John Gallagher is looking for work, and he'd like everybody to know.
The CITY-TV sports reporter, famous for his hyperactive on-air style and irreverent comments, has been a Toronto fixture for 14 years. Now he is working his last week at CityPulse News. The station has bought out his contract and freed him to work elsewhere.
"So far, I've had 14 straight years, and that's really good in my business," he said, sitting in a downtown café.
"But I've got to look for another gig now. I'm sending out my tapes and résumé. Maybe this will put a fire under my ass to get a job in the States. I don't know where I'm going to end up. But I'm open to offers and I want to hear them."Nobody could call Mr. Gallagher shy. His on-air style has always been cheeky, fast and enthusiastic. He is as famous for his mistakes and regular-guy, what-the-hell attitudes as he is for his sports coverage. He once wore a Raptors shirt while delivering his report and was ridiculed in newspapers for appearing as a fan rather than a reporter. Some people have admired his honesty and cheek. But others have wondered about his wild-man style. In fact his hepped-up, motor-mouth approach has often led viewers to assume that he's either crazy, on drugs, or both.
Mr. Gallagher takes those assumptions in stride. "It's just me; it's not drugs," he said, laughing with the air of a man who's heard all the jokes and insinuations.
For all his irreverence and off-the wall style -- he was once chased out of the Blue Jays clubhouse by Cecil Fielder after making a smart-aleck remark -- Mr. Gallagher takes his work seriously.
He points out that he has won a Foster Hewitt Award for sports broadcasting and, while he's not always a favourite of self-important athletes and sports pundits, he has been a favourite of the fans.
After a stint hosting a weekly talk show on TSN, Mr. Gallagher returned to CITY-TV.
"I've never had a problem with CITY. Now they've bought out my contract and they've been very decent about it. All the executives at CITY are on my résumé for references. They invited me to stick around for six more months in some vague capacity, but I'm looking for work. I don't know why they bought me out. Maybe it's a money thing. But I'm not criticizing. CITY-TV is a great place to work. There's a real buzz in the sports department there."