Thursday, July 31, 2014

Post 2729 - Books

One of the things I like to do here at the cottage is get caught up on my reading. I have so many books, though, that I would have to quit my job and sit home in my underwear reading all day, every day, for the rest of my life, or until my eyes fall out. Whichever comes first.

There are certain genres I like more than others. One writer I've liked for a very long time is Max Allan Collins. Last year I had a chance to review one of his then-upcoming books and seized the opportunity.

MAC himself read the review and posted it on his own blog.

Go ahead and read all about it.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Post 2728 - Yawn!

Ah! Vacation is well underway. Patricia and I usually take turns preparing breakfast. But from time to time we prepare it together.

Do we make breakfast the ways these two blokes do? Well, I'm not sure. What do you think?

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Post 2727 - Holly

As I was preparing to go on vacation, the police released the official report on the death of my friend Holly Bartlett. She is the young blind woman who fell to her death in 2010 after a night out on the town with some friends.

I think of Holly often. I am reminded of what potential she had and what she could have accomplished had she lived. I am sure that lots of other people are thinking of her now that the report has been released.

Here is the link to the report. It is redacted, which will get the conspiracy folks up in arms. And here is the link to one of my posts about her.

I hope she is resting in peace.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy

Monday, July 28, 2014

Post 2726 - Karen Begin Stuff

I hope you enjoyed your weekend. I liked mine very much.  Thanks for asking. I frolicked in the wave pool and ran around with the kids before I told my wife that I was having an affair with my daughter's 21 year old girlfriend.

Oh, wait.

It was a dream. Never mind.

This is my first day of my vacation. I am thinking of you. And I am thinking of the blog and how people in the radio world have embraced it. It prolly happened with the posts regarding Karen Begin, a.k.a. Karin Begin, a.k.a. Darian O'Toole.

She died in 2008, and it is hard to believe that she is gone. I didn't know her well. I am not sure who did know her well, but she touched many lives in her short 40 years.

I produced several blog posts about her. This was the first one. Here is another one. One more for the road.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Post 2725 - History Stuff

My boss at work uses the word "stuff" like a suffix. Workstuff. Funstuff. H. R. Pufnstuf... never mind. He doesn't do it that much.

I have a keen interest in history. Not just, uh, radiostuff, but local folklore. Why is that street named that? Who was that guy so that a building would be named after him? That kind of thing.

I have produced several posts over the years about local history. I would love to have some answers to these and other questions. 

Here is but one example.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Post 2724 - Academic Assistance

Hi. I am at the cottage by now, I hope. I hope that I had a pleasant night's sleep, and that you did as well.

I wouldn't be here where I am, doing what I do, doing it where I am doing it, had I not been able to earn my degree from Acadia University back in the day.

I was having a hard time with the student loan people. I sought the assistance of a man who would go on to become the mayor of Wolfville. Here.  Check out the story.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy

Friday, July 25, 2014

Post 2723 - V-Day

It is noon. I will grab something to eat shortly.

I commence my vacation in just a few hours. I can hardly wait.I will be off for 3.5 weeks, returning to work on August 18th.

There will be warmed over content on the blog while I am away. I will be producing short posts, bridging material really, that link to previous posts. It is what I did last year when I was off. I will be on call for work all weekend, but after that, I will probably turn off the BlackBerry and leave it off more than it will be on. If you think I am ignoring you, I'm not. I will be ignoring the BlackBerry.

I have produced the first draft of a long interview with a retired radio broadcaster. He tells excellent stories, and I look forward to sharing them with you. I think we are looking at around the middle part of August before it runs. Watch the skies for it. Like I wrote yesterday, this interview may reach a wider audience or at least be publicized differently than previous interviews.

Vacation! Four hours and a bit from now! So excited. Cottage, here I come!

See you tomorrow. Sort of.

Bevboy

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Post 2722 - Radio News

A few on air changes at K-Rock in the beautiful Annapolis Valley.

Ed Shaw will be taking over the morning shifts on Saturdays and Sundays. This means he will no longer be the host of the sublimely-entertaining Saturday night request show on that fine, fine station.

Meanwhile, Doug  Ralph moves into the Tuesday through Saturday night shift, including the assumption of the mantle of the Saturday night request show.

Lastly, Scott Baines is the new Afternoon Drive guy at K-Rock.

My best wishes to all these fine gentlemen as they take on their new duties.

Ciao for now.

Bevboy

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Post 2721 - Wednesday

It is just past 10pm. I will turn in shortly.

I have just spent a couple hours transcribing a big chunk in the latest radio interview. I really think you will like it. And I am hoping that the interview will have a bigger reach than my previous ones. Keep watching the skies.

Patricia left for the cottage this morning and arrived shortly before 11. She apparently spent a big part of the afternoon trying to get the new air conditioner to work down there. Me, I was at work, and will be at work for a scant two days afore I go on vacation for 3 weeks. I need this break. It has been a long year.

After work this evening I went to Value Village. I am on the hunt for another solar-powered radio.  Well, maybe two. The freeplay brand is really good. The sound quality is good. The solar cells are efficient. Leaving the thing out in the sun lets the radio go at a good volume for a few hours before you have to wind it to keep it going. A new one costs 60 bucks or more. The one I have came from VV last year. It is my hope that I will eventually find a couple more of those radios. I would like to have one for my mother's and a third one to live out its days at the cottage. I will eventually find what I seek. I am on a quest.

Let's see here. What else is going on? I haven't been able to spend much time on either of my two new decks this week. The afore-mentioned transcribing has kept me busy. Perhaps I should sleep out on the deck some evening and get my money's worth. My gravity chair is comfortable enough to sustain me, but Newbie would miss me.

Two more days till vacation. I can hardly wait!!

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Post 2720 - Radio News

First of all, I'm sorry I didn't write on Monday. I was up until midnight working on the latest blog interview. Crazy amount of work, checking the spelling of names and so on.

When I was staining the back deck on Sunday afternoon, I had a good chance to listen to Q104 for several hours. The carpenter had a portable stereo with him that was welded on the Q. I have to admit that it sure was nice to hear Scotty Mars on the radio again. I don't know why he was let go from Live 105 a couple of years ago, but they certainly did make a mistake when they did so.  But I digress.

Several times throughout the Sunday Flashbacks they announced the existence of a new overnight request show. They provided a local phone number, so I can only conclude that the show is totally produced in house. I do not know who will be the host of this enticing program. The Q104 website is out-of-date to say the least.

This news makes me happy. I love live and local radio. There should be a pox on voice tracked radio programs. And anything that takes away the infestation known as "Sixx Sense" hosted by Nikki Sixx is going to be an improvement. I'll be diplomatic for a change and state that I was not a fan of that program.Yeah. Let's go with that.

I will ferret out what news I can on this important story. As I find out more I will pass it along to you, my 4.7 readers.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Post 2719 - Ugh!

It is pushing 9:30. Another very long day.

I resumed staining the front deck later than I should have, this morning. Overslept. Started around 9:15. I did as much as I could, until my big hands could not get the brush into places it needed to go. Left that for Patricia to do, as she has girlie hands.

I commenced work on staining the back deck late in the morning. At one point, the carpenter, Maurice, suggested that instead of using a brush, I use a rag instead. Dip it in the stain and then rub it furiously on the spindles in an up and down motion, holding the soaked rag in my fist. I swear, it must have looked like I was giving the spindles enthusiastic hand jobs. I hope they enjoyed it. When I was over, I nearly asked for one of Maurice's cigarettes. I would have regarded the spindles with a cool smile and a half-cocked eye and asked if it had been good for them. But I managed to suppress myself. I am too  old to take up smoking. The truth was, I didn't think I would have been prepared for their answer.

I also stained the railings. Not nearly as much fun. And, please forgive the term, but after working on the spindles, staining the flooring and steps seemed positively... anti-climactic.

Patricia also chipped in, going over the spots I couldn't reach, out on the front deck.

It was hours of work in the hot Nova Scotia sun. Mid-afternoon, I ate some potato salad and drank water and ate two bananas and some vanilla fro yo. I returned to my outside work until supper time at which time I returned inside and watched the rest of "The Expendables 2". Brainless movie for a nearly brain-dead Bevboy.

An hour or so ago, I had my shower. To my great delight, the stain that was... staining ...  various parts of my anatomy washed off with copious amounts of water and soap and elbow grease. I think it is all gone. I do remind the boys at coffee tomorrow, though, to check me out and let me know if they see any errant stain and discreetly tell me about it. Just jump up on the table at the Metro Deli, point at me and shriek, "Arrgghh! You have light mocha semi-transparent stain on your [supply body part name]!" Exclaim it loud enough so that the employees of News 95.7 on the 9th floor of Young Tower hear you: perhaps they will dispatch a reporter to cover this breaking story. Deal? Thanks. You're a doll.

I guess I will turn in. I need to get ready for my share of abuse on Monday morning. Always a good time.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Post 2718 - Saturday

Hi. Another late and long day.

The carpenter arrived at 10:30 and immediately began work in the back yard. By the end of his shift the railings on the back deck had been installed and he had begun work on the lattice to go under the deck, for storage purposes.

Patricia had a course at Henry's in Bayer's Lake this morning so that she could learn more about her new DSLR camera. By mid-afternoon, after she had returned home, we went back to Bayer's Lake to pick up some stain for the decks.

We decided on something called "light mocha", a light chocolate brown, to match the brick work on the front of the house. I bought 2 large cans of the stuff plus a couple of brushes and a long stick to which I can attach a brush so that I don't have to bend over when I'm staining the flooring.

Around 5:30, while Patricia rested upstairs, I started to work. I opened one of the cans of the semi-transparent stain. I dipped a brush in the stain and began to apply the latter to the railings on the front deck. Except for a pee break and a couple drinks of water I worked until 9:15, when it was too dark to see what the hell I was doing. I have done nearly all of the railings on the front deck, plus the spindles. In the morning, if I have the strength to get up  early enough, I will resume staining the deck, this time concentrating on the flooring and the steps. I hope to get the front done by the time the carpenter arrives around 9. I may start working on the back deck/landing while he is working, as long as my efforts do not interfere with his work.

Patricia made mini-pizzas this evening. Delish. And we just watched what seemed to be the last episode of The Vicar of Dibley. Loved the original series from the 1990's; hadn't realized they were sporadically making episodes into the 00's. Apparently they still do short sketches for things like Comic Relief, but what we saw tonight was the last full-length episode.

If you will excuse me, my lovelies, it is time to turn in. Need some shut eye.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy

Friday, July 18, 2014

Post 2717 - United Bookstores

Well, that was a fun day at work.

The weekend is here, and I am glad about it. The carpenters arrive here by 8 tomorrow morning. We are all hoping that the job will be done by the end of the work day. They just have to put up the railings and slats up on the back deck, plus a few other chores that should not take very long.

Last week I only purchased one gravity chair. Patricia has largely appropriated its use, so I guess I should have bought two of them. Maybe I should hide mine from her.

I went downtown for a short period of time late this morning. I wanted to go into United Bookstores on Barrington Street one last time. Today was their last day, after some 30 years at that spot, and several more years around the corner, but I am not sure just where.

I bought an awful lot of books from that store over the years. Dave, who ran the place, was always kind to me and had a near encyclopaedic knowledge of books in general. One time I had forgotten the name of an author. I told him that it was the guy who wrote books about the Native woman who helps people disappear. Excellent series, by the way. Without even hesitating he replied, "Thomas Perry. The Jane Whitefield series." I left the store with a couple of Perry's Whitefield books.  He got a sale, and I got some good books.

JW Doull's, across the street for years, and on Granville  Street for a long time before that, was never really my cup of tea. The books were strewn all over the place and reminded me of a hoarder's nightmare. I could never find anything and always walked gingerly in case some precariously-piled column of books would crash on me. But United Bookstore on Barrington was a friendly place to shop. Clean and neat and welcoming.  And it had a devoted "horror" section.

The store went out of business for a few reasons. The decline of Halifax's downtown is deeply regrettable. The construction taking place in that area will mean that in 2 -4 years things should be better, but that will not help the businesses that are struggling now. And it won't help the businesses that  are inconvenienced into oblivion because of the construction.

And, too, there is a the general downward trend in paper-based book sales. I don't buy that many books any more. I have enough books to last me for the rest of my life, assuming I live to a ripe old age. And if I want to, I can fire up my kindle and shop in the Amazon online bookstore. To a very great extent, I don't need bricks and mortar book stores any more. You probably don't, either.

(Yes, there are lots of  books that are out of print and will remain that way. As I have pointed out before, the book about the Goler clan will almost certainly never be reprinted, for the reasons I have already delineated.)

Dave told me he will be spending some time in Ontario before returning to Halifax to pursue other opportunities. I hope that our paths cross again. He is one of the good ones, and I wish him all the best.

He is a survivor. Heck,  not even Jane Whitefield can make Dave disappear.

Tell me where you buy your books these days, if you buy them at all.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Post 2716 - This And That

Hey, folks.

Just wanted to let you know that the contest I proposed last night, to suggest things for the tree stumps in the soon-to-be garden along the back of my lolling estate, is now over. It is not over because I have selected a winner. It is over because I ate the prize for lunch. Yes. That's right. I consumed the remaining portion of the brisket dinner for lunch today, although I hasten to remind you all that there was no actual brisket in the offing because there was no second helping to offer you.  Thanks anyway.

Very long day today. I'm on call at work and have received 2 phone calls in the last hour. Pity me, won't you?

Patricia is now officially on vacation for three and a half weeks. I don't go on my vacay for another week, but I will then have 3 weeks of my own off for fun and frolic. She will pile in her car in the next few days and head off to the cottage while I remain here to begin staining the front and back deck. That will be a good time. Maybe after that chore is all over I'll actually be able to spend some damn time on the decks, which will be mine after my easy 78 bi-weekly payments have been made.

I think that's it for tonight.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Post 2715 - Bevboy Needs Your Help!

It is 7:45. I am still at work. Patricia is taking a Pilates class not far from here. Rather than drive home and wait for her and then pick her up, or for her to take her own car to this class and drive home, I elected to hang around here.

I started working on the Ron Roberts interview this evening. I have had some special interest in getting this done, so I will prioritize it over finishing the transcription of the interview of the guy who more-or-less told me to stand down. Mr. Roberts is retired and is not in a financial position that would likely result in being sued by anybody. He is quite outspoken. It is my hope (nay, my goal!) to finish transcribing it within the next 2 weeks.

There is a big-arse sale on stain and sealant at Sherman-Williams this weekend. There is such a store mere meters from here. I chanced in there on Tuesday morning and emerged with the promise to return on Saturday to get some stuff for the front and back decks.

As I mentioned yesterday, the carpenters won't be back until Saturday. In the meantime I had hoped to be able to enjoy my time on either of the decks but that has not been the case. We have had rainy, dampy weather for a few days now. Not only is the lawn furniture too wet to sit on, but now I have to think about what the water is doing to the brand-new wood that comprises the new decks. I mean, it will dry; but will the moisture cause any early-stage rot? If I put 2 coats of the stain in the decks will all be right in the world? I am not sure. For the first time in my entire life, I am actually thinking about this topic.

The front steps and the side steps of my house were in good shape when I moved in. For several years I was diligent in staining them both. But I didn't spend any time or money on the back deck. Even in the early 00's, the railings were rickety and one could see holes in the wood and espy the ground underneath it. Let's not even discuss the state of the storage area under the deck. Yeah. Let's not.  At least we were able to rescue the wheelbarrow from it as well as some of Patricia's stained glass.

But the new front deck? The back deck/landing? They are costing me so damned much that I had better, on my father's grave, be out there staining them, and toot sweet to boot.

Before I call it a night, and never mind the joke, I need your help with something. Hence the blog post title. I am nothing if not a to-the-point Bevboy.

I took the following picture this morning using the camera mode of my new-to-me camcorder.



It depicts the back yard. The tree stumps were two mighty trees stood until 10 days ago, until they were felled by the woman who is running the contract for all this work. Remind me never to piss her off.

What do you do with the stumps? I had suggested garden gnomes, but for some reason Patricia doesn't care for gnomes. Who doesn't like gnomes? Did gnomes frighten her as a child? Do gnomes perhaps resemble a man she once dated, a fellow known only to me as "No Dick"? Or is it a case that gnomes are simply too cliché ?

I don't know.

What I do know, though, is that I would like to do something special to make these tree stumps stand out. We are next to a school. Perhaps we could have little tree stump hookers, who stand in provocative clothing next to the stumps and attempt to beckon men to their matrimonial doom.

No? Okay. Well, one could do what I saw on pinterest earlier this evening: A whole page of tree stump ideas! Boy, those look like fun.  My gosh, there are web pages, probably web sites, devoted to landscaping around tree stumps. Who would have known? Or cared, come to think of it.

Anyway, for those of you who care, and know that I want to make Patricia happy, what do you suggest we do with the above tree stumps, absent of removing them, of course? She wants to keep them, perhaps to sit on them to make sure that the lesbians who live next door keep their bloody mitts off me.

Please send your suggestions to me via a comment on my facebook which links to this post, or via a reply to the tweet, or to the official Bevboy's Blog email address. Or, just drop by my office in the next few days and in sotto voice, tell me what your suggestion is.

The prize will be the leftovers from tonight's dinner. A serving of brisket with potatoes and peaches and cream corn. Minus the brisket. There wasn't enough for another serving.

Get cracking, folks. I need your suggestions.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Post 2714 - Tuesday

I am a little disappointed tonight, my friends.

It has been made clear to me that an interview which I have been working hard to transcribe will likely never see the light of day.

I do not blame the person who told me this. The place he works has enacted a sweeping, pervasive and strict policy about so-called "outside work". Our first half of the conversation was recorded before the policy, while the second part was after.

I can't publish the interview here. I can't publish it under an assumed name. I can't publish it at all, at least no time soon.

Sigh.

This does mean, however, I can get to work on the Neil and Chelsea interview, and especially the material I recorded last week for the Ron Roberts interview. He is long since retired. He doesn't much care what he says. Neil and Chelsea work for Newcap, and I have never had a problem with the folks there. Well, with 2 possible exceptions that is.

Had lunch with a friend today. He paid. My wallet thanks you, sir.

The carpenters will not be here again until Saturday. I spent a bit of time this evening reclining on my chair on the front deck and looked forward to doing the same thing on the back deck. I could probably do it now, but the absence of railings makes me a little nervous.

After dinner, we watched 1.5 episodes of "Orange is the New Black". We are on the final episode, but are too tired to watch all of it. Tomorrow.

There is not much else going on. I think I will call it a night.

It's a ... Oh, never mind. Not a funny joke anyway.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy

Monday, July 14, 2014

Post 2713 - Soooo Close!

Hi. Sorry I didn't write on Sunday. After all I went through yesterday, my body shut down around 8pm and I was down for the evening. I was so tired that I didn't even watch the new John Walsh show on CNN. Silly me.

I started Sunday at my mother's. I cleaned out her freezer and left it unplugged to enjoy a retirement that all electronics eventually get.  I drove to my sister's. She had been freezing some hamburger that was getting ready to go bad had she not done so. I returned to the city.

I got back home just in time for the carpenter to put in his day. I am so thrilled to announce that both the front and back decks are now usable. The railings are up on the front deck, but not the back one. I just have to be careful not to walk up or down the stairs of the back deck whilst in a drunken stupor, to avoid falling off and splitting my head open.

In the afternoon Patricia and I went through a bunch of my clothes and tossed them in a garbage bag to be donated to one of those bins that accept donated clothes. The people at my work will be pleased to learn that the long-sleeve shirt I used to wear that had the salmon-colored pin stripes is gone. You will never see it again unless you happen to be in the store that eventually ends up with that shirt and buy it out of a sense of nostalgia. If you do, please let me know so that I can make fun of you wearing it.

After they left, we had dinner. I parked myself in front of Netflix and by 8pm was gently floating off into that good night. I didn't even spend much time on my new decks. Shame on me.














Everything looks really good so far, eh? I can hardly wait to spend all kinds of time and money staining or sealing the decks!

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy



Saturday, July 12, 2014

Post 2712 - Saturday

‎Long day. They all are.  

Drove to the Valley this morning. Cleaned out the fridge. Took Mom shopping and to lunch at Boston Pizza. Shopped some more before returning to the house and napping. Washed the dishes. Watched "Due Date". It is a movie with Robert Downey Jr and Zack Galifinakis.   Sucked.   

Back to the city in the morning. Want to see how the work at the house is progressing.  

See you tomorrow

Bevboy



Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Bell network.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Post 2711 - Almost!

So close. So close.

My front deck, that is.

I am enclosing 3 pics of it. The only part still to be added is the steps.

As you can see, the wood is lovely. It is mostly hemlock, which shows the knots and blemishes very well. Once we stain the thing, it will be a thing of great beauty.





We went to Kent after work last night. Even though it is not even mid-July yet, summer stuff is going on clearance. Ridiculous, but the timing is right since within a few days the work will be done to both decks and we will need something to lay out on. I got a gravity chair for 50 bucks that was 80 or so before hand as well as 2 short metal tables suitable to hold a wobbly pop and a book, maybe even the solar-powered radio I got last year at Value Village.




I will be in the Valley again this weekend, to clean out the fridge at the house. It is full of nasty things following Arthur and the ensuing 4 day power outage. There was no time to do that on Tuesday when we were there for 90 minutes or so.

The carpenters are supposed to arrive Saturday morning and finish the front deck before getting to work on the much-smaller back deck and the smaller tasks we have asked them to work on. I am hoping that by the time I return to the city on Sunday that they will be pretty much done.




I'm sorry I keep going on about this. It is probably boring to people reading this who don't own a house and who may have the impression that decks just arrive out of the ether, delivered by the deck fairy, at no cost. Trust me. They don't. I have known this for years.

This is a major investment in my home. It's costing me mucho dinero. Major bucks. Many, many shekels. I therefore have every intention of enjoying these new decks as much as I possibly can, for as long as I possibly can. The back deck has never been something I felt comfortable using since I bought the house in 2001. In days it will be. The enjoyment in my home will increase exponentially. I will be able to survey my domain and hold Newbie over my head and tell him that he will one day own all the land the sun kisses (within the confines of the fences).  Heck, I may even acquire a taste for beer at this stage of my life. This is huge stuff for me.

I'm so excited! I think I need to pee.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Post 2710 - Fire!

I'm on my lunch hour at work. Thought I'd write today's blog post a bit early.

As you know, we did a super quicky trip to the Valley on Tuesday. What I didn't tell you about, though, was that we had to take an alternative route as the access to Route 358 was closed to us. We found out a couple hours later that there had been a fire. To make things easier for the fire fighters, the police blocked off that road access.

Late last night I watched the 11 pm news on Global. The fire was on Belcher Street, in a building known well to me, at least back in the day. Facebook updates confirmed it for me. This building was where I got my haircut as a youngster.

I don't have pictures of the place back in the day. I wish I did. The barber shop was on the main level. There was a massive picture window which dominated the front part of his little shop. The place was run by a man named Doug Naugler, who ran his business in that location from long before I was born, until sometime in the 1980's, probably the early '80's. I am not sure on that.

Dad would take me to get my hair cut, and usually his, and it was usually on Saturday nights. Not sure why Naugler would work that evening. I know he lived upstairs. I distinctly remember reading his old magazines and things like the comic strips that would arrive as a small newspaper that had "Star" on the mast head. He kept Norman Rockwell pictures, possibly framed ones, on his wall. My fave to this day is the one where a guy gets home from work and a kid is stuffing his hands in the man's pockets, presumably in search of money. Probably became one of pervert Rolf Harris' favorite Rockwells. But I digress.



(The above may be that picture. It was a long time ago. But I can't find another Rockwell image with similar themes.)


In the late night news report last evening I learned that the owner is Donnie Porter, who owns quite a few buildings in the Port. He owned Second Stage Furniture next door, and the former convenience store that was next door for several decades. You can see that it is now a physiotherapy clinic. People are standing in front of it in the above picture. It was in that store where I would pick up vintage paper back books for 25 cents apiece. I still have most of them. It's not like I can just buy or download these really old John D. MacDonald books any longer. Getting those books was like going back in time. There are still a few of these book depots in the Valley, but not one of them is anywhere near as good as the depot in the Port Williams convenience store on Belcher Street all those years ago. Sniff.





I was in one of those apartments in 1986. A guy I knew slightly was running a BBS, a Bulletin Board Service. A very early forerunner to things like internet newsgroups, a repository for downloading software and maybe even communicating within that SIG, or Special Interest Group. I owned a computer back then, a few to be truthful, but do not recall ever downloading anything from them. Remember that this was back in the day when 8 bit computers were still the norm. I should have owned an MS-DOS based machine, but could only afford CP/M ones. The life of a student.



Why am I going on about this silly stuff? People are homeless because of this fire. I hope they all had tenant insurance.


Looks as if the fire started in the roof.



In the above picture, the only one that gives you some idea of what the front of the place looked like, is this one. In the lower right hand side, you can see a couple of windows on the lower level. That picture window is, of course, long gone.



The side entrance is interesting. It is interesting because of the man who lived there until yesterday. A guy in his 40's, I'd wager, who had a pet cat. He would take the cat out with him on a regular basis, on a leash. Yes. He would walk his cat!

I also learned from the Global news broadcast that everybody got out safe, and that the pets got out safe as well. I look forward to seeing that man walking his cat, maybe even this weekend.

I had quite a few good times in that building. I am sorry to see it go. I hope that they can rebuild it. Maybe, just maybe, they can put a big picture window on the lower level facing Belcher. I'd like that. A lot.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Post 2709 - Phew!

Post Tropical Storm Arthur made its way through Nova Scotia on Saturday. Here in Halifax, the power flickered a couple of times, and we lost power for maybe 45 seconds. That's it.

In the Valley, however, at my mother's actually, the power went out Saturday morning and has remained out ever since. That sucks, but not as much as the beef in her freezer thawing out would.

It the power had come on within 36 hours or so, that would have been fine. My sister went to the house on Monday morning and put blankets over the freezer to keep the cold in. But by Tuesday morning, a full 3 days into it, we knew something would have to be done. Gayle had liberated 20 pounds of hamburger from the freezer this morning but reported that much of the rest of the meat was thawing out.

I decided to take a half day off work to deal with the situation. My bosses kindly let me take a sudden half vacation day. Patricia did the same thing. We left work around 12:30 and went back to the house, there to try to free up some space in the freezers to make room for the stuff we would be bringing back. Also, a woman at my work indicated some interest in purchasing any meat that I might want to sell.

We got to my mother's around 3:30. We loaded up 3 coolers with the meat. Several pieces of meat were pretty much thawed out and would have to be cooked and consumed as soon as possible.

There were many trees down. One tree, in the back yard, split in half. If the wind had been blowing the other way, it would have smashed into the garage, exposing the contents to the elements and causing untold damage. I didn't have a chance to go downstairs to see if there had been any problems there, but the main level and the garage were both fine. Very lucky.

My biggest chore this weekend will be to set all of the clock radios in the house so that they are more-or-less synchronized. Not far behind will be to toss out the contents of the refrigerator. Everything other than the condiments will have to go. There is not much in there. Just what I consume when I am up there on weekends.

After I spoke with the neighbour about their situation I returned to the house. We loaded up the car with the coolers and drove to Dartmouth, there to sell the meat to the woman at my work.

Among the items was a piece of brisket. When I ordered the side of beef last year, I specifically requested a piece of brisket. It had remained in that freezer all these months. It was one of the pieces of meat that had thawed, so it would have to be cooked and consumed very soon. I elected to sell it. I figure that there will be many more such prime cuts of beef in my life, and I will order one of them.

On the way back to work, I got a text that the carpenter would be able to go to the house this evening and resume work on the front deck. By the time we got home he and Rhea were hard at it. When the time they called it a night at 9pm, the spindles were up on the front deck, and the little space between the two right railings was ready to hold the things like snow shovels.

They will be back on Saturday and Sunday to finish the job. I can hardly wait. Getting really excited. I must be getting old if I am getting my jollies from wood.

Very long day. Have to turn in.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy

Monday, July 7, 2014

Post 2708 - Radio Rant

It is late. I will be turning in shortly.

We are back from our visit with Ron Roberts. A delightful man. Full of stories. While he and I chatted, Patricia was busy using my scanner to make digital copies of the photographs he supplied us with. I think I impressed him when I told him who Ray Middleton was, and was able to supply him with an anecdote about the man who had played Superman in the 1940's radio show. There is so much information there, so many stories, and I have so many questions left to ask, that we will be going back next Monday evening for the sequel.

This leads to my mini rant.

During my lunch hour, as I was preparing for the interview, several people on Facebook suggested questions to ask the man. They told me to say hello to them for me. They indicated a lot of respect for him. That's all fine.

What is not fine is how they don't take the time to contact Ron Roberts and tell him what he meant to them. He is hard of hearing. He is 81 years old. He has a very hard time getting around. He is not wealthy. He doesn't get much company. He has a great deal of time on his hands. He would be absolutely delighted to get more visitors, especially people from the radio who used to work with him. A few of them read my comments today.

Folks, it's like this.  He would love to hear from his old friends. I have his phone number. I know where he lives. Please, while he is able to enjoy your company, see him. Spend some time with him. Take him for a drive to KFC. Buy him an ice cream.

I will share his phone number with any radio person who writes me privately and asks for it.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Post 2707 - Sunday

Long day. Lots of work done outside today.  

Ignored Newbie too much today. He's all over me tonight. 

Interviewing Ron Roberts after work tomorrow. Will be fun. 

See you tomorrow. 

Bevboy



Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Bell network.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Post 2706 - Saturday

It is fairly late. In just about 9 hours the carpenters will be here. With any luck, they will have finished their work by the end of the day.

That means that within 24 hours we should be able to sit on the front deck and watch people walk and drive by, order kids off the lawn, and watch people walk and drive by. Good times. Good times. Why am I repeating everything? Why am I repeating everything?

I especially look forward to being able to take it easy on the back landing, an ersatz deck that will barely be big enough for 2 people to sit on. We will have to fight over who gets to use it. The fact that I will have paid for nearly the whole thing myself will not be a persuasive enough argument for Patricia. Maybe I will get to use it every other Tuesday between 10 and 11. AM. When I should be at work.

Post Tropical Storm Arthur blew through here today. Other than relatively high winds, it wasn't much to write about here in Halifax. There was very little rain. Other parts of the province did not fare so well. The power in the old homestead has been off all day. I hope it comes back on soon. I still have some pieces of steak and hamburger and a chunk of brisket, in the freezer. If the power comes back on relatively soon, it should still be okay. Otherwise, there may be a problem.

Saturday morning we went to the Value Village in Bayer's Lake. I found a Panasonic clock radio that is a faux wooden cabinet. It sounds nearly as good as the GE models, so I got it. Good purchase. They also had a Sirius XM radio in a boom box for $25. It had the antenna and everything. I managed to get it to start up for a whole 5 seconds before it shut down again. I didn't get it. It remains there for the next sucker to come along and grab it.

Now that I have done it, I will tell you about it. I modified the Courtney Amirault interview earlier today. Not her fault. Not mine. But I removed one of the video links in the interview. It was Rolf Harris' interpretation of "Stairway to Heaven". I discovered on Friday morning that Rolf Harris, the Australian entertainer whose show I used to watch as a kid, and liked, was very recently convicted of sex crimes against girls. These crimes began in the late 1960's and continued into the 1980's. Other women are stepping forward with their own allegations, so this is probably not over by a long shot. The little worm actually did a video about child sex abuse, as a way of hiding in plain sight. #RolfHarris is trending on Twitter. Many, many articles are coming out just this week about the trial, which was huge news down under. I will spare you the details of what he was convicted of. You can read about it for yourself.

Suffice it to say that I didn't want, and knew that Courtney wouldn't want, any videos embedded in her interview that linked to anything featuring that man. I got busy with stuff on Friday night, but made the correction early this afternoon.

I apologized to Courtney, and she said it was not necessary as I couldn't have known. She was right: I couldn't have known. But if anyone reading this happened to watch the Rolf Harris video I embedded in her interview and took offence because of what he did, please visit your scorn upon me and not on her.

I don't think we need to discuss this subject ever again.

You guys have a good evening. I will see you tomorrow. I will even try to write the blog post from the back deck, assuming I am allowed to use it.

Bevboy


Friday, July 4, 2014

Post 2705 - Radio News

I mostly report on Halifax-based radio news, or stuff from the Annapolis Valley, but we can pick up the Charlottetown radio stations just fine from the cottage, so I am extending my policy.

I read on the Milkman website this morning that Hot 105.5 in Charlottetown, a Newcap station, has posted an ad looking for its new on air person. The ad is worded to give the impression that the successful candidate could be working any day part at that fine station.

(The Hot 105.5 used to be a K-Rock station until even Newcap realized that playing that goddamn classic rock music ad infinitum and ad nauseum would not bode well for its future success. I applauded the format change at the time.)

This doesn't usually happen. Typically, a person goes bye-bye (or is shown the door) and they back fill that position and the newly-hired person takes over the vacated day part position. A morning show co-host leaves. They hire a new person to become the new morning show co-host.

I was intrigued. I reached out to my source in radio in PEI and was informed that the morning co-host, Megan Coady, had accepted a position as Mid-Day host at Flow 93.5 In Toronto. I wish Ms. Coady all the best. Newcap then decided that it would post an ad in the Milkman looking for a person for a day part to be named later. The successful candidate may or may not be put in the morning show. The PD may elect to move an existing on air person into the morning show, thereby generating a chain reaction that would result in the new hire being put elsewhere.

I'm not sure how to feel about it. It is none of my business how Newcap runs its affairs, but I don't think I would want to apply for a job, any job anywhere ever, in any field of endeavour, if I didn't have a firm idea where I would end up or what I would be doing once I got there. I have to wonder how many folks will be interested in applying for this ambiguous job.

I will continue to monitor this situation and the interesting way in which Newcap is handling this hire.

You guys have a good day. See you tomorrow. Batten down your hatches. And pray with me that the work that the carpenters have done on my house so far isn't ruined by Tropical Storm Arthur tomorrow.

Bevboy

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Post 2704 - An Embarrassing Incident

First of all, my thanks to Tim Bousquet for mentioning me and the blog in the July 2nd edition of The Halifax Examiner. Much appreciated, sir.

I had meant to write this post yesterday but I fell asleep before I had a chance to put pen to paper. Or, rather, fingers to keyboard.

We were leaving for work Wednesday morning. Just before she closed the side door, Patricia asked, "Do you have the keys to the house?"

"Of course, I do, darling!", I replied.

She closed the door.

A half second after she closed the door I realized, to my absolute dismay, that I had the wrong set of keys on me. I had the keys to the front door, but the steps leading thereto are no longer there. I did not have the keys to the side steps, the only means of ingress to my home.

Rassum frassum.

I was no god on my way to work yesterday. I wondered how I could be such a dumb dumb. I mean, I am only using the side door out of necessity. The front entrance is far more convenient, but that is not an option right now, what with the many thousands of dollars of work being done to my home.

The day crawled along at a speed reminiscent of how quickly a postal worker moves through amber while addicted to Valium. I thought over and over about how to go about breaking into my house and cause the least amount of damage to it.

I got an idea.

I got home. The frame for the front deck is up, so I took the steak knife I keep here at my work and used it to cut the spline on the outer screen door. I had left the "window" on the screen door open 8 inches or so, leaving the screen available for me. I used the step ladder I had purchased last year to climb up to the level where the frame was and employed the knife to hack at the screen and the spline. Having done that, I was then able to adjust the pane in the screen door upwards to its max. This enabled me to reach up and unlock the screen door's two locks and open it. This let me unlock the storm door. And I was in the house!

I called Patricia, who was remaining at work until her Pilates class at 7:30. She saw the number come up on her phone and teased me breaking into my own house. Hee hee.

I fed the cats. I went outside via the side door and put the ladder away.

Do you like irony? Here's a piece of it. As I was cleaning up the spline and the screen stuff from the door, I was approached by a young man who asked how the construction work was proceeding. I told him how it was going and what I had just had to do: break into my house.

And, who was this young man?

Hmm?

Give up?

It was the same fellow who broke into my house some 7 years ago!

Let's not go there. I have long since forgiven him for what he did. I am not going to identify him, but the irony of the situation was not lost on me and I felt compelled to pass this incident along.

I got back inside. I got caught up on the two most recent episodes of "24"; this season has been excellent. I surfed the web. I watched "Inner Space" on the Space channel. I picked up Patricia from her class. We grabbed a veggie burger at Harvey's in Bayer's Lake. And we returned home for the evening.

It was a nerve wracking day, but one that ended well. We can laugh over the incident, and I can chuckle over the ironic vignette I just described. And I can also look forward to the soon-to-come day when this construction work will all be done and we can enjoy the new front and back decks. Patricia wants to sit on the front deck and watch people walk and drive by. I want to be on the back deck and read my kindle and eat barbecue. I will likely be able to do interview transcription outside for the first time ever. It is just days away.

Assuming that Hurricane Arthur doesn't blow the hemlock wood around like toothpicks this weekend!

Sigh.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Post 2703 – Interview With Live 105’s Courtney Amirault

 

  

 

February 6, 2014

Courtney Amirault and I met for dinner at Michael’s on February 6th after my work. She brought her partner, Amanda, with her. Not to be outdone, Patricia joined us. So, I had dinner with three women in one evening. That doesn’t happen very often, folks.

Since this interview took place, there have been many changes in local radio. Jeff Cogswell left Live 105, and now that fine station’s morning show is called the Floyd Factor with Floyd and Chris Pottie. Neil Spence has left Live 105 and is now the morning guy at Radio 965, replacing Domink Diamond. His co-host is Chelsea Miller. Tim Bousquet has left The Coast. Griff and Caroline are back on the air, and Chris and Lisa are off. Jack FM exists, and Lite 92.9 does not. I had to go out and buy some more red string for my secret radio room in my house that keeps track of all this stuff.

 

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It was a free wheeling 3 hour conversation punctuated by many glasses of wine (although Courtney didn’t have a drop of liquor), much laughter, and many keen insights into local radio. Stop reading this, and start reading the interview.

1. How did you get your start in radio?

Courtney Amirault: How far back do you want to go back? School?

Bevboy: Everything. What made you decide that radio was something you wanted to do?

CA: It’s funny. I’ve read a lot of the interviews you’ve put on your website. Everyone says, “I’ve known since I was a little kid.” I had played “radio” since I was a little kid, my whole childhood, and didn’t clue in. I was delivering pizza for a restaurant called Tomavino’s in the South End. I was there for years and years and years. Pink-haired delivery lady. Loved it.

I was sitting home one afternoon. It was so pathetic. I was in my pyjamas, eating chips, not necessarily sober. I’m watching the channel crawl. There were all these crappy shows. Then, I hear  this booming voice, “Learn by doing! Do you like media?” It was an advertisement for AMI.

BB: Was it Alex J. Walling?

CA: It was Troy Michaels Swinamer.  So, I called the number. They made me talk on this little cassette player just to confirm that I wasn’t a total blithering idiot. I fooled them. So, I went to school there.

It was interesting, because I’m really good at quitting things.  I’d gone to King’s; quit. Gone to MacKenzie College; quit. Went to King’s, round two; quit. That’s when I said, “I’m going to go to radio school.” My parents, my family, would go, “Shut up!” But, it worked out. I was there for just over a year. It was a 16 month program. By the following September, Bob MacEachern at the Hawk in Port Hawkesbury had called us and said, “Hey, got anybody?” They said, “Yes.” I can’t remember if it was Troy or Garry who said...

BB: Garry who?

 

Courtney Amirault I

CA: Garry Barker. So, that’s where I went 4 months before graduation. I started as morning news co-host ... I think it would have been the beginning of October, maybe 2007.

 

 

 

 

BB: You had not graduated yet. You had zero experience. Was this a practicum or whatever?

CA: No. They yanked me out of school early. I had already nailed down a scholarship. I was notorious for missing school. “Survivor” was on Thursday night. We would get together and all drink; we would all drink, and I would call in sick on Friday.

BB: The Forty Ounce Flu.

CA: Exactly. He actually had to go through my attendance. He said that if I had missed one more day, [he] couldn’t let me go because I wouldn’t have finished my course. He’s like, “You’re just under the wire, Ms. Amirault.”

 

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So, I started in 2007, or maybe 2006, at the Hawk. I was morning news co-host with Rob McNamara, who’s at The Giant now.

BB: Let’s say it was ‘07. How long were you there? What happened after that?

CA: Just shy of two years. Rob had left and gone to the Giant. Then, I got Scott Oakley as a co-host. We were absolutely a gong show. If you know Scott at all, then he is the male version of me. It was crazy but a really great fun time. After that, I went to News 88.9 in Saint John. It was strictly news.

BB: How jarring was that? This was... ‘09 or something?

CA: It wasn’t jarring. It was what I wanted to do. The co-hosting thing was an afterthought, and I was strictly news. That’s all I wanted to do. I gave zero cares about being an on air host. It’s funny because when I was at school, Troy told me, “You’re the only person that’s been through these doors that I got wrong. I had you pegged as an on air personality. You’re news.” I said, “Yep. I know.”

BB: Had you been a news junkie before that when you were delivering  pizza?

CA: Yes, but not quite as bad as I am now. That’s the part of the job I took really seriously. Co-hosting was just something where I could throw my two cents in. But news was the most important thing.

I worked my tail off at that job. I would read my last cast at twelve and then go to the court house and cover court, come back, file, go down to Guysborough in the evening and cover Council, come back, file, go to bed for the morning show. It was constant.

BB: You did actual reporting? Not much rip and read?

CA: No. Barely any wire stories whatsoever.

BB: Does the Hawk still do that? I’ve never met Bob MacEachern or anybody else there, but do they still do actual reporting there?

CA: Absolutely. They’re one of the best sources I can think of in this province.

BB: Every time I hear about stations firing news people I think they’re so short-sighted.

CA: Bob is very news. He takes it very, very seriously. Which is very nice to see, actually.

BB: You mentioned in an email that you used to cover hockey games or something [at  Rogers].

CA: No. Actually, when I got hired at Rogers, it was for somebody that was on mat leave.

BB: Who was on mat leave?

 

 

CA: It was Denise Barkhouse.

I started as a lowly reporter in the afternoons. Tim Roszell was doing the majority of the anchoring, but I don’t know if he had the official title. It was during the time when the Seadogs were dominating the Q league. He was also calling the games. They were gone for long stretches at a time, especially with playoffs. So, I would take over anchoring for him. It was so nice. I loved it.

BB: Okay. You back filled for him. You got the bug for being a newsanchor.

CA: Yes. That was always the goal. I filled every shift. I used to do reporting in the mornings. There was one time when I almost drove off the road: it was so foggy. I had to do Council. Saint John is such a mess with their pension fund and the fights in Council chambers. I’d be there until 2 o’clock in the frigging morning writing stories. It was a rush.

Neil Spence A

 

 

 

BB: Did you meet Julia Kirkey, a friend of Neil Spence’s? When she was at K-Rock, she did the very same thing. She would cover Council, go to the station and edit a story until 1 in the morning. Then, the next morning they wouldn’t use her story.

Julia Kirkey I

 

CA: That’s not good. I don’t know if I know who that is. Was she in Saint John?

 

 

 

BB: No. I’m just saying there was another person doing Council stories, but they sometimes ignored her work.

CA: I can’t imagine. I would cry.

BB: How long were you at Rogers?

CA: A year.

BB: We’re talking... 2010?

CA: Yes. I took a year off after Rogers.

BB: What did you do?

CA: I was on Pogey. [Rogers] was just for the one year term. While I was there, they did some pretty intensive firings and cutting down. That’s probably the beginning of the demise of Rogers, at least in the Maritimes. There was no chance that they were going to keep me on if they’re firing people left, right and centre.

 

Courtney Amirault I

 

BB: They had their own news wheel in the morning. They got rid of that. They have some kind of talk show at 6 o’clock in the morning.

CA: When I was there, is when they made those changes. My main duty was anchoring the newscast for Saint John and Moncton on the weekends. It was frigging brutal. But, when they got rid of that stuff, people really complained. I guess somebody was listening.

BB: Okay. You were laid off for a while. You went to Medicine Hat from there?

CA: That’s right.

 

 

 

 

BB: And, that was your first time doing a music gig?

CA: That’s right. I started in news, though.

BB: Okay. Tell me about that.

CA: I had applied to stations all over Canada. Whoever calls first. Why not?  That’s part of the reason I chose radio. CJCY is owned by an independent called Clear Sky Radio. They called and went, “Hey! We got your application for News Director...” which was a shot in the dark. I’ll apply for anything. I have balls. “We don’t necessarily feel that News Director would be a good fit for you, but we do have a Reporter/Anchor position.” I’m like, ‘Okay! Cool!” They’re like, “When can you start”. I said, “Give me one month to get rid of my things and get out there.” That was the interview! Which should have been my first indication. So, once again, I was in the doldrums of the weekend: anchoring for Lethbridge and Medicine Hat from 6am till noon, and then doing newscasts from 3pm till 6 on weekdays, and also reporting.

BB: It was a full-time job, though.

CA: Yes, it was.

 

 

 

BB: Were you disappointed with the hours? You didn’t want to work the weekend?

CA: Part of it was that. Part of it was just that there’s not a whole hell of a lot that goes on in Southern Alberta, newswise.

Patricia: “A cow crossed the street today.”

CA: Well, right? Right? You’re used to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick: corruption and politics and crazy stuff happening all the time. You get to Medicine Hat and, like you said, “Cow crossed the road today.” Or: “It was hot today, and it will be hot tomorrow.” Alternate: “Cold today. Will be cold tomorrow.” What happens in politics in Alberta? 40 years of Conservative rule. Nothing happens! [Bevboy note: This interview was conducted before premier Alison Redford resigned over spending irregularities and party infighting.]

So, I was getting pretty frustrated. There were things going on in the newsroom that I didn’t really like that compromised my integrity; i.e. Sales getting their fingers in the pot. I thought, “This is not cool.”.

BB: Do you mean that Sales would say that you can’t cover this story because you might upset a client?

CA: Or, alternatively, “We have a brand-new client. Why don’t you put this on the news?” It was pretty sketchy that way. I had learned from Bob at the Hawk, “Sales can’t even talk to you!” It was jarring that way.

We had an election going on. They’re like, “You can interview the NDP and the Liberals, but they’re a non-starter in this province, so make sure you focus on Wildrose and Conservative.” It made my head spin. I was so freaking far from home. I didn’t know what to do.  So I was, “Hey, there’s so much vacation coming up. How about you give me a shot at filling in on mid days, but I’ll just voice track it? If you think it sucks, then you’ll yank Colby Hayward from Lethbridge and he will VT, because vacation was always VT’d. He’s in Lethbridge; I’m in Medicine Hat. At least give me a chance.”

I lied through my teeth. I told him I had so much frigging experience on the air. I had none whatsoever. Just the limited co-hosting at The Hawk.

BB: What was the brand of the station?

 

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CA: I think they were going by classic hits. It was, “Let’s just throw all of the music on the radio and see what sticks!” That’s the way that went, but it turns out that they loved it.

BB: So, you were voice tracking, plus your reporting work.

CA: Yes. From 10-2 was just voice tracked. Nothing really changed. Then, I put on my news hat and did my anchoring and stuff like that.

BB: Did you always work as “Courtney Amirault”?

CA: On air I was “Courtney A”. For news, “Courtney Amirault”.

BB: Did people realize you were doing two different jobs?

CA: Yes. People were like, “Oh, wow. I liked your show!” I said, “Well, thanks!” It was really cool. I was stunned. I wanted to try it, just to see. I’ve had my hands in every aspect, except for Sales.

BB: Do you ever not smile?

 

 

 

 

CA: No. [To Amanda] You can confirm.

P: You roll over. You wake up.

Amanda: Pretty much. I wake her up and say, “Honey, your cheeks are going to be so sore today!”

CA: What’s not to smile about? My life rules. Are you kidding me?

BB: Okay. You’re in Medicine Hat. We’re talking about... 2011 until when?

CA: Uh, let’s call it 2011. I would have started in October. I always start jobs in October, and I always start in the cold, four jobs running. It would have been in the beginning of October. By July, I was starting to get a little bit antsy.

BB: July of 2012?

CA: Yes. In the mean time, they were having troubles with some of their on air staff. It wasn’t quite the quality that they wanted. I mean, management? Who the hell can figure out what they want? They canned the mid-day girl; they canned the Afternoon Drive. They put me in Drive. And, they brought in a co-host for me.

BB: A co-host in the afternoon? That’s unusual anywhere.

CA: Yes. That was the first time that it had happened in a market that small, and that anybody had ever heard of anyway.

BB: Was that a lack of confidence they had in you? Or were they just trying something different?

CA: Part of it was trying something different. And, to be perfectly honest, I think they owed this guy a favour. It was a friend.

BB: Of?

 

CA: A friend of the guy who was hiring.

BB: Do you want to say his name?

CA: No.

BB: Fine.

CA: He’s still there. [Bevboy note: Courtney's update as of June 30, 2014: “He Got Fired! Renn Davies”]

BB: The Afternoon guy? I can find out who it is.

CA: Absolutely. Just saying his name makes me want to vomit. That’s where we stand.

BB: You will have a chance to read this over. You can always edit this if you want.

CA: That’s legit. Everybody knows how I felt about him. And him, me.

BB: He didn’t like you, either.

CA: It did not work. Never did. We tried and tried and tried. That’s the first person I’ve ever not got along with on a professional level.

BB: Was it testy on the air?

 

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CA: Yes. It was.

BB: People could tell. “Well, how are you doing today, John?”

CA: Yes. Precisely. It wasn’t so much that I was angry on air, that he was angry on air. It’s just that you could tell that when I was making fun, I meant it. [hearty laugh] “Oh, my god. You’re an idiot!” wasn’t just for fun. I meant it.

BB: You’re an actual idiot. A big dummy.

CA: I mean, god bless him. Good for him He’s got a great job. But it’s not my thing.

[DINNER IS SERVED]

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BB: Was it July of 2012 that you left CJCY, or was it this past July [2013]?

CA: This past July. I forgot to mention that they threw me into Promotions too. What a shit show. It was a fun experience, but I think I’m meant more for on air and not behind-the-scenes.

BB: Were you wasted in Promotions?

CA: No.  Not at all. I think it was overwhelming trying to do both. Obviously, Promotions should be a dedicated position, but we still pulled off some pretty cool stuff.

BB: Give me an example.

CA: We did a promotion called Win the Twins, in which there was a pair of Harley Davidson motorcycles. The goal was: you had to display the Harley Davidson logo and the CJCY logo in the most creative way possible, in public, and photograph it.

We weren’t getting any entries. Then, they blew us away. Somebody actually made these gigantic hay bale people with CJCY and Harley logo’s on the side of the highway. They’re still there. It was wild. It was a really great promotion.

BB: I wonder: How does a person come up with an idea for a promotion? Do you steal from other stations? Are you inspired by other stations?

CA: That one was definitely stolen from another station. That was the head of Sales and the Program Director. They had worked at a station in Red Deer together. They had done that promotion and it went really well.

Every year, for the past 3 or 4, we’ve done Classic Cruiser. Instead of giving away a brand-new car, we seek out a classic. One year, it was a ‘68 Mercury Cougar. The year I was there, it was a ‘73 Mustang Convertible. I drove it everywhere. Medicine Hat is very photoradar heavy. I think they have the most in Canada. The car was from the States. I floored it to “80“. I’m like, “Jesus, this feels really fast!” And, it’s in miles per hour, and not kilometres per hour. [laughs] I was really lucky. The young fella, the board op, he got nailed for speeding, and I didn’t. Thank god, because 80 miles an hour in a station vehicle...

BB: You might have been let go.

CA: A distinct possibility.

BB: Was Buddy fired?

CA: No. It was just one of those things. The camera was going to snap you if you’re going 53 in a 50 zone, right? It happens.

So, [Promotions] was fun. Just one more tool. You have to be versatile.

BB: That’s true. Were there things you came up with entirely on your own? You would just sit in your office and put your feet up and think?

CA: Very minor things. The day-to-day things were my responsibility. The big things were more of a brainstorm or it was Sales and PD; and then I would try and tweak it if possible. Concert giveaways were mostly me.

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BB: What kind of bands come to Medicine Hat?

CA: Most of the bigger bands were in Calgary. We would usually be able to get tickets through Ticketmaster/Live Nation to give away ahead of time. But, believe it or not, Medicine Hat has a venue called The Esplanade. It’s a 600 seater. They attract the weirdest acts. Chris Cornell from Soundgarden has played there twice. Actually, one of the songs that were recorded at an Esplanade concert made it to his live album.

 

Jann Arden, whose tour manager said, “You are the spitting image of [her]” Joan Rivers. Snoop Dogg. Just the most random shows ever, at this tiny little venue.

BB: How does Joan Rivers or Snoop Dogg even know about this place?

CA: The guy who books is really on point. They had Serena Ryder there. It is not just so-called “has beens” or somebody who’s at the tail end of their career. They get people that are coming up. It’s really, really awesome. It’s a fantastic venue.

BB: It’s almost like... Glace Bay...

CA: The Savoy!

BB: Yes. Something like that.

CA: Very similar.

BB: Amazing. So, what happened in July 2013 that you weren’t there any more?

CA: So... the back story. When I wrapped up in Saint John, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I was aware that I might have to leave the province to find work, but I really, really didn’t want to. At that point you don’t know how he’s going to fare. he said, “You need to go, first of all, because we’re not going to pay for you to stay here. What can you possible do for me? Second of all, go, because you love radio, and it’s an opportunity that you can’t pass up.” So, he convinced me. It was the hardest goodbye of my life.

 

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Turns out everything was fine. Then, last July, it came back. I was like, “This sucks. I want to go home.” I had accomplished pretty much everything that I could at that station. So, I decided I was going to go home on vacation, on a one-way ticket.

BB: Did you tell them it was a one-way ticket.

CA: Yes. They’re like, “Okay. That’s cool. Take your time. If, by any chance, you end up back in Medicine Hat we will try and bring you back.” So, there was a safety net in that regard.  Maybe they were blowing smoke. I don’t know. I don’t get that impression.

So, I left everything in Medicine Hat and came home and saw that the Live mid day posting. I was like, “It’s mine!” That’s the only job I applied for. And, I got it.

BB: Okay. Christina left around the end of August or early September.

CA: And that’s roughly when I arrived. I think I came the last week of August.

 

 

BB: I’m pretty sure they advertised her job before she actually walked out the door.

CA: Yes. The end date for that job, I remember it clearly, was September 6th. On the 4th or 5th, I said, “This is my job, and I will fight for it.” Because, I almost got hired when they launched [in October of 2010].

BB: Live 105?

CA: Yes.

 

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BB: Okay. Tell me about that.

CA: It was as an afternoon news anchor. He told me that afternoon news was no longer a go. That was at the tail end of my time at News 88.9. I said, “Okay. That’s fine.” Then, I saw this and said, “That’s mine.” Since the day they launched, there’s two stations I ever wanted to work for. There, and X92.9 in Calgary. That’s it. Somebody had to take this from me.

BB: Tell me about how you applied for the job at Live 105. You saw the job in the Milkman. You applied for it. You would have met Gary Tredwell. He would have interviewed you, I presume.

Gary Tredwell C

 

CA: Yes. That was just basically it. I threw them my demo and my letter, and a nice tidy little package. He got back to me right away, which stunned me.

BB:  Within days?

CA: Yes. I don’t want to say it was the same day, but it was very, very soon. It’s a long process as far as I am concerned, but not really for radio. I’ve been through 2 or 3 month-long processes and then nothing happened.

BB: Within 30 days you had applied, been interviewd, and hired.

CA: Yes. He says, “What are you going to do with your stuff?” I’m like, “Leave it there! Are you kidding me?  This is where I’m from. I don’t care. It’s just stuff.” He’s like, “Okay, then.” They didn’t pay to move me. I was living in Medicine Hat, staying at my parents’ house on vacation.

BB: Which is in the Pubnico’s?

CA: So, I didn’t go back.

BB: And your stuff is still in Medicine Hat?

CA: Some of it has been shipped to me by bus, but the rest of it was either sold or now is with my ex. And that’s fine. We’re still besties.

BB: Okay. Because, when Cub Carson and Floyd went to Live 105 Evanov actually spent some money and moved their stuff up and put them up in a hotel. They did nothing like that at all for you.

CA: No. And, I think that’s part of the advantage and the appeal of me. I was like, “I’ll start now!” I knew that reality was I probably wasn’t going to get my stuff back unless I moved back to Medicine Hat and took my old job.

Courtney Amirault E

BB: When you were hired did you have an apartment in town or something?

CA: My friends have a house. I was renting a room. 400 bucks. I still pay even though I don’t live there. I’m paying to store my stuff and do laundry for free.

BB: We know whose apartment it is, where you’re living?

CA: Yes. [laughs] Precisely.

BB: When you were interviewed by Gary, what kind of questions did he ask you? Was there a formal interview? Or did he just like what he heard?

CA: I think it was a little bit of both. It was really focused on music, which was nice. The last job I had, I didn’t even have an interview like I told you. It was just, “Hey, do you want to come up? You’re hired!”

He had his laptop.  He would play songs. “You have to tell me who it is.” I reeled off one after the other. Then, Ben Folds Five’s “Brick” came on. I know that song; I’ve known it my whole life. I totally drew a blank. He told me what it was. I  just wanted punch myself in the face a million times.

I can’t remember if it was when I was moving up or if I was just leaving, or what the situation was, but the song came on. I just started pounding on the steering wheel. “This is ‘Brick’! This is Ben Folds Five ‘Brick’!”  And every time it comes on now, I’m like, “Oohh! You almost screwed me!”

So, yes, it was a really great interview, as far as I’m concerned: I got the job, thank goodness, because I didn’t have any plans.

BB: And you came to Nova Scotia without a plan.

CA: Yes. Seat-of-my-pants. All the time.

 

Courtney Amirault N

BB: Good for you.

CA: I started October 7th.

BB: You mentioned you get sick with any job. Did you miss any time?

CA: No. I didn’t take any time. I just had a wicked bad cold and kept sharing it with everybody. Yes. Every single job I’ve had, the first week, sick as a dog.

A: You have to walk in and share. You have to have something to offer.

CA: Chris Pottie’s germ-bag kids. There are always colds going on.

BB: Chris Pottie’s got kids? He’s younger than you are, isn’t he?

CA: He has a couple of years on me. His kids are always sick. Part of it is like blaming the dog for farting. “It’s always Chris’ kids. That’s why you have a cold!” [it’s hard to tell whether Courtney or Patricia laughs harder] I hope you don’t think that Chris’ kids are like dog farts, but you know what I mean.

BB: How much do you think before you speak?

CA: Not at all. I would like to think it’s one of my most endearing qualities, along with the tears that spurt every time I even giggle.

A: She laughs; she cries. Every time. Never fails.

CA: That’s true.

 

 

BB:  That’s hysterical. How is show prep for you, anyway?

P: I’m curious. How many dog farts does Chris Pottie have, anyway?

A: At least two.

CA: He has two kidlets. Show prep for me is still news-based, believe it or not. I don’t, and never have used, a prep service. They’re always late any way. So, I do show prep just like I would news gather. I read the Herald, CBC, the Metro, The Huffington Post, The Globe, TSN...

BB: Bevboy’s  Blog?

CA: Yes. Precisely! From one end of the country to the other. All the dailies! The Coast. You name it.

P: You have to flog the blog, don’t you?

BB: I love the Coast. Did you see the new one? Nice article about Ralph’s Place.

CA: God, was that ever good.

BB: Yes. Written by a woman, too. It was excellent.

CA: It’s really good.  One of the better ones I’ve read in a while.

BB: And it wasn’t written by Tim Bousquet. Usually he writes that stuff.

CA: Exactly. That’s one of the reasons why I read The Coast. He’s frigging awesome.

BB: Good article. You should read it, Patricia. I linked to it on my Facebook.

2.  What is the best piece of professional advice or criticism you have ever received, and who provided it? I am guessing that Bob MacEachern was a good mentor to you?

 

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CA: Phenomenal. I don’t want this to come off as a Bob being a jerk or anything, because it was awesome advice. But it sounds harsh. “You are replaceable. And that is a fact.” That was really, really good advice.

BB: Does that mean you pushed the envelope a little bit, but you don’t go too far? You know where to stop yourself?

CA: I would like to think so. I’m still trying to feel out the line at Live. CJCY? Very conservative. Bible belt, right? There was stuff I thought was perfectly legit. I’m not talking about swears or colourful language. Just basic subject matter that was like, “Oh, really?  This is a thing?”

BB: I saw on your Facebook about the Gay Pride festival out there. You were the recipient of comments out there, right?

CA: Oh, my goodness. Twice a week, in the local paper, they have a column called “Ticked Off. Tickled Pink”, which gives a voice to the anonymous. Even to this day, it’s “I hate homosexuals. Let white, straight people have their own parade!” It’s endless. And they print it, constantly.

P: Straight parades are boring.

 

 

 

CA: There was one lady that said she saw the Gay Pride float in the [Calgary] Stampede parade and flipped her grandkids around so they don’t have to see such disgusting filth.

A: At least the Gay Pride parade is colourful.

CA: So, the reporter at Medicine Hat News is from Ontario. She hated the attitude. She’s like, “Okay. Can I use you for the story?” I said, “Yes. Absolutely.”

BB: It’s a nice picture. You were kissing your then girlfriend.

 

Courtney 2012 

CA: There was nothing crass about it. I was super happy to do that. At that point, big fish small pond, I had a fan base. People did like the radio station. They liked the show. And, I guess it was eye opening. “Hey, she’s not a ten-headed gargoyle that’s going to sleep with my daughter or something. She’s just a person.”

 

 

 

BB: Your face wasn’t shown. Was that on purpose?

CA: No. It wasn’t. I think it was just the photo that the editor or she, chose.

BB: I thought that since you were in radio you wouldn’t want your picture shown. It was strictly happenstance.

CA: Yes. It just happened to be.

BB: Okay. Anyway, at Live, they’re not as conservative as, say, C100/The Bounce. They’re not as liberal as Q104. Somewhere in the middle, probably a little closer to C100/The Bounce than they are to Q104. I’m not being negative. Even Q104 isn’t as edgy as it used to be. What have you found, working at Live 105, in terms of the content? Things you can talk about, and things you probably ought not to?

CA: I haven’t had any knuckle rappings yet. Once again, back to the news background, I think I’m pretty good at keying in on things that people actually want to talk about. Some topics that are relevant to the demographic. Obviously, I’m part of the demographic, so it helps. In Medicine Hat, I’m talking to a much older group of people. Very conservative. So it was kinda hard to find subject matter in that regard.

I don’t think I’ve had any terrible misses at Live yet, which is good.

BB: I’m sure Gary would talk to you about that.

 

 

CA: I’m certain that he would. I think that maybe the only thing that I like to talk about that the audience doesn’t like, is sports. I’m a sports fanatic. I don’t think that necessarily translates with our audience. Some, obviously.

BB: A lot of sports fans listen to the Q. Are you saying that sports fans don’t listen to Live?  Are the demographics crunched that much that you know that? Or do you just suspect it?

CA: I just suspect it. [Our listeners] are rabid music freaks. You have to know about music; you can’t just blindly be talking crap. It has to be something somewhat obscure, or a great fact. It’s very music [oriented]. And if you say something that’s wrong, they will let you know, which is the coolest fanbase ever.

BB: And Gary does airchecks?

CA: Yes.

BB: What have you learned from airchecks with Gary Tredwell?

CA: I learned to keep it really short. I tend to babble, obviously. [laughs] “Economize your words!”

BB: That’s something he’s told you?

CA: Yes. And I love it.

BB: He’s a good boss.

CA: He’s fantastic.

 

 

 

BB: You wouldn’t say if he was an ass. He’s always been good to me.

CA: I’m stunned by how awesome he is.

P: [for the third time] He’s my boyfriend.

BB: Okay, Patricia. Jesus!

3.  The “Megan Edwards” question.  You lose your iPod.  I find it.  What songs on it would surprise me the most? For example, are you a Jann Arden fan?

 

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CA: Yes. I think my obsession with Country music might shock people.

BB: Classic Country, or the newer stuff?

CA: Both. Johnny Cash. I have some Faron Young records.

BB: “Wolverton Mountain”?

CA: That is... not Faron Young. But, I know the song. [Bevboy Note: “Wolverton Mountain”, and many other songs, were recorded by Claude King, who died in 2013]

Courtney Amirault D

 

BB: “Hello, Walls” is Faron Young.

CA: Exactly. I love old Country. I love Loretta Lynn. Dolly Parton’s one of my all-time favourites. I also like Little Big Town. Taylor Swift. Dierks Bentley. Alan Jackson. Garth Brooks.

BB: My mother loves Alan Jackson.

CA: Dwight Yoakim. I’m a big-time metal head.

BB: Do you like Uncle Kracker? He did a crossover hit with Kenny Chesney.

CA: Doesn’t really work for me. Big and Rich played at the Medicine Hat Stampede. I have no use for “Save A Horse. Ride a Cowboy”. But I did go see Gretchen Wilson. She kicked ass.

P: I have to admit that she’s good.

CA: Then I saw Cheap Trick the next night. I love Cheap Trick.

BB: Me too.

P: They’re still around?

BB: Yes. Their original drummer, Bun E. Carlos, doesn’t tour with them anymore.

 

 

 

CA: I think it’s one of their kids that might be drumming with them. I caught like 20 guitar picks from Rick Nielsen.

I also love Jefferson Airplane, which might surprise people. I’m obsessed with Belinda Carlisle. Did you know that George Harrison played the slide guitar on “Leave A Light On”? He was recording in the studio next door.

BB: How do you feel about Hank Snow?

CA: Not bad. Lunenburg fella.

BB: He used to beat the shit out of his wife. How about Wilf Carter? The really old guys?

CA: No. I won’t turn it off. Here’s the thing: I’m obsessed with the Time Life infomercials. If Time Life put together a boxed set of Time Life commercials, I’d buy 10 of them. I could sit there and watch these things constantly.

BB: How do you feel about the history of Country music? The Carter Family?

CA: I wouldn’t necessarily seek it out unless it was a really good tune. Oh, Roy Orbison’s one of my favourites. The Hollies. Kanye West. Jay Z.

BB: How about the early rock n’ roll artists? Buddy Holly?

CA: Oh, yes. It’s all fantastic music. 

BB: The Everly Brothers?

CA: Not bad. As far as the harmonizing bands, it’s always the Hollies. Number one for me. I don’t really give much of a shit about the Beatles.

BB: Way to go, sister!

CA: If I never hear the Eagles again, it will be too soon.

BB: Obviously, I’m older than you. I grew up with that music. I never liked that music when I was a kid. I don’t want to hear the Eagles now. I didn’t want to hear them then.  

CA: It’s maudlin crap. The only acceptable thing about the Eagles is that Joe Walsh played in the James Gang and Funk Number 49 is a good song. That’s it. That’s as far as I’ll go.

BB: So, when you were a little girl pretending to be on the radio, were you pretending to be a newsreader, or pretending to be a jock?

CA: I was pretending to be a jock. I wanted a comedy show. There’s a sample video on my Facebook page. It’s so bad! My sister found a blank cassette. This would have been when I was in Medicine Hat. She sent it to me. At the time I still had a gigantic ghetto blaster. On one side was me playing radio for a half hour. Flip it over, and it’s my little sister going, “Attention, shoppers. Zellers will be closing in 5 minutes.” She never did become a cashier. [Courtney and Patricia laugh]

BB: Is there a genre of music you dislike? Opera?

CA: No, no. I don’t hate Opera.

BB: Really?

CA: Measha Brueggergosman.

BB: She did that song with David Myles: “Whole to my Half”.  Do you know that one?

CA: I do. And I also like Maria Callas. I don’t think there’s a genre I hate. I love Classical music. I love everything.

BB: Is there a particular Classical composer you like? Chopin?

CA: Rachmaninoff.

BB: Who the hell’s that?

CA: Oh, he’s dark.

BB: Wagner?

CA: Wagner’s good, too. Also dark. Wagner’s good because he influenced Metal a lot.

BB: Really?

CA: Yes.

P: You should listen to it. You will hear rock bands in Wagner.

BB: Whenever I hear Wagner’s “The Ride of the Valkyries”, I think, “Kill the Wabbit! Kill the Wabbit!”  It’s from an old Bugs Bunny cartoon.  Remember that one? [Bevboy note: It was called “What’s Opera, Doc?”]

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CA: I actually had somebody call up during the Late Lunch and say that the singer from Alt J sounds like Elmer Fudd. I haven’t been able to get that out of my head since.

I love music from every genre. I don’t like shitty music.

BB: Polka music? How do you feel about Weird Al’s dad, Frank Yankovic?

CA: It’s got its place. Ever been to Oktoberfest?

BB: How about Big Band music?

CA: It’s not terrible. I like the Andrews Sisters. “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree, With Anyone Else But Me”. Right? Did they do the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”?

BB: Yes.

CA: It’s fantastic.

BB: And Bette Midler re-recorded that song.

CA: Oh, nuts to her. I love pop music. I don’t like Bette Midler.

BB: I always embed songs into the interview. You’ve given me about a million ideas.

 

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CA: Find some Melvins. That would have been the band that influenced Kurt Cobain the most. They’re sludgy. I saw them once; it was like a dream come true.

I like a lot of weird, weird, weird stuff.

BB: You don’t have the physical cd’s, because you left that stuff in Medicine Hat. You must have this whopping huge hard drive full of music, do you?

CA: I have quite a bit of stuff on my phone. I have a lot of lp’s. There are a lot of cd’s that are in Medicine Hat. I brought my record collection with me. Sold most of it, unfortunately.

BB: Taz Records?

CA: Obsolete Records on Agricola Street. There’s no way I’ll ever sell my P.J. Harvey records. She’s my hero. And, also, The Cardigans.

 

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BB: Well, you introduced me today to Edwyn Collins. I’d never heard of the guy before in my life.

P: I knew the song, but because it’s Euro Music, it didn’t really have much of an influence over here.

CA: Exactly. They listen to the weirdest shit. I spent a year in  Austria after high school. They were still listening to new Right Said Fred music. I’m not kidding you. There’s no need for that, ever.

BB: Österreich. I studied German in high school and university.

CA: Yes. Love it.

BB: What made you go to Austria/Österreich after high school?

CA: We had exchange students from Austria. “Can I go back with you?” So, I did. I didn’t want to go to university: I wasn’t ready.

BB: You’ve had an interesting life. And it’s only one third over. You must be exhausted.

 

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CA: Do you know what? I actually got to scratch off the last thing on my bucket list when I was in Medicine Hat. I got to see the Chicago Blackhawks live. I went *scratch*. Ripped it up. Threw it out.

BB: Was it on your list that you be interviewed by me?

CA: Number one. I get to scratch that off.

BB: A little bit of sarcasm. I like that.

CA: It’s fantastic. I’m thrilled. Do you know how much I’ve read this blog? “One of these days, it’s going to be me!”

P: I’m curious.  What was on your bucket list?

CA: It was mostly a bunch of musical acts I wanted to see, and sports events I wanted to go to. And bungee jump.

P: I don’t want to bungee jump, but I did go up in a hot air balloon. That was on my bucket list.

CA: That is cool.

P: Who’s the wuss that stayed home?

BB: I had to work that weekend?

P: No, he didn’t. He volunteered.

P: I had a good time.

CA: Polar bear dip? That shit was cool.

P: That’s on my bucket list, too. I’m  too much of a chickenshit to do that, though.

BB: I’m worried about the men who do that.

A: It takes about six months for them to fall back down again.

 

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CA: I did it on a triple dog dare! I was the only person stupid enough to go barefoot. I had to crawl back to the car. “You’re supposed to wear footwear!” I’m like, “Well, I have my knee high boots. What do you want me to do? They’ll weigh me down! I’ll die at the Polar bar dip at Saint John!” So, I went barefoot. It was refreshing.

P: I’m sure it was.

CA: It was four degrees. It was barely a polar bear dip. It was like a polar cub dip.

A: The year I went, a guy died.

BB: Where was this?

A: In Cape Breton.

 

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BB: Heart attack?

A: Yes.

BB: An older fellow, obviously.

A: Yes. 63.

P: I’d better hurry up, then.

CA: I’ll go with you. Only, we can do it in July.

A: You just have to triple dog dare her.

P: Well, it’s still on my bucket list.

BB: Is there any more music you want to talk about?

CA: Oh, my goodness. I could keep you hear until tomorrow, talking about music. I have ticket stubs this thick [holds hands apart, palms facing each other]. I’ve been to see Cher. You name it. I’ve gone to so many bizarre concerts.

A: Byork?

 

 

 

CA: No. I’ve never seen her.

BB: Do you want to see her?

CA: I would love to see her.

BB: How about Kate Bush?

CA: No. Not a fan.

P: I would. That’s my era.

BB: She’s kind of an odd gal.

CA: Oh, I love weird music. Diamanda Galás. You’ve got to check her out. What is the name of that song? “Gloomy Sunday”. She does a version of that that is just ridiculous. There is no need for music that bizarre, but there it is.

4.  How difficult a transition was it for you to go from a news format at News 88.9, to a music-intensive format at Live 105? And is Tom Young (or his actual name of Paul SomethingOrOther) really that carmudgeonly?

CA: Oh, he was worse. I frigging loved it, though. The man wore crocs and shorts 365 days a year. He’s the gruffest old fella. He would come in at the most inopportune time and throw it on the table. “Here, Trixie! Go get me a coffee at Tim’s!” I’d go, because I wanted one, too. [laughter all around]

 

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A lot of people disliked him.  They disliked his show, but I’ve heard some of the most chilling, interesting radio ever in that newsroom, courtesy of him.

BB: Such as?

CA: There was one story. I think that 88.9‘s reporting on this ended up winning a journalism award. I’m not sure because I wasn’t there any more. But, if you remember Clifford Olson, the serial killer, was in jail. He was collecting all his pensions and money up the wazoo. A lady called: it was the sister of one of the victims. It was just heartbreaking. It was awful.  She was, “Where does this money go?” It’s hard to even think about it, let alone listen to it again. It was on my demo reel for a long time.

BB: Not any more?

CA: No. Not any more. Not needed, unless I was going back for a news job.

That was when the government was trying to sell NB Power, so there was some pretty good talk radio happening.

BB: Why do you think that talk radio hasn’t been that popular in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia? Maybe it is, but it’s hard to sell air time or something.

CA: Beats me. Everybody is really excited with thoughts about politics and how much they hate Nova Scotia power and so on. People are really informed. There are also great conversations going on. It just... never took. I think maybe some people might be turned off that it’s the same five people calling.

 

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P: Yes! It’s always the same people. They’re home. They have no job for some reason. It’s the same people reiterating the same information, over and over. It gets kind of boring.

CA: It does. I always loved it. I love to listen.

BB: Do you listen to Rick Howe before you go to work in the morning?

CA: No.

BB: How about Todd Veinotte?

CA: God bless Todd! He was so good to me, and taught me a lot when I was at 88.9. I haven’t listened to any of those stations.  Frankly, I think some of those people got a raw, shitty deal, with all those layoffs.

BB: You were one of them.

 

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CA: No. I wouldn’t necessarily say that. There was no chance for an extension. The quality has been watered down. Let’s face it. People don’t have as much manpower. The people that are there are doing a fantastic job.

BB: They’re stretched.

CA: They are. I cannot imagine how much work they have to do. I can’t!

BB: So, if an opportunity came up at News 95.7, if Brynn Langille were to leave the morning show cohost position she does with Dan Ahlstrand, would you be interested in applying for that position?

CA: No.

BB: You would not?

CA: No. 

Courtney Amirault F 

BB: You wouldn’t want to go back to a news format?

CA: I’m really happy where I am. Like I told you, Live 105 is a dream job. I nailed it down. You ask me, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” It’s always, “On air at Live 105!” That was never in doubt.

BB: So, it wasn’t that difficult a transition, then?

CA: Because of Medicine Hat in the middle, where I went from News to music. Medicine Hat was a stale format. I shouldn’t say that. It was Classic Hits, so nothing new. It was pretty easy.  Who doesn’t know stuff about Madonna and Steppenwolf? This is fresh, new music. It’s more challenging. I love it.

5.  Is enjoying the music you play a requirement to job satisfaction?

CA: It makes things easier. I would really, really hope so for everyone. For me, yes.

 

Courtney Amirault H

 

 

BB: If the station were to change format to something you didn’t like as much, would you be inclined to leave? Or would you say, “I need this gig, so I’ll just go in and do what I have to do”?

CA: Not necessarily. I think I can hold my own in pretty much any format because I know so much about music. My tastes are very, very broad. I have applied to Country stations and Pop stations.

BB: In town?

CA: No. This was throughout my career. Obviously, I didn’t get those jobs.

BB: If another Country station came to town, would that interest you? Or do you like what you’re playing so much that ...

CA: That’s exactly it. The thought of working somewhere else hasn’t even crossed my mind. Which is strange because usually I land a job; and after 2 months, I’m like, “Oh, shit!”

BB: Well, it’s been, what, 5 months now.

P: Four.

6.  Please say something about the following people:

A. Floyd. You said you would like to do a show with her sometime, given the opportunity.

Floyd K

CA: I think it would be just too much for the world to handle. She is the person I’ve met in  radio that reminds me most of me. She’s just a crazy person, which I love. And you should see her frigging moon boots. Oh, my god.

P: She’s got moon boots?

CA: Yes. She’s got moon boots.

Floyds Moonboots 2014-02-03 07.14.54

P: Oh, that’s right. She put them on Facebook. I saw them.

CA: Oh, they’re obscene.

BB: What are moon boots?

CA: Oh, they’re the most horrifying-looking footwear. There’s not a left foot/right foot designation. You just put them on. It’s like a dream pair of shoes for a drunk. She’s not. But i could definitely use moon boots sometimes.

BB: What’s the appeal? Are they just functional? Comfortable? Ugly as sin?

CA: The last one.

P: Remember when you saw Lady Gaga? “How the hell is she walking in those?”

BB: Was that the time she was on the View and had to be led in by men?

P: Pretty much.

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CA: They’re fantastic. They’re frigging awesome.

P: I’ve got a question. Floyd has tattoos. I thought she was wearing tights that had a pattern on the legs. No. They were tattoos. Do you have a tattoo?

CA: Not a one.

P: You’re kidding!

CA: Not a single tattoo.

BB: Not your cuppa?

 

CA: I think they’re fantastic. I’m just indecisive. There was a point in my life when I wanted a cheeseburger tattooed on my arm. And, I don’t even eat them. You can see that tattoo’s are not necessarily the greatest idea for me.

There was also a time when everybody used to say I looked like a Cabbage Path Kid, so I wanted to get Xavier tattoo’d on my ass cheek. Like, these are bad ideas!

BB: And, you were sober at the time?

CA: Yes. As sober as I get! [Courtney and Patricia laugh] I would just like to point out to your recorder that I haven’t had any alcohol; just these two lushes. [points to Patricia and Amanda]

P: The two quiet people here.

A, P: Salud!

CA: So, no tattoos. My mom still checks me. She’s not even subtle about it. I’ll come home in the summer. I’ll be like, “Mom. Seriously. It’s like chocolate. I swear to god!”

P: I’m surprised to hear that.

CA: I know. Not one. I had a face full of piercings before. I had a pink mohawk.

BB: Do you have any pictures of yourself back then?

CA: I’ll have to do some digging. My facial piercings have been removed. The last one was my tongue during my first year at The Hawk. It’s been a while. You can still see the hole. One ripped.

BB: I can just imagine the pain.

CA: It wasn’t so bad. I mean, it was gross.

BB: How did you rip it?

CA: I slipped on stairs and fell face first.

P: I was hoping for a more interesting story.

CA: I’m a klutz. You know these girls. They drop a plate every ten years and go, “I’m such a klutz.” They’re no match for me, man. I’ve doored myself more times going into the studio at Live 105. Holy shit. It doesn’t open as far as I think it does.

I’ve broken my foot three times. I’m just constantly in a state of falling down and hurting myself.

BB: I was in the studio with Floyd a couple of months ago. There’s a little side room. Is that your office?

Floyd A

 

 

CA: No. It’s just a booth for Production. I do show prep there.

BB: It’s a pretty small room. I can imagine you tumbling in there. Has that ever happened?

CA: If it can, it will, because I’m seriously a klutz.

BB: And you are left handed, so that explains it. With left-handed people, it’s different.

A: Everything your life has come to know. It’s all left.

Courtney Amirault M

BB: Exactly. In university, I would say bye to some friends and then just walk into another table. My leg would just slam into it.

A: I get that. It’s left, which means it’s not right.

CA: [to Amanda] Do you remember when I smashed into the wall? I smashed my forehead, about 3 weeks ago. I pretty much concussed myself. The way the bathroom is, the sink is here, and this is the wall. I turned out of the bedroom and totally smashed my head. I had this big egg on my forehead. I thought I was literally seeing stars. First two hours of my show I was like, “Huh?” Gary was like, “You don’t look all right.” I said, “I hit my head, buddy!” I was on my way to Unicornsville. It was not pretty.

BB: Years ago, at my apartment, I had a sliding window. I could go out to my balcony. It was a really dirty window. Patricia cleaned it.

P: It was disgusting! It was filthy.

BB: I was barbecuing something, so I went back inside the apartment and closed the door, to get something. I ran back outside and.. I almost broke my nose. I fell flat on my ass. For the rest of my time in the apartment, right at that level, there was a nose print. [laughter all around]

P: So, I came to his apartment. He tells me the story. And, all I can see is the noseprint on the window. So, what do I do, being the sympathetic girlfriend that I am? I laughed my ass off.

CA: Hell, yeah. And then leave it there for another two months.

 

 

P: It was still there until he left. He didn’t clean  it because that reminded him of where the window was. You’ll never forgive me for that, will you?

CA: Lefties, buddy!

BB: Is there anything else you want to say about Floyd?

 

Floyd H

CA: Oh, she’s a doll.  A peach.

B. Chris d'entremont!

CA: You see, the thing about that guy is, he was on CJLS when I was growing up. I remember Chris d’Entremont. I remember Bruce Rainnie. I just remember him being so frigging awesome. Anytime I saw him, I’d be like “Oh, Chris d’entremont!", thinking he was like King Shit of Fuck Mountain. I guess maybe he might have been an influence. I don’t know.

He’s a cool guy. I’m glad he got in Politics. He’s one of the ones I don’t want to strangle.

BB: A friend at my work knows Chris d’entremont.

CA: There’s a whole contingent of people where that’s how they still remember him.

BB: What did he do?

CA: I can’t remember if he was a newsreader or on air. This was years ago. I was only wee.

BB: I should contact him.

CA: Yes. You should. Absolutely.

BB: What was so neat about him? His delivery?

CA: His voice. I can still hear it. It’s been more than 20 years; I can still hear his voice. And Bruce Rainnie’s, too. Bruce Rainnie had a touch of Kermit the Frog, but it was really endearing. Not in a bad way! [Patricia and Courtney laugh]

BB: We can still see Bruce Rainnie on CBC television. We can pick up the Island CBC from our cottage.

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CA: [To Patricia] Am I wrong? I don’t mean it as an insult at all. I can still hear Kermit in his voice. He was awesome. They both were. I’m never going to work in the Maritimes again.

BB: Have you met Bruce Rainnie?

CA: No. Never.

BB: He has been in PEI for a long time. But he is so well-liked that they still bring him back to Halifax to sports dinners and the like.

CA: Oh, my God. If he were to step foot in Yarmouth, they would have a frigging parade for him. People still love that guy. He was great. I can’t say a bad thing about him.

C. JC Douglas (everyone knows him, right?)

CA: I didn’t know how I was going to weazel my way around this one. But like I told you: I’ll go for anything, jobs wise. I’ve got a pair. After Lisa [Blackburn] left the Q, I actually applied for the morning show. I had no experience. Maybe a little bit at the Hot; maybe a little bit at News 88.9. I don’t think I had even been there by then.

JC Douglas tells me he was so compelled about something or other that we actually met up at Starbucks to have a chat. He just said, “Honestly, you’re too green yet. But, go find yourself a job in a medium market, do a show for a couple of years, and get back to me.” Well, I did; but I went to Live.

JC Douglas E

BB: And he’s not live on the radio himself any more.

CA: That sucks. I think he’s really awesome, from what I know.

BB: He’s a good guy. We saw him last April [at Ronnie Roberts’ 80th birthday party]. All right. Was that good advice, in retrospect? That you needed that experience?

CA: Oh, hell, yes. I knew that I did, but I was like, “Why not? What bad could possibly come from applying?”

P: The worse they could say was no. DSCF6816-1

 

CA: Yes. So, JC Douglas is going to take notice of me for at least a little while. He’s going to offer some kind of advice, obviously, if he meets up in person. But, what bad can that possibly be? It wasn’t at all. It was fantastic.

BB: Would he remember you, if he saw you again?

CA: I don’t know. I would think so.

BB: Who could forget you?

CA: Do I seem that unforgettable to you?

BB: Was that the job that Jessica Rankin ended up getting?

 

DSCF6795-1

 

CA: Right. And she went back to... what was it? Prince George? Prince Albert? One of the Princes in BC?

BB: Then, Lea Miller was there for a while. Now, it’s Kate Peardon.

CA: I’m going with no: he would not remember me. He’s still on my Facebook, so maybe there’s a little bit of a memory jog there.

D. Neil Spence

CA: Where the hell that voice comes from, I’ll never know.

P: Everybody says that!

CA: I just want to put him in my pocket: he’s such a little thing. But he’s so good on the radio. He knows so much about music.

BB: He also has a massive vinyl collection. You’ve probably talked about that.

CA: We talk about music a lot.

BB: He’s a guy who almost didn’t make it on the air.

CA: Really?

BB: It’s in my interview with him. Gary Tredwell took a chance on him. Neil was at loose ends and wanted to get some radio experience. Gary gave him a chance. Look where he is now.

CA: No shit!

BB: Didn’t you read the Neil interview?

 

Neil and Chelsea B

 

 

CA: It’s been a while.

BB: It’s one of my best interviews. I was really taken by him. He’s a great guy. I have a lot of respect for Neil Spence. He’s a Valley guy, too.

 

DSCF6807-1

 

So, he is the Music Director there, right? He wouldn’t be your boss, but he would be the one who prepares the playlist for the station. [Bevboy Note: As of February 18, 2018, Neil is the unofficial assistant Music Director. He has the responsibilities but not the job title.  Gary Tredwell meets with the music reps from labels, while Neil edits the music logs.  Both fine gentlemen decide what gets added to rotation.]  You have no idea what you’re going to play until you get to work in the morning.  Right?

 

Gary Tredwell B

CA: Yes.

BB: Except for that one hour [The Late Lunch Request Show]

CA: That’s still all programmed.  I switch out CANCON for CANCON, International for International.

BB: Let’s talk about the request show.

CA: That’s where my hands are tied. People don’t understand how it works.

BB: How does a request show work?

CA: You’re familiar with a log, right? These are the songs that you have to play. From one until two, it just looks like the rest of the log. I put my posts up on Facebook and on Twitter, and do the call out. Usually, I do it early enough so that I can start switching out songs.

You need to know what your CANCON is, and International. That’s the way you do it. You can switch out Canadian songs for Canadian songs, International for International. If the only requests I’m getting are for International, Kings of Leon or whatever, it can make it hard because there’s a limited amount. I can’t just say, “Oh, you want to hear Pearl Jam?”, and the only slot I have left is Billy Talent. I can’t switch those. I can’t jettison CANCON.

BB: But, you can switch out a Pearl Jam song for another International song.

CA: Yes.

BB: Or a Billy Talent song for a Stanfields’ song.

CA: Yes. That’s the way it has to work. Usually, I have Neil’s log with me. If someone requests a song that’s coming up during his show, I tend to not play it, especially if it’s in the first hours, because that way I can tee that up. I’m usually pretty selective if something’s been played on the morning show, too. But if it is something like “Yin Yang” by USS, I get so many requests for that. Holy Crap! So many requests for that. I don’t care if Jeff and Floyd played it: it’s going to get played on the request show.

BB: And there must be songs that wouldn’t fit the format anyway. Like the really heavy metal songs. What do you say to those people who call?

CA: I say I’ll try. And, that’s not a lie.

DSCF6798-1

 

BB: But you don’t try that hard?

CA:That’s not a lie. I do actually try hard. I’ll be like, “Oh, come on. Please let me play just one Pantera song! Just one!”

BB: And Gary says no.

CA: And that’s fair. Really, it doesn’t fit. It doesn’t. But I’m not going to stop asking. But we get some crazy, crazy, weird requests. I love The Late Lunch.

BB: I should ask Gary this question, or even Neil. But there’s stuff you play from 20 years ago. It isn’t new music at all, by definition, but it’s still mixed in to the playlist. I wonder how that works? How they know what songs to reach back to from 20 years ago? Any idea? I realize you’re not the Music Director.

CA: I think I understand part of the process, but it’s probably best to go directly to the source for that one.

BB: All right. So, Neil’s a good guy, and you wish you had a voice like his?

CA: Exactly right. Oh, man. That would be fantastic. As if I don’t already have a deep enough, scratchy voice. I like listening to his show.

E. Jeff Cogswell
[Bevboy Note: This interview was conducted prior to Jeff’s departure from Live 105]

DSCF6812-1


CA: I just want to hold him for having to deal with Floyd every day. [hearty laugh] Make sure she knows I said that. I think he needs matching moon boots.

I honestly believe that Jeff and Floyd is the best morning team in metro. I love them. It’s a hard act to follow.

BB: Are you ever on the air with them at all? Years and years ago, they used to have jocks who would go on the air with the person taking over the next shift and say hi.

CA: I’ve done it a couple of times.

BB: It’s cool when that happens.

CA: It is. Maybe I’ll just have to barge in on their show. You know, the on air light burned out and I walked in there in the studio in the middle of their break the other day. I was like, “Aaaggh!”

BB: What happened?

CA: I walked right in on them. I wanted to die. I felt so bad. I interrupted them. They just kept going on; I turned every shade of red there is.

BB: They couldn’t acknowledge you.

CA: There was just a smile. I just went, “Shit! Shit! Shit!” Which is even more distracting. If I had must come in and gone out, it would have been fine. But, no. I had to make a scene. Of course!

BB: Would you want to do a morning show? Again?

CA: Yes.

BB: It would mean getting up at 4 o’clock.

CA: That time of day is my preference.

P: Really? That early in the morning?

CA: Yes.

BB: You’re a morning gal.

CA: Absolutely. I filled in for Floyd when she was off [Christmas of 2013]. Man, I have an appreciation for what they do. It’s been hammered to keep it short and simple. It’s the way I like it. You’re listening to my show to hear music, and not me ramble on. ‘

BB: Yes. Morning shows are different, though.

CA: Morning shows are different. That first morning, I felt myself 9 minutes short after an hour. I’m like, “How do they do this? I can’t do this!”

BB: I was listening when you were doing the morning show over Christmas. You were playing a lot of music and not saying very much. Is that because of your training?

 

 

CA: Yes. I have a quick break; I sweep over the songs. And just a couple of stop downs. Nothing too big. Usually I like to keep it to within a minute or much, much less.

A: And then you find out from Gary...

CA: We’ll get to that. 

BB: Okay. We’ll get to that. But what is a stop down?

CA: That’s for the commercials, when you actually stop. There’s different terminology from different people. To me, I felt that I had talked so much during the morning show. “These people are gonna kill me! Just shut up, self!” But, I realized that I didn’t say anything. Nothing.

BB: What did Gary say to you after that first show?

CA: It wasn’t after the first show because that would have been too eff-ing convenient. I want to say it was after the last Thursday that I had to do this. Gary goes, “So, how’s it going? It sounds all right.” I’m like, “I don’t know how Jeff and Floyd do this. It is so much prep. There’s so much talking.” He’s like, “Well, you’re recycling your prep, right?” I’m like,  “What?”

DSCF6642-1

He says, “Well, you’re touching back on the issues you say at 6 o’clock. You’re revisiting that at 8, right?” I was like, “No.” He says, “Well, during the 9 o’clock hour, are you rehitting the reset button on the topic you talked about at 7?” I’m like, “Uh, no.”

So, I was literally doing double the amount of prep that I needed to. And it still wasn’t enough!

BB: Oh, my god.

CA: Yes. Because they get all kinds of reaction from Facebook, and the phone calls. They solicit all kinds of opinions and stuff. I was just like, “I just tried to keep it on the rails.” That was my goal: don’t fuck it up.

BB: Well, you were doing the show by yourself. How would you have been able to do all that social media stuff plus play music, plus talk? How can one person do all that?

CA: Well, Jeff and Floyd manage on their own. I find it hard, yes. I can do it for my own show; but there’s a lot less talking on that.

BB: Plus, you have to have things like traffic and weather. Do you source that information yourself?

CA: Yes. I found it challenging. I think I’d be more ready for it if I had to do it again. I have a better idea of how. But, now I understand why nobody else volunteered for it in that staff meeting.

BB: So, it was, “So, who wants to do this?”

CA: Yes.

BB: Neil didn’t offer?

CA: They’re all looking at each other and looking down at the ground. Gary’s like, “Do you think you’re ready for this?” I’m like, “Hell, yeah!” [throaty laugh] It was fun.

BB: You learned from it? It’s all good.

CA: It was fantastic.

BB: And you would do it again if they were both on vacation?

CA: For sure. The station still stands today.

BB: You still have a job.

 

DSCF6819-1

 

CA: Yes. Exactly. It couldn’t have been that bad, really.

BB: Has Jeff Cogswell ever given you any feedback or advice?

CA: No. Not really. He always tells me to have a good show. I take it more of a warning than anything.

BB: “Make sure it’s better than yesterday’s!”

Jeff  Cogswell Pic A

CA: Jeff’s awesome. It’s taken a while to gel and meet the new girl. They’re exhausted by 10 o’clock. They’re not going to sit around and hang out and interview me.

BB: Did you tell them you would be having dinner with me tonight?

CA: No. They’ll know when they read this. Sorry!

F.  Kelly MacMillan (formerly Atchison)

CA: Here’s the thing: she did the mid-day show. I think she may still be on mat leave at the Hawk. She’s PD. People in that area have no idea how lucky they are that she’s still on their station. This girl could just go to Toronto and she’d own it. She’s so good on air between her voice and her content and her bits. She’s just so snappy and so awesome. I try to use her as an influence. I shouldn’t say she is because I’m a lot rawer than her. She’s so pro.

 

 

It is unbelievable that somebody that good is still working in Port Hawkesbury.

BB: Is she a younger gal?

CA: I think she’s close to my age. 31, 32.  She’s unbelievably good.

BB: I would like to meet her some day. 

CA: I can’t say enough good things. She took a lot of risks with me. She yanked me out of school early, with a news background. She was pushing for me to do some on air stuff. They introduced a little rant that I would do, I believe, on Mondays. It was her idea. It went over really, really well.

BB: Was this an editorial?

CA: Pretty much. It was a bitch session. “Courtney’s Bitch Session”. It would run at 6 o’clock in the morning. It got so much good feedback they had to run it again in the afternoon.

BB: What’s an example of one of your sessions?

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CA: It was any little thing. I used to have to send them to Bob and Kelly first just in case. I’m a bit of a loose cannon. Bad drivers. Everybody’s got an opinion on that. Just try to be snappy, within a minute. It could be any number of things. If it was something that was in the news, and local, that we were covering, I had to be really careful about how I presented it, since I was a reporter, and anchor. I can’t be reading something at the top of the hour newscast and then shoot off at the mouth with my opinion. It was really a good exercise in how to craft [a bit]. But, yes, that was her idea. She was really great about telling me, “Hey, the line is here!”

I distinctly remember, after one break, the door flies open. “Courtney, don’t say ‘air humping’ on the air!” I was like, “Okay!” Point taken. She was very firm. I respected the hell out of her. I still do.

BB: When’s the last time you saw her?

CA: Several years.

BB: Do you keep in touch with her through Facebook or whatever?

CA: Absolutely. She’s a friggin’ peach, too. You have to find her on Facebook and ask for some material. She has the greatest voice. I can’t remember if she still is, or was, but she gets a lot of voice work. She has a phenomenal voice. I think they had her as one of the voices on the Playboy Channel. “Coming up next”, or whatever.  I’m almost sure that she did that.

BB: I don’t subscribe to that. Maybe for research purposes, I will.

[Courtney and Patricia laugh]

A: It’s a tax expense.

BB: Maybe I’ll write it off, yes.

P: Good luck with that. Maybe you should do an interview with her. Road trip!

CA: I think she started at AVR, to be honest.

BB: Really?

CA: She’s from Nictaux.

BB: Outside of Windsor. Would she have been MacMillan back then, or Atchison?

CA: Atchison. Her husband’s last name is MacMillan. They just had a kid in the past year. I think she started at AVR and went to The Hawk, which is where she stayed. I don’t want to say she’s better than the station, because The Hawk is frigging awesome.

 

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BB: You think a lot of The Hawk.

CA: Absolutely. Considering they’re small market, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, they’re doing things really, really well.

BB: And PD’s say that nobody wants to hear spoken word. Nobody wants to hear news. They prove that not to be the case. Every day.

CA: Uh huh.

BB: I wonder what these PD’s really know when they say that nobody wants to hear this.

7. How difficult was it to assuage your Acadian accent? I can barely perceive it when you speak.

CA: Good.

Courtney Amirault L

BB: Give me a little bit of your broken English.

CA:  You want me to speak my Frenglish?

BB: It probably goes against all your training.

CA: No. I do it all the time.

BB: Do you use it when you’re baking? Do you use a bag of yeast, or a “sachet” of yeast?

CA: [laughs] A bag of yeast. But, I’ll tell you what. There are still times when I forget to pronounce the H at the beginning of at word. I lived in “Medicine ‘At” for the first year.

BB: Do you ever find yourself dropping H’s on Live 105?

CA: I’m very, very careful not to. But, yes, sometimes I’ll be like, “Oh, I totally fucked up that pronunciation!” But, if I call home, I’ll be like, “Ma! What’s goin’ on this afternoon la?” It wasn’t hard to get rid of. By the time I hit broadcasting school, it was mostly gone, but I remember my first week. I was talking to Troy. He was like, “I don’t understand a word that you’re saying.” Not a single thing. You need to speak English.”

BB: What do you think of Garry Barker? He’s a polarizing figure to a lot of people. But you spoke highly of him.

 

 

CA: Yes.

BB: So, he was a good guy for you.

CA: He was a good instructor. I’ve never worked with or for him. I couldn’t possibly offer an opinion, nor would I want to. But, as an instructor, he was very, very good. It was between him and Troy that I got that job with The Hawk. I wouldn’t even have known that it existed, to be perfectly honest.

I don’t really know what else to say. I know a lot of people that went to AMI had big problems with Troy and Garry. They frigging hated them. But, you get out what you put in. I worked really, really hard. And, they helped me.

BB: And the took a shine to you?

CA: Yes. Crazy people!  It’s because I took it seriously. As much as a nut as I am, I took my school work very, very seriously.

BB: Was Alex J. Walling gone by this time?

CA: Yes. It was Renee Stevens, Troy, and Garry.

BB: When did Alex J. leave? It was probably ... it was AMI for you, right?

CA: Yes.

BB: It was a different name under Alex J.

CA: It might have been Atlantic Broadcasting Institute. When I went to that school, it was at that mall on Bayers Road, behind where the Blue Ocean call centre is now.

BB: In retrospect, would you have gone to AMI again, if you had it to do again? Or would you have gone to Dave Bannerman’s NSCC Radio/Television course? He’s highly regarded as well.

CA: Yes. Very much. If I would have got out the same amount I got out of it now, then AMI for sure. That course was IN-tense. We started with a lot of people in the class. Maybe 7 of us ended up graduating.

BB: Out of 20 or whatever?

CA: Yes. There was me in the class. Geoff Walsh, who is in Saint John; he used to be on Hal. We had Natasha Pace, who is now with Global. Jillian Blinkhorn. She’s on... I can’t remember if it’s C100 or The Bounce. She’s on one of them. Maybe both. Matt Brand, who was at 95.7, and is working in the Valley, I think. I think he’s in Creative. But, I mean, everybody from my class got frigging awesome jobs. I don’t think Jillian graduated with us, but she was in the class with us. I got a lot out of that school.

BB: Why did AMI fail? What happened that it’s no longer around?

CA: Troy and Garry got busy with other stuff. They were dedicated to it for a really long time. But then, I’m almost sure that Garry, while they were there, was helping out a station in Kelowna with its CRTC application. That is a lot of work. And, Troy, I think was working, maybe with the NDP. He wasn’t in any type of broadcasting capacity at that point. But, why it failed? I have no idea. I don’t know anything behind the scenes. I know that when I went back to visit it was like a ghost town. I felt really, really bad.

BB: People must have gone to NSCC.

CA: Exactly. It’s a fantastic program, from what I can tell.

8.  Tell me about a couple of on air mistakes you’ve made.

CA: There was a time, reading a newscast, that I stuttered profusely, saying the word “country”. [Patricia and Amanda laugh]

BB: You said “ry, ry, ry” over and over again?

CA: I wish!  I said “tree” a couple of times.

My friend Tammy was working at Global in Saint John. She had to monitor to see if there was any news going on.  I got the hiccups so bad at 889 one time that she texted me. She’s like, “The fuck’s going on at the radio station?” I said “nothing”.  She said, “It keeps cutting in and out.” I was like, “No, it doesn’t.” She played it again. “Do you have the hiccups?”

BB: It was like listening to Johnny Mathis records.

CA: It was awful. I felt out of my chair at CJCY; I smashed my face on the microphone. I am seriously a train wreck. I bash my head against something. Lots of on air mistakes that way.

BB: How about mispronouncing the name of client?

CA: There’s this band that we play. I cannot find a way to pronounce it: “Mobile”. I always say it like “Mobeel, Alabama”

BB: Do you have a cellphone or a “mobile”?

CA: A cell. I’m pretty on board with my pronunciation.  [To Amanda] You hate the way I say “Calgary” and “ambulance”. Scott Oakley has always made fun of me when I pull my ‘a’ when I say “candy”.

 

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BB: My older sister doesn’t say “fish”. She says, “fee-ish”. She makes two syllables out of it.

A: Is she from Mobile, Alabama?

BB: Drives me crazy. How do you make two syllables out of that word?

CA: That’s fantastic.

BB: Have you ever said something on the air that got you in trouble with your boss? Stuttering “country”, perhaps?

CA: No. They understood that. It helped that the News Director referred to Stephen Harper’s “counterfarts”. I know that the “c” word is nowhere near “fart”.

I’ve got the “all on air staff” e-mail, but never specifically related to me. Which is shocking.

BB: How about the CBSC? Have they ever had a complaint about you?

CA: Yes.

BB: What was the complaint?

CA: When I was at The Hawk, because it is such a small area, people that are appearing in court and the newsmakers are often neighbours. They do not like it when you report about their business, even if it is a big deal.

There was a case of animal hoarding/abuse with a place called  Celtic Pets. This was long before hoarding was even a thing. Eventually, it became a TV show. When animal hoarding came out with regard to that case, it made no sense whatsoever. What does that mean? It was horrifying. Obviously, we reported on it. It was a big deal; it was national news. The people charged in the case had some complaints. They were all unfounded. They just said we were picking on them. I was picking on them specifically.

BB: You were just reporting the names of the people who were accused, right?

CA: Why wouldn’t I call the source and ask what the hell was going on? I absolutely called the woman charged. She took it as harassment. The CBSC never found anything in their favour. They were going to sue. It never panned out; it never turned to anything.

BB: How could it, if you were just reporting the news?

CA: Exactly.

P: If they’re not complaining, they’re not listening.

CA: That’s true. Bob, stand up guy that he is, always backed me. There was this one guy that sent this huge blast to all media saying that I had disputed his numbers on out-migration. Bob put the smackdown on him some fast.

Once again, Medicine Hat?  Very conservative. There was a time, and I wasn’t even been disparaging, when I referred to the police as the “po-po”. Somebody got really, really angry with that. In that case, it’s just people being ridiculous.

There was one time... oh, my god. Tom Young always used to say, “Such and such like a drunken sailor”. And, an actual drunken sailor called. But, he called the newsroom; I answered. “Is this Tom Young?” I said, “You want the 1-800 number”. He said, “You tell that fucking asshole that if I ever hear him refer to a drunk sailor again”, and he just went on and on on his tirade. “My daughter was a sailor, and I’m a sailor...” And I said, “And you’re drunk?” Then he’s like, “You cunt!” And that is when I hung up.

This guy was just beside himself, furious. I tried to explain, “My dad is a sailor, too. I don’t really take offence to this.” But, he wasn’t hearing it. I wasn’t going to continue on a phone call like that. Are you kidding me? It was a drunken sailor! [laughs heartily]

The things you think are so innocuous that you hear in conversation and don’t think twice about, will really set the wrong person off.

This, I am not sure if you will want to put [on the blog]. I don’t care. But the radio station in Medicine Hat was below the Canadian Mental Health Association. We got a lot of people that walked in the front door asking us to stop broadcasting because it was going right to their brains.

BB:  Did you tell them to tighten the straps on their tin foil hat?

CA: I would just duck into the studio and let the receptionist deal with them. She would want to kill me because I didn’t know. If you care enough to walk into the station and think that the station is broadcasting directly to you, aren’t you volatile? I tried to treat them with respect.

9.  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

CA: Isn’t that weird?  Five years ago I would have said, “Working at Live 105!”

 

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BB: It didn’t exist 5 years ago. It went on the air in 2010.

CA: Fair enough. This was the goal; this is what I’ve been working for since forever: to work in Halifax. I wasn’t naive enough to think, “Oh, I’m going to get a job in Halifax right after school.” They always said you have to be willing to move. I was.

BB: If you had your druthers, your preference, you’ll be in Halifax for a good long time?

CA: Yes. Here’s hoping here. I would not want to live or work in somewhere likeToronto or Vancouver. Calgary would be nice, but Halifax is it. Halifax is number one.

10.  What goes through your mind every morning at 9:59, just as you’re about to start your on air shift? How about when you crack the mic for the first time and speak on air?

CA: Thank god I have three more songs to prepare what I’m going to say.

BB: Is that the format? After 3 songs you get to say something?

CA: Roughly. Usually I have a break after 3 songs. Sometimes it’s two. I still get scared shitless the first time I turn on the mic in the shift. Every single day.

BB: Because why?

CA: I don’t know. I think the nervousness helps. I get so scared. I stutter, even. Yes. The first break is always the worst.  I hate it.

BB: Has Gary ever noticed that, when he does air checks with you?

CA: He hasn’t mentioned it, but he’s probably going to now. But, it is so scary. The first time I turn on the mic on my show, I’m just thinking, “Oh, girl. Just get to the Late Lunch!”

BB: Nervousness can be a good thing if you channel it.

CA: I’m like, “I’m on the radio! I’m on the radio on a station I love in Halifax.”

BB: And get paid a lot of money to do it. Some money.

CA: I am so excited, every time.

Bonus questions courtesy of... Dan Barton!

Dan Barton Pic 2011

Question I:

There’s a 360-degree component to being a radio personality today.  Listeners know you from not only what you deliver on-air, but in person during appearances, and online through social media.  Do you ever find it difficult to maintain a sense of privacy, a sense of “this part of my life is off-limits,” while still staying connected to your listeners? For example, do your listeners know that you’re gay?

CA: It’s  not something that I keep hidden. I think this one’s a little harder to answer because I haven’t been on Live that long. Four months is a little ways. People still call and ask for Christina during the Late Lunch. Granted, our names are similar. So, I don’t know how much that applies.

I know that in Medicine Hat it was really dicey for a while there just knowing how conservative it was. My circle of friends and the people I met were very cool, but I would go to a Conservative nomination meeting and hear words like “faggot”.  There was two old cowboys, or wanna-be cowboys. One of them had come back from vacation. The other one said, “Hey, were you down in Montana?” The switch went off with the other cowboy. I would never go to that fucking faggot state!” That’s where “Brokeback Mountain” is set.

BB: I didn’t mean to laugh at that.

CA: It’s funny. I was stunned. I was laughing myself. I’m like, “Really? A fictional movie; and that’s your reaction to being asked if you were on vacation in Montana?” At that point I was like, “We have to seriously watch what we say.”

But, then my co-host outed me on air without my consent or telling me he was going to do so. To be honest, I don’t think he even realized it. I was like, “Hey, off limits.” I had had more than one listener follow me home. It was freaky.

BB: Was your picture on the website? They recognized you?

CA: Yes, and I lived right around the corner. They saw me going home on my bike.  There was this one guy. He was like, “Courtney? Courtney?” I kept biking. He followed me in his car. I took off down this alley way and just looped back around. He was gone. I don’t need that. If you’re unstable enough to follow me home, the random girl on the radio...

I guess it depends on the setting. I don’t care who knows what in Halifax. I think that we have a cool enough listener base that they wouldn’t be like, “Ewww!”, and turn the radio off. I’ve been out since I was 14, so it’s not even an issue for me. It’s not even a thing.

BB:  But you would never say what part of town you live in? You might say generally that you hang out in the North End.

CA:  Exactly. Or, “Hey, I’m going to be at this place tonight or to this show.” That doesn’t really bother me. I’m just a person. They’re just people. It’s really not that big a deal.

BB: At the Hawk, or when you were at Rogers, did you have any issues with overzealous listeners?

CA: No. Rogers is so under the radar. I could have had “News 889“ tattooed on my forehead and go out and get belligerent drunk, and nobody would even know the difference. It was such a non-issue, right? You had your core listeners. Everybody else didn’t matter.

The Hawk? Once again, everybody in town was really, really cool. I didn’t care who was in my business. You couldn’t keep it hidden, anyway, in a town of 4000. They’re going to figure out who the 2 girls shacked up on the 3rd floor are, eventually.

BB: The only two gay women in Port Hawkesbury, maybe.

CA: Exactly! I’m thrilled if people know who I am. I love it. Right now, I’m pretty obscure. I have to get out there more, make more appearances.

BB: Have you been through a ratings book yet?

CA: Yes.  Sort of.

BB: How was it?

CA: I came in during ratings. It wasn’t amazing. It wasn’t terrible. They were saying they want to compare Fall to Fall, Spring to Spring. This will be the one I’ll really be watching. It’s been a really long time since I’ve been at a ratings station.

BB: Is there anything else you want to add about what to hold back and what to share?

CA: I try not to get too personal on the air because I don’t think everybody’s necessarily that interested in it. I remember there were times when my co-host and I would talk about personal things. People would write in and complain, “I don’t give a shit about your kids or your wife or your personal life. Play some music.” I think I took that to heart.

Question II:

Many radio personalities have been guilty of creating false situations, pretending they are real, for the sole purpose of listener reactions (faking angry listener phone calls to stir up controversy, faking work situations to generate discussion).   What are your feelings about this practice?  Do the ends (open discussion on-air and on social media) justify the means (deception)?

CA: It’s not even something that’s crossed my mind.

BB: So, you would never say that someone had called in and called you something to engender support for yourself on social media. Would you ever manufacture a conflict?

A: You know her. She’s controversial enough.

CA: Well, once again, back to the news thing. I would be so afraid to get found out. I don’t even know how to answer this. To each their own. If you feel that’s what you need to do to garner your ratings and get attention, then by all means. It’s not up to me to judge what ever publicity stunts you’re doing.

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BB: Is it something you would be inclined to do yourself?

CA: Certainly not, no. I get enough hilarious phone calls that are legit that I don’t need to make stuff up. Did you hear the guy play the harmonica for me today? That was adorable! He didn’t say anything. That was not a chopped up phone call. That is what happened. I picked up the phone, and I thought someone was playing the “Roseanne” theme song. I just let it play out. Then the guy says, “C2C” and hung up. That’s what happened.

I know there have been other hosts that will get the caller to repeat things 10 times and try to manufacture the call. If you have to do that, that’s cool. But I have people calling me up and playing the harmonica to request a song. Are you kidding me? It’s awesome.

BB: I was listening. It was pretty cool.

CA: So, for me? No.

BB: You won’t pass judgment on people who do that?

CA: No. Like you said, people were finally talking about Z103. Whether everything dropped off after that, and people got ticked off, I don’t know. It’s not something that I would ever do personally. I don’t even use a prep service because I feel like it’s faking.

BB: Did you hear about Conan O’Brien? Just around Christmas, he played a clip on his show of 12 different TV stations who had done this bit about buying  Christmas presents. Different stations said the very same thing, word-for-word. That’s why Floyd says she never uses a prep service, for that reason.

CA: Oh, she doesn’t either? That’s awesome.

P: Churches do the same thing. They recycle sermons.

CA: That twerking video? The twerk gone crazy, where this girl fell over and people thought it was the funniest video they’d ever seen on the internet. It shut the internet down. It was just some manufactured thing by Jimmy Fallon. Everyone was like, “It’s not funny anymore” There was just something about it that left a bad taste in people’s mouth. I wouldn’t want to take that risk.

Wrap Up:

BB: Courtney Amirault, thank you very much for the last 3 hours of your life. It’s been a delight talking to you. I get a kick out of listening to your show, every single day. You have to listen to the request show. I love listening to you. I’m really glad you’re one of the 4.7.

CA: I am so scared to read this interview.

BB: Thank you so much for your time.

CA: Thank you so much for having me. And thank you so much for dinner, man. It was awesome.