Terry DiMonte announces he’s leaving CHOM

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.

UPDATE (May 6): DiMonte has been named to the Canadian Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame.

More coverage

The announcement provoked news coverage in:

28 thoughts on “Terry DiMonte announces he’s leaving CHOM

  1. Rob Braide

    I was fortunate to hire some greats during my career but Terry was the greatest. A natural communicator and an intensely intelligent human.

    Reply
    1. Henry

      This guy is way overrated ?
      He says a couple of foolish, unfunny things do a few “interviews ” ,with people he would like as friends, plays a lot of songs and say how much I love Montreal while receiving a big pay cheque.
      That’s what passes for greatness in this city.

      Reply
  2. Michel R. Magnan

    Terry is “stepping away” from broadcasting the same way Bell “stepped away” from customer service. It’s a done deal and neither will ever grace us with their presence again. It’s too bad. Terry is a great guy who got Montréal’s vibe. I’ll miss his sense of humour.

    Reply
  3. Tim

    Wow! The end of an era. He’s been dropping hints about this for quite some time, but there it is. Good luck to Terry on whatever comes next!

    Reply
    1. Gazoo

      Melnick is not a morning person. He had a stint as the morning host when 690 (then 990) first started.
      He moved back to the afternoon slot which is where he prefers to be.
      Melnick will ride it out there as long as he can.

      Reply
  4. Mick C.

    Terry will be truly missed! He has that great voice in the morning that helps you get on with your day. I’ve been listening to him most of my life. Terry has been a great morning man. I even listened to him when he did a lunch hour show from Calgary on the Q. Was happy when he returned to Montreal. Miss seeing him on the gripes with Mits et al. Good luck Terry on the next chapter of your life!

    Reply
  5. Stephane

    Mitsumi should follow suit, time for some fresh faces and personalities to takeover. People get tired of listening to the same people for so many years.

    Reply
  6. J. B. Mackenzie

    Will he start a podcast? I always look forward to the casual banter between him and PM Trudeau during the end of year interview. No high pressure, spin or gotchas — just two close friends having a chat. Godspeed Terry and May the Fourth Be With You.

    Reply
  7. Dilbert

    End of an era, it would be said, but I think in more ways than one.

    There is a strong undercurrent here of “Bell wasn’t going to keep me around anyway”. That suggests Terry might have done this for a couple of more years if the contract had been renewed. In some ways, perhaps he is another victim of COVID, but perhaps in some ways a more willing victim because he knew he was going to have to give it up anyway.

    There is also some more undercurrents in the idea of “stepping away from broadcasting”. While I understand that it’s Bell’s nice way of saying “we aren’t renewing his contract”, it also suggests that there is already a plan, a destination, or a situation waiting. Would XM radio style stuff be considered broadcasting? Would podcasting? Would creating a nationally syndicated show be?

    In the end, I think Terry knew that the end was inevitable at some point. I also think that getting married and all that comes with that has changed his perspective. Perhaps a younger Terry would have accepted a drop in pay to keep the job, the mature Terry seems to have perhaps some better things to do with his time instead.

    Reply
    1. Gazoo

      When I heard Terry make that comment about Bell not keeping him, I though the same. That he would have probably stayed a couple more years (until he was 65).

      I also do not believe we have heard the last of Terry. He will be back at some point down the road in some fashion.
      Like you said, podcast where he can broadcast when he wants and whenever he wants.

      Reply
  8. David Asselin

    Good luck Terry with your new projects and challenges, all the best!
    With that said, this may be a good time for CHOM to implement some changes to their format. There is much good music being made from lesser known bands that never gets aired on CHOM. I have been a listener of CHOM from day 1 and even back when it was CKGM-FM in the pre-CHOM days. What made CHOM great in those early CHOM days was that they introduced their listeners to new bands and played music that no one else played in this city. Over the years they drifted away from this to become a station of redundant over played songs, that I cannot listen to for too long before having to turn the dial to another station. MY message to CHOM and Bell Media: It’s time to change with the times and get back to making CHOM the station it was meant to be….rock music new and old, well established bands and lesser know ones, just don’t play music that appeals to the boomer generation, there are non commercial bands playing and making great music, it’s time to grow and renew!

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    As a 55 year old who listened to Terry and Patti in the early 80s all I can say is … it’s about time.

    Time for CHOM to drink from the fountain of youth and rejuvenate.

    Reply
  10. Mario D

    We have all done like Terry and looked elsewhere to see if the grass was greener…But we all came back because …well you now, rock music. Ain’ t no radio station like this one in MTL . And Terry was also a rock, lasting all these years . He mentioned that waking up at 3.30 am makes you miss many things and sacrifice a big part of a normal life. But also this job is the best job in the world. For as much as waking up in the middle of the night is awful , the adrenaline rush to be waking up the city and waking up with the city is unique . To have the luxury to take the opportunity to learn new skills , spend time with loved ones, meet new people meet old people is not something everyone can afford to do. I’m sure Terry can. Although time goes by and Chom may not be what it was as the rest of the business seems to go through major changes, i do not think it has much to do with Terry leaving. Not that much anyway. It does makes us realize that we are also getting old …er and will need to do a move also maybe faster that we think or want. . Do not know how many fans you had but all of us really enjoyed your presence for so many years. Time now to be there for that special one in your life ! Wise choice ! Merci Terry ! See ya !

    Reply
  11. A Fan

    Ladies & Gentlemen, The Best is leaving the air at CHOM forever. May 28th will be the day to celebrate the Best. My advice to Bell Media is for them and those who lead the organization that it is time for them to leave the entertainment business because they have lost focus on what it means to entertain the public with such Great talent like Terry Dimonte.

    May your next chapter be the Best One Yet. Good Luck and Be Safe

    Reply
  12. Greg

    2 words…
    PETER MARIER!
    Long, long, long overdue.

    Time to wake that station back up.
    It’s been asleep at the wheel a little too long.

    Reply
      1. Greg

        Yeah, a change. There’s quite the talent pool in Montreal to pick from.

        :|

        Pete Marier…the only absolute logical choice.

        Reply
        1. Susan

          When will the announcement be made for the replacement? Will it be a surprise when we tune in on Monday the 31st?

          Reply
  13. Dan Shields

    “Speaking of accommodations, DiMonte admits there was one his bosses at Bell Media apparently wouldn’t make when it came to allowing him choosing when to leave. His eight-year contract ends at the end of the month.”

    Terry DiMonte got quit.

    If Montreal was a competitive market like Calgary or most US markets, the other rock station would snatch him and his 25 share up like a motherf*cker. Bell has done this all across Canada. If he wants more money,, and I am guessing he is making a few shekels, raise the ad rates.

    Insane.

    Dan Shields, Ottawa

    Reply
    1. Dilbert

      More importantly, because Bell has done this all across the country Terry has fewer potential choices than he might have in a world with competitive marketplaces. Most markets in Canada are oligopoly of companies who seem deals not to rock each others boats too hard. They tend to support each other in front of the CRTC as they all push towards fewer and fewer companies operating more and more of the stations that matter in every market.

      Since Bell owns the big part of the TV market as well, there are plenty of dead ends there too. There clearly is a little more competition but not that much.

      For what it’s worth, I am confident at this point that after he is done on the air, Terry will also be moving away from Montreal, probably headed out west again. Yes, Calgary is one of the competitive market places and I wouldn’t be shocked to hear him doing a mid-day show out there.

      Reply
  14. Richie C

    Congratulations Terry! Even if Bell is “forcing” you into leaving, I’ve been a loyal listener for decades. What will Bell Media do now? Maybe it’s time to bring in some fresh blood that’s not in house? Jeremy White, who is very successful across the street, has been doing a podcast that is mainly rock focused for some time and pulls in bigger guests than CHOM does and he is very good at interviewing. He is very high energy at the Beat as well which is a nice contrast to the rest of the scene in Montreal radio. I could easily hear him hop into the morning slot on CHOM-FM with the right co-host. His pop radio background could be easily transferred to rock? Who knows what the plan is. Would Jeremy consider? Would Bell be interested in someone new from outside the Papineau and Rene Levesque studios? We shall see! Best of luck Ter, enjoy sleeping in. Cheers! – R

    Reply
  15. Anonymous

    Pete Marier should be the new CHOM morning show host.

    The following segments that Terry Dimonte had should be jettisoned from the CHOM morning show:

    Mitch Joel on Mondays: he is a corporate sycophant who uses all of the corporate buzzwords, and he recommends apps that are totally useless for anyone who is not a corporate sycophant

    Bill Zacharkiw on Fridays: I don’t care about wine, and I don’t think a rock station should devote time to talking about wine

    Pete Marier sounds like he likes extraterrestrial / UFO stories, when he filled in for Terry and asked Trudy Mason if she had any of these stories, so if he is the new CHOM morning show host, he should have a segment with these stories.

    CHOM needs to stop playing the same songs multiple times a day, every day. They have decades of music to choose from, so there is no excuse for this. They need a music randomizer that selects songs to play and removes songs from the daily playlist once they are played (outside of Randy Renaud’s lunch hour music), and they are re-added to the next day’s playlist once Alice Cooper comes on the air at midnight. Having a music randomizer would keep the music from getting repetitive.

    Reply
  16. Tony Dee

    Little birdie mentioned to me that Jeremy White is the likely candidate to replace Terry Dimonte. I think that he would be a perfect fit for CHOM FM. He is young, talented, and knows his music. No confirmation as of yet, but don`t be surprised.

    Reply

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