This week’s Bell Media layoffs extended beyond Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver on Wednesday as radio and television employees in markets like Ottawa, London, and Victoria revealed they’d joined the ranks of more than 200 colleagues set to lose their jobs across programming, news, sales, and administration.
Following the gutting of the CJAD 800 Montreal and Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) Toronto newsrooms and the release of several hosts Monday and Tuesday, the cuts arrived at 580 CFRA Ottawa on Wednesday.
While the extent of layoffs in Ottawa isn’t yet apparent, weekend morning talk show host Dahlia Kurtz has confirmed that she’s among the casualties.
“As soon as I got my invitation for the call this morning, I knew. And in fact, I’ve been expecting this, so it’s not a surprise to me,” Kurtz told Broadcast Dialogue. “When I saw it happen in Montreal, and yesterday Toronto…I said to my parents on Monday it would come to Ottawa within the week. I told them ‘tomorrow it’s me, so get ready.'”
The host of “The Goods with Dahlia Kurtz”, which had run on the station from 7 -11 a.m. ET on weekend mornings since 2018, the former Sun Media columnist and 680 CJOB Winnipeg talk host, says she’s proud of her time at CFRA.
Kurtz said during the past year her audience had grown and become more engaged as more people turned to talk radio for connection. And through that connection, numerous listeners had responded to help other callers in need.
“Thousands of dollars were given away to people in need, with listeners calling in to help strangers they heard on my show. It was care, it was support, it was just awe inspiring,” said Kurtz. “I want to take that and move forward because that’s giving me all the strength in the world right now.”
Kurtz said she feels good departing CFRA knowing she made a difference. One of those instances was getting help to the cottage community of Rhoddy’s Bay on the Ottawa River during the spring floods of 2019. After local resident Kevin Dodds called into Kurtz’s program pleading for help as water rushed into his parents’ home, the host passed on that appeal to her next guest, who happened to be Canadian Armed Forces Col. Jason Adair. Within hours, military help had arrived and the Dodds home was among those saved.
“My idea has always been since I was a columnist, to help make good things happen for people,” said Kurtz, adding that her last in-studio guest prior to the COVID-19 lockdown had been a lonely caller whom she invited to come on the show.
“He was the last person I hugged before COVID. The way that he resonated with listeners, helped other people feel better…it’s connecting people on every level, whether it’s joy, sadness or emotion, and making people realize that they are not the only ones and creating a stronger community,” said Kurtz. “It was connection that grew my show and I think that’s the big secret to the new economy that media has not figured out yet. It’s the best way for media to succeed in this new age.”
Kurtz plans to transition her radio show to a podcast. In spite of this week’s events, the media veteran says she retains optimism about radio’s future as a medium.
“I’m optimistic for the people who have the right vision of how to take radio forward. I’m optimistic for the people who realize the importance of local…connecting with people on an authentic level, connecting with their emotions, connecting with their feelings, and I feel the route that radio is taking right now is not necessarily following that trajectory,” said Kurtz.
“THE GOODS” IS OVER:
I put everything I had into it. But you gave that back to me. AND MORE.
Over the pandemic, THOUSANDS of dollars were given away on the show.
Not from the station. FROM YOU. Pure kindness. For your neighbours.
Know, I have a lot more to give. pic.twitter.com/TfLgBkF59B
— dahlia kurtz (@DahliaKurtz) February 3, 2021
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