Monday, March 18, 2013
Why TSN 690 Means So Much
Petitions sometimes have this heavy draining effect on people. They illicit the weary "what do you want now?" response out of the best of us. They solicit your time, energy, attention, empathy and sometimes your money.
Good causes. They're everywhere. So many of them totally legitimate, important. Questions of race, equality, justice, democracy, fairness, human kindness - all adorn the patterns of our charitable minds.
But how do you choose what to attach yourself to? It may boil down to a combination of objective need and subjective want.
Objective needs figure prominently when a collection of people have no real choice but to work together for the sake of a common plight where basic needs are threatened.
Subjective wants will stir one into action when one's personal sense of enjoyment and entitlement is compromised.
TSN690 does nothing to save the world, its disappearance would have no impact whatsoever on our fundamental human needs - so why is it so important to save TSN690?
Because what TSN690 does is enjoyable, it's community driven and it's unique. It's us.
The campaign to save TSN690 will never compete with the ones that call for an end to child soldiers or famine. But petitions and causes don't all have to drive such all-encmpassing messages. Some just need to speak to your heart. Measuring their plight with that of larger banner movements is to deflect and trivialize a debate that warrants Montrealers' time and energy.
TSN690 speaks to my heart. Quite literally it speaks, and expresses, and conveys, and, in doing so, it has so much to say.
It speaks the language of sports, an undying articulation of family, hope and commitment for so many in this city. Montreal moves. It skates to defy the punishment of the cold, it skis to escape it, it jumps, it shoots, it bats, it chants, it kicks. It does it all in every pocket of every neighbourhood. It plants flags on cars and wears team colours we love. It does so everywhere.
It speaks in the tones of Montreal, a vibrant and emotionally connected city, abundant in opinion, charisma and devotion.
It speaks of the Montreal Canadiens who in large part are enmeshed in our sentimental core - the Habs win and we celebrate, and they lose and we hurt. And TSN690 is there every day to tell the story of this ceremonially sentimental narrative.
It spoke of the Montreal Expos through Elliott Price and Mitch Melnick's incomparable love of the game. We know that as journalists they are called to restrain their affection for a team, but Mitch and Elliott's love of baseball cut through every broadcast with honest dedication to a sport that is so elegantly poetic it continues to make the void it leaves in this city uncomfortable. Mitch's mourning of the Expos stands as one of the most wrenching testimonies of love and loss I've seen a journalist convey on a public platform. He expressed it so truthfully that we weren't only sad for us. We were sad for him.
It speaks English....It speaks English. The better half and enduring companion of la francophonie montréalaise. It speaks English, all by itself, alone in its complete dedication to sports in Montreal. It echoes English Montreal's dedication to defining who Montreal is and what it wants to be - a gorgeous example of everything that is right about the dance of both solitudes. TSN690 speaks more elegantly than anyone else to the incredible combinations that comprise Montreal.
Montreal, resilient. Montreal often attacked by those who wish to see it speak differently, look differently. But Montreal stands there (as Red Fisher would say) and refuses to compromise.
TSN690 is Montreal. And to save TSN690 is to rescue a portion of Montreal's soul.
I have come to know many people at the station, from Manager Wayne Bews to the interns that have helped shape so many shows that have aired. These are good people.
In 2004, Mitch Melnick received one of many emails he gets in a day and took the time to answer a young lawyer who loved sports and journalism more than anyone can convey. I just wanted to be part of the conversation. Mitch helped create the Legal Minute at the TEAM990 with the morning crew of Casavant Price and Starr. It wasn't my best work and I found it extremely difficult to create the right content while working difficult hours for a large firm. But it was a first and it marked a start.
It has led me to my work with Four Habs Fans, the Gazette and, today, some guest work on TSN690, Montreal Hockey Talk and our blog, the PK'ists. If my story truly began with my mother and father cheering on the Habs in the 70's with an impressionable toddler by their side, it found its first, more cohesive and credible outlet with the TEAM990. And on I went.
It has allowed me to meet colourful and hard working individuals who have made an undeniable mark on this city. Tony Marinaro beats to the pulse of Montreal's various loves and he does it with confidence and flair. Mitch Melnick so intelligently weaves music into the conversation to remind us on a daily basis that if Montreal loves its hockey, it's not at the expense of its love affair with music. Price, Starr, always an easy way to begin a day - always making you feel as if you're simply eavesdropping. The Franchise, light and entertaining and happy to be there with us on the weekends.
And most recently Ted Bird, a man I have tremendous respect for. Because of his respect for the craft, for what makes journalism so essentially important. His command of both language and common sense make for one of the most balanced exposés you will hear in this city. His loyalty to the core values of the business, that alone can serve as his legacy with more eloquence than the words he expresses and that have accompanied us to work for so many years.
So many good people at TSN690 doing so much. There is no reason, be it in law, in pure logic or in brute business terms for this outlet to vanish.
TSN690 stands alone, uncompromising in who it wants to be. Is that not exactly what Montreal is all about?