2017 Host & Judges

Our hosts

DoolittleShephardRobyn Doolittle has successfully swindled not one, but two Newzapalooza bands into letting her sing for them over the past seven years. Despite mounting pressure from music executives, she has not quit her day job, which is with the Globe and Mail’s iTeam.

Michelle Shephard, aka Shep, aka Terror Tina Fey, aka Gitmo Gidget, is tone deaf. But she was once a Newzapalooza back up dancer who lip synced and is one of the organizers of the event. She also works for the Toronto Star as their national security fake news reporter and has done some books and documentaries and stuff. We couldn’t get a real celebrity to host this year so you get her and Doolittle.

The judges


Lana Gay of Indie88 is a broadcaster, music journalist, you can hear her weekdays from 2-7pm. She is fixated on independent Canadian music, the arts, and is an advocate for children’s literacy running A Good Book Drive Toronto! She’s proud to hail from Leamington, where she was raised on Motown music and Hungarian food (an underrated combo, really.) Lana won the ‘Most Likely to Save the World Award’ in high school and knows the value of a cold beer, an old record and a great pair of cowboy boots. Once, she tried to chase a rainbow and ended up in Blenheim, Ontario. Lana was a Newza judge last year. Welcome back Lana! (Photo: Courtesy Lana Gay)


Anne-Marie Mediwake is CTV’s Your Morning co-host and a terrific journalist making her Newzapalooza debut. Prior to her CTV gig, Anne-Marie presented the news over at CBC Toronto News, and worked previously at Global News Toronto. When not getting up extra early for work, Anne-Marie keeps busy with triplets back home. Wants some evidence of that? Check out her Instagram account. Thrilled to have you, Anne-Marie! (Photo: CTV)


Raina Douris is host of CBC Radio 2 Morning and makes her Newzapalooza debut. A Ryerson Radio & Television Arts program grad, she worked at 102.1 the Edge and CBC Radio 3. In 2013, Raina was part of the team that launched the Toronto alt-rock station Indie88 as music director and afternoon host, and in both 2014 and 2015, was chosen as the Best Radio Personality in Toronto by Now Magazine readers. Quoting Now, Raina is “a beacon of terrestrial radio, a kind of last woman standing in a medium whose relevance for showcasing new music has otherwise sharply diminished.” Very excited to have Raina as a judge! (Photo: Ryersonian)

BidiniAuthor and musician Dave Bidini is the only person to have been nominated for a Gemini, Genie and Juno as well CBC’s Canada Reads. A founding member of Rheostatics, he has written 11 books, including On a Cold Road, Tropic of Hockey, Around the World in 57 1/2 Gigs, and Home and Away. He is the publisher of the West End Phoenix, Toronto’s newest community paper.