Show­down over Satur­day Night Hoe­down

Char­lot­te­town ra­dio sta­tion plans to ad­dress com­plaints dur­ing Satur­day’s show

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - THE GUARDIAN

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.’’

SUB­MIT­TED

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.

STEVE SHARRATT/THE GUARDIAN

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.

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