Remember Laurie MacDonald and Olga Gazdovic, of CJAD’s Saturday afternoon Laurie & Olga Show? Almost a year after getting canned from CJAD along with a bunch of others, they’re returning to the airwaves, in their old time slot (1-4pm), starting next weekend.
A (grammatically incorrect) Facebook group has already been started, and the few hundred people who joined the “Bring Back Olga and Laurie” Facebook group will probably be happy.
MacDonald and Gazdovic got their first radio job through a contest at a mall in 1995.
When they were suddenly fired in August 2009, Gazdovic told The Gazette: “It’s the nature of the business. If I had the chance, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
And so, like Ted Bird and Paul Graif in the mornings, Laurie and Olga become new voices from outside the Kahnawake community being added to Kahnawake’s community radio station. And the country music that used to dominate CKRK’s schedule is seeing less and less airtime in favour of castoffs and disgruntled former stars of the big Montreal stations.
It’s up to the community to decide how to react to this. But some were already suggesting that K103 was suffering an identity crisis, and the 250-Watt station was trying too hard to compete with the 50,000-Watt powerhouses atop Mount Royal, a battle they couldn’t possibly win, even with some names familiar to Montreal listeners.
If you notice some of your favourite shows have suddenly disappeared from CJAD’s schedule, it’s because they’ve been cancelled.
Montreal’s news/talk station has canned four of its shows:
In all, The Gazette reports, eight on-air personalities are leaving the station:
- Peter Anthony Holder, overnight host
- Laurie MacDonald, Laurie & Olga host
- Olga Gazdovic, Laurie & Olga host
- Kevin Holden, Kevin & Trudie host
- Al Gravelle, Solid Gold Saturdays host
- Jake Lawrence, Solid Gold Sunday Nights host
- Kathryn Coulombe, news anchor
- Rod Dewar, editorialist
Trudie Mason will remain with the station, expanding her morning news role.
Holder was the latest to get the news… yesterday. He received so little notice that he had to cancel a booked guest. Holder confirmed he’s been fired but wouldn’t comment further (UPDATE: See below). Laurie MacDonald told The Gazette they were told to give in their pass keys as soon as they were told they were fired.
As for what’s taking their places:
- Dan Laxer will be taking the Kevin and Trudie spot from 2-4 weekdays
- Laxer’s weekday evening slot is taken over by a syndicated show, The Ryan Doyle Show, from CFRB
- Ray Scott takes over Solid Gold Sundays from Jake Lawrence
- Former CBC host Anne Lagacé-Dowson takes over (on an interim basis) the spot left by Laurie & Olga at 1-4 Saturdays
- Saturday evenings will have “weekend” versions of weekday shows
Bendixen says other announcements will be forthcoming “in the next couple weeks.” Operations Manager Bob Harris told The Gazette that negotiations are ongoing.
Sports reporter Rob Martier has also left CJAD to move back to Chicago, though that move was for personal reasons and is unrelated to the shakeup.
UPDATE (Aug. 11): Holder talks to The Gazette’s Kathryn Greenaway, saying “they can only fire you, they can’t kill you.” Holder’s fans are making themselves heard loud and clear, starting up a Facebook group, Facebook cause and commenting en masse on his Facebook wall. The Gazette piece resulted in lots of feedback from readers.
And The Mirror points us to “Why CJAD sucks“, published exactly 10 years ago this week.
Meanwhile, Kim Fraser, who survived the cuts, responds to criticism of her on the Radio in Montreal group.