Wednesday 26 February 2014

Will Ted Bird follow Wayne Bews to 92.5 The Beat FM?

Wayne Bews gets to work next week in his new role as general manager of  92.5 The Beat FM and I wish him the best of luck.  This gentleman of gentlemen has a lifetime of radio experience and for more on that you can see the blog I filed on him here last October when he moved from TSN 690 to CTV Montreal as Regional Sales Manager.

I can honestly say that in my many years of covering the media, I have never met a finer human being in the business than Bews. He was the rock that kept THE TEAM 990/TSN 990/TSN 690 afloat despite having the odds stacked against him.  When Bell Media completed its takeover of  CJAD, Virgin Radio and CHOM FM, Bews was pointed towards CTV Montreal, with Martin Spaulding becoming the natural point man  to run the operation. But did they make a mistake by not keeping Bews on the radio side?
Wayne Bews (left) , shown here with Randy Tieman.

Bews and I will talk once he settles in at The Beat. He is still a Bell Media employee and therefore does not want to speculate in the many decisions he will have to make. At The Beat, he inherits a pretty good property. His predecessor Mark Dickie pulled off a gutsy move by switching the Q92 FM light rock format to more of a top 40 routine and flashier name as The Beat. The station has been competing directly with Virgin Radio. In fact, they pulled away the likes of Cat Spencer, Cousin Vinny and Nat Lauzon from Virgin. Cat and Sarah Bartok do a great morning show. Ditto for Vinny on the Drive and Lauzon on weekends.

Ted Bird
So what advice will I have for Bews when we sit down? Tops on my list would be to bring his old friend Ted Bird back on to mainstream radio. Bird, of course, walked away from the CHOM FM morning show a number of years ago. He resurfaced on  K103 FM until Bews hired him to join Elliott Price and Shaun Starr on the TSN 690 morning show. The moment the Bell Media takeover was in place, Bird's former employers (presumably Spaulding) gave him the axe.  He is now part of KIC Country 89.9 in Kahnawake, a station I can still not get on any of my dials. I am a huge Ted Bird fan. There are many of us in that boat. Can a place be found for him on The Beat?  Handling news and sports in the mornings would be a good fit.

Bews will be busy from the get go. He needs to hire new program and promotional directors. Will there be format changes? Only time will tell.

Sunday 23 February 2014

A Suburban exclusive: guess which celebrated fast food chain now has a liquor license?

As the legendary Dic Ann's hamburger chain prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary, something unprecedented has occurred at its still relatively new Centre Ville location on St.  Catherine Street near Forte Avenue. On Friday, February 21 this locale became  the first known fast food restaurant in Canada to get a liquor license and sell beer.

Businessman Lloyd Brown, who opened  the first NDG Dic Ann’s on St. Jacques Street in 2006,  is the  “Centre Ville” franchisee. After many months of careful planning, he got the blessing of the Dic Ann's family to take this step. There are five brands of beer for sale, all from the Molson label: Molson '67; Molson Export; Coors Light; Rickard's Red; and  Heineken.  

Dominic “Dick” Potenza and his wife  Ann Collecchia,launched the storied franchise. Together, they envisioned a fast food restaurant that would serve an original style hamburger with their own special sauce. After much thought, this original style hamburger took the form of a toasted bun containing a thin patty that would cook quickly. After they modified and combined two recipes that they brought with them from the States Dick and Ann developed their famous hot sauce. The first locale in 1954 was a shack  on the corner of Cremazie and Papineau Two years later they moved to larger premises in Montreal North. There are now 13 Dic Ann's properties in the Greater Monteal, North and South Shore areas plus two food trucks: one stationed seasonly at the Vieux Port and another about to be introduced  soon for events and festivals.
Anthony Zammit and Lloyd Brown showcase some beers.
A third generation is now running Dic Ann's: Anthony Zammit and Delbina Potenza, grandchildren of the founders. I caught up with Zammit, 28, at the Centre-Ville location. He made it clear that this is the only franchise right now with a liquor license. "For us to incorporate beer 60 years after our establishment is a  big change," he said. "If you are a beer drinker like me, our special sauce really compliments the beer taste. It really complements the spice."

Zammit, who oversees franchise development, said that he will be watching this pilot project closely to see if the format would work at new stores in the future.

Brown said the response has already been very positive. He will place beer for signs on the wall behind the cash and the front windows shortly. They will also be shown on the large TV menu, sandwiched between the menu boards.

At both the NDG and Centre-Ville locations,  the Dic Ann's restaurants are twinned with  Brown's Bonatarte dessert emporiums.