We walk through life concentrating on our own stuff. That's inevitable. Then, one day, we see the person next to us, really see them, and realize their life is as significant as ours’s, that an inherent balance exists between us, which translates into equality of all peoples.

When I schmoozed with Michael Rubin on Segment 47 of HatRadio! I was able to see that life-parallelism or sorts. Why? Well because Michael - the Spiritual Director at Beth David Synagogue, once a field-educator (tour guide) in Israel and a hockey player and coach for one of Israel's nation team, a dad and husband - talked about these chapters in his life with great humility and modesty, I felt compelled to tuck my ego away and embrace his beautiful spirit. And I did. And he moved me. Listen to Michael talk about visiting Israel for the first time, kneeling on the tarmac and kissing the ground. Hear his insight into the trope (Torah notes), as sounds that reflect significant instances in the 5-books of Moses. Michael loves the dessert and sees no need to meditate there, because it is 'a meditative environment'. My guest is an inspiring man. He is an appreciative man.  Listen and see him, and then perhaps, you'll really see the person walking next to you. HatRadio! The show that schmoozes.


Thank you, Gary Samuel, for sponsoring the show and Mark Gryfe of Gryfe Philanthropic Services for doing the same. They are generous of spirit. Thank you too, David Nefesh, for the HatRadio! song. See David in Detroit on Sat., Dec. 21 at the Plymouth Coffe Bean Co.   . Hear David's music at: https://www.reverbnation.com/davidnefesh. Appreciation to Howard Pasternack for his post-production work.  Well done to Stephanie Kazdan for designing the new HatRadio! Poster. Great comments. Please support Stephanie by purchasing her articles as dishswear.com or through Facebook@dishswear .   

Credit for music in commercial:
"Slow Burn" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0



Welcome to Episode 46 of HatRadio!. I am a rabbinical son who gave up Orthodox Judaism (Frum Judaism) in my early twenties never to return to it. Many people over the years have asked me, 'why'? In this episode, Rabbi Daniel Korobkin of the orthodox BAYT synagogue (https://www.bayt.ca/) of Toronto, conducts an interview with me asking questions about my decision to leave the belief system of my father and mother. Some of the very compelling questions he ask included: What was the price I paid for leaving Frum Judaism; was I sexually abused, something that could have encouraged me to leave the lifestyle I was born into?; Was my father disappointed in me right up until his death?; Did my mother accept my decision? Did my four sisters remain religious? Do I have regrets about my decision? Have a listen to the show. It was challenging for me, but cleansing, and I'm hoping my discussion with this very fascinating Rabbi, who is my friend, will enlighten some and help others who are on a similar path I took. HatRadio! The show that schmoozes. 


I'm grateful to Mark Gryfe of Gryfe Philanthropic Sevices, and Gary Samuel, for sponsoring the show. They are two men who are generous of spirit and basically, giving me a hand in this challenging venture. Thank you too, David Nefesh, for the HatRadio! song. Great comments on it. See David in Detroit on Sat., Dec. 21 at the Plymouth Coffe Bean Co.   . Hear David's music at: https://www.reverbnation.com/davidnefesh. Appreciation to Howard Pasternack for his post-production work.  You always manage to get the sound to a pleasurable-listening place (despite my technical weaknesses in recording). And well done to Stephanie Kazdan for designing the new HatRadio! Poster. It's magnificent and takes the show up a real big notch. Please support Stephanie by purchasing her articles as dishswear.com or through Facebook@dishswear .   

Credit for music in commercial: "Slow Burn" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)  Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/



Welcome to Episode 45 with the inimitable Jaymz Bee. Man, this is one of those over-the-top shows with a guest who has a potful of energy, and stories galore to tell -- hence the 2 hours and 22-minute time. We just couldn't stop talking. Jaymz had to end the show with a poem he wrote reflecting his thoughts and those of many men, called, 'I Love My Almost Girlfriend' (2:19:06). 

Jaymz Bee, 56, is an entertainer, a bandleader, writer, radio host on Jazz FM, tour guide,  lover of life...and he is kind. He arrived at the interview two-hours early. I wasn't frantic as I used to get, but my notes weren't ready nor was the equipment. We got it up and going never-the-less. The talk between us ended up evolving into a real hometown schmooze, just two guys hanging out. His earliness was perfect. The show really sizzled. I loved it. 

So lay back on your Lazy-Girl/Boy, spark up a dube and let Jaymz's world seep into your consciousness. Listen to this colorful man's experience with Dr. Seuss; Tony Bennett (who calls Jaymz, 'Mr. Toronto'), the Rolling Stones (Mick welcomed Jaymz by name to impress the beautiful woman he [Jaymz] was with); Don Francks, the great Canadian actor, who was like a brother to Jaymz; Paul McCartney ('are you still vegetarian, Paul'?); Barry Manilow, Al Waxman and the Canadian cross-generational icon Mr. Dressup, Ernie Coombs. 

An inevitable question to ask a type-A pogo-stick sort of fellow like Jaymz is, 'so what were your parents like'? Jaymz responded that they were zany, quirky, crazy, funny and handsome ("Mom looked like Susan St. James; Dad looked like Rock Hudson"). They loved each other deeply, as heard through Jaymz's 'colostomy bag story' (42:47).  His Mom played practical jokes on the kids; scarred the crap out of James jumping out of the closet upon his arrival home. Her funeral was a party. Everyone got loaded and told hilarious stories including Mom's favorite comics: Jef Farquharson (couldn't remember Mom's name), and Pam Hyatt. Life was different in young Jaymz growing up year, different than most of our childhoods (would you have preferred his?). 

And his parents were kind, and this is what Jaymz aspired to be: a decent human being who could help young musicians and others as often as possible. And that's exactly who he became, despite the fact he was bullied terribly as a kid. Damn, I hate that.

Episode 45 is sprinkled with compassion and sharing. Jaymz talks about personally underwriting a record for a newcomer to Canada from Poland, the brilliant, "other world", Adam Makowicz (1:14:30).  Jaymz tells us how blessed he feels, to have been shown kindness early on by his parents, and to have siblings who are similarly kind. And he says, "I'm living on borrowed time". I'll leave that for you to figure out.

What I love about this interview is that Jaymz is a unique fellow who shares many sides of himself freely, and openly. He is a very inspiring and peculiarly human. Episode 45 is a reflection of a man who despite seeing the world as being absurd (or perhaps because of), is happy, willing to let us know who he is, including his drive to live life with gusto with lots and lots of woman friends, Hollywood stars and regular folk including guys like me.  Enjoy the show with Jaymz Bee! 

HatRadio! The show that schmoozes. Please share the link. 


Thank you Mark Gryfe and Gryfe Philanthropic Services for your sponsorship. We look forward to welcoming Gary Samuel and Paula Zivot, as our new sponsors. We're grateful for your support. 

Thank you to David Nefesh for the HatRadio! song, and to Howard Pasternack for his post-production work. Superlative job guys! Thank you.  

Credit for music in commercial:
"Slow Burn" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0


Welcome to HatRadio!, Episode 44 with my special guest, the inimitable spirit, an entertainer, performer, founder of Michael White and the White, original lead singer of Motley Crew, a singer/songwriter, a Dad/family man and a fellow who went through a lot of awful shit when he was a kid - ladies and gentleman, a big hand for Mr. Michael White.  

So, on the morning of the show, I stuck my head out my door to see Michael walking down the hall. I like doing that. Sure enough he got off the elevator and headed toward me, his long rock-n-roll hair hanging down and his 6'4" frame sauntering, slowly, as if to be taking in the moment. We greeted and hugged. Old friends. We hadn’t seen each other in a while. Michael was my voice teacher and we used to schmooze for hours in his low lit and warm home studio. But it had been a couple of years. You know how it goes.

I always liked Michael because he speaks slowly, methodically and regularly wears a warm, gracious, and childlike smile on his face. He is decent and inspirational. He made me feel good about myself. And I knew I was with a real, authentic rock-star. And I love rock-stars. I've interviewed a few of them. They just have this way about them...a sort of 'life is whole lot of fun. It can be meaningful. I love what I do. And fuck you. I'll show you.' What else could you ask in a friend.

So, My friend, this larger than life man, comes into my home. I direct him to his seat. We did a sound check. He knows what he was doing. We tape the show. We cover a lot of ground like we used to do in his studio. The big topic of conversation in the first half of HatRadio! episode 44, was about his Mom. They were living in Los Angeles. Michael was 13. One day, he comes home, goes to the next room, hears a shot and finds his Mom, with a bullet in her head. Dead. Oy! Damn. My heart always breaks when I think about Michael, when he was my son's age, going through that. Damn. And he goes to school the next day....no tools to help him. No therapy. Nobody to hold him and comfort him. 'Are you okay?'. Big hug young Michael

But, later in life, he was okay. More than that. After Michael figured things out - what does he do to remember his Mom, to let go of those tough feelings (and this is reflective of his driven spirit)? Well, he wrote a song about her end of days called, 'Baby, Who's Gonna Stop You Now?'. And it's not what you think. Have a listen. Let me know what you think.  I think it's hauntingly upbeat. 1:01:28

Michael is the founder of Michael White and the White, the greatest Led Zeppelin Tribute Band ever. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant adore his work. They told Michael so. People lined up around the block to hear Michael and his band. During our interview he tells great stories of those days, as he beamed with pride. Yes, he tells us what we want to know: insight into the life and mind of a rock star.  Listen to the crazy-ass story about how he went into Prince's studio (with his production guy), to hear a recording of the Purple Rain stars' rendition of Voodoo Child, with Miles Davis. But the kicker of the story, is the bed in the studio. Yup. The bed. 1:36:41

Today, Michael, at 64, has developed a Beetles show.... you know, When I'm 64. He's a family man, teaches voice, composes, creates huge rock performances with school bands, invents and then reinvents.  Oh yes, Michael's played with Jeff Healey, Alice Cooper, Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue), Keith Emerson, Pat Rush, Steve Morse (Deep Purple), Rick Wakeman (Yes), Albert Lee (Jackson Browne/Joe Cocker) and Dweezil Zappa.

My dear friend is truly a fascinating guy, and he is because he has heaps of life experience, with bag full of instruments and musical notes and he's wise. And there ain't nothin' like a wise rock-star.

Have a listen. Ladies and Gentlemen, Michael White!!!! An exciting and inspiring show. HatRadio! The show that schmoozes.


Accolades to Howard for his post-production work and the recent YouTube video he produced and filmed  https://youtu.be/WaD41Q-_5Es

Thank you too, to Mr. David Nefesh, the composer of the HatRadio! Check out his music and upcoming shows. I seem to be attracted to rock stars, eh?! song. https://www.reverbnation.com/davidnefesh

Credit for music in commercial:
Slow Burn Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Credit for Baby, Who's Gonna Stop You Now?
Michael White. Used with permission

Here I sit at my computer thinking about Episode 43 of HatRadio! with my guest, Jeff Budd......a really important show!

What to write? How to approach it?

After all Jeff went through, as a kid, the stuff we fear the most - sexual abuse from a teacher. So, I'm mulling this over and thinking, ya he did, and we talked a lot about that time in his life, but you know what, like he told me, he doesn't let that define him as a person. And I love that about Jeff because he means it, and you can just see he's worked arduously to make that a reality.

So ladies and gent, let me introduce to you Jeff Budd, a beautiful person who speaks candidly about pretty much mostly everything including: coaching hockey in Israel and working with hockey's greatest coach ever, Roger Nielson; standing proudly when Hatikvah, Israel's National anthem was played in Belgrade after his team's victory; working with children in Kitchener ensuring their environment is safe and loving....and a lot more.

And folks, meet my dear friend Jeff Budd who is from my hometown, Kitchener and who adored my parents, his Rabbi and Rebbetzin who were his mentors and teachers. Today Jeff is a stalwart leader in the synagogue responsible for many things including taking care of families who have lost a loved one, and participating in the Jewish rituals required to prepare a body for burial.

That's Jeff Budd!!!

And yes listeners, Jeff's grade 5 teacher sexually abused him. At 35 Jeff had him arrested and the judge, "a poster child for judicial malpractice" let the guy off for a damn stupid reason. Of course, this time is crucial in Jeff's life, and he speaks openly and at length to describe the tribulations he went through, how his parents and family saved his life, but he's says with confidence: this time in his life does not define him, at least not in whole. 

I loved this schmooze with Jeff, and I did because he's a marvelous story teller who laughs a lot (as I do) and he can take and give a joke. I loved this talk we shared because it's clear Jeff appreciates life in only a way people do who have gone through great heartship and then later on dance to the music life plays for us. 

When the interview was done I thought about splendor in our world in the guise of a  human being, a guy who lives a quiet life today in Southern Ontario, who rose up from the stomped flora of a toxic garden to blossom into the most splendid of flowers one could imagine, standing tall, proud, handsome and inspirational.

Thanks Jeff and God bless you always. This Budds for you! 

HatRadio! It's the show that schmoozes. Please subscribe at hatradio.ca/subscribe . Thank you.

Listen to: 

06:54:    Avrum and Jeff talk about anti-Semitism today and the importance of                            recognizing when it's not anti-Semitism

20:53:    Asking Zac Hyman if he went to shul on High Holidays

39:06:    Jeff begins talking about being sexually abused at 9 years-old

1:11:34: Roger Nielson and Jeff coaching Israel hockey at Canada Center in Metula

1:22:00: The iconic Budd's Department Store in Kitchener


Thanks to Howard Pasternack for your post-production work as well as the creation of a brand new Youtube video advertising HatRadio! Howard your work is excellent! Thank you. Yashar Koach (Yiddish for 'frickin eh') to my old friend, David Nefesh, who wrote and performed the HatRadio! song. He's the right guy to have done that because we're soul brothers. We get each other. The song cooks, and lets face it, it's the first HatRadio! anthem, and nothing matches that, right Dive!? I love you brother. 

Credit for music in commercial:
Slow Burn Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Welcome to Episode 42 of HatRadio! with my guest, the inimitable, Guidy Mamann. The show is sponsored by Gryfe Philanthropic Solutions. 

To start the showoff, I spent a few minutes speaking about the Jewish people - a sort of 'did you know'. I discussed an outward approach that Jews take to doing good in the world. Beginning the 40 second mark, you'll get some insight into the Jewish community's work with the homeless and around the globe through Ve'ahavta (Ve'ahavta.org), a local non-profit established to encourage all people to play a role in tikun olam - repairing the world. Similarly, you'll be privy to Israel's work in many countries suffering from disasters, regardless of whether they are friendly to the Jewish state or not. Have a listen. Think this through and challenge any stereotypes you might have about Jews. Feel free to ask questions at avrum@hatradio.ca.


If you are friends with a person who is type A, you won't be surprised by my buddy, Guidy's Mamann, someone who is uber-effusive and enjoys life to its fullest. The show starts off with a spirited discussion about Guidy's upbringing. We talked about his family's emigration from Morocco to Toronto. Guidy was 3. At the 24:50 mark, listen to the hilarious story of his parent's arrival and their discovery of 'the very different' Ashkenazi synagogue, and frozen chickens instead of live ones.

Guidy discovered the challenges of immigration, early on in life, something that served him well in his career.

(Listen too, for the motorcycle story that encouraged Guidy to peruse law...he was 15....the cops....no ownership....and a judge yelling at his poor Mom.)

At 31:50 hear a spirited story about Guidy's first high-profile case as an immigration lawyer, for an Ahmadi fellow fleeing Pakistan about to get deported. Guidy shares his memories of how this fellow wanted to get his award of bravery from the police before he was sent back. What? An award of bravery? Yes and a donut shop is involved. Have a listen. It's a fantastic moment in Guidy's early career, a time when he figured out how to use the media, and understood that judges don't want to be seen as the bad guys when in the spotlight. 

Throughout the show, Guidy, shares poignant and sometimes stirring memories including one about the death of his sister, an experience that changed his life. At 1:22:24 my old friend talks about his sweet sibling and describes her death as tantamount to getting hit in the back of your head with a bat. 

At 1:36:00 we hear tidbits about his many trips including one to Costa Rica with his daughter, where they scouted for monkeys and tarantulas. Keep on listening and discover a terrible incident with his 7-pound dog who was attacked viciously by a pit-bull in Tel-Aviv. There was Guidy holding onto the Pitbull’s throat trying desperately to get his much beloved dog out of its mouth. He asked me, "Avrum I don't know if you've ever had your hand in a pit-bull's mouth....". I said, not that I remember. It's a crazy-ass story, but that's Guidy. 

Guidy is a lover of Israel. He is an 'unabashed Zionist'.  At around the 1:05:00 mark of the show, he discusses his trip to Israel with his Harley, for the country's 70th birthday. He said, if you want to feel like a rock star, ship your bike over to Israel and ride up and down the country with your biker buddies. I might. 

And Guidy is a huge family man, and loving husband to his wife, Monica. He describes the blessing of his marriage to her as winning powerball. He has four girls, three of whom are triplets. I love the wood piling story, at 1:34:00, where he taught his little ones a valuable lesson about accomplishing something that seems like it can't get done. 

And I believe that is what lies at Guidy's essence - the pursuit of conquering what appears to be the impossible. You find this approach in how he and Monica raise their brood, how he runs his law firm, and now, how he determines what building to purchase, usually one that appears to be dilapidated to others.

Guidy said, "I can see past the pain'. 

At the end of the show, (1:46:10) Guidy sums up his beliefs and approach to life: "I tell the lawyers in my office they've gotta believe in the impossible....I tell them, you can't eliminate all possibilities of success....you gotta leave God a place to land the helicopter....you gotta give him the opportunity to spin some magic....and if you don't try there's no way he can land the sucker and hit the mark...so just give him a little space and you never know what's going to happen."   

Episode 42 of HatRadio! is exciting as hell as I was interviewing a storyteller who lives every day, every moment, to its fullest. I was thoroughly delighted to spend our time together and learn more about this unique fellow and being inspired by his guts, determination and pursuit of the impossible.

Hopefully you will love the show. Let me know. Please subscribe at hatradio.ca/subscribe .  Thank you! HatRadio! The show that schmoozes.   


Thank you to Howard Pasternack for his post-production work, as well as David Nefesh for the HatRadio! song. I'm grateful.

Credit for music in commercial:
"Slow Burn" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Episode 41 is HatRadio!'s first year birthday celebration.

I love milestones and embracing the opportunity to celebrate an accomplishment. So, this episode is metaphorically the blowing out of 40 candles and expressing gratitude all over the place, for this gift, my freedom to actualize my creativity and share the bounty of HatRadio! with others. Hopefully, you consider this a gift as well. How lucky we are!!!  

So, episode 41 is 1 hour and 40 minutes of my thoughts on each and every show we've broadcast since day 1. A lot has happened over this time, including: 

  1. Of course the show was launched. That was a tad daunting as any decent podcast requires good equipment, and an ability to use it. I'm a slow learner, but I sort of figured it out.
  2. I worked closely with Howard Pasternack, my post-production guy, on tweaking here and there to ensure a great sounding show. I believe we've mostly achieved clarity and a pleasurable listening experience. Listeners have told me that. Of course, I still have to work on keeping my hands off the table and occasionally hitting the microphone, so Howard doesn't have to clip out some crazy-ass noises. 
  3. And then there are the shows. 40 of them. That is a decent body of work. I am deeply proud of this accomplishment. Remember, each show is about 1 hour and 30 minutes long, without pauses. While that is long according to some, most comments reflect the belief, it's just right. Apparently, it's a good drive-home show. I like that. It's been good. Not yet my magnum opus but getting there.
  4. And most importantly, the thing I hear a lot from HatRadio! listeners is that schmoozes with my guests feel safe, warm and inviting. Out of this, the beginnings of a community has developed, one which embraces openness, authenticity, passion, one which is inspiring. It's the HatRadio! community, one I think, is refeshing. 

So have a listen to episode 41. I break up the 40 shows into groups of five, by order of calendar date. I talk about each one and then focus on 1 particular show in that group, with some deeper thoughts. My choice to concentrate on specific shows was mostly arbitrary. I love them all! I really do.

At the 14:00 minute mark please have a l listen to a piece about the JEWISH PEOPLE and the stereotype that we are PENNY PINCHERS. I explain, vociferously, how that is the furthest thing from the truth. Hopefully, some people will listen and adjust any negative thoughts they have about the JEWISH PEOPLE. It's an important piece.    

Thank you to Jimmy Bensimon who is a huge social-media professional and supporter. Jimmy's encouragement makes me move forward even in the toughest times. And there are tough times. Hugs to David Nefesh, a friend since we're 8, for the HatRadio! song. It is a blues piece which I adore. David is a brilliant singer/songwriter and he gifted us with this gems. Thanks to Howard Pasternack for our Thursdays together and the professional work he's done on editing the show and bringing it up to broadcast speed. We became pretty close during the year. Yashar Koach (Yiddish for 'well done') to all my guests who had the nuts to let people into their souls, answer my questions no matter how I positioned them, and essentially, sometime anyway, made me look like an okay interviewer. A special shout out to Gary and Paula, Vic and my nephew Yechiel - all of whom get what I'm trying to do on HatRadio!, are loyal listeners and compel me to get better. One needs such supporters. Thanks too, to Joan and Joseph for subscribing to HatRadio! They are my two subscribers and I am so humbled by their generosity and kindness. They are podcast soulmates. And of course,  a huge embrace to my boy who inspires me to wonder about life and to see truth, when I frequently miss it.

Broadcasting is my dream. It is my passion and I couldn't have loved year 1 more. God willing year 2 should rock our pants off and this entire frickin thing should go viral. :)  (Watch what you hope for, dear! Ya, you're right. Thanks. No problem).

Happy birthday to everyone. We are all a year wiser, hopefully. Let's hope and pray all good people, everywhere, have the ability in the coming year to actualize their dreams, to be free, to be joyful...just like we have. Man, we're blessed.

HatRadio! The show that schmoozes.    



This is a big one folks, an important show!  Episode 40 of HatRadio! features JOSEPH PUSUMA, a Hungarian Roma, who spent three years in sanctuary, in two different Toronto churches, together with his wife and child, Lulu. They were locked up. They could not leave. They were denied their freedom by Immigration Canada, until they were freed. With that in mind, at the core of this show then, is one courageous man's true and clear appreciation of FREEDOM to go where he wants, and live life the way he determines. It's riveting.  


In 2009, Joseph was a human rights investigator, travelling throughout Europe documenting terrible abuse levied at his fellow Roma, such as the stabbing death of a 16-year old boy by a cashier in a food store, 'because he didn't like the Roma'.

Local neo-Nazis didn't appreciate Joseph's work and decided one day beat the shit out of him and his wife, Timea. Lulu, their toddler, at the time, was saved because Joseph lay across her while the thugs beat him with a bat. 

A short while later, the Pusumas came to Toronto claiming refugee status. After having experienced hell back in Hungary, they were scammed here by an immigration lawyer, whose shoddy work ensured the Pusumas would be deported.

Luck! When does it come, and too whom? 

The Pusumas, were offered and accepted sanctuary in two different churches. Their 18-month stay at Windermere Church, through the generosity of Minister Alexa (Episode 4, HatRadio!), and congregation, was the most significant time however. It was there, the Pusuma story really took on a life of its own, within the church, through the media and across the nation.

Throughout this interview, Joseph shares his narrative with us including what it was like to live in one room with his family, and be without a shower for the first three months. He says his life was "abnormal". It was painful watching free Canadians walk past the church, people who were unaware of the Pusumas within its walls. Joseph tells us about the challenge of having to repeat his story over and over to visitors to their room, essentially being in a fish bowl. At one point however, Joseph states how important it was, to be visited by a Holocaust survivor who had been hidden throughout the war as well. "She understood", Joseph said. 

The Pusumas had many people of all religions and backgrounds fighting for their freedom. Ultimately, they secured it and became residents of Toronto. Joseph said, today he is ordinary man, with an apartment, a car, a job. He is someone, like you and I, who  visits Niagara Falls, walks through parks --all of this with his family, all of whom embrace their freedom.

And, Joseph is an awesome chef hoping to open his own Canadian-Gypsy restaurant. I know he will.

Joseph Pusuma says he loves life and wants to enjoy every day. About Timea, Joseph says she is an amazing woman who helped him through their ordeal. He loves her dearly. About Lulu: she is acing school, is wise beyond her years and is now teaching her parents English instead of the other way around. 

For a special treat listen to Joseph's mesmerizing, almost mystical Gypsy music, which he plays beautifully on his Fender acoustic guitar. The songs can be heard at: 32:56, 36:47, 1:02:58.  

"I would like to forget," Joseph told me, "but I cannot". How does one forget such a difficult personal history. So instead, Joseph moves forward with those memories, strengthening himself, and his family, knowing that the freedom they now have is the most significant gift of their lives. This episode is a story about a courageous and inspirational family man who fought for his fellow Roma, Timea, Lulu and himself so that one day he could be a regular guy, walking the streets of Toronto, tilting his head toward the daylight, and loving every day,  every minute, every second. Have a listen. You will love Joseph and his story and so appreciate what it means to be free. 

HatRadio! The show that schmoozes.  





Welcome to Episode 39 of HatRadio! with radio legend, Steve Kowch

Anyone who knows anything about talk radio has heard of Steve Kowch or knows his work. Steve spent close to a half century in media, most of it in radio. He oversaw programming on major stations in Quebec, Ontario and nationally, and the kicker was, he hired Marty Galin and I, to be the Food Guys on CFRB1010, one of the highlights of our lives. 

Steve was born in Montreal, Quebec. Like many people who evolve into superstars, his childhood was difficult. Steve was bullied at school, a lot. His dad was an alcoholic and his  mom was unhappy and not encouraging of Steve. "My parents taught me what not to be," Steve said. At times his mom would send him to bed without dinner because he was 'a bad boy'. Really there was no food for in the house. "We were poor", Steve stated. The family was on welfare. (55:02 mark) His bed was in the kitchen. 


One day, 17-year-old Steve answered an ad for an 'office boy' with the Montreal Star newspaper. He sat on a wooden bench, ready to get on-air folk a coffee and do what was ever required in that crazy Quebec media world. His pay? $50 a week, enough to help out at home, and eventually to buy a Bulova watch. Steve was a star even then and his bosses saw that glitter in his eye and willingness to fly. Soon enough, at 18 years old, the young man was on the crime beat hanging out with cops, pimps and crooks.

Well, his mom didn't like that, not one bit, and asked the editor to take him off that beat and put him on entertainment. That didn't happen. Soon enough Steve was covering riots and the FLQ crisis (11:25 mark of show). He was bonked in the head by a rioter and had a shot gun stuck in his face by a soldier with a threat to shoot him if he didn't retreat his position. He moved.

Steve's career was beginning to take off.      

At some point my guest switched over to radio and ultimately took charge of news and programming at two of Canada's largest talk radio stations: CJAD in Montreal and CRFB1010 in Toronto. He was also the national director of the news talk format for Astral Media's six talk stations. He loved it and spent forty years as a program director mentoring Canadian radio icons like John MooreBill Carroll, Mark Elliot and Jim Richards.  

Steve was a professor at The School of Media Studies & Information Technology at Humber College and The School of Communications Arts, Seneca at York. To his class he'd stressed the 25% rule - the importance of being among the 25% of media people who work hard, are diligent, shoot for greatness and have an unending drive to find something special within each story they cover. The other 75% watch the clock. 

Today, Steve is retired and can take three hours shopping for groceries, because he's a storyteller at heart and therefore finds a yarn to weave wherever he goes, including the check-out line. He's the author of 'Making it Big in the Media'. And Steve is nuts about his wife, Liz and their two daughters.  

Have a listen to Episode 39 with Steve Kowch. He puts himself out there, unabashedly, so that you get a real true sense of this man's character, pockmarks and all. Steve Kowch is a beautiful human being who has always been intent on helping others grow and rising above the challenge’s life has presented him with. Enjoy!  Share the link and consider subscribing

HatRadio! The show that schmoozes. 









Episode 38 of HatRadio! is a show about a loving couple, two people who built upon their relationship, to the extent that they launched a dream together, this past summer - a camp for teens and young adults with autism. 

My guests for this show are Shawn Kendal and Shawna Akerman - affectionately called 'The Shawns'. I have known Shawn for 30 years and recently interviewed his father, Dr. Saul Kendal on episode 32 of HatRadio!. I only met Shawna prior to the show (although she says we once met), and quickly determined she is a fireball, committed to developing her own soul and those of others. They are a special couple. At mark 14:12 of the show, Shawna said, with tears in her eyes, that Shawn is the man of her dreams.'

There is much to say about the Shawns. Like all of personkind, they have had their challenges. Shawn lost two brothers, one to a car accident and the second to illness. Shawna's brother took his own life at age 27. Shawn has a daughter, Talia at Laurier and Rachel, 21, who is non-verbal and on the autistic spectrum. Shawna has two children who are profoundly deaf and use cochlear implants. 

But here's the thing, and you'll hear this during the interview. Both of them are incredibly positive about life. While Shawn says he has moments of bitterness about having a daughter who has never uttered a word to him, at the 29:59 mark of the show, he said, "she's incredible", and added he and his daughter understand each other in other ways, in very beautiful ways. My dear friend, Shawn, also said at 38:00, "Rachel is a pure soul".  Shawna responded at 34:30 mark, when I asked her if she ever felt her children were lacking, 'absolutely not' and said proudly her daughter is a dancer and cheerleader and an incredible artist, and her son is a deaf DJ. Both my guests agreed that their children have brought a lot in life, to many. Now that is very cool!

The camp the Shawns started from scratch is called THE KARMA COUNTRY CAMP (www.karmacountrycamp.com). They described it as affordable, and a combination of unstructured activities in a structured environment. What they mean is their campers - about 40 this summer between 12 and 21 - were presented with activities from sports, science, coding, cooking and board games and were allowed to do choose they wanted. The idea was to socialize the participants, encourage their interactions and friendships. This can be a challenge with people who have autism, however, when worked at, as the Shawns did, change can happen. And indeed, it did.

Shawn said the campers made them laugh their heads off. One young man only spoke a word at a time, and from time to time would run into the activity area and yell, 'scotch'. Whatever that meant, it came out funny and the campers and staff roared. Shawna explained that she, Shawn and the staff would look for the “thing” they could uncover, the mystery of their camper's soul, that when understood could help the camper enjoy themselves and relax. One such mystery was recognizing in a male camper that he would push himself hard (in play etc.) for two hours and then would just drop with exhaustion. They became aware of his timing of when he'd stop and needed rest. Recognizing that helped him and the staff cater to his biorhythm and his needs overall.

Hear about Shawn's beautiful work on a job-fair, to assist individuals to secure employment. 86% of people with autism are unemployed.  At 1:07:55 hear which great people in history had autism. Dan Aykroyd and Seinfeld are two Hollywood examples.  Susan Boyle is another, as is Albert Einstein. Shawna says that's not surprising because he was able to hyper-focus, as people with autism are able, and therefore come up with very special discoveries.

1:17:26 Shawn said, "I used to care about other people.... we’d go into the mall and she'd (Rachel) would make loud noises....I don't give a shit anymore!"   1:18:10 Shawna said, people often say to her daughter, 'you shouldn't work because you are deaf'. Her daughter responds, "I can work anywhere I want. I'm just like you."

At 1:19:55. I talk about Judaism, "especially before Rosh Hashanah" to enlighten my listeners about my religion/people, so if any of them are harboring stereotypes or even are anti-Semitic, they might understand us more so and minimizes their negative or hateful thoughts and bring unity to our world. I talk about Judaism and love. 

What I took out of this show is, how important it is to find one's passion in life. Hit your stride. Do that thing which makes you happy. You will grow, if you do, a lot, in ways, you had no idea you could.  Similarly, I discovered through Shawn Kendal and Shawna Ackerman - the Shawns that diligent and consistent work on a relationship can create something magical. Similarly, the two represent what the fulfillment of a dream can make - personal and collective satisfaction.  Isn't that what we all want? I think so. 

Enjoy Episode 38 of HatRadio! Let me know your thoughts and please, share the link.

HatRadio! The show that schmoozes.   



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