasim of Kenyon, the youthful balance of stephen, and the character of Sue. I think they were actually alot more popular than Corus knew……….

    Reply
  17. Lr

    Is that why Chom laid off staff recently ?
    Please tell me that Ted bird won’t be back at Chom !!
    I don’t mind Terry as long as he’s not munching and eating on air! ( that was an annoying habit he previously had)
    Also to lay Off his conservative political rants and all will be ok!
    WelcOme back Terry!

    Reply
  18. Kevin L

    I will definately welcome Terry back! Bad Pete and Chantal are stale. Especially, their frequent talk of “drinking” . Grow up, your not teenagers anymore!

    Reply
  19. Scotty

    What really shocked me was reading that Dimonte was allegedly paid $450,000/year for the move to Calgary! I know that’s been said to be exaggerated but even a quarter of that amount would be an obscene amount for what these clowns actually do! Getting any kind of 6-figure salary for sitting in a room for three hours each morning with a mic on and acting like 14-year old boys huddled in their parents’ basement is ridiculous at any time let along with this economy!

    Reply
    1. What's In A Name?

      Doesn’t matter if they act like 10 year olds. If people listen and clients are willing to pay to be on their shows then they deserve the dough. That’s Entertainment!

      Reply
  20. Dan

    If I were a religious man, I’d thank god for iPods, traffic-aware mapping and other conveniences that have given me freedom from morning radio and its inane banter.

    Is it mean-spirited of me to take pleasure watching all these egotistical radio blowhards squirm and grovel for an ever-shrinking piece of a dying pie?

    Really. Their hey-day crested in the late 80s. It’s time to move on and put them all to pasture.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Is it mean-spirited of me to take pleasure watching all these egotistical radio blowhards squirm and grovel for an ever-shrinking piece of a dying pie?

      Who’s grovelling? Terry DiMonte and Ted Bird both resigned their jobs at CHOM, and neither has since grovelled for their way back.

      Reply
  21. Fred

    What makes a good broadcaster is the ability to relate to your audience,I don’t think Terry DiMonte can do that they way he did in the 80′s and early 90′s. Chom’s demographic is mainly middle age blue collar (even though Chom has been trying to attract a younger demo who do not listen to radio) First off Terry has probably never worked a labor job in his life,or stand at a bus stop at 7am in -20 weather waiting for a bus. He takes a BMW a few blocks to work. He has never been married,or divorced and has no kids, Chom’s audience is married,divorced and most have kids and all that goes with it. Terry’s status always been single with money most of his adult career, how can he relate to anyone?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Chom’s demographic is mainly middle age blue collar

      CHOM’s demographic is also an anglo community that is pretty set in its ways and doesn’t like change. They know Terry DiMonte (or, at least, management thinks they still do) and they’re comfortable with him. You could make similar arguments against Mutsumi Takahashi, Josh Freed, Aislin, Tommy Schnurmacher, and other high-profile anglo media personalities, but if any of them left their jobs suddenly after a dispute with their employer, you’d bet there would be hell to pay.

      Reply
    2. Vahan

      Wow so much pent up frustration at what Terry represents. So he has never married, or had kids and drives a fancy car, which he earned by working. He raised money for the Montreal Children’s hospital, even though he may never use the facilities as a parent, he raised funds for Sun Youth even though he drives a BMW. If I am not mistaken he did weekend broadcasts for Child Find at one point too. I have never spoken to Terry one on one, but have coresponded with him and Ted by email and they have both been gracious with responses even for the stupidest little thing. Even though I have kids, lost and found jobs, worked in the “Coalmines” for years and do not own a big car, or any car I can still enjoy Terry in the mornings. Christmas, the last few years, has not been Christmas without the morning show Christmas edition, you know when he has Justin Trudeau come in and play stuff off his iPod and basically put you in the mood for the holiday. And the “deeledeeedee” singing before St.Patricks day. Oh and demographically speaking, my son prefers Rush, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Who over the newer acts along with all his classmates that just graduated high school. You know music with lyrics and a story to tell.

      Reply
  22. Jason Weir

    Who on earth cares if Terry DiMonte comes back to Montreal or anywhere really. CHOM has sucked since Terry went back to mornings from CJAD and has not done anything right ever since. Terry is a has been, and just goes to show that he will compliment the playlist on CHOM and become the latest Oldies station Montreal has to offer.

    Reply
  23. doreen

    Glad Terry is coming back – haven’t listened to CHOM except briefly to see what is going on there and and turn the dial…loved his humor and contrary to some comment liked his conservative political thoughts (even if I am liberal but a bit old fashioned I guess). Anyways, loved the banter between Ted and Terry even when they were annoying! Brave for him to move on and once again brave to come back – you never know how it is going to work out. At least we can listen and smile when tuning in to CHOM a.m. when Terry is back that is! So much hullaballo!

    Reply
  24. Chris

    Wow, let’s beat a dead horse with the same stick over and over and over.

    Just for the record – Terry left Montreal because Calgary threw a bunch of money at him. Why – is anyone’s guess.

    Now he’s back. This city seems to love dead-beat “celebrities” – Finnerty and now Dimonte.

    Reply
      1. Vahan

        I hope he brings his sister on to the show as well as Pierre Lalonde and Patsy Gallant and the whole cast of Excuse My French.:)

        Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      So any update on your meeting with Mr Spalding?

      Very informative. We chatted for two hours on a variety of subjects. I’ll be writing it up for a post when I have time to do so.

      Reply
  25. Louise Hagensen

    I was not listening to CHOM since you left. I tought is was boring and not funny at all. It would be great if the Bird Man would be sitting next too you in the morning.

    I’m just verry verry verry verry happy that your comming home

    Reply
  26. Skibble5150

    If this slob of a load comes back to CHOM and Pete Marier gets the boot, then I will wish nothing but the worse for that lame “rock” station.
    Pete’s a natural talent, personable and accommodating to his listeners whenever he can be.

    Winnipeg has better rock stations than Montreal.
    Power 97 FM.

    Newfoundland has better.
    The Rock of the Rock.

    Even Toronto has better.
    Q107 FM

    Then, there’s us. A lot of bad franco dance music and a half ass rock station where the DJs are restricted from playing anything other than the staple 5 or 6 songs from AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd during the AM slot. I think those artists wrote a few more classics.

    But at least we’ll have the man and a half who introduced Melissa Etheridge to Montrealers.
    Give me a break CHOM. Sloppy doughboys need not return.
    When is Peppermint Douchebag going to come back too?

    Let’s not forget that CHOM introduced Montrealers to greats like Terrance Trent D’arby, Level 42, Paul Young and Duran Duran in the mid 1980s.
    CHOM ROCKS! Pshaw!
    I hope the turd in a basket who made that choice is out of the radio business for good.
    Hope his current replacement gets the same fate dealt to him.

    You rock Pete!
    Hang in there and squeeze them for more coin if they make the obvious choice and keep you.
    You are more than worth it, especially if they are about to flush a bunch of scratch down the toilet with Pizza The Hut!

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Pete Marier isn’t getting the boot. He’s being moved to a drivetime show.

      As for your comments about DiMonte and others, I’d appreciate it if you showed a bit more respect. You don’t like someone’s style, fine, but that’s no reason to take it below the belt, particularly when you’re too scared to use your real name.

      And some people like Melissa Etheridge.

      Reply
      1. Skibble5150

        I don’t have to take it below the belt. I hope you enjoy Terry’s return and the general radio scene of bustling Montreal.
        Enjoy.

        Now where’s that AUX button on my car radio.

        *click*

        Reply
    2. Stephane

      Dude. How can your forget Swingout Sister, SADE, Simply Red and Sting. That was their FM98 or 98FM days.

      And today? Not much of a rock station. The Bear in Ottawa now that is the shit.

      Reply
  27. Stugatz

    It was only a matter of time. Terry is a class act and knows how to connect with his Montreal listeners. There’s a certain familiarity with Terry…and Ted for that matter. Some may disagree but I welcome a Terry and Ted reunion. They’re like brothers, best friends, the odd couple we’ve grown to love. As for Bad Pete, I’m sure he’s cool with the whole thing.
    Welcome Back Terry DiMonte!
    CHOM ROCKS!

    Reply
  28. Jess

    I woke up to terry in Montreal, and I now wake up listening to him in Calgary. It just inst the same, and one day when I do hear him again on the CHOM waves when I move back its going to be a great Nostalgic buzz…

    Reply
  29. HighwayHome

    Since CHOM is already in the gutter because they do not have a clue about how to properly play music, bringing back someone in the twilight of his career can only be seen as a non-starter. Since his original fans are either dead, too old or suffering from hearing loss, expectations and entertainment value are certainly low. Corny jokes, fake laughs and delusional reality is not going to cut it, especially considering the crappy and redundant music CHOM continues to play. I do not know what is more discomforting, listening to the music or the out of tune DJs?

    By the way, I hear that CHOM is also negotiating to bring back Wolfman Jack from the grave. At least the station knows how to do one thing correct: recycle the dead.

    Reply
  30. Jorge

    Terry, I still remember the last song you played on your show at Chom ” the long and winding road”. Isn’t ironically that this song is now some how leading you back to Montreal. Good to have you back, you are an excelent human been and by far one of the best radio personality.
    P.S.: Don’t bring back Ted with you.

    Reply
  31. Deborah Le Blanc

    Please, please, please don’t bring back Ted Bird, we got so tired of listening about his selfish wife and dysfunctional family. Terry’s great but NO Ted!

    Reply
  32. Stan

    Terry Dimonte & Ted Bird had no class together. They made rude
    sounds and noises likes old men.
    Don’t want ‘em back.
    And who listens to chom anyway? We got Internet radio & satellite radio!
    Thank goodness for that!

    Reply
  33. Pingback: Terry DiMonte returns to CHOM Jan. 9 – Fagstein

  34. Trish

    WHAT the WHAT ??!? First Patti, now Terry. Those two were the best morning show Calgary has ever seen (born n’ raised, and 45 y.o. in case yer wondering) He’s the reason I tune into Q107. Well, this Calgarian is very sorry to learn Terry is leaving us, and that Calgary didn’t show him the love he deserves. He is a most enjoyable fellow and I will miss his presence. Every possible happiness to you, Terry!!

    Reply
  35. Steve W

    Faguy, the guy running CHOM that Terry DiMonte absolutely couldn’t stand in his last stint there would be Bob Harris(Mr. Kim Rossi)? Who else could it be? Bob was their GM(& Program Director).

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      the guy running CHOM that Terry DiMonte absolutely couldn’t stand in his last stint there would be Bob Harris(Mr. Kim Rossi)?

      DiMonte kind of goes out of his way not to name the guy, but yes it was Harris. Though his issue was also with the station’s management in general. At the time he left, it had just been bought from Standard Broadcasting by Astral Media. He made it clear he has no issue with Astral, which hadn’t had time to make its mark on CHOM before he left.

      Reply
  36. Stan

    I found DiMonte rude and classless.

    Never going to turn my to chom now that he’s back.

    Pete Marier was the voice of chom.

    Reply
  37. Pingback: CHOM’s new schedule adds Terry DiMonte, Heather Backman in mornings – Fagstein

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