Sharing the story from here


For the past couple of years, I have been doing a phone-in thing on CFWE Radio, a network of stations that broadcasts into Treaty 8 and Treaty 6 Aboriginal communities in central and northern Alberta.  The coverage map is impressive, reaching listeners from Fort Chipewyan in the north and Maskwacis (formerly Hobbema) in the south, Lloydminster in the east and Horse Lake in the west.

Wally with his co-host Robin Wilson in their Edmonton studio
Wally Desjarlais is the host and even though we have been talking to one another every week for several years, we have never met.  From our five minute conversations, I can tell he is passionate about what he does to connect Aboriginal communities together through the power of radio.  He's also in a perpetual good mood, always a breath of fresh air in the morning.

This weekly sharing of stories from here started thanks to a loose connection with Boyd Leader, the program director.  Boyd and I share common history - we both came up in the radio business at roughly the same time - and we were connected on Facebook.  He reached out to ask if I might be interested in providing a Wood Buffalo perspective on this important network of stations.  I jumped at the chance and have enjoyed sharing positive stories about our region with a provincial audience.

At first, I had to schedule the call in my calendar; in the middle of a busy life it was too easy to forget.  Now, my call to Wally is entrenched as part of my week, part of my family's week.  Wednesday morning dawns and I automatically get my brain thinking of what we can talk about during our chat.  Generally, I try to send Wally a few bullet points of things to talk about by 6:30 am.  We have our live chat at 7:20 am.

I'll never forget the morning that Heather woke up and shared that she dreamed that she had done the phone call with Wally.  So even though he is just a voice on the other end of the phone, or, in the case of Heather and the boys, he has become part of the fabric of our lives.

I think I need to poke and prod to get Wally up to Fort McMurray so that we can meet and he can see the best that Wood Buffalo has to offer in person.  Wally, what do you think?

You can listen to CFWE at 94.5 FM here in Fort McMurray.

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