His campaign was laughable: It was rife with scandal, anti-immigrant sentiment, and declarations of war against the city’s “elites.” And yet, in 2010, Rob Ford was elected Toronto’s mayor. Then came the drinking, the drugs, the police investigations, and “the” explosive tape that kept a city – and much of the world media – riveted. Launching on Frequency Podcast Network with two episodes on Thursday, Oct. 31 and weekly episodes to follow, The Gravy Train is an eight-part original investigative podcast exploring one of the most famous – or infamous – moments in Canadian history with a fresh perspective. The launch comes on the anniversary of the day Toronto Police Services confirmed it was in possession of video evidence of Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine.
Rob Ford’s rise to power revealed how politics and media were changing, a legacy that persists in governments around the world today. Hosted by Frequency Podcast Network’s Jordan Heath-Rawlings, veteran newspaper journalist and current host of flagship daily news podcast The Big Story, The Gravy Train also explores the rise of scandal-ridden-but-beloved populist leaders and the distortion of truth in the media – two themes that began in Toronto with Rob Ford and spread around the world from there.
How did Rob Ford spiral so dramatically out of control? And stranger still, even during the worst of it, why did much of the city still love him? The Gravy Train features more than 25 original interviews with key players in the saga – from journalists who investigated Ford, staffers who built his campaign and dealt with his destructive behaviour, allies and foes on Toronto council, members of the Ford family, Etobicoke connections, and even a now-retired member of the Canadian armed forces who can finally share her story. Podcast producers delved into CityNews and 680NEWS archives to discover never-before-heard audio, plus audio from Ford’s time on council and in office that seems all the more relevant and revelatory today, a decade after his election as mayor.
With a focus on Canadian stories and storytellers from original producers and partner podcasts, The Gravy Train is the latest addition to Rogers Media’s Frequency Podcast Network. Now in its second year, Frequency is resonating with Canadians, with its flagship daily current affairs podcast The Big Story celebrated by Canadian Podcast Awards as winner of “Outstanding News and Current Affairs” podcast, and designated as one of “Apple’s Best of 2018.” The new season of parenting podcast, Moms in the Middle is enjoying 300% growth over last season, and is recognized as one of “Apple’s Best So Far in 2019.” And with more than 1,300 five-star reviews on Apple, fans prove that morning show favourites Roz & Mocha are great any time of the day.
Recent additions to Frequency include The Lawn Chair Prophets, with Garner Andrews and Bryce Kelly from Edmonton’s Sonic 102.9;The Biggs & Barr Show from CHEZ in Ottawa; Someone Else’s Movie, hosted by leading Canadian film writer Norm Wilner; The Adventures of Starship Coconut, a fully voice-acted sci-fi comedy podcast that is as weird as it is wonderful; and The Coup, a podcast about the people who disrupt the status quo, in everything from advertising to media to food.