Tag Archives: Terry DiMonte

Posted in Media, Montreal, On the Net, Radio, TV

Italians are everywhere

CBC's Sabrina Marandola is among the Italian Montrealers profiled by Panoram Italia

CBC’s Sabrina Marandola is among the Italian Montrealers profiled by Panoram Italia

It’s not just me who’s been talking to English-language broadcasters in Montreal. Italian community magazine Panoram Italia has been profiling members of its community who have jobs in the media in Montreal. The magazine’s December/January issue is devoted to it, with CBC’s Sabrina Marandola and CJAD/CTV’s Laura Casella on the cover.

Posted in Photos, Radio, Video

Terry DiMonte’s first day at CHOM … again

There are some things at CHOM that will always be constant: The name, the format, the listeners complaining that the same songs get played over and over, and every decade or so the program director deciding to shake things up by putting Terry DiMonte back on mornings.

DiMonte began his first shift back at Montreal’s Spirit of Rock on Monday, and I managed to score an invitation to see it from the studio (even if it meant pulling an all-nighter after a late shift at work). This is the story of that day.

Terry DiMonte reads the paper just before he starts his first show. (And by "the paper", I mean the section in Saturday's Gazette seemingly devoted to him)

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Posted in Montreal, Radio

CHOM’s new schedule adds Terry DiMonte, Heather Backman in mornings

UPDATE (Jan. 13): Read more about DiMonte’s first day here. Updates below with more coverage of DiMonte’s return and comments from Chantal Desjardins about her new job at CJAD.

Terry DiMonte does his first show back at CHOM on Jan. 9.

The news that Terry DiMonte was coming back to CHOM came out all the way back in June. The date was set and publicized in November. But details on such things as who his cohosts would be and what happens to the rest of the schedule were kept under wraps until Monday when DiMonte started his first show.

Here’s the details of its new schedule:

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Posted in Montreal, Radio

Pete Marier leaves CHOM over contract dispute

Pete Marier

 Last update: Dec. 27 at 2am, adding a comment from Marier at the bottom.

“My show on CHOM was terminated last night.”

That was the extent of the comment from Pete Marier Friday morning, on Facebook, to the fact that he’s leaving CHOM.

Rumours about Marier’s impending departure have been flying about for a few weeks, but things came to a head this week when Marier was given an ultimatum, a source close to Marier said. (Marier himself isn’t talking – his only communication with me directly was to confirm the news of his departure.)

According to the source, who asked not to be named for fear of pissing off Bad Pete, Marier was told Thursday after his show to sign a contract that would have decreased his salary by more than half, otherwise he would be terminated as of Friday. Marier refused, which led to a heated verbal confrontation in Astral Media vice-president Martin Spalding’s office on Friday morning. Marier was thrown out of Astral’s Fort St. offices, and called the police to press for charges of (very minor) assault against Spalding, according to the source, who was in the office at the time.

Spalding wouldn’t get into what happened in his office, saying he didn’t want to air dirty laundry, but he did say that emotions got the better of both of them. Spalding confirmed that Astral exercised an out clause when Marier made it clear he would not accept a new contract with a reduced salary, and his last day was set at March 8, 2012. Spalding said the new salary figure, which he wouldn’t specify but said was nowhere near a 50% pay cut, was “very competitive” for an afternoon host in this market, and that even if it’s less than what he would make in mornings, it’s higher than what he made the last time he was doing the afternoon drive show.

Spalding said Marier was given five chances to accept the offer and stay at CHOM. He maintained that Marier was to be one of the three “pillars” with Terry DiMonte and Tootall, and that they wanted him to stay. “He was in our long-term plans,” Spalding said.

“No choice”

“He left us no choice,” he explained. With DiMonte set to return Jan. 9, management wanted to get its schedule finalized by then. Spalding said he and Brand Director André Lallier didn’t want to go through a big launch Jan. 9 and have to make a big change two months later when Marier left.

Spalding said the decision was made Thursday night, after one final offer, to make Friday Marier’s last day. That still gave Marier the chance to say goodbye to listeners, which he seemed to accept on Thursday. But on Friday morning, Marier changed his mind and said he wouldn’t go on air.

Marier remains on CHOM’s payroll, as per the terms of his contract, until March.

“It saddens me because I think he’s a great guy,” Spalding said. Despite their falling out, Spalding had nothing but praise for Marier’s talent and said it was unfortunate that he wouldn’t accept Astral’s offer.

The timing is probably the worst part about this. Marier’s last contract wasn’t set to expire until next September, but with DiMonte’s return so close in the new year, the decision had to be made now.

On Friday, as they have done in the past with acrimonious departures, CHOM scrubbed Marier’s name and photo from its website. The 3-7pm timeslot on the schedule now just reads “The Drive”

Listeners fight back

Marier’s Facebook wall was flooded with comments from angry listeners, one of whom has started a Facebook group to demand CHOM rescind its decision, but its chances to success are just about zero now that the decision has been made. After initially allowing non-profane comments to stay, the people managing CHOM’s Facebook page deleted all comments about Marier. That didn’t stop them, of course, and they kept posting, adding more anger and some sarcasm to their voices.

It used to be that broadcasters, newspapers and other media could control their means of communication, and simply make people or issues disappear. But with social media like Facebook, their power is limited. They could shut down the page completely to comment, but that would throw away the baby with the bathwater.

Unfortunately for Marier, this kind of thing blows over. People aren’t calling in to CBC anymore to complain about Nancy Wood, or calling in to Q92 to complain about the axing of Tasso and Suzanne. CHOM can only hope that the protest about Marier dies down enough by Jan. 9 that it doesn’t harm their promotional plans.

Pillar of CHOM

Marier, 52, has been at CHOM since 1989 (except for a stint in Winnipeg from 2002 to 2005), mainly hosting morning and afternoon programs. He stepped back into mornings with Ted Bird and Chantal Desjardins, then went back to the afternoon drive when CHOM rejigged its schedule to prepare for the return of Terry DiMonte.

At the time, Spalding agreed with myself and many others that Marier’s voice was probably more suited to afternoons than mornings. (Even though CHOM’s ratings actually went up with Marier in the morning show chair.) There was no indication at the time that Marier’s future at the station was in doubt. In fact, Spalding referred to Marier as one of the “pillars of CHOM” – a description he maintained even when discussing Marier’s departure.

Not DiMonte’s fault

There’s been speculation that Marier’s departure is related to DiMonte’s return. It’s true that the timing of that is why this decision came now, and that DiMonte’s return is why Marier moved back to afternoons (and hence was offered less pay), but neither of these things are DiMonte’s fault.

Still, many comments online are extremely negative toward DiMonte, suggesting his return is why Marier is leaving, in part because CHOM spent big bucks for DiMonte and has little left for the rest of its staff.

That’s just not true, DiMonte says.

“The notion that I had anything to do with it is complete nonsense,” DiMonte wrote to me on Saturday. “I was REALLY disappointed that he left. I’ve known Pete for years and we always got along great. He’s a great broadcaster, a Montreal favorite and part of the fabric at CHOM… and I thought with me, him and TooTall it was going to be a helluva lineup. I’m really sorry he left.”

DiMonte also denied that Astral is breaking the bank to bring him home (he denied similar rumours about the kind of money he was supposed to be making in Calgary). He said he’s getting a pay cut, not a pay increase, to come back home. “The notion that there’s nothing left for others is internet claptrap. It’s just not so.”

Spalding similarly flatly denies that other announcers are being offered less because DiMonte got more.

Though DiMonte is getting a say in his morning cohosts (no decision has been announced yet), he said he had no part in Marier’s contract negotiations and was only told about everything after the fact.

“It’s not going to be as much fun without Pete, but I’m not sure what I can do about that.”

Team Pete or Team Astral?

I don’t have access to the dollar figures involved here, so I can’t say whether CHOM’s move was justified or whether the contract was fair. A 20-plus-year veteran is obviously going to attract a lot more sympathy than a faceless corporation, but that doesn’t mean the latter has to cave to the former.

That said, if Marier’s only demand was that he get paid the same salary, it’s hard to be too outraged by it. If Marier was a “pillar” of CHOM, he should have been treated as one. Unless his salary as a morning DJ was unreasonably through the roof, would it have hurt the bottom line so terribly for it to remain at that level?

As with any negotiation, the two sides choose what they can live with. Marier believes his talent (or his dignity) is worth more than Astral offered, and if he’s right he won’t be unemployed for long. (He’s still doing freelance voice work, including a lot of radio commercials – many that are still airing on the station he left.) Astral believes it’s more profitable to let Marier go than to keep paying him a morning-show salary. If it’s right, the company will either save money by not having Marier on payroll, it will do better on ratings and revenue with the money it would have spent on him, or both.

No matter how this ended, or which side is right, it really sucks for something like this to happen two days before Christmas.

Lineup decisions coming soon

No decision has been made about the rest of the CHOM lineup, including who will replace Marier on the drive show. Spalding said Rob Kemp and Chantal Desjardins, who will get the bump from the morning show unless they become DiMonte’s sidekicks, are still part of their plans, and roles for them are being finalized. He said an announcement should be expected within the next two weeks. In any case, it’ll come before Jan. 9.

UPDATE (Dec. 26): From Marier, on Facebook:

Dear Friends, Thanks for the tremendous support and well wishes. Both are greatly appreciated. In spite of recent events (on which I cannot comment right now), my family and I had a great Christmas! I hope you all did too. Merci encore!

“Happy to sit down”?

UPDATE (Jan. 6): A Gazette story from Bill Brownstein on Terry DiMonte coming back to CHOM includes a sidebar that mentions Marier. It includes quotes suggesting reconcilation is possible:

Spalding: “If Pete called me today and if we could come to terms, we’d make it work. We would have him right back in drive. The last thing I ever wanted was to lose him. He’s an incredible talent.”

Marier: “If Astral Media is willing to negotiate a contract with me, I’d be more than happy to sit down with Martin Spalding and try to work it out.”

Posted in Montreal, Radio

Terry DiMonte returns to CHOM Jan. 9

Five months after the announcement that Terry DiMonte will be returning to CHOM-FM, not much has happened publicly. DiMonte is still in Calgary, co-hosting the morning show at Corus-owned Q107.

Corus is making DiMonte work all of the six-month obligation he triggered when he gave his notice in June. DiMonte has no trouble fulfilling his obligation as his contract stipulates, but it’s clear from his comments on social media that he’s eager to return to Montreal.

While those comments are pleasing his Montreal-based fans, they’re also disappointing his Calgary-based ones, some Montreal expats who share with him a connection to this city they once lived in before economic factors brought them out west, but many just classic rock fans who have been loyal to the station and woken up with him every weekday morning since 2007.

DiMonte tells me his last day at Q107 will be Dec. 9. After that he returns to Montreal and prepares to go back on the air at CHOM. His first day back in his old chair is almost certainly going to be Jan. 9. Astral VP Martin Spalding, who courted DiMonte back to CHOM, says this was considered a better date than a week earlier, when many people are still on holiday.

Spalding’s hands are tied in terms of marketing DiMonte. Not only is DiMonte still physically in Calgary, except for occasional trips here during his time off, but because DiMonte is still under contract with Corus, his brand still belongs to them. Astral can’t market DiMonte until his contract expires, which will happen on Dec. 22, six months after DiMonte gave his notice.

Terry and …

The biggest question for the past five months remains: Who will be DiMonte’s partner on the CHOM morning show?

Spalding and DiMonte said they’ve met a lot of potential candidates – some in person, some by phone, with more still to talk to – but no decision has been made yet. (The decision will be a joint one between DiMonte and the station.) They don’t even know if it’s going to be one or two people. But they will have to make a call within the next few weeks.

“As you’re probably aware, I am QUITE gunshy and very careful now after a certain time period in my old life…so I will be taking some time,” DiMonte writes. Spalding echoes those thoughts, telling me that “this is a five-year play, so we want to make it right.”

Spalding also said that there have been a lot of candidates, some they sought out, and some who offered to come on board. “It’s amazing how many people have come out of the woodwork and want to work with Terry,” Spalding said.

For those wondering, Ted Bird said he’s not one of them. There have been no discussions between him and CHOM about a possible return, and he remains the big name at the K103 morning show in Kahnawake.

Two obvious candidates for the job are the ones currently holding it now: Rob Kemp and Chantal Desjardins.

Kemp might be headed back to an early afternoon shift if he’s not on the morning show (currently Tootall does 10am to 3pm), though any reshuffling of shifts won’t be decided until after the morning team is in place, Spalding said.

The outlook for Desjardins is less certain. Spalding said she’s a “clear candidate” for the morning show co-host, but there’s no lock on it. She might end up somewhere else at the station, perhaps at another Astral station in Montreal, either CJAD or CJFM.

Desjardins clearly wants to get the job with DiMonte, though.

“I really enjoy working for Astral and I hope to continue in the morning show co-host position when Terry arrives,” she told me. “Seriously…who wouldn’t want to wake up at 4am every morning? ;)” (her emoticon, not mine).

TV viewers might have noticed that Desjardins has been doing sports stories for CTV Montreal. (UPDATE Nov. 23 – She even got a turn behind the anchor desk, as you can see from the video above.)

She said she’s “thoroughly enjoying the experience” and likes the work environment at CTV.

“But I still love the energy and immediacy of morning radio so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how everything plays out!”

I feel bad for Desjardins. I know the saying that in radio it’s not if you get fired but when. Not getting the morning show gig doesn’t mean she’ll be fired, but to have your employment future be so uncertain for so long can’t be a fun thing to experience. I know, because it happens fairly often for me. (The main difference being thousands of people don’t notice what happens to me unless I tell them.)

Desjardins would make a welcome addition to the CTV sports team. That department is tiny (though still bigger than its competitors combined), and right now it’s 100% male. And she seems very comfortable in front of the camera.

But radio is what she wants to do, and it’s where people know her from. And Desjardins’s ability to match (or even surpass) wits with the boys is probably more valuable at the classic rock station than the TV station. Aside from Desjardins, Sharon Hyland is the only woman with a shift at 97.7FM, and she’s on weekends now.

It’s possible DiMonte and Spalding will come up with a name so fantastic it will have fans going “Chantal who?”, but it would have to be pretty fantastic to make me forget that these kinds of decisions have effects on the lives of real people.

Posted in Radio

Astral’s Martin Spalding on Terry DiMonte, CHOM, CJAD and Virgin Radio

Astral VP Martin Spalding outside his offices at Fort and Ste. Catherine Sts.

“You only have one chance to make a first impression.”

It’s a cliché, but I thought it was funny when I heard it come out of the mouth of Martin Spalding, the vice-president at Astral Media who is in charge of its three English-language stations in Montreal: CHOM, Virgin Radio (CJFM) and CJAD. The fact that we were talking to each other was kind of proving that assertion wrong. Or at least it was strong evidence against it.

Eleven days earlier, I called Spalding at his office to talk to him about the return of Terry DiMonte to CHOM, a move he arranged. But our conversation was brief.

“I know who you are,” he said after I introduced myself. Just as I was starting to feel relieved that I wouldn’t have to go through the trouble of convincing him to speak to some guy on the Internet as if he was a journalist, Spalding put the brakes on the interview. “I’m not in the mood to have this conversation,” he said.

I asked why. “Let’s just say you should be careful what you post on Twitter,” he said, without elaborating. He followed that with “this conversation is over.”

There was a slight hesitation in his voice, as if even he couldn’t believe he was saying this.

I didn’t know how to react. I don’t expect that everyone I contact will be interested in talking to me – mostly because I’m not a traditional journalist and my audience is not that of a metro newspaper or a supper-hour TV newscast. But I’d never had someone answer me like this before. This conversation sounded like it would be in the script from a bad movie.

What got me most is that I had no idea what set him off. Other than quoting some press releases with his name in them, I’d never talked about him on my blog. I’d never mentioned his name on Twitter. I didn’t even know what he looked like.

And I’ve posted thousands of things on Twitter. Plenty of stuff has been negative about CHOM and other Astral stations. I couldn’t really narrow it down.

The call was just before the end of business on June 23. My post about DiMonte - with the bit about Spalding at the end – was published the next day.

An email from Spalding was dated 9:05am the next Monday. He said he realizes he may have been a little “curt” in our phone conversation, and offered to take me out to lunch to explain. We scheduled a meeting for the following Monday at noon – July 4.

After seeing Spalding’s office – a corner office with wood panelling – and meeting Virgin Radio Brand Director Mark Bergman, we went to a Chinese place nearby and discussed our respective pasts a bit. Everything was cordial.

It was actually quite a while into our conversation at the lunch table until Spalding set the record straight about that minute-long conversation.

He said he had taken exception to something I tweeted the day before, suggesting that CHOM’s promotions department was lacking because its website had no mention of DiMonte a day after a press release announcing he was coming back to the station.

Spalding explained that it wasn’t because they’d simply forgotten about this or were lazy about it. Because DiMonte was still contracted to Q107 in Calgary, Spalding said that CHOM couldn’t use his image or promote him. Even issuing the press release was “playing with fire,” he said.

Spalding took my ill-informed tweet as an attack on the employees who work for him, and for me to then call and ask for comment after bashing his radio station didn’t exactly put him in the mood to cooperate.

By Monday morning, he had read my post on DiMonte, and his mood changed. He apologized for the curt tone on the phone, and went out of his way to compliment me on posts I had written, including the DiMonte one and an earlier one on Cogeco’s CRTC application for all-traffic radio stations, which he considered much more solid journalism than some of the shoot-from-the-hip tweets that are based on incomplete information.

It’s amazing how a simple conversation can change your perspective.

I, in turn, asked Spalding to apologize on my behalf to CHOM’s promotions department, an apology I repeat here. I jumped to an incorrect assumption (not the first time I’ve done so with CHOM-related news), and I should have checked. Just because it’s on Twitter doesn’t mean it’s exempt from basic journalistic rigour. I’ll try to do better in the future.

So we’re good now. Spalding gave me his card (asking me to call him before I tweet next time), paid for my lunch (the next one will be on me – I want to try to have at least some journalistic ethics here) and gave me two hours of his time – even pushing back a conference call so he could give me a few extra minutes.

The image of the super-professional businessman that DiMonte had painted for me during our conversation turned out to be a lot more accurate than I had thought after that brief phone conversation.

So, now on to the good stuff. I had a good bank of questions related to recent events at his radio stations, so I posed as many as I could fit in before I started to feel really guilty about taking him away from his real job.

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Posted in Montreal, Radio

Terry DiMonte returns to CHOM, and is back in Montreal for good

Terry DiMonte has lost some weight since leaving Montreal

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: They’re bringing back Terry DiMonte.

It was with a lot of excitement (well, one exclamation mark anyway) that Astral announced (in English and French) that DiMonte has been hired to host the morning show at CHOM for a third time. For DiMonte, the news was “a little bit bittersweet”, having to leave this new home in Calgary he had tried to make his own over the past three and a half years.

There is no word on who his co-hosts will be, but so far Pete Marier and Chantal Desjardins are expected to be able to keep their jobs at the station, even if they’re not on the morning show team.

The Gazette has posted a story about DiMonte’s return, as well as some videos that were created as part of a series on expat Montrealers in 2009: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. There were also briefs on CTV News and Global’s local newscast, but otherwise coverage has been light.

No date yet

When DiMonte will return to Montreal and its airwaves is still undecided. DiMonte signed a five-year contract with Calgary’s Q107 in late 2007, which means he still has about a year and a half left. The deal does allow him to get out early with six months notice, which was given on Wednesday. So depending on how the station plans to play this, it could be as late as Christmas before he’s allowed to return to Montreal.

“My intention was and is to fulfill my obligation for the next six months,” DiMonte told me over the phone on Thursday. Still, the decision is up to the station. They could have him keep working until December, or they could pay him not to work. But a small radio station with only four full-time staff that paid decent money to lure DiMonte to Calgary in the first place probably isn’t too eager to waste it on talent it can’t use.

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Posted in Radio

Q107 spits out Peppermint

“Peppermint” Patti MacNeil, who some might remember as a former Montreal radio host who fled out west, is out of a job. Q107, which paired her with her old pal Terry DiMonte on their morning show, has decided not to renew her contract, and the Terry and Patti Show is now just the Terry Show.

MacNeil didn’t respond to an email seeking comment, but made a brief statement to the Calgary Herald saying she was “disappointed” and “sad”.

DiMonte, who has never been one to keep quiet about his feelings even if they might not be the most PR-friendly, said the move “blows big time”. But, of course, it wasn’t his call.

Before some of you start dreaming of a Terry & Ted reunion, the Birdman tells me that “convincing me to uproot my family and move 3,500km would take Terry money, and they already spent the Terry money on Terry.”

Posted in Montreal, Radio

CFQR dumps Terry DiMonte

Goodbye (again) Terry

Less than two years after he moved to Calgary in the midst of a nasty contract dispute and took up a job that pays him more money than God, and less than a year after competitor Q92 decided to have him do a noon-hour show from Calgary, Terry DiMonte has once again been booted off Montreal radio.

DiMonte announced on Thursday that his show on CFQR would come to an end, by “mutual agreement.” His final show is Tuesday, June 23, from noon to 1pm, just before the Fête nationale holiday.

Unlike his very public spat with Astral Media’s Rob Braide and Bob Harris, which DiMonte described as “hurtful”, his departure from Q92-now-925-the-q is more an acceptance of an unsustainable situation, and he holds no acrimony toward the station or its owners. CFQR is, above all, a music station, and with its relaunch in April it became even more so. DiMonte’s voice time was cut to only about six minutes during the hour (other Q DJs were similarly cut to make room for more music), and he’s paid far too much to sit around and drink coffee for 20 minutes while he waits for his next two minutes on air. As he said on the air on Monday, “it doesn’t fit anymore.”

Even though his ratings were up in the last quarter, the price was still far too high. There are plenty of younger, cheaper, more local DJs that can be brought in to introduce Madonna and Marvin Gaye. According to someone intimately involved with a source with inside knowledge of a phone call between a highly-placed insider and the astrologer for a janitor with access to secret documents, DiMonte was told (graciously) on Thursday that budget cuts meant he had to be dumped. It was a day after he was congratulated for his ratings bump.

Asked about his departure, DiMonte had nothing but kind words for the station (which is owned by his current employer, Corus):

My time at Q was really nice. They were welcoming and supportive and Mario Cecchini and Mark Dickie are class acts. And it was an interesting and different challenge, talking to Montrealers from a studio in Calgary. That was fun. And it helped ease the pain of the bums rush I got from CHOM.

I asked him what he’ll be doing with all the extra time he has. He says he has lots of work to do as “a morning man trying to make a mark in a city of 1.2 million people and 18!! radio stations” and he doesn’t expect to be taking extra-long lunches.

It was a cute little experiment, but in the end DiMonte was overpriced and underworked, doing a job more suited to someone with less than half his experience. It was like hiring a race car driver in a limousine to deliver pizzas. It just didn’t make sense.

So DiMonte is once again off Montreal radio, at least until someone can match what he’s getting in Calgary and offer him serious money to come back. Considering the state of the media economy here, and the rather charred bridge between him and Astral Media (which owns CHOM, CJFM Mix 96 and CJAD), I wouldn’t hold my breath.

I’ve asked for comment from Brian DePoe, program director at CFQR, but he’s on vacation until after June 24. I’ll update this post if he has anything to add.

UPDATE: The last two minutes from his final show, in (slightly imperfect) Mp3.

Posted in Montreal, Radio, Video

Victoria Bridge: The 8th Wonder

From the National Film Board’s archives, a cute little 1987 film by Michel Choquette about the history of the Victoria Bridge, starring the voices of Terry DiMonte and Patti Lorange on a pretend radio show for a fictional Montreal station.

And as a special related bonus, the 1972 Barrie Howells film Trafficopter, which follows CJAD traffic reporter Len Rowcliffe high above the city.

There, isn’t it good to learn something?

Posted in Media, Montreal, Video

Gazette explores anglo exodus, DiMonte

It’s really a story only The Gazette can do. And therefore it’s a story The Gazette must do: The exodus of anglophones from Quebec.

So in a five-part feature series that ends today, the paper went all out, sending reporter David Johnston and photographer/videographer Phil Carpenter out to Calgary and Vancouver to interview ex-Montrealers.

DiMonte

Of particular interest to media watchers is probably Part 3, which interviews former CHOM morning man Terry DiMonte and his sidekick Peppermint Patti MacNeil (ex-Lorange). Although focused on language and culture, it also goes into a bit more detail about DiMonte’s decision to move to Calgary and work at Corus’s Q107 (it was business, not language politics, that was behind the change):

DiMonte’s more recent departure can be seen as an example of the “normalization” of anglo migration from Quebec. As political and linguistic uncertainty has subsided in Quebec, anglos now leaving Quebec are tending to leave for the same ordinary dull reason that people everywhere move – opportunity. In DiMonte’s case, there was also the added complication of a troubled relationship with a new boss; but there again, as he says himself, there’s nothing so unusual about that. Here he was, a big fish in a small English market in a large French city, breezing along in midlife at the top of his profession, when suddenly he was presented with a new contract that called for him to sign in and out of work every day.

Until that offer was put before him by Bob Harris, newly arrived operations manager at CHOM, DiMonte had worked for years under simple contract terms: a 2-per-cent annual salary increase, and a car. But now he was being asked to sign a 15-page contract with a lot of fine print. DiMonte says he went to see Astral Media vice-president Rob Braide about it all, and Braide warned him, “Don’t you dare try to bring in a lawyer.”

The day after the 15-page contract was put before him, Corus Entertainment, owners of Q107 in Calgary, called DiMonte. A five-year offer; big money. Patti MacNeil remembers being at home on the day she heard DiMonte was moving to Calgary, and thinking, “Cool, someone new in the market, someone I know and like and will listen to.” But then the incumbent morning-show team at Q107 was let go, and the next thing she knew, DiMonte phoned her up and asked what she would say if Corus were to approach her – about teaming up with him.”

Of course, some might call this whining.

If the name Bob Harris sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the guy in charge of CJFM, aka Virgin Radio 96 aka the crap they replaced Mix 96 with. Both are owned by Astral Media. (Q92, where DiMonte phones in a noon show, is owned by Corus.)

Video

Aside from the big features are two video series from Carpenter (all compiled on this page): a documentary of interviews from those same ex-Montrealers (including DiMonte), and some interviews with young students here about their future.

Carpenter goes into some behind-the-scenes detail on his blog, saying it took him four months (on and off) to put the three-piece, half-hour documentary together.

And more

There are also two Flash animations with graphical data (one points out that unlike most regional newspapers, The Gazette’s online traffic comes primarily from outside the province), and a blog from Johnston, in which he explains the story idea came from a conference he went to combined with a report from Statistics Canada showing anglos growing again for the first time in decades.

Posted in Montreal, Opinion, Radio

DiMonte to do noon-hour Q92 show from Calgary

Ad for Terry DiMonte in Monday's Gazette

Ad for Terry DiMonte in Monday's Gazette

Corus announced today that Terry DiMonte, the former CHOM morning man who left for Q107 in Calgary because CHOM wasn’t prepared to offer him a long-term contract, will return to Montreal’s airwaves starting Sept. 8 with a noon-hour talk/music show on Q92.

What’s missing from Corus’s press release, and the Presse Canadienne rewriting of it, is that DiMonte isn’t physically returning to Montreal. He’s still hosting his morning show in Calgary. Only now, after his morning shift, he’ll stay in studio and do the Montreal show remotely.

This isn’t the first time that a broadcaster has done “local” programming remotely and tried to fool people (Joe Cannon was famous for it and Global Quebec is introducing it), but the fact that Corus left it out of its press release suggests that their goal is to deliberately mislead Montreal listeners.

Fortunately, I’m relatively confident DiMonte has the moral fortitude not to outright lie to his listeners (saying “here in Montreal” or pretending his weather is the same as ours).

The Gazette’s Bill Brownstein has more.