Showdown over Saturday Night Hoedown
Charlottetown radio station plans to address complaints during Saturday’s show
Loyal listeners are enraged by recent changes to the iconic radio program the Saturday Night Hoedown.
Technical glitches last week only added fuel to the fire.
Islanders have been tuning in for more than half a century to the weekly, three-hour radio program featuring classic country tunes and local funny man Jimmy the Janitor.
The jolting changes left many threatening to tune out.
CFCY received a good tuning from hundreds of fans disgruntled over changes including sending popular host GeorgaDawn Moase packing to the show being pre-recorded, losing that special audience interaction as requests were called into the station.
Gone too last week was the regular playing of Mountain Dew by Grandpa Jones, viewed by the Hoedown faithful as the program’s theme song.
“CFCY has turned our legendary hoedown into a prerecorded, automated farce,’’ says Corey Ramsay.
“Despite a public outcry on their Facebook page, there has yet to be any statement from the station regarding these major changes to the Saturday Night Hoedown.’’ CFCY is responding now. Al Baldwin, the station’s operations manager, told The Guardian Thursday listeners’ have voiced their complaints in large numbers.
He says the station will address the concerns but would not give details.
“The whole situation is going to be addressed right off the top of the show Saturday night,’’ he says. “You’ll have to tune in to find out.’’
Baldwin says when the station ran into technical issues during last week’s broadcast of the Saturday Night Hoedown, all hell broke loose.
The first 15 to 20 minutes of the show, including the Mountain Dew song, did not play.
Listeners have since been criticizing the program on social media and directly to the station.
“If there is something going on that they don’t like they let you know about it,’’ says Baldwin.
“We knew that we were going to have to do something.’’
He adds the listening audience for the program “is absolutely huge ... it’s amazing how ingrained this show has become in the life of Islanders.’’
Longtime listener Wade Babineau urges the station to get back to a live show with a host that interacts with the audience.
“Let them play the country music that people request,’’ he adds.
Blair Dewar, 35, has listened to the Saturday Night Hoedown since he was a young lad.
“Nowadays radio programs like that are so few and far between,’’ he says.
Unfortunately, he feels the program has lost its personal touch over the past few weeks.
Now the owner of P.E.I.’s Homegrown Atlantic Radio and D.J.’s Services is set to take on the program with his own podcast.
Called the P.E.I. Homegrown Atlantic Hootenanny, the show will be available online Saturdays at 6 p.m. at www.homegrownatlantic.com.
“If it catches on, we’re hoping to be able to broadcast it live,’’ he says.
Dennis King laments that CFCY has essentially killed the Saturday Night Hoedown.
“It is a terrible tragedy, but sadly just another blight too many of the masses will chalk up to progress and change,’’ he says.
“CFCY, and all private radio stations, used to matter. It was local. It was unique to the Island because it not only spoke to Islanders, it spoke the Island’s voice. The only voice that matters now is that of the shareholder.’’
The country classic Mountain Dew sung by Grandpa Jones has been a staple on the long-running Saturday Night Hoedown, many consider it the show’s theme song.
P.E.I. Homegrown Atlantic Hootenanny host Blair Dewar, left, and co-host Andrew Cross are set to take on CFCY’s Saturday Night Hoedown with his own show live on Saturday nights.