Sadly, tomorrow brings to a close a three year odyssey called "The Gang of Four," the little radio show that could. Honestly, looking back on the last three years working with the gang, it's a wonder not that it's coming to an end after three years, it's a wonder that it kept going week after week for this long. This a show, after all, that none of us get paid to do, and a lot of work goes into each and every show as we all seek to provide balanced and intelligent insight into the various issues of the day. But now the time has come to say goodbye. Sort of.
As we bring the Gang of Four to a close, I'd like to thank the boss (not The Boss), Jan Andrea Hall. It was Jan that recruited me on Municipal Election Night 2010 to offer colour commentary as the results came in. Beyond the Ballot Box, Gang of Four, The Guelph Hour, they were all Jan's babies, and through her perseverance and dedication, she proved there was an appetite for local politics and local perspectives on local radio. Jan now is enjoying much success with her Folk Roots Radio program Saturday mornings, and as a result had to make a Sophie's Choice kind of decision about where her energies needed to go. You never envy that kind of decision, but I still thank Jan for her leadership and the opportunity she provided for me to open my big mouth weekly.
Oliver Rockside was Jan's better half, although he would joke that he's her mediocre half. Oliver is far from mediocre though. He's a gentleman and a scholar and an often welcome voice of irreverence and/or the contrarian point of view. Oliver is a man of wonderful humour, and always good for a rim shot. I'm not sure where he gets this idea that he's subpar, because he's actually very above par. And Oliver, we'll always have Bill Maher. And Star Trek too, I guess.
To Scotty Hertz, who I look forward to continuing to work with on a brand new radio endeavour, thank you for providing such a critical point of view and insight into the proverbial working man. I learned something new from Scotty all the time whether it's an interesting factoid, an under-reported story, or just a fine example of a person worthy of role modelling. I'm glad that I'll still be working with Scotty on a weekly basis in 2015.
Thanks too to Phil Allt, the philosopher, who decided earlier this year that he had enough commentating on politics and decided to get back into politicking. I always found Phil fair and even-handed, informed but willing to admit he might not have all the answers and willing to look to others to find them, even those you may politically disagree with. He really is a philosopher, and I was always grateful to have Phil's point of view in my collection of shared knowledge.
To Christopher Currie, Erinn White, Paul Smith, Doug Horne, Andy Best and Candice Lepage, who all substituted at the round table at one time of another, thanks for taking the plunge. The Gang of Four was always such a tight group, I imagine it was somewhat intimidating for you to make the leap and join the show, but you all did so with aplomb and you each did well shaking up the dynamic and bringing something new to the program. I hope to see you guys again, in radio, as Gang of Four: The Next Generation gets rolling in the new year.
And finally, to you the fans, thank you for listening. In a strange way, the end of Gang of Four has been a blessing because of the outpouring of thanks, appreciation and regret from fans of the show sorry to see it end. Kind words were written here and here about the show and its impact on the local political scene, and if the Gang of Four kept chugging along we might have never read them. Thank you fans for your support, your input and your engagement.
As for the future, I will say don't change your listen habits Thursday at 5 pm. There will be a new show in its place, it will feature at least half of the Gang of Four, and it will be a news, politics and current affairs show. Scotty Hertz and I will be plotting a new course for this new program over the holidays, some changes to the format we think will refresh and renew what Gang of Four already did well, but hopefully with a new spin. To recall that feedback from fans, there is a thirst out there for a news program that seeks an equilibrium, a medium ground between ideology, partisanship, aspirations and the cold, hard facts. I'm very excited about the new show and its opportunities, and I look forward to sharing those ideas with you soon.
For one more time, listen to the Gang of Four tomorrow on CFRU 93.3 fm or cfru.ca.