Maureen Holloway With The Last Word
Updated: 4 days ago
I never realized how lucky I was to work alongside Maureen Holloway. Mo is now the morning host with Darren B. Lamb on 98.1 CHFI in Toronto. Maureen is brutally honest about her career, her family, her relationships and her 2005 battle with cancer. I was working in Montreal at the time and she was quite open with the Mix 96 audience at the time. I did not know that she had not shared that with the rest of the radio affiliates outside of Montreal and Toronto.
In this episode, Maureen and I grapple with what we could get away at the turn of the millenium and the unforgiving nature of cancel culture. That includes this episodes where we might have cracked a few jokes between us that would hold up well in this day and age. We also got into the silliness of gender reveal parties, not getting her name on the show marquee until later into her career, and some career advice for those coming up in radio. Practice fearlessness and get into what the late John Lewis described as "Good Trouble". Maureen is also the originator of working from home (the Last Word was done from her home studio) but she misses the camaraderie of working together with other creatives.
As promised I have attached her acceptance speech of the Rosalie Tromblay award at Canadian Music Week in 2018. The award is given to Canadian women in broadcasting who have blazed new trails. You'll understand why she got this award just listening to her radio path on this podcast.
Maureen mentioned that Jennifer Campbell from CHYM in Kitchener is working through cancer and we wish her healthy healing.
Amanda Logan (VO) 00:00:01
This is the podcast for Broadcast. The Sound off Podcast with Matt Cundill.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:03
Maureen Holloway is known in every radio market in Canada's top ten. Her role on morning shows across Canada from 2000 and thousand to 2014 with The Last Word made her a favorite in households across the country. Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Vancouver. You get the picture. Mo and I worked for the same company for many years, and even when we weren't at the same company, we always found a way to have her be a part of the radio station in Winnipeg. Her segment was a part of our biggest quarter hour on Power 97. And I tried every year to get a second hit with Mo, but couldn't make it happen. She was that busy. This is another podcast episode of it's been too long since we talked and in an ideal world, we do this over a four hour dinner with one bottle of wine too many. But this podcast will have to do when did you first use your inside voice and say, I want to be on the radio?
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:01:04
I never did. I never decided I wanted to be on the radio. That was a complete fluke and complete accident. And, you know, like a lot of people in their 20s, I had a few false starts. Interestingly. My University boyfriend was on the radio, but I never had deep boys and was really into music, but I never thought I wanted to be. So I have my first degrees in film studies, which is a really useful degree. Not so. I worked for a film company that distributed experimental films. It was very artsy. You wear black and very intense and smoked a lot and not make any money. So then I went to work for Xerox, selling coffees and made money, but had a big black hole where my soul should be. So at this point and I was living in Vancouver and I was in my early twenties and my relationship was falling apart. So I went and traveled for six months. Then I came back. I had no money, got a job as a waitress at the Keg. Then I decided, hey, you know what? I should be an advertising. I think I would be a fantastic creative director. So I interviewed with a bunch of ad agencies and they said we don't have any technical skills or any experience. And somebody suggested that I take the RTA program at Ryerson, which was very hard to get into. Probably still is. But I got accepted with the full idea that I would get another degree and I would go and work in advertising. And the first summer I was hired by what was then CKFM, which became mixed and became Virgin as a traffic reporter. And it was just supposed to be a summer job, and they offered it to me full time in the fall. So I decided I wouldn't go back to school. And that's how I ended up in radio. There was never any internal voice saying, you should do this.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:02:55
So you walk into Mix 99 in Toronto. The owner is Gary Slate.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:03:00
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:03:01
And there are these large personalities floating. Yeah. So What'd you think?
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:03:07
You know what, when I started, Wally Crowder was at CFRB, I think Betty Kennedy was still working at CFRB down the hall. Seriously. And Don Daniel was the morning man at CKFM and they were all Legends. And it was just a great summer job, too, I have to say. I was actually doing cross country traffic and I was reporting from the station boat. Back when stations have big budgets, we actually had a boat that just sort of cruised around the harbor and they hired me to do boat reports. Come on down to the waterfront. It's great down here. And the guy they had hired to skipper the boat was an engineering student from UT who is now my husband of 34 years. So that was a really good summer. And I just thought everything about it was fantastic. So obviously when they offered me the job, I was hugely. A lot of people thought, well, why would you go and work in radio? Radio is so dated. Radio is old technology. But yeah, to your point, there were big personalities and big stars. I mean, Don Daniel was a massive star. So to be asked to be part of his show, even a very small bit, was hugely flattering. So that's why I did it, really, because it seemed glamorous and fun and sexy.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:04:30
So it's about 1990, something the Internet has barely started. But radio is already dated.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:04:35
Yeah. Well, they've been saying that for about radio since 1950.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:04:40
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:04:41
Yeah, they're still saying it.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:04:43
Did you have any aspirations to go into TV at all?
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:04:46
Well, yes, and I did. I did a lot of television and at the same time. But yeah, I had like three or four shows over the years. But it never pays as well for radio. You do it as, you know, 52 weeks a year. Television is all episodic. So you get a season of this or a season of that. But no, I never had that need to move on to television. I never thought television was better than radio. Certainly wasn't as well paying or as consistent.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:05:25
That radio station, Mix 99, wasn't doing so well in the early part of the 90s. Then it started to really do well in the later part of the 90s. What was it about that building, what was going on in there that made it so successful that got it Sharepoints of eight and nine?
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:05:40
Well, I think Gary Slate, while being a challenging personality in his own right, certainly is good at hiring charismatic people. And so there was a real vibe. Everybody came through that building to St. Clair west. Everybody came through whether they worked at the stations. There or worked elsewhere. Gary had a pretty cool, pretty influential circle of friends. And even if you didn't know them directly, it was still a legendary place to be. I think probably the Chum people feel the same way about their building and so on, but, yeah, I think that when the Slate owned Standard Broadcasting, it was definitely the place to work.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:06:28
And then came a moment when you moved and you had to leave Standard Broadcasting and you went to chorus.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:06:35
Yeah. So, you know, I've talked quite a bit about this in recent years, but at the time, it's just the way things were. There wasn't any place for a woman to take the driver's seat in radio across the board. They brought Rob Christie in from Edmonton and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting him and building a show around him. But he was sort of a B level talent and I didn't even get marquee billing. It was the Rob Christie Show with, you know, and I remember they invited us all up to BBM at the time and the whole staff was there and they were allowing us to read the diaries. This is back when ratings were measured by diaries and diaries alone. And we all got a chance to see these diaries and to read them, and all of us were there. There must have been about 20 of us and we were all reading excerpts from diaries that we thought would be interesting and maybe every second one mentioned how much they enjoyed other people's misses in Maureen hallway. Like, I got way more mention than anybody else on air. And still I was relegated to this, not even second billing. I didn't even get my name on the marquee. So while I enjoyed what I was doing, I was bitter and pissed off and feeling that there was nowhere to go. And then chorus came along and said, hey, we're going to take that little bit that you do, and we're going to syndicate it, or rather get you to do it live with all our morning shows and you can work from home. So Gary was really pissed off when I went to tell him, but I remember saying to him at the same time, can you blame me? Can you blame me? You haven't done it. He says, we have put so much time and effort into building your career. I'm like, I think it's time to move on. And I did go for more money. In fact, at the beginning, it went for less.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:08:37
So who presented the offer to you to go to chorus? Was it JJ?
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:08:40
No. That's funny because I really needed to get away from JJ was the GM. That was another reason I had to leave. He was just a crazy, intense little guy that I couldn't work for him a day longer. So that was another reason why I jumped at it. The offer was presented by the general manager at the time a guy by the name of Josanovio who was a dead Ringer for Raleigh Auto, who didn't stay in radio, but he was there. And they had a syndicated outfit called the Rock Radio Network. That's what it was. And David Hussar was the guy. Neither of these guys are even in radio anymore, but they're the ones that met me in a parking lot outside of coffee time and made me the offer. Now I know why you're laughing, and why I'm laughing is I take the offer. One of the best moments of my life was when I heard JJ got my letter of resignation, and Gary apparently went down the hall and said, what the hell is going on? And the reason why we're laughing so hard is that six months later, Cory hired JJ as my boss. And you know what the first thing he tried to do was, Matt? I was sitting right at this desk in a different house. He called me up. He said, okay, the first thing we have to do is we have to cut your bit. The last bit from five minutes to three. That was the first thing he did. Anyway, a year later, he was gone.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:08
I'm pretty good at connecting the dots with the timelines and who went where and what, but I completely missed that one. But at the same time, I can be forgiven because it was 20 years ago.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:10:17
It was 20 years ago. But yeah, it was funny and it was just absolutely infuriating. But you know what? A lot of stuff like this has happened over the years. And in the end, I'm still here.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:30
Oh, yeah, you are.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:10:32
I'm still here. And none of these guys are. I'm still here. I got my name on the marquee. I got my face on a Billboard. I got all sorts of trophies and awards still making really good money, especially for radio. So really, at the end of the day, how bitter can you be?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:49
And you beat cancer.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:10:50
And I beat cancer.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:51
Yeah. So that was 2005.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:10:53
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:54
I remember hearing from you because there were some phone calls with you and Blair, and I was in the office as well. Just about some of the things you were going through and the fear and your family and John and how you tackled it. And I was moved through the whole thing.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:11:17
15 years ago. Yes. It was awful. I almost didn't realize how awful it was because it was just happening so fast. Although I think it was Marilyn Dennis who told me at the end of the day it wasn't a bad career move. I'm not sure she said that maybe I shouldn't be quoting her, but we laughed about it. It was a really scary, scary thing. Yeah. I was never given a prognosis. I didn't know whether I had six months to live or whether it was going to go away. And so I was already in the mind frame that things were going to come to an end. And of course, the most alarming thing was that I had a six year old and a twelve year old, and that was really hard on them. You know what? It's funny, Mad, here we are all these years later, and I think they both suffer from anxiety. They're tall, gorgeous, strapping, brilliant men, but they both suffer from anxiety. And I think a large part of it stems from that time. But in terms of my career, so I continued working through it. I was working from home, so it was not that big a deal. And I was very open about it. In Toronto on Cue and also in Montreal, it was on at Mix 96. I didn't make it public elsewhere. It would have been too exhausting. And I think to Maryland's point, it was a good career move, because up until that point, I'd sort of come across as this sort of little miss can't be wrong snarky, slightly bitchy person. And by being so open about losing all my hair and my eyebrows and doing it all very publicly, I think kind of made me more approachable to a lot of people. And I heard from so many I mean, hundreds, thousands of people felt that they had to email me and let me know that they, A, supported me or B, had been through something or were going through that, which was lovely and exhausting. But I think it was a good pivot in my image or my persona. It was humbling. I wouldn't recommend it as a humbling experience, but it brought with it some gifts.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:13:42
Yeah. I found it interesting because I was working in Montreal in that time period when it happened, and you and I have never worked in the same building, but we've worked together. And when that happened, I still felt that we were family because you had a special relationship with Mix 96 in Montreal and as well, obviously with Toronto, because that's where you're from and that's the building you work out of. So I remember feeling the whole building being very touched and with the listeners, we would get a lot of email as well.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:14:11
Yeah. You know, Jennifer Campbell was diagnosed at Chime and Kitchener. I think it's Ovarian, and she was diagnosed and she's in treatment right now. And she left the air. And I sent her a note when I heard a couple of months ago, and then I just sent her out Saturday night at midnight. She immediately wrote back and, well, what are you doing up at midnight? But she's a lovely woman to begin with, but you immediately feel I know a little bit about what she's going through. Like I said, it's humbling in it, but it also gives you an opportunity to make you don't have a lot of time for people to waste your time.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:14:51
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:14:52
Teaches you courage, give birth twice, and then have cancer. Nothing's going to frighten you again in just a second.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:14:59
More with Mo as we dig into The Last Word, which aired on stations across Canada. What went into getting the segments together? And what was it like to work with the incredible radio talent across the country?
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:15:10
The Sound Off podcast.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:15:12
The Last Word was something that went for many years, but it was in all these markets. We could find it across the country. Walk me back to a couple of things about it because it was something that when I was program director, I knew it came out at 815 in Winnipeg, but this was something that went across the country. So I want to know a little bit about your work day and how it started because it has to start early and then how you space out the brakes and the stations you're on. And what was the favorite station you got to work with? What was your favorite morning show you got to work with? And why was it Wheeler and Hal?
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:15:50
Oh, my God, they were great. And of course, Wheeler is back on the air and Hal, of course, has gone on to talk. It was weird. It grew like a house where you just keep adding rooms to it and it doesn't really make sense anymore when you try to explain to people what your morning is like and how you do it. But yeah, and it wasn't on just one. So it was on like four times at Deringer, I think I was on at 1.4 Times Morning with Terry when he was at seven in Calgary. So I had more than one break and then I think I was on twice in Montreal with the Mix 96 group with Erin and Taso. And then they added so Winnipeg came in early and Winnipeg, I'm not blowing Sunshine up your pants. Winnipeg is an amazing radio town. Like, some of the best, biggest talents in radio in this country have come either out of Winnipeg or through Winnipeg. And the talent there is ridiculous considering the size and where it is. The mosquitoes and black lives.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:17:03
Portage in Maine and 50 below.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:17:06
Yeah, I know. I started with BJ and Hal and then BJ went to Halifax. So I was on with BJ and Halifax. I had this wonderful situation where I'd work with people and they would go somewhere else and if they could, if it wasn't a problem politically with chorus, I could be on air with them, too. Jake in Vancouver. And at one point I think I was doing 20 hits in eleven stations across the country. And yeah, the content was almost always the same. I'd have this scripted bit, The Last Word, that'd be four or five stories, but show business, but the conversation would go everywhere and anywhere, as you know. And so it was different every time. Even though I'd go to the table with the same dish, people would season it differently. And so it was really fun and busier than a typical morning show because I was basically doing 20 breaks with different people.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:18:06
So here we are in a pandemic and everybody is working from home. But you're the original work from home. You've been doing this since 2000.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:18:14
But without the video. Now, when I work with my morning show at Thfi, we're all on Zoom like our producers, so we all see each other. We talk off air like you and I are talking right now. But back when I was doing that, I was doing it over ISDN which great technology, but nobody's using it anymore. It just sounds really good. And I wouldn't see anybody. And I think, honestly, Matt, not seeing anybody and not being able to talk to anybody off there was almost a good thing because I'm hearing this the way the listeners are hearing this. So just turning on the mic was like, hey, how are you? It's genuine, right?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:18:56
How did you compile the stories? Was it web TMZ? What did you do to get it all together?
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:19:02
Before the Internet came with USA Today, it was my original forest. We had morning prep services, but they were never really any good. I should show you I've got a factor because I'm sitting near my filing cabinet. I would handwrite them and I'm serious. Let me show you this. I would handwrite these things and put them in a file. I can't get this stuck in there too much. I've kept about ten years worth handwritten on one sheet. I don't know why I had to handwrite it. It just made me better for the creative process. But I've read back some of the stuff that I did. I started doing. When we started, at first it was other people's business. And when I went to chorus, they changed it to the last word. And then when I went to Rogers, they trademarked other people's business and renamed it what it was originally, but essentially a three minute bit. And it was filthy and racist and sexist and homophobic and obedient. And I cannot believe that I got away with this.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:20:08
We get letters. I remember we got a few of them. And I can't remember if I forwarded you one or two, but you responded directly to the listener. And I remember specifically what you wrote. If you don't like what I'm saying, why don't you reach down and give your knob a twist?
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:20:26
I cannot believe. I think that same attitude has helped me, but it would definitely lose me my job now. We are so careful now. And I called Terry Fox a quitter. And I remember Stumpers calling me in the early days of saying, did you do that? Yeah, it was a joke, clearly. And he just laughed and said, well, we've had a lot of calls. He also said I said, do you want me to apologize? And he went, no, never apologize, which was interesting. This was like 2000, right? Never apologize, which led into Dean Blendell.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:21:15
Which was really a string of apologies from CFA or from Edge for a decade.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:21:20
Yeah. Well, Dean, I'm a big fan of Dean.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:21:25
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:21:26
Yeah. So, I mean, you need a certain amount of fearlessness. I don't know how I would manage if I were just coming up in media now. I don't know. I mean, it's amazing. In four years at CHFI, they have not rained me in. I've done most of that myself. But yeah, it is a really difficult time to try to be funny. I probably get away with a lot because I'm a woman.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:21:54
You know those fun conversations you have with friends where you can laugh and say things but you don't want other people to hear it because someone with an earshot might not like it. Well, we had that conversation and we're not letting you hear it. So I guess, what advice do you have then for people who are coming up? I know you're connected to Ryerson, and there's people who go to Ryerson who are looking for careers, possibly in radio. What advice can we give?
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:22:20
Well, I think again, I'm going to go back to that. I don't want to redact the thing. Edit, edit all those years ago and look at her now. She's running edit. I don't mean that. I mean, in fact, you don't get a break no matter who you are. Now in terms of what you can say, someone is going to be offended. But if you're coming up now, you know what, I still think you need to exercise some fearlessness. I hate saying this because it's so easily misconstrued, but the rules don't necessarily apply to everybody all the time. It's like John Lewis saying, get in trouble, good trouble. If you've got convictions, you've got to do a lot of soul searching. I mean, you've got to make sure you don't have hatred in your heart. If you really do, it's going to leak out and people are going to see you for the asshole you are. So try to be as good a person as you can, but at the same time, take a risk, say something. One of the things is, you know, because you're a funny guy and you appreciate humor as well, is sometimes the funniest thing is what just comes off the top of your head and your first reaction might be, oh, I shouldn't have said that. But if you get a laugh and you know, well, of course I should have said that. You got to kind of have to trust that instinct, right?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:23:41
Yeah, I think it's one of the joys of radio is that you can sort of let something slip out and apologize tomorrow morning at 730. The thing about I know you're shaking your head, saying nothing.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:23:52
Yeah, it's out there. Wendy Mesley is a good friend of mine and one of the most heartbreaking stories this summer is what happened to her. And I'm not going to go down that rabbit hole. But she said it was saying that she was story for something that was so unintentional but just at the wrong time. That pretty much gave the CBC the right to give her the hoof because by saying sorry, she acknowledged that she had done something wrong. And I'm not saying that she didn't. She's not saying that she didn't, but it gave them they gave them a hook to spear her with.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:24:29
Speaking of cancel, I'd love to cancel gender reveals. And I caught part of your show yesterday and heard Darren going off about gender reveals yesterday.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:24:38
We both were, but I was kind of the one that went off on a tirade, which is usually the case, gender reveal parties, which are actually sex reveal parties, but they don't call them that. Revealing the biological sex of the baby rather than the gender or the gender is what you identify with, as we know that now. So gender reveals a misnomer to begin with, to make such a big deal about whether your baby is going to be a boy or a girl, as if there's something that weighs in the balance, as if there's one that's better than the other. And then burning down half of California as a result kind of seemed biblical, didn't it?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:25:18
I don't care what color the gender reveal is. Just if you don't cheer hard enough, you could be canceled.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:25:26
Yeah. Well, yeah. Cancel culture. I got to tell you, some good people are falling by the wayside because of this, some really good people. And I don't know if they'll ever make it back. Pretty brutal, but I don't think it will last. I mean, right after 911, what we're on the anniversary, aren't we? Everybody said, oh, it's the death of irony. You can't be funny. You can't be ironic. That didn't last very long. People were pretty damn ironic a couple of years later. And I think the same thing will happen now. For every action, there's a reaction. And right now we have to be super sensitive and super aware. And I think that will do us a lot of good. But ultimately the pendulum will swing back where diving into the Black Lives Matter and the race wars that we've been witnessing this summer. If you look back at people like Richard Pryor and even Flip Wilson, for God's sake, and George Carlin and 40, 50 years ago, they were far more outrageous than they are now. That freedom to express your anger is going to come back. But yeah, right now I think it's sorely missing.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:44
In just a second, Mo shifts a show into the studio at Q 107 and later moves to her current home at CHFI. There's so much more on the episode page at soundoffpodcast.com, including Maureen's acceptance speech for the Rosalie Tromble Award, which recognizes Canadian women who've blazed new trails in radio. The Sound Off podcast. After the last word ended, you weren't going out across the country, but you were working with John Darn. Sure. Full time Q 107.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:27:14
Well, I don't know whether the terms of a nondiscosure agreement still carry weight, but no, it was both fantastic. I've never had better chemistry with anybody on the air, and he's a brilliant guy. I got billing. It was Darren in the Morning with Maureen hallway. So I got that.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:27:37
And it's at this moment that the NDA kicks in. Like I said, it's like we're having dinner and it just got really loud in the restaurant.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:27:48
So that ultimately came to an end was the program director at Q.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:27:53
Was it Blair? Yeah, he mentioned it before that. But when you and John no longer work together, he felt it was like, well, the Beatles are breaking up. I mean, he thought that much about the two of you together.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:28:04
Yeah, it was hard. You know what? There's still a lot that I miss about Darn. Sure. And I know there's a lot that he misses about me. We were really good on the dance floor, and so they put me in afternoons. A lot of people thought that I killed Kim Mitchell because he had a heart attack shortly afterwards. But I actually had people saying, you took Kim Mitchell's job and he had a heart attack and you're responsible, and that was a disaster. I'm not an afternoon person. I play basket with other people. I didn't have anyone to play with. I had basically a great guy, John Scoles, but a glorified op. So I languished. I just died. And then when the opportunity to move on to when I heard that Aaron was leaving, I thought, all right, might as well throw my hat in that ring. That's a job I can do.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:54
Then you're off to Rogers. We've spoken about her at length before, and we'll talk about Julie Adam and what she means to radio.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:29:04
Yeah. So first of all, I went from the world of men to the world of women. I had Suzanne Carpenter for a while as a GM when I was at Cube. But other than that, I never worked for women directly or never had a female program director, never had a female general manager, had never really had other women on a show with me. That is how male dominated radio has been. So going over to CHFI, it was Julie. I went and I called Juliet Coffee with Julie. She said, what do you want? I said, Well, I hear Erin's leaving. Nobody knew. I was definitely in information, and she made me an offer a week later. So that happened really fast. And I'd never met her before. I'd only heard about her, and everything that they say is true. She really is a girl wonder. When I say girl wonder, it's because she looks like an intern. We're always asking her to get us coffee. I don't think there are very many people that are so admired, male or female, in this business. She's managed to make her way to the top of her game without alienating anybody and only gaining respect. Working for Julie, working for Wendy, women are always saying, is there anything you need? How do you feel? I don't think I've ever had a male manager ask me that in all the years I've been in the business. So it's very different. It is a very different culture.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:35
So in all the years that I was program director at Chorus, there was only one female program director. It was Suzanne, and that was it. Why is that?
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:30:48
Well, it's changed a lot. And why is that? Why was that? Because I think it's changed. I think we're better represented still not 50% by any means. It's just why have white men ruled the world for 2000 years or 20,000 years, Matt? You tell me. Because women there was that old idea that women, first of all, couldn't run things. And secondly, people don't like to listen to women on the air. Women shouldn't have opinions. They shouldn't especially have contentious or unpopular opinions. And that has changed rapidly. And I think that's a good thing, although there are a lot of horrible women out there thinking of Fox and Laura Ingraham, people like that. But, yeah, if there's been a rapid change, it could change back. I don't know. But right now the focus is on people of color and other groups that have been discriminated against. But, yeah, it has changed, hopefully for the better. I would hate to see radio. I guess we're going to get to that. Where's radio going. I would hate to see women have a voice, only to have the platform disappear.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:32:08
I don't think the platform is going to disappear.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:32:11
I don't think it's going to continue to exist along the same way that it does. I think people will always want to listen and connect with personalities, whether it'll be via podcast or I just think the whole Am FM, Am talk radio, FM music driven your station, that is going to have to change. It's changing right now. We don't know what the I don't think it's going to disappear, but I think it's going to morph into something quite different. Yeah.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:32:42
And I think the pandemic has had an effect on it where it sort of accelerated what was going to happen, maybe by about three, four, five years.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:32:49
Yeah. Look at us, Matt. You're sitting in your basement. I'm sitting in my studio. I haven't been to my station physically in six months. And yet there we are at the top of the ratings heap. So that's changed. We don't need to have that set up anymore. But also listen. If people are going to be working from home, we're not the only ones. As more and more people work from home, my entire family is working from home. My home, even the ones who don't live here anymore coming here to work.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:33:19
Well, you should charge them money for Hydro and also for WiFi.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:33:24
Yeah, well, one of them is a student, so hopefully by the time he's done, he'll pay us back. But what was my point? What was my point? Oh, yeah. So everybody's in that group mornings, which have always been the flagship of a radio day, people aren't going to be commuting. We're losing our traps. Captive audience that would spend 2 hours in their car from six to 08:00 in the morning. Now they're getting up at 830 and working from home. So everything is shifting and no one knows for sure how we're going to come out of this and when and if and how.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:33:59
Do you notice that even from home? I know in the studio you might be able to catch a little bit of it on the phones or the heartbeat of the radio station, but you're at home. We know people are getting up 75 minutes later. We know that they don't need traffic, weather and whatever together to get to the next point and all that sort of we're doing a morning show to prepare you for the day. Has your show changed at all over the last few months?
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:34:25
Well, we don't have guests or the guests that we do have are over the phone, sometimes over Zoom. And that changes the nature of the interview, but not that much. I think it's a timing thing, literally. I think it's a mechanical problem. Darren and I have a delay when we talk to each other. And so to my ear, it sounds like we don't quite get each other's jokes because there's always that pause and then that laugh. So I don't think the show he loves working from home and he maintains that the show sounds just as good. But I really think there's an energy when you're in the room with a group of people, stuff that happens off air spills over onto the air, and there's just a general feeling of people sitting around at a table that the listener has been invited to join that is not there when we're not sitting around that table, literally. So, yeah, I mean, maybe it's subtle, but I would rather be in the studio. I've done both extensively. And I think being in the room where it happens is still very important.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:35:25
Do you think that maybe like, new ideas and sort of camaraderie and energy is going to be sort of a casualty of the creativity that we have in radio? Because again, I was watching the national last night and somebody presented that as being a possibility that because we're not going to be face to face in a boardroom, we're not going to have all these new ideas.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:35:44
I was listening to an interview, DAX Shepherd's, armchair expert. He was interviewing Seth Macfarlane and who's brilliant. I didn't know he went to the Rhode Island Island School of design he comes from. He was a child prodigy. He was talking about the writer's room, and he said, if you're used to writing with other people, you cannot do it like this. You have to be in the room. You have to be in that stinky, smelly room where with people with their stale leftover sandwiches and throwing paper in the waste paper basket and just sticking up the joint and laughing and being politically incorrect. That's another thing I think that's really important. And it goes back to something I wish I hadn't said halfway through this interview is that you get comfortable enough to spitball and to think outside the box. As long as you're doing this, somebody could be recording you. Somebody could be listening in. There isn't that sense of safety and comfort that you have when you're actually face to face with somebody?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:36:48
You've dabbled in podcast. You had a podcast. What did you think of podcast?
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:36:54
I said, and I still want to do podcasts, but that's a commercial model where they come to you and say, we have a sponsor with red tag and they want to do a travel show. I was like, oh, great, a travel show. Where do I go? They're like, well, you don't actually go anywhere and we're not going to pay you. We're not going to pay you because it's all experimental to get your feet wet. So you're going to interview various travel experts and we're going to put together the show and we're going to promote the hell of it. Hell out of it. It's called Four Trips Ahead. Three Trips Ahead. Sorry. Because I used to like to plan three trips ahead to keep always have something to look forward to. And I think it was really successful for a while there. But no, nothing else has come of it. You have to have a sponsor now, and I would have done it differently, but they gave me a producer. Stephanie Phillips is amazing and has her own podcast now, so they made it very easy. All I had to do was show up and interview people and they just put it together and sold it. But I would like to do more of that. I would like to do some edgy, provocative, Brave New Waves kind of stuff. If you go back to that old CBC show where they sat around and talked about everything and drank wine, and I would love to do that. I'd like to ask some interesting people uncomfortable questions, but good luck getting a sponsor for that, right?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:38:23
I'll get you a sponsor for that.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:38:25
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:38:26
Yeah, I'll get you a sponsor for that. And you get enough listeners. There's people out there. Jeanmarie heimareth he's got a podcast company. He'll get you a sponsor.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:38:34
Well, I would love to do I'd like to ask people I'd like to ask Rick Mercer about coming out. I'd like to ask people who don't necessarily in a very comfortable way. It's like pivotal moments in your life, things that you've regretted, things that you wish you'd done differently. What is it like? You asked me about going through cancer. I haven't talked about that in a long time, and it was a real pivotal moment in my life. You don't really realize it until you move on. Right. So I'd like to do more of that. I'd like to connect and communicate and laugh and find out about people and satisfy my curiosity and not worry so much about saying the right thing or satisfying the Choi audience, which is lovely. By the way, when I first went over there, I thought, oh, I'm going to be talking to little old ladies and yeah, we're talking to little old ladies, but we're also talking to phenomenal people that are far more interesting and three dimensional than I thought that they would be. The listeners are wonderful there, and they twist their knobs and break it off. They're lifers. They don't go anywhere else.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:39:48
That thing is stuck on every taxi that I've ever gotten into since 1980 something 98.1 CHFI. And there you are on the same spot that Dawn Danard was. Can you believe it?
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:40:05
I know. Don Daynard, Jeez. Yeah, Erin. And there haven't been very many hosts there. Sandy Hoyt. I think I think I'm like the fourth one there. So it's a real privilege to work there. And it continues to do. We're the only AC station that's really doing well in the midst of this pandemic. And I think it's just because it's such a comfortable place for so many people that they don't change is not what they're looking for right now.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:40:32
Chfi is not something you change from. It's something you evolve and grow with.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:40:37
Yeah. And I think that's what we do. I make no bones about this. I was at the golf course last week and had some guy go, hey, Mo, this still happens. Miss you on the queue. Well, why don't you come over to the age of five? The guy goes, well, I'm not that old yet. And I thought, you know, that the average Q listener is in their 60s, right. That's a classic rock station. And there's this perception that Chi is still a candlelight wine.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:41:04
But anyway, I was listening to Terry Demante this morning. He said, you know, I'm 62 and we're playing a game with how old are you, sir? 68.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:41:16
You wanted to ask me who my favorite was? Well, of course, Terry. I mean, Terry. Terry is a dear friend.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:41:22
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:41:23
And yeah, I love Terry. He's still a dear friend. I'm going to go see him in Montreal. I'm going to actually take a road trip and go to Montreal the first weekend in October, see him and the missus. And he's just such a natural broadcaster. Right.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:41:39
Yeah. I think at one point you were on with Terry and then I think you changed companies or something, but you still stayed with Terry.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:41:48
Yeah. When I went over. See, it gets so complicated. Sorry. After Chorus sold their stations in Montreal, there was no reason why I couldn't be on a Bell station with Terry, even though I was working for chorus. But when I went to work for Rogers, they were like, we don't give Belle anything, ever. So I had to sever that on our relationship. But, yeah, one of the things I love about Terry is he's so authentic. There's not a false note ever. You know what he's thinking, you know what he's feeling. And his incredible curiosity and deep kindness shines through all the time. Grumpy as hell, too. But I think he was grumpy when he was 20.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:42:33
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:42:34
He's been great. Wheeler's back. I've stayed in touch with Wheeler through thick and thin. He's back on air. He's probably speaking of cancel culture, he's probably learned a few things, so he's definitely been a favorite.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:42:46
Well, speaking of, I'm still here.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:42:48
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:42:50
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:42:51
And he never gave up. He was in his basement doing a podcast with his wife. So, I mean, for some of us, it's ingrained. If you're not going to let me do this on your dime, I'm going to do it on my own. Humble and Fred, another example.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:43:03
Yes. You were in the middle of accepting an award, the Rosalie Tromble Award at Canadian Music Week. You've got it.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:43:14
I weather on it every morning.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:43:16
There it is. You still found time in that speech to give a shout out to Blair Bartram and say, somebody hire him. He was in between jobs, but that's the kind of person you are that you can identify when somebody really should be employed.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:43:35
Yeah. And you know, it's funny because, again, Blair is a friend and always a big booster of mine professionally. Although our relationship did not work out particularly well when he was my program director. You know what I mean? He's not the boss of me, and I didn't think he gave me the best direction that I've ever had. But he is somebody who belongs in this business. And I got a huge amount of applause when I said, if somebody doesn't hire him, this would be but I have this perfect room to say, you're never going to get a better opportunity than that. And it was fresh. It was fresh. He had just been let go, and he was devastated. And I knew both from knowing him and from Karen, his wife, how incredibly devastated he was. And I had given a 45 minutes speech at the Rosalie cocktail party the day before where I said everything I needed to say. And when you stand up there, that is one of the toughest rooms. Everyone in the industry is there, and you don't have a lot of time. So I just thought, well, what the hell? If I can use this time for anything, I'm going to do a shout out for Blair because he deserves it. I'm really glad I did that, Maureen.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:44:54
It has been awesome talking to you.
Maureen Holloway (Guest) 00:44:56
It's been awesome talking to you. Although I did all the talking. I wish we could do this on a regular basis and not just talk about me.
Amanda Logan (VO) 00:44:56
Thanks for listening to the Sound Off podcast. Find us online at soundoffpodcast.com, and connect with us wherever great social media is housed. The show is imaged using the sounds from Core Image Studios. Written and hosted by Matt Cundill. A production of the Sound Off Media Company.