By Raynier Maharaj
The popular Soca Therapy show on Sundays on FLOW 93.5 FM is no more.
It has been confirmed that the show was pulled by the station’s new owners, CHUM FM, during a meeting with staff to restructure the station on Wednesday.
Soca Therapy host Dr Jay told The Camera at press time that he was “disappointed” but as a professional, he had to respect the decision by the station’s new owners.
“Of course it’s a tough day for the community, and everyone across the board who enjoys soca,” said Dr Jay.
CHUM purchased FLOW from Milestone Radio in June 2010, but CRTC approval of the deal only came Tuesday evening. CHUM is part of the CTVglobeMedia Group. On Wednesday, the station’s new management summoned all the staff to a meeting, and told them that there were going to be changes.
Soca Therapy is one of two Caribbean shows on FLOW which got the axe. The other is the reggae show Riddim Track with Speks, which followed the soca show on Sunday nights.
The Camera was unable to speak with Speks about the cancellation of his show, but Dr Jay said the move by CHUM seemed a clear attempt by the station to reposition FLOW in the market.
“I can’t say for sure if there will be any more Caribbean programming on the station in the future,” the radio host said.
The social site Twitter was all ablaze with the news of Soca Therapy’s cancellation, and Dr Jay said that while he understood the concern of the show’s fans, he couldn’t bring himself to answer them “just yet.”
Instead, he posted this cryptic response to questions: “Yes, it’s true. Soca Therapy has been affected by the changes at Flow. Sundays won’t be the same.”
Neither CHUM nor FLOW have commented on the cancellation of the Caribbean shows, or given a reason for the decision.
Dr Jay’s Soca Therapy was one of FLOW’s top shows, and earned the deejay turned radio host the 2002 UMAC Award for Radio Personality of the Year and the 2006 Stylus Soca DJ of the Year.
When the show went on the air in 2001, it was seen as a way of appeasing the fears of Toronto’s Caribbean community that it was being left out of a new station that was designed for them.
The original owners of FLOW had solicited the support of the community when it applied for its license but when it launched, it chose an urban format, which many saw as a slap in the face of the Caribbean community.
For Dr Jay, all is not lost.
“I was paying respects to the culture before FLOW came along, and I will continue to do just that,” he told The Camera. “This is not the end, it’s only the beginning. This is just a minor setback. I will continue to be the writer of my own book.”