Tasso leaves Mike FM

Paul (Tasso) Zakaib in the Mike FM studio

Paul (Tasso) Zakaib in the Mike FM studio

Two years after joining Mike FM (CKDG) as a big-name personality on its afternoon drive show, Paul Zakaib and his on-air alter-ego Tasso Patsikakis are once again looking for work.

“It was a good two-year run,” Zakaib told me on the phone. He described his departure as the end of an experiment that failed to meet the station’s hopes. Mike FM owner Marie Griffiths offered him a different job that he wasn’t crazy about, so he left. His last day was Sept. 30.

Griffiths didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. I’ll update this post if I hear from her.

James Foster, who was Zakaib’s producer and news anchor, has taken over the job of afternoon drive host.

Failed experiment

Zakaib isn’t bitter about the departure, but seemed resigned to the fact that things just wouldn’t work at the low-budget station. Its equipment is basic and outdated, and didn’t afford him the flexibility needed to produce a complex show filled with humorous skits. This was particularly true after co-host Patrick Charles left the station a year ago.

CKDG-FM and its sister station CKIN-FM are commercial ethnic stations operating out of a tiny studio space on Parc Ave. in Mile End. CKDG tries to make money for the station with English-language morning and afternoon drive shows. The hiring of Tasso and Patrick was supposed to spark a boost in audience and advertising. It now seems evident that that didn’t happen.

(CKDG-FM doesn’t subscribe to BBM’s ratings measurement system, so it’s impossible to know beyond anecdotal evidence whether the show did indeed have more listeners and if so how long that increased listenership lasted.)

What now?

So now Zakaib joins people like Ted Bird and Ric Peterson and Patrick Charles and Chantal Desjardins who are without jobs in radio despite being veteran broadcasters. And that’s not counting all of those who are underemployed or not being used to their full potential.

Zakaib told me he wants to go back to something he did a while ago: freelance, doing voice work for animation and commercials. As a man with many voices, it’s what he does best.

“I’m trying to get back into that field,” he said, lamenting how much has changed with technology since the good ol’ days.

What about an Aaron and Tasso reunion? Well, Zakaib called up Aaron Rand’s show on CJAD recently, just for fun. He said he might do so again, out of nostalgia.

If there’s any justice in the world, CJAD will free up a few dollars to get him to contribute to Rand’s show on a regular basis.

But nobody’s holding their breath waiting for that to happen.

17 thoughts on “Tasso leaves Mike FM

  1. keith rowe

    Very sorry to hear about Tasso! Hope he will be back at it shortly, a great talent that I was listening to for years- his genius and humor is much needed in the humdrum of Montreal radio… He could breath new life into CJAD in the morning- enough of Carter already!!!

  2. Jim P.

    Say it ain’t so Tasso ! James Foster is good but it’s better when 2 djs can feed off each other.

    Too bad but hopefully Tasso will turn up on the air waves soon.

  3. Mrs B.

    I would LOVE to hear Aaron and Tasso back together. Their partnership on Q92 was the best radio I’ve ever heard and ever will hear. It’s criminal that this man is not working regularly in prime time. In a larger market he could name his price.

  4. Dilbert

    I think the problem here is that the term “veteran broadcaster” translates to “too expensive for bottom line oriented operations”. With only a couple of big employers in town, it’s not really easy to take that stuff and take it for a ride to a new job. Companies like Bell appear to be so bottom line focused and so short sighted that “veteran broadcasters” aren’t the people they want.

    There seems to be little hope in waiting for TTP to come along and snatch up all of these people either, considering they have no news and are suppose to be on the air pretty darn soon.

    I feel bad for Tasso, he can join all the other “veteran broadcasters” who are no longer financially viable in the market place.

  5. Frank

    Here’s to a very very short time unemployed. Now that you have some free time, can you haunt Jacques Parizeau with voices of Italian, Greek, and Jewish seniors?
    Best of luck, Paul.

  6. Steve W

    Since leaving Mike FM over a year ago, I’ve heard Patrick Charles name mentioned by Aaron Rand, on his CJAD afternoon drive program as a contributor once or twice(I’m guessing it’s for the Song Parodies that Patrick often does). Chantal Desjardins as you know, still appears on-air at CTV Montreal on occasion as a sub for either Entertainment or Sports.

  7. Ralph Lockwood

    Hey Frank,
    It isn’t Jacques Parizeau that needs to be haunted by those voices these days, it’s Bernard Drainville. Considering the difference in IQ, it should be much easier with the new guy…

  8. Mario P.

    I would frequently tune in when he and Charles were both on, it was good, but the music repertoire is horrible, the songs are boring and really outdated especially for driving at home at night, I mean I would catch the show when Taso was alone, with foster..it was ok, little dry but they could have polished it better…again though Taso would announce the next song and it would be some pre-historic tune from 30 years ago, I mean ok once in awhile but bring it a little more hip……..Mike FM should re-think there strategy.

  9. Steve W

    Is Mose Persico still doing some on-air stuff for Mike FM? He joined the radio station last February(about 11 months ago)?

  10. Frank

    Returned to this article from the one stating Paul will be working at the new Hudson station and noticed the mention of James Foster. Is this the same Foster who took over Michel Boyer’s overnight newscast on CJAD?


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