TSN 690’s Elliott Price, Abe Hefter laid off as part of Bell Media cuts in Montreal

The wave of job cuts sweeping Canada finally hit Montreal today, with the first big names on the list of those getting the axe: Elliott Price, co-host of the morning show on TSN Radio 690, and Abe Hefter, host of the weekend morning show.

I lay out the news in this story in the Montreal Gazette.

“Unfortunately, I can confirm that Elliott Price departed the company as part of the ongoing restructuring at Bell Media,” was the official comment from Bell Media spokesperson Olivier Racette.

Bell Media isn’t offering much comment on departures, and program director Chris Bury referred all comment to Racette.

Price didn’t respond to a request for comment and hasn’t said anything on Twitter, but he did change his Twitter biography:


Price’s departure leaves the morning show in the hands of Shaun Starr and Rick Moffat, along with their contributors.

Price has been a fixture on Montreal radio since 1982, notably as a voice of the Montreal Expos.

Hefter, host of The Locker Room, is also gone, Mitch Melnick announced today on the air.

Other confirmed on-air cuts:

The fact that both Virgin and CHOM have ditched their overnight hosts suggests to me that they might try going announcerless overnight. We’ll see.

There are also several behind-the-scenes jobs at these stations that have been cut. Producers, marketing and promotions people and others.

At CTV Montreal, the cuts have been more modest. No anchors or reporters have lost their jobs yet, though they will be filling the vacant Quebec City reporter position internally instead of hiring someone new, according to union local president Susan Lea.

Five positions are gone, all in operations (i.e. off-air jobs), of which one was a voluntary departure with a severance package to protect the job of a younger employee, Lea said.

“We’re expecting a couple more” jobs to be cut, she said.

Lea said CTV Montreal was probably spared more severe cuts like we’ve seen elsewhere because of more severe cuts that happened a year ago. The station is down to about 100 people.

I haven’t heard about on-air cuts at RDS or other French-language properties in Montreal yet.

UPDATE: Someone has apparently been scrubbing tributes to Price from TSN 690’s website, which is particularly classless. Melnick’s tribute to him was posted online and then pulled, and a segment with TSN’s Bob McKenzie was edited to take out a brief reference to Price:

Meanwhile, Price offered some thank yous on Twitter:

UPDATE (Nov. 30): Ronny Mack offers some thoughts on Facebook.

56 thoughts on “TSN 690’s Elliott Price, Abe Hefter laid off as part of Bell Media cuts in Montreal

  1. Graham

    Horrible move yet telling of who they kept. There are many with lesser talent with a bigger salary than Elliott Price. Interested to see who else.

    1. patrick flynn

      yes i agree with you, too bad i will not listen to the morning show anymore, can’t stand that connor mckenna guy, he is too full of himself. i like the station but that is a bad bad bad move. good luck elliot on your next project

  2. Peter Francis

    Sad, sad, sad. Rationalization – Starr = lower salary; Moffat = voice Als / not #1 salary; Price = wealth-knowledge / $$$ / not salary effective (which equals lone GREAT value < (how-many-seats-does-he-fill). I remember EP + MM + DM in the FM96 van … live long and prosper Mr. Price!

  3. Sharon Reid

    I think it is absolutely ridiculous that Elliott Price was let go. He was a true professional and now I feel that I won’t be setting my alarm to 690 in the morning any longer. Good luck Elliott…one door closes…a better one will open.

  4. Mario D

    And they kept Moffat over Price? McKenna over Price ?
    It probably is not that simple to explain but that`s what it is ! And the worst part is that they let people go so they reach their profit forecast ! It`s not even a matter of making profit ,it`s making the profit they said they would at year`s begining.

    Not that these moves were unexpected but still above personnal opinions on who should stay and who should go, when the idea is to have the cheapest product possible on the air, this is exactly what you get…le sigh…

  5. Ron

    This is just sad. Grew up listening to him on Expos broadcast and the morning show. I am not try ring to be dramatic here but I had issues with at home when I was growing up and he is one of the reasons I stayed out of trouble all these years. This guy gave me something to look forward daily when it was bad at home. Just sad he is gone with all the knowledge he has. Never had a chance to personally thank him. Now it will be even harder

  6. mario

    How does Moffat beat out Price baffles me. Price is a superior interviewer, a superior play by play broadcaster, and Price can carry a show on his own.

    A wonder if Conor McKenna will get more air time.

  7. André Foisy

    This has been stewing in me all day and I have to let it out…..I wake to TSN 690 daily, go to sleep to it and drive home to it – religiously. Elliott Price is the main host of the morning show and Shaun is developing alongside him, learning his craft from the vet. Rick Moffat, nice guy but a spare wheel removed from the trunk once in a while; what 20-35% max time on air with the team on average? – huge absentee “host” due to his play by play duties and travel for Als and Impact. When he does come out into the rotation, he is out of balance and behind the rhythm of Shaun and Elliott…slow, old fashioned and often not relevant. The “pace is all off “a la Semin”. CLEARLY Elliott is the leader and they cut the wrong guy from the morning show, no disrespect intended…just callin’ it as I see it. I CRINGED every time Elliott was off or doing play by play stand in gigs because the show fell remarkably in his absence and I fear this is the beginning of the end unless the morning show gets a shot in the arm with Jay Farrar or Sean Campbell….which will still take a long time to catch up to the quality of Elliott’s leadership. These young guns kick butt at keeping it fresh and interesting. I hope they have have an opportunity.
    Elliott, this is one listener that will miss you, your stories, you awesome son Myles & daughter’s softball exploits, your ability to make me laugh and chuckle and your voice of reason dealing with Martin’s and Shaun’s shenanigans.
    I wish you the very best and that you will prosper for your family’s sake.
    Thought: go join John Bartlett and show the other guys how to properly cover the habs on TV. We sorely need credible, knowledgeable, interesting, enlightening, local Montreal talent on air for PBP Habs games on NATIONAL & REGIONAL TV along side or in addition to John B…….now off I go to listen to Mitch Melnick’s podcast tribute to you Elliott since I missed it live. I AM FRIGGIN” pissed to no end!!!!!

  8. Media Man

    OMG..this is awful. I used to enjoy listening to Ronnie Mack, especially when he was doing the weekends, he was the all-night version of Terry D and TooTall..you know, he knew his stuff, one of the pillars nice to listen to, coming home after a night out..

    What is it a $700 million profit for Bell last year…bloody greedy..

  9. Knot Happy

    This is another nail in the coffin of media in Canada. Remember when small local companies owned the media, now a conglomerate that is raking in billions but not enough for their shareholders and Executives who get millions in recompense on the backs of the people who made these stations what they were.

    A shadow of what media used to be.

  10. Marc

    I wonder if the behind-the-scenes cuts at CFCF are responsible for the lack of graphic material during the news – particularly the weather. Things like the forecast in cities across the country and world are gone, the bumpers, and more. Lots of stuff has been cut. Next thing you know the newscast will just be a 15-minute overview of headlines.

    1. Kevin

      The weather graphics have been cut because of CRTC regulations for the visually impaired.
      TV stations have been told they cannot display graphical info unless it is accompanied by a voice reading the info.

  11. Marco

    The radio business is an ugly business!! When they decided to kill off Aaron and Tasso after 25 years of being the best morning show duo, that’s when I said to myself that no one is safe in the radio business. . After that, I got tired of hearing radio jockeys going from VIRGIN RADIO to 92-5 THE BEAT. Big corporations don’t understand what the listeners want from a radio station. They think more music and less talk for the morning shows are the answer. I’m sure now that everyone’s ON EDGE and will continue to be for the rest of November.

  12. Anna M

    Bell media a bunch of corporate crooks, cutting back on working people at levels to keep the profit machine going. Disgusting and shameful. Be interesting to see How the new Liberal gov. might respond to this if at all. It’d be most interesting to see how much profit Bell media made and what raises they gave their own big shots, and the rest of the crew that run that multi billion dollar racket. Shame on them, shame shame. Disgusting.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Be interesting to see How the new Liberal gov. might respond to this if at all.

      What do you expect them to do? It would be pretty unprecedented for the federal government to force a private company to employ someone.

      It’d be most interesting to see how much profit Bell media made and what raises they gave their own big shots

      Bell Media made $183 million in the last quarter. As for “their own big shots”, many of them are on the unemployment line right now.

  13. George

    I’ll miss Abe Hefter, perfect laid back personality for weekdend listening. I guess this is the same group that let Rod Dewar go.

    1. mario

      Was sorry to hear that a real pro like Abe Hefter was also let go. But I had no idea that also meant the weekend morning show is no more. Saturday morning at 7 am they had Canada Golf Talk (TSN Toronto) followed by Life After the Game at 8am.
      A weekend morning show has been a fixture since the Team990 days. Pretty petty if you ask me.

      1. Steve W

        How soon people forget. The Locker Room only lasted just over 2 years on TSN 690. Abe Hefter only moved over to TSN 690 from CJAD, after the deal of Bell Media taking over Astral Media was finally finalized. BTW, about a decade ago, there was totally different sports radio program in Montreal, also called The Locker Room.

        Before that weekend mornings on the TSN 690, was The Franchise radio program with Nick Murdocco, Gary Whittaker & main contributor Amanda Stein(almost a 4-year run on the station).

  14. John

    Nothing against the guy, since he’s a very good radio host, but not a surprising decision. Price is caught in the past (Expos) and feeded the audience with his irrelevent MLB blabber (same as Melnick, btw). If the station is targeting a younger audience, this was the call to make.

  15. mario

    I believe Elliott Price was scheduled to call the world Junior games on TSN radio this coming December /January, and next year when the tournament returns to Toronto/Montreal with Montreal hosting the Finals.

    I truly hope Price gets to do more play by play in the future. Maybe with the CBC Olympics, or perhaps use Melnick’s NBC connection with Pierre McGuire and get some NBCSN contracting work.

    Or ideally replace Paul Romanuk when he does Habs games.

  16. Anonymous

    Bloody shame for Ronny Mack by far my favorite CHOM dj. Good radio voice for a rock station, didn’t look for words when speaking (hello Sharron H.) and knew about the music he played.

    Can think of a few others at CHOM that could go away.

  17. Ernie D'Alessandro

    Very sad to hear the news. You were a big part of the Montreal sports scene and I’ll miss your witty comments and knowledgeable input. I hope to hear you back on the Montreal air in the very near future.
    THANK YOU for entertaining and educating me for all these years.

  18. Marco

    It’s too bad that Elliot was let go, I listen to the morning show every day on my way to work. To me, the best morning show was with Elliot, Denis and Shaun. Since then, it’s been a crap shoot but I would still listen. Now however, if they decide to give the gig to Conor McKenna, you can scratch one less listener in the mornings. I can only take small doses of Conor and listening to him every day in the mornings would ruin my mornings. No offense to Conor but his insights don’t jive with mine. Good luck Elliot, I wish you well. From one family man to another.

  19. roy Fleischman

    One of the main reasons I listened to 690 from 9 to 10 was because of Elliot. He brought colour and humour to the show. Some companies look at the bottom line and forget that it might catch up to them in the future. A story my Dad used to tell me, that a farmer had a horse that did almost everything on the farm. Was used for ploughing the fields, delivering the produce to market, etc. The farmer was feeding him the finest hay and oats but he too looked at the bottom line and started mixing straw to cut costs. The horse fell sick and died. Good luck Elliot and Abe, cream rises to the top.

  20. Sol Boxenbaum

    Bell Media Greed

    Today more firings at Canadian radio stations and television networks as Bell media “tightened their belts” and stifled the careers of several broadcasters. After garnering profits of $183 million in the last quarter they still found a need to rid themselves of some of those that made them successful. Where was the CRTC when they granted permission to Bell to monopolize the industry? Could they not have invoked conditions that would have protected the employees of the stations and networks that were being cannibalized? When your career gets terminated in the broadcast industry you can’t go to a competitor as you might in other industries. You more or less have to be prepared to move to another city. This week some very talented people were fired from CJAD and CTV among others. Mainly, it’s about paying wages deservedly to veterans or replacing them with cheaper labour fresh out of journalism school. You get what you pay for and the loser is the listener. But it is you and I who have to voice our opinion and the best way to do that is to hit them where it hurts, in the revenue column. Although I am no fan of Pierre Pelladeau, he is the lesser of two evils. Cancel your cable, telephone, and Internet service with Bell. Videotron can provide all of the above. And to all the smug, heartless bastards who make the decisions in the Board rooms of Bell Media, one day your turn will come.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Where was the CRTC when they granted permission to Bell to monopolize the industry? Could they not have invoked conditions that would have protected the employees of the stations and networks that were being cannibalized?

      Setting aside the fact that Bell has not monopolized any industry, the CRTC does not set conditions in terms of staffing. And it’s well aware that job cuts are an inevitable consequence of consolidation. It’s one of the factors weighed when big deals like the Astral acquisition come up.

      1. Sol Boxenbaum

        With respect to your clarification that the CRTC does not set conditions in terms of staffing, the fact remains that the industry was cannibalized. Bell Media is playing Monopoly using live playing pieces. Cutbacks are not inevitable when you have profits of $700 million annually.

      2. Dilbert

        “Setting aside the fact that Bell has not monopolized any industry,”

        Sorry, the facts just don’t support that statement.

        If you are an english sportscaster in Montreal (radio or TV) you have only one real company to work for, Bell. CBC generally isn’t hiring, but shrinking under the horrible cuts imposed by the previous Federal government. The only other players in english broadcast either don’t have dedicated sports people in Montreal, or have a single position that is filled.

        Since CJAD has shut it’s sports department, and with no real competition for broadcast rights, they can operate like a monopoly. When someone gets fires / let go they have essentially no alternatives in the marketplace. Even in leave the market place for another they are faced with their name being on the “do no hire” list.

  21. Joey

    Only two reasons to have ever tuned in to the team 690. Mitch Melnick and Elliot Price.Now only one reason.That his seat should be given to the thoroughly pompous and obnoxious Conor McKenna is all the more confounding.

  22. Radio Purist

    Why is there so much surprise here? I’m sure the bosses at Bell will hand themselves some nice bonuses for a job well done. Of course they are a private company and can do whatever they want in terms of staff decisions. But the CRTC has allowed them to practically monopolize certain markets. Think about it, if you were just laid off in Montreal, what other local station are you going to go to?

    Ten years from now, local content on Canadian radio stations will perhaps be limited to the morning show and a news reporter or two. Everything else will either be syndicated or automated. That is the danger of handing over control of an entire industry into the hands of two or three players. They have absolutely no loyalty to any particular market and do not care about the quality of their product as long as they are making money.

    Look at what Shaw is doing with their fake local newscasts… It is only a matter of time for this kind of thing to start happening on radio as well. It will be a gradual process. Another example, up until 5 or 6 years ago, 2009-10, CJAD had a 24/7 live newscasts. That stopped. People complained for a few days and then moved on. If companies like Bell could centralize everything on radio like they have been doing on TV, they surely would. It’s coming, make no mistake about it…

    I hope the listening audience will be wise enough to realize that they are being taken for idiots.

    1. mario

      Lots of questions remain. Curious to know who amongst the flll-in part timers were also let go. Jay Farrar, Sean Coleman, etc. Will they be retained? Also TSN Game Night, is that still a thing? Seems like if there is no Habs hockey at night , it’s ESPN programming And is Conor McKenna the permanent replacement for Elliott Price?

  23. Pat from Montreal

    Unbelievable. Money hungry bastards! I actually just switched my phone to Fido and my tv to Videotron. Up yours Bell, you bunch of inconsiderate greedy punks! You’ll never get a dime from me again, won’t even go to a hockey game. DONE!

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Unbelievable. Money hungry bastards! I actually just switched my phone to Fido and my tv to Videotron.

      So now you’re supporting Rogers, which just killed local news departments at all its OMNI stations, and Quebecor, which just shut down a bunch of magazines.

  24. Sharon Rossy

    I’m still in shock! I love listening to Elliott in the morning. Why? Do they need Rick or Conor? Seriously? It just makes no sense. I agree with others that when Elliott’s not there the show isn’t the same. I admit I enjoy Tony and really like Sean Campbell with Chris and of course Mitch is a no brainer. But now I’m worried. I was angry when they let Ted Bird go, but this one is really really dumb and thoughtless. Maybe they want to get rid of the station, because this one hurts big time.

  25. Ottawa Listener

    Very sorry to hear about the cuts. I’m afraid that another victim of the cuts might be night time local radio. With McKenna gone to the mornings, I assume that means the end of Game Night. With no Game Night, that eliminates the need for Up Late (although it’s on tonight after the Post Game Show). Filler content from the US (ESPN, Fox) is no substitute for locally produced night time radio; even if they replay a lot of the interviews from during the day, a lot of listeners will not have heard them before. I will miss the local late night content on 690 if it’s not there anymore.
    Of course this is just speculation but I wish management there had enough regard for the listeners to let us know exactly what the cuts mean for the schedule.
    Finally, it should be noted that 690 had already lost two people fairly recently (Jessica Rusnak and Eric Thomas) who left on their own. They weren’t replaced as far as I know, and that apparently still wasn’t enough. All the people who left 690 have ended up at Sportsnet who appear to be still hiring (even Price is doing a panel on Sportsnet Central now).

  26. Robert C. Lynthronigan

    I am stunned to have read of Ronny Mack’s cut from CHOM. I listen to CHOM online here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I had always looked forward to hearing Ronny and his Long Song Hour and his Thirty and Thirty. He played the classic song by Yes, “Yours Is No Disgrace”, as a long song request of mine from down here in the Duke City. If you happen to read this, Ronny, I’ll miss you, as I’m sure two other listeners down here in Albuquerque (Marlene and Gloria) will as well. Rock on, wherever you are. Robert.

  27. mario

    Has Bell or TSN radio made it official that Conor McKenna is the new morning man? One day this week, McKenna said ‘I have a new job now’ as he was talking about how he’s had to change his social schedule adapting to starting early in the morning.

  28. Pino

    Can’t believe it. Terrible move. You lost the best morning man. The morning show is not the same. it’s lost it swagger. Time to move on as well for me. Elliot thank you for being there every morning during my drive into work. You not only entertained but educated your audience . My drive will never be the same. I wish you the very best

  29. Michael

    I’m very sad about Elliott Price’s layoff – I had held out for the dream that he could stick around on the morning show until the Expos return, when he would make a triumphant return to the play-by-play ranks.

    That being said, I think Conor McKenna will do (is doing) a fine job in his place, and quite frankly it was time for him to have an anchor slot like the morning show.

    Anyhow if you’ve ever listened to sports radio in other markets, you’ll know that TSN690 is pretty special. A sports station that nevertheless has broadcasters with much broader cultural interests and situates sports not as the be-all and end-all, but as an element of the culture alongside many others, That’s pretty rare. it’s really built in the image of Mitch Melnick – but EP was always a key tent-pole in the whole formula. Conor brings most of that to the table as well – unfortunately I don’t think Starr can ever be anything but the 2nd seat – but the bench is starting to look a little thin.

    1. Sharon

      I agree about how TSN brings so much more to the table besides sports. However I just can’t warm up to Conor. EP is special and irreplaceable IMO and while Conor brings his own brand to the table I find the chemistry profoundly changed and lacking. Can’t we get a petition going? We need Elliott back. I just find it hard to listen to the morning show.

  30. Howard

    I am not a sports fan but Elliot and mitch are the two best broadcasters on the radio and the people who surround them were also great. I refer especially to Saun Starr who is left in the lurch without Elliot. They are replaced by uninformed low level broadcasters who cannot even make Martin least segment interesting and he too ( Martin ) is a star. Moffard and McKenna are amateurs and boring. What a terrible move by TSN. These guys were fun to listen to even if sports was not you main interest. I will miss the banter , ” I love that game ” segment and the humor of it all. What a low class act by TSN. I no longer listen in the morning as it is soooo boring but still love Mitch in the afternoon until they decide to trash him as well. Back to Ted Bird and or Terry in the morning Bring him back you idiots.

  31. Dan Davis

    I obviously missed this sad news while I was away and I am shocked. I have become an avid listener of TSN 690 morning show and Elliott Price was one of the main reasons. A great radio personality. He will be missed ? But to good to be away for very long. Thanks Mr. Price

  32. K-19


    Just when thought that
    breaking up the best morning team
    that the city has ever seen
    (Price Starr and Bird)
    was as blundering as it could get…

    Next thing you know
    they’ll give some whiney little
    stuffy nosed monotone voiced
    perpetually sighing talentless wannabe
    a show… Uh oh…too late

    Holy Gallo Batman!

    Sad days

    Best of luck Elliott
    You-we deserve better

  33. Mario

    I read on Twitter that Elliott Price will be back on the airwaves hosting a weekly Sunday night show beginning Sunday Feb 14 from 10 pm to midnight on CFMB 1280 am. The show will also be available online.

    The show will be called ‘Price is Right’.

  34. Angela Bloom

    February 8, 2016 at 6:36PM

    Just came back from holidays, and was wondering if Elliott was sick or on holidays.
    Whoever did this had no idea what they did. Only wondering how much money was going into the Bowl for the share holders to split, after all, his job is done and will get a raise!!!!!!!
    The best ever morning show, it got me through the morning with laughs and jokes and actual events that happened to him, with his wonderful son and daughter.
    He made mornings fun, enjoyable, plenty of laughs and his wonderful wit.
    These people have no life just our money.
    Miss you Elliott, good luck in your future ventures.

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