Scruff Connors

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Scruff Connors
Birth name Jeffrey David Newfield
Born May 12, 1952
Toronto, Ontario
Died December 18, 2016(2016-12-18) (aged 64)
Station(s) Q107 Toronto
WYSP, Philadelphia
CHTZ-FM, St. Catharines
CFBR-FM Edmonton
CJKR-FM Winnipeg
CFMJ (MOJO) Toronto
Style Rock radio, shock jock
Country Canada

Jeffrey David Newfield (May 12, 1952 – December 18, 2016), known as Scruff Connors, was a Toronto-born Canadian radio broadcaster known for conducting controversial on-air practical jokes.[1][2]

His career included host duties at various radio stations in Canada and the United States. His most prominent work is with Q107 in Toronto, where he became morning host in 1980.[3] After broadcasting in other cities, he returned to Q107 in the early 1990s to join the "The Q Morning Zoo". In 1980, after Terry Fox was forced to abandon his Marathon of Hope, Connors responded by raising CAD$72,000 for cancer research by continuously hosting a 36-hour "Scruff-a-thon" on Q107.[1]

On December 18, 2016, Newfield was travelling on a train and suffered a massive heart attack. The train made an unscheduled stop and he died in an ambulance en route to hospital. Connors was also dealing with complications from bladder cancer which he fought off-and-on for more than a decade. He was 64.

Radio stunts[edit]

At one point while working at Q107 in 1982, Connors confined himself to the station's on-air studio and repeatedly aired the Led Zeppelin song "Stairway to Heaven".[3]

By July 1982, Connors completed 107 trips in seven hours on the Mighty Canadian Minebuster roller coaster at Canada's Wonderland establishing a record during the theme park's initial years.[4]

Connors conducted a contest in 1989 as an announcer at CHTZ-FM in St. Catharines, Ontario, claiming that the Mayflower would be stationed at a nearby port so that 40 winners would be eligible to have a Thanksgiving meal there. However, what actually appeared was a moving truck from Mayflower Transit.[5][6]

While still at CHTZ-FM, the disc jockey announced during a 21 March 1990 broadcast that "new kids" would appear at the station the following day. The music group New Kids on the Block were scheduled to play in nearby Hamilton later that week. Although that band's music was not aired on the rock-oriented CHTZ-FM, hundreds of fans of the boy band appeared at the station, expecting to see their idols. Instead, they were greeted with limousines arriving at the station containing several mothers and their newborn infants (or "new kids"). Some of the upset crowd tried to enter the station building, requiring the station to secure the facilities.[1][6]

In January 1995, while working in Winnipeg, Connors was given a week's suspension by CJKR-FM management after he announced a contest where selected listeners could watch Super Bowl XXIX in Miami. 1200 listeners submitted their entries by fax of whom 30 were chosen to meet Connors at Winnipeg International Airport. However, the winners boarded a bus at the airport rather than a plane, and their destination was Miami, Manitoba to watch the game on a monochrome television at Chatterbox Lounge. Connors reacted to the controversy stating "How was I supposed to know Miami was in Florida?"[1][7]

Controversy[edit]

In mid-1982, CHUM-FM avoided direct mention of Toronto club venue Scuffers during its entertainment announcements due to its naming resemblance to Scruff Connors at rival station Q107. Scuffers' owners suspended advertising at CHUM-FM because the radio station referred to their club by its address or as "The Cave".[8]

When Connors was working for The Bear (CFBR-FM) in Edmonton in 1992, he was charged with sexual assault in a case that purportedly occurred at a hotel in October 1992.[2] He was acquitted of these charges in January 1993, although Connors reconsidered his broadcasting career due to the stress of this case.[9] The broadcaster sustained a reported nervous breakdown in October 1995, which he blamed on job stress and uncertainty.[7]

During a broadcast at Toronto's MOJO Radio on 16 November 2001, Connors and co-host John Derringer joked about obtaining a job at a multicultural radio station. The duo called Fairchild Radio only to receive a voice mail message, at which point Connors proceeded to speak around the recording with a phony Chinese accent. The Executive Director of the Chinese Canadian National Council complained to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) charging that the broadcast was racist. The CBSC ruled that this incident did not breach the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Code of Ethics regarding "abusive or discriminatory" material, although the dialogue could be considered in questionable taste.[10]

Declining health[edit]

Connors incurred injuries to his two rotator cuffs, limiting his arm movements.

His last on-air job, at MOJO radio, was terminated in July 2005 when the station changed its format. Within a few months, Connors experienced a pair of heart attacks which required quadruple heart bypass surgery. Later in 2005, doctors discovered that Connors had contracted bladder cancer.[1][5]

In late January 2008, during an interview with fellow radio broadcaster Fred Patterson, Connors indicated that he was in good health following various operations. He stated that he was recuperating in Osoyoos, British Columbia.[11] In August 2008, a poster to a Canadian radio discussion board posted a rumour that Connors had died the previous evening, but Connors later clarified in an interview with the Toronto Sun that he was still alive and had recently won over $100,000 in a Lotto 6/49 draw.[5]

On December 18, 2016, Newfield suffered a massive heart attack and died before reaching a hospital.

Career[edit]

Connors' work included the following radio stations:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Bonokoski, Mark (15 January 2006). "Trickster DJ Scruff Connors is knocking on heaven's door". Retrieved 2008-01-01. [dead link] [1] Indicates birthplace and age 53.
  2. ^ a b c Williams, Ian (9 October 1992). "Disc jockey charged with sexual assault; CFBR `shock jock' in court today". Edmonton Journal. p. B2.  Indicates age 40.
  3. ^ a b c "Three decades of Q107". Toronto Sun. 22 May 2007. Archived from the original on 4 November 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  4. ^ Ruben, Paul (31 July 1982). "Up, Down - And Away!". The Globe and Mail. p. F1 (Fanfare section). 
  5. ^ a b c d Bonokoski, Mark (24 August 2008). "Scruffer not yet in a box". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Hunter, Stuart (23 March 1990). "DJ raked for kidding around". Toronto Sun. Jam!/Allpop.com. Archived from the original on 1 November 2006. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  7. ^ a b "Scruff recovering from breakdown". Edmonton Journal. 15 November 1995. p. B12. 
  8. ^ "CHUM loses a friend in Scuffers". The Globe and Mail. 9 July 1982. 
  9. ^ Coulter, Diana (27 January 1993). "Judge clears 'shock jock' of sexual assault; Connors may quit radio career". Edmonton Journal. p. B3. 
  10. ^ "CFYI-AM re Scruff Connors and John Derringer Morning Show (CBSC Decision 01/02-0279)". Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. 7 June 2002. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  11. ^ Patterson, Fred (29 January 2008). "Scruff Connors Interview". Archived from the original (audio) on 1 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  12. ^ "DJ Scruff Connors lands job in Toronto". Edmonton Journal. 25 February 1993. p. D2. 
  13. ^ MacInnis, Craig (9 September 1987). "Toronto-area listeners get another taste of Scruff". Toronto Star. p. B2. 
  14. ^ a b "Q107's Connors moving to Winnipeg". Toronto Star. 22 June 1994. p. D4. 
  15. ^ "A shot of audio testosterone - the aural fix Toronto has been waiting for - Corus Entertainment Launches MOJO Radio – the world's first talk radio station for guys". Corus Entertainment. 19 April 2001. Archived from the original on 10 January 2007. Retrieved 18 June 2015.