Tag Archives: Alyson Lozoff

Posted in TV

Bob Babinski resigns as City Montreal Executive Producer

Bob Babinski was hired at City Montreal a year and a half ago.

Bob Babinski was hired at City Montreal a year and a half ago.

16 months after being hired as the first man in charge of City TV’s new station in Montreal, Bob Babinski is leaving. He announced the news on Twitter on Saturday:

I spoke with him shortly after that post, and you can read his reasons in this story, which should appear in Monday’s Gazette.

The decision was announced to staff at the station on Friday, just after the broadcast of Breakfast Television. This was by design, Babinski told me, “to have the least impact on staff.”

Babinski said it was “a difficult day yesterday.”

While he said he’d been thinking about it for a while, as one does for decisions like his, he called his bosses to make it official earlier this week, the same week those bosses were busy with Rogers’s upfront presentations, giving advertisers a taste of what is to come for the fall season.

I talked with Babinski on Tuesday at the Montreal satellite event for the upfront, and he said nothing about wanting to leave. He explained that he didn’t want word to leak out before making the announcement to his staff. That announcement, which shocked everyone, was made in the presence of Jordan Schwartz, Rogers Media’s VP of in-house production and Babinski’s boss, who is visiting to help tweak the morning show a bit. (The first minor tweaks to the format should be apparent on Monday’s show.)

Schwartz tweeted this somewhat cryptic message just before midnight on Friday night:

And this more direct one on Saturday:

Schwartz told me later that he was sad to see Babinski go, but “in my head I always expected this day. I didn’t know if he’d want to stay for the day-to-day-to-day.”

There was the thought of whether there was something Rogers could do to make Babinski happier in his position, Schwartz said, but “I heard it in his voice that it was the right call.”

Schwartz said “I thought that he was a gentleman in the timing that he picked,” because it’s at the beginning of summer and gives them time to find someone new before the fall.

Manuel Fonseca, the managing producer of local programming at City Vancouver, takes over as interim executive producer in Montreal until they find a permanent replacement. Schwartz didn’t want to put a timeline on that, but said he’ll look for someone “as soon as possible.”

“I need a change”

So why is Babinski leaving? Simply put, “I need a change,” he said, emphasizing that the decision was entirely his and to the disappointment of his superiors.

Babinski said the first year and a half was about hiring new talent, setting up a TV station from scratch, and developing a new show. As we enter the second seasons of Montreal Connected and Breakfast Television, his job is becoming more administrative, doing things like coordinating content from the network. “While that’s extremely important, that stuff is less close to my heart,” he said.

So, in the middle of summer, he’s leaving and will go back to being a freelancer.

He won’t be entirely disconnected from Rogers, he said. Without giving too many details, he said he will be working with the company to produce programming related to hockey, as Rogers begins finding ways to recoup that $5.2-billion investment in NHL rights over 12 years. It will definitely be an off-air role, though. The former CBC sportscaster says his on-air days are behind him.

Babinski also told me he plans to go back to pursuing his “basic passion” of training others to be better broadcasters. He wants to expand the stuff he’s been doing there and apply it to other industries, helping corporate executives become better public speakers, for example. Again, not too many details because he doesn’t want to tip his hand before it’s all figured out.

He remains in his job until Friday, June 13. He’ll be spending his last week doing his job as usual, and preparing files for a transition to a new boss.

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Posted in Sports, TV

Alyson Lozoff leaves City, Sportsnet

Alyson Lozoff

Alyson Lozoff

City Montreal is barely a year old (and none of its local programs have even reached that anniversary) but it has already lost its first personality.

Alyson Lozoff, who was the Montreal reporter for Rogers Sportsnet and also the co-host of City TV’s local sports magazine show Montreal Connected, “is no longer with the company,” a Rogers Media spokesperson confirmed to me today.

She wouldn’t comment on why this is, and my attempts to reach Lozoff and City Montreal have failed to generate any response. Her Twitter account has been silent since March 22.

Lozoff’s departure was not addressed at all on the air. She last appeared on Montreal Connected on March 20 with co-host Wilder Weir as if everything was normal, without a hint that it would be her last show. During the week, the show’s Facebook and Twitter accounts were changed to list only Weir as the host.

Weir hosted this week’s episode solo, never explaining why his co-host from the previous week had suddenly disappeared.

This type of disappearance usually indicates a firing or unamicable resignation (say, to join a competitor). I have no idea which of these is the case.

Lozoff’s disappearance is curious because if anything Rogers should be hiring more people to be covering hockey in places like Montreal where it currently doesn’t have any broadcasting rights but will gain them starting this fall. On the other hand, it could be that in the process of re-evaluating its staffing across the country, the company has decided that Lozoff shouldn’t be part of the team.

Or maybe we’ll find out soon that she got hired by TSN or something. I really have no idea.

All I know is that the teeth on City Montreal just got a little less white.

Posted in Montreal, Sports, TV

Montreal Connected leads off City Montreal’s local programming

City Montreal staff. Seated: Montreal Connected Executive Producer George Athans (left), City Montreal Executive Producer Bob Babinski (right). Standing, from left: Montreal Connected hosts Wilder  Weir and Alyson Lozoff, New Media Producer Elias Makos, Montreal Connected Associate Producer Kelly Greig, Montreal Connected Director of Photography and editor Ian Graham

City Montreal staff (so far). Seated: Montreal Connected Executive Producer George Athans (left), City Montreal Executive Producer Bob Babinski (right). Standing, from left: Montreal Connected hosts Wilder Weir and Alyson Lozoff, New Media Producer Elias Makos, Montreal Connected Associate Producer Kelly Greig, Montreal Connected Director of Photography and editor Ian Graham

After years of wanting to get into the Montreal market, and months after acquiring a station here, City television is finally ready to dip its toe into local programming. It announced last week that May 30 would be the premiere of Montreal Connected, the station’s weekly half-hour sports show, and named its two hosts.

I spent Monday afternoon with the staff at the station for a story that appears in Thursday’s Gazette that introduces the anglo community to the show and its two hosts, Wilder Weir and Alyson Lozoff.

As is usually the case, I learned plenty more about them, the staff behind the camera and the station that I couldn’t cram into that story, so I’ll lay it all out here.

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Posted in Montreal, Sports, TV

City TV’s Montreal Connected debuts May 30; Alyson Lozoff, Wilder Weir to host

Montreal Connected hosts Wilder Weir and Alyson Lozoff

Montreal Connected hosts Wilder Weir and Alyson Lozoff (Photo: Rogers Media)

CJNT, which officially became City Montreal in February after it was bought by Rogers, will launch its first local program a week from now.

Rogers Media announced on Wednesday the details of its new weekly sports show called Montreal Connected (formerly “Connected Montreal”), which starts May 30. Here they are in point form:

  • Schedule: Half an hour a week, Thursdays at 7pm, with repeats Saturdays at 3:30pm and 7:30pm and Sundays at 6pm. The show will also air on Sportsnet East on Saturdays at noon.
  • Hosts: Alyson Lozoff, the Sportsnet reporter for Montreal (did you know she’s also a lawyer?), and Wilder Weir, a producer and former hockey reality show star
  • Contributors: Include Sportsnet personality Stephen Brunt, Globe and Mail Quebec sports reporter Sean Gordon, Gazette Alouettes reporter/columnist Herb Zurkowsky, and LNH.com managing editor Arpon Basu
  • Behind the scenes: As previously announced, former water ski champion George Athans will be the show’s producer, with Kelly Greig, formerly of CBC Montreal. They will work under Executive Producer and Local Content Manager Bob Babinski

The show promises to be “an in-depth look at the city’s professional and amateur teams, along with athlete profiles and feature stories on local, national and international sports.”

City Montreal is also launching a culture/lifestyle show in July, and its main local programming, a three-hour local morning show, in August.