Jesse and Gene
Jesse and Gene (or The Jesse and Gene Show) is a Canadian morning zoo radio show that aired in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada radio market between 1986 and 1997. The duo of co-hosts consisted of Jesse Dylan and Gene Valaitis.
680 CFTR: move to afternoons on AM dial
In June 1989, the show's move to 680 CFTR, a Top-40 music station branded as "All Hits 680 CFTR", got announced. Starting in July 1989, it initially served as an afternoon drive time show airing between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Various outlets in the city reported on CFTR's terms that lured the duo away from Q107 as being lucrative.
Starting on 17 June 1991, Jesse and Gene became CFTR's new morning show following the retirement of the station's longtime morning man Tom Rivers. When CFTR changed its format to an all news station in June 1993, re-branding as 680 News, Jesse and Gene were let go along with most of the on-air personnel.
The duo got picked up by AM 640 (CHOG) during late 1993 for the station's morning slot. Branded at the time as "AM 640: The Beat Of Toronto", the station was a bit of dinosaur in the Toronto market as the last remaining Top 40 station in the city and the last AM station in the area to play the contemporary hits music format. Right away, the duo posted strong ratings, coming in third in the Toronto market during January 1994 with 131,000 listeners in their peak quarter-hour, behind only Andy Barrie's 285,000 on CFRB and Erin Davis' 143,000 on CHFI.
In 1994, the show received complaints of racism over a skit that aired on 30 March 1994 involving an impersonation of Canadian Member of Parliament Jag Bhaduria singing songs by The Beatles with altered lyrics about his politically controversial situation in a strong Indian accent. The complaints were sent to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) who later referred it to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC). The CBSC later found that "the spot was a parody of a particular politician, and was not abusive or discriminatory toward people of any national or ethnic origin".
The duo got a small alley named after them in May 1994. Located in North York, then a city within Metropolitan Toronto, Jesse and Gene Way runs parallel to Yonge Street from Norton Avenue until Church Avenue.
On 19 July 1995, in preparation for its upcoming format switch, AM 640 announced cancellation of Jesse and Gene with Jesse Dylan saying his goodbyes on air. Gene Valaitis stayed on at the station, getting paired with Jane Hawtin for a new show in the 5:30 to 9 a.m. slot starting after Labour Day 1995 as AM 640 changed its format to full-time talk radio, becoming "Talk 640" in October 1995, including a call letter change from CHOG to CFYI.
Return to Q107
Jesse and Gene reunited in July 1996 as the returning hosts of Q107's morning show. For Gene Valaitis, the reunion meant getting internally re-assigned from CFMJ to Q107 (both stations were owned by the same corporate entity, Western International Communications, at the time) thus breaking up his ten-month morning pairing with Jane Hawtin.
Less than a year later, Q107 released Jesse and Gene with their last show airing on 5 May 1997, marking the end of their radio careers together. Following a three month search for a permanent replacement, Q107's management decided to start simulcasting The Howard Stern Show from 2 September 1997.
During their broadcast tenure, they released compilation albums that featured classic skits & prank phone calls from their shows, their last one entitled Jesse and Gene: Greatest Bits.
Jesse and Gene re-united for a three-night appearance on CFRB from November 11 to 13, 2009, filling in for Ryan Doyle from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
- Adilman, Sid (23 October 1986). "Q107's tour of lively nightspots was, um, very revealing". Toronto Star. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
- Quill, Greg (13 June 1989). "Q's 'Zoo' duo caged by CFTR". Toronto Star. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
- Adilman, Sid (16 June 1989). "Zoo men bring down big bucks at CFTR". Toronto Star. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
- Quill, Greg (6 July 1991). "Stalwart CFRB edges out FM heavy in ratings war". Toronto Star. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
- Salem, Rob (16 January 1994). "Jesse & Gene Lewd, crude, loud and proud". Toronto Star. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
- Quill, Greg (29 May 1994). "Jesse & Gene get their own Way". Toronto Star. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
- "Jesse And Gene Show bites dust at AM 640". Toronto Star. 20 July 1995. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- Goddard, Peter (27 July 1996). "So why don't they call it the Gene & Jesse show?". Toronto Star. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
- Zekas, Rita (4 July 1996). "They're baaaack!". Toronto Star. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
- Goddard, Peter (8 May 1997). "Q-107 drops Jesse & Gene Show". Toronto Star. Retrieved 15 February 2016.