• Hi Guest: Welcome to TRIBE, the online home of TRIBE MAGAZINE. If you'd like to post here, or reply to existing posts on TRIBE, you first have to register. Join us!

RIP Martin Streek


TRIBE Member
Do any of you know if that Marsden tribute was made into a podcast, I couldn't listen last night.

mrtunes, i totally agree, i've been reading all of these different blogs and write ups done by his friends and old co-workers, it really gets to you.

i passed by the dark horse cafe on queen just west of broadview and their chalkboard outside had a message about martin. i guess he used to go in there as he lived down the street.

the guy was well loved in the city for sure, i think his facebook memorial page is up to around 15,000 people on it now.


TRIBE Member
A good friend of mine posted this as a tribute to Martin. It seems so fitting at this time. I had tears streaming down my face as I listened and remembered. Martin, you will be missed.......


TRIBE Member
That is so sad me and my buddies used to play pool against him in the Parlour
at the Phoenix on the famous Saturday nights back in the ninties he was such a good guy.


TRIBE Promoter


Special to the Globe and Mail Last updated on Monday, Jul. 13, 2009 03:43AM EDT

When former CFNY DJ Martin Streek's suicide was made public this Tuesday, a scene from late winter 1984 instantly came to mind - driving across the Burlington Skyway on a Friday afternoon, windows down, listening to The The's Uncertain Smile, a station favourite. Real loud. It was just another reminder that CFNY kept the commercial airwaves from being totally useless.

This would have been just after CFNY's then program director, David Marsden - the man who created the phrase "The Spirit of Radio"- hired Mr. Streek, a young volunteer, to drive the 10-ton truck holding the lights and gear for the station's travelling music-video road show. Mr. Streek - his suicide much-lamented this past week, his funeral planned for today - spread the gospel throughout the Golden Horseshoe and beyond. The effect he had was considerable, as Liisa Ladouceur's EyeWeekly.com tribute noted: A "travelling dance party that brought new wave and punk to high schools in coolness-deprived small-town hamlets like mine...."

The Spirit of Radio was a credo: Radio should be exciting, reckless and fun. Above all, it should not be boring and repetitive. The spirit survived in diminished form through three decades of changes at CFNY, from its early days to its current form, 102.1 The Edge. With the passing of Mr. Streek, though, it is difficult to imagine a future for the original spirit.

A term Mr. Marsden coined and Rush borrowed for its 1980 hit song, The Spirit of Radio is now considered a corporate slogan. But back in 1979 it was a call to action, one that reinforced CFNY's progressive free-form style. The on-air announcers refused to kowtow to the then de rigueur tight song playlists for FM rock radio across the continent.

When Mr. Marsden joined CFNY in 1978 it was a piddle of a station with a broadcast range measured in blocks and financial backing from a pair of future stock manipulators. It broadcast out of a dumpy yellow-brick house situated on Brampton's Main Street. Mr. Marsden's vision wagered that there were enough other misfits out there to create a market. And there were, especially ones looking to access punk and its cuddlier cousin, new wave. Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Blondie, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, The Clash and on and on: CFNY played bands other stations would for the most part avoid. " 'Spirit of Radio' wasn't about marketing," says Mr. Marsden, who currently spins free-form radio Thursday and Friday nights on Oshawa's 94.9 The Rock. "It was a way of life."

The station's ad revenues were minuscule, so the station came up with the idea of charging for sock hops catering to new wavers and hosted by CFNY jocks. The ploy worked. "It wasn't about creating a brand," says Mr. Marsden, "it was about putting food on the table."

Punk begat new wave, which begat dance-oriented rock (Soft Cell's Tainted Love, anyone?), and CFNY's faithful flock grew. Eventually, the sock hops gave way to travelling music-video road-show productions, which were promoted on the station. New-music fans in small towns flocked to a club or school, where Mr. Streek would set up the mobile DJ-and-video unit. It became one of the station's signatures - not to mention an inadvertent marketing gimmick. After the next ownership change, Selkirk Communications' deep pockets put CFNY on the CN Tower in 1981, enabling it to reach many more misfits.

Through the 1980s, the grind of commerce wore the edges off CFNY. Still, even within increasingly formatted confines, one might hear Television's 11-minute punk-guitar anthem Marquee Moon, for instance, followed by The Smiths' How Soon Is Now?

But it couldn't last. Mr. Marsden left in 1989 after Selkirk temporarily tarted up playlists to include Madonna, Michael Jackson and Bon Jovi. The faithful were outraged and management backtracked. With new owner Maclean Hunter Ltd., The Spirit of Radio lurched for a couple of years before being replaced with "Edge" music in the 1990s. "No way The Edge was about Spirit of Radio," says Mr. Marsden. "That does not exist any more."

However, CFNY's new vision remained relevant to a new generation of alt-rockers who preferred Nirvana and The Pixies to Madonna and MJ. Broken Social Scene co-founder Brendan Canning says the version of The Edge he grew up with retained a lot of the original spirit. "The Edge in 1993 was not Edge Rock," he says, referring to the station's current hoser-rock predilection.

Mr. Canning says that period consisted of "younger, not so cynical days." His band at the time, hHead, was awarded a prize in 1993 by The Edge and received heavy local airplay. A variety of acts from hHead's era, including Treble Charger, Barenaked Ladies, Spirit of the West and even the world-music group UZEB benefited. "We weren't exactly writing radio singles then," Mr. Canning says.

Mr. Marsden believes there were only two eras of CFNY - the Spirit of Radio, and the rest - while Mr. Canning believes there were three, because he splits the Edge era in two. Industry veteran Stephen Tapp, who currently runs Hercules Media Group and from 2004 to 2007 was president of XM Satellite Radio Canada, says there were actually more.

First of all, he says, there is no question that The Spirit of Radio was a "branding statement" - a brand that has been adapted successfully many times. "We all think we own the brand," he says, "but each generation claims it for his own. They will either follow it or influence it."

Furthermore, Mr. Tapp says, it's an enduring brand that others look to emulate. When he developed The Verge, a Canadian new-music station for XM, he looked to The Edge for guidance. "There isn't much that is original, so you look to the great powerhouses," he says. "I haven't seen many do what they can over time."

As The Edge thrived anew for each generation - at a time when rock stations across the continent have struggled to stay relevant - Mr. Streek remained. He was old school. He had one only job interview ever - with Mr. Marsden. He stayed with the same station for a quarter-century. A company man to the end, the company logo was tattooed on his right buttock. He worked within corporate environs, yet continued to fight for music he believed in. The news then broke on May 18 that Mr. Streek and colleague Barry Taylor were restructured out of 102.1 The Edge. (Program director Ross Winters and music director Don Mitchell did not return calls.)

Mr. Canning and Mr. Marsden agree that Mr. Streek's indefatigable energy persisted to the end. "The spirit lived on in Martin," Mr. Marsden says, "because he was the last of the originals."

Mr. Streek's tragic final act added an exclamation point to the end of The Spirit of Radio, yet Mr. Marsden is not an absolutist. "People always talk of corporations ruining radio, but I don't see it that way," he says. "We were run by a large corporation when it was The Spirit of Radio. But then, we had management that would listen to our passions, and we were willing to fight for them."


TRIBE Member
People lose their jobs all the time. Streek had a dream job for 20 years many would love.

His reason for doing this must've been deeper. Seems as if he had many people around in his life to deal such an issue.

"So...I guess that's it...thanks everyone...I'm sorry to those I should be sorry to, I love you to those that I love, and I will see you all again soon (not too soon though)... Let the stories begin."

Let the stories begins?

RIP Martin Streek


TRIBE Promoter
I don't know what is sadder....the fact that he is dead or the fact that he followed through on the decision to kill himself....


TRIBE Member
depression can be an outright bitch when it kicks in.
if his uber close friends only saw the warning signs a bit earlier...
not to open up wounds, but according to my best dude friend, who was close in the circle, they were all apparently very worried about him within weeks before it happened. losing his job, his girlfriend leaving him, drinking after being sober for a long time. it's sad when the domino effect takes place, but once you get it in your mind that you're finished, most of the time the signs don't matter much anyhow. i've gone through a few suicides in my time, and it's mostly always the case unfortunately.

RIP Martin.


TRIBE Member
The Edge has finally woken up, and will celebrate and remember the life of Martin Streek on Sunday from 5pm to 8pm.