Sunday, November 25, 2007

Oh what will Frank say about the big loss?

Although the team made a valiant effort, the Blue Bombers fell short against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The team played over their heads in making up for the absence of QB Kevin Glenn, and were only one late drive from bringing home the Grey Cup.

Tomorrow on The Great Canadian Talk Show, Frank the Italian Barber and Atlantic Pizza's TJ Bratt will mull over the result and the team's future under the proposed private ownership of David Asper.

Later this week, on Wednesday Kelly Dehn of CTV will give us an eyewitness account of the week in Toronto and of the game; and on Thursday Jon Waldman of Slam!Sports will look towards the changes the team may need to make to finally win the big game.

Plus more news and current affairs, special interviews (last Friday's with Global-TV reporter Mike Brown about local news coverage was fascinating), and of course your calls. Wednesday (after 4.40 PM) also includes a special segment all about how our student ops are Trekkies but only of the original series. It was their idea, but now it gives me the chance to tell the story of how I met Chekov.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Great Canadian Talk Year- thanks to...

Tuesday marks our first anniversary on Kick-FM. My deepest appreciation is expressed to:

Station manager Rick Baverstock for giving me the opportunity to return to the local airwaves and do it my way.

John Pura of RRC has gone way beyond the call of duty to solve computer and operating board emergencies and make sure we never missed an episode.

People in the Control Room over the past year such as senior producer Captain Audio, Shannah-Lee, Gavin, Josh, Deniz ( back to visit in December!) , Matt, Rudy, Dave, and Spirited Kenny, without whom the show would never be heard. They do what I cannot, handle the technical aspects. Their on-air contributions are also a big part of the success the show has enjoyed.

Kenny in particular handled our live remote from Victoria after the Dragons Den appearance expertly, and his CanAlert series is a seriously great story about public safety. And we became involved with promoting the Brewnos through our ops, and I can't wait till the next event on April 5. When we hope to release our new calendar, "The Girls of Humber College."

Regular guests like CTV's Kelly Dehn, The Sun's Tom Brodbeck, CTV's Stacey Ashley, CTF director Adrienne Batra, PCW's Andrew Shallcross, MPI's Brian Smiley, and Professor Levinski, brought important credibility and insight to our coverage of local news. Politicians like Sam Katz, Harvey Smith, Mike Pagktakhan, Hugh McFadyen, Dr. Jon Gerrard, Ron Schuler, Anita Neville, Joy Smith, Stephen Fletcher, House speaker George Hickes, even good ol' Harry Lazarenko, were willing to face tough questions and in so doing allow us to advance and break important stories.

Yoram and Ron East of gave us perspectives on Middle Eastern affairs and the rise of Anti-Semitism; Catherine Edwards told us the ins and outs of cable TV's lobbying the CRTC; Dan Kroffat told how the economic boom in Alberta was leading to the erosion of affordable housing and the middle class.

The combination of newsmakers and news reporters and analysts, set our program apart in Winnipeg as a must-hear drive-time habit.

Music, sports and entertainment is also part of our formula. Whether it was local music with Kelly Fairchild and Brian Cook, sports books with authors Greg Oliver and Chris Jericho, or yesteryear stars such as Jumpin' Jim Brunzell, Baron Von Raschke, 70's CFL-er Bob Lueck and former Winnipeg Jet Jimmy Mann, a unique approach to the non-news part of the agenda has been an important part of keeping the listeners engaged.

The number of people listening and responding has been amazing.

I appreciate each and every listener, each and every email you send; there is widespread support for our premise that elected and appointed officials must be held accountable for the state of our city and province, and the media's role must be carefully scrutinized to help news consumers evaluate the true facts of a story.

We can have a vigourous dialogue and disagree on important issues, but still together we make sure nothing is swept under the rug by the established interests, or by the neglect of reporters and editors.

I want to thank listeners who follow the show via the Sunday replays and those who listen through our streaming signal, and especially all of you who take the effort from thousands of miles away and despite time zone changes, to catch our offerings, including the men and women in our Military in Afghanistan and overseas..

The support of sponsors like Unicity Taxi, Focal Point Optician, Ameixa Deli, Atlantic Pizza,, has kept The Great Canadian Talk Show on the air. That is the plain truth. Please support them as often as possible and perhaps consider advertising on the show as well.

And Frank the Italian Barber too, what a great friend he has become.

One thing doing this show taught me the past year, is that no matter how good the leak, how heated the rant, how many callers I had, the show I just finished was never as important as I thought.

When I would rush home, help to get dinner fixed, unpack my gear, immediately my evening priority was answering important questions from 3 little kids, like "Uncle can you build me a train track pleeease?', "Martin I have a school project, do you have time for a makeover?", and "Marty did you tell Jericho he sucks??".

THAT was important. The times after the show when I spent time with my family and listened to them and helped them with their lives, do homework and play kids games and sports and get pummeled-- the kids made me change gears, stay off the computer, and relax and think how complex it is to raise a family in Winnipeg, which I had not done in over 20 years...

So if you became a regular listener in the last 365 days and want to know who deserves the credit for the show being something you wanted to listen to, it's in no small degree because of a supportive family that I can never thank enough for sacrificing having my undivided time and attention, and taught me a few things along the way about life in the modern world.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fast notes: Jericho replay; Thanks to the St B Riels; Anniversary show Nov. 20th

1) The replay of our much-talked about interview with Chris Jericho is today, Sunday, at 8 PM Central Time.

Exclusive comments from Chris about his earliest days in the local ring wars with the likes of Caveman Broda, Brian Jewel, Bulldog Brown, Mike Lozanski and more. No other interviewer can discuss his meanderings across the continent and the characters whose path Jericho crossed better than myself, since we crossed paths his very first day before I went down the road to Calgary, Vancouver, SoCal and Mexico about 2 years before he did. He said he wanted to do a part two of our discussion sometime this week -- and we are working on it !

Chris wil be at McNally-Robinson at Grant Park Mall on Thursday at 8 PM, to sign his book, A Lion's Tale, Around the World in Spandex.

2) I want to pay a special thanks to the St Boniface Riels and owner Larry Frykas for asking me to make the keynote address at their fundraising dinner this past Thursday.

It was impossible to follow coach Brian Smiley at the lecturn but I did and managed to ellicit some laughs as I compared the indignation of the local media over Smiley's no-punches-landed skirmish with the Stonewall Jets, to the Red Army-clobbering rescue of a 'saluting' Alan Eagleson by Pete Mahovlich and Team Canada 72'. It was a similar salute that presaged the skirmish last week, but alas the "Al Eagelson" is not part of modern sports dictionaries. So I felt compelled to explain it to the younger attendees, and also tell the story of how I bluffed my way into Maple Leaf Gardens at age 14 to meet Johnny Bower. I had a great time, the meal was delicious, the team is learning to win, and Mrs. Smiley does indeed, exist in the flesh.

3) On Tuesday November 20th, The Great Canadian Talk Show will celebrate out first year on the air with 92.9 Kick-FM.

Please let me know, which story we have dissected or broken in the past year has been your favorite and why. (And favorite interview and why too)

Thanks for visiting the TGCTS blog and supporting the show !