Metro Morning’s Radio Robots

Going past the Front Street side of the CBC Toronto building and up there on the wall, like the broadcasting giants that they are, we see pictured both Andy Barrie (retired) and Matt Galloway (newly hired).

Matt was the obvious choice for successor to host Metro Morning, once you knew that Denise Donlon wasn’t going to waste a lot of time looking around.
Matt was the first one in line who had already become a fixture on the show for the last ten years. And he was younger. And not a troublemaker.

But it hardly Matt-ered who became the host.
Metro Morning is nauseatingly formulaic.
Every half hour is the same cycle of “here’s Jim with the traffic” and now the weather and then sports and business news with Michael Helinka and then an interview with a civic politician, a TTC spokesperson, Mayor David Miller, a free ad for a concert by an ethnic musician followed by a song from that ethnic person, several mentions of the words “immigrant” and “Canadian”, and rinse and repeat.
The show is so set in its routine that it’s robotic.
But still more useful and interesting than starting another day in paradise by just listening to the pop tunes and jokey banter across the rest of the radio dial.
And yet, who really looks forward to the exact same thing for breakfast every day.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted July 11, 2010 at 7:47 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    PPM says: Metro Morning had a 13.9% share in June making it the top morning show followed by CHUMFM with 12.8% and CHFIFM with 12.8%.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted July 10, 2010 at 1:41 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    FYI, the June PPM ratings once again show — for the 23rd time — that Metro Morning is the #1 morning show in the GTA. Someone’s doing something right.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted July 8, 2010 at 5:49 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Victoria’s CBC is the best!

  4. A-nony-nony
    Posted July 8, 2010 at 5:34 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece
  5. A-nony-nony
    Posted July 8, 2010 at 5:31 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It’s the personal people meters dropping CBC, as reality strikes and really they are hearing, though not listening to CKNW because it is on a the corner grocery or a commuinty centre.

    Early Edition may not be able to get to diverse audiences, but they hire them as minions. Their telephone-poll dumb traffic reporter is Chinese-Italian-NutbarVegan-AgingRockReporter. That covers 4 groups.

    We’ve given up and go up the dial to Pierre-Philippe Bibeau at Phare Ouest at SRC 97.7 or over to the Victoria CBC station and erudite Gregor Craigie in the mornings. All are live-streamed, as is CKNW if you want to compare.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted June 18, 2010 at 10:21 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    To Allan & every other whiner on this thread:
    Metro Morning is #1 because it’s a damn good program. It has a(nother) very strong host in Matt Galloway well supported by a team of producers who are in touch with what Torontonians/GTAians (as opposed to a very small number of Teabaggers) care about.
    Bitch and whine all you want here, the show tops the ratings because no one — public or private — is even close to hitting the mark as well.
    Now, can we please redirect the vitriol to one of the many, many, many CBC shows that aren’t doing their jobs nearly as well…
    Or else, shut the fuck up.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 18, 2010 at 10:32 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      Is silencing people with expletives the best argument that you can present?

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 19, 2010 at 8:50 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

        re: June 18, 2010 at 10:32 pm

        Apologies for the expletive. Was overcome by the obtuse nonsense eminating from Allan and his miserable band of malcontents.

        The point about the lack of commercials being part of the appeal of CBC Radio is valid, but bad shows without ads are still bad (see earlier point about Radio 2).

    • Allan
      Posted June 19, 2010 at 3:18 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      Not so.
      You’ve not addressed why the show is ahead of the competition in ratings.
      Seems it’s #1 no matter if the host is Andy, Matt or Jane or anyone else that’s given the role.
      So why then is it more popular than other shows at that time of day?
      Those great traffic reports?
      Weather reports?
      No, it can’t be any of those things.
      Not because of the host, traffic or weather, and certainly not because of the music.
      What are we left with?
      Do people listen because of the sports coverage? Of course not.
      Now, Michael Hellinka is clever and interesting to hear, but if he and his subject (apparently it’s, we’re told, a business report) were to be dropped tomorrow and never heard from again, would listeners go elsewhere? Don’t think so.
      What are we left with?
      “a team of producers who are in touch with what Torontonians/GTAians care about.”?
      That statement is laughable.
      What the CBC has is people who pick up the Toronto Star at 4:30 in the morning, or even the day before, and read it to find the story that appears to be the most prominent local issue and then call up one of the participants in the story and ask them if they’ll be prepared to go on the air at 6 am to discuss it. For free. Because, you know, it’s your civic duty and it is after all the great public servant the CBC asking them.
      This takes almost no effort and involves no creative talent whatsoever, and the “idea” is easily duplicated in any market.

      No, there’s nothing about it, nothing unusual or outstanding about Metro Morning, that CFRB or any other station couldn’t do, and maybe do in a more interesting fashion.
      So why is it number #1?
      Because it offers the basics, basic information about the city as it is today, and most importantly of all, it does it without anyone yelling at you about Leon’s furniture sale.
      In other words, the primary and critical difference and unique attraction of the Metro Morning show IN EVERY MARKET is that it has no commercials.

      And no matter how personally fond anyone at the CBC is of Matt Galloway, he follows the exact same script as Any Barrie, with no discernible difference in interview style or “host personality”.
      He just talks faster.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 4, 2010 at 10:49 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

        A couple of points to illustrate how little Allan knows about this, and many other, topics:

        -Metro Morning wasn’t always #1. In fact, it didn’t hit the top spot until about 7 years ago, well into Andy Barrie’s stint. What changed? The show adapted to better reflect modern Toronto and, therefore, more modern Torontonians started listening.

        -While the program does usually include some of the same stories you might find in The Star and other papers, that’s hardly a negative; news organizations all tend to cover the same news because, well, it’s news. Metro Morning’s success is also due to its ability to present stories that aren’t available elsewhere.

        -And, while the absence of ads is definitely appealing, it’s not the only reason for good ratings. If that was all it took, CBC Vancouver’s morning show would also be on top, but it’s not. Instead, CKNW, which is almost wall-to-wall advertising is #1.

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 4, 2010 at 11:28 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

          Comparing Vancouver to Toronto is such a “Toronto” thing to do. We’re not all like you, nor do we want to be.

          • Anonymous
            Posted July 4, 2010 at 11:00 pm | #

            No comparison intended, just the observation that being commercial-free isn’t the only reason CBC Radio One is so popular.

            And, for the record, I’m not from Toronto; B.C. in fact.

        • Allan
          Posted July 4, 2010 at 11:24 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

          Then give us some insight. How is it that CKNW, with lots of commercials, can beat the CBC in Vancouver?
          What accounts for it, when the Vancouver uses the same formula as Metro Morning in Toronto?
          A tired host? No one there with their finger on the pulse of what matters to Vancouverites?

          My point in this post was that Metro Morning is robotic.
          And yet I did say that it was more interesting than anything else. Also that it was easy to produce, and easily competed with.
          But that in order to compete, you need a level playing field, and that doesn’t exist.
          So there’s not all that much to crow about when referring to Metro Morning as “#1”.

          Two further points:
          Joe Cote was doing the exact same show as Metro Morning will do tomorrow and every day. I saw the show, live, in 1984, from the stage of a theatre on Parliament Street.
          Exact same show.
          Exact same traffic reporter then as well, Mr. Curran.
          Nothing new about the show being done, as usual, on the CBC.
          They’ve never wavered from the formula, they’ve never gone morning ZOO.
          And I will ask you to take into account as well the size of the production staff (and inherent budget) and the variety of contributors employed by the CBC to give us our daily morning show, and compare that to any other radio station on the air at the same time in either of the cities being referred to.
          Is it not double that of any of the competition?

          With all its advantages, it is still boring and tiresome.

          • Anonymous
            Posted July 7, 2010 at 9:27 pm | #

            I think several factors are at play re: CBC v CKNW in Vancouver:

            -‘NW has managed to be consistent and so has managed to hang onto its sizeable, but rapidly aging, cranky white core. As well, its vaguely (neo)Con point-of-view has found some fans among the crankly brown folk. In Toronto, the rough equivalent station (CFBR) totally self-destructed some years back and was left with few listeners beyond the cranky whites with AM radios rusted onto 1010.

            -Unlike Metro Morning, Vancouver’s Early Edition has never really understood how to reflect and therefore appeal to “diverse” populations. As well, it is a very monotone program with lots of dull phone-it-in interviews and precious little else. By comparison, ‘NW is lively and creative.

            All that said, ratings in both markets seem to show that the younger the listener (under 50 or so) the less likely they are to be enamoured of either CBC Radio One or its “heritage” competitors.

            What could be worse? The young ‘uns complete disinterest in Radio 2-darn-hopeless.

        • Allan
          Posted July 5, 2010 at 7:28 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece
  7. Sean
    Posted June 17, 2010 at 11:51 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I couldn’t stand Metro Morning when I lived in the Golden Horseshoe. The ethnic/immigrant talk from Andy Barrie drove me up the wall. That’s all fine for the ten km radius around the station but CBC Toronto is serving Niagara up to Orillia and over to Port Hope. That is the reason they tell us the Hamilton does have a CBC station.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 18, 2010 at 6:21 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      When I lived in T.O., I switched from Metro Morning to Radio Two because I could not handle all that multi-culti self-analysis first thing in the morning. Dude, I just woke up. Do I really have to face the complexities of the cultural mosaic of diversity before my first cup of coffee?

  8. Posted June 17, 2010 at 11:04 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Matt’s great BUT fuck Hugh’s fucking Room already.

  9. Allanjoined April 10, 2009
    Posted June 17, 2010 at 8:30 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The only drawback I’m sensing with having Matt as the host is something that he can’t do anything about.
    For another twenty years.
    That show and what’s being asked of the host, requires, I believe, someone with a bit more … putting it simply … maturity.
    Too bad Jane Hawtin wasn’t looking for a full-time job.

  10. Allanjoined April 10, 2009
    Posted June 17, 2010 at 8:08 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Metro Morning uses the same proven, reliable ratings-winning format in every region.
    The music selections played are reflective of the “ethnic composition” of each market …



  11. Allanjoined April 10, 2009
    Posted June 17, 2010 at 7:47 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The behind-the-scenes tools employed by Jim Curran, traffic reporter …


  12. Anonymous
    Posted June 17, 2010 at 12:03 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “While some TeaMakers might not care for the tunes on Metro Morning, the audience apparently does. If it were “horrible”, the show wouldn’t be #1.”

    That’s not proof of anything. I would guess that if Metro Morning would play more Serena Ryder, Jully Black et. al., the ratings would get worse. It’s not for the “music” that listeners tune into Metro Morning. I suppose Radio Two is like Metro Morning with more Lula-Lounge-type music, and how’s *that* morning show doing?

    Note, I was a hardcore long-time Radio Two listener. The changes to Radio Two over the past few years have made me go from 20+ hours of Two per week to two hours (Choral Concert), if that. (So I don’t actually *know* what the morning show is like. Nor do I care to check it out. The first week of Morning and Drive was quite enough, thank you.

    Finally, the “music” and/or “talk” on other morning shows is worse, often indescribably worse, than what’s on Metro Morning. Hence the #1. Metro Morning also has the occasional gem, an interview where the homework’s been done and the listener learns something new and interesting. Wish there were more of these, but again not every morning listener wants to learn something.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 17, 2010 at 7:17 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      From what I understand, one of the reasons Metro Morning continues to attract more and more new listeners is the overall mix of generally smart talk AND a pretty broad range of music that’s reflective of what’s going on in Toronto.
      While not everyone will like every song (or every interview, newscast or traffic report for that matter), the show succeeds because it consistently manages to tap into many different peoples’ many different interests every day.
      Allan being the exception that proves the rule, but we all know he’s got a tragically terminal case of chronic crankypants.

  13. Anonymous
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 7:07 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    re: J. Happypants:
    While some TeaMakers might not care for the tunes on Metro Morning, the audience apparently does. If it were “horrible”, the show wouldn’t be #1.

    • Allanjoined April 10, 2009
      Posted June 17, 2010 at 6:25 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      And/or … If it were “required to play commercials”, the show wouldn’t be #1.

    • Johnny Happypantsjoined January 22, 2010
      Posted June 21, 2010 at 7:51 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      If you believe the show is #1 because of the tunes you should get a job at CBC Research.

      The show is mostly good. It deserves to be #1. The tunes are terrible (mostly) and don’t reflect what’s really going on in the city.

  14. anonymous
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 12:16 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    radio 2’s mornings are the lowest rated time slot on radio 2 across the country.

  15. Johnny Happypantsjoined January 22, 2010
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 9:35 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Allan, you’re off on this one concerning just about everything except the music. The formula works and experienced listeners know exactly when to turn off and turn back on again, usually after World Report. Where you’re spot on is about the music, which is almost always horrible. And why so often Hugh’s Room, Lula Lounge (2 of the worst clubs in the city), or Harbourfront (in season)? Is there some backdoor sponsorship thing going on?

  16. Anonymous
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 1:14 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Further to: June 14, 2010 at 11:08 pm
    Not only is it consistently the top morning show in the most competitive market in the country, it’s hugely responsible for Radio One’s overall success: Metro Morning hands over about one-third of The Current’s total audience (which then dwindles as Q approaches). Andy Barrie fronted the show during its ascendency and Matt Galloway is showing every sign of taking it even higher. To criticize the program for having a reliable structure is to exhibit a complete lack of understanding as to what listeners need and expect with their coffee and cornflakes. Allan, if you really must crap on a deserving CBC radio morning drive effort, check out Radio 2. As of the latest ratings, it’s below 1% in Toronto. Maybe Matt should have taken that on instead?

  17. Anonymous
    Posted June 14, 2010 at 11:08 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Dude – it’s the number one rated morning show

  18. Posted June 14, 2010 at 10:17 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I used to listen to the CBC Metro Morning EVERY MORNING, for many many years, but havent done that everyday in about 3 years usually now I listen for about 10 minutes at 7am and thats it, I suffer severe depression already, dont need it encouraged more by a monotone of diluted crap.
    I do miss Andy Barrie, but he just got more and more lacking in personality the last few years, you could hear him starting to wind down in happiness almost a year ago.. it really showed.

  19. A-nony-nony
    Posted June 14, 2010 at 6:36 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    You could say the same thing across Canada. All the CBC morning shows are the same formula. CBC provides live-streaming of every station across Canada, so get out your stop-watches and clipboards and take notes/logs.

    Dimmest person does the traffic and weather, host is avuncular, brightest person in the room holds nose and reads the news better than Peter (Bark! Bark!!) Armstrong.
    And every city has the same guests on, often on the same part of the week.
    Monday is politics, Tuesday is city politics, Wednesday is letters, Thursday is token children’s music day, Friday is events on weekend.
    Dull, dull, unless you don’t want commercials.

  20. Anonymous
    Posted June 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    If the said ethnic music isn’t playing at Lula Lounge, it’s playing at Hugh’s Room. Those two venues have CBC as their promo coordinator.

    Would the CBC–including Metro Morning–be spending so much time on the World Cup if it didn’t have broadcast rights to the tournament? It’s all FIFA, all the time, for the next few weeks I guess.

  21. Anonymous
    Posted June 14, 2010 at 4:06 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    You forgot to mention the gloom&doom tone of the show. If it’s a rainy morning & I listen to MetroMorning, I can’t get out of bed. It’s the end of the world, & we know it…

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