Saturday, June 27, 2009


It's days like today when I think back to the happy days I spent living in Ontario, what with the Ontario PC leadership vote results being announced today just north of the city, in Markham.

As you may know I was involved pretty extensively in the last two leadership races, and sitting this one out may seem weird, but don't worry - I still get way too much of a political fix where I am. In fact, just the other day I was reporting on three politicians inspecting a drought-ravaged field in northwest Saskatchewan.

I know, that's not as exciting as a political convention. You got me there.

I don't think I am missing much in Toronto this week. There is a big garbage strike going on in Toronto so the whole town is starting to smell really, really bad. Also, tomorrow is Gay Pride day in Toronto so I am DEFINITELY not missing anything with that big parade ensnarling downtown.

Not that there's anything wrong with it. It's just not my thing.

Oh, and I hope the people marching in the parade are in good health. I understand the EMS people might not even be working in Toronto tomorrow because they, too, might be going on strike. What a farce. First the garbage folks walk, now possibly EMS. The whole freaking city is falling apart.

And in other news, the Toronto-based newspaper The Globe and Mail is considering walking out on strike. In fact, the union voted to reject the latest offer today. Unbelievable. While everyone is losing their jobs elsewhere, people in Toronto are wanting to walk picket lines.

I hope these Globe and Mail people come to their senses and do NOT go on strike. If those reporters walk, they might find the people may not miss them. There are a lot more options for people to turn to these days for their information, like the Internet. Or, for that matter, this blog.

And some particularly sad news to report about Toronto sports radio. Apparently there were rumors afloat for a couple of weeks about changes at the FAN 590, and the rumors came true this week when the Late Night Vampire, Stormin' Norman Rumack, was let go.

This is one of those kind of things that jolts you, because Norm was an institution at the FAN. No matter how bad or how boring his show got, you got the impression he would be there in latenight forever, doing his Hammerhead Alerts! and jiving with his buddy Roger Lajoie on the radio. I remember the ads on his show for places like Treasure's Gentleman's Club -- real classy establishments. Also, you could always count on Norm to provide opinions about his favorite topic "God's Team" --the Toronto Maple Leafs.

I wonder how much the nosedive of the Leafs in the standings has contributed to Rumack's downfall. When the Leafs were winning you could never get enough Leafs coverage on the FAN -- even though the actual Leafs games were on a rival station.

But with the Leafs in the toilet the fans are all over the team and especially its management and owners. The Leafs are so deeply unpopular right now that you have all this talk about a second NHL team for southern Ontario, as fans are fed up with exhorbitant prices for Leafs tickets. Combine that fan disgust with a losing team that has no playoff games and you have a recipe for bad radio ratings. Since the Leafs were pretty much all that Norm would ever talk about, I think that probably did him in. Also, he plays to the older crowd and the FAN might be trying to get a younger audience. A lot of the younger fans in Toronto are more into basketball and soccer, two popular sports the FAN has rights to.

It's sad learning about the departure of the types of things that marked my tenure in Toronto, like your familiar radio personalities. Maybe Norm Rumack can move out west and get a job ranting on the radio around here with one of the Calgary or Edmonton stations.

As for the FAN, boy, has that radio station ever changed for the worse in late night -- they also got rid of ESPN radio and replaced it this year with Fox Sports for less money, and then when that didn't go over too well they just put on reruns of their daily programming. Just weird changes. But what do you expect, with this economic climate? Radio is a mess these days. Television is also a mess, what with the changes at Citytv and the moaning about money problems at CTV, Global and every other place.

At least there will be an Indy race in Toronto again soon. That's some positive news -- the only real good news. But of course, there is auto racing close to where I live, so I'm not too broken up about it.

That is all from me for now -- I have better things to do than talk about Toronto, such as enjoy my life here.

1 comment:

SEFL said...

Hi John,

As someone who is planning to be an ex-Torontonian, you're right; you're not missing very much at all. The city's falling apart and most people are too inherently blind to realize it. Your post is so well-thought out and so insightful that unfortunately no one who needs to understand it will be able to do so.

One thing about Norm, though; toward the last couple of seasons of his show, he adopted the Buffalo Sabres as his team and pretty well tore the entire Leafs organization a new one on the way out (with of course, the lone exception being Toronto's most beloved #17).