Rock’n with Derringer in the Morning

Cover, Nov 18, 2011

Story: Bill Delingat

It was in the mid 80’s, when hair bands ruled and rock stations controlled the airwaves that a sportscaster and radio host from Q107 rolled up to the big east end night club for the international arm wrestling championships.

John Gallagher and John Derringer entered the main hall as celebrity hosts for the event and checked out the competition tables and the competitors.

It was Derringer who noticed the female division and a particular petite blonde from the East coast competing for the World Championship.

Derringer commented to Gallagher, “I bet I can take her, what about you?” “You’re the sports guy”. The two brazen jocks knew a lead in when they saw it and introduced themselves to the ladies’ team and the champ from Nova Scotia. That led of course to the idea of a friendly arm wrestle. When the lassie removed her jacket to expose a right arm that seemed that as if it belonged to Popeye, the boys decided to regroup and maybe even toss a coin to see who would jump in and ”Win one for the Gipper”.

I am silenced by code to say for certain which of our valiant heroes fell to the awesome power of that humongous right arm on what would be otherwise a petite East coater but we can say ‘That was one for the ladies”.

Now, some 30 years later and after a 9-year stint with Q107, Gallagher has moved on. Derringer who first joined Q107 in 1984 stayed with the station until 1993. He later returned in 2000,

replacing Howard Stern as the morning host in 2007. Derringer has since moved north of the city with his wife Charlene, daughters Madison, Jessica, Riley, mother in law Bubba and faithful lab, Willow.

Derringer has been named "Radio Personality of the Year" by Canada Music Week nine times, and also "Favourite Toronto Radio Personality" by the Sun, Eye Weekly, "Now Magazine" and the Top Choice awards, winning it again in 2010. On Thursday March 22nd 2012 the veteran Q107 personality will join the ranks of Canada’s broadcasting elite in the Canadian Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame.  Derringer will be honoured with the Allan Waters Broadcast Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding success in broadcasting. The induction ceremony will take place during Canadian Music Week’s 30th anniversary celebrations at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

Every year Derringer, a motorcycle enthusiast, leads "The B.A.D. Ride", a charity ride for the benefit of the Distress Centres of Toronto. Derringer also spearheads the "13 Days of Christmas" fundraising campaign, which has raised almost $4 million for The Martin Kruze Memorial Fund and the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness.

Derringer is not one to be shy and his criticisms and opinions have sometimes landed him and the station in awkward positions but he has always found the support of his collogues and fans.  CILQ-FM once stated that "The Program, like many radio shows, can sometimes be controversial in nature and not for everyone's taste. However, many of Q107's core audience, which is mainly adults in the 25-54 year old age group, in particular, men, find the Program humorous”.

The bond between the two was cemented when Corus Entertainment announced a new 10-year agreement with Derringer and Toronto's classic rock station, Q107. "Corus is my home, and Q107 is the family room where we get to sit and have a laugh every day with the very loyal Q107 audience," said Derringer. "In the entertainment business, there's nothing more important than being surrounded by people who understand and support what you do." One of those is a petite blonde (not the spinach eater) with over 25 years of radio experience under her belt. Maureen Holloway, a mother of two started off as a traffic announcer, worked on the Comedy Network and is best known for her radio segments The Last Word.

She is also a cancer survivor, Holloway once said,” The best therapy has been the support of my friends and family, and in that group I include the Mighty Q listeners.” After completing treatments she is now cancer free and often speaks openly and positively about her life experiences.

Maureen is also known for her charity work including the "The Longest Lunch" which is an event to raise money for the Breast Centre at Women's College Hospital and  "Get Wiggy with It", a program that raises money for the Wig Salon Patient Assistance Fund, at The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation. In 2006, she won the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Gold Ribbon Award for Humour.

Holloway has her hands full as Derringer, Ryan Parker and John “Flairboy” Garbutt bring on the antics and the laughs with zany contests and “talk out” their views on daily news items. This combination of characters has made for a great way to start your day when stuck on the road to work in the morning.

Next week (Nov.25) marks the 10 anniversary of the pair’s #1 morning show ‘Derringer in the Morning” with Derringer and Holloway, and Toronto mornings have not rocked so much since. As this awesome team has reached the 10-year milestone, the mighty Q is throwing a party. On Friday November 25th the10th Anniversary Edition of Breakfast with Derringer with John, Maureen, Ryan and Flairboy will be a live broadcast from the Hard Rock Café, their old hangout at Yonge & Dundas.

You could be part of this special edition broadcast with special guests and the Q107 Classic Rock House band. Check out the station for details.

"As one of Toronto's most recognized voices, John has put his own unique stamp on morning radio in this city. He exemplifies the calibre of exceptional talent and programming that Corus is committed to delivering to its audiences," said Chris Pandoff, Executive Vice President and President, Corus Radio on announcing the new agreement.  "John's extraordinary ability to connect with listeners has helped solidify Q107's dominant position in the marketplace."

Derringer has named the Rolling Stones “Gimme Shelter” as his favorite song so you know you are in good hands if you like to rock. Listen, on line, in your car or on your smart phone to Breakfast with Derringer along with Mo, Ryan and Flairboy, you will not be disappointed.

Ten down, Ten to go.