Humble & Fred
do a podcast. Big deal, you say? The bigger story is that they're fairly well known mainstream radio guys in the Toronto area, who have been in the business for decades, but after some recent firings have decided to give full time podcasting a try. And they're making a pretty big splash so far.
"Humble" Howard Glassman and Fred Patterson have worked together on and off as the morning radio duo "Humble and Fred" since 1989. They started out at CFNY
, moved to the AM station "radio for guys" Mojo
in 2001, then the Mix
... Then the firings began. Fred was let go from the Mix in 2005. A year later, Howard was fired. The two made various jumps around the Toronto market for a few years (Fred apparently was still being paid under contract with the Mix for 3 years after his firing), with Fred ending up working as a program director at The Wolf
and Howard finally ending up at Boom
in Toronto. And then... They were both fired again. With no immediate prospects for mainstream radio gigs, the boys decided to try something a little bit different. Lucky enough to pick up a few sponsors to get them off the ground (and putting their own money into building a professional studio), Humble and Fred radio was off and running.
With the help of old Humble and Fred show favourite Pete "Scary Pete
" Cugno (also known musically as Peter Bloom
, and the voice of the Mini Wheat in the animated Mini Wheats commercials
, among MANY other things) and the technical help of prolific Toronto blogger Toronto Mike
, the show is now getting close to the 50 show mark. With a mix of hilarious storytelling, fascinating insights into the radio industry in general (and Toronto in particular), and over 130,000 downloads in their first week, the show is definitely taking off. Guests so far have included Alex Lifeson of Rush, Gil Moore
of Triumph (and Canada's biggest recording studio, Metalworks
), musical encyclopedia Alan Cross
(featured on the blue previously
), and many other fascinating folks. Regular features also include "Humble and Fred Heritage Moments," which are classic Humble and Fred bits including Mr Goohead
(a prank call bit where a confused man calls up various businesses), Uncle Vince's Diary
(Uncle Vince is Scary Pete's fictitious, extremely sexually active French Canadian uncle), Toronto radio mainstay Kelly Kutrara
doing the news (she is also a regular guest on Tuesdays and Thursdays), Spotify songs submitted by listeners referring to past show anecdotes (hence the VaginaJuice and LickThePooPoo tags) and making fun of Howard dating a 27 year old (he is 51).
What would be an otherwise unremarkable story (two guys setting up a podcast) has garnered quite a bit of mainstream
news coverage. A feature in the Toronto Star, as well as appearances on Canada AM
and the Global Morning Show
have boosted their profile tremendously. They are touting themselves as "The Most Downloaded Podcast in Etobicoke" - another example of their self-deprecating humour, Etobicoke
being a small-ish part of the west end of Toronto.
All this attention has included, apparently, the attention of former employers Corus Entertainment
. The former employers who had trademarked the name "Humble and Fred" for radio purposes back in 1998, and graciously "offered" to transfer the trademark back to Humble & Fred for $5000. The ensuing controversy (warning, no actual controversy ensued) resulted in an agreement that Corus will transfer the trademark to Humble and Fred if they make a donation in Corus' name to a charity of their choice (they chose the Vaughan Food Bank
, as it has close ties to friend of the show Mike Wixson). Thus was born "Humble and Fred's trade-mark registration Christmas fund for the holidays", a fundraising attempt to make enough money to get their name back (though Corus VP Dave Farough, who appeared on the show after they received the offer to sell them back the name, has stated that whatever they are able to raise will be fine).
Humble and Fred are also reviving their annual "Gift of Christmas" show, which is a live broadcast of their show including musical guests. This year's (free!) show is December 21st at Wayne Gretzky's Restaurant in Toronto, and will be featuring Canadian band See Spot Run
, Shawn Brady
(solo artist and also front man from "the world's most successful U2 Tribute band", Elevation
), as well as Peter Bloom and Alexander Quail
(and obviously featuring Humble and Fred in all their glory), and will also be broadcast live online from 6-8pm at Gretzky.com