Tag Archives: podcasting

Le Devoir starts podcast

Continuing its year-long project of pretending everyone cares about its 100-year history, Le Devoir has launched a podcast (“baladodiffusion”, in the proper français), in which it invites people to tell stories about the past century. To kick it off, Clémence Desrochers talks about the 1955 Rocket Richard Riot, and Claude Robinson talks about Nelson Mandela.

They’re short vignettes, 7-8 minutes long. No interviews, just someone telling a story with a bit of music in the background.

Maybe this will appeal to some people, but to me, if you’re just going to read some text into a microphone and call it a podcast, why not just give us the text and let us read it to ourselves?

Perhaps I’m being too harsh. Perhaps there’s a value to having Claude Robinson read stuff to you. You be the judge.

You can subscribe to Le Devoir’s podcast here or through iTunes.

Podcast Plan B: The Kelly Alexander Show

Podcast Plan B is a blog series about four Montreal radio personalities that have begun independent podcasts over the past few months. It’s an expansion of a Gazette article I wrote on the topic, explained here.

Kelly Alexander Show logo

  • Name: Kelly Alexander
  • Radio job: Afternoon traffic reporter for Astral Media radio stations in Montreal (CJAD, CHOM, CJFM), and host of The Jump with Kelly A, a Sunday show on CJFM.
  • Podcast: The Kelly Alexander Show
  • Podcast URLhttp://kellyalexandershow.com/
  • Podcast feed URL: None yet
  • Length: One hour, broken up in two half-hour segments
  • Format: MP3
  • Frequency: Weekly (Thursdays)
  • Subject: Popular music, interviews and trivia

Kelly Alexander

The Kelly Alexander Show differs from the other three I’ve profiled this week for two main reasons: it includes a lot of music (and popular music at that), and it’s the only one whose host I haven’t had an hour-long conversation with.

It’s like commercial radio, only not

If you’ve listened to Mix 96 or Q92 (or whatever they’re called now), you have an idea what commercial radio sounds like. It’s active. It pumps out hit music, it has a brand and throws it out between every song. When there is talk, it’s short, fluffy, non-threatening. And no matter what, it’s always happy.

That’s kind of what you get from the Kelly Alexander Show, for better or for worse. In fact, listening to it while I was out running errands, I had to remind myself that I wasn’t listening to the radio. It even has an 80s-90s retro segment similar to the old Mix 80s-90s Nooner and Virgin’s 80s 90s On Demand.

If you’re one of those people who think that commercial radio sucks, then the Kelly Alexander Show is definitely not for you.

But commercial radio and popular music have evolved into what they are precisely because they attract the largest audience possible without alienating too many people on the fringes of their target demographics.

Besides popular music (its first song was a heavily overplayed single by the Black Eyed Peas), the Kelly Alexander Show features interviews with people in the entertainment industry, sometimes people she already knows (like her publicist David Jones) or people who have had brushes with celebrity, even if they aren’t celebrities themselves. It also has a regular segment with Alexander’s mother (“Mummy Alexander”), who throws out rapid-fire “fast facts” trivia.

When it first launched on Oct. 16, the show also featured a rant by Murray Sherriffs, who had been pretty quiet since being dumped by CJFM in January. But a month later, Sherriffs joined CFQR as a morning host, and he hasn’t returned to Alexander’s show since.

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Podcast Plan B: Melnick Underground

Podcast Plan B is a blog series about four Montreal radio personalities that have begun independent podcasts over the past few months. It’s an expansion of a Gazette article I wrote on the topic, explained here.

  • Name: Mitch Melnick
  • Radio job: Afternoon host on The Team 990
  • Podcast: Melnick Underground
  • Podcast URLhttp://mitchmelnick.com/webshow/
  • Podcast feed URL: N/A
  • Length: About half an hour
  • Format: Flash video (hosted on Vimeo)
  • Frequency: Weekly (recorded Saturday afternoons and uploaded Saturday night or Sunday morning)
  • Subject: Chats with regulars and guests about sports (particularly the Canadiens), music and Montreal
Mitch Melnick

Mitch Melnick

“This is something I’m doing because nobody else is doing it.”

That was the basic message from Mitch Melnick as I interviewed him earlier this month. He had just finished taping his final show of the fall season at Hurley’s Irish Pub on Crescent St., and took some time to chat while he waited for his daughter to show up.

Melnick was discouraged by the decision of CFCF 12 last fall to expand the weekend newscasts and cancel SportsNight 360, the only anglophone sports television talk show in the city. Well, maybe “discouraged” is too soft a word. “It really pissed me off,” he said.

“What they seem to be saying is there’s no room on local television for something that’s been here for 25-30 years, 30 minutes of sports discussion.”

When you consider the massive anglophone fan base of the Canadiens (Habs Inside/Out‘s stats are rising by the week, and there are dozens of amateur Canadiens blogs out there), it seemed ludicrous to him that none of the three television stations based here could keep a simple weekly sports talk show on the air.

The termination of Ron Reusch didn’t help matters either.

Of course, because The Team 990 is owned by CTVglobemedia, it places Melnick in an odd situation. He doesn’t want to shit all over his employer. Instead, his criticisms are directed at the television media in general. CBC and Global are no more or less guilty than CTV in his mind, whether it’s the lack of local programming or the Local TV Matters campaign he says he doesn’t understand because he doesn’t know what they’re trying to protect.

Why can’t we do that?

“During Wimbledon, I was checking Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,” Melnick said.

He was impressed that rather than a simple written wrapup of what was going on, Cox would file short videos (you can see an example here).

“I’m looking at that and going ‘Jeez, if he can do that, why can’t we do what I do in the afternoon (on the radio) but a shorter version on camera? That was my additional thought, to just stare into a camera for 20 minutes.”

Upon further reflection, Melnick decided he needed some people to talk to, and a location to do it.

“If Ron Reusch was still doing his show, I probably wouldn’t be doing this,” Melnick said. “Maybe it would be in a different form, maybe I’d be doing a podcast.”

But because there wasn’t anything out there on video, Melnick decided his show had to be on camera. “I don’t see that everywhere. Everybody does a podcast,” he said, but nobody is doing it on a screen.

A television studio was out of the question, even if he could afford it. “I have no interest in doing this in a TV studio,” he said. It’s unfriendly, it’s dry, it’s unconnected to the city.

In comes Hurley’s Irish Pub, a bar Melnick has frequented for as long as it’s been here. He’s friends with the owner, and getting to use it as a set wasn’t a problem – provided they wrapped up their shooting before the crowds started pouring in for the Saturday night hockey game. Which is why they tape the show in the afternoon. The bar even kicks in some money as an official sponsor, figuring that the set is an advertisement in itself.

After considering some locations upstairs or outside, Melnick settled on a spot facing the bar. “It’s just a very warm feeling when you look at it,” he explained.

“This is like my old basement when I was a teenager. I had a room like this, except there was white stucco on the ceiling. It was ’70s Chomedey, I had a big fireplace, and I watched sports and played sports games and listened to music. I was always underground. I’m very at home here. … Except there’s a little more booze involved.”

On Oct. 3, Episode 1 of Melnick Underground hit the Internet and his website. The peanut gallery was quick to respond.

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Podcast Plan B: The Stuph File with Peter Anthony Holder

Podcast Plan B is a blog series about four Montreal radio personalities that have begun independent podcasts over the past few months. It’s an expansion of a Gazette article I wrote on the topic, explained here.

  • Name: Peter Anthony Holder
  • Radio job: Former host of Holder Tonight on CJAD 800AM in Montreal, simulcast on CFRB 1010AM in Toronto
  • Podcast: The Stuph File
  • Podcast URLhttp://www.thestuphfile.com
  • Length: About 56 minutes
  • Format: MP3
  • Frequency: Weekly (airs and is released online on Mondays)
  • Subject: Interviews, segments with regular guests, and strange news stories (“anything but politics,” he explains)

Peter Anthony Holder

You could call Peter Anthony Holder a pioneer. That is, if he’s successful.

On Aug. 5, Holder got the news, along with many others, that he was being let go from CJAD Radio. The overnight show Holder Tonight, which he hosted since 1990, had aired its last show the night before, and he didn’t even know it at the time. He had to cancel the coming night’s guest and go home.

As fans expressed outrage at CJAD’s decision to let him go in whatever medium they could find to do so, Holder kept quiet. He had planned to go on vacation anyway, he explained on his blog a month later, so he just went ahead and did that, contemplating what he would do now.

He also defended CJAD’s decision to fire people without giving them a chance to say goodbye to their listeners:

People who do live radio do not and should not get a chance to say goodbye. With 50,000 watts of raw power on two radio stations beaming across all of eastern Canada, into three Border States and beyond, no broadcast outlet in their right mind would give a talk show host who is about to be shown the door a chance to vent their spleen. That would be tantamount to being let go from a major corporation in a major metropolitan area and right after they escort you to the curb of their shiny high rise at high noon, they hand you a bull horn.

It seems incredible that someone who has had the same job for two decades – and in radio for most of his adult life (you can see his complete resume on his website) – would be so understanding about his own termination, but Holder points out that, in commercial radio, you’re hired to be fired. The station looked at numbers being pumped out by these new electronic devices that people wear, and they were telling managers that Holder’s show wasn’t attracting enough to make him profitable anymore.

As you can imagine, Holder disagreed with that assessment. He knew there was a business model that could make the show work. But now it was up to him to figure it out.

Besides, he kept reading those strange news stories, and he needed an outlet to talk about them.

“The best part of my job was finding a bunch of weird and wacky people,” Holder said. “After leaving CJAD, it was ‘Oh, I have no reason to call somebody.'”

Holder said the idea of a podcast had been swimming around the back of his head for a while. “CJAD at any time can take away my airtime. They really can’t take away my show. I said that at a time when there wasn’t an outlet.”

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Podcast Plan B: David Tyler Unleashed

Podcast Plan B is a blog series about four Montreal radio personalities that have begun independent podcasts over the past few months. It’s an expansion of a Gazette article I wrote on the topic, explained here.

David Tyler Unleashed logo

David Tyler

David Tyler

I’ll start this series with an apology: Sorry David Tyler, I had to cut you out of my story. I thought I could fit in a lot more in the 750 words I was assigned, and I just couldn’t fit everyone in. The story was about podcasts as independent business ventures, and David Tyler Unleashed was more of a just-for-fun thing. It isn’t as regular as the other ones, and it’s only guaranteed four episodes so far, while the others have long-term plans for the new year.

Still, I feel bad not only because I spent an hour on the phone with Tyler, but because he has the best story about being fired from radio.

“The program director at the time, Chris Kennedy, called me into his office,” Tyler told me. “I was showing him the renovations on my house that I just started. I was showing him the pictures on my brand new iPhone. And suddenly he had this look on his face.”

While Tyler was dreaming of home renovation in August 2008, Kennedy and management at Corus’s Q92 were thinking of going in a new direction, doing something different (and other similar euphemisms). They’re be redoing the weekday midday, and David Tyler wasn’t part of their plans.

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Podcast Plan B: Montreal radio personalities try going solo

It’s been a while since my byline was in the paper (as my mom keeps reminding me). My day … err, night job as a copy editor keeps me busy enough, so I haven’t had any need or much time to indulge in freelance writing. But I knew at some point a story would cross my desk RSS reader that was too interesting not to write.

It started with Peter Anthony Holder, who was fired from his job as overnight host at CJAD in August, a job he had for 20 years. A month later, partly at the suggestion of local marketing guru Mitch Joel, Holder began a weekly podcast talking about the same stuff as he did on his radio show.

Then, in October, other podcasts came on the local radar. Mitch Melnick (CKGM The Team 990) began Melnick Underground. Kelly Alexander (CJFM Virgin Radio 96) started up The Kelly Alexander Show, and David Tyler (formerly of CFQR the Q 92.5) began David Tyler Unleashed. All this in a month.

The formats were different, lengths were different, and circumstances were different (two were by fired radio personalities, but two are still on the air). One thing they all had in common was that they’re being independently produced. Astral Media, Corus Entertainment, CTVglobemedia, they have nothing to do with the financing or production of these shows. And the hosts are happy with that, because it offers them something they can’t get on local commercial radio: full editorial independence.

In Monday’s Your Business section today, I write a short piece (well, it’s long by newspaper article standards, but way shorter than I had material to write for) about three of these entrepreneurs and their podcasts, none of which is at the point where it’s making any serious money yet. It’s illustrated with a Dave Sidaway photo of Kelly Alexander in her home studio. (It was also posted to VancouverSun.com)

Because I had so much material (I spent an hour each on the phone with Holder and Tyler, an hour in person with Melnick, and had an email exchange with Alexander), I’m complementing the article with a series on this blog, one a day for the next four days.

In this series:

Peter Anthony Holder starts podcast

Peter Anthony Holder is a clairvoyant, predicting in 1987 that these new cellular telephones would be all the rage, though suggesting that using them doesn’t increase the risks of accidents because people drive slower when they’re using them.

A little more than a month after he was unceremoniously canned as the overnight host on CJAD radio, Peter Anthony Holder has struck out on his own, starting a weekly podcast that can be downloaded from his website.

The inaugural edition, released Tuesday, runs just under an hour and features weird news, emails from listeners, and interviews. Familiar fare for those who listened to him.

The podcast was the idea of Mitch Joel, the new media marketing guy. He published a blog post suggesting that Holder and other former radio hosts start their own podcasts to keep their names (and voices) out there. (I was a bit skeptical about that advice, which sounds a lot like people should just work for free when they’re fired from their paid jobs.) Holder took Joel up on the idea and Joel became the first guest on Holder’s podcast.

You can listen to the first podcast here (MP3). Unfortunately, there’s no podcast feed setup yet (Holder’s website long predates content management systems and is flat HTML), but hopefully he’ll set one up soon so people can subscribe.

Holder went dark when news of his dismissal broke, giving terse responses to questions and refusing to comment further. Eventually he opened up to The Gazette’s Kathryn Greenaway and published a post on his blog about it, saying that he had vacation planned and was going to take it easy for a while before deciding on his next move.

(via Radio in Montreal)


Xolo.tv (yeah, I never heard of them either — I guess I’m not cool — Martin Lessard is though) recently came to Montreal and have a video podcast up. It features video of the Biodome (it goes on for a while, so you’ll find yourself skipping ahead a bit) and an interview with Casey and Rudy from Galacticast, who are fast becominng the go-to people for vlogging in Montreal (all because of me, I think). The Galacticast interview might have been better with less noise in their apartment/studio, but at least there’s footage of Casey McKinnon’s infectuous laugh.