Conservative Calgary radio commentator Dave Rutherford's rants have angered a lot of people in the course of his long illustrious career - a lot - but his latest salvo has cost him his job.
The host of The Rutherford Show, which until Monday aired on AM770 CHQR, was fired after he criticized the radio station's parent company Corus Radio, for its coverage of the floods that have ravaged Calgary, and many neighbouring communities, over the last six days.
Garry McKenzie, regional general manager for Corus Radio Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg, confirmed the Dave Rutherford Show's cancellation but would not confirm it was because of the criticism, saying only it was a “personnel” matter and due to “a variety of reasons,” the Edmonton Journal reports.
Rutherford announced the show's cancellation on Twitter on Tuesday, at which time he attributed his firing to his previous day's rant.
Rutherford criticized his employer on the air for what he felt was the company's mishandling of the coverage of the floods after CHQR studios, which are located in the Eau Claire area of downtown Calgary, had to be evaucated due to flooding.
In his rant, Rughterford accused Corus of putting its resources toward making sure its Calgary music stations - Country 105 and Q107 - continued to broadcast uninterrupted, while all flood coverage was being done out of Edmonton.
It is with profound disappointment that I have to tell you that Corus in Calgary has decided to direct resources in places other than information radio. For those of you listening right now in the city of Calgary right now on Corus, and I don’t know how many of you there are, because over the past four days you’ve been relying on information coming through 630CHED (Edmonton station) to bring you up to date on an emerging situation right around you. So I would completely understand if you went elsewhere for your information.
Profoundly disappointed in Corus, which, uh, the Corus management decided to channel their resources that they had to the music stations to get the music stations continuing to play the music. And the resources were not directed at doing everything it seems to me possible to get information on an information radio station... It’s unfortunate the decisions ended up the way they are. And so for the forseeable future, you people in Calgary will be listening to a feed from 630CHED in Edmonton.
And I just want to tell you: the people at both radio stations have made a tremendous commitment to get information to you. They are in a no-win situation. The people working at the radio stations are professionals. They want to get the information out. 630CHED is in a difficult position. They have to provide information to Edmontonians about Edmonton matters. Things that matter to them: traffic, other infrastructure issues. All kinds of civic issues. But they’re going to have to water down their broadcast to provide *something* to try to keep Calgarians up to date a little bit."
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Rutherford was retiring at the end of next month, so the anchor was at the end of his tenure regardless. But he and management have reportedly been on shaky ground since Rutherford announced his retirement this spring.
Still, his dismissal sits badly with the man who has become a mainstay in conservative Alberta politics and a thorn on the side of progressives, environmentalists and special interest groups.
“I have done nothing wrong — what I said was in my view correct, that’s why I said it," Rutherford told The Calgary Sun.
“I advocated for information, I want the listeners of the radio station to be informed with timely, relevant information — they were not getting it.”
This was not the first time this month the talk show personality was himself making news.
Rutherford confirmed early in June that he'd been approached by "interested parties" to run for mayor and that he was looking for "new opportunities," and was keeping his "options open."
But in an interview with the Calgary Herald on Tuesday, Rutherford said he will not be running in this fall's election.
Rutherford would've had an uphill battle had he run against Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, a task made even more difficult by the fact that Nenshi's handling of the floods has made the immensely popular mayor even more popular.