After a six-day weekend, Ted Bird will be back on the job Friday. He just signed a two-year contract with Bell Media to join the morning show on CKGM (TSN Radio 990) with Elliott Price and Shaun Starr.
Bird, who left K103 last week after two years there, had been in discussions with 990 since not long after he left CHOM in 2010. With the contract at K103 not being renewed, those talks accelerated and were finalized over the past week. The contract was signed Monday.
No comment yet from Price or Starr or station manager Wayne Bews. I'll update if I hear from them.
CKGM is a good fit for Bird, who is very sports-minded and produced daily sports commentary for CHOM and K103, as well as weekly sports commentaries for a little while at CFCF. He still contributes weekly to CTV News Channel.
The morning show at CKGM certainly has room for Bird. It has been down to two hosts from three since Denis Casavant left.
Bird has long been critical of commercial radio since he left CHOM, saying they are taking the art of broadcasting out of the hands of artists. While CKGM does have a small-station underdog feel to it sometimes, it's owned by corporate giant Bell Media. When I asked him last week about returning to commercial radio, he resigned himself to the fact that he didn't have much choice if he wanted to earn a living to support his family.
“I can’t become a doctor,” he said. “Apparently, you need a licence for that.”
UPDATE (May 16): In what was referred to sarcastically as "the best-kept secret in Montreal radio in decades", the move was officially announced on the air at 8:05am on Wednesday. You can listen to audio of it - and a chat with Bird - here, starting at the five-minute mark (MP3).
Bill Brownstein writes about Bird's new home, and speaks with his wife and his new boss, in a story that will appear in Thursday's Gazette. The story reveals that Bird was making close to $250,000 at CHOM and about one-fifth of that at CKRK. Bird was also interviewed on CTV Montreal's noon newscast on Wednesday.