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Talk 1410 gone, Brindle vows return

It’s been a week since Talk 1410 went off the air. I’m still trying to figure out who to be annoyed at on weekday mornings.

CHUM Radio threw in the towel on the news-talk format last Thursday, and converted the AM station to a sports format. “Team 1410” now replays Canucks games that were earlier aired on sister station Team 1040. All of the Talk 1410 employees were laid off.

“1410 is now the new and permanent full time home for BC lions football in Vancouver,” CHUM general manager James Stuart wrote in a message posted on the station’s web site. Stuart promised, “More NFL football…more English premier league and UEFA champions league soccer…more major league baseball…more NBA, more NCAA college football... We’ll even take you to huge sports events such as the Masters.”

As giddy as I am about the prospect of listening to golf, I nonetheless find myself wondering if Vancouver lost more than it gained in this trade.

Talk 1410 -- on which I was a regular guest -- was always inconsistent and frequently inane. But it often aired provocative viewpoints rarely heard on Vancouver’s other talk stations. CKNW remains an overtly mainstream (some would say centre-right) fortress on the AM spectrum. Hosts Bill Good, Christy Clark and Jon McComb are among the best interviewers in the business; but whether by temperament or design, they are more likely to nudge their guests toward consensus than to tease out a new idea. And CBC has become like a Möbius strip in which CBC personalities are interviewed by other CBC personalities again and again and again, in a scheme that appears structured to discourage the introduction of outside information (such as news) into the loop.

On such airwaves, the Dave Brindle Show was a breath of, er, refreshing pungent air.

“Dave Brindle created a very interesting, thoughtful and insightful forum for intelligent talk radio focused not just on Vancouver but Canadian, U.S. and international issues... spiked with a bit of fun and satire as well as analysis,” Stephen Encarnacao wrote in an email. “I doubt there was anyone or any show in Vancouver that had a more consistent quality of guests than the David Brindle Show.”

Encarnacao was a frequent guest. He’s also a marketing expert. He sized up Talk 1410’s demise as follows.

“What happened? My belief is that what was missing was ‘Brand Promotion’ investment. That is, CFUN never promoted the David Brindle Show and never built the kind of awareness of the quality of the show that would have resulted in higher ratings, more advertising and more profit,” the former Reebok executive wrote. “The other problem was the other shows on the Talk 1410 roster never really offered the kind of quality of talk radio that Brindle was serving up on a daily basis.”

Brindle himself was characteristically upbeat.

“The radio station failed,” he said. “The show succeeded. We will not be ending the show.”

The longtime broadcaster is pondering his next move.

“I don’t think its hard to see that traditional corporate media is not serving Vancouver’s need for public debate," he said. “We’re going to need new media to serve us. That means online media. That’s the direction in which the show is headed.”

Monte Paulsen reports for The Tyee.

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