Off the air: Stuntman Stu reflects on 18 years at Bell Media after latest round of layoffs

Stuntman Stu

Just hours after being let go this morning from Bell Media in a round of ongoing layoffs, familiar Ottawa radio personality “Stuntman” Stu Schwartz was still cracking jokes and already “looking forward to sleeping in.”

Immediately after today’s Move 100.3 Mornings show, Schwartz said the morning show team, which included Schwartz, Angie Poirier and Janel Steeper, were called into a morning meeting and told they were being laid off.

The morning show layoffs come after last week’s announcement that BCE Inc. was cutting nine per cent of its workforce and selling 45 of its 103 regional radio stations. The affected stations include two in Brockville and two in Kingston. While some laid-off employees were notified last week, others might not be told until the spring. 

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Despite having heard about the layoffs, Schwartz said he was “confident going into the meeting” and that it “was a shock” to get the news.

“I saw that there were layoffs happening, but I was confident. We were walking in and Angie (Poirier) said, ‘Oh my God, do you think we’re going to get fired?’” Schwartz told OBJ. “And I said, ‘No, we’re fine.’

“It goes to show you; when you’re over-confident, you get fired.”

Under the well-known nickname “Stuntman Stu”, Schwartz has been a radio host with Bell Media for 18 years, starting out as a weather host on CJOH TV before hosting morning shows with Team 1200 AM’s “Three Guys on the Radio,” 93.9 BOB-FM’s “Stuntman Stu and the Shark,” and finally Majic 100, which was later rebranded as Move 100.3.

Schwartz began his radio career as a morning show volunteer for 106.9’s The Bear and was a PA announcer for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He has also held various roles in announcing and television, including a few gigs as an auctioneer and MC. 

As he looks back on his career, particularly his 18 years with Bell Media, Schwartz said he is filled with “nothing but positivity.”

“(The morning show hosts) were always in the community, we loved the community and loved entertaining listeners and going on social media to interact with them daily,” he said. “Now, I can only message people on my own account instead of two.”

One of the highlights of his journey at Bell included Majic 100’s #NoMoreBullies campaign, which Schwartz said “meant a lot” to him.

“I’m very grateful to all of those students and teachers and all of the elementary schools that would let us walk into their schools for this campaign,” he explained. “A lot of schools and students would comment to me that (the campaign) had impacted them, and that’s what it’s about.”

Schwartz said he’s also grateful to Bell Media for the support he received as he battled health problems. In 2016, Schwartz was diagnosed with leukemia and underwent aggressive treatment, including a bone marrow transplant. Last year, Schwartz suffered a heart attack. He’s also been public about his ongoing struggle with depression.

“The company has been good to me. When I went back after not one but two cancer battles and then a heart attack … I’m very grateful,” he said.

“It is what it is, that’s just the landscape now. And it’s not just radio,” Schwartz said of the layoffs. “Now, all the doors are open.”

First on the agenda — now that he won’t be up at the crack of dawn for the morning show — is sleeping in, Schwartz laughed. 

Beyond that, he said he’s looking for opportunities in all kinds of areas, not just in radio.

“I’m hoping to open up my own french fry truck. ‘Stuntman Stu’s Chips,’ or something like that,” he joked. “But really, I’m just keeping all the doors open.”

Poirier, who had been with Bell Media for 26 years, thanked listeners in a post to Facebook for “an incredible ride.”

“I’m thankful for all the contacts I have made, the co-workers I have had the privilege to work alongside, but mostly to you: the people who watched, listened and connected with me all those years,” wrote Poirier. “You watched my kids grow up, and me, too, in the process. You were why I loved it all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Let’s see what the next chapter brings.”

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