Has 102.1 The Edge lost its spirit?

It was 4:45 on a Sunday afternoon, another Spirit of Radio Sunday was nearing a close on the modern rock-formatted radio station, 102.1 The Edge. The likes of New Order, The Clash and Elvis Costello had been featured in the hour of the show that revisited the station’s roots.

Scot Turner, the host of the show, had teased throughout the show that Alan Cross, host of the alternative rock documentary show, The Ongoing History of New Music would be making a special announcement. The announcement revealed that Spirit of Radio Sunday would no longer air. Hundreds of long time fans flooded 102.1 The Edge’s Facebook page to express their disappointment with the announcement.

“Are you kidding me… they’re pulling the plug on the best thing the station has had in the last 10 years… maybe more… BOO to the Edge,!!!!! ” wrote Alki Stereopolis.

Cyril Sneer posted, “I knew the show was too good to be true…Talking with and about people like David Marsden and Ivar Hamilton was most likely too much of a reminder to Corus about how mundane their programming is.”

“As a 16 year old, I just want to say that this show was the thing I looked forward to most on Sundays. It’s not just people above 40. I’m really sad to see it go,” wrote Jessica Penner.

Cross is sympathetic with fans of the show, but explains the decision came down to numbers.

“That was a management decision. I was a big fan of the show, I was really disappointed that it’s gone now as I was supposed to host it next Sunday…It was a loyal following but it wasn’t large enough in the grand scheme of things for us to continue. We’re sorry about that, I really wish it had been large enough because this is the music I grew up with and I certainly have enjoyed having the program around for a lengthy period of time.”

Throughout its history the radio station had established itself as the first to add new artists to their playlists. According to Cross, The Edge is continuing to build on that legacy.

“The radio station is perpetually about 25, 27 years old in the sense that that’s the kind of audience that listens to the radio station. It is in many ways a rite of passage, we focus on what’s new and what’s next. We do understand that we have a musical heritage and we have a cultural heritage. It’s just that it’s rather difficult to figure out exactly how to celebrate that without being mired in the past and I don’t mean that in any sort of pejorative way. This is The Edge we are moving forward, we don’t spend a lot of time looking back although we do understand it is important to listen to our history from time to time, we just have to find the right balance.”

While the show will no longer be heard over the air, an online platform is in the works.

“We’re working to create an online home for this, it’s going to take some time because this requires a lot of negotiations and discussions with other parties. But we think we can actually make it bigger, cooler, much more versatile and with fewer restrictions as an online offering than we can over the air.” said Cross.

Currently, there is an interactive web page on the station’s website that talks about the station’s history. Cross hopes that the show will one day evolve into an on-demand online service.

“What people have to understand is that radio is evolving technologically, it is moving from being just an over-the-air analog FM signal to something that’s being delivered on-demand through internet protocols and this may be a fantastic opportunity to experiment and figure out how we can deliver great entertaining radio to people who want specific types of programming… one of the things I’ll be working on with Scot Turner and some of the other people at Corus Entertainment is figuring out a way to bring Spirit of Radio Sundays alive 24/7 at edge.ca

102.1 The Edge Brand Director Dave Farough wrote in an email that the decision would benefit both fans of the show and The Edge’s core audience.

“The show had a loyal following, but younger people in Toronto want more music from today, so we’re going to give it to them consistently 7 days a week.  It’s the right thing to do. And, for those that love SRS, we have some exciting online options coming soon. Everybody wins!!!”

The last two songs played on the show were “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division and appropriately “The Last Day of Our Acquaintance” by Sinead O’Connor. Spirit of Radio Sunday took listeners back to the formative years when CFNY, better known today as The Edge was branded “The Spirit of Radio”.

About the author  ⁄ Karim Mosna

While many of my peers grew up with The Backstreet Boys, Game Boy, Happy Meals and Family Guy, I grew up with John Coltrane, stirring Risotto, bench pressing and my father's Walkman. I remember spending a good deal of time scrolling around AM/FM on that Walkman. As a 10 year old I was officially hooked on radio. When I was 14, I convinced the general manager at a rock station to let me spend the afternoon at the station with the DJs on "Take Your Kid To Work Day." A year later, I started my own online radio station, The Machine Radio through Live 365, and hosted a show daily, even though my bandwidth only allowed for 3 listeners! In grade 12 we had an assignment to interview a working professional, I interviewed David Marsden who was the program director at CFNY FM in the '80s. After graduating from the radio broadcasting program at Mohawk College, I then decided to add to my skill set by enrolling in the college's journalism course. Through the journalism course and an internship at a local community TV channel, I have been involved in television and print reporting. I have hosted a jazz show for over 3 years, Sundays from 10am to 12pm on 101.5 The Hawk.

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