First Update From Canada

It has been quite the first few days for me since moving back to Canada on the Independence Day of the country I was previously living in. I will try to give an update every week or so in a segment I am going to call “Toonie Tales.” Enjoy reading these, send me back some comments and as always, let me know if you’ll be in the area.

The drive up was relatively smooth, without much traffic and I only took a couple of stops – and thanks to the people of Cortland, NY who provided the free coffee and snacks at the one rest area I did take a break. The radio channels going in and out was a little bothersome though, at one moment you would be listening to some sports update and a fraction of a second later due to channel interference, it would switch to some religious feed with cry for “May the Lord have mercy on all of us.”

First day of work, I went through the motions of a new employee getting a tour, getting my ID and filling out the proper HR paperwork and was pretty uneventful – until it came time to go home of course. Due to the extreme heat in the area, there was a fire that took out a major transformer in the heart of downtown Toronto leaving much of the city without power at peak rush hour time (at 4:45 pm). I was fortunate enough to only have to take 8 flights of stairs down but I know of others who took well over 20 but I guess it is easier taking them down than trying to climb.

The environment outside was nothing like I have ever seen in the “civilized” West with all the traffic signals and crossing lights out of commission, it was initially an every man for themselves situation. Cars were creeping forward from all four directions until one person stopped and the entire row of cars would just follow suit. Hoards of people had taken to the street by this time and were all moving towards Union Station. Although there were some civilians who had taken to the crosswalks and were guiding human traffic and stopping and directing cars as people crossed, most were just anxious to get out of the glaring heat.

With a first day like that, the rest of the week seems relatively unexciting. First week of employment is always a little slow as work starts to streamline in towards you but I did have a couple of meetings yesterday and the workload will definitely pick up big time as more of my software and application requests are approved shortly.

A couple of things to note however: I had really forgotten how much everyone says “eh” in everyday conversation. You tend to lose that sense of reality when you only hear in terms of mocking back in New Jersey. Also the ease at which people travel not only through public transportation and the way they enter and leave work buildings, is a huge contrast from America. You couldn’t enter or leave the main doors without providing professional ID back in the States but here you just say hello to the person at the security desk and you just swipe in on your floor. On public transportations, you have your monthly pass with you but they don’t check every day, heck they haven’t checked for yet and it has been four days already. It really is an “honor system” but the penalty is so severe if you are caught on board without a ticket, that I don’t believe any everyday rider would risk it. Finally, the roads here are so much wider and a lot more fun to drive on. Once you are no longer in the cramped spaces of the tri-state area, you really notice the difference traveling through 3- and 4-lane local roads on a regular basis.

It is definitely a harsh transition from a smartphone to a regular one but in the meantime, I am enjoying keeping in touch with colleagues from south of the border through Google Voice and even exchange some emails in between. Please, feel free to send a text my way to my new number to keep me occupied during the slow days. Also if you’re somebody important, I might even give you my work contact information in case you need to reach me.

The End Of An Era

Well yesterday turned out to be the last show where both Mike (Francesa) and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo were on together, albeit it for 5 minutes, on the Mike and the Mad Dog radio program. For those not too familiar with the show they were the first sports radio talk where not many gave them hopes to last very long… This was all the way back in 1989. Now 19 years later, they are finally going their separate ways with Mad Dog probably accepting a multi-million dollar satellite radio offer pretty soon. Mike has just signed 5 year extension to stay on with WFAN 660 and will change the show name to “Francesa On The Fan”. It is quite impressive how they did a show from 1 PM to 6:30 PM every day for 19 years… that’s a lot to handle.

They literally set the stage for sports radio all across America when they first started and they have been a part of my daily routine for nearly 8 years now. I eventually became interested in doing sports radio and then broadcasting. I had always been interested in sports but never thought doing a show until I started listening to theirs and really enjoyed it.

I started doing my first radio show my freshman year on college where I co-hosted “Double Play” with my good friend Justin Eusebio and eventually Matt Fitzsimmons. We hosted it for two seasons where we discussed professional sports, collegiate athletics, sports picks and debated any other sports topic that came to mind.

Eventually college schedules began to take a toll ok everyone and the show folded but then I started working for the Stevens Athletics Department in doing Public Announcing for games and eventually Broadcasting games online with Matt. The games varied from basketball, soccer, lacrosse and volleyball for both men and women teams as well as doing field hockey games.

I plan on continuing broadcasting for as long as I’m in college and who knows what happens after that. However it’s safe to say that I would have zero interest in doing either the sports radio show nor broadcasting if it wasn’t for both Mike and the Mad Dog.

I don’t know too many people outside of my own personal and extended family who listened to the show regularly but it was truly stuff of legends the way those two worked with each other. There was doubt they would last 19 days, never mind 19 remarkable years of being atop of the ratings garnering national attention of those who wanted to make a name for themselves in tri-state area had to go through these two first.

Hopefully these two continue to have successes in their respective program but everyone can clearly admit, things will no longer be the same for the powerhouse of sports radio.