As a child, there wasn’t a household object I hadn’t tried to fashion into a microphone. Wooden spoon? Check. Broken rabbit ears? Yep. Drumsticks? Uh huh. From a young age, I knew microphones would have a lot to do with what I wanted to be when I grew up.
As a teenager, I found an outlet for my love of broadcasting through working in community cable. It was there I learned more than just the discipline required for technical excellence. I understood how important it was to be a great storyteller.
In college, I took my passion to a new level and made broadcast journalism my craft.
In the summer of 2000, I landed my first job as a reporter/anchor/videographer/editor/weatherman (you really do it all in your first job) at a small (now defunct) television station in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. Ever since, I’ve been behind-the-scenes and on-the-air, gaining experience as a storyteller.
The Perfect Place for a News Junkie
There is nothing quite like an all-news broadcast environment for a news junkie, and I’ve had the great fortune to be part of Saskatchewan’s largest commercial radio news organization for much of its life (and most of my career).
Rawlco Radio’s News Talk 980 CJME and News Talk 650 CKOM provided an incredible home for me to spread my wings and grow as a broadcaster.
Over the course of nearly 13 years (October 2000 to October 2001 and August 2003 to May 2015), I found myself working in nearly every conceivable role at News Talk Radio; taking feeds on the edit desk, writing copy, anchoring scheduled newscasts and breaking news events, reporting, producing and hosting talk shows. Behind the scenes, I gained experience in radio programming, project planning, and team management.
I’ve played key roles in a number of news coverage scenarios including election night broadcasts, AMBER Alerts, and severe weather events. I also was part of the team which planned and produced three successful “Saskatchewan Day of Caring” radio fundraising events in support of Red Cross relief efforts following the 2004 Asian tsunami, the 2010 Haitian earthquake, and the widespread flooding in Saskatchewan in 2011.
Working at the Intersection of Traditional Broadcast and Digital Media
With one foot in generation X and the other in millennial territory, I’m part of the first generation which has spent more of their lives online than not.
I was an early adopter, getting connected to the Internet for the first time in 1994. Since then, I’ve watched digital technology change and shape the way we not only consume media but how we produce it.
Through my career in broadcasting, I’ve been a champion for finding ways to bridge the gap between traditional and digital platforms.
I was part of a four-person team which established Rawlco Radio’s interactive division in 2007, working with station managers, sales managers, program directors and on-air hosts to navigate the digital world. I helped identify best practices and encouraged experimentation with new technologies inside our walls.
I led our teams on News Talk Radio to be among the first private broadcasters in Canada to produce podcasts of our programming. As Facebook and Twitter emerged as necessary tools for storytellers, I worked with our journalists and talk show hosts on ways to integrate social media into their workflows. And, as listeners developed an appetite for higher-quality digital news content, I was part of a team which spearheaded a major relaunch of our online product.
A Chance to Explore
In May 2015, Rawlco Radio and I parted ways as they changed the direction of the morning program I was co-hosting on News Talk 980 CJME. That change presented an opportunity for me to live out a life-long ambition of pursuing long-term travel.
Through much of my twenties, I kept buried a desire to go backpacking and see the world. I was able to scratch my travel itch from time to time, but embracing long-term travel was in direct conflict with my career goals. Now, in my thirties – and with a blank slate in front of me –
Now, in my thirties – and with a blank slate in front of me – I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to venture off and see the world.
In September 2015, I departed for a five-month journey which would include three months in Japan, and time spent in Malaysia, Vietnam and Hong Kong.
To keep my storytelling skills sharp, I chronicled my adventure through blog posts, videos, and podcasts on a website I created called Gone John. I continue to update the site frequently with travel advice and a regularly published podcast which explores the themes of travel, adventure, and exploration.
Playing the hits.
Music radio has had a huge influence on my career. In college, the magic of the CHR format drew me from television to radio. As a programmer, I love the mechanics of a well-designed music programming clock. As a host, I’ve looked to performers across a variety of formats – from pop to rock to country – for mentorship in my own on-air presentation. While it might seem like a large jump to some for a guy whose roots are in news and journalism to explore music radio, it was something I’d been keen to do my entire career.
Returning to Canada from my Asian adventure, I found the next chapter in my broadcasting career back in the community where it all started. In June of 2016, I joined the team at Yorkton’s Fox FM where I hosted an afternoon pop music program. It was a fantastic opportunity, and I loved working with a bright and creative group of broadcasters.
In December 2016, I accepted a position with Corus Entertainment’s News Talk 770 in Calgary where I will be working as a news reporter. I’m excited to get back to the roots of my broadcasting career – out in the streets, microphone in hand, meeting fascinating people and telling interesting stories. I begin my new Alberta adventure in January of 2017.
I’m always interested in expanding my network of professional contacts to discuss not only the work I’m currently involved with but the potential for future opportunities. If you’re interested in having a chat, follow the links below.
To read recommendations from colleagues and to learn more about my work, visit my LinkedIn profile.
For samples of my work, visit my portfolio page.
To get in touch, visit my contact page.