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Pub­lic pres­sure sees CFCY re­turn to tra­di­tional Hoe­down for­mat

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY MITCH MACDON­ALD THE GUARDIAN

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.

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