‘The Strombo Show’ SUCKS – a fair and balanced perspective

For four hours last Sunday night CBC Radio 2 became something completely different. It became The Edge 102.1 FM, a loud litany of aimless frenetic noise.
Really just whatever popped into George’s head after a couple of hours of prep.
Within minutes of taking over the microphone, he made the CBC unlistenable.
Four hours of everything the CBC is not supposed to be, amateurs doing whatever they wanted to without any regard for the audience.

Picture 6

Since the beginning of time, teenagers everywhere have thought what a cool job it would be to sit all day and play records. And surely the world would be impressed by the outstanding choices being made and the exceptionally good taste in music being offered.
Yeah right.
Doing radio is not for everyone. Just ask David Lee Roth or Tod Maffin.
Doing any kind of radio requires a specific technical skill, but doing good radio is an art-form.

Anyone who has ever heard George on the radio when he was with Corus knows two things about him.
First, he can’t do a radio show by himself.
He can talk alright, just for the sake of talking. Anyone can. But he quickly runs dry of thoughts, and resorts to talking directly to someone, usually another person in the studio. They then respond on the air, and now we’re listening to someone else without knowing why their thoughts are so important in this situation. They aren’t, but they serve as a crutch for George who is deathly afraid of becoming boring. Usually, it’s much too late.
It becomes clear that, by himself, George has nothing to offer. There’s some personality there, but it’s the kind that are a dime a dozen.
Second, he has an exaggerated reverence for a friend of his who actually makes a living doing radio full time, and therefore is deeply insecure about his own ability to do so. Bob Mackowycz and George started their careers about the same time, but Bob was the only one who got it right. He knows how to fill air time. He’s calm, and sounds older than he really is. He can do a radio show blindfolded.
Of course, the radio Bob gives is exactly the same radio hundreds of other disc jockeys are giving across the country each and every day. It’s generic radio that means nothing, just a vehicle for advertising, and Bob is a professional. He could work in talk, country, rock or classical. It’s all the same to someone who is simply in the business of doing radio. You hear the same thing … everywhere music takes you.
Oddly, George’s friend Bob now suddenly has his own show on the CBC, a place that has a reputation for choosing radio hosts by virtue of their unusual character, background or artistic skill. Since Bob has neither, it’s kind of obvious that boss Denise Donlon puts very little thought or effort into her decisions about what warrants air time these days.

George’s debut was a mess. The signal strength coming from his basement was half that of the previous show, the one done by a real music authority, Randy Bachman.
Music selections were all over the place. Johnny Cash? That’s almost insulting, until you adjust to the fact that George has the maturity of a juvenile. Artistically, he’s closer to being a head-banging teenage girl than a badass motorcycle dude.
But everything he does on the air fails, and it fails immediately because all of it comes from a transparent, self-centered agenda.
George has no clue how to entertain. And the word “compelling” is not even in his vocabulary.
Instead, he relies on the misguided belief that his mission is to preach, to send out a message of peace and love subtly embedded in the lyrics of Nine Inch Nails. Apparently he can only understand a piece of music if it has lyrics. And those lyrics have to be aligned to his own obvious, immature religious beliefs. Drugs are bad, even if they played a large role in creating most of the music he’s promoting.

Someone really needs to help George produce that show. There’s no need at all for the show to be live, it could just as well be pre-recorded. It’s almost a trademark of George’s that when he says “so and so will be dropping by” or “so and so will be here in the studio”, that it usually means he’ll be playing a taped and edited piece of an earlier conversation. He’s even had the guests go along with the charade of pretending to be “live”.
It’s obvious too that he has no one writing his announcements, because George on his own can’t speak coherently for any length of time.
“we’re going to start the show off with a song that’s perfect for starting the show off with”.
He often speaks quickly, but other times slowly. He has no affinity for creating intimacy or attempting to connect with the listeners. He merely assumes that we are going to listen, and makes the biggest mistake of all, taking for granted that we’re impressed.
Like people who’ve never done radio, he simply believes that we’re going to tolerate, even like, anything he puts out. It’s a naive and conceited attitude.

When he decided to leave the Sunday night show he had with Corus, they apparently did not throw themselves at his feet and beg him to stay. In fact, indications are that George was responded to with a degree of ambivalence that a big TV star, such as he, is just not accustomed to.
He immediately went home and posted a simple message on his blog – “I’m thinking it’s time for Independent FM”. (all of his blog posts are simple. In fact, he really never has anything to say) Bitter much, George? A little pissed off that your contribution was considered so trivial that even doing it for free was of no interest to management?
He told everyone that the show had to end because it conflicted with his demanding schedule. Same schedule he’s had for five years.
A month later, problem all resolved, with a new but familiar employer who’ll give him anything he wants.
And though George is well on his way to becoming a Canadian millionaire, he doesn’t have the kahoonas or the ingenuity to go ahead and buy a radio station of his own, let alone start up an internet station or even a podcast by himself. Instead, so much easier just to take over a virtually unused time-slot on CBC Radio 2. How much duller could Sunday night radio already be?

Picture 4A half hour or so into The Strombo Show he brings on Rich Terfry, another host on CBC Radio 2. George asks him to pick some music and tell us why those. But what is that? Doesn’t Terfry already host a show of his own every day? Why is he here? What is Terfry doing The Terfry Show on The Strombo Show for?
An hour into The Strombo Show, George brings on Mackowycz to pick some “grown-up” music and talk about it. Yeah, that’s novel. Now it’s The Bob Mackowycz Show! So what exactly is the point of The Strombo Show? Again, he’s given his radio show over to someone else.
Insecure much, George? At a complete loss, George?
Two other radio hosts are now doing The Strombo Show instead of George, who happens to be sitting right there and is not home sick with the flu or laryngitis. Is it that we just can’t get enough of them on their own shows that they have to be here too?
Is that any way to build an identity, or a brand? How does that showcase your talent, George?

Readers may think that people around here don’t like George much.
That’s not true. Everyone likes George. And George wants very much to be liked.
The fact is, if we really didn’t like George we would urge you to listen to his show.
We would encourage you, even plead with you, to listen to as much of The Strombo Show as you could possibly stomach. Because the show exposes George for the talentless, harmless hack that he is, and minute by minute erodes any credibility he may have.
An over-rated, over-exposed “presenter/facilitator” in the exact mould of Seacrest and Mulroney.
Famous for being famous, and little else.

31 comments:

  1. Allanjoined April 10, 2009
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 7:18 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    A year ago – Aug. 10th, from torontomike.com

    “George had called to discuss his independent FM …

    With regards to The Strombo Show, he told me he pulled it from the Corus lineup. He said his schedule was too hectic so he pulled the plug.

    As for independent FM, he emphasized that it’s just a kernel of an idea at this point, and it’s not yet a podcast, satellite or terrestrial radio show. Strombo is passionate about radio and definitely wants to continue his show, but he’s not yet sure about the format or where it will happen. It is important to him, however, that he’s able to play what he wants.”

    http://www.torontomike.com/2009/08/my_call_from_strombo.html

    Luckily, the CBC Radio 2 mandate turns out to be exactly the kind of music that happens to be whatever George “wants” to play.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 11, 2010 at 8:22 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      this still makes me really really angry. all the blah blah about diversity, serving communities, cancon playlists and all that — and he brings the fucking Edge to CBC radio.
      way to go fucktards.

  2. Fake Augusta LaPaix 2.0
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 3:10 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    +1 To David Wisdom!

    I think that this might be the first time I’ve seen his name dropped here on TM. He truly exemplified better days of r2.

    There’s only two little problems with someone like that him nowadays – unpretentious presentation demonstrating knowledge of music.

    • wirehead
      Posted January 7, 2010 at 10:52 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      Ah yes… David would do much better now if he wrote a 3-minute introduction before every song telling us how the music makes him feel.

      @Anon 2:24pm: Granted AC is not a perfect host, but I was stretching to think of someone in the music hosting department on R2 (or R1 for that matter) who doesn’t make me want to smash the radio. That’s kinda a point in his favour, for what it’s worth.

  3. wirehead
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 1:40 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Wow, this is the best thing I’ve seen on this blog in…well, a long time.

    The cbc brass in charge of this head-trauma of programming haven’t got a clue what they are doing. There is no plan, there is no great vision. They are throwing spaghetti on the floor, missing the wall entirely and they seem to be doing it on purpose.

    My quibble with Strombo’s show is merely the fact it exists – why is the CBC constantly choosing their hosts from a very small pool? He has his own show, stupidly inviting other hosts who have their own shows onto his…this is insanity.

    Having a good record collection (or merely being a musician) isn’t enough.

    But this is more of the stunt-casting that CBC’s been all about lately. They won’t push people like Andrew Craig, who actually deserves it .. or leave Tom Allen alone to do what he does best. They don’t fight to keep Jurgen Gothe on the air… it’s just all so sad.

    And none of those guys needs sidekicks. Neither did Bob Kerr or David Wisdom.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 6, 2010 at 2:24 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      agreed about stuntcasting. an insult to real and trained radio people everywhere.
      (think of all the radio2 hires that pushed out all the real broadcasters – nesrallah, brown, johnson, even buck65)
      but i wouldn’t necessarily hold AC up as a host to recommend. andrew craig is kind of a blowhard pretensious twit.
      eleanor wachtel, now there’s an example. (jian got her old job).

  4. Dread Zep
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 9:47 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Steely Dan just played 2 nights in Toronto and 1 in Montreal and NO-ONE at the CBC got an interview. (One of the best shows I have ever seen and I have seen a few,yes Poon Girl I saw the Clash live in Vancouver.)

  5. Anonymous
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 12:36 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Didn’t George date one of the CBC executives? Is that how he keeps his job?

  6. Poongirl
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 12:18 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Umm how does George act or dress like a gay biker ? he is staight as an arrow, just like allan ;)

  7. Not a fan
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 11:59 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Just a question : When did telling people ad nauseum that you like “The Clash” and dressing and acting like a gay biker ever amount to coolness?

  8. Poongirl
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 10:47 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    i want to spank you

    • cbc ottawa
      Posted December 7, 2009 at 12:58 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      I think I’ve logged into the wron kind of blog!

  9. Poongirl
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 9:57 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I was being sarcastic about taking him to the back on the barn and shooting him. And no, I couldn’t hurt George. I think he is really sweet, if he was a jerk then I would think your complaints more valuable. But I don’t

    Anyways, Allan I think you need a good spanking because you are being a bad boy. I need you over one leg and George over the other.

    I have heard from you Allan that George does know of this site, I don’t think he really cares …

    • Allan
      Posted December 6, 2009 at 10:12 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      It would be wrong to overestimate the impact of the Tea Makers blog, and equally wrong to underestimate it.

  10. Poongirl
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 9:38 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    How DARE George, let;s get him behind the barn and shoot him.

    • Allan
      Posted December 6, 2009 at 9:53 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      Certainly not by you, Poongirl. We’d be sitting there all night waiting to hear the shotgun go off.
      And no, we don’t condone that kind of violent sentiment here.
      You know we’re all about Peace and Love. Peace & Love.

      Thinking, Poongirl, this is the one and only page on the internet that’s like holding up a cross to the face of a vampire, and George will avoid it like the plague.

  11. Allan
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 9:33 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “Let me paint a picture for you” says Terfry as he begins a long intro to the next recording, naming the artist, telling some background … it lasts almost three minutes, and just as he names the song and the music begins, George jumps in – “this is the Strombo Show”.
    Really?
    Song ends, Terfry comes back on – “that was Lee Hazelwood, I’m Rich, on the, the George Strombo Show”
    Followed immediately by George – ” that’s Rich Terfry, host of Drive on Radio Two, 3:30 to 7, Monday through Friday, right here on Radio Two”.”
    Chaos of the mind.

    Then Tefry says “let me play one for you”.
    Yeah, why don’t you do that, on your own radio show!
    He names the song.
    Says George “that’s a Rich Terfry selection, on the Strombo Show”.
    WHY?
    Can anyone think of any reason why this is going on?
    LIKE HOW INSECURE AND INCOMPETENT DO YOU HAVE TO BE to not be able to just sit there and say a few words and play records, THAT YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOMEONE ELSE THERE DOING IT FOR YOU???

  12. Allan
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 9:02 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Listening to George give it another go, his 5th broadcast.
    He has absolutely the weakest opening ever for a radio show. Immediately dull.
    If he’s going to play rock n roll, why is there a slow horn section underneath what he’s saying?
    “but I want to start with the way we’re gonna start every show from now on” – see, he really is writing his own material, that same trpping-over-himself grammar.
    Now he wants to start his show with the top 5 “hottest songs of the week”, every time from now on. And what is the point of that? And what is “hottest” based on? No logic to it, no desire to build a mood. This is college-radio-level programming.
    No concept, no conscious understanding of the magic and power of radio.
    He gives a rundown of the songs he’ll be playing. Now that you know, what’s to stick around for? And who could have guessed, the list includes Johnny Cash, The Ramones, Neil Young and Tom Waits. Every week???? What kind of radio is that?What kind of Canadian radio is that?
    So … so NOT edgy.
    A fifteen year old teenager would put more tension into a show than what this dolt is doing.

    Wouldn’t it simply be more fun just to hear The Beatles, or Rolling Stones, or the Doobie Brothers?
    And wouldn’t it be more interesting if George actually talked. Like said something, not only reading a list of bands. You know, ‘how was your week’. Something for the audience to connect with.
    As radio, in any market at any time of the day, this is horrible stuff.
    And the thing of it is, THIS IS WHAT GEORGE IS SUPPOSED TO BE GOOD AT.
    And he’s the worst at it!
    Randy Bachman is not a radio guy at all yet his show way ahead of this pretender, radio guy George.

    Now he’s playing the first single from REM, yeah like that’s something we’ve all been waiting to hear – a 1971 non-hit. Come on!
    This is the biggest piece of crap ever allowed on CBC radio, and everyone knows it.
    Let him send out this silly nonsense as his own podcast, so we’re not paying for it.
    Are Terfry and Mackie getting paid for this too?
    So now we have three hacks who already have jobs, making sure no one else gets a chance to shine and blow Canada away.

  13. Anonymous
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 5:07 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    At least Mike has a sense of humour about his looks & doesn’t think he is uber-cool.

  14. Connoisseur
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 3:28 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    George is even uglier than Mike Bullard !

  15. Poongirl
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 2:53 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    he’s not balding and I have seen him in person he is not wearing a piece, god !

  16. anonymous
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 2:46 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’ve wondered the last couple years if he’s wearing a piece.

  17. Poongirl
    Posted December 5, 2009 at 9:49 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    can you say overly critical ? its not his best photo and yes he has dark circles under his eyes, but not bags or zits. why dont u look at a better photo of him like this – http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_zI1CakTXoxQ/Sd37eqt4S6I/AAAAAAAAGyw/Oq174_fN3wY/s400/George+and+Pepper.jpg – cute

  18. Anonymous
    Posted December 5, 2009 at 7:31 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    He’s soooooo gross!!! Look at this picture of him. He’s got bags and wrinkles and bumps and zits under his eyes – http://www.ucalgary.ca/alumni/files/alumni/images/IMG_7933.JPG

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 5, 2009 at 7:58 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      Where are his cheekbones? Dude, too many beers!

    • Allan
      Posted December 5, 2009 at 10:07 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      Yes, a night to remember.
      George flies to Calgary to get an honorary degree from the University of Calgary.
      Well planned and scheduled quite some time ahead.
      He arrives at the University, gowns up, and …
      ,,, goes out and gives a speech to the graduating class.
      And what did they get for their time and trouble and extra printing expense for his degree?
      They got an unprepared four minute speech!
      Off the top of his head, he thanks his mother, the university, and mentions The Clash.
      He tells the graduating class to ignore their education unless it’s what they love doing.
      It was videotaped and shown briefly on The Hour’s blog.
      What a fucking jerk.

      • Poongirl
        Posted December 5, 2009 at 10:11 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

        well what is wrong with it coming off the top of his head ?
        maybe he wanted it to be from the heart and not planned out. I mean he doesnt really plan out the interviews – whether thats a good or bad thing – he just see where the convo goes as he sees where the speech takes him.

        anyways allan, dont make me give u a spanking, you are not writing me back on twitter.

  19. Poongirl
    Posted December 5, 2009 at 5:58 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    His eyes don’t have bags Sandy they are dark circles. There is a difference and what does that have to do with whether his radio show is good or bad ?

  20. Sandy
    Posted December 5, 2009 at 5:46 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    A family of Mexicans was found living in one of the bags under George’s eyes.

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