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The Early Editions’s Lee Rosevere and Shiral Tobin at the 2012 Webster Awards (photo by Dave Thomson)

How is the absence of environmental coverage in the media related to Shiral Tobin, who recently shared a Webster Award for “BEST FEATURE STORY – RADIO”?

Simple – when Shiral was my producer on CKNW and later did the night show for them, ballsy radio was still in vogue.

Before I go further, let me state up front that I was fired by CKNW in 2003 in a disgraceful way. I have never been bitter about this – just angry that they tried to destroy my personal reputation in doing so. I must also reveal that Shiral and I are close buddies. For example, when I was fired in 2003, Shiral, then working for the CBC, rose from her sick bed and, flagrantly flouting CBC rules, held a press to support me against the disgraceful behavior towards me.

Here’s where Shiral comes into the story.

A year or two before I was fired and before Corus had bought out CKNW, I urged the station to give the late night show where I had started to Shiral. They agreed and Shiral was given the show and she did a terrific job. Issues flew across the airwaves. All Shiral needed was a vacancy to happen.

Abruptly, Corus, now in charge (the new boss’ previous job was running a meat packing plant) promptly fired Shiral, reasoning that they could do re-runs of my shows for free.

My comment, on air, was that, in Wilde’s words, they know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

Shiral came with me to 600AM after this as my producer and was fired along with me when the manager – a devotee of ancient popular music – heard from his golfing pals that we were doing too much on fish farms.

CKNW’s collapse since 2003 has been catastrophic. Whereas they had a  15%+ of radio listeners in those days (I was about 20%) they now have a 9% share running third behind CBC’s Early Edition, where Shiral now plies her trade.

This is a crying shame. CKNW used to be the opinion setter in the community. Where they once had the public listening and arguing, they now have bland. They were a station with regular internal spats but even large spats were quickly forgotten as everyone wanted one thing: #1.

The station had a glorious chance to start the recovery process when Christy Clark left and the afternoon show opened up – by hiring Shiral. That’s what would have happened before Corus.

Now the great irony – one of the reasons CKNW is gasping for air is Shiral is now opposite them at the CBC and kicking the crap out of them.

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