On Wednesday, December 4, 2020, at 7:00 AM I did something I have dreamed of doing for decades: I sat behind the mic at a radio station, and hosted a program. It was the Morning Show on Northumberland 89.7 in Cobourg, to be precise. I’ll be hosting every Wednesday for the next several months at least, while the long=standing host is on vacation. My own themed show, The Link: Conversations that Connect will debut in January.
This is not the big time. I’m a volunteer host and DJ on a not-for-profit community radio station with a small, local listening audience. But I believe this is one of the greatest opportunities of my career, and I am ecstatic.
Those who know me best know of my passion for radio, and of my long-held dream to eventually work in that medium. Yet despite ample experience in music, television and the internet, as a writer, performer stage host, public speaker, interviewer, voice-over reader, video producer and podcaster, I haven’t actually hosted a radio show since 1995. That was when I signed off from the open-format program I’d been hosting and producing for several months on CKDU Halifax, “The Alphabetical Index of Earthly Things”. I went tree-planting for the summer, and never went back.
I always thought I would wind up in radio again; indeed I was cocky enough to believe it was inevitable. And a lot of people have believed that with me. It’s a running storyline among my friends that I would somehow follow in the footsteps of folks like Peter Gzowski and Shelagh Rogers at the CBC. It never happened, although I see the through-line in all my other endeavours. The spirit of it was somehow always there, as I have striven to connect people, to story, to place.
Since before I moved to Cobourg in 2012, I had been following the endeavours of what was then the internet-only Small Town Radio, now Northumberland 89.7 FM. I contributed as I could, all the while maintaining a running conversation with close friends and advisors about that I might eventually do in radio. Only my travel schedule prevented me making the commitment to make my dream happen, even if in a more modest way than I’d always imagined.
Well, now it’s happening. I laugh to think of what I thought I might do. I’m happy just to be doing what I do. Really, really happy. No, it’s not a national radio show with profile and budget and big name guests. And for that matter, it’s not a theatre full of applauding guests, such as I’ve enjoyed as a performer, or a Zodiac off the coast of Greenland, my happy place as an adventure travel host and guide.
None of that matters. Everything I’ve done to date goes into what I’m doing now. I’m on the air, at last. And I love it!