People & Culture

Dave Bidini on the West End Phoenix and reviving local news

Episode 30

The Rheostatics frontman, bestselling author and community newspaper publisher shares why hyper-local storytelling matters more now than ever before

  • Published Jan 11, 2022
  • Updated Apr 13
Dave Bidini holds up a copy of the West End Phoenix, which he founded in response to the disappearance of community newspapers in Toronto. (Photo courtesy of Dave Bidini)
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On this week’s episode of the Explore Podcast, host David McGuffin interviews Dave Bidini. 

It’s hard to think of a person who has written with more passion about Canada, and in as many different media, as Dave Bidini. You might know him as the songwriter and frontman of the Rheostatics – that most Canadian of Canadian bands — or for his best-selling books On a Cold RoadThe Tropic of HockeyKeon and Me or Midnight Light, or from his award-winning journalism and documentaries, or for his latest endeavour, the West End Phoenix, a community newspaper he founded in Toronto.

The Phoenix is a bold effort to fill the void caused when big newspaper chains started closing down community newspapers. With a focus on great reporting and storytelling, it features guest writers like Margaret Atwood and Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson. The interview also gets into why the Yellowknifer newspaper in the N.W.T. was the inspiration for the Phoenix, and touches on Dave’s deep love of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a special moment with Wendel Clark, and a possible cause of the Leafs’ decades-long Stanley Cup curse.

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