There Are Plenty of Reasons Why People Would Rather Listen to Podcasts than Radio

I try to avoid CJAD as much as possible. I’ve said many times on this site and to others that the station is only a fraction of its former self. It’s no longer a beacon of quality radio. I could point to countless departures of excellent on-air staff but I think using those examples would be akin to going to the well too many times. Today’s complaint is something concerning how poor one of their “top” on-air talents was the other day.

On last Thursday’s show (March 18), Ric Peterson was interviewing a producer for the CBC show Dragons’ Den. However, it sounded like Peterson had no idea what the show was about. It sounded if he was getting pointer notes fed to him that he was having trouble reading.

There are several problems here. The first is that Dragons’ Den is the most popular Canadian television show currently on the air (even though it’s a copy of a Japanese television show, the show CBC airs is a Canadian production). The only other Canadian broadcast that beats Dragons’ Den on a somewhat regular basis is Hockey Night in Canada. I’m not saying that Peterson should be watching the show (which isn’t part of his job description) but he should have a bit of knowledge about the what the show is about if he’s going to be conducting an interview with the a producer of the show (which should be part of his job description). When I worked at a college radio station that was transmitted for closed-circuit broadcasts throughout the school, the few times I did interviews, I still did my prep work. Even if I knew nothing about the subject, I still did my research so I could ask relevant questions to the interviewee.

But let’s give Peterson the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say he did do his research (or his staff did the research). His approach was awful. If he was trying to conduct the interview in a way that would be approachable to his listeners even if they had never even heard of Dragons’ Den before, that’s one thing. However, it sounded more like he himself had never heard of Dragons’ Den before the interview. Conducting an interview about a specific thing to a mass audience as if they don’t know much about the subject is the right way to approach the conversation. However, you shouldn’t sound clueless while doing it. Peterson nailed the clueless part.

I’ve also often said that the only shining star for CJAD right now is Andrew Carter. He handles himself so well during interviews and if Peterson is going to be less like Tommy Schnurmacher (we should all be less like Schnurmacher) and more like Andrew Carter, then he should start to take notes on how to conduct interviews. He’s only been doing the drive-home show for CJAD for years now.

I must give Peterson some credit though. On yesterday’s broadcast, he was talking about a kids hockey team in Dollard that will most likely have to forfeit a tournament game because it falls on the first night of Passover; making two-thirds of the team’s players unavailable. He handled himself well in that it sounded like he wasn’t going to take sides in the issue and wanted to know why it was both impossible for the game to be moved and why the team hadn’t seen this problem coming in the first place. However, his interview with the assistant coach left more questions than answers (although to a certain degree this wasn’t Peterson’s fault as much as it was the coach’s who was responding as if was being blindsided by the entire situation).

Peterson is not all bad and there are times when he is really on his game. However, like most of the on-air talent at CJAD, it feels like they have no idea what they are doing. In fact, it sometimes feels like the station is being run like a closed-circuit college station. This doesn’t surprise me since Astral has hired people working at CEGEP radio stations before they even graduated to run stuff behind the scenes.

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On the subject of CJAD, I have another thing bothering me and it has to do with the BBM ratings. Fagstein did a write-up about the ratings at the various Astral Media radio stations in Montreal. Count me in as another person who stopped listening to CHOM when they changed the morning show around (they should have never turfed Rob Kemp). However, Mike Boone brings up some critical points against the BBM personal people meters that are used to conduct ratings. The idea is that people connect a small device to themselves that they wear throughout the day and it will pick up on radio frequencies transmitted by the over-the-air stations through their broadcasts. A major flaw with it is that there are fewer people recording with the personal people meters than there were under previous systems so the sample size is greatly diminished (compared against a growing population). In fact, much of the Nancy Wood controversy with the CBC Daybreak show seems to have resulted in the fact that since she started her show, sixteen people stopped listening. Yeah, it’s that broken a system.

However, I have a bigger issue and this stems back to Peter Anthony Holder. I have to note that I’ve been a big fan of Holder for years and I post links to his podcasts on this site because I’m a fan and want to help promote his podcast as much as I can. With that disclaimer out of the way, Holder is a victim of the faulty personal people meter system. I’ve read in a couple of places that his ratings were poor. However, even if his ratings were poor, he never seemed to have problems getting people to call in to his show. The way I see it, if people are actively engaging in a talk-radio show, they’re listening attentively. So even if not many people were listening to Holder’s show, the ones that were should be more attractive to advertisers.

Let me put it this way, there are times where I’ve heard Dan Laxar, whatever that annoying lady’s name is during lunch, and Merv Williams beg for callers. It’s not like people don’t use phones anymore. If people aren’t calling in, they aren’t listening. So people could be near enough a radio for the personal people meter to pick up on a frequency; but if people are carrying on a conversation in a noisy greasy-spoon restaurant or chatting it up with the barber while getting their haircut, it means less than crap for advertisers.

I don’t know how well Holder’s podcasts are doing (I can’t even tell properly how well mine are doing), but it seems to me that there is a strong case for Holder having a more dedicated audience than anyone on CJAD at the moment. The problem is CJAD is eroding their product to such a worrying degree that once advertisers and sponsors realize that people aren’t listening anymore, CJAD will not be able to bounce back even if they bring back those they let go who had a strong, dedicated fanbase like Peter Anthony Holder and, ugh, Olga and Laurie (no disrespect, but I was not a fan, although I understand they had a super-strong following).

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Montreal News

Somebody thought it would be a good idea to fake a plane accident in the middle of downtown Montreal. Not many people were amused.

Entertainment News

James Cameron is upset about how some movies are being converted from 2D presentations to full 3D experiences. However, he is still moving ahead with plans to convert Titanic into a 3D movie. It’s ok because since Cameron is the self-proclaimed king of the world, he can say one thing and do another and it’s still ok.

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