I am further saddened today by the news that Rob Kemp was also laid off from CHOM-FM by corporate parent Bell Media, which he only learned yesterday.
The news strengthens my resolve to personally boycott all Bell Media properties and products, in protest over what I view as capitalism run amok, in this case a very profitable company putting pennies per share before the lives of people, and before the interests of the public.
To quote one of my readers, people who do this sort of thing are “sucking the soul” out of companies. And the loss of Rob to the airwaves on what was once the coolest radio station in the city is further testament to that lack of soul.
I have no doubt that Rob will land on his feet — he is a polished pro. And he also has a lot of heart and soul. I know that for a fact, because he struck a chord in me several times when he was on the air.
One of those times was Nov. 22, 2013, when the world marked the 50th sad anniversary of the assassination of President John. F. Kennedy. I wrote these words in my now-defunct newspaper blog that day:
“I never cried for JFK . . . until today, as I was driving to work. I was passing St. Sauveur when Rob Kemp in a nice tribute on CHOM-FM played a clip from a JFK speech — “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” — and then played that old Dion song quoted at the beginning of this post. It unleashed a flood of tears . . .”
The quote at the beginning of that post was:
Anybody here seen my old friend John?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good they die young.
I just looked around and he’s gone.
— Dion, from Abraham, Martin and John
Yes. Rob inspired me that day. He touched my soul.
It wasn’t the first time. He inspired me to write a Thanksgiving post one year, too. I was grateful for his presence on air, and I said so in the post as I listened to him on Thanksgiving Day. He mentioned it to his listeners, and no doubt many read it and were grateful for his presence on air, too.
I’ve also chatted over the years with Rob on Twitter, and he has chatted with my daughter. So, in a way, he’s part of an extended family, just as so many of our beloved on-air personalities are — the ones who reach out to us, who connect with us. You might think it is just part of the job for them, but it’s more than that for people like Rob and Ronny Mack, whom I wrote about yesterday.
People like them are standard-bearers extraordinaire for their companies. They made Bell Media look good. They made Bell Media appear to have heart and soul.
I’m going to miss hearing Rob Kemp on the air, just as I am missing Ronny Mack. I could never listen to CHOM-FM again without thinking of what was done to them. But I’ll listen to both of them when they land new radio gigs, even if I have to do so on the Internet.
Such is my loyalty to the people who inspire me . . . .
To Rob: Thank you, dear friend, for all the inspiration, and for doing your job so well. We’ll keep in touch . . .
A la prochaine.
— Jillian Page
When one voice becomes 100,000 voices
Thank you for sharing!
My husband & I were just talking about Rob Kemp today wondering why he hadn’t been around the past few weekends 😦
I’m with you on the whole Bell issue and am over & out when it comes to CHOM now that both Rob & Ronnie are gone. Your articles inspired us & your loyalty rubbed off on us.
Thanks, Carol. We are sympatico, yes?
Thanks for sharing! It’s a sad day for CHOM FM, they lost a genuine real soul. loved Rob Kemp, he was a townshipper like myself. Sad.
Thank you, Tina.
Unfortunately, the broadcasting business is no longer run by broadcasters. Accountants will NEVER understand that radio is a “people” business. Visionaries like Alan Waters (CHUM), Ted Rogers, & Mac McCurdy to name just a few, must be rolling in their graves. RIP Radio.
You’re right, Al. That is what I was trying to show with my two posts: people like Rob and Ronny connect with the common folk, strike a chord in us. They’re part of our extended families, if you will. Accountants who fail to see that will ultimately see their listenership go somewhere else. CHOM is on the fast track to oblivion now, because they just lost the two most people-oriented on-air folks they had, in my opinion.
Ah Jillian, but will they REALLY see a dent in the bottom line? I doubt it. When you’re the only game in town, it’s tough for anyone to go elsewhere.
I did a post here called “When one voice becomes 100,000 voices.” Ideas spread. In the past few days, I’ve heard from a lot of people, mostly on Facebook, who have dumped Bell in favour of Videotron and others. It can be done. However, I’m not encouraging you or anyone else to boycott them — but I’m going to do it. If my blog posts here inspire others to do so, well, c’est la vie . . . Consumers aren’t stupid: if a company pisses them off enough, we will seek alternatives. I’ve been a CHOM listener since the ’70s, but I won’t tune them in again: their owners crossed the line. They made me sick to my stomach, figuratively speaking. They showed contempt for everybody — I imagine even shareholders with a conscience would be concerned.
Ya know, if I could, I would start a change.org petition calling for the reinstatement of Rob and Ronny and others. I might even organize a demo outside CHOM’s offices. . . But I can only do so much now . . .
Smiles . . .