I Expected the Glitz, Magic, and Money

In the summer of 1986, while still in Vancouver, I received a call from John Martin. Would I come to Toronto to be the host/producer of RockFlash, the rock and roll news desk? Of course! I responded. A real job with a regular pay cheque (and benefits)! And so I flew out to Toronto (my wife Lily joined me nine months later). It was a shock to arrive at the studios at 99 Queen Street East. I expected the glitz, magic, and money of a high-end production. What a surprise I had. The complete MuchMusic operation was crammed into just one over-sized room on the second floor. The VJs’ and producers’ desks surrounded the on-air arena, and the director’s area was tucked into the corner. It seemed the whole operation was run on a shoestring budget. Space was so limited that the lighting guys would trudge across the desktops to re-position the lights for the next VJ “throw,” the introduction to an artist interview or video. You had to be careful when you stood up from your desk chair, because someone desperate for a seat would snag your chair, and if you went to sit down again without looking, you found yourself on the floor. The only “luxurious” elements in the studio were two trendy, faux leopard-skin chairs that the guest musicians sat on while they were being interviewed.