Tag Archives: Murray Sherriffs

Pete Marier, Murray Sherriffs hired for morning show at Boom 99.7 in Ottawa

Pete Marier hasn't had a full-time job in radio since leaving CHOM in December 2011.

Pete Marier hasn’t had a full-time job in radio since leaving CHOM in December 2011.

Two popular Montreal radio personalities who have been out of steady employment for a while have accepted jobs on the morning show of CJOT-FM (Boom 99.7), a Corus radio station in Ottawa.

Pete Marier, who left CHOM over a contract dispute just before Christmas in 2011, had been doing some part-time fill-in work at The Beat, but otherwise hadn’t done much on-air work because he didn’t want to move far from his home in Knowlton.

He’ll have the morning show hosting job at Boom with Wendy Daniels. Daniels is a long-time Ottawa radio personality who had been at sister station The Bear for 24 years until just before it switched formats, then went to Boom to become the drive-time host.

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Murray Sherriffs being let go from The Beat

Murray Sherriffs

Almost three years after joining what was then 92.5 the Q, Murray Sherriffs is about to be unemployed again.

Sherriffs said he was told on Sept. 1 that the station was looking for a “different sound” and that he was being let go. His last day is Friday, Sept. 14.

It’s unusual that an on-air personality (particularly an opinionative one like Sherriffs) would be kept on for two weeks after being told he’s being canned. I don’t know if it speaks to the professionalism of Sherriffs or of management at Cogeco that he’s being allowed to work these two weeks (and, presumably, will get a chance to say goodbye). Sherriffs says he and Beat program director Leo Da Estrela are friends, the departure is being handled with all professionalism.

Sherriffs joined the station that became The Beat in 2009, after he was similarly let go from CJFM as part of its rebranding from Mix 96 to Virgin Radio.

Give Sherriffs a shot

I can understand the reasoning that Sherriffs’s deep authoritative voice might not fit in with the cheery, up-tempo sound of The Beat. But his voice is unique enough that he really should have a voice in radio somewhere. It’s bad enough Pete Marier is still looking for a job.

Unfortunately, the lack of competition in Montreal English radio limits Sherriffs’s options. Once Bell takes over Astral (and if its plans for CKGM are approved), there will be only two players in town in commercial English radio, and Sherriffs has been let go from both, apparently merely because his sound didn’t fit.

There’s hope on the horizon with an application in front of the CRTC for a talk radio station at 600 AM by the Tietolman-Tétrault-Pancholy group. That application is being considered at the CRTC hearing that begins Monday (it’s a non-appearing item, so there won’t be discussion of it). It will be weeks, perhaps months before it’s approved (though approval is likely), and not until 2013 that it begins operation. And there are just so many out-of-work veterans from other stations they can pick up.

Beat program director Leo Da Estrela confirmed that Sherriffs is leaving on Sept. 14 and that they’re looking for someone to replace him, but didn’t give any further comment.

Murray Sherriffs joins CFQR morning show

Murray Sherriffs

Murray Sherriffs

Proving once again that when you leave Corus, you join Astral, and when you leave Astral, you join Corus*, Murray Sherriffs, the popular morning man on Mix 96, who was canned from the station when it rebranded as Virgin Radio in January, will return Monday as the morning news anchor on CFQR 92.5 the Q (formerly Q92). (via RadioInMontreal)

Sherriffs’s departure caused a lot of negative reaction from listeners, who saw it as the biggest mistake of the rebranding.

Sherriffs will join morning host Aaron Rand, who has been riding solo since fellow hosts Paul “Tasso” Zakaib and Suzanne Desautels were ditched in August. Another move that caused a lot of protest from listeners.

Also joining the team is fellow Astral castoff Sarah Bartok, whose previous job was at Astral’s CISL AM 650 in Vancouver. She’ll be the traffic reporter. She replaces Shaun McMahon, who moves from traffic to show producer.

*See DiMonte, Terry; Charles, Patrick

UPDATE: The Gazette has a story, with reader comments.

Cohen on Sherriffs

Murray Sherriffs

Murray Sherriffs

The Suburban’s Mike Cohen interviews ex-Mix 96 morning man Murray Sherriffs in his column this week (where he totally name-drops this blog), about Sherriffs’s departure from the station. It makes it pretty clear that it was the station’s decision to let him go:

When Mix announced in early December that it was being rebranded to Virgin 96 Radio, Sherriffs said he was called into the office of Bob Harris, vice-president of programming for Astral Radio’s three Montreal radio stations. After three and a half years of partnering with Cat Spencer and Lisa Player, while contributing to the most unique newscast in town, Sherriffs was told he was not a good fit for the new label.

“I was shocked,” he said, “but not surprised. This is radio after all. It was done very professionally and I have no hard feelings. Our ratings for the Mix morning show were very strong, especially with the new PPMs (Personal People Meters) so to be truthful I had felt kind of safe in my position.

As for what’s next, Cohen says Sherriffs isn’t rushing:

He finds his extended vacation very relaxing and spends most of his time making furniture. Soon, though, he will begin knocking on a few doors.

Cohen makes some offhand suggestions for where he might end up next. Unfortunately, this is about the worst time to try to get a job in just about any media, even for someone with a modest following like Sherriffs.

The article, unfortunately, can’t be linked to directly, but it’s part of the freely available online version of this week’s Suburban, starting on Page 4. It’s followed by a piece on The Monitor shutting down, which quotes people who used to work there.

R.I.P. Mix 96

Virgin 96

In case you haven’t heard, Mix 96 ends today. In what is no doubt a bid to save some money, CJFM 95.9 is rebranding itself a Virgin Radio station (on orders from owner Astral Media). The change will take place at a time that for some stupid reason has been kept secret until later this morning, but will definitely be “during the day” today. (UPDATE: 4pm, you can watch the countdown in case you’ve forgotten how to count to 4pm)

Because the entire identity of the station is changing, anything with the word “mix” in it has to be replaced. They’ll have a new logo, new station IDs, new vans, a new website and even a new call-in number.

The format is saying the same (“Today’s best music”, or top 40 lowest-common-denominator pop songs), but there are programming changes that see some good local talent go out the window.

In case you haven’t heard the endless plugging on the air, the station is being hyped everywhere (and that will only increase now that it’s actually been launched). Program Director Bob Harris has started a blog to get everyone hyped up.

One of the first obvious questions is: Why change a brand everyone knows and replace it with the equivalent of a giant McDonald’s sign?

Harris explains on his blog:

Astral Media (our parent company) has the rights to use the Virgin Radio name in Canada.

The Virgin Brand brings some amazing power. It represents an edge of cool, it’s irreverent, it’s sexy, its fun, it’s world class and constantly surprising.

Are you sold yet? They bought a brand and it has a good marketing team behind it. How could they not abandon their brand for this?

MIX 96 is one of Astral’s Montreal English radio stations (CHOM and CJAD the other two) and as we roll the Virgin radio name out across the country to other stations, we need to be part of it here too. Just because head office made the decision don’t think for a second that we had to do it.

Translation: If I pretend to like this horrendous gutting of a local station’s identity, I might get a promotion some day from a corporate executive who wants yes men working for him. Or at least I won’t be fired.

Bob shot the Sherriff

Murray Sherriffs: Gone.

Murray Sherriffs: Gone.

The main face that has left the station is Murray Sherriffs, of Cat, Lisa and the Sherriff. He left last month in what is being described as “a programming decision.” Now it’s Cat, Lisa and classified third morning person to be announced in February.

Harris describes Sherriffs as a stand-up fellow despite the station’s apparent falling out with him, which also involved scrubbing any reference to him from their site and deleting all his past blog entries (you can get a taste in Google’s cache).

Sherriffs also took the high road when asked by Fagstein about his departure:

As you’ve heard, the radio station is being rebranded and sometimes hard business decisions have to be made.

But with the closing of this door comes other opportunities and I’ll be meeting this challenge as I have met others.

As I said on my MIX blog, the sentiments of one of my favorite songs by ”Chumbawamba”, ring especially true these days;

”I get knocked down
But I get up again
You’re never going to keep me down
We’ll be singing
When we’re winning”.

No word on Sherriffs’s next move, but we’ll let you know when it happens.

Seacrest in

Ryan Seacrest: Cheap filler

Ryan Seacrest: Cheap filler

The new faces coming? The biggest one appears to be Ryan Seacrest. Yes, that Ryan Seacrest. He does this radio show which will air during weekday evenings at 7 p.m. It replaces the RJ Daniels show, though Daniels will stay on to cut in with local information (like the Habs score and weather) and follow with his own show until midnight.

Harris for some reason needs to confess that Seacrest won’t do his show from Montreal (no, really?), and instead does it from L.A. where it’s beamed to hundreds of stations. Now 95.9FM in Montreal will be one of those faceless stations rebroadcasting Ryan Seacrest. Doesn’t that sound awesome?

Feel for the Rhythm

The other programming change is the disappearance of Rhythms International. The Sunday night program, which had been on the station for more than 20 years, aired its final show Dec. 21, and is being replaced by UK Hit 40, another syndicated show replacing a local production. Like the ousting of Sherriffs, this is described as a “tough programming decision,” but essentially comes down to ratings.

Other programming, such as Nat Lauzon and the 80s/90s Nooner, will stay (though the latter will undergo a name change).

A sad day for local DJs

What particularly sucks about all this is that, unlike local television production, local radio production doesn’t require all that much work. A host and a producer. That’s pretty much it. When all you’re doing is playing music singles and doing small-talk between them, it should make sense to just have someone do it in-house.

But instead Astral is spending money to act as a rebroadcaster of foreign content. And not even good stuff. We’re talking about Ryan Seacrest here. The fact that Astral thinks Montrealers would prefer that (with the occasional local guy giving a 30-second weather report and local sports score) to spending an evening with a local DJ is sad.

Sadder still is that Astral might be right. Despite a few comments on my blog and a few emails to CJFM management, there isn’t much outrage over this. A Facebook group started up to fight it has less than 50 members. There’s been nothing in the other media about it.

It seems either Montrealers don’t know about what’s going on, or they don’t care.

Well, I do. Long live Mix 96.

UPDATE (Jan. 13): In case you missed the moment of launch, the station has posted a video of it on Facebook, which is apparently serving as their primary communications tool as their website is beyond simplistic.

Media coverage of the launch is light, but there are brief articles about it at Voir, Radio-Canada and the Journal de Montréal. Julien Brault also mentions it.

Infopresse has the two 15-second TV spots that are running on CTV.

UPDATE (Jan. 17): Clear Channel is planning massive job cuts in the U.S. in a move to nationalize radio production and gut local programming, according to the New York Post.