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.

31 thoughts on “Terry DiMonte returns to CHOM Jan. 9

  1. AlexH

    The worst thing CHOM could do is try to “blend in the current”. The current morning show isn’t setting anyone on fire, and keeping one of them on to create continuality or something would be a fairly poor choice. If we are spinning the clock back to Terry time, perhaps it’s better to go find someone else from back in the day, or go completely off the map and go and get a new name, a new face… someone nobody knows.

    I just think they need to be very careful not to crowd Terry out with a bunch of extra people, keeping the show on him is not a truly bad thing.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      I just think they need to be very careful not to crowd Terry out with a bunch of extra people, keeping the show on him is not a truly bad thing.

      I’m sure he’ll be front and centre in the show’s eventual promotion, and the backup plan is to have DiMonte go alone with some collaborators for the first little while if necessary. But he needs someone to bounce off of. Radio like this just doesn’t work with one person alone.

      1. Michael D

        I agree with most of what you say, especially in Terry’s case, he sounds great when there is a banter between him and someone else.
        The backup plan would seem to be a good idea to have several people work with Terry a week at a time and preferable than lock someone in for 3 or 5 years, and maybe an expensive buy-out…and which may not work out to both parties, even though at the time it seemed right

        This is something that’s certainly been done in other areas of the media as well….for example, Carig Ferguson became permanent after a several potentials took a crack at it after his predecesor left….

        This would seem preferable while Terry gets re-acquainted again with the old haunts..which shouldn’t take him too long…

      2. Michael D

        This would seem to be the proper way to go…instead of locking parties for 3 or 5 years….and there is lots of precedence for trying out various people for various radio-TV shows….while Terry gets re-acquainted with the old digs again and get back into that comfort zone..

        CBS tried various hosts for the Late Late show after Letterman before settling on Craig Ferguson…..and there others that I can’t think of right now…

        with trying out various people, one will surely discover a gem…but they really need a new person, which would give CHOM, the comfort of Terry and the feeshness of someone new…

    2. Michael D

      You’re right in either getting someone from back in the day or someone completely new, but what if the station could get someone new and at the same time know or have the same knowledge of radio, maybe the music business, maybe have seen many of the same rock concerts thru the years, etc….

      This would be the ultimate and I know the just the person…

  2. Frank

    Listening to CJAD this afternoon (4 to 5PM with the chefs from Joe Beef) before shutting it off when the insufferable Mose Persico came on.
    Couple times, an ad for Ares kitchen supplies aired with none other than DiMonte doing voice. Was good to hear him again even if in an ad.

  3. lr

    is it just me or is CHOM playing way too many commercials now!? Lame ones too.
    Keep it up and I’m going to SIRIUSXM.

    I hope Chantal stays on the morning show.

    1. Michael D

      Chantal or Rob or anybody else for that matter at the Astral stations or the competition,they need someone new,not recycled ones as we have recently seen this past year…someone new as had been mentioned on a few occasions, but someone from Montreal with a paralllel knowledge as much as possible of radio and music histroy…you all get the picture…

  4. Jimmy Jack

    My only real impression of Terry is when I called in a few years ago and asked him why he played the exact same April Wine song every morning at the time i was walking to get my bus for three weeks straight. I don’t choose what we play was the response. I kinda figured that.

    However, being a huge fan of Sun News Network, I have seen Terry a couple of times as a guest on the Adler show.

    Very impressed with Terry.

  5. Richard

    My wish would be to get Tim Morgan with Terry, probably could not happen right now because of contracts and all. Tim is Terry’s partner at K107 right now in Calgary, and he did spent time at Chom back in 2006 doing the drive before going west also.
    He’s very knowledgable in music and having listen on the net to them, they seem to have a good relation.

  6. John

    Kemp would be great in the morning with Terry. They are both pros and Kemp would help make Tery younger. Chantal just doesn’t have it.

  7. J. Dumps

    It would not make sense to put the once deemed “heir apparent” Kemp back with the star he was supposed to replace. He had his shot and didn’t work. Management should let Tootall enjoy retirement, bring Sharon back to middays while Kemp mans the weekends.

    Let Chantal stay on TV and bring back Peppermint Patty (oops, I digress too far!). Chantal’s efforts to be funny and thinking she is a radio talent seems a bit hard to manage. Terry would tire of it real quick!

    1. Michael D

      TooTall must stay there, being a classic rock station, Terry and Tootall are the only ones who know anything about the classic rock artists, having seen them, yakked with them in-studio,etc,etc…..their insight when they talk about the various experiences and their rapport with these artists in invaluable……

      Rob Kemp could be the odd man out here, unless they shorten TooTall’s shift…to 1 pm, for example, Pete Marier starting and finishing later so the last shift would be 8 to midnight….

      in other words 5 shifts from 5:30 to midnight like before, instead o fth current 4 shifts…..

      They also need to stabilize the allnight shift leading in to Terry,, they’re using several hosts, no continuity here, and maybe could use something different here, like more creativity…

  8. J. Dumps

    Yup, you’re right about Tootall and Terry and their knowledge and passion. Though I think Sharon has music knowledge too. The ELH with “this day in history” was filled with info she provided. Nice to hear a female voice on the station that actually knows classic rock and seems passionate about it. 15 or more years with CHOM deserves better than the weekends in my opinion……..CHOM needs to solidify their identity first. Seems they are moving away from a younger hipper crowd (when they had Kemp in mornings, Butt Show, Brandon, Rockman) and going with the “closer to retiring” crowd. I guess every time a GM takes over they want to make their mark and then leave it for the next one.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      15 or more years with CHOM deserves better than the weekends in my opinion […] Seems they are moving away from a younger hipper crowd […] and going with the “closer to retiring” crowd.

      Isn’t this contradictory? Should they give veterans bigger play at the station or focus on young talent?

  9. Sylvie

    Chantal Desjardins; noooooooo. I stopped listening to CHOM because of her. Terry needs intelligence, funny and humble for his show. Terry, please nooooo. Can’t wait to go back and laugh!

  10. Andy

    I think the best bet would be to start again with Terry and build. Personally I’d love to see Terry and Sharon do the show together. West Islanders who seem to have the least amount of ego presence. I don’t want to see CHOM step back and bring Ted in. Listening to his wife’s phone calls and his opinion would send me to satellite.

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  12. Marilyn

    I actually like Chantal very much but I don’t know that she would be right to partmer Terry. I quite like the idea of Tootall or Rob Kemp…anyone but Pete Marier!!! I stopped listening in the mornings when he was on…I just hope that Terry has an active say in the choice of co-host.

  13. Tony Wigton

    Sorry, I don’t know who this Terry is… I’ve only been listening to CHOM over the ‘net for less than a year… I cut back mornings & mid-day when Rob took over again… And I’m a big Sharon H fan… when she got shoved to weekends, I listened about 10 minutes to TooTall and knew immediately I couldn’t take the guy’s voice or comments. Listening to Bad Pete often in the afternoons. Used to be the guy behind the mic, so I know how it works as well… new management new ideas, until new doesn’t work out…. and by then all the announcers have been blamed for management’s choices… Basically, that’s why I’m not in radio anymore. And it’s been fascinating to here the same personnel shifting from stations all around the world….

  14. Robert

    I have been listening to CHOM for well over 30 years and can’t stand Chantal Desjardins on the morning show, she makes stupid comments and her “giggling” on the time is annoying…
    Very happy to have Terry back, hope it’s with Rob ’cause he’s pretty good…. keep Bad Pete in the afternoon, he’s good at the time……..

    And CTV Sports does not need her, they have plenty of qualified sports journalists (need to see more Andre Corbeil and less Randy)

  15. Andy

    Well if Heather Backman is that name I won’t be saying “Chantal who?” but asking Astral to look at how much money Spalding has spent touring to woo recycled dj’s back. Oh wait…he got rid of Chantal and Pete Marier, put Bilal back on drive at a bargain – he freed up the cash! Way to destroy Chom!!!

    1. Michael D

      Are you saying that Bilal is back on afternoon drive, if so who does evenings, does that go to Mr. Kemp….

      Clearly, management was not hoping for this and are now left scrambling…DiMonte, TooTall, and Merier were definitely their pillars as have been described in other postings…but they didn’t expect the salary issue to be a big deal or clearly failed to keep that in mind….were there any discussions in good faith over these few months and wondering at how much lower Pate Marier was willing to go,, if at all.

      AS for Heather Backman, she’s a cutie, was ok at Virgin in the mid day,but she’s okay in Cleveland..she’s not a Rock jock, but would sure sound good at The Beat in the afternnon like from 1 to 4….are you listening Mr. Dickie

    2. Michael D

      Again, noticing your comment ANDY, and hearing more in the local press about Heather Backman, what’s the point, she left for Cleveland….for a better opportunity in one of her former comments..but why do local outlets keep on recycling former names, I call Terry a returning veteran but to go with someone recycled and not going for new talent to compliment Terry DiMonte, still can’t figure it out !!!

  16. Andy

    kemp would be great but he deservs the afternoon slot now that pete is one and i personally never loved chantal so where to go Id loveto see a return of peppermint patty but I doubt thats gonna happen and ted is not coming back so its a crap shoot but they better figure something out PDQ listining this morning his first day back Terry is fantastic butt the show needs a co host for terry to play with some one smart and witty and a bit dangerous with a voice that doesn’t make me cringe

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