Tag Archives: Patrick Charles

Patrick Charles leaves Mike FM

Patrick Henry Charles (left) and Paul Zakaib (aka Tasso Patsikakis)

Tasso and Patrick is now just Tasso.

Patrick Charles, who started a new afternoon drive show with Paul (Tasso) Zakaib on low-rated ethnic station CKDG-FM last October, has decided to leave the station, and not come back from a three-week vacation.

“I really quit for personal reasons: the hours made it difficult, and things weren’t progressing the way I’d have liked them to,” Charles tells me. “Outside of that, we had a lot of fun. You can still tune into Tasso.”

Zakaib is remaining with the show and the station. He’ll be doing the show solo, which will mean having to play all the parts in his comedic sketches.

“I became a master at recording characters, playing it back and answering live, i.e., my mom and dad, my trainer, Jacques Ampere. It works quite well and there’s tons of stuff on the net for those short breaks. My producer chimes in and voilà, we have a show.”

“I’m sad he left but he has to do what a young dad with major responsibility has to do.”

Charles says he’s spending his time “hanging out with my son, listening to a lot of music, and looking for a new gig.”

Charles started at CFQR-FM (what was then Q92) in 2001, helping with writing for the Aaron and Tasso morning show, then left for CJFM-FM in 2009. He didn’t last long on the Virgin morning show, shuffled into an off-air position in 2010. He worked in various capacities for Astral until he finally left. Shortly thereafter he took the job at Mike FM.

I’ve asked station manager Marie Griffiths for comment. I’ll update this if I hear from her. The station, which airs English-language programs during peak hours and ethnic programs (particularly Greek) in other parts of its schedule, doesn’t subscribe to BBM Canada, so has no scientific way of measuring its audience.

Behind the scenes with Tasso and Patrick at Mike FM

Patrick Henry Charles (left) and Paul Zakaib (aka Tasso Patsikakis)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Big local radio personality decides he’s had enough of how faceless corporations have micromanaged what happens on air, taking all the fun out of it. So instead, he’s moving to a low-power station few of his fans have ever heard of, becoming a big fish in a smaller pond, sacrificing a big paycheque for more creative freedom. The small station, not licensed in a way that would normally make it a competitor to the big commercial stations, decides it’s going to go after a bigger mainstream crowd to attract more advertising revenue.

It’s easy to see the parallels with Ted Bird here. Give me another example of this happening and I can write a trend story about it.

I went by Mike FM (CKDG) last week to sit in on a broadcast of the Tasso and Patrick show, which debuted on Oct. 24. It stars Paul Zakaib, who has been better known as Tasso since the 80s and has been mostly off the air since he was sacked from the CFQR morning show he shared with long-time partner Aaron Rand in 2009. With him is Patrick Henry Charles, who worked on the Aaron and Tasso show from 2001 until he got a better offer from competitor Astral to be part of CJFM’s morning team, but about a year later was moved into a position that gave him less airtime and far less exposure.

I talk about Mike FM and Tasso and Patrick in an article that appeared in The Gazette on Tuesday. It reveals, among other things, that there were talks about bringing an Aaron and Tasso show to the station, but they fell through the cracks when Rand was hired to do an afternoon show at CJAD.

So Zakaib called up his old pal Charles, who had recently left Astral because he felt his talents were being wasted there. They met with CKDG GM Marie Griffiths, and before long the Tasso and Patrick show was born.

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Paul (Tasso) Zakaib, Patrick Charles to do afternoon show on Mike FM

Paul Zakaib (aka Tasso Patsikakis, left) and Patrick Charles (photo: Mike FM)

While I was busy yesterday at CRTC hearings for AM frequencies, Mike FM was announcing its new afternoon show stars, and give them points for scoring recognizable names. Paul Zakaib, the Tasso of Aaron and Tasso, will join Patrick Henry Charles (formerly of both CFQR 92.5 and CJFM 95.9) as the afternoon drive hosts starting next Monday.

Tasso, as we all know, was unceremoniously dumped from Q92’s morning show in August 2009 along with co-host Suzanne Desautels, leaving Aaron Rand in an uncomfortable position for almost two years until he finally left in May. Tasso has barely been heard from since (a notable exception being a guest appearance on Rand’s show to say goodbye).

Charles worked for seven years at Q92 until he jumped to CJFM and then was dumped from its morning show into a lower-profile job until he left completely last month. He also contributes a pop culture segment weekly on CFCF’s noon newscast. He’s known mostly for his musical parodies, and even created one for this announcement.

As The Gazette notes, Tasso’s timeslot will put him in a competing position with his long-time partner Aaron Rand, who is now doing afternoons at CJAD.

I asked Rand about this. He’s not taking the bait that this is some epic war. He writes:

Above all I’m happy for Paul, and glad to see he’s going to go back to work. I know it hasn’t been easy for the past couple of years.

As for being “pitted” against each other, I’m not sure what the format there is going to be, but I’ll go out on a limb and guess it’s not news/talk.

Now, you might be wondering: What the hell is Mike FM?

It’s a legitimate question to ask. The station, CKDG-FM 105.1, launched in 2004 after being on cable radio for decades. It is technically licensed as a multilingual station, and is limited to only having 35% of its broadcast hours in English or French. Still, it brands itself as an English station with English morning and afternoon programs, with Greek taking up most of the rest of the schedule. (I guess that makes a name like Tasso Patsikakis a good fit here.)

It has an average effective radiated power of 141 watts, which is tiny when you compare it to, say, The Beat’s 41,400 watts. It also broadcasts from a lower height on Mount Royal, from the Bell tower on Remembrance Road (the same one used by CFCF television’s temporary digital transmitter).

Current (inner circle) and proposed (outer circle) contours of CKDG-FM (Images from REC Networks maps)

The station has applied to the CRTC to improve its signal. The antenna would remain at the same place, but the station would change frequency from 105.1 to 106.7, the one formerly used by Aboriginal Voices Radio. It would also increase its power from 141 watts to 407 watts. This would put inside its contours areas like the West Island, east end and north and south shores, but would still be far from commercial rivals and very difficult to capture with cheap portable radios.

Even though the deadline for comments was more than a year ago, the CRTC hasn’t yet made a decision. One complication is that 106.7 is being used by pirate radio station KKIC in Kahnawake. That station has been given an actual broadcast license for 89.9FM, but hasn’t switched frequencies yet.

Paul Zakaib and Patrick Henry Charles begin on CKDG-FM 105.1 on Monday, Oct. 24. Their show runs weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. A Facebook page is already setup. The station streams live via mikefm.ca.

“Sir” Patrick Charles dumped from Virgin Radio Breakfast Show

Patrick Charles

After a year on the CJFM (aka Virgin Radio 96) morning show, Patrick Charles, aka Sir Patrick, is being shuffled into an off-air job at Astral Media.

As seems to be the usual procedure in this town, when a host is removed from a show there’s no announcement or long goodbye. The name of the show is simply changed – it’s now just “The Breakfast Show with Cat and Lisa” – and the offending host’s image scrubbed from the website.

Charles made the announcement himself to his Twitter followers on Saturday night (his new Twitter handle being itself scrubbed of links to Virgin Radio). “The company has new plans for me,” he said, indicating that this wasn’t his decision.

Sources who support Charles tell me this is the outcome of a personal conflict between Charles and co-host Lisa Player. Because Player is the more senior co-host, it’s Charles who gets the boot. (I’ve asked Player for comment, and will update this post with any response.)

But Charles isn’t leaving Astral Media. He says he’ll be doing “new stuff for the company” – he’ll be working in an off-air capacity, continuing to do his parodies for CJFM and CHOM. He will also have a regular segment on CJAD, joining morning host Andrew Carter at 8:20am weekdays starting April 19. And he appears semi-regularly as a pop culture columnist on CFCF newscasts.

It’s expected Charles will return to the air in a more permanent capacity soon, possibly at CJAD.

UPDATE (April 12): On the first show as Cat and Lisa, a pathetic 35-second announcement (MP3) about Charles’s departure suggests that this decision was somehow his and that he’s welcome to be a guest “sporadically”:

Spencer: By the way, as you probably have mentioned, or probably have noticed by now if you’ve been listening this morning, it’s now Cat and Lisa. Sir Patrick is still with us in the building and with all three of our radio stations now. He will be doing other work behind the scenes and he’ll be welcome to join us on the air here and there sporadically.

Player: That’s right, when he gets a chance. When he has time.

Spencer: But the show now is Cat and Lisa, but it’s nothing that he has been asked to leave or let go or anything like that –

Player: No no no.

Spencer: He’s still working with us and all three of our stations in a different capacity.

Player: Yeah, we’re trying to use him even more.

Spencer: There you go.

The announcement aired only once during the three-and-a-half-hour show, at about 7:37am.

Compare this to the multiple announcements throughout the morning totalling almost 17 minutes given on sister station CHOM-FM when Ted Bird left in January. Is Charles less important to CJFM than Bird was to CHOM, or did they want to sweep this under the rug and hope people wouldn’t notice?

Patrick Charles joins CJFM morning show

Patrick Charles (Q92 photo)

Patrick Charles (Q92 photo)

Patrick Charles, who since 2001 has been working with the morning show on Q92, has jumped ship and (after some contractually-mandated downtime) will join CJFM 95.9 as the third morning host with Cat Spencer and Lisa Player. He starts on Wednesday. (via MediaInMontreal)

His old bio page at Q92 is still up in case you want to learn more about the guy. You can also hear his song parody work on MySpace.