It has come to my attention that there are some flagrant d-bags out there who’ve placated me as a whiner and cheapskate (okay, so it was one guy who left a rude comment on my Facebook page and then immediately deleted it). When writing posts for my website, my blog or posting on social media I hope YOU understand that I love my life and wouldn’t change a thing.
That being said; when you lose your job, have a lease that is ongoing for another several months and pay 1,300$ rent to a very nice landlord (who I wasn’t going to screw over) & find out you’re pregnant – it’s a SHOCK to the SYSTEM!
I post what I feel, how I feel and the motions I’m going through while being unemployed (for the first time) under crazy f___ing stress, man! I don’t post for pity – I post because, as I’m finding out more and more, a LOT of you have been through a similar situation. Let these posts be an unabashed resource in how to survive a titanic amount of s__t without having a mental breakdown! *keep in mind: the baby hasn’t come YET – so there’s still time, haha*
I moved to Ottawa when I was eighteen. Despite a short stint at Staples (on Bank St.) I’ve been working in bars and music venues in one way or another since then. That’s a decade! 10 years spent at places like Mavericks, Pub 101, the New Bayou (which you can go ahead and erase from your memory), Capital Music Hall (Rideau to York), LiVE Lounge, the Observatory (Algonquin College) and more recently, Russel’s Lounge (Ottawa Police Assoc.) and TD Place.
I have seen a zillion live bands and rock & roll became a passion I wanted to pursue as a career. I thought that working in the record business was what I wanted and that maybe studying Radio Broadcasting would get me there. I never considered a career as a DJ (or host).
I went to Algonquin College and had the Radio Broadcasting course kick my ass and teach me a lesson about how HARD turning your passion for music into a prosperous career can be. I wanted to quit a few times and came pretty close to doing just that and swallowing the fact that maybe I’d just bartend forever (and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that).
I stuck it out and landed an internship at LiVE 88. 5 thanks to some friends I had made while working at the LiVE Lounge. It was my second/final year of school and Newcap hadn’t done the internship thing prior to me (or so I was told). I was supposed to help out in the music department. I was always way more into the Music side of things (programming, etc.) and never thought of myself as an on air personality. Well, the bossman overheard me blabbing about something in the music office one night and decided to throw me on air. Live. On one of the coolest stations.
After nine months of interning there I was a Radio Grad and longed for a full time position. I had cut my teeth on what it meant to be a part of a radio team but needed more than overnight shows and the occasional prime-time shift. I applied like a maniac and wound up with a job in Alberta.
Saying goodbye to friends and family isn’t easy. Moving your life via U-Haul across the country ain’t cheap either. Going from Ottawa to Canada’s Heavy Oil Capital is also a major culture shock. The people I worked for in Lloydminster were very welcoming and helped me learn a LOT about the industry. The hardest part was saying goodbye to coworkers who seemed to always be movin’ on up landing jobs in their hometown (or a major market not too far from mom and dad). I worked my way up from being a Swing (evening/weekend host) DJ working in part time production (crash course in ProTools) to Mid Days & Music Director – a shift I was BORN to do.
I had a great apartment, a fun side gig bartending and serving at a steak house in town and was a dedicated volunteer at the local SPCA. My friends and coworkers were awesome but I wanted to get back home. In radio – it is HARD to get back to your hometown. Especially if it’s a market as competitive as Ottawa’s.
I applied for a job at the Bear when an ad came up on Milkman. I didn’t think much of my chances because the position advertised was out of my league. It’s a good thing I went for it because the position I was considered for (Swing) turned into an actual offer for Evenings (Prime Time baby!!). I was blown away at the faith this Program Director had in me and that’s how I got back on Ottawa airwaves WITH a full time position (and a real, grown up contract!)
Ottawa is a tricky market (Hit/Non Hit, CanCon, sheer volume of FM oversaturation) – numbers go up and down, and in a line-up shuffle my comfy Evenings shift turned into Swing (split evenings and weekend/holiday/fill in host). I worked this shift for a long time it it can wear on a DJ who’s eyes are on the prize of Mid Days & Music. It’s not a crime to have career goals for yourself. I began to feel restless and had some pretty darn tempting offers come in from some great stations… Some of these I told my boss about – others I kept to myself. I turned down every offer but am happy to have been sought after. I always believed something big was coming my way.
Something big did come my way in the form of another line up shift:
I replaced veteran DJ Wendy Daniels on 1069 the Bear as Mid Day host (and yes, worked in Music). Bittersweet to say the least. I was proud to carry on the torch so to speak and hold my own when it came to maintaining her strong ratings. *Wendy is now part of the Morning show at Corus Radio’s “Boom 99.7″ and she is as amazing as always; an inspiration to DJs everywhere!*
In another twist of fate, after years of hard work and finally achieving my career goal of my favorite on air position paired with music duties in my favorite city working with some of my favorite people on a station I grew up listening to… the plug was pulled on the Bear.
It’s been 119 days since I’ve been out of Ottawa Radio. I miss it.I miss you, Ottawa Radio. It has come to my attention that there are some flagrant d-bags out there who’ve placated me as a whiner and cheapskate (okay, so it was one guy who left a rude comment on my Facebook page and then immediately deleted it).
First child – first shower… I had no idea there was a correct way to do these things but I quickly found out via the wonders of social media!
I have had a few friends have babies but can easily count on one hand the number of times I’ve attended a shower. Generally I found myself a fish out of water amidst a sea of close and extended family members, moms or people trying to make awkward small…
Let me preface this by saying: YES, I just went on a trip to New York City. My partner gifted this vacation to me for my birthday (planned & booked while I was employed). We drove, we stayed via Air B&B, we took the subway. I spent less than 100$ on “personal purchases” (gifts).
When you apply for Employment Insurance benefits you MUST declare if you’ve been out of the country. Weekends do not…
To acquaint yourself with a gritty, in depth first hand account on what it was like – I highly recommend reading this book told from the perspective of a Canadian soldier:
As of April 4th (the day I made my radio departure) you have been following my “unemployment” storyline. I have been trying my darndest to stay in touch with the industry and hope to, someday soon, make it back onto Ottawa’s airwaves. I want to thank you for tweeting at me, sharing my posts and writing kind words of support along the way. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and that…
The crowd at Aerosmith’s Wednesday night concert in Massachusetts got an extra special treat during Train Kept A Rollin’. Johnny Depp hopped up on stage during the tune, which was their final encore.
Depp’s not just another pretty face – he’s previously played with Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper (who actually asked Depp to tour with him full time), the Black Keys, Oasis and more.