Some years later, and I am now working at the Bay radio station in Lancaster as morning presenter and Head of External Affairs. The MD Julian Allitt opens the presenters office door and hands me some papers saying, “why don’t you apply for this”? As soon as he handed it to me, I knew what it was about because it is the only communication I have ever seen with the word ‘promulgate’.
It was a word I had never seen before receiving the same communication back in the Sunset days. It was suggested that we promulgated the information among the staff.
As someone who had never been abroad since I arrived in this country in 1968. I thought this was a wonderful idea and a great chance to see how radio stations actually operate in other countries.
Within minutes, I had come up with the idea of visiting Victoria in Canada to see and commentate on the 1994 Commonwealth Games. Over the next few days I gathered all the information I could in support of the application. Julian suggested that I contacted Bob Scott (now Sir Bob Scott) of the Manchester Commonwealth Bid, for a letter of support.
I was amazed when he agreed to support my bid. When my application was dispatched, it was quite impressive.
My suggestion was to visit a radio station in Victoria, arriving one week before the games. I would then help them with their plans, spend the two weeks of the games with them assisting in any way I could and remain there for one further week as they wound down their operation. As well as helping at C-FAX, I would also file reports back to the BAY.
After about a week I got a reply saying that they quite liked the proposal but I would need a lot more information. What was the name of the radio station? How much was it going to cost? What benefit would there be to the Bay? Would they be providing any money? Most of the questions were quite easy but what about a radio station.
To be honest I didn’t even know where Victoria was and I certainly didn’t know any station there. I picked up the telephone and dialled the International enquiries. Within minutes they had given me the name of a station. Seconds later, I was on the phone to the programme Controller. “Yes we’d like to have you, but we’re a music station and we won’t be doing too much on the Games.
The station you really need to talk to is C-FAX 1070.” “You wouldn’t by any chance happen to have their number would you?” “Well I don’t have to call them too often! Hold on I’ll look it up”.
C-FAX 1070 is a speech station broadcasting to Greater Victoria in British Columbia (BC) and is the number 1 rated station in Victoria. I made contact with the Head of Operations Terry Spence and he was delighted that they would have an extra pair of hands and voice to assist them during their games coverage.
After much planning and organisation I finally arrived in Victoria on Saturday the 30th of July 1994. The start of the games were about 10 days away. On the long plane journey to Vancouver, I had planned to arrive quietly, stay in the background and just do what they wanted me to. Well that was the plan anyway. On the Sunday I walked by the station just to see where it was and then on Monday I turned up to find the building totally closed but still broadcasting.
It was a bank holiday. I rang the bell anyway and within minutes Terry was at the door. He was actually on the air at the time and he showed me into the studio. No sooner had I got a coffee and look round in amazement at the studios and I was on the air.
He introduced me as the guest from England here to assist them with their Commonwealth Games coverage. Over the next few days I was on the air nearly as much as I was back home.
All the presenters wanted me to be a guest on their show. Boy I felt like a real celebrity. So much for the quiet start. As we moved towards the games I was attached to the Commonwealth Cruiser, a people carrier beautifully painted and logo’d for the games, the station and the sponsor.
The man in charge of the cruiser was Kevin Sing. Over the next three weeks, I would see every corner of Victoria. Every one knew Kevin and we were invited to everything. Even if they didn’t know Kevin, the C-FAX logo was all we needed. The role of the Commonwealth Cruiser was to be at all the cultural events taking place in the lead-up to, and during the games.
C-FAX was a real local station and nearly everyone in Victoria identified with it. It was their first place for news and information and under the leadership of Mel Cooper, presenters of the calibre of Terry Spence, Joe Easingwood, Mike King, Alan Perry and Kathleen Brandsma, made sure that it was, and remained the number one rated station in the city.
Next time I will tell you more about my trip to the 1994 Commonwealth Games and I tell you about the wonderful people I met in Victoria, oh yeah and I’ll tell you about Kathy Baan as well.
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