From where I sit On the Kowch, I’m excited about The Shift With Drex, Canada’s new live national overnight talk radio show. The Shift With Drex airs on seven Corus talk radio stations including three Ontario stations: AM640 in Toronto, 900 CHML in Hamilton and 980 CFPL in London from 1am to 5am. Drex replaces the U.S. syndicated Coast to Coast program that concentrates on paranormal or conspiracy theories. The show, hosted by George Noory, can now be heard on many of the Bell Media talk radio stations including Newstalk 1010 (CFRB) in Toronto and CJAD in Montreal.
Justin Wilcomes (AKA Drex), has been one of my kowchmedia talk radio clients since he started hosting an evening show on CKNW in Vancouver three years ago. My first air check with Drex, I told him he was a star. On par with the likes of John Moore in Toronto, Bill Carroll in Ottawa and Charles Adler. How else do you explan he went from evenings to afternoon drive to hosting a national talk radio show in three years. Well, let me tell you why. Here is what I hear when I listen to his show:
Drex is fearless! He speaks his mind. Asks the tough questions. He is compassionate, funny, engaging, entertaining and never boring. He also has one of the rare qualities that many talk show hosts lack – he is a good listener. He lets his callers have their say. He is opinionated but not over the top. Drex holds his own with politicians, newsmakers and community ativists. He is a news junkie, likes sports, is a fan of pop culture and X-File issues. Which makes him an all around broadcaster and not a one trick pony.
At 38-years-old, Drex was born in Australia at the tail end of the GenX generation and the 1980 start of the Millennial generation. This gives him a foot in both generations which could explain why he increased ratings at CKNW in those two younger demos. Drex shares the optimism of a Millennial and thinks like a GenXer.
Drex is a breath of fresh air on the radio
Listening and discussing the shows with him, I found him to be edgy and a breath of fresh air on Canadian radio. He is that new generation of talk show hosts with stories to tell, opinions to express and questions (alot of questions) to ask about issues most Canadians care about, no matter in what part of the country they live in.
That said, Drex’ biggest challenge in hosting a national talk show, is overcoming listener bias in the seven cities the show will be heard in. Biggest challenge: Vancouver and the centre of the universe Toronto where people don’t care about each other. The rivalry between Edmonton and Calgary fueled by their hockey and football fans make it difficult to find common issues in both cities. And if people in Vancouver aren’t interested in Toronto issues, the two Alberta cities hate (with a capital H) anything that happens in the east – especially Toronto. Winnipeg is stuck in the middle. So they might share common interests with the two Alberta cities and the three Ontario stations in Toronto, Hamilton and London.
The Shift with Drex will air at the following times:
Vancouver 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. PT (LIVE), 2 – 5 a.m. (REPEAT)
Calgary 11 p.m. – 3 a.m. MT (LIVE), 3 – 5 a.m. (REPEAT)
Edmonton 11 p.m. – 3 a.m. MT (LIVE), 2 – 5:30 a.m. (REPEAT)
Winnipeg Midnight – 4 a.m. CT (LIVE)
Toronto 1 – 5 a.m. ET (LIVE)
Hamilton 1 – 5 a.m. ET (LIVE)
London 1 – 5 a.m. ET (LIVE)
Click here to listen to the first The Shift With Drex. Or check out the show's website to hear more Drex
One thing that will help Drex is the lack of competition overnights on talk radio. Not everyone likes Coast to Coast. Yes, they have loyal fans but really, if you wanted talk radio, your choice was limited to Coast to Coast or reruns. Now talk radio fans have a choice of another live show taking calls from where they live about issues they care about, instead of UFOs and U.S. based conspiracies.
“The show will be a bit of a late night free for all” – Drex
“It’s very rare to have a late night network talk show where you can call in and have a conversation about what is going on in your country,” says Drex who cut his teeth on network talk radio at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s popular Triple J in Sydney in 1995, where he was one of the youngest announcers to host a national radio program.
“I can’t wait to have a chat with Canadians,” adds Drex. “We’ll talk about whatever the news of the day is in Canada. It’ll be a bit of a late night free for all. We’ll open the lines and get the pulse of Canadians and what they think about it.”
Drex isn’t worried about criticism dealing with the show being hosted from Vancouver.
“This isn’t a Vancouver show being heard across Canada. This is a show talking about things on a national level. We’ll talk about things in different parts of Canada that is of interest to a national audience,” Drex told his CKNW afternoon drive audience when explaining why he was leaving the show.
Troy Reeb, Senior Vice-President, Global News and Corus Radio says “The Shift with Drex will tap into the common humour, pride and honesty that pulls our country together. It’s stories, it’s opinion, it’s culture, it’s irreverent and it’s Canadian.”
Drex shares the optimism of a Millennial and the drive of a GenXer
From where I sit On The Kowch, it will take more than just wrapping The Shift with Drex in the Canadian flag to be successful. While the millennial side of Drex is optimistic he can make the show work across Canada, it is his GenXer side that will drive him to make The Shift with Drex succesful.
“My goal is to challenge the status-quo by delivering a program that’s both entertaining and thought-provoking,” says Drex.
Steve Kowch is Canada’s leading media coach at kowchmedia helping emerging radio and podcast talent chase their dream to become stars on air and online. Steve ran two of Canada’s largest newstalk radio stations in Montreal and Toronto for more than 14 years. He was National Director of NewsTalk Radio Programming for Astral Media. He was a professor at two of Toronto’s leading broadcast schools and is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Making It BIG In Media.
Contact Steve at 647-521-6397
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