What a gas it has been ?? pic.twitter.com/ikLsSMzEyk
— Terry DiMonte (@TerryDiMonte) May 4, 2021
After 43 years in the radio business, Terry DiMonte is hanging up the headphones. He announced this morning that May 28 will be his last day on the air as the morning man at CHOM.
From the Bell Media press release, which doesn’t say he’s retiring but describing him as “stepping away from broadcasting”:
Celebrating DiMonte’s career all month long, the station invites listeners to share messages of their favourite memories via social media @CHOM977 and 514-931-5373.
Born in Verdun, Que. and raised on the West Island, DiMonte began his career in broadcasting in Churchill, Man. in 1978. After originally joining CHOM as the “Morning Man” in 1984 for seven years, DiMonte moved over to MIX 96 and drove the station to ratings success in the ‘90s, and then in 1998 took over from the legendary George Balcan at CJAD 800. After a brief stint back at CHOM, and following a four-year stay at Q107 in Calgary, DiMonte returned to CHOM to rock Montréalers’ mornings from behind the microphone for the last decade.
With a passion for music, the listeners, and the community, DiMonte is woven into the cultural fabric of Montréal. DiMonte always believed that occupying a chair in morning radio came with the responsibility to help give back. DiMonte has been an active participant in raising funds for countless charities over the last 37 years, including the Montréal Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Teresa Dellar Palliative Care Residence, The Montréal General Hospital Foundation, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the West Island, Sun Youth, Dans La Rue, West Island Community Shares, and the Missing Children’s Network, as well as recent support of L’Itineraire and the Saving Station Foundation.
“It’s a very difficult thing to walk away from something that has been so good to me and that I love so much,” said DiMonte. “It was a very tough decision for me to make, but one I’ve been pondering for a couple of years, and it is time for a new chapter… one that doesn’t include getting up in the middle of the night!”
“One of the beautiful things born out of Terry’s broadcasting career is the relationships that he has made with thousands of people that he will never actually come into contact with,” said Mathew Wood, Program Director, CHOM 97.7. “He received one of the biggest compliments possible for a broadcaster when a listener wrote in, ‘You feel like a friend that I have never met.’ He is a gentleman and a true professional.”
To say that DiMonte is a big name in local radio would be quite the understatement. He’s not just the face of CHOM, but one of the last of a generation of radio personalities who could stay in the same role for decades (though even he moved to other stations at various points of his career). And his reputation on both sides of the linguistic divide was such that just through the power of his personal relationships he could get regular chats with the prime minister and regularly have the play-by-play announcer for the Montreal Canadiens get up early the morning after a game.
DiMonte did several interviews on Tuesday with news outlets covering the announcement (see links below), and in them he laid out that the timing on this wasn’t completely his call. His contract is up at the end of the month, and he says it looked like the bosses at Bell Media weren’t very interested in keeping him on longer. But because he’s such a big name, they offered a retirement sendoff, complete with a listener contest.
There are several candidates to succeed DiMonte. Pete Marier would be the most obvious and least disruptive choice if management is comfortable enough that the hatchet of his unpleasant departure 10 years ago has been sufficiently buried (I can just about guarantee that the bridges are still pretty scorched with Ted Bird). They could also shift Randy Renaud or Bilal Butt to mornings, or pick Jason Rockman or Sharon Hyland if they want to give a new face to the station.
And they could always bring someone from the outside. But unlike most music radio stations, CHOM is all about heritage, and it’s hard to see an unfamiliar name working in this job.
Then again, it’s hard to see anyone but Terry DiMonte as the morning man at CHOM.
Transcript of DiMonte’s announcement
That band is called Scandal, and it’s a song called The Warrior that was released back in 1984, and if you are a big music fan you you may have noticed that all the music we played this morning was from 1984 and we thought that would be fun to do on this morning because it was November of 1984 that I first sat in this chair here at CHOM all those years ago.
I haven’t done the math, but it it’s been many many many years through many many many different changes and ups and downs and it has been amazing. And it’s time for me to bring the curtain down on this chapter of my life. It’s time for me to let someone else occupy this chair the same way that Ron Able did back in 1984 when he went onto another chapter in his life.
I was lucky enough to be asked to try to become a morning man one of the most storied radio stations on the planet, and as the luck would have it, it worked out despite a couple of turns off the road to Mix 96 in CJAD and Q107 in Calgary, I always end up back here, and my heart always seemed to be with CHOM.
So to walk away from something that has meant so much to me for so many years, to walk away from something that I love so much has been a very very very difficult decision, but May 28th will be my last show as the morning man at CHOM.
It’s time for me to look at another chapter of my life. I’ve always talked about chapters being interesting, chapters being different, chapters being fun. When I went to Calgary that opened a new chapter, when I came back that opened a new chapter, and now it’s it’s time for me to embark on another chapter.
From the days of my mother and father supporting me when I told them I wanted to be on the radio to the point where I ended up on the radio in the city I love, in the city I grew up in, in the city I was surrounded by all of these legendary broadcasters. I’m awash in gratitude and luck for all of the things that have come my way over the years from sitting in this storied chair.
But I’ve also said many times before that this storied chair that doesn’t belong to me. It comes with an immense responsibility that I’ve tried to use wisely, and it doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to the old girl herself CHOM, and it’s time for someone else to take the station into another epoch as it were.
I am not old. I don’t feel old, but I want to get old. I want to be a grey-haired guy that can chase kids around the backyard, and just so you know I haven’t bought a fishing rod, and I haven’t bought a rocking chair. That’s not my immediate plan. My immediate plan is to to find another chapter, to find something else that I enjoy doing that doesn’t involve getting up in the middle of the night.
I have a very, very dedicated wonderful, wonderful wife at home who deserves more of my time. And I am going to give that to her and my family and friends.
You know, when you sit in this chair. It’s — believe you me — one of the best things you could ever hope for, but it comes with a couple of sacrifices like most things do. There are a lot of early nights and a lot of missed occasions, and a lot of 3:30 wakeup calls, and it begins to take its toll after a while, and it’s time for me to find another chapter. And I really struggle with that announcement, because the joy and the privilege of being in your car and in your home and in your shower and in your bedroom for all of these years is just a gift I could have never expected and has given me a life that has been awash in joy and wonder and too many thrills to even begin to talk about.
And I didn’t cry, Trudie.
[Trudie Mason talks about how great Terry DiMonte is.]
I like to think that when my colleagues like you think of me, you will think of me in the same memory bank is the George Balcans and the Gord Sinclairs and that means the world to me, it really really does.
I want to just quickly say thanks to my mother and father who I know are listening and have been supportive since the day I said ‘I think I want to be on the radio’ and to my brother Dean and my sister Donna who have put up with years of ‘hey are you related to…’ and they’re listening this morning.
One of the massive disappointments — and believe me, I know everybody has sacrificed and everybody has — there have been a lot of sacrifices during COVID, people have lost their jobs, people have buried loved ones and this is a very very very tiny tiny thing — unfortunately because of COVID, I can’t have dinner with anybody, there won’t be any party. I can’t have the goodbye dinner that I would have loved to have had with the staff and I must admit that I’m going to be honest with you, I know it doesn’t mean a hill of beans in terms of the larger pandemic, but it stings a little bit. And what the station has done as they’re going to do a few things over the course of the month of May and my last show will be May 28th. OK?
Thank you Trudie.
Esteban, I made us late for Pierre Houde, what are we going to do here?
[Producer Esteban Vargas says they’ll play a song then get to Houde.]
We’ve got we got the rest of the month of May to fool around and say goodbye. OK? So it’s coming up to 20 after eight, Pierre Houde around the corner.
The announcement provoked news coverage in: