Wake Up Italian Style

Wake Up Italian Style -- in Canada!

If you find yourself back in Canada, like I did after 6 years living and working as a foreign correspondent in Italy, and desperately missing your regular dose of Italian music, Italian news, and even your favourite Italian slang, like I do, you can get your “fix”, …..at least on the radio.

For four hours every weekday on Toronto’s CHIN Radio, (1540AM) why not tune in to their fabulous morning show called “Wake Up Italian Style”. (I admit I flip back and forth with CBC's Metro Morning, and 680 News)

It’s four hours of news, traffic, weather, and all sprinkled with banter, jokes, and interviews by the cheery hosts Edoardo Monasterolo and Patrizia Di Vincenzo. Monasterolo is a recent import to Toronto, having grown up in the Cuneo area of Italy, in Bra (CN) just south of Turin. He was already a popular house DJ in clubs in the Piedmont area, and hosted a radio show there as well, before deciding to move to T.O in 2006.

Edo is the main announcer—he’s also the petulant member of the morning duo. It’s his schtick. He assumes characters in different Italian dialects, and although most of the show is in Italian, often he breaks out his best fractured Italian-English such as “beckayard” for “back yard” and “garbiccio” for “garbage”, and he loves to sprinkle his segues to the latest pop tunes from San Remo with his trademark “Beau-tee-fool!”

If Edo is the Don Cherry of the team, then Patrizia Di Vincenzo is his Ron McLean. She’s the more serious on air personality, and does the traffic updates, and brings in bits of news and gossip to discuss with Edo and the technician who operates the board.

For me, listening to Wake Up Italian Style helps in many ways: I feel as though I’m driving around the Grande Raccordo in Rome stuck in traffic, although instead of slowdowns on the via Appia, it’s the Don Valley Parkway. They even use the same theme music to do traffic that I used to hear in Rome on the radio frequency GR2 when I lived there.

I also like how I get to hear modern popular Italian language and slang, so I don’t forget my Italian, even though here in T.O. I get very little chance to use it. It helped tremendously this past summer as we spent six weeks with the kids traveling across Italy in June and July, and my Italian was fluent. It was like taking a crash Berlitz refresher, but Wake Up Italian Style is free!

When we were in Italy, this summer, my kids were often glued to MTV Italy watching the latest music videos, and we fell in love with the tunes that were on the summer play list of 2008: Giusy Ferreri, Jovanotti, Cesare Cremonini. Listening to Wake Up Italian Style keeps me in the loop about the newest entries in the Italian music charts. And they also play some oldies, which remind me of my “wild oats” during my years living in Italy 1988 to 1994.

The music ranges from Nek, and Ramazotti to Gianni Morandi’s most recent album, to an old Antonello Venditti classic, to Laura Pausini and Michael Buble’s duet singing “You’ll Never Find” – that's the Canadian content!

They also have news on the hour and half hour, both local and from Italy, including reports from RAI international, so I can keep abreast of the latest Berlusconian quip, the David Beckham will-he-or-won’t-he with Milan, and the national debate over Eluana.

Plus you get tips on which Italian entertainers are coming to perform in town. Zucchero came last fall. So did Massimo Ranieri, but if they play his song “Rose rosse” one more time, I think I will drive off the road in frustration.

Am I the typical listener? Probably not, since the target audience is between 40 and 70, according to a recent blog entry, and you can tell, when you listen to the people who call in for contests, that they are mainly older, first generation Italian Canadians who now live in Woodbridge. But for me, Wake Up Italian Style fills a need, sort of like a good piatto di pasta and a glass of wine on a warm summer Roman afternoon. “Bee-youti-fool!”

Here’s how to contact them: wakeup@chinradio.com or call at 416-531-9991 ex2410

CHIN radio is on in Toronto on 1540 A.M., 100.7 F.M., and in Ottawa as well on 97.9 FM.