It began long ago and far away, in a place known as the home of the newly-wed and the nearly dead. This was Victoria, British Columbia, in the very early seventies. We had just begun our radio journey with a job at Victoria radio station CFAX 1070. After serving as a master control room board operator, a reporter and editor for a program called Student World and a copy writer, we moved down the street to a new role as Creative Director (really a moderately paid clerk/typist) at CKDA 1220. This was where we teamed up with the one and only Douglas Shepherd.
To our fresh-faced view of radio life, Shepherd was a Gandalf, a wise, venerable master of all things radio. He was maybe three years older than us, but oh so much wiser. And he wore a moustache and brewed his own beer. What could be better? As we all did in those days, he dressed in suits and ties, but approached things with a garrulous, grammatically serious yet comically gifted style, and possessed a cynical yet fun-loving attitude to life. He was a stickler for professional accuracy in his role as a radio news reporter, yet fully appreciated the confounding absurdities of the every-day world. We became fast friends and remain so to this day.
Mr. Shepherd’s radio experience began well over fifty years ago, in the small Vancouver Island town of Courtney. From there he journeyed to other radio positions in Victoria, B.C., at CJVI, and in Chilliwack, B.C, at CHWK, as a hip and groovy spinner of all the platters that matter, under the name of the “Swinging Bachelor.”
When we first entered his orbit, he and his wonderful wife Heather had just welcomed their first-born (a son) into this world, and “Douglas”, as Heather referred to him, was gainfully employed in the newsroom of CKDA radio in Victoria, an AM station owned by the confusingly resourceful David Armstrong, who also ran the local television station, an FM station, and a Muzak style music service for local businesses. The guy could have become one of Canada’s foremost media moguls, but he didn’t. And that is another story entirely, best told at a later day by ones more talented than we.
As we worked mainly different shifts, with Shepherd the news guy doing mainly 4 to midnight runs and we being stuck in the velvet trap of the 9 to 5 worker bee role, most of our socializing was done well after hours, and consisted mainly of watching Bob Corcoran on Tacoma’s Channel 13 and drinking Doug’s homemade beer. Then, we both left the Victoria area and our paths did not cross until decades later, in the dusty plains of southern Saskatchewan, which is where we will next continue this story.