For a place that was once known for throwing the coolest parties in Canada, Much’s upcoming 30th anniversary party is surprisingly lame!

Remember the awesomeness of parties like annual Christmas Tree Toss, Electric Circus, Much’s SnowJob or the MMVAs (before they become a showcase mostly for stars of the Disney Channel.) Well, those days are officially long gone.

At the end of the month, Much will be celebrating its 30th birthday with an Anniversary Special and a Legendary Videoflow Countdown. Which, sounds fine. The only problem?  Well, it seems like Much forgot to invite pretty much any of the VJs that ever worked there. Right now, the special promises to feature past VJS  Devon Soltendieck, Hannah Sung, Liz Trinnear, Phoebe Dykstra, Steve Anthony, Traci Melchor, and Tyrone Edwards. 

All of which are just fine, I mean, they pretty much cover the network’s three decades of VJs…sort of.  Here’s the thing about that list: A quick glance reveals that the only people attending the party are people who still work for Bell Media, which owns the nation’s music station. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Well, why would they invite people who work for other networks? Because no one is saying they can’t!  That’s why.  I think it’s just really silly that the execs would rather use this anniversary as another means to promote their talent, instead of celebrating one of Canada’s most successful networks ever. The idea that a person can only appear on one channel is such an old way of thinking about TV, even Americans are abandoning it. Almost every week, we see someone who is on one show, show up on another. Why? Because that’s what generates excitement these days.  How much cooler would the 30th Anniversary be if they said dozens of your favourite VJs were coming back to celebrate the most epic party ever!  Think of the Ellen-style selfie. Oh man, that would have been awesome.

What an opportunity wasted.

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For Much to throw an anniversary party and not include people like Matte Babel, George Stroumboulopoulos (2000-2004) Rick Campanelli (1996-2005), Erica Ehm (ten years), Master T (1990 to 2001)  Sook-Yin Lee (1995-2001), Bradford How (2000-2003), Bill Welychka (1992-2000) and Sarah Taylor (2004-2009), just to name a few, is so disappointing.  And I mean, no Ed the Sock!? Come on! Ed The Sock’s Fromage was one of my favourite Christmas traditions!

Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe producers extended an invite to all the VJs and for some reason only the Bell Media employees got back to them.  Like I said, I could be wrong.

To be honest, this anniversary is frustrating me more than it probably should.  But for thirty years, MuchMusic meant something to so many people. It was probably the only network most young Canadians watched regularly. It didn’t matter what the show was, who was hosting, or who was being interviewed, when they talked about videos killing the radio star, it’s true. We did that. Much like our parents who grew up around the radio, we grew up around MuchMusic. It was on when we got up in the morning, when we got home from school and, for lots of people, no Friday night was complete without the MuchMusic countdown. And yes, I’ll admit, I may have stuck around to pretend I was cool enough to be on Electric Circus.

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One of my favourite Much memories was back when Rick Campanelli and Jennifer Hollett were hosting Much On Demand. I was a tiny teen from New Brunswick, who was visiting Toronto for the first time. Even though there was a million things to do in Toronto, the only thing I wanted to do was go see the Much building and sit in the audience for Much on Demand. I remember the moment we turned on to Queen St. West and saw the building. It was amazing. I’ll never forget it. During the taping, Rick asked if someone wanted to be on the show to talk about some entertainment stories, I quickly rose my hand and a few minutes later, I was standing in between the two hosts. I still get excited thinking about it.  When you live in the more rural parts of Canada, VJs are like gods. They are the only ones that felt like were speaking to you specifically and for a few minutes, these two VJs were literally talking to me specifically.

And that’s just one of my many MuchMusic memories and I’m just one Canadian. Think of all the people, old and young, that have so many memories. Why not celebrate that?  Why not see past networks and promotion and take an hour to say thanks. Thanks to all the Canadians who helped make Much one of the coolest stations that will ever exist. That’s how I’d want to celebrate such an epic anniversary.

It’d be great to see people leave their own favourite MuchMusic memories in the comments section!  Let’s celebrate Much’s birthday the way it should be celebrated!


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Mike Morrison

14 Comments

  1. Hey!

    Nice to see Catherine and Jennifer chime in! This past weekend, 94.9 The Rock gave a cheeky nod to 30 years of Much by spinning Big Shiny Tunes all weekend, while lamenting Much Musics’ slide from voice and influential tastemaker, to specialty repeater channel. Christopher Ward joined us to reminisce and discuss the relevance of music television moving forward and shared some great anecdotes on his never routine days, from Queen East to Queen and John. And yes, he’ll share Much more in his new book on the first ten years of MuchMusic. Coming soon!

  2. Great article Mike. Thanks for taking me down memory lane. I can tell you first hand that they do not invite all the VJ’s. I was the first female VJ at MUCHMUSIC and I have not been invited to any anniversary celebrations. I started in the spring of 1985 a couple of months before Erica Ehm joined us. It would be nice if MUCH acknowledged those of us that were there at the beginning. And it would be great to see Mike Williams, Christopher Ward , JD Roberts and Erica Ehm again after all these years! Christopher is currently writing a book about the early days of MUCH- and he has some tales to tell! Stay tuned. 🙂

  3. Bell = Hell. They’re all devils. They don’t give a hoot about our collective history – it’s always about the bottom line. I’m a child of the 80s – so my MM includes Kim Clarke Champniss, Chris Ward, Michael Williams et al. If they aren’t part of this thing – then it ain’t even a thing.

  4. Thanks Mike. The MOD audience had a contagious energy. Rick and I fed off it. Before I was a VJ, I was a viewer. I remember taping the Spotlight (still have my VHS copies), watching Electric Circus (and making notes on dance moves), even being on the street for Intimate & Interactives (Spice Girls!). I remember discovering the Barenaked Ladies, seeing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time, and looking to the VJs like that cool, older kid down the street. Much captured Canadian music and culture in a very authentic way. It was a living, breathing space and time. Anything could happen, and usually did, as we would say. And, we had a blast. Thank you for the post, and the great memories.

    1. Much Music was better when Mr Znaimer was in charge. It was all about music and pop culture and teenaged girls arguing over which VJ was the cutest?

  5. Memories… Pepsi Power Hour, Rapid Fax updates, Much Big Ticket on Saturdays, Blue Spotlight, coming to basic cable in 1988, Metal Tim working in the basement, the janitor guy who was in all the Much promos, Dan Gallagher wearing KISS makeup interviewing Paul Stanley and my fondest memory… Guns n Roses live at the Ritz concert! The greatest concert ever broadcast 🙂

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