I've never been the person to say, cold, you don't even know cold. Whenever I am around someone in Ontario this time of year in the winter months and they say oh my god it's fkn freezing or something relating to the bitter cold of the chill, I just kind of chuckle inside and think to myself, you have no idea...
When I was studying Radio Broadcasting at Seneca\York, one of my professors, and mentors, Doug Thompson told me “Anthony radio will take you places you wouldn't imagine”, and boy was he correct.
My career first started off taking me to Rural Peace River, Northern Alberta as an On-Air Announcer/ Assistant Producer |Music Programmer for KIX FM then to the sister station YL Country, to a newbie to the north, with regards to the weather, in my first winter there, I thought that hell had fkn frozen-over,
Daily high temperatures in and around -20--25, I thought about what kind of frozen hell wormhole I have gotten myself into, I was so green and naïve.
From Peace River Broadcasting, I moved forward in the industry to Whitecourt Alberta for The Rig, Edmonton's Classic Rock Station, Edmonton winters are no walk in the park either with the winter averaging Between -15 TO -27 in comparison to Ontario's mild winters averaging -6 -15
With the next dial taking me to broadcast Muskoka Ontario for Moose FM,
I had no idea what laid ahead, this is where I was offered the opportunity to live in the coldest place you have ever lived in, The North West Territories, Yellowknife to be exact, Next stop- Siberia.
Ok, so who in their right mind would want or desire to move to a place with these conditions You see in the Radio Broadcasting industry, with regards to hierarchy in position structure, the top of the food chain in any station is The Program Director, the PD is responsible for the overall sound, identity and the culture of the station, with duties ranging from hiring the talent, working with new talent, bringing out the best in them on the air and in the community,
The PD has to have a crystal clear vision of what the sound and the identity of the station are, by building a new team around them.
My PD at the time Dave Newman at Moose FM Muskoka had said, look, have a great shot for you as a PD, now I was at this point I think 9 years deep or something so it sounded intriguing, but thought to myself, sounds great, BUUUUT
what's the fucking catch? these are questions you have to ask because you see,
Radio Broadcasting and media for that matter is a long plastic hallway filled with liars, cheat's, pimps, whores, and nutbars, but….. There's also a downside to it lol.
But in all seriousness, I was also offered the position because, in the eyes of the Vista Radio Group, owners of The Mouse, and clusters of other stations saw the talent and skills I had accomplished and thought I was the proper fit for the job.
The first thing I had done before agreeing to anything was research the region as all I knew was eski0mo and bastard cold, after researching I found out it was way worse than that, but the opportunity for adventure and the ability to grow had me take the offer, and it was take off to The “Great” White Fucking North.
I arrived there in the middle of February after a 13-day drive (averaging 450 KLM )a day, bearing in mind the terrain of ice roads and no roads, as at that time of year that far north you have to call it a day when you run out of sunlight in a lot of regions because if your car breaks down you will not make it 20 minutes, you will fall victim to hypothermia, and freeze to death, it's that simple you are a dead man, left to be eaten by the wild.
That first week I think the average was around -29, pure dark and something you have never experienced, it was real. For that entire February and march, it was pure darkness all the time, I can remember saying to myself would god please just turn the fucking lights on never mind the heat but it went on and on. When you are accustomed to regulating 4 seasons and sun up and sun down, it takes a while to tap in and dial into that kind of extreme change, you have to go to that place in your head and get down with yourself.
Full time living house boats in summer on Slave Lake , YK , NWT
I learned more about myself out there than I did program Directing, it is hard to put in words the vibe, you have to be in there to feel the tangible weight of the beast.
This picture of a weather notification I had posted came from my memories of working as Program Director\ Morning Show host for Moose FM, in Yellowknife, North West territories. Holding down the title of the coldest capital in Canada would deem half of Ontario's winter season, BBQ season .
Full time living house boats in summer on Slave Lake , YK , NWT
Yellowknife topped 13 categories for its wonderful champion-like weather, some of the lists include
Coldest year round
Most cold days
Most hot and cold days
Longest snow cover season
Most deep snow cover days,
Oh yes we are all champions up there, an average day without the Windchill is -28
meah usually feels -45, but I've seen it drop to -58 ...-60
Now you think to yourself, how in the hell, and you will probably think, my god I can't even.....yes, that would be correct, but wait, there's more...
Now that cold factor is even enough to break the strongest of extreme outdoor enthusiasts (laughs to himself out loud) but you also have to factor in that well...........there is no sunlight for the entire season, to complete the -50 backdrop, so that whole feels like - 40? na na na, feels like -60, in the dark
The Ice Castle On the Slave Lake, YK NWT
Now let's a factor in, what sort of notion or empathy you have right now in the back of your head, that must have been a cold day, schools must have been shut, town emergency, but you would have pulled through it and made it back to tell your palls about "that day you couldn't even there"
No no no, yah better make sure you get to work on time, get the kids to school and get to her because it's business as usual and it ain't no snow day, it's loooooong cold and dark months.
Also, remember to be careful if you live close enough to the pub when you walk home on garbage night, because what was unknown me was the odor molecules are picked up by others and brings them into the city from the outskirts tundra and bush and as your walk home with a skin full of hooch, all of a sudden you feel a presence?????????.
The Wolves Of Yellowknife
You may just find yourself turning your head to look over your back and there is a pack of wolves the size of baby donkeys and the leader of that pack, who is 5 feet in front of the pack of say 9. the "leader of the pack" the alpha of the tribe" the big man, you know the governor is snarling cold air through his snout nostrils looking straight into your eyes looking right through you,
That beast is smelling the shite running down your leg, with the line of hairs on its main standing up lire railway spikes with the teeth out.
When it's just you, and the wolf pack under the moonlit sky
( hemm hemm ), it's - 52 wind chill...
you thank the universe and all of its creators at this specific point of your stumble home when you realized there was a pack of wolves on your ass, that you were 20 feet away from your buildings side door, and the life-threatening screams at that moment had someone across the street in the other building fire one of from his balcony.....
let's just say we're doing just fine down here south of 60
So hey Ontario, do the right thing this winter season, why not start a mixed men's and women's outdoor volleyball league, we can make courts on top of lake Ontario, and some hot coco at halftime easy.
Is not all doom and gloom in the winter though, they have
“the Winter long John Jamboree” A full-on winter fair with amusement rides, snow ice castles you can drink in, couple of hundred people, with a couple of hundred cars, a sound system, vendors,
Stay warm friend.
Speaking of Radio and Dark
Brent Chittenden has released his Christmas Gothic Show “The Dark Side”,
packed full of all things Ho Ho Hell
and great music with awesome hosting,
touching on all things goth and the holidays
Click the picture below.
On behalf of Black Donnelly Media & Small Chop Records