Get to know TNKR Media co-founder Dan Delmar
Inspired by Matt Mullenweg, the founding developer of this form of media, the WordPress platform that has empowered so many communicators across the world and helped democratize journalism, I’ve re-edited my bio to first person to hopefully help answer the question, just what is Dan Delmar’s deal, anyway?
Questions or media requests? info[at]tnkr.media
Dan Delmar is the co-founder of TNKR Media, a public relations consultant, media producer and occasional political commentator. He is a former journalist and editor with about 20 years’ experience in print, radio, television and digital media. Delmar contributes to Bell Media outlets like CJAD 800 Montreal, Newstalk 1010 Toronto and CTV News Channel; his recent writings can be found in Postmedia newspapers like the National Post and Montreal Gazette. When off-duty, Dan enjoys cooking, reading, listening to podcasts, cycling or hiking in Quebec’s Laurentian mountains, and tending to his canine daughter, Poppy.
The end of 2020 marks two decades of me working in Canadian media. It’s been quite the ride, and one day I’ll publish a book or collection of essays on what I’ve learned about our new media ecosystem and its effects on nations and their tribes.
In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter for more political commentary and LinkedIn for business communication perspectives. You can hear me co-hosting iHeartRadio Canada’s Today’s Entrepreneur and occasionally opining on Canadian news radio and television.
I’ve made an effort over the years to depersonalize my political commentary because my cultural background is complicated and, ultimately, it’s my ideas and not my identity that should matter most. I am inspired by traditional liberal thinkers and have a cosmopolitan, somewhat postnational perspective but I don’t do labels.
The postnational perspective comes from some dark family history, so I’ll get that out of the way briefly: My late grandparents were Holocaust survivors, and their efforts to save the family, as well as their commitment to activism and truth-telling even in the midst of a genocide, inspire me every day.
My parents are Jewish immigrants and I am a mostly Sephardic, somewhat Ashkenazi only child who grew up quietly and making little fuss in Quebec’s beautiful Pays-d’En-Haut region. I am a Montrealer and part-time Torontonian but it’s the Laurentians where I feel at home.
At 15, I graduated high school and enrolled in the Cinema and Communications program at Montreal’s Dawson College, where my career began.
Shortly after beginning studies at Dawson College, I joined the school’s radio station as a newsreader. I was promptly fired for some combination of insubordination and overzealous fact-checking, so I walked down the hall and joined the student newspaper, The Plant, where I would later become editor-in-chief. My first day on the job as news editor was September 11, 2001, and so I became acquainted rather quickly with concepts in crisis communication.
My first major news story was published nationally through Canadian University Press and revealed how Canadian tobacco firms once developed marketing strategies aimed at children, some barely in their teens.
Some of my writing caught the eye of a local newspaper editor and, in 2002, I joined The Suburban, Quebec’s largest English-language weekly newspaper, as a sports reporter, later moving into news and politics. My first foray into professional news reporting was covering what was dubbed the “Sponsorship Scandal.” This included a string of reports featuring an advertising industry whistle-blower who would go on to cooperate with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in investigating contractors who defrauded the federal government.
While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in journalism (Concordia University, 2006), I covered municipal politics in Montreal, focusing particularly on issues relating to corruption, housing and nationalism. I have covered every municipal, provincial and federal election since 2001, first as a journalist and now as an analyst. After obtaining the equivalent of a marketing minor, I began freelance work as an advertising copywriter for small businesses in addition to news reporting.
By 2005, I was co-hosting weekly with clinical psychologist Dr. Laurie Betito on Montreal’s CJAD 800 radio. This was followed by a part-time gigs as a traffic and news reporter. Since 2008, I have been a guest host on CJAD, typically during holiday periods when our shop is closed, and I’ve also contributed to sister station Newstalk 1010 Toronto as both a host and commentator.
I cherish my occasional contributions to CJAD, among the world’s oldest radio stations at 75 years, and share with some colleagues in a national Radio Television Digital News Association award (2014), for breaking news coverage of a terrorism event outside Canada’s parliament building. As a breaking news host, I have also anchored on-location coverage during the aftermath of Quebec’s Lac Mégantic rail disaster, the resignations of two Montreal mayors, and other national news events.
Today, I co-host Today’s Entrepreneur on iHeartRadio Canada and CJAD locally; it is an innovative sponsored content program by our friends at FL Fuller Landau that, for over a decade, has inspired members of the business community through simple, honest conversation. The no-push, public service approach to sponsored content today fits perfectly with TNKR Media’ Thinkbait approach, as we produce informative pandemic-era broadcasts for entrepreneurs remotely.
Before the social media era, my journalism professors insisted hotheaded cub reporters like me prove themselves before leaping into advocacy journalism or political commentary, and so that is what I endeavoured to do but my journalism admittedly lacked neutrality, plagued by past corruption tales. By 2008, I was regularly writing political commentary and was named managing editor of The Métropolitain, a bilingual arts and commentary journal published by the Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal.
By 2012, still in my twenties, I became a weekly columnist on Quebec affairs for Canada’s National Post and would later also contribute to Postmedia’s Full Comment blog and Montreal Gazette newspaper in similar capacities.
It was as a commentator that I was first to break one of the most publicized news items in Quebec history, and one of the silliest, a political scandal involving a language inspector’s “excess of zeal” dubbed Pastagate. About one year after the scandal, our business, the predecessor to TNKR Media, was targeted by the same language authority. The matter was settled amicably but the experience led me to renew the focus of my writing on institutions that promote ethnic-based nationalism. It’s ruffled some feathers but my commentary has always been most critical of nationalism, the ideologies, not nationalists who must be persuaded.
Unfortunately, smears are a professional hazard in political commentary and there are a few inaccurate statements about me floating around online, mainly in the tabloid news and social media spaces. I believe strongly in human rights and equality. If you feel I’ve made an insensitive statement that needs correcting, feel free to reach out politely and I will consider your perspective.
TNKR Media’s Thinkbait
I’d like to think I’ve evolved as a human in my thirties and as a media professional who has for two decades built a career with experiences across various media industries to inform TNKR Media’s perspective on the future of PR, content and business communications.
That journey has helped me create the formula behind Thinkbait, our style of writing and producing audio that is inspired both by classical journalism and the latest neuroscience on content. It’s journalistic-style content for business that aims to create long-term value and conversation through informational, useful content and thoughtful leadership. We are especially popular with professional services firms and those with complex public relations needs.
In the coming years, we hope to be working with private organizations, nonprofits and Canadian media companies to refine the relationship between business and media, producing sponsored content that creates value and contributes positively to national conversations.
If you have any questions about my work or what we do, don’t hesitate to reach out.