Late afternoon Thursday, FYI reached out to Randy Lennox, the decorated and seemingly inexhaustible Bell Media president who has been at the centre of countless charitable endeavours and a champion of Canada’s music scene since playing in a band as a kid in the mid-70s.
With over 300 media assets under his charge, the former UMC CEO is leading the extraordinary Canadian pan-media Stronger Together broadcast that airs this Sunday at 6:30 pm over a coalition of media with the goal of providing an entertaining diversion for homegrown audiences during the lockdown and raising desperately needed funds for umbrella org Canada Food Banks.
Jockeying meetings, phone calls and who knows what, he begged off in speaking over the phone but answered a few questions we put to him about Sunday's Stronger Together broadcast in an e-mail exchange.
How quickly was this broadcast pulled together?
Randy Lennox: I called Lindsay Cox, John Brunton, Mike Cosentino and Tyson Parker 10 days ago and said we should do a television special to celebrate community heroes.
We certainly didn’t expect that it would turn into being available on over 100 platforms in Canada and that means that every station virtually in the country, be it television, streaming and radio are now a proud part of Stronger Together.
Now, of course, we also want to honour the incredibly tragic situation in Nova Scotia.
Clearly a lot of resources - technical, manpower, air time - go into this food bank fundraiser.
RL: We have worked very closely with insight and CBC, and we've had hundreds of people working from home to move things along as quickly as we can; and we now have over 100 people on the air for the commercial-free broadcast.
I understand Bell Media is donating a studio to pull the different feeds together. What is Insight Productions' role here?
RL: Bell Media will be putting together the foundational feed and we’re working very closely with Insight to produce several dozen performances and stories for our 90-minute broadcast Sunday at 6:30 PM Eastern
How 'live' is the show, or are you pre-taping a lot of people who appear for quality control purposes?
RL: Everyone is performing from home and putting their songs and thoughts together between now and Sunday. (Right now) we are doing talent calls every 15 minutes all day today and tomorrow so we can actually try to mix and master and colourize the show on Saturday.
This is about honouring Canadian Heroes and also raising money for the food banks, and my dear friend Gary Slaight was the first person to step up and write a cheque for $100,000 just as we got started.