Public pressure sees CFCY return to traditional Hoedown format
A collective “yee-haw” could almost be heard ringing throughout P.E.I. Saturday night.
That shout for joy would have been followed by a sigh of relief for many of the province’s country music fans after radio station CFCY announced the Saturday Night Hoedown would be broadcasting live from Charlottetown.
The move saw the station bow to public pressure and re-establish a nearly six-decade long tradition after some loyal listeners had expressed displeasure over recent changes.
“Long story short, you spoke and we listened.” Al Baldwin, CFCY station manager
In an announcement prior to Saturday’s broadcast, station manager Al Baldwin, said many members of the public contacted the station during the past two weeks.
“Some ( fans) were blunt, some were passionate, some thoughtful and articulate, but they all had the same theme,” said Baldwin. “To point out that we here at CFCY are the caretakers of the almost 60-year legacy of the unique Island tradition known as the Saturday Night Hoedown.
“Long story short, you spoke and we listened.”
For longtime fans like Blair Dewar, it was a welcome announcement.
“It’s pretty well an institution on the Island,” said Dewar. “I was pleased to see the public outcry worked that MBS (Maritime Broadcasting System, owners of CFCY) listened to everyone. It was a great hoedown.”
Baldwin didn’t specifically name concerns from fans, which had bombarded the station’s social media over changes to the iconic three-hour long program that began in 1958.
The flurry of complaints revolved around the canning of former host Georga Dawn Moase and the switch to a prerecorded format, which doesn’t allow the usual phone call requests and dedications.
Others were upset over the absence of the song Mountain Dew by Grandpa Jones to start the show, which is viewed by many as the program’s unofficial theme. Hearing the folk standard kick off the song was seen as a welcome return to the hoedown, which some callers commented on.
“I think that calls for a toast. Let’s crack a jug and enjoy some mountain dew,” Baldwin said before starting the program.
However, it wasn’t peaches and cream for all diehard listeners. Reaction on social media still seemed divided on the departure of Moase. While many congratulated Chris Pride on his new role, others called for the return of the former host.
“I thought Chris did a fantastic job. Georga Dawn was good to and it was unfortunate they let her go, but I think Chris was doing great under the circumstances,” said Dewar, who saw some listeners migrate over to his new podcast, the Saturday Night Hootenanny.
Dewar has been broadcasting the Homegrown Atlantic Radio podcast since 2012 and plans on continuing the Saturday show with co-host Andrew Cross.
Dewar said he was pleased with results from the first show, which has already attracted a sizeable audience.
“We had people in Canada from B.C. to Newfoundland and all points in between, we’ve had a lot of requests coming in for our next show,” he said.
Podcasts are similar to traditional radio shows, but can be downloaded and listened to at any time.
With the Saturday Night Hoedown having returned to its traditional form, Dewar said he hopes many of P.E.I.’s country music fans will tune into both programs.