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Rafe Mair back on radio

VANCOUVER - Popular west coast host Rafe Mair got this summer off.

"I'm very pleased to tell everyone that commencing Tuesday morning September 2 next, the Rafe Mair Show will resume at AM 600," is the greeting now posted on Vancouver talk radio icon Mair's own web site.

"What is also very exciting is that my producer and sometime broadcast partner of a couple of years ago, Shiral Tobin will be my executive producer and will also do on air work, including spelling me off when I'm on vacation," he adds.

"I'm specially pleased to, essentially, be working with the Jim Pattison Group where I started my radio career nearly 23 years ago. I very much enjoyed working with Jimmy whom I consider a personal friend and am delighted that he decided to recoup his investment, so to speak!"

The new Rafe Mair show will sound a lot like the old one, featuring the morning editorial and lots of listener calls. It's not clear whether or nor Mair will spin any tunes, since the station is billed as an "adult favorites" station playing artists such as Barry Manilow, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Barbra Streisand. "Since its launch in July 1998, 600AM has built a loyal audience of nearly 200,000 weekly listeners with its adult standards format that provides a unique blend of adult favorites and has become arguably the most successful music based AM station in Canada," says the 600 AM press release.

"We will also deal with all the issues of the day as we always have but with this important note - the best producer I have ever known (and almost all radio producers have moved through my old station) will be putting the show together," said Rafe's writings.

"It will be business as usual - no sacred cows or restricted subjects. Contrary to what we have recently heard, there are no 'demographic' considerations. Our program will be aimed at everyone who wants to be involved in public affairs regardless of their age, sex or any other distinguishing feature. It's come one, come all."

Mair was dismissed from Corus Radio's CKNW in June after it reportedly became apparent that Mair and Corus could no longer co-exist. In May, during his radio show, Mair commented on his new bosses saying he was "not fond, to say the least, of the corporate ownership of CKNW. Corus knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

He then later said, still on the air, "My present contract has 27 months to run, and I'd be utterly amazed if Corus wanted me then, and vice-versa."

Corus, apparently, decided to cut the contract earlier than that.

As well, a story appearing on CBC online, says "Mair's departure follows complaints by his female producer about his behaviour. Dallas Brodie accused Mair of forcing her to get his coffee, and swearing in her presence."

"The 71-year-old Mair denies forcing Brodie to get coffee, but does admit he likely did tell off-colour jokes around her," continues the CBC online story. "The business that was going on with my producer that acted as a catalyst, but I suspect that this day would have come irrespective of this, somewhere down the line," said Mair in that story.

Mair's program was one of the most popular on CKNW, Vancouver's top-rated radio station, something which was obviously not lost on his new employers.

A former Social Credit Cabinet Minister from the Bill Bennett era, Mair started his talk show career at CJOR and less than a year later, in November of 1984, joined CKNW where he spent 19 years.

After a stint hosting the midnight to 2 a.m. show, he took over the afternoon show from Barry Clark in 1986 and the morning slot from Gary Bannerman in 1988.

One of the highlight's of Mair's career on CKNW came in 1994 when he won the Michener Award for Meritorious Service to Canadian Journalism. The Award followed a year-long campaign by Rafe to stop Alcan's completion of a billion-dollar power project because of its threat to salmon and the environment.

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