Media, Darling: Jeremy John

Breakfast Television Winnipeg host Jeremy John wakes Winnipeggers up with a smile each and every

John’s love of storytelling and meeting interesting and
diverse people makes him a perfect fit for Breakfast Television. A Brantford,
Ontario native, John graduated from the Radio Broadcasting program at Humber
College in Toronto. Prior to joining the Citytv team, John has held a variety
of radio and television positions including stints at Rogers Television, 680News, CHFI, The Fan 590, KISS 92.5, 97.7 The Beach, SunTV, and A Channel.
Outside of work, John enjoys spending time with his family,
watching live theatre, and is a fan of just about any sport including hockey,
basketball and football. He is also a proud supporter of various local
charities including The YMCA, The Salvation Army and The Humane Society, as well as
local community theatre.
A few fun interesting facts you may not know is that John once worked as a giant jelly bean, got punched by “Tiger” Williams and put in a
headlock from John Cena, swam in a pool of cranberries, acted in a live weekly
theatre soap opera and competed multiple times in the World Championship of
Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other
careers were on the horizon? 
I wanted to be an actor. I thought that Canadians just
move to Hollywood and become famous.  Ended up in theatre school, hung out
with a lot of unemployed actors and decided to give radio a try instead.
Where would you like to be five years from now?
Here. In a bigger house. With nicer clothes. 
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Be ready and able to do anything. Learn as many skills
as possible. The person who can write and host and shoot and edit will
get the job sooner than the person who can do less.
Also be a solution person, not a problem person. If
there is an issue, bring it to the boss. But make every effort to bring a
solution along with you. It may not be the perfect solution but the boss
should see you as a person who always has an answer
What are your favourite media outlets, not including your
I watch/read/listen to all the local stations, newspapers,
blogs. I also am a big fan of lots of the CBC programming, sites like
reddit and boing boing
Best interview you’ve ever had?
Cheech and Chong were fun, so were The Wiggles, but for very
different reasons. I’m a huge Blue Jays fan so interviewing Hall of Famer
Roberto Alomar standing in the infield of Shaw Park was a very big deal to me.
Plus, he was super nice and hung out telling stories before and after the
Anyone who complains about having to get up early to be on
our show. Sorry, honestly I am, but we’re here and ready for you. The least you could do is put on a happy face for the camera.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Fire it before it quits – a Roz Weston from KISS 92.5 quote
talking about my rapidly receding hair line. I started shaving it that weekend.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Family first. Fifty years from now I won’t regret not
putting in more overtime. I would regret missing a T-ball game or an
afternoon at the park.
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Make me understand how this is a benefit to my
audience. Focus on how this will improve the life of my audience and the
rest takes care of itself. The single focus should be the benefit to the
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear
about #wins.
Whenever the PR folks give me choices. Give me
different ideas about how to present your info. You know your product, I
know our show. Together we can make great bit of TV!
I hate?
People who make my job harder. If you do your work
properly, than I can do mine.
I love?
Making the control room laugh, intentionally or not. It’s great to hear the very busy people (who normally aren’t really giggly)
laughing at something I’ve done.
Right now? Christopher Moore’s Sacre Bleu and Stephen
Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.
Two books at the same time, you ask? One in the upstairs
bathroom, one in the downstairs bathroom. Hey, you asked!
Best place on earth?
In the stands with my family at the ball park.

Dinner guest?

My wife. I know, you think I’m boring right. But
she’s really fun, she likes me a lot and I don’t get to see her nearly
enough. If I have to make a second choice, I would pick Eddie Vedder
Terry Fox. It’s a cliché for a Canadian to say that,
but he’s a hero if ever there was one. A teenage kid who did so much for
cancer research.
Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
New stuff every day. Right now playing Monsters Ate My Condo, and Sid Meyers’ Pirates! 
Pool or ocean?
Pool – I hate jelly fish.
Voicemail or email?
I can ignore emails easier, so I prefer that. If you
need to get a hold of me, you should probably call.


Media, Darling: Paul Boynett

Veteran producer Paul Boynett has been working in the entertainment/television industry for over a decade. He got his start in the showbiz industry at Much Music, were he worked as an overnight tape operator, had a few editing and producing gigs at Much Music and StarTV, then finally settled at Bravo! as an Associate Producer. He is addicted to anything by The Beatles, Clash or Led Zeppelin, is a self-proclaimed Ontario craft beer expert and thinks that Jack White should produce every record made. 

Other fun facts about Boynett: opera makes him cry, he loves when Norah Jones goes country and he takes his single malt and blended Scotches seriously. 

With the bearded dragon (the lizard, not Boynett).
Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
No. I was either going to be a screenwriter or an air traffic controller.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
On the Amalfi Coast in Italy.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Don’t expect to start out doing what you want. I wanted to be a producer but when nothing was available I took an editing position. Although I wasn’t great at it, it gave me a better perspective on storytelling (I knew what worked and what didn’t) and when I did become a producer, I had a much better idea about how to do the job.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
Setanta, HBO and anyone showing soccer. I am addicted to The Onion A/V club.  A must-visit site for pop culture junkies. I listen to NPR’s “All Songs Considered” and “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me” (a very funny look at the week’s news headlines styled like a ’50’s quiz show).

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
Stephen Colbert in Montreal was the best. I got to talk to him alone for about ten minutes while camera was setting up (this was about three months before he left The Daily Show to start The Colbert Report) and he told me a great story about how when he was growing up, he was embarrassed by the stigma of being from the south. So much so he tried to hide his accent when he went to college at Northwestern. A very, very smart guy – as all great comics are.

Wilford Brimley (the diabetes commercial guy) was the worst. He thought I mistook him for another actor (which I didn’t) and it became very awkward.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
When I was an editor and got tense as deadlines approached, a senior editor told me never to panic – it always gets to air.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Never discuss politics with friends.

Never say something behind someone’s back that you wouldn’t say to their face.

Don’t waste your energy reacting to someone who is nasty or negative.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Tell me why whatever it is you are promoting works for my show(s). With an email inbox that sometimes is bursting at the seams, it is easier if I know immediately why something is a good fit for us. 

Also, although my hair looks like Einstein’s, I am no genius. Sometimes there is an angle to a story or event that is not obvious to me, so show me.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.  
Anytime someone arrives at an interview with all the materials (clips, photos, etc.) I need to put my story together makes me happy. Having to follow up and wait for story elements is frustrating and sometimes means missed deadlines.

I hate?:
Waking up before 10 a.m.  Oh yeah, also, gardening.

I love?:  
Waking up after 10 a.m. Manchester City Football Club. My dogs. (Two Italian Greyhounds and a Chihuahua).

Among The Truthers by Jonathan Kay.

Best place on earth?
It’s a tie – Austin, Texas and Venice, Italy.

Dinner guest? 
Hank Williams.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)? 
NPR App (is this sounding pretentious?).

Pool or ocean? 
Neither, I am deathly afraid of sharks and I hate chlorine.

Voicemail or email?

Media, Darling: Ilana Banks

Ilana Banks is a producer for CBC News: Entertainment, where she works with a dedicated team of journalists to produce uniquely Canadian arts & entertainment stories.
Banks cultivated her love for all things entertainment and pop culture related as the first high school intern at MuchMusic and has never looked back. Since then she has worked at CNN, directed a documentary in the Sudan, produced a youth-focused current affairs show at CTV, and various CBC Arts News programs.

Ilana working her magic with U2 and James McAvoy

Twitter: @IlanaBanks

How can someone grab your attention with a pitch?
I will certainly return a phone call or an email if a pitch is specifically tailored to our team. What does this mean? A pitch that understands what we do and how we do it. We are not here to sell a product or event, but if you have a cool event or pitch with a news hook that you have researched, then we can tell the story.

Another critical point: we are a national news network. We report on stories that must appeal to Canadians, not just Torontonians, so craft a pitch that includes information about how your story idea could be of national interest. Another excellent way to grab my attention? Offer our team something unique – some type of special angle, access, or a way to involve our reporters in the story. We are looking to take our audience behind the scenes and reveal a story that they cannot see on another show or network.

What do you find most useful when dealing with public relations professionals?
I almost fell off my chair a few weeks ago when a publicist sent a confirmation of our interview with the time and exact location in the building where our interview would take place. She even told me what the room looked and how many windows it had, so our camera man could bring the right lighting kit. I know this doesn’t sound revolutionary but this almost never happens, yet it is so simple and so useful. It is always best to provide as many details as you can, the less surprises, the better, for all of us.

What is the biggest mistake PR professionals make?
Not tailoring a pitch to our network and news programming. Very few name our reporters or display any knowledge of our programming or previous stories.

Your pet peeve?
Everything I mentioned my previous answer. Oh, and getting pitches for the show our team used to produce but has been off the air for years! My other pet peeve is when a publicist tries to control the angle of our story. I understand their job is to protect their client, but when you are approaching a large news organization like CBC with a story, there has to be certain amount of trust and understanding that we are looking to provide a balanced and accurate news story.

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?
I love when a PR professional really “gets it” – when they have taken the time to do a little research and we can work together to get a great story out to Canadians.