Colorado, Cannabis and The Media in 2015

This week on my Media & Tech podcast for The Province we look at how the face of media is changing, in Colorado.

On January 1st of 2014 the state of Colorado in the U.S. did something that no other U.S. state has ever done, they legalized cannabis for personal & recreational use.

That move alone created intense media coverage, but what of the media in the state itself? How were they to cover what was happening in their own backyard?

We chat to Jake Brown the pot reviewer for the website & Len Williams the Program Director of K-High 1580 Talk radio in Colorado Springs

Drex Chats with Jeremy Shada from Adventure Time


Adventure Time is one of the most bizarre cartoons you’ll ever see on TV, and it’s a cult hit with college students and stoners alike. Jeremy Shada has been the voice of Finn The Human since he was 12 years old, and he’s 18 now and still finds some of the scripts weird.


Drex does Episode 96 of the Radio Stuff podcast

Larry Gifford is a guy I know pretty well. He’s the consultant for the station I work for in Vancouver CKNW. He has a pretty cool history in radio… Amongst others he was once the PD of one of my favourite talk stations KIRO in Seattle. He was recently in Vancouver working on ideas for my show with us and he decided to get me to tell the story of how I was fired back 2012 for is Radio Stuff Podcast.

From FM Jock to AM Talk Show Host

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Around christmas time last year I got a short e-mail from Ian Koenigsfest, the Program Director of CKNW, or as Corus calls them “Brand Managers”. The e-mail asked me how I’d feel about filling in for Mike Eckford while he went away to wash his hair or whatever Eckford does with his piles of money. I instantly had a smile on my face. It had worked!

After months of pestering Ian and his predecessor Tom Plasteras to get on air at CKNW It had finally come full circle. I had started worming my way in over there by offering my services to commentate on all thing entertainment and pop culture.

So, for the two weeks around the christmas break I got to host full talk shows for nine nights on CKNW.  Show number one was horrendous. It was like watching a grown man get kicked in the balls by a horse in slow motion. I hadn’t done anything like this in a long time, so it took a while for me to find my legs ( it was hard to get up after the horse kicked me) But what I did do is just be myself, a 35 year old sarcastic rule hating smart ass.

My opinion of talk hosts as it currently stands has never been a secret, they tend to all be rich white guys talking about rich white guy issues with other rich white guys along with a lot of content that doesn’t even relate to me.

What we’re seeing right now is a generational shift to younger hosts with different ideas about content and the way it engages audiences, and the way it’s delivered. It happened back in the 80’s, and it’s happening again now. I have the utmost respect for these guys and always will… Especially the way high paying radio gigs turn them into ravenous Bon Vivants. But, change is as good. Change is healthy. Change in radio is always inevitable, One day i’ll be expected to piss off into the sunset as well… Mexico baby! White sandy beaches & blue drinks!

There will always be naysayers who will tell you that putting on younger hosts isn’t the way to re-birth talk radio, because young people don’t listen to talk radio anymore, well I’m telling you that’s complete Horse shit. They may not necessarily listen to AM radio, so our job is now to get them to consume it in different ways, online, in bite size pieces, and even more interactive than ever before.

Back in 1995 I got my first paying radio job doing national overnights at the ABC’s youth station Triple J from their Sydney studios. In was in grade 11 still and learning a lot everyday. One thing I did most days was listen to the late Stan Zemanek on 2UE Evenings, then Tony Delroy on 702 ABC late nights. Both of these guys where polar opposites when it came to talk radio, but I adored both of them. I wanted to be like them, but I was too busy being 16 playing Nirvana and Soundgarden records on the radio and smoking way to much pot and partaking in copious amounts of underage drinking. So talk radio was fun to listen to, but I had never imagined I could ever one day do it.

Until now.

I am looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead. I’m excited, hopeful & very nervous all at the same time. I will work hard at delivering great radio & content everyday. I will try to ask the tough questions, I have no political or religious leanings to speak of so the book is wide open, I just expect honesty and a fair go for the common man. If I don’t know about something educate me, correct me, I’m still learning. I will ask the questions you want answered. I have a very low tolerance for bullshit, But let’s make sure to have some fun along the way, because not everything has to be serious. Bum.


Related Video Content.

The Ice Bucket Challenge

It seems that all over the world everyone has been taking on the ice bucket challenge, a very nifty way to raise awareness & a heap of cash for ALS. Mike Eckford challenged me this morning, so I challenge a couple of the personalities over at Global BC. Geoff Hastings & Anne Drewa, mainly because I want to see them get their hair wet. If you’d like to donate you can via

Canadian Singer Jann Arden dicks around hometown radio station

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Jann Arden – Facebook Photo

I’ll start off by revealing my true feelings. Jann Arden is a nasty two-faced piece of work. That’s that. For someone who speaks out so passionately against the abuse of animals, the judgment of the obese, the struggles faced by the LGBTQ community – she seems to ignore her own rules when it comes to bullying.

Graham Slaugher, a staff reporter at the Toronto Star, wrote a story on Tuesday about Jann Arden. The topic?  The singer’s hate for a new radio format now on-air in Calgary, her hometown.

Newcap Radio, the owner of AMP 90.3, has been looking for a way to reinvent itself in a market where pop stations are a dime a dozen. So, along comes Sparknet, a Vancouver media company. It’s the company that invented the Jack FM format in 2002.

They now have a new patent-protected format called QuickHitz, promising twice the music in half the time. The format is designed for an on-the-go young audience who are prone to flick around the dial. Their formula is to edit down the songs to roughly two minutes. Done well, most edits aren’t even heard and before you know it, your next favorite song is playing. Hence, keeping you tuned in. This is nothing new. Radio has been doing this for decades!

Most of the big names have edits airing on radio stations around the world, Aerosmith, Dire Straights, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, I could go on.

It’s business; the artists still walk away with their royalties regardless of how long the song is. It’s the same for bands who have the word ‘fuck’ in their composition, most North American stations require an edit that sometimes sounds like crap, but, it is what it is and no one seems to complain.

No one loses money; I’m yet to hear an artist complain that their song was edited, most of them don’t care, they’re just happy that their songs are still being played on radio.

Jann on the other hand, she’s furious!

A quick scan of an industry website here in Canada called BDSRadio shows us a handful of radio stations in Canada still play her music, and practically NONE outside of this country.

Now, this is where it get’s interesting. Arden, who is not shy about spewing her vile thoughts through her Twitter account, went ballistic. I wasn’t sure why. Is it the edits? Is it the fact she’s barely played on Canadian radio these days? Or maybe her latest job where she’s being relegated to judging donut creations for a Canadian franchise. Or, is it because music programmers struggle to find a decent song of hers to fill their 35% CANCON Canadian quota?

For the record, there’s plenty of talent to fill that required percentage. Not for Arden’s genre of music, though, which is known as ‘Adult Contemporary.’

Arden famously, a couple of years ago, revealed on Twitter she thought the bustling city of Oshawa, Ontario was ‘the middle of nowhere.’ Well, Oshawa was not impressed and she apologized for being a foolish shit dribbler.

Can you believe she’s actually going to play a show there on September 19th? Who really has time to go to a show in ‘the middle of nowhere?’

Now let’s turn to her hatful tirade against a hometown station and one of the men that programs it.

Graham Slaughter’s Toronto Star article opens with: 

Does Jann Arden need some advice on how to be more sensitive?

Slaughter goes on to write:

The Canadian singer has earned both kudos and criticism for launching a Twitter tirade against a Calgary radio station that cuts down Top 40 songs to two minutes. But some think she may have gone a little too far.

A radio executive who oversees 90.3 AMP has compared Arden’s tweets to “cyberbullying” after the “Insensitive” singer tweeted jokes about his penis size.

Her music has since been removed from all 95 affiliate radio stations.

That’s right, she resorted to the immature argument of saying the radio programmer must have a small penis!

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Steve Jones – Publicity Shot

This from a 52-year-old woman who is apparently a very well respected Canadian Icon.

The man she is referring to is Steve Jones, the vice president of programming at Newcap. He is also a best selling author of the book “Brand Like A Rockstar” and is one of the most sought after media speakers in North America. The guy knows his stuff about radio, that’s why he’s the head of one of the biggest radio companies in Canada. You get a job like that from years of working hard and making the right decisions. You don’t get that job based on the size of your penis. Big or small, Unless you’re in porn.

Unlike Arden, who got to where she is because radio needed something to fill the 35%. OK… Maybe I’m being harsh. She’s got talent, won some awards, sells out venues and is a good judge of donuts. Good on her, but, I do find it hilarious she demanded the Calgary radio station not play her songs.

Don’t worry Jann, I doubt any of your songs are even in the station’s computer system. Why do I think this? Well, you haven’t had a hit since 1994 and it was barely a hit outside of Canada. AMP 90.3 only plays current hits, of which you do not have any… Since 1994. Just sayin’.

I’ve read Jones’ book, it’s a great read. And if he does in fact have a small penis and I ever get to meet him, I would at least know that we both have something in common.

Broadcasting From Another Country

It’s not something I ever imagined doing, but when you’re given the opportunity to broadcast from another country… You take it!

While here In Australia for Mom’s 60th… Mom being the north american way to spell it, Mum for you Southern Hemisphere grammar nazi’s. I had the fortunate luck to do the weekend show on CKNW that I cover more often than not. Before I left Canada Ian; the CKNW Brand Director, asked me to cover the weekends for the entirety of August. Not one to shy away from talking into a microphone I said yes, then realised that I would be on the other side of the planet, some 11,265 Kilometres from home.

I mentioned to Ian that my friend Blair with whom I’d worked with many years ago was now the Program Director of a few radio stations in the city and he would be able to facilitate the use of his studios so we could do the show from there LIVE back to Canada.

The reason I knew that is because I had worked in the very same building some 12 years prior. And while there couldn’t actually believe the amount of spare studios this building had. It was build back in 1999 for the express purposes of networking radio shows from one major regional city into smaller markets where it was hard to keep air staff for longer than the length of a sneeze. In fact their opposition stations lease studio space in the building because they don’t have their own facilities yet.

So Blair went to work with the help of Matt getting me set up in “Studio 5” It is situated between the 4TO FM Studio, The Home of “Pricey For Breakfast” a larger than life North Queensland character that has been in that radio market since Michael Jackson still had pigment, and the 103.1 HOT FM studio, the home of “Cliffo & Bec” a fun FM duo show who are newly paired and getting plenty of laughs.

The time difference is a killer, 2-5pm Saturday and Sunday Vancouver time is 7-10am Sunday and Monday Australian time, So I had to be up early, something that I hate having to do. It’s just not natural. There’s a reason morning radio people are weird, this is it.

Studio 5 At The Townsville Southern Cross Austereo Studios.
Studio 5 At The Townsville Southern Cross Austereo Studios.

It’s incredible technology, as you can see from the picture above it’s a stock standard radio studio, but the magic behind the scenes is how we were able to go LIVE from Townsville.

I can sit in that room and talk back to Canada, Luke and Roman my two technical board operators can talk back to me, and so can Devon or Grace the Producers.

The technology is called a Tieline, It is mainly used by radio stations for outside or remote broadcasts to sell the latest washing machine from the store that is throwing the most money at the radio stations to hock it’s wares, or a team doing a sports play by play broadcast.  They usually call from a little grey box that connects to the internet into which you can plug microphones, headphones and computers, which connects them to an even bigger grey box back in the radio station’s rack room, but we cut out the middle man and called from 4TOFM’s big grey box to CKNW’s big grey box. Are you following yet?

A Tieline Rack Receiver Machine

Very cool technology, and way more efficient than an actual telephone call, and who has time to hold a phone receiver to their ears for 3 hours?

Thanks to Rob Brown from Corus, Matt and Blair from SCA for making everything work. It was a fun experience to be able to broadcast from there. And now that I know it works a treat I may take advantage of it and do it more regularly.

In Australia For Two Weeks

I’m in Australia for 2 weeks for mum’s 60th. Last night for her birthday she didn’t want to go out for dinner, so we did the next best thing… Bought 2 kilos of Prawns & some Moreton Bay Bugs along with a few beers. No complaints here though, I haven’t had a fourex Gold in 5 years, so it was a welcome change to the crafty, hoppy stuff on offer back home in Vancouver.


Woman with 22 visible piercings seeks end to workplace dress code discrimination

Bruce Edwards/Postmedia News/Files
Bruce Edwards/Postmedia News/Files

An Edmonton woman who says she’s being discriminated against because she has 22 visible piercings is reigniting the debate about workplace dress codes.

Read more from the National Post Here

I’m 50/50 on the issue, here’s some feedback from my radio show tonight.

Chris Coady The lip ring is the last of her problems. Try not dressing up like Wednesday Adams and a groupie from “My Chemical Romance” had a horrid love child and maybe you could land a job.

Donna Mair i respect the employer’s right to hire someone that best represents the brand they worked for years to build and to put their customers at ease enough to continue wanting to shop there. If she’s working in a food fair, there is the issue of bacteria — it used to be so strict that food handlers) were not allowed to wear rings or nail polish.

Ryan McCausland Time to grow up! My daughter has a bunch of piercings and coloured hair and I told her if she wants to get a normal job she’ll have to change. It’s ok when you’re a teen, but when you’re almost an adult it’s time to think about the future. I went through that a bit when I was younger, but now I can’t because of my job and it ain’t really cool

Sarah Glanville This is silly. I have my lip pierced but take it out for my job at a bank: it’s not professional. Likewise I would always take the piercing out for job interviews. Put on a blazer and a blouse and stop dressing so alternative for work. Dress however you like during your free time. Either that or go work at Hot Topic

Anthony Matthews-Osmachenko My buddy works in a senior management position at the city of Calgary, and has large plugs in his ears, sleeves on his arms and a tattoo on his neck and several other, what some more old fashioned minded people would consider, unsightly things for a guy in a business suit working in upper management, but he pulled it off. It’s not always a discrimination thing.

Jeff Donaldson .fun fact food industry, your not allowed to wear any jewlery and thats a fact from the food safety standards act, in most types of manufacturing and labour, yoru not allowed to wear jewlery why cause it could get caught up in machinery and ripped out off you, and service industry/hospitality,. most places dont have a issue with a small nose stud and tasteful earings but you MUST BE PRESENTABLE TO THE PUBLIC

Jeff Donaldson ooooo call the political correctness police on this one, please, you feel yoru being discriminated against just cause you have a lip ring, try telling that sob story to any black man who tried to get a job in the 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, even up till now, or how about any fresh off the boat immigrant who’s just trying to start up, i got more sympathy/respect for someone trying to get into this country illegally just so he/she can have a better life. and what about the men/woman who are disabled mentally/physically im sure if you talked with any of them theyed laugh at you and tell you, YOU DONT KNOW WHAT DISCRIMINATION IS.