Wednesday 2 October 2013

Wayne Bews: fond memories of TEAM 990, TSN 690; happy to be at CTV

 As published in this week's West Island edition of The Suburban.

When the Canadian Radio-televisionTelecommunications Commission (CRTC) ruled that Bell Media could finalize the purchase of Astral Media properties, among other things it resulted in TSN 690 being saved from extinction. But what was to become of Wayne Bews, the Pointe Claire resident who as general manager literally kept Montreal’s only all sports radio station alive?

Fortunately, the folks at Bell Media decided to do the right thing in the case of Bews. With the management of TSN 690 being folded into CJAD and  Martin Spaulding and Chris Bury, Bews needed a new gig and he got it as regional sales manager for CTV Montreal. He recently welcomed me to his new office, across the street from TSN 690/Virgin Radio/CHOM/CJAD.

Wayne Bews at his new office.

Raised in Lorraine, Bews attended  Rosemere High, John Abbott College and McGill University. Following a stint in real estate, he broke into radio sales in 1992 for CHOM and the former Oldies 990, being elevated to sales manager six years later.  Bews remained in that role when the TEAM 990 was born in 2001, assuming the GM duties in 2005 when his mentor and the man who held that title Lee Hambleton died.

Until THE TEAM 990 acquired the broadcast rights to the Canadiens two years ago and switched its call letters to TSN 990 (now 690), the station always seemed to be on life support. But with Bews at the helm, they somehow remained viable. “We were the little train that could,” he said. “I got a ton of support from Mitch Melnick and when Elliott Price joined he helped a lot. There are not too many stand alone AM stations out there, but we had good support from our owners.”

Not long after the exciting news came that the station was being rebranded as TSN and had  secured a seven year contract to broadcast the Habs, Bell Media announced that it planned to transform the station to a French RDS Radio. Their original bid to purchase Astral properties meant they could not retain four English radio stations.   After hearing from listeners and many other interveners, the Astral takeover was refused.  Last summer, resubmitted, it was accepted.

“TSN 690 is in very capable hands now with Martin and Chris,” Bews says. “I am still listening and feel very much part of the family.”

Bews and his wife Kelli Barrington, a real estate agent for Royal Le Page, have two children. John just entered prep school in Concord, NH, where he is playing hockey and football while Holli, who plays ringuette, soccer and softball on the West Island, attends Villa Maria High School. Bews himself has coached hockey in Pointe Claire for a number of years.

Let me say on the record that Bews was one of the finest individuals I ever dealt with in the radio business. We spoke and corresponded regularly and I just know he will be a big success at CTV.

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