Last week Amber Gero was the guest on the Toronto Mike’d podcast. In my opinion, Toronto Mike (real name Mike Boon – or is it?!) has the top amateur podcast in Toronto. And I use the term amateur to only state that Mike records his podcast from his home and not from a studio. And I’ve also yet to hear a sponsor being mentioned on the show.
Traditionally, one can hear Toronto-centric celebrities on Mike’s show: Mike Hebscher, Humble and Fred, Damain Cox, Elliotte Friedman, and David Marsden to name a few. The conversations are mostly around Toronto Radio and Sports history. It’s like a walk down memory lane from Gen X-ers. I always look forward to Mike’s show and have rarely walked away disappointed. Of the 100+ shows he’s recorded I can only remember Cox and Barb DiGiulio as guests who seemed too guarded.
The Amber Gero show, in my opinion, took Mike’s podcast to a whole new level. If you’re unaware, Amber Gero was fired last year from CFRB in Toronto. She self identifies as a black woman. She also had a few things to get off her chest:
Here are a few reasons why the Amber Gero show is important:
- Mike has always been a gracious host. He understands that his guests trust him when they come to his home to be interviewed in the basement studio. Can you imagine if Mike dug up “dirt” on all his guests and asked unfair or even fair but inappropriate questions? Nobody would come back. I remember Mike’s interview with Mike Wilner. Mike was totally respectful of his guest even though he knew that many people dislike Mike Wilner’s personality on the Jays Talk show. Mike’s desire to have entertaining conversations is commendable. Having Amber Gero on the show put not just Amber in the crosshairs of potential employers in radio but it also put Mike’s show in the radar of radio executives (and others) across Toronto. This is the first time I can remember Mike publishing a show that could potentially decrease the amount of talent available for his show. I hope I’m wrong.
- Although the large majority of Mike’s guests are entertaining, they are mostly men. White men. And Mike actually acknowledged this fact. It was both honest and eye opening. It was honest of Mike to question if he is also part of the problem that Amber talked about. Or if his guests are simply a reflection of the current state of Toronto radio. It’s a conversation I hope executives are having and will do something positive about.
- It is possible for independent content producers like Mike (and so many others) to not just produce content but to make a difference.
I hope we are challenging the status quo in Toronto. Toronto (and Canada) is home to immigrants. Everywhere we live, work and play there are people of different ethnic backgrounds, people from different parts of the world and people of different faiths and sexual orientations. We need to embrace this beautiful fact. We need to force the institutions that serve us (government, media, public companies and others) to not just provide products and services we desire but to be a reflection of the society in which they all operate.
Congrats Mike on an awesome show. I am a proud listener and supporter.