One of the nicest guys in radio is back in his comfort zone. After six months as the regional sales manager at CTV Montreal, Bews took an offer he could not refuse to become the general manager/sales manager for 92.5 The Beat FM.
|Wayne Bews and morning show traffic and newscaster Natasha Hall.|
Bews, of course, broke into radio sales with CHOM FM and Oldies 990 in 1992. He was elevated to sales manager six years later, remained in that role when the TEAM 990 was born in 2001, and assumed the GM duties in 2005 when his mentor and the man who held that title Lee Hambleton died. What followed was an incredibly impressive performance in which he kept a struggling all-sports station alive, secured the rights to Montreal Canadiens broadcasts and managed a highly political situation when owners Bell Media tried to shut the place down and transform it into French RDS Radio. Bews kept his employees in line, listeners revolted and the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) kept the now TSN 690 Radio alive. When Bell Media got its act together and sought permission from the CRTC to keep TSN 690 intact even after it purchased CJAD, CHOM and Virgin Radio, all was well. Bews was rewarded for his loyalty with the CTV gig.
"CTV was an amazing experience," Bews told me when I visited his new offices at Place Bonaventure. "I really enjoyed it. But I have been in radio for 21 years. Frankly, I did not see any radio general manager post opening up in this city. So when Mark Dickie resigned as GM of The Beat I was surprised. Interestingly, I had called Mark last year just to tell him that at those times when I was flipping the dial elsewhere than TSN 690 I really liked what I heard on The Beat. The same goes for my wife and daughter."
It was probably very logical for Cogeco Media, the owners of The Beat, to reach out to Bews. From what I could see he is a perfect fit. At least four staffers I met told me. "We just love Wayne!"
Let me repeat something I have said many times before. Wayne Bews is one of the most consummate gentlemen I have met in the radio business.
One of the first tasks for Bews is to hire a new program director as Leo Da Estrela is stepping aside to work on his own business. "I told Leo that even though he is leaving, I will still be calling upon him for expertise," he said.
Bews does not intend to get directly involved with programming matters. "Sure I will share my opinion," he says, "but I will leave most decisions up to the experts."
I just wonder, though, whether Bews will find a way to bring Ted Bird back on to mainstream Montreal radio. Bird, of course, quit CHOM FM a number of years ago and resurfaced at K103 FM. Bews lured him over to TSN 690 as part of the morning team and he was outstanding. When the Bell Media merger with CJAD occurred, his former bosses showed him the door. Bird is now doing mornings on KIC Country 89.9 FM, but he belongs on one of the major players. I would love to see him as part of a team with Cat Spencer, Sarah Bartok and Natasha Hall in the AM.
Ironically, Bews left CTV Montreal just as Linda Fraraccio arrived, after having served as the promotions manager at The Beat. She is being replaced by Stephanie Lagacé, who was the Quebec maketing manager for Best Buy Canada.
Let`s sit back and watch. Mark Dickie, now in Ottawa working for Corus Entertainment, left Bews with a pretty good product. And it can only get better.