VOCM’S LOSS: THE AXING OF PETE SOUCY

The sudden
cancellation of Backtalk with Pete Soucy, one of VOCM’s muchheralded talk show
hosts, represents a significant loss to the public affairs arena of this
province.

At first one
might think that the axing of the popular writer, actor, comedian, and teacher should
be treated as just another change in the minutiae of operating a radio station,
and that cancellation of one of three shows is not a matter for those outside
of corporate media to bother their little heads over.

But that is
not the case.

Underscoring
this decision by Steele Communications, the radio station’s owner, is the huge void that exists in a province bereft of public affairs analysis. After all, VOCM does news as
poorly as the other media.


A deft
handler in the art of self-promotion
FIRST WITH THE NEWS IN NEWFOUNDLAND V-O,
as it is colloquially known, has never really earned a reputation for
anything more than getting the Press Release or the news conference on air
first.

That is a
tip to a news culture that speaks to bottom-line conscious management and good logistics.
It says nothing about news content or analysis. Still, to be fair, when it
comes to the fulfilment of what broadcasters owe the public for their licences,
all of them should issue daily mea culpas to the CRTC.

VOCM is a reader of Press Releases. It compensates
for this deficiency on some level with its series of open line shows
often
using the best cuts in its news segments. Though the open line concept was
born in the days when reporters asked real questions
How did that make you
feel? was never thought a weighty interrogative
it is now more important than
ever. In the age of info-tainment and a corporate culture that leaves little
room for distinction or initiative, they have become an essential
part of the news landscape.

Talk show
hosts are not reporters, but the airspace they inhabit pays heed to notions of political
transparency and accountability. A plethora of issues, that would not otherwise
see the light of day, are assessed or simply given public exposure. When unwarranted
deference is paid to politicians, senior bureaucrats, and business interests by
the paid scribes, you can be certain that some member of the public is calling ‘open
line’ to undress the emperor.

When the
scribes are fearful
which is always of being denied political access or
worse, when they are in mortal fear of their bosses’ singular preoccupation
with advertising budgets, at least there is the possibility that one of the more
venturesome open line hosts is undeterred by the risk of temporarily losing the popular audience to boredom.

No one
should think that the overseers of VOCM lay awake at night wondering if they
have done enough to erase the democratic deficit or to accommodate naysayers in
their mission to challenge government’s fecklessness, obfuscation and deceit. 

Equally, no
one should think that what one hears on an open line show is always interesting,
informative or accurate. But then, everyone needs reminding that, among the
bevy of reporters chasing the next storm or fire truck, or checking the dimensions
of Spring’s asphalt-deficient creations, accuracy always enjoys less zeal than does the
cheapest titillation. For that
reason, when reporters are busy being busy, talk shows provide the rarest of
opportunities for members of the public to speak truth to power.

The mere
fact that so much time is spent by overpaid PR types at Confederation Building
and Nalcor scribbling the private testimony of individual callers, parsing its
ubiquity, and debating whether the Premier or the Finance Minister should
respond, is proof of their utility. 



When the subject of Muskrat Falls arises
and Nalcor is forced into the light to confess the latest cost overrun or some other
shagup dealing with leaky cofferdams or faulty transmission wire, the joy of
the show
for me has long been the guessing game over which of the two
buckos, Ed or Gil, would emerge, if only to ‘gild the lily’.



Let’s not
get too carried away. We are talking about radio talk shows – except in this
province their elevation to news status demonstrates the extent to which journalism
has taken a backseat. It seems even that gift from the VOICE OF THE COMMON MAN is, at best, tenuous. 


Another
occasional joy erupts when an ebullient host is energized enough to forget who
inhabits the back office and to say what he really thinks. Soucy was a
passionate host. His undoing might well have been that he cared about the big
picture issues (especially Muskrat), the fiscal situation, and even some less engaging topics, like aquaculture. For that reason, it remains a worry that his passions were
an aggravation to his boss who, it should be recalled, is still due an ass-kicking
for having had the temerity to be one of the first flag-wavers in favour of
Muskrat. It’s not just Danny Williams who reminds us of the disconnect between wealth and commonsense. 

Of course,
whether the bosses want toadies or talent, every open line show should be
hosted by someone who is intelligent, knowledgeable, well-prepared, and patient
enough to create an environment in which callers are welcome and their opinions
valued. Pete Soucy was truly that kind of host. Hence a legitimate question
might be: of the three hosts, why him?

All that
intelligence, talent, patience, and passion lost from a role to which Pete was
ideally suited just seems like an enormously bad decision.

Chalk one up
for the purveyors of opacity, for the dark corners of deceit, for political and
governmental insouciance.

You just
know that the bastards at Nalcor have won another round.

It is not
OK. But it is VOCM
not Pete Soucy that has been diminished by his departure.
Des Sullivan
Des Sullivan
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Uncle Gnarley is hosted by Des Sullivan, of St. John's. He is a businessman engaged over three decades in real estate management and development companies and in retail. He is currently a Director of Dorset Investments Limited and Donovan Holdings Limited. During his early career he served as Executive Assistant to Premier's Frank D. Moores (1975-1979) and Brian Peckford (1979-1985). He also served as a Part-Time Board Member on the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB). Uncle Gnarley appears on the masthead representing serious and unambiguous positions on NL politics and public policy. Uncle Gnarley is a fiscal conservative possessing distinctly liberal values and a non-partisan persusasion. Those values and opinions underlie this writer's views on NL's politics, economy and society. Uncle Gnarley publishes Monday mornings and more often when events warrant.

Churchill Falls Explainer (Coles Notes version)

If CFLCo is required to maximize its profit, then CFLCo should sell its electricity to the highest bidder(s) on the most advantageous terms available.

END OF THE UPPER CHURCHILL POWER CONTRACT: IMPROVING OUR BARGAINING POWER

This is the most important set of negotiations we have engaged in since the Atlantic Accord and Hibernia. Despite being a small jurisdiction we proved to be smart and nimble enough to negotiate good deals on both. They have stood the test of time and have resulted in billions of dollars in royalties and created an industry which represents over a quarter of our economy. Will we prove to be smart and nimble enough to do the same with the Upper Churchill?

AN ETHICAL WALL FOR AND A TÊTE-À-TÊTE WITH PREMIER FUREY

I've been wondering if the whole "ethical wall" business has prevented the Premier of our province from acting where he might and should act?

123 COMMENTS

  1. " You just know that the bastards at Nalcor have won another round."

    Again Uncle Gnarly nails it. The problem of course is the bastards at VOCM don't give a damn that their product is diminished. The toadies that remain will continue to obfuscate Muskrat Madness and serve the interests of the oligarchs.

    • Peter Soucy is a great loss not only to VOCM but the entire Province. I am still astounded at this bizarre decision by the management over there. Not sure if his comments at times were not pleasing to the bosses there -they were certainly pleasing to the public. We don't want a robot without opinions running an open line show

  2. What a sick bunch of losers to axe the best talk show host of them all…Ive listened to these talk back shows all my life and I found Pete to be the best of the best…Ive enjoyed his comedy over the years and have enjoyed his seriousness when it came to events that Newfoundlanders deal with every day….Sick losers is all I can say….

  3. Opportunity for the public broadcaster to make him an offer.

    Those who resent the existence of CBC as a public voice, would see nothing wrong with such dismissal of one who offers critical opinion and news.

  4. Unfortunately Pete Soucys' curiosity & passion dealing with all things NalCor got him the axe. People think we live in this quaint little province full of happy folk having a good time & dancing to irish jigs. In reality, we have our own version of oligarch, who rule this place from the dark corners. VOCM promotes itself as the "Voice of the common man". Indeed… "Voice of the corporate machine" seems more appropriate.

  5. Talk shows like VOCM, while arguably is a place for the common man to be heard, is more likely a place where people can offer opinions and complaints without actually having to do anything. Playing the victim means you don't have to take any responsibility yourself, you can just pass the puck to others. Being a critic is easy. Unfortunately, it changes little.

    Theodore Roosevelt said

    "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

    • Hi Keith … here is a simple example. On the VOCM show earlier this morning, their was someone complaining about the amount of garbage/road signs, etc in and around St.Johns and how the city is not doing enough to fix this problem.

      Solution: Everybody take a garbage bag and pick up all the roadside trash, litter, etc on their street.

      Most people won't do this because it is easier to assign the blame to someone else and complain about it on VOCM.

      Cheers …

    • Coincidently, I am re-watching Ken Burns's documentary on the Roosevelts. Teddy was without doubt the Trump of his era, with one notable difference; He took on the hard right Republicans and sided with the working man's troubles with the elite Trusts. The VOCM elites must be getting nervous.

  6. Yep nailed it. Fied for being too investigative and critical of issues that are leaders are failing at. He nailed Judy Foote on aquaculture and Mitchelmore on the "Culture" title and got axed a week later. Guess that was the last straw for the Liberal overlords and their funders. Statoil (see % of offshore exploratory oil lease holders list)/Marine Harvest (invading aquaculture company monstrous bigger than all we previously had combined) are both lead/owned by John Fredriksen…our new Viking Oligarch.

  7. Those who wonder why and complain that the media is so silent on issues which greatly affect the well being of Nl and Labradorians, look no further. He who has "dared" to question the "wisdom?" of those who are screwing the public to satisfy the egos and bank accounts of powerful people has paid the price. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME on John Steele and VOCM. You are so fortunate you have no competition in this province for if you did you surely would be clamouring to get as many listeners as possible.
    You sir,have done a grave injustice to the NL public and all to appease the "exalted one" and his backroom cronies.
    It now looks like talk shows will never dwell on important issues which are being controlled by greedy businessmen who are fearful of what would happen if the truth came out about MF.
    You still have a chance to redeem yourself. I am one of many who religiously listened to Open Line and Backtalk. If Paddy Daley becomes more and more reluctant (as is what I see happening)to challenge the MF concept Open Line will be history for me.
    If public expression of what surely looks like an ill conceived project is being manipulated by Mr Steele, you are also a part of the "Clan" who will go down in history as one of those who screwed the common man to enrich the bank account and ego of the "exalted one".

  8. I prefer Roosevelt's approach. Someone had to drive the bus while the remainder sits in the back and complains about the mistakes the driver is making. Two shows like this each day is enough.

  9. I am so sad to hear that Pete's show is no longer on VOCM but look at what has been happening over the last little while. There is no more VOCM, it is only talk shows about Real Estate etc. I don't mind that but the only time I really listened to them was because of Paddy and Pete and of course the Cabin Party. Sadly, now I don't listen to it except for Paddy in the mornings. Since Fred Hutton took over he has turned it into nothing but what he wants it to be. Sad state of affairs when the owners let the employees do what they want. This is only one woman's opinion. Take it or leave it.

  10. Journalism is dead!It's a sad day when news must be reported as propaganda of the owners of the station they're working for or in the case of Justin Brake, dragged into court by the government of the day for doing the work he is supposed to do! VOCM is on a downward spiral into oblivion and I can't wait to see it happen!

  11. Paddy sounded nervous this morning, don't think he has to worry tough, his "Yes Man" approach will keep him employed with VOCM will beyond the Emera contract. If not I think he should receive a merit appointment by the Lib. Gov. I put his insight right up there with the likes of ED Martin and Wade Locke.
    For God sakes man as some tough questions.
    WE STILL HAVE MUCH TO LOSE!

    • He was nervous. He knows his credibility wanes with each dismal attempt to stifle fair comment from callers and his continuous attempts to defend the indefensible.

      He will continue to pull back and get softer and softer on Nalcor. The only good part is we will be able to listen to his neurosis grow as he escalates his denial as the voice of VO Corporate Machine.

    • We all know the standard byline of VOCM . The opinions expressed on this program are not necessarily those of this station. If we own it we condone it, if not you will be fired, no explanations needed.

  12. This is not surprising, just another example of a long list of methods by which the political elite want to eliminate debate.

    Many people are unaware of the epic feud between Joseph R Smallwood (aka Joey) and Joe Butler Sr.in the years between CON-federation with Canada and the latter's tragic plane crash in 1954. An era of great political intrigue with the likes of Valdmanis and Sir William Stephenson and NALCO.

    The root of the battle? Joey wanted Colonial Broadcasting System Ltd (VOCM) to stop reporting stories that presented the Smallwood Government in an unfavorable light and become more of a propaganda station singing Joey's praises. It was at the same time political pressure was brought to bear while CBC was initially broadcast from the premises of CJON under Geoff Sterling and Don Jameson that CBC repeatedly denied VOCM from increasing its transmitter output via political influence at the CRTC.

    The late Walter Carter gave me evidence in the mid 90's showing that all open line shows at VOCM and other broadcast news were being then transcribed into searchable text by a company called L.J and Associates and would be on various desks in Ottawa ( and St. John's ) the following morning. I actually bought a transcript from them to see if it was true.

    The bottom line is that Free Speech is as dangerous to the Demagogues of today as it has ever been and programs like Pete Soucy's where callers are allowed free and unfiltered discussion thus exposing the vermin to the light of day must be extinguished at all cost.

    • Well Des Boy… It may be a good time to start a web-based radio station in NL. I hear they can be quite profitable and there's a storm of desire and a desperate need for some unfettered journalism. The overhead is relatively low beyond the start-up and your writing skills can be put good use through programming.

      With today's technology your journalistic reach would span many countries on several continents, and would expand your blog audience considerably too. If our humble "Resign Ball" poster campaign went beyond Canada and the U.S. as far as Africa and Ireland (true story), then I'm sure a quality radio broadcast about corruption and the cleansing of a Canadian province can attain similar reach.

      Web based banner ads from local and other integrity based enterprises can easily fund the operations… or … How about simply funding a business plan for the Independent to do this. It could sustain that worthwhile source of truth and Pete could head up the radio broadcasts.

      Either way this sort of initiative will add to your (already) positive and caring legacy. …. Be quick now Bud, before someone else does it (for the wrong reasons). 🙂

      Peter Austin

    • I am in agreement with you. I live on the mainland and listen very rarely. I twice listened to Soucy and thought he was as ignorant as his better half Snook. At times, it appeared he didn't know what he was talking about. As for the crazy suggestion some are making about how this change was being directed by parties outside VOCM, I have to ask whether or not they are trapped in a time tunnel with Joey 50 years ago. I see no evidence of stiffled commentary in any NL media outlet. The Telegram, the online Independent and CBC are loaded with it. Anti government stories about Muskrat, the economy, incompetent politicians..the list goes on and on.

  13. I just tuned in, forgetting that often on Thursday there is a new piece on UG. I read the heading, and have not yet read the piece, as my thought was immediately HOLY SHIT. Could this have happened. I know Pete was outspoken and fearless in his opinions, was critical of the Muskrat boondoggle, and was an exception for the main media that he would sometimes refer to Uncle Gnarley. I say to myself, what does this say about VOCM owners, John Steel is it, who was a Muskrat supporter, if I recall. Boy , oh boy! Now I will read the piece, and see if there are other issues at play, or if this shows the might of our merchant class! Voice of the Common People………right. No one expressed the voice of the common people more than Pete Sucey. A badge of honour, me thinks, to get fired from there.

  14. Nothing only a bunch of stupid no notins'.Not even decent enough to do it honestly. "Around the province"to replace it. How sly of a cover up is that? VOCM is slowly poisioning the listeners. No good to do it the cheap way and have all reruns. Not gonna work!I'm finished with their talk shows!Pete Soucy is a very decent man and if he was treated wrong I'm sure he will get the last laugh. You can't keep a good man down especially if it's Pete.Not a grain of sense! Better realize that Pete was above the crowd. Makin' believe you're there to please the listeners, Watch out now! Dumb enough to think that your show will go on!I hope all those comments get published.People everywhere are fed up with you all ya stupid arsoles!

  15. I stopped listening to VOCM after they axed Randy Simm for speaking his mind.
    The doom and gloom emitting from three open-line shows a day was enough for me; not to mention Fred Hutton (The Grimm Reaper); this guy preys on bad news and gloom.
    Pete will carry on as normal knowing he tried to air everyone's concerns until the big wigs had enough.
    I now listen to CBC Radio…

  16. Censorship is getting worse. There is virtually nowhere left to publicly discuss NL issues in an intelligent fashion, especially when anonymity is required to keep from getting fired and/or harassed. VOCM was heavy into comment censorship well before they eliminated comments completely. Most CBC articles have comments disabled and even then, censorship is rampant. We have a journalist charged for covering a Muskrat Falls protest and now a talk show host was canned. Not even professors at MUN are free to dissent without having their tenure threatened. PEGNL and MUN both have Nalcor employees on their boards of directors/regents.

    Remember the GovNL cost saving ideas site? Lots of embarrassing and fascinating information was posted there and then poof. Gone forever although I did archive the entire thing with a web crawler for future analysis.

    All this is to quell dissent. Powerful interests want "low information" voters whose world view is whatever propaganda they see on the evening news. That news is controlled by a very small group of companies, both locally and internationally.

    Nothing will change until we organize a revolt and create the conditions to get the support of the general population. Unfortunately, open line is the only way to reach a part of the demographic and that is now firmly under the control of TPTB.

  17. Journalism in NL is 25% covering every minor court proceeding non-stop, 25% Weather, 45% Fluff and Fake Laughing, 5% interesting and informative news. Funny how the local CBC could send 3 Reporters to NYC to cover one Broadway show, but barely report on Muskrat Falls deceptions and Lies. Funny how all the Media in NL all colluded to keep Joe Smyth's name out of the news, and how they all at the same time eliminated Comments sections. They seem to go out of their way to protect those in power. No wonder The Mount Cashel abuse went on unreported on for so long, and every Con man and fly-by-night enterprise in the world can rob $ from all our taxpayers pockets. I don't know if the local Media is just Stupid or Corrupt or both, but they are doing a disservice to us all

  18. Pete Soucy's NDP Party cheer leading will not be missed. Biggest whiner in Newfoundland.

    Now VOCM should get rid of the other 2 shows.

    Open line shows are toxic and idiotic. They are almost as bad as tinfoil hat blogs

  19. Clearly VOCM doesn't adhere to the right of 'free speech'by the common man.
    Voice of the Corporate Machine more aptly names them.
    It's a sad day for us in NL Pete…we were relying on you to tell things as they are and you are to be commended.
    We respect and wish you nothing but the best…you did yeoman service!!

  20. You are much better off Pete Soucy without VOCM your skills/knowledge and background will get you further than VOCM ever would. Good luck in hour future.
    I used to listen to VOCM all the time in the morning and I did listen to Randy Simms and Bill Rowe. There was good discussion at times about real issues; then other groups and factions saw this as a way to advertise their existence and at times when they appeared on the open line I would change the station temporarily.
    One year a friend of mine was visiting from the UK and couldn't understand listening to this open line show as he found it was depressing, people were complaining about how the government was handing them enough social benefits,etc….basically a show of doom and gloom.
    After I thought about it for awhile I kind of had to agree; we were too busy whining and complaining on the open line shows instead of seeing the brighter side of things and how grateful we should be. I know longer listen to VOCM at all and I have a happier demeanour.
    As an added note I agree with an earlier poster who mentioned Fred Hutton as a doom and gloom news director
    Big mistake by VOCM for hiring him!!

  21. VOCM is no longer a preset on my radio .I will not listen to it again . Pete was one of the best talk show host vocm ever had . He open eyes and put a new light on Nalcor,Muskrat Falls and NL Power .He got people thinking about the way the NL Gov. was working and thinking by bringing up those issues . Sorry to see Pete go . Remember VOCM ,the people of this province put you where you are now , and the people can bring you down just as fast .Pete was talking about a phone provider and said you can call them and maybe get a lower price on their services . I called and my savings was $62.00 per month .He was there to help the public. Not interested in some one talking about wind power or selling houses on your radio station . One word I have to say F O O L S

    • I am in Ottawa on vacation and just learned Pete Soucy's "Backtalk" was cancelled this week. Shame on VOCM! Obviously you had no idea how many people appreciated and enjoyed this show. I am in shock! I was counting the days until I could listen to Pete Soucy once again. Unless, you backtrack and bring him back, like thousands of your listeners, I will never listen to VOCM again. You made a terrible mistake. Apologize and rectify it immediately!

  22. Have to wonder what influence Danny Boy Williams had in all this after all his ego runs his life next to his millions. I wish reporters would ask asshole Williams tough questions then again like he does he would just walk out of the room anyway. Danny Williams…Donald Trump …umm so similar in many many ways. Arrogant self centred…accountable to no one. Oh well sad indeed. Best of luck Pete your above Williams and the bunch at VOCM that apparently Willimas still controls.

  23. The comments on this blog post clearly illustrate how utterly futile it is to have an intelligent informed conversation on current events in Newfoundland, be it on VOCM or otherwise.

    At the end of the day, regardless of how it starts out, the conversation ultimately ends up on blaming someone else for everything that is wrong in Newfoundland.

    So much for intelligent discourse … sigh.

    • Your projected self loathing in lieu of any constructive action or analysis is tiresome. You have descended to the level of a troll.

      Resistance to the MF nightmare is futile in your view. You are still acting out against your father. Sad really.

    • Maybe its time for u to do a bit of reading or look at your tax bills (we cant air our complaints to Pete anymore). Remember MF is far from paid for and we are already cut to the bone. Getting rid of civil servants will only scratch the surface.

    • So Mike you admit you have nothing to say (or have done any research) yet you troll this issue that will stagger NL for 57 years.

      Please leave alone those of us that have done the analysis, offered alternatives, care for the safety of folks downstream and understand the fiscal implications of this monument to vanity.

      You keep repeating your uninformed mantra and keep projecting hate at citizens that unlike you are engaged, informed and articulate.

      If you hate NL and its responsible citizens why are you still there? A place like Texas seems much more your kind of place.

    • Every word out of your gob takes swipes at NL'ers for reasons only you understand. You diss informed comments as whining and condemn residents concerned about their future.

      Turns out you seem to be a chip off the old block. Congratulations!

    • Bruno, how is attacking someone for their supposed linneage make you more informed, more caring, or more right than anyone else? If anything, such nonsense undermines any credibility you might have had. The M. F. project has suffered from several problems, most of all from the Saudis holding the price of oil under water for so long. Whos father would you blame for that? Had the prices remained as they were, it was a good project. The cost overruns to date were largely from poor management by oilfield types from what I hear. Had they chosen to replace Holyrood with another oil burning plant, it's likely they would also have had similar budget problems. How long will oil prices remain low? Who knows. Your claim that you know better than the multitude of engineers who pondered the issue in advance of the project rings pretty hollow to me. Yes, it's easy to throw rocks from the cheap seats, but you don't know what the future holds any more than they did years ago when people made similar claims and justified that awful contract with Quebec Hydro for the upper Churchill. The people of this province have paid for that lack of vision for most of our lives. Spare us the crystal ball & blame routine.

  24. VOCM has a habit of getting rid of the best. Pete was a excellent host and had more then Nets and Lice in his head. That's what happens when you have the ability to think for yourself and even worse you have the guts to voice it. You'll make it Pete; not so sure about VOCM.

  25. If we had transparency in the first place we would not be in this mess. Its time to wake up and make the powers that be accountable before we are in an even bigger mess. Letting a few idiots run around with 10 billion to waste is not a recipe for financial responsibility.

  26. Missed Patty , too, I was engaged with two Nfld Power Conservation employees, to demonstrate a COP of 4 yesterday, and was heating 1000 Sq ft with 550 watts of mini-split energy while they were here. This is a 75 percent energy saving, almost double what they suggest, that just 40 percent is to be expected.
    My impression of their interest in informing contractors of best practices: Zero interest……. a waste of time with them, largely. Yet they appear impressed with the performance and took photos of the monitors displays and performance data , but will do nothing with it to help consumers ……is my expectation.
    But to Pete axing issue…….seems 30,000 hits to this site in the last two days. Everyone loves Pete. And agreed, he was a great host, could not have been better.
    And a word to Mike Parsons……the good photographer who likes icebergs: when the public is silenced and there is even secrecy acts passed, how is public sentiment to be expressed, when even the main media muzzle their journalists and radio hosts.
    There was probably more free journalism is Boston in 1775 that enlightened people, which led to the Boston Tea Party…..Benjamin Franklin ran a newspaper….and the rest is history…….until alternative facts and fake news became mainstream, well underway in Nazi Germany, but did not end there…..
    UG is a Godsend to the public here, is it not…….
    And as to actions, which you, Mike, promote, instead of complaints, well Pete got himself fired………that was action. The firing was reaction by the Steele Corp, but Pete knew the risk of speaking the truth. Rome was not built in a day, so enlightening the population as Pete and UG does…….where would be be without it…….we would still be thinking about the GRAVY PROFITS that Ed Martin promised from Muskrat. Some Profits………….some Gravy. It will be reflected in our budget in a few days, as the gravy rolls in, rolls in…..
    Winston Adams

  27. All this talk/complaining of silencing an open, independent voice of the people but when individuals are asked to put their money where their month is, very few show support. Case in point, the Legal Defence Fund for The Independent and Justin Brake has been soliciting financial help for several weeks now and they have very little to show for it (~$6000 of $20k requested). http://www.defendtheindy.com/

    It is easy to complain but when it comes times for action, very few show up.

    • Apart from rioting in the streets Mike, isn't voicing our opinion and outrage on popular talk shows and blogs such as UG, the way to get the attention of the sleeveens who put us in this mess. It's obvious they are listening and reading or else Pete wouldn't have been fired. John Steele and VOCM, in my honest opinion, were instructed by the "exalted one" or one of his cronies to shut Pete up. Paddy won't lose his job as he is following instructions of Mr.Steele. I don't think you have a firm grasp on the mess we're in.

  28. If anyone wants to take on the large corporations like Justin Brake did, first they should be prepared for the consequences. Don't expect Go Fund Me accounts to be implemented every time you get in hot water and expect the general population to empty their pockets while you keep your bank account intact….don't work that way.
    Pete Soucy had a chance to do what the rest of us didn't; to voice his opinion as well as ours…thanks Pete.
    Don't see Pete looking for any financial help but he did know what the consequences where…good on you Pete; you are way ahead of VOCM.

  29. Of course, Mike is right as to putting money where your mouth is. Only 6000. 00 raised, not much, so Mike let me know who and where to send my cheque or Visa for $500.00. It buys an hour of legal time, or part of a one way ticket for him to get to Goose Bay, so 500 is not much but may help a little, to the freedom of the press, a Charter Right. Rights are not free it seems.
    Winston Adams

  30. Peter represented the Voice Of the Common Man (VOCM). That obviously did not mesh with the political leanings of management and Ownership.

    Instead we are left (or not) to endure the conservative BS congruent with VOCM's effort to influence public opinion.

    Pete called it like he saw it. A fair and honest representive of the Common Man.

    Rod Byrne

  31. I guess we will see you all there today?

    Its time to stand up for press freedom in Newfoundland and Labrador!

    On Saturday, March 25, we will rally against the criminal charges faced by Justin Brake. As stated in the Candian Journalists For Free Expression's petition: "This is an outrageous assault on the public’s right to know, and could cause a chill in reporting on controversies over resource development projects and Indigenous-led protests. It is essential that journalists be able to safely and freely cover events in the public interest, such as the occupation of Muskrat Falls, without fear of legal reprisals."

    For all of us who care about independent grassroots journalism, the role that a free media plays in our community and the health of our democracy, now is a critical time to come together and call for press freedom.

    The rally will feature speeches from representatives of the media, journalistic and Indigenous communities.
    WHAT: Public Rally for Press Freedom
    WHEN: Saturday March 25, 1:00pm
    WHERE: Provincial Courthouse, Duckworth Street

    • Mike, I read about this rally at 11:30 am, 1.5 hr before the event, and I am more than an hour from St John`s…..wish you had noted this before now on UG.
      I did make it too a rally at the colonial building, maybe Aug, 2016, first ever in my life. Some 400 people there although Ashley at the Telegram reported it as 150! Maybe some journalists do not seek freedom from bias, and are PR people…….and then there is ones like Blake that stick their neck out. Maybe Ashley will report in the Tely on freedom for journalists. And Russell W, of the Tely…….he has already taken his stand ……Blake broke the law…..some suggested in the past he was an elitist townie, which he took offence to, and pleaded poverty to show that he in not in the elite class!
      I guess you have interests beyond photography, Mike……and I wonder if Bruno misjudged you………..he is quick to make amends……so expect to hear from him on UN
      Winston Adams

    • Decided to check if the Telegram reported on this planned rally. They did , yesterday, an item, well written by Louis Power of the Telegram. I guess Ashley and Russell are already too tainted with their bias to write on this, and yet the Telegram could not ignore it……..so a new Telegram journalist it seems writing on this. Interesting…..the Telegram, like VOCM , is not immune from the displeasure of the public, as seen in this blog. Uncle Gnarley……the real Voice of the Common Man…..and too few Common Women, it seems.
      Wonder why women seem less inclined to express views on such important issues. More civilised, or smarter……..I really do not know, and admit that I have trouble assessing how a woman`s mind works, perhaps they work better than a man`s, but different,it appears, in some respects.
      No offence meant…..as the man`s prayer, of the Possum Club goes: `I am a man, I can change, Maybe`. to quote Red Green, I think.
      Winston Adams

    • Winston, Did RW really condemn Justin Brake for covering the site occupation? That is utterly disgusting. As I have pointed out before on this blog Russel cares not for the demise of investigative journalism, as long as he is the last fish in the pond.

      And yes I am pleasantly surprised that Mike has done something constructive about the outrageous charges against Justin. His methodology, a taunt to residents to pay up, is obnoxious but at least he attempts to do the right thing.

  32. Bruno, I recall Russell writing a piece suggesting Justin crossed the line as to what was legal, and I should refresh my memory on his piece, but it left me with the impression where he stood, and that was against the action of Justin.
    I mean , who expect Blake to do anything unjust, with Just being most of his first name! Justin, just like our Prime Minister, whose father had to finally give us a Charter of Rights, a start at least.
    And 50 people showed up……………..we deserve to remain a feudal society. And 138 donating so far …….terrible, I have not yet followed through , but will, so there will be at least 139.Not that I have much faith in the court and injustice system, but it is the forum where arguments are made, and biases too often prevail.
    As my neighbour (Flora Williams) who lived through the Depression often said ` the justice system is as crooked as it is straight` Maybe that was a common observation among common people, who lived under the domination of the merchant class. Yet it is still a worthwhile and accurate point of view.
    My God, over 30,000 hits to UG on Pete Sucey being axed, and he an arts figure also, as a good comedian, and you would think that the arts community alone would turn out hundreds……..unless you are Golfman, and on the MUN Board of Regents, and maybe a say on who gets arts grants and who do not………. haaa, a sorry lot for the most part, and many artists struggle to make a living, and may want to hide and stay silent. Who knows what crumbs and promises the finance minister may hand to the arts community in the budget.
    Free press………we have not yet reached the standard of the USA of 1775, make no wonder they had a university 150 years or more before we did.
    Winston

    • The messenger, Mike, with his obnoxious approach, did not help.

      It does not help that the likes of Todd Russel have not come out against this abuse of the free press, or his constituency for that matter. Leadership, apart from the Land Protectors and Jim Learning, is far to uncommon. It takes courage that the complacent "leaders" can't seem to muster.

    • Being obnoxious, even when you are doing advocacy, is counterproductive. You have a remarkable ability to pivot to your "all NL'ers are whiners and uninformed". You never answer the legitimate questions about your style and substance but repeat your hateful mantra.

      You need basic civility and some compassion for the victims of the culture destroying results of Muskrat Madness. Starting with self examination and reflection will do you some good.

      As an activist of unpopular causes for decades I know my personal integrity and indisputable facts are about the only tools at my disposal to advance my agenda. Your integrity needs a lot of work!

  33. Bruno, got to agree with Mike that putting money where your mouth is, is important, but not the only thing. Many who have little money do more.
    But did you now seek public financial contributions for your road trip to Goose Bay, as part of your involvement in Muskrat hearing. It`s on the internet, Bruno. So, I can`t understand your problem with seeking help for Justin…….am I missing something, maybe you can clarify.
    Meanwhile …….was Noreen Golfman at the rally for press freedom, and what proportion were male vs female, Mike, I wonder.
    Golfman was a CBC journalist was she not………and as a member of the Board of Regents of MUN……….MUN…… M for MEMORIAL…..Hello……… are we not told that lives were laid down for freedoms we enjoy today. Is not one of those `freedom of the press`………..should not Golfman be at the forefront of the rally…….on behalf of what MUN stands for………just asking!
    Winston

    • Winston I have no problem with the mission, just the tactics of the missionary. Dissing legitimate concern and sweeping bigoted statements about all NL residents is not the way to gather the troops, it divides and conquers the very people you need for support.

      Not all concerned, informed people have the financial ability to help Justin. dissing the poor is a lousy strategy.

      As far as fundraising for my Labrador intervention I did it as a volunteer, it was the Sierra Club's ED's idea, not mine and I donated most of the small amount of money to the Club that subsequently threw me to the wolves when DW sued us both. Wish you would not bring up past betrayals by my peers, it raises my blood pressure.

      There is a phrase from Cape Breton's turbulent labour history that rings true about being betrayed by ones peers. You must be able to "stand the gaff" to succeed.

    • Stay cool man, high blood pressure is the silent killer. I get disappointed to see you get too upset. I do not think badly of Mike, by a few words that may be misinterpreted, and know only of him by his recent comments. I know just a little about the DW affair and you, and once thought of joining the Sierra Club, but never join much much of anything……not even the engineering association…..seems all are too self serving.
      Meanwhile, I just lost my internet energy monitor connection,a little upsetting, as I had a good week recording data, -11C last nite and again to nite. Lots of extreme swings which is ideal.
      Getting a COP of 4.13 with a air source unit 24 hr average at about 0 C. Using about 800 watts nitetime at -8C and about 400-500 watts daytime at -8C to heat 1000 sq ft.
      About double what the power companies suggests, and better than would be expected. If any crackerjack engineers read this, they might challenge the performance, and I welcome it. We have a harsh climate, and I mounted the outdoor component in the attic , which greatly adds to its performance, and could not see that anyone ever tried this.
      Of course my interest is the challenge of how most people might cope with double the electricity rates that Muskrat will bring us. My unit is now running trouble free over 6 years, and no trouble to -19C so far. But now I have a high quality monitor…..it separated the loads, and can almost detect the added heat of a fart! Remarkable really, and need I tell you that Nfld is second worst in Canada as to Conservation and efficiency for customers, our power companies Nfld power and Nfld Hydro. And they avoid evidence based research for efficiency…….so really world class….right.
      The larger issue of Muskrat ever coming on stream is of great interest to me, but weather it does or not….affordable costs for heating was and will remain the issue for most…….I am working with mother nature for best practises with the good technology, suitable for our climate.
      At least on this I am having good results.
      Cheers
      WA

    • Thank you for your thoughtful reply Winston. I am not sure why Bruno has such anger towards me. I would hope that a civilised discourse on matters that are important to all of us would be inclusive of different opinions.

    • As hard as I have tried at discourse it is becoming apparent that your bigotry precludes civilized discourse.

      It might stand a chance if you apologize to all the folks you have insulted. Your problem starts with that image that stares back at you from the mirror. We have an Archie and Meathead relationship. Call me Meathead.

    • A quick Google search on "Bruno Marcocchio" and it becomes abundantly clear that character attacks, defamation and slander are par for the course with Bruno. It is unfortunate that some of his valid viewpoints are lost in his confrontational approach to debate.

  34. I will miss the show as it was something interesting to listen to in the afternoon, but Soucey was a leftist dipshit. He spent way too much time on the artsy, fartsy sector. and that snook character he portrays makes me want to puke. I always change the channel when I have the misfortune of it showing up on tv. George McLaren was the best open line host vocm ever had. Paddy is somewhat tolerable, but he is too leftist for me. Richler should just go make sandwiches. I have a real hard time listening to his views from the farrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr left.

  35. So the local press ran some stories about the rally to support a free and independent press on Saturday. Both VOCM and CBC ran a story. Unfortunately, it never really resulted in much financial support. Prior to Saturday, the Legal Defence Fund for The Independent was $5495 and this morning it stands at $5625 (an increase of $130) and the ongoing funding campaign to support http://theindependent.ca/ remains unchanged at 138 monthly contributors.

    Based on what you hear on Twitter, VOCM and the blogsphere, it appears that while many people complain about not having a free and independent press to voice concerns, very few are actually willing to take any action to support it.

    Everyone’s talking about how they want change.
    People want lower gas and electricity prices, but nobody wants to radically shift their consumption patterns.
    People want a better economy, but nobody’s willing to share in the financial hit it’ll take to get us back on track.
    People want better schools, but nobody wants to rock the system, the unions, the teachers, the role of parents.
    People want lower health care costs, but nobody wants to endure the changes to medicine, law and bureaucracy it’ll take to get it.
    People want lower insurance, but nobody wants to adopt the changes in lifestyle and behaviour that’ll drive it.
    People want to be thinner, healthier and happier, but nobody wants to own actions it takes to get there.
    Everyone wants to own the result, nobody wants to own the process.
    Especially when it involves change or disruption to the patterns around which they’ve grown accustomed.

  36. I find it very interesting that 15 or 20 people have all the answers to everything that ails us, especially about MF, VOCM and a few other issues. Jeez guys, get a life. Why not volunteer at a local shelter or some other worthy organization? You may not get the recognition you desire, but you will certainly feel better about yourselves. If you do volunteer presently, bless you.

    • Except for CBC Radio/TV,NTV/OZ,C101.1 The Telegram. Mr Steele has a monopoly on the media in NL.The solution,if people are fed up with Pete Soucy's dismissal is don't listen to NewCap stations and don't stay at his hotels.
      Pretty simple stuff if you're really serious about Pete's treatment.
      I listen to VOCM 3.5 hours a day Mon-Fri in the morning unless Daly isn't there and only then if I'm interested in what the caller is talking about..And never on wkends.Rest of the time is 101.1.
      Ted

  37. I listen to VOCM only for Open Line and Back Talk. That makes 5.5 hours a day when the dial is on 590. That has changed and now it is only on for Open Line with Paddy Daley. Let Pete Soucy go as they did has diminished my opionin of this radio station greatly. It is only a matter of time until VOCM will not even be a player in the media…it has gone down hill so much that it will soon fall off the radar.

  38. Sad to see Pete getting the axe. Now I know why I also got the axe. THE ENERGY SHOW was also cancelled without one weeks notice and we were paying for the show. The revenue for VOCM is not important when politics speaks out. Outrageous is all I can say but no matter what we say the axe was used without concern for justice. Gerry Skinner, http://www.nfenergies.com, 709-689-6626.