Wednesday, February 9, 2011
My northern life
According to my personal historian (Dan Chabot), it was 15 years ago today that I pulled my final shift at Q91 radio in Drumheller. With the sale of the station to Nornet Broadcasting, I was relegated to basically an afternoon air shift after having programmed the Calgary-market am station during its final months with CHUM. I tried to make things work with the new guys, but after a number of rebuffs I picked up an industry magazine and saw a job posting in Fort McMurray.
Gizmo (my dog) and I drove up the highway and settled into the Twin Pines Motor Inn, just a couple of blocks from the radio station in what was then a rather sleepy little town nestled in a cold, cold winter. That was our home for a number of weeks till the real estate deal closed on our condo in the 400-block across from Father Merc.
It's not in my bones to be always looking for the next best thing, so when the ground started to shift at Q91, it was very unsettling for me to think about moving....again. Up to that point, I think I had moved some 15 times since leaving home after high school; I was getting tired of packing. In the end, the drive up Highway 63 was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Prime Minister Jean Chretien arrived in the community with his entourage several months later to completely change the oil sands playing field. The community started to take off as profitability and potential fueled unparalleled growth and development over the next decade. I arrived just in time, fell in love, had kids and discovered incredible opportunities to lead. Leaving Q91 was the best "worst" thing; it completely changed the course of my life.