TORONTO (Oct. 10) — This blog isn’t about sports. It doesn’t have to be. It’s about the heartless, unconscionable jackals that operate our Big 3 media conglomerates: Bell Canada, Rogers Communications and Corus Entertainment. Nameless, faceless people with cash to burn that literally play with the lives of employees. Systematically destroying morale and dignity. Then, lining their pockets with blood money.
More often than not, the victims are faithful and dedicated women.
It is nothing shy of criminal.
Neither does it matter which company thrusts itself into the loathsome limelight. They’re all the same; just with different names. Corus, by allowing John Derringer to run roughshod over whomever he wished, vanquished the careers of Jennifer Valentyne, Jacqui Delaney and Andrea Rooz. Bell made international headlines by firing, for no particular reason, award–winning news anchor Lisa LaFlamme. Which created such a nationwide uproar that the company issued a paragraph of hollow regret. My best friend in 23 years on radio, Barb DiGiiulio, came to work at Newstalk–1010 one late afternoon in February 2021 and was pointed toward the exit door… with no warning or justification. All Barb did was host the 7–11 p.m. slot each weeknight with intellect and grace. We had worked together for most of my time at The FAN–590, Canada’s first all–sports radio station. My heart bled when she called with the news. Now, Bell has taken down yet another award–winning female star; someone I have not been privileged to meet in person, yet one I’ve come to know through her always–vivacious weather forecasts on CP–24.
Patricia Jaggernauth, whose smile could light up a darkened room, resigned last week, citing the typical comportment from media executives in this country. Calling it “one of the the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Patricia unleashed her emotion in a two–part posting on Instagram… and thank God for social media, even with all its inherent nonsense, in situations like this, allowing for abused and maltreated employees to offer their sides of a story. If you don’t believe Patricia was hurting, simply gaze at the bottom–right photo. Compare it to the image, at left, that CP–24 viewers grew accustomed to during her years of faithful service. So much of it, a forced mirage.
“You were all used to seeing me smile; seeing me happy and full of energy,” she said. “But things are not always as they seem. You see me as just a happy soul; a bubbly, energetic individual who wants to share my happiness; help bring some sunshine into all of your lives. But, on the inside, I have been really hurting. Why? Because of the way Bell has treated me. I gave my everything to that company. My story spans 11½ years. In that time, I only received a raise of fourteen dollars. As a long–time, Emmy Award–winning TV personality, I have been treated like a token and a commodity by CP–24 and Bell. Passed over for promotions more times than I can count. I was just a filler for Bell. Thrown a bread crumb so I would just stop asking for more. Over those 11½ years, I was never told a single negative thing about my performance. Not one. I asked. But, there was never any criticisms. I heard ‘you are the very fabric that makes CP–24 what it is; you are loved… the bright spot in a wheel of negativity. You are the P in CP–24. When you think CP–24, you think Patricia Jaggernauth.’ But, still, no opportunities. No raises.”
This story is as familiar as it is tragic. The worst thing you can become in Canadian television or radio is a megastar. Ask Bob McCown, Don Cherry, Lisa LaFlamme or anyone else that has risen above and beyond. Next in line, surely, will be Ron MacLean. Dedication and years of service in Canada equal a kick in the ass. Nothing more. Once you’ve reached the top, the corporate imbeciles will take you down so fast, your head will spin. Patricia Jaggernauth had every right to badger CP–24 executives for more money. But, she also likely understands it was her downfall. By coercing her into resignation, thereby foregoing a significant severance package, the boneheads at the top will fill their pockets with her money. And, yes, it was Patricia’s money; she earned it by becoming one of the most–popular television personalities in Ontario; perhaps even across our land. But, that’s the sickness that pervades media conglomerates in Canada. Once you’ve reaped reward with performance, your days are numbered. Unless you are male, ala John Derringer, and bring in massive profits while hosting a key radio drive slot in the morning or afternoon. Then, you are immune to censure, no matter how ghoulish you behave. Or, for how long. Again, thank goodness for social media, or Derringer may still be hunting his prey at Corus–owned Q–107.
Patricia Jaggernauth was a star in every sense of the word. With remarkable beauty and effervescence, she attracted eyes to CP–24. Which, according to logic, is precisely what her superiors would wish for. But, once money enters the picture, you may as well be short, fat, bald and missing your front teeth. That’s when the calculated, deliberate and systematic breakdown of confidence and self esteem takes hold. It happened to me at Rogers, and I was a pauper compared to Jaggernauth. Neither did I have to force a smile on television multiple times per day every weekend. So, it was easier for me to hold out until The FAN–590 let me go… with nearly two years of severance. I had covered the Leafs, home and away, for 17 years but would have painted the friggin’ walls rather than submit to the corporate pressure. Ultimately, Rogers and The FAN–590 emerged victorious, hiring younger and cheaper employees to take my spot. Which will not be so easy for Bell and CP–24 with Patricia Jaggernauth.
Sadly, there’s not a person of influence at either company that gives a shit.