Thursday, April 02, 2009
For those of you not lucky enough to live in the Greater Toronto Area, Dave Devall is the local CTV station’s longtime weatherman. His chief talents are: (1) writing backwards on a glass wall and (2) possessing more varieties of plaid than a used car lot full of Pintos and Chevettes.
Nearly two months ago it was announced that Devall is passing the umbrella and retiring after 48 years. Since then, CTV viewers have been subjected to an endless procession of pale, death-tinged figures reminiscent of the banquet scene in “Macbeth,” just not as funny.
More promos than for “American Idol.” Tribute videos from the likes of Peter Mansbridge. Mystery weathermen such as actor Eric Peterson (“Corner Gas”) and Argos’ CEO Pinball Clemons. A “60 Days of Dave” (why does it seem longer?) webpage at CTV Toronto’s website.
All to remind us – so we will never, ever forget – of Devall’s prowess and endurance in doing basically the same !@#$ story every day.
Yeah, I said it. The guy read the weather report, for God’s sake. From indoors.
Devall’s departure has turned into a triumphalist marathon of self-congratulation that makes the multi-continent Chinese Olympic torch relay look like a day care graduation ceremony.
Parenthetically, if there is one area in which we will never have to worry about being surpassed by the Chinese, it is subtlety. The relay, like the Beijing Olympics that followed, perspired more desperation than Paris Hilton, virtually screaming: “Look how rich and important we are! (And stop blaming us for SARS and the bird flu!”)
The International Olympic Committee recently announced that these extra-national relays will hence be banned (though Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 had already planned to keep their torch relays to within their own nation’s borders).
Sadly, this rare display of good taste and restraint from the IOC came too late for CTV to take the hint.
The Dave-alcade contrasts poorly with the manner in which longtime CFRB morning man (and now Toronto Sun columnist) Ted Woloshyn handled his departure from the airwaves a few years ago. Woloshyn announced he was leaving and left the same day (usually when that happens in radio, it’s because the host got fired – and someone else makes the "retirement" announcement while said host is being escorted out of the building by security).
The remaining hours of Ted’s final show made clear why: it was around three hours of weepy listeners and local celebrities calling in, begging him not to go, saying how much they would miss him, yadda yadda. The thought of weeks or months of “remember whens” and crying women to which he was not related, must have made Woloshyn cringe, and he knew it would be bad radio.
Ted Woloshyn is a man. And not just because he once referred to Dalton McGuinty as “a tool” on the air.
The Devall celebration is doubly unseemly, in light of the media layoffs and shutdowns that continue to explode like forgotten World War II ordnance.
CanWest is supposedly whiskers away from invoking creditor protection. Reporters at media outlets across the country are losing their jobs. Staff at CTV Toronto – who must not only feign excitement at the woefully drug-free Daveapalooza, but help package and promote it – are probably thinking that they may soon be vying for a job at the Weather Channel, while Dave is scratching his nether regions on a 19th hole somewhere.
Thankfully, this Splenda-soaked spectacle will be over Friday. Then it would be nice if Devall could get arrested soliciting a hooker, and give us at least one genuine laugh.
* Oliver Cromwell to the Rump Parliament in 1653
P.S. Serendipity! The movie "Cromwell" starring Richard Harris started on Turner Classic Movies minutes after I posted this.