From where I sit On The Kowch, when you’re in media you don’t owe anyone anything when you don’t accept anything. Seems simple. But it’s not. That’s because there are so many ways you can end up with an IOU without taking money from someone. It’s basically referred to as a Quid Pro Quo – a favour or advantage granted or expected in return for something. Scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back. There are all kinds of terms for these IOUs. But the end result is always the same. Someone who gave you a scoop may one day call in the favour. Here are some examples of every day Quid Pro Quo in media.
From where I sit On The Kowch, the 25th anniversary of the Fall of The Berlin Wall got me thinking back to my days at The Weather Network (TWN) as a part time weekend producer. The whole world was watching television coverage of the Wall coming down. No one was watching The Weather Network to find out what the weather was going to be later in the day.
I remember sitting in the TWN control room in Montreal looking at the monitors. There was a live shot of the studio with our anchor talking about high and low pressure systems across the country … clouds here … sunny there – a typical fall day across Canada. While in Berlin it was not a typical day at the Wall. On the other monitors, under clear sunny skies, were crowds standing on the wall waving flags while others on the ground were hacking chunks out of the wall or spray painting it.
That’s when I got the idea of how to bring The Weather Network in line with the rest of the TV networks and talk about the fall of the Berlin Wall. When I told the staff they looked at me like I was nuts.
“You know, this is The Weather Network, not the CBC,” said one staffer.
From where I sit On the Kowch, John Tory’s campaign to be Mayor of Tory started five years ago with a text I sent him suggesting it was time to take me up on my offer to host a talk show on Newstalk 1010 in Toronto. John had just lost his bid to win a seat in the Ontario Legislature in a by-election on March 5, 2009. Within minutes of losing, I sent him the text.
The next day he resigned as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party and then took some time off to lick his wounds, explore the lay of the land and contemplate his future. We finally met a few weeks later in my office at Newstalk 1010 where I was the Operations Manager.
From where I sit On The Kowch, when I look back on all my years of working with radio talent, I think back to my Montreal days when I was news director of CKGM/CHOM-FM. In part, because of my dream team – the young talented news people that populated the newsroom.
It was a fun place to work. CKGM was an AM music station and CHOM-FM was a rock station. Both stations were part of the English Montreal fabric that made the city an exciting place to live. Terry Dimonte was the CHOM-FM morning man. The news staff loved to join him in studio whenever they were working a big story. Terry understood the importance of news to his listeners and was always very generous to share his microphone with the reporters.
When I first walked into the newsroom Mark Kelley was a reporter, Ann Shatilla was the afternoon anchor, Ted Bird was the FM morning anchor and John Moore was an intern working for free (that was in 1988 when free internships weren’t frowned on). Andrew Carter would join the newsroom shortly afterwords.