Paul Houde has found his new team: 91.9 Sports.
Posted at 6:45am
Montreal radio’s most sought-after free agent will host the weekend’s morning show. Premiere: 3.9. And if his show is as entertaining as our encounter on Tuesday when he first visited Laurier Avenue Studios, you’ll be delighted.
Because Paul Houde loves sports.
“I’m a real one ‘ he admits with a laugh.
Implied: a true sports fan. The guy who cheers for his Chicago Blackhawks and San Francisco 49ers on the street. Or packing the car for a college football game.
I’ve been one of the few Canadians to be a member of the International Association of Athletic Statisticians since 1977.
Are you surprised?
Neither do I. His love for numbers is well known to the general public. Also his interest in athletics – he was a television analyst at the Barcelona and Atlanta games. “Athletics was an irrational and devouring passion! That’s still the case, he says, despite statements to the contrary a few years ago.
“And be careful, Paul is a bad loser,” says his collaborator for the past 15 years, Kathrine Huet, who will be on the show. “If his favorite teams lose, he can go up to 72 hours without speaking to us…”
There will be long periods of silence among the Blackhawks, I pointed out.
“The 49ers’ losses are worse than the Blackhawks’ losses,” he replies. When they go very far and lose, I’m in a really bad mood. »
On the 91.9 Sports microphone, he will be able to chat with thousands of fans, whose mood will also vary depending on the performance of their favorite team. An unexpected challenge that inspires him.
What is his show about?
Canadian of course. From football. “I love the NFL. It’s rare that I don’t watch the three Sunday games on RDS and the Monday night soccer. For me, the first game on Thursday night is an anti-depressant to get through the changing seasons. »
Also, expect lots and lots and lots of anecdotes. When you have an interview, you don’t wait for the next one. “Once Bruny Surin told me…” “I practiced my German with Katarina Witt. “Have you seen the Texas Rangers Stadium?” Wonderful. »
It has attention to eye-catching detail and a well-crafted punch.
He has already found the subject of his first show, he admits, the 50th anniversary of the series of the century, the highlights of which he quotes from memory. “We will open the lines. It’s not true that everyone is young. I ask the listeners: do you have any memories of this madness, of another time? From the Cold War. Soviets. From her old skates. We learned from her famous sentence, which we have also taken up The young. »
Paul Houde also knows what he will not do.
Don’t count on me to do raw raw. I don’t want to be neglected, be polite and speak French, sports support. I don’t want to get into the conversation from Jockstrap. I wouldn’t be good for that. That’s not my view of the sport.
Paul Houde had been with Cogeco for nearly 25 years when his managers decided last spring not to renew his mandate as Weekend Morning host. A decision he says he respects but has saddened him.
“When we started the weekend with 98.5 FM three years ago, we had five market shares. We ended up with 23%, in a niche where there were no listening habits [pour Cogeco]. Radio-Canada was the reference because it invested over the weekend. It’s quite ironic to leave 98.5 FM when we beat Joël Le Bigot and Franco Nuovo in the last poll. It’s like we beat everyone else in track and field at the 10,000 meter mark. And our reward? We go ! »
Today he says it with a laugh. But we suspect it hurt him at the time.
“A few minutes after the announcement of his dismissal, his phone started ringing,” says Kathrine Huet. Those were the competing networks, specifies Paul Houde.
“It really touched me. I had approaches from everyone in the industry. I couldn’t speak to them because I was still under contract. I couldn’t pursue them, negotiate with them, or compromise. »
Paul Houde therefore traveled to the USA to shoot a documentary series Paul in all his states, intended for Quebecor platforms. It was his attorney who negotiated his move to 91.9 Sports. The popular presenter will also have a weekly column at ICI Première.
Talks between Paul Houde and 91.9 Sports had already existed a few years ago, when Mario Cecchini, now president of the Alouettes, ran the station. But it never got very far. “The conditions were not favorable,” says Paul Houde.
This time they were. His new boss, Yves Bombardier, showed a child’s smile after the Easter Bunny’s passage on Tuesday when I met him in the aisles of the train station.
“It’s going to be a show where sport and society intersect,” he told me feverishly. “We expect to come out game by game. Rather, we ask ourselves: How can we see sports news or news in general through a sports filter? An example: the upcoming elections. How will we cover them?
“Paul will be the ideal running back. He’s a generalist. A library on two legs. He knows everything. And he loves sports. Both the amateur and the professional. He will work with Greg Lanctôt on the broadcast. Both share the same interests. We will gather the ingredients and something will happen. »
Something will happen.
And it promises to be entertaining.