Tony Stark, the evening host at Virgin Radio 96, surprised his listeners Thursday by announcing that that was his last show and he’s leaving the station he’s worked at for four and a half years.
Stark didn’t say why he’s leaving, saying only that he’d make an announcement in a few weeks. This almost certainly suggests that he’s moving to another station that isn’t ready to announce his hiring yet. My guess on that would be Jump! 106.9 in Ottawa, based on some circumstantial but telling evidence I’ve seen. The station recently announced a job opening for a morning show host, which would make sense. We’ll see if that’s true. Jump, CKQB-FM, was The Bear until a relaunch this spring under the management of Mark Dickie, the former general manager at The Beat in Montreal. It’s a mainstream top 40 station, and has a style similar to Virgin.
UPDATE (Nov. 24): As Neil points out in a comment below, Jump! 106.9 in Ottawa now lists Stark as its morning host. Corus sent out a press release Nov. 27 announcing the Stark hire. His show will be called JUMP! Mornings with Tony Stark and it begins Dec. 1.
Two years ago, Stark announced he was leaving Virgin for another job at a radio station in Halifax. But then he changed his mind and stayed in Montreal. He said the reconsideration was for “personal reasons” without elaborating.
Kelly Alexander has been shuffled over to Stark’s 6-11pm time slot at Virgin. Program Director Mark Bergman says he’ll be “searching the planet for the best possible person to fill this role” over the next few weeks.
Besides hosting the evening show, Stark made a mark for himself by creating videos, including the “Stark Raving Mad” series, that were designed to be humorous and sometimes succeeded (though maybe I’m a bit old for his target demo).
He ended his Virgin career in Stark style with a 90s reference gag at the end of a goodbye video posted to Instagram:
It says something when Ottawa is a more desirable market and place to work than Montreal.
It all depends on the individual situation. Virgin Radio 96 is a highly-rated music station, but Stark’s job was doing evenings, which isn’t quite as glamorous as, say, mornings or afternoon drive. We’ll probably get a better idea when he announces the move of his motivations behind it.
Evenings won’t be the same without him but according to their website Kellly Alexander is taking over his show.
Wonder who will take over Virgin Radio’s Hit 20 countdown?
If Steve’s speculation about Tony going to Jump! in Ottawa are correct, here’s more fodder: the station ran an ad a few weeks ago in Milkman for a morning host with a Nov. 5 deadline … h-m-m-m-m-m… not much of a mystery anymore.
Maybe it is time for Jeremy White to come home…same format and no one would miss a beat and would get a great broadcaster back to Montreal who would even be a great fit at CHOM
I think he is joining the Beat on the morning show…
If anybody is applying to Virgin, here’s the Bell notice.
Is there a problem at Virgin why everybody at some point seems to jump ship to the Beat or go out of town?
Is Mark Bergman hard to work for?
Or is Bell a penny pincher?
As for the Bell media posting, probably a waste of time for anybody to apply as management probably already have someone in mind.
I don’t think so. People move around to different stations all the time. In fact, Montreal is strangely loyal when it comes to radio personalities. The Beat took away a bunch of their staff (Cat Spencer, Vinny Barrucco, Nat Lauzon) because it offered them more money or better conditions, betting that they’d bring Virgin’s listeners with them. That didn’t seem to work, at least at first.
Even if they did, that doesn’t mean anything. If they have a fantastic candidate who comes out of the blue, they can give that person the job. It’s happened before.
Guess it all depends on the target demographics whether Stark will be missed or not.
Time to chat up Señor Bergman on the morning commute from Vendôme. Wonder if he’s open to a lifelong, fluently trilingual potential host …
lifelong montrealer :)
Tony Stark is now included on the Jump! website as their morning show host:
He tweeted that he is joining the team in one week. Is is part of the morning crew.