The Stroumboulopouli

The Stroumboulopouli

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The interview with George Stroumboulopoulos

About three weeks ago we took your questions and some questions of our own and asked George if he wouldn't mind answering them. The man does not do interviews for the main stream media but he did this for us. We are so far from main stream and media for that matter... ;-)
I had tons of help from recent Seneca graduate Stephanie D. in producing this video clip.
If you can forgive my amateur style and sit through a 30 minute interview online... I promise you will enjoy the George portions of this interview.
Barbara W.


Angie said...

This was a really fun interview to be a part of!! I LOVE the little extra at the end. I almost totally lost it when he was talking about the karaoke and his guilty pleasure songs. It was very difficult to go from being in The Hour's audience to being in the room for the interview and being quiet.. especially when he looked right at each of us and said "now you hate me right". Good questions and great answers.

Valia said...

yay B and Stephanie...

I'm sure y'all had fun :D

Erin said...

Great job! I'm really glad George agreed to do the interview! The singing head is funny.

Barbara - in hindsight is there anything you wished you had asked?

Janna said...

B, Steph, Ang!!!!

I am soooooooooo impressed. I mean really impressed.

He answered all my questions!!! and not the way I thought he would for a couple!!! So I was pleasantly surprised.

THAT IS THE GEORGE I KNOW AND LOVE! That guy. NOT TV GUY! He is exactly how I remember him to be. So, very very cool.

I disagree with George!!! I want the old music back and limited studio audience. Grr! I hope they do change things up, just slightly for Season Four.

B, that was a great interview and you did AMAZING!

Thanks Ladies!!!
And Thank you George!

Anonymous said...

Been trying for over an hour & can't get more than the first 2 seconds. :o( Google video player says you need winNT or higher, which I don't have. Any chance you could copy it to another format?

Anonymous said...

Interesting, as I am straining to listen - is there some way technically of having the volume increased and re-posting the clip ?

Shawna said...

...was looking forward to watching the interview but can only get 2 seconds.
Is it possible to post in another format?

Miss A said...

Barbara & Associates,

GOOD JOB!!! Really well done!

Watching the interviewer become the interviewee...interesting :-D

Lauren said...

Clip worked well for me. Sound and video were fine. Smooth, clear...

Running Windows XP, Direct X 9, but nothing fancier than that as far as I know.

I am sure it's some sort of setting thing. But B said it might go to You Tube so that could help.

Agree with Janna o0n the that's the George I know and love, not the TV guy thing.

Some swearing, and just laid back, interacting. Yay!

Allan said...

Way to take blogging to the next level.
Barbara's so sweet, how can I poop on this?
(I'll think of some way)
May do an expanded review when time allows.
I told you he was better in "real" life - even more cunning.

Barbara said...

It was a fun project and thank you for being kind and yes I agree he is better in person... interviewing the interviewer give me a greater respect for how hard his job is..

Allan said...

I really enjoyed this a lot. It's actually quite an achievement in communication, and arising from the web like that. Homegrown journalism.
Serves a very useful purpose, and should be emulated more often.
Kudos to Stephanie in no small measure. And way to save the low budget quality by rubbing George's nose in that silly song at the end. Which of course was not your intention but that's how I prefer to view it.
The editing was pleasant, and some nice close-ups.
It played perfectly on my Mac.
I truly think this was good work, and in some ways superior to what George does.
The questions came from people, and not writers. And not from anyone who had an agenda to protect or beholding to anyone other than the subjects cooperation.
It was also a first attempt, so understandably a bit superficial and tentative. Far deeper and more serious questions could have been posed.
Too bad you can't find another dufus to interview.
But you are now officially members of a new breed of broadcasters, perhaps the first embodiment of the Strombo dictum, that if George can do it, anyone can.

Stephanie said...

wow Allan (and all the lovely others who have posted), thank you. I sincerely appreciate your comments! ...and I am even more glad that folks are enjoying the music video at the end hehehe after looking at the same thing for many hours you start to wonder if it's really funnny, or if its just the lack of sleep and nutrients.
thanks again! keep enjoying!

Anonymous said...

hey everyone!

love the interview. but i'm straining to hear what he's saying. good job Barbara.


Kerri said...

I really enjoyed this interview, Barbara! Had me lauging at some parts... :)

Great job everyone involved!

Sarah said...

Yay Barbara! Lucky girl....

Barbara said...

Thank you Tammy, Kerri and Sarah. He is very open and thoughtful in this interview and I think that the people who have met him in person remember this George.
The Tea Makers blog linked this interview and said "The Stroumboulopouli sit down with the object of their desire."
I read that and was thinking 'how do you define desire or object?' It's not a 'wrong' assessment...
If George was not doing The Hour would I blog about him? No I don't think so.
If The Hour was hosted by someone else would I blog about it? No I don't think so.
So it's the combination of George and The Hour that are the 'object' of my/our desire. The interview is about The Hour's past, present and future. Ok, and a few questions about George himself. ;-)

Valia said...

Watched the video again...more closely. B & Stephanie - you were really able to capture G in a really awesome way.

He expressed quite a few personal views and you both (with your respective roles) captured the moments in a most natural way!

5 star kudos!! :D

Allan said...

for "She Asked ..."

At 1:32
George uses the word "consternation", meaning "alarm, dismay". Perhaps he was searching for "contemplation, consideration", but his writers weren't there to help.

At 4:12
George shows that he's no Marshall McLuhan by declaring that "television is a very one-way medium" and "radio is more two-way". What?
He's thinking of call-in shows being more prolific on radio than TV, but that's not the mediums fault.
As for "the web stuff", like anything else, it's a matter of how much you put into it, and that explains his inability to go beyond understanding it as more than simply "a way to connect with people'. And it's not surprising that someone who grew up in the Much Music "environment" is going to be drawn more to the visual and aural, than opposed to the power and beauty of the written word.

At 4:32
He says that MySpace is no different than a phone. In fact, a better comparison would be to that of an answering machine.

At 5:40
"We don't have a demographic". Every show, radio or TV has a demographic. Advertisers rely on it to know that their dollars are reaching the right target audience. George changes the question by saying "we don't have a target demo", as in "we're not aiming for any specific group". That's not what Barb asked, but George becomes defensive because the truth is that The Hour failed to bring in the "youth" segment the CBC had hoped. Instead, it got the segment that will watch just about anything.
The tap-dancing he does here is George's deft attempt at putting a good face on having failed to impress his peers with this show. (still, his sister and his mother like it, so really, who cares).

At 6:42
George frowns, uncomfortable with the word "hero". Time for his humble side to come out, but he chooses to treat the notion dissuasively, saying he's "just some dude who lives in your town" (who just happens to be on giant billboards all over "your town"). But when he attempts to explain his apparent popularity by claiming he is not "some disconnected TV personality" (like who?, George) he again tries to present himself as somehow different from others working in the field. He's REAL, and others less so. It's is his driving shtick, and the main irritation I have with this cute dufus. We're being asked to believe that what George gives is the news "straight up" and that he's not acting when he does his job. His primary skill is in keeping a straight face while delivering such nonsense.

At 8:39
He believes "we can now do things on your own terms". Yes, I suppose, as long as you have it written into your contract that you can set your own dress-code. But it's silly to suggest that there's no compromise when you're working for a government corporation. Everything you do George (and I'm sorry to break it to you) is done on the CBC's, your master's, "terms". Also, no Santa Claus.
But keep deluding yourself if you need to go to sleep at night thinking that you're somehow using them, more than they're using you.

At 9:57
What's straight up about any part of the phrase "I yell at a politician"?
Please re-wind, because I've yet to have seen that!

Evelyne said...

It was interesting to watch this interview, it looked a lot like the George that I met in Montreal during Season 2, down to earth and really nice.

Allan said...

for "She Asked ..."

Part 2

At 13:43
"what's kind of neat about our show ... is you're gonna have a lot of people who feel like they have a sense of ownership on the program". This is true of the fan-base audience for ANY show, radio or tv, and nowhere more so than on the CBC, where everyone claims to "own" it.

At 13:54
Again, more genuine nonsense from the genuine guy:
"if we change and they (viewers) don't like it, that's ok, that's life, man."
"I'm a human being (we guessed). I don't go on the air to try and be the same all the time."
Yet the self-described (frequently) "boyfriend" only seems to have one mood - chipper. And George is being less than honest with you when he pretends that it's not mandatory in a job like his. The truth is, as most people know, that he's required to be "up" and smiling and quick with words, or he is outski the doorski.

At 14:14
"we cover them (celebrity stories) in a way that most places don't do."
Yet when other places such as CBC's Sunday newsmagazine interview the exact same people as george (Halle Berry, Norah Jones, etc) it's rather difficult to tell what's so different.
Oh yeah, the Adidas. They have a different odour than high heels.

At 15:34
"I think now we need to sit down and do the same show every night for years."
Such cruelty is hard to imagine.
But contrast that statement with his earlier ones about "evolving", and not caring what people like and don't like. He has no problem contradicting himself with equal sincerity.
And you have to wonder how much longer he'll be committed to that black wardrobe when he's gone from a motorcycle to a walker. He's made a pact with the God of Consistency and Familiarity while claiming independency from everything but the human race.
Just wait till the day, George, that you turn on the TV and see your replacement - the new One, that now speaks for all youth culture instead of the old fuddy duddies who wear nose-rings and hair gel.
Then see how you like being treated the way you treat the older generation.

At 16:10
"You can't be good company if you're always changing (???) ."
Could the word be "channels"? Hard to make out, but that sounds more like what the girlfriend said to the boyfriend.

At 16:19
George seems deliberately vague about his production company. And probably because it represents an area that touches on something termed "conflict of interest". But, like the CBC, we'll pretend we didn't hear about that.
He does name his radio show as a specific, but may I ask you, George, how much revenue does it accrue for CFRB from all the commercials on your show.
Does it make as much as I do writing here?

Allan said...

At 16:10
After re-winding, I'll guess the word is "shit".

Allan said...

for "She Asked ..."

Part 3

At 18:01
George would like to produce documentaries about "guns and dyin' and God", but his interests lie in "God, guns and government ... minus the guns part", he says with a big smile. Still shooting his mouth off before thinking.

At 18:17
George says he's been lucky the way his career has gone, though that luck didn't go with him to ABC. Still, it's the most humble thing he's said in this interview.

At 23:09
Look again, George.
That's no dude.

In the few remaining minutes, George becomes a fascinating anomaly.
I'm struck by how I'm especially eager to hear of his intellectual life on line, that he is quite well-informed and curious, and that he spends a fair bit of time on-line.
And then I'm struck by how little of this part of his life, his complete reality, is reflected on The Hour.
The show for today's generation.

Allan said...

No way around it ... I think this video and it's production is nothing less than incredible.
I love it.


Anonymous said...

Great work, folks! Thanks for putting all that working into a great interview!!! I really enjoyed it! :)

Reading the comments, I'm a little put off by all the work Allan put into nitpicking. No judgement...just had to mention that I find it odd that so much effort was put into deconstructing a casual, natural style discussion intended for fans of The Hour and George. Each to their own, I suppose. It is much easier to tear down someone else's work than it is to create your own in a style you see fit.

Again, to those who put this video together, thanks and awesome job! :)

Allan said...

Of all the primates in this zoo, I do indeed have a voracious appetite for picking the nits off of George and eating them.

Stephanie said...

Hey Allan! I suppose if the interview didn’t incite some sparing or conversation, I would be disappointed. So here she goes…ill pick at a few of your many points

At 1:32
George uses the word "consternation”
-I am mostly disregarding this, because:
a)It also is a synonym of ‘anxiety’, and who’s to say he didn’t feel that?
b)If it’s a word choice blunder- honest mistake. Being on TV in no way suggests that he is perfect… and even smart people make mistakes.

At 5:40
"We don't have a demographic". Every show, radio or TV has a demographic…George changes the question by saying "we don't have a target demo", as in "we're not aiming for any specific group".

- I agree that the question was changed in the transfer, but I think what George says is important, and mostly true: “we’re not aiming for any specific group.” The way I interpreted that was they are not constructing their program for a predefined audience (white, male, 30-35, drinks energy drinks and likes hockey), which is what most shows do (and they teach you to do that in college). The fact that I can talk to folks in my college and university classes, the kids that I baby-sit and my mom about “the hour” and its content is a pretty big accomplishment for a TV show of any genre. I think the hour’s crew spends more time trying to make a show that is fun and inquisitive, yet not inaccessible… instead of trying to figure out what their audience drinks/eats/wears…etc...

George becomes defensive because the truth is that The Hour failed to bring in the "youth" segment the CBC had hoped. Instead, it got the segment that will watch just about anything.

- I don’t think that’s true either. Personally, I don’t watch TV. I study TV, I work in TV, but I maybe watch an hour of it per month. I stream “the hour” online while I do other things, but that’s it. I think “the hours’” viewers are much more complicated and diverse than just a bunch of people who “Will watch just about anything”
And if you are concerned with whether or not his peers like his work, I have had endless conversations with folks about how much they enjoy what he is doing… and there are also many that don’t like what he is doing. It would be a shame if we all agreed on everything.

At 6:42
he chooses to treat the notion dissuasively, saying he's "just some dude who lives in your town" (who just happens to be on giant billboards all over "your town").

- the difference is that George doesn’t act like he is on giant billboards all over my town. I don’t think it is just his “shtick” and I also think that the notion of more real/less real is bullshit… it really annoys me that people keep bringing that up. Just because he tries to be (and is) gracious, honest and accessible (the fact that he did this interview is proof), doesn’t mean that he is saying everyone else is less than. However, there are a good many people on TV that are not approachable, they spend more time playing a role, instead of just letting some flaws show and just being honest.
Hosts tend to and need to have a personality. Most are contrived. I think George’s is just an amplification of who he really is. Maybe he turns the charm on a little louder, but that doesn’t mean it’s fake.

Stephanie said...

At 14:14
"we cover them (celebrity stories) in a way that most places don't do."
Yet when other places such as CBC's Sunday newsmagazine interview the exact same people as George (Halle Berry, Norah Jones, etc) it's rather difficult to tell what's so different.

-Admittedly, I am not a big fan of *some* of the celebrity interviews. I don’t want to watch Hulk Hogan or Halle berry- ever. But I do want to watch Tom Morello and bob geldof… It’s a bit of a trade off. Whether the questions that George poses are anymore interesting than anyone else’s depends on the interview. I give them kudos for interviewing celebs for more than just 30 second blips (allowing for a conversation to unfold)…they interview some celebs that are a bit on the periphery, and sometimes they even talk about things other than “isn’t my hair pretty and my movie great”…

At 15:34
"I think now we need to sit down and do the same show every night for years."
But contrast that statement with his earlier ones about "evolving", and not caring what people like and don't like. He has no problem contradicting himself with equal sincerity.

- I think in the former he is talking about format, and in the latter he is talking about content.

At 16:19
George seems deliberately vague about his production company.

- he is in the process of making things happen. If he is anything like me, sometimes talking about projects in the works is overwhelming… and divulging ideas too soon could ruin the power of what you are constructing. I think he has some good stuff on the back burner… give it time.

Finally...The longer the hour is on the air, the longer George is on the air, the more natural it will become, the more we will learn about him as a person and a personality. The hour is on a good path… I like that it provokes conversation. I love that it is a program that pokes at my varying interests and is a conversation within itself. In terms of how it treats its content, it is different and i hope it spawns other shows that are also willing to play with information….
And above all, I am really glad that everyone is enjoying this video! It was really fun putting it all together, and the fact that it exists is evidence of George’s graciousness, accessibility and care for what he does.

Allan said...

Well if you weren't working in television already, you certainly should be, Stef. It must have been heartbreaking to find the sound so low, but the way you wrapped it at the beginning and end was just plain wonderful. I wish I had my hands on your equipment (the hardware, of course!). Imagine the mash-up that could be done.
I make a point to question what people in public life say and do, so it only goes that I actually encourage and admire it when someone also questions my statements.
Question everything important, like the Bible and the government of the day and how news is delivered to us. It's how we arrive at what we believe, but more importantly, why we believe it.
This tape offers the longest exposure most of us have ever had to the "real" George, and sure enough, it's easy to be drawn in by his animated charm and lively mind. Rarely a dull moment.
I do understand your respect and affection for him.
And maybe the day will come that I'll express my own.
When hell freezes over, which according to Al Gore ...

Macbeth said...

From Wikipedia:


"Also known as the villain (aka Allan) speech, monologuing is a common fiction cliché in which the villain of the story will take a moment to gloat in front of the hero, who the villain believes will soon meet his demise. Commonly used in conjunction with the deathtrap, fictional villains have a habit of pontificating on how said victim will soon die, and reminiscing over how he tried for so long to get his kill and is now about to reap the reward. Villains may also give away details of their evil plots, on the rationale that the victim will die immediately. This speech almost always results in giving the hero time to escape the trap, providing the protagonist critical information he needs to defeat the villain, or filling in plot background that has not yet been revealed to the audience."

Allan said...


Check out the headline at

for Monday, June 4, 2007

does that mean we have a NEW Canadian idol?