Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mike's Persuasion

Waterloo, Ontario, May 9, 2007

I’m going to do a shameless plug for a show on CBC radio. The show is [O'Reilly And The Age Of Persuasion]. There are two very good reasons for me to do this plug. First of all, I love the show. I think it’s the best thing on radio today. The other reason is that one of the two creators of the show is my brother; Mike Tennant. Mike’s been writing for radio for a long time and when he teams up with Terry O’Reilly, the combination is Magic.

Mike and Terry met years ago while Mike was doing freelance work for CHUM Radio. A bunch of guys from Advertising and Radio started getting together four times a year to talk shop and just hang out. They called themselves 'The Gashouse Gang'. Mike says that Terry would start telling anecdotes from his years of experience in Advertising and everyone just had a great time together.

At one of these sessions someone suggested Terry should do a Radio show and that Mike write it with him. They all agreed it was a pretty good idea. Mike was already doing a regular spot for the CBC program ‘D.N.T.O.’ [Definitely Not The Opera] so he agreed to call Chris Boyce; who was one of the production execs on that show. Mike thought that if Chris liked the idea, he might be able to get them a meeting with the right people at CBC. But when Mike phoned Chris and ran the idea past him, Chris Boyce replied: "Mike, you know I'm now in charge of Program Development right?" Mike was shocked. He had no idea he had just done the pitch right there and then. Chris helped Mike and Terry navigate the twists and turns of CBC bureaucracy so they could produce a pilot for the first series of shows; [O'Reilly On Advertising].

The show was a hit right from the start. Terry O'Reilly is a Legend in Advertising and knows the business inside out and he knows some great stories. But what really makes the show work is that
Terry has an easy-going, homespun voice that really comes across on Radio. He just tells stories about the business and we enjoy listening. I get a personal kick out of hearing Mikes influence. I can hear Mike speaking through the script as he draws on many of the experiences we remember from our time growing up; like the bits with Stan Freeburg and other comedy Greats.

Mike showed me a script he’s working on right now. Once he and Terry have a theme for a show, Mike starts putting his research together and organizes the line-up using Post-em notes. Then he and Terry talk about the script and and between them they mold the segments into the final program.

Terry and Mike make every moment in the show count. They’re not satisfied to just come up with a different show each week; they also change the opening theme and create crazy credits to finish each show. Mike tells me that he is often racking his brain on the way to the studio to come up with a sound bite to start each show off with a laugh.

I asked Mike what it is that makes this collaboration between Terry O’Reilly and Mike Tennant works so well. He put it this way:
“…Terry’s personality, Terry’s charm, Terry’s experience, Terry’s wisdom, Terry’s Wit, Terry’s War stories, Terry’s narratives…but it’s MY Show.”

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