Team 990, where “nothing fucking works”

I wasn’t listening at the time, but enough people were at about 12:50pm Thursday during the Tony Marinaro show on CKGM when an advertising break seemed to go wrong. Very wrong.

Two ads play simultaneously, then they’re followed by dead air. Marco Campagna struggles to get things running, but he’s run into an apparently common computer problem and he lets out a string of obscenities, not realizing that a microphone in the studio is picking up his frustrated yells and is broadcasting them along with the ads.

After the break, according to those listening, cohost Randy Tieman apologized on behalf of the station for the tirade. Campagna, reportedly, feels horrible about what happened.

I feel for the guy. It’s one of those worst-nightmare scenarios for anyone in radio broadcasting. And computer problems can be the most frustrating at times, especially when you’re in an every-second-counts situation like live radio.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel so bad that I’m going to keep the audio off the Internet. A listener caught the minute-long incident and created an audio file. I’ve made a video with captions and uploaded it to YouTube CTVglobemedia, which owns CKGM and apparently doesn’t have a sense of humour, has filed a copyright infringement notice with YouTube, which has disabled the video.

Considering the sound of an announcer blurting out a bunch of F-bombs has no commercial value to the station (what are they going to do, sell it on iTunes?), I think a clear fair dealing case can be made for this.

Rather than play the game with YouTube and other video hosts, I’ll just post the MP3 audio here: F-bombs on The Team 990

Enjoy. And just be glad it wasn’t you.

UPDATE (April 4): The clip was played on the Howard Stern show today. Here’s the audio: Team 990 F-bomb on Howard Stern show (MP3)

46 thoughts on “Team 990, where “nothing fucking works”

  1. Sarah Leavitt

    Yeah, I just happened to get in my car at this exact moment and it was epic. Poor guy but pretty hilarious to listen to. We’re all still so angry at Chara, haha.

  2. Derek Cassoff

    Next time I better heed the advisory at the beginning. I’ m laughing so hard I have coffee coming out of my nose.

  3. wkh

    Aw man he shouldn’t feel bad; shit happens and sometimes so do F bombs. Whatever. If people are actually upset about this perhaps they should watch the Paccioretty hit again or some Japan earthquake footage.

  4. Michael

    I once made a news anchor drop the F bomb several times by making fun of him for screwing up a news story. I was the op at the time but the anchors controlled their own mics. So as I’m making funny faces at him while he was screwing up the story – he starts getting steamed…we then go to break but he forgets to turn off his mic. The F Bombs start flying, broadcast to all that were listening and man was I laughing – but then the phone starting ringing off the hook in the news room.

    1. Sean

      Yeah, I was the anchor Michael.
      It’s funny now, but back then, when you’re starting out in the business — kinda scary.
      But yeah, it’s all pretty harmless.
      Humans being human

  5. Jimmy Jack

    OK, ya, it was pretty funny to listen to. But I think we have all been frustrated before, so no biggie. Someone will complain though and try to make a big deal out of it.

  6. James LaPierre

    As some who worked there, The equipment is that bad, it often fails. Management really is tough on producers when theres a technical glitch, even if its an equipment problem 95% of the time. The fact that 2 commercials were playing and he got calls, one probably from GM on the instudio private line, along with trying to fix a computer problem, and probably getting grief in studio. And by the sound of it, I would have to say his mic wasnt the one on, but either Randys or Tonys who are responsible for their own mics. If Marco’s mic was on, he would be alot clearer and louder. That being said, Marco is one of the hardest working guys there, loves this job……he must because it pays shit….and the person who feels worse in this situation is him. Only if mics are on when a host looses his mind off air…….a daily experience

  7. pg1syncro

    I’ve seen this happen with old McCurdy broadcast consoles; after a power failure, all the strips on the board would be turned on, which meant that the mic was live, and the studio speakers muted, so the announcer / operator would have no clue of what was happening…and obscenities usually followed on-air!!

  8. Alexandre

    So… What are The CRTC’s obscenity rules? Do they depend on complaints? Are they applied by that “Money for Nothing” board?
    My radio experience is very limited. Went on the air a couple of times in the US where they’re very prominent. At RadCan and CBC, I wasn’t told about any. And, on the French side, seems to me thst you can hear quite a few obscenities, including some in English. But it might be just an impression. I don’t really listen to radio.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council handles complaints of this nature, should someone wish to file one. It has a code which covers this. Though because it was inadvertent and followed by an apology, I can’t imagine there being any serious fallout.

      1. Alexandre

        The CBSA is the board which recently banned Money for Nothing, right? And they only act on complaints? Is there a specific list of words we’re not allowed to use in Canadian broadcasting? If so, it doesn’t sound as well-known as the US one. If not, it could be a useful reply to those people in the US who badmouth our broadcasting policies (CanCon, say) as restricting speech too severely.

    2. JC

      Well … there’s no specific list, but the CBSC has been VERY clear that use of the F-word, in any form, is not acceptable outside of late-night hours. But I agree that in this case, the extenuating circumstances and the immediate apology would probably mitigate any real damage.

  9. Vahan

    I could feel the frustration. I have worked for many cheap assed bosses who expect you to pull off miracles with a roll of duct tape and some wire while they rode around in their luxury cars and sucked the company dry.

  10. ATSC

    Very funny on the listeners end. Very frustrating on the technical operators end. All in all nobody dead.
    Perhaps the station can put some money into new equipment.

  11. jean-guy quekette

    >Team 990, where “nothing fucking works”

    That should be their new slogan.

    This is GREAT news for 990 because it gives them more publicity that they dont have to pay for.

    Im not exactly a spring chicken but I dont know almost anyone who still listens to sports radio willingly.
    If you like sports, podcasts are the way to go.
    You can listen when you want, where you want, you DONT HAVE commercials and you can listen to sports YOU like.

    I have RSS feeds to 3 soccer podcasts (2 euro and north american), 3 basketball (2 US and one euro), 2 MMA (1 US and one japanese), two judo ones (one US and one Euro), 1 track and field one (france), as well as volleyball, rugby, handball and a few general sports ones and i honestly can not ever listen to them all.
    Especially when you throw in tech, music, science and current affair ones.

    This F-Up served to remind me that they still exist but after listening to it in the car for 2 hrs instead of my MP3 players, its only reinforced my position that Im not missing anything.

    Thats besides the quality of the content and hosts which range from the cliche old farts (the egomaniacal bozo the clown and Randy who is actually a nice guy), to the the stupid ex jock to the overwhelming majority who sound like their doing CEGEP radio at Dawson.
    The only thing of some value is Marinaro who was just plain terrible (Who is that Joe Minga was the consensus of his first year) when he started but has really made himself into a strong broadcaster.

    So keep the flubs coming 990, any publicity is better than no publicity,,, like Charlie Sheen you got to feed that media beast.

    Might I suggest you find a way to make ‘nip slips’ possible on radio and you got a winner right there.
    You have the perfect audience for them.

    1. Alex H

      Sports only radio is a very narrow cast concept when you think about it. Most people enjoy sports, but they don’t want to hear about them 24 hours per day. It is even tougher in Montreal without a major league baseball team and basketball (compared to Toronto) which means a whole lot less “local sports” to talk about. Considering they are working from a horrible, horrible starting point, they do a pretty good job.

      It is amazing actually, when you consider that a generally useful model (all news radio) has failed like mad, yet somehow the all sports station manages to survive. How odd!

    2. What's In A Name?

      That’s quite the social life you’ve got going there. Is that podcasting or potcasting?

      Sports radio DOES work in most major markets because males, especially males with money to spend, between 25 – 54 and 18 – 49 listen. They listen a lot. Willingly.

        1. What's In A Name?

          I stand corrected. Sports radio does work in most markets including Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal and now, Winnipeg. There are numerous markets south of the border – including the bustling metropolis of Indianapolis, Indiana – where it also grabs a good chunk of male listeners. Funny, huh?

  12. Julie Bélanger

    Between 8:30 and 9am, something similar happened on Radio-Canada with Homier-Roy. Nothing was working. Nothing at all. No traffic guy, no pre-recorded reports, no news, no music… They didn’t swear on air but I’m sure there was a lot of F words going on between mic interventions.

  13. Ragin' Ronic

    I think that, in a way, he kinda spoke what a lot of people think about the whole Canadian broadcast industry…it REALLY IS Fucked Up the ass. XD

  14. Tony T

    I feel for the guy. Being a tech/producer is tough work especially considering you can’t depend on the equipment. I’ve had DCS fail on a cart and automatically fire the next item even though there was a stop set marker between (next item happened to be a top hour news intro which just played 10 minutes early). I just thank god for the dump delay button at least once a week.

    This made me laugh. Sometimes you feel like the only person in the world that this sh!t happens to. Imagine that fault report was an interesting read.

  15. Fassero

    Well, when they become TSN Radio 990 (you have to think “inevitable”), at least they will have gone out with a memorable bang :)

  16. Roundhouse

    For all the incompetence at that place, this honest mistake probably got the poor guy fired. I haven’t heard him doing updates since last week.

    1. Sheldon

      Hey, Teddy. Explain to all of us what you expect an all-sports radio station to be doing in the overall ratings in a market. They aren’t trying to beat out the big-gun FM music stations. They aren’t going after the Angry-phone CJAD talk show audience. What Team 990 is doing is serving the demographic that they are targeting and, according to ratings, reaching them and serving them quite well. It seems to me that the goal of a station such as Team 990 is to pay the bills, pay the staff, attract enough advertising to suit the demographic audience they are targeting, and hopefully have a few bucks in their pockets at the end of the day. Something tells me they are meeting their goal quite nicely. They have a dedicated slice of the overall audience who will back them up, and their advertisers, to the hilt. They have managed to coax over a substantial number of the Francophone sports fans as well. What more should they be looking for? Everyone out there keeps talking about the immenent death of Team 990, yet they keep chugging along. While doing it, they are taking on a lot of interns, giving them a chance to work in the market and they have developed some home-grown talent along the way.

      No telling how the arrival of TSN Radio will change things. One thing it won’t change though. They will still be all-sports. They manage to do what they do on a shoe-string budget and without the support of a wealthy sibling on the FM band.

      I don’t see why there are so many people around who want nothing more for them to fail. But what do you want to replace them? Another failed attempt at all-news? Another failed attempt at oldies? Another failed attempt at talk radio with attitude?

      Their slogan says it all…50,000 watts of sports and nothing but sports…and that is exactly what their listeners want.

      1. Teddy

        Check demographics Sheldon, all sports radio is dying if not dead.

        And in a city where all you have is hockey, you’re screwed.

        Glad my money isn’t invested in a station where “nothing fucking works!”

        1. What's In A Name?

          Wrong again. Are you one of those disgruntled ex – employees? Sports Radio has actually gained traction in this country. And lookout, but here comes MLS soccer and The Team (along with TSN) has one of the best soccer commentators in North America in Noel Butler.

          If anything in radio is “dying if not dead” it could be the supposed heritage station in this city, as well as the notion that commercial radio employs true personalities with some degree of creative freedom.

  17. What's In A Name?

    Sorry Teddy but as someone who knows somebody who has access to the ratings the station actually does quite well during the week across the board from 6 AM to 7 PM. Their evenings and weekends bring their overall numbers down but their target demo of males 25 – 54 is strong. Especially in both AM & PM drive shows. And they consistently outdraw CJAD in that important demo in the afternoon.

  18. Jeff Goldstein

    The clip was played on Howard Stern today – April 4th

    Howard was very Sympathetic to Marco Campagna…

    The Stern Show reached a huge worldwide audience…


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