I am Strong, I am Invincible……


By Danny Kingsbury 

Those lyrics are iconic and everyone knows the next line……..I am woman. Helen Ready’s Liberation Anthem was actually in my opinion a powerful piece of writing.

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again
Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman

International Women’s Day has come and gone. It was interesting to watch and read social media, editorials and news reports this week. I was really happy to see unanimous support from everyone. I shouldn’t be surprised at that though right? Right? It is 2017.

I had an idea last Wednesday and I’m going to give it a go……..I will try to make a list of every woman I have worked with in radio who has left an impression on me.  Yup. The only parameter per say is that it will be limited to woman I’ve directly worked with…in the trenches as they say. And we’ll see who else I can remember….I’m also going to list chronologically. It turned out to be much more work than I thought, but I’m so glad I did it.

My first radio job was at CKSA Lloydminster Alberta. It was 1978 and I do not recall a single woman in programming or news.

How’s that for a baseline? Zero. I do remember single Mother Lovette, who was at reception. I was too young then to appreciate how strong she was working full time and raising a child. Not sure where she is today.

I moved to CHAB Moose Jaw later that year….(we moved quickly in those days)…..and again, I cannot recall a single woman on air. There was a female writer, Kim Bloom.

OK, on to CHED in Edmonton, 1979.

Laurie Langcastor was an announcer. The only woman DJ. She had a great run on-air. Laurie and I lost touch, but have recently reconnected and it’s great to see her doing so well with her own company and in a relationship with a mutual friend. She lives in Kelowna.

Penny Craig did traffic in the Bruce Bowie morning show. Her nickname on air was bumpers. A real card. A real gem. Not sure what she’s doing now.

Eileen Bell was at CHED, and still is today!! A very strong broadcast journalist with deep faith and a great delivery.

Ruth Blakley was also a news reporter and reader. I remember how positive she always was and had a huge smile. She still lives in Edmonton.

Wanda Street did promotions. She navigated well in a male dominated office. I lost touch with her after she moved to Vancouver, but the dining room hutch she sold us lasted a long while.

Brenda White was at CHED. She started as a student volunteer for the CHED Music Council. She would go on to work on air and later I worked with her in Winnipeg, where I believe she still lives. She has tremendous writing skills and a great sense of humour.

Jill Hooke was a copy writer. She ended up marrying her boss Daryl and still lives in Edmonton enjoying life as a Grand Parent.

Kathy Salloum was a writer too. Kathy moved to the States and appears to be doing extremely well. She is a very nice lady and a talented writer. We are FB friends.

It’s off to Winnipeg now and the first time I worked at a combo AM/FM. I was at CITI FM.

There were no women on air at CITI FM.

Suzanne Dufresne read the news from the CKY news room. Not sure where she is today.

Sharon Taylor was the APD and promo director at CKY. Sharon is a legend. She bleeds radio. She has had a great career including PD in Toronto and GM in Toronto. Known for her filter-less speak, I loved working with Sharon. Extremely smart and absolutely hilarious. She hired me at CISS Toronto. I am still in contact with her as she works with Byrnes Consulting. I remember having her daughter over for dinner a few times in Kingston when we lived there. Small world this radio thing.

Cathy Baxter Worked reception. A real bubbly and friendly woman. She still lives in Winnipeg and we’re FB friends.

Dani Eisler Dani ran Telemedia’s syndication division in the 80’s. She is a smart cookie with a great sense for programming and radio. We’re FB friends.

There were quite a few women in the building at Polo Park…….Moffat owned CTV, AM/FM and some of the Jets. Jean Carter, Pat Walchuk and Karen Goulet come to mind.

On to CFNY in Toronto, where women made up more of station line up’s than out west, but still the minority.

Maie Pauts was an on air talent at CFNY. Maie is fabulous. She hosted Live in Toronto with Scot Turner. Such a great soul, and terrific music fan and announcer. She is still on air at BOOM in Toronto after a couple of stops in Hogtown. She is dominating the airwaves in Mid days and I love hearing her when I drive to Toronto. She loves her 80’s music and being a Mother. FB friends too.

Maureen Bulley One of the best creative directors in the country. Not only can she write, but she knows how to teach others to write. We would work together again at Y95 and she spent a long time in Rogers Toronto as well.

Liz Janek Liz was Canada’s Indy Queen. She really championed new music and was responsible for helping launch many careers. She would go on to consult radio and I was happy to hear her health had improved. She lives in Toronto.

Mary Ellen Benninger was in the newsroom at CFNY. Always loved her sound. Strong. And smart. She ended up marrying Alan Cross from the station and they live in Burlington. ME had a great run in Toronto on morning shows.

Kim Somers became the Music Director at CFNY. Kim is the strong silent type. I like her. She went on to work with Rawlco for a long period and now does VO in Ottawa.

Dani Elwell did evenings at CFNY. Another smart music lover with a great delivery. I think she still lives in Toronto and works at Jazz 91.

Beverley Hills Became MD just before I left the station. I didn’t know her well. She was married to Live Earl Jive.

Pamela Blair Pamela was a real music fan but worked in the newsroom. She spent a good deal of time at Energy in Burlington when it was a dance station. We’re fb friends.

Kerry French Kerry worked at key radio and was a whiz with research and numbers. We would end up working together again at Rogers. She recently retired.

Down the QEW for me to work at CHML/CKDS Hamilton.

875 Main West did not have many women on-air. There were many working behind the scenes.

Leigh Luzzi was MD at Y95. To this day, one of the most dedicated and focussed people I’ve worked with. Great personality, sense of humour and extremely honest. With a filter. Leigh went on to be MD at Q107 before she had 3 brilliant kids and moved to Oakville. We are still friends.

Lori Love Started in promotions at Y95 and then did some on air work reporting traffic in the afternoon with Scott Thompson. What a talent. Great attitude, very funny and the best laugh in the industry…period. A lovely person, she married Darren Wasylyk and still works on the morning show at EZ Rock in St. Catharines where she rules the ratings!!

Lea Miller Was on air at Y95. She was young and full of potential then and she has clearly developed into a great announcer moving on to work in Ottawa, Nova Scotia and now at BOOM in Toronto.

Dorie Cowling Dorie worked in the CHML newsroom. That heritage station was pretty male, pretty white and pretty good for a pretty long time. Dorie was a strong writer and on air talent. It was good to see her at the Y95 reunion last summer.

Gina Lorentz Gina was also in the CHML newsroom. She went on to program stations and has had a successful career in radio. I saw Gina at Music week a few years ago. She lives in London On.

Mary Devorski Mary was another newsroom reporter and anchor in Hamilton. I always liked Mary. I have lost touch with her but see her on FB a lot as she has a brother Greg, who is an NHL Linesman.

Sandra D’Alessandro I remember Sandra working in the office in Hamilton. She is very inquisitive. She’s a teacher. It was nice to reconnect with Sandra at last year’s Y95 reunion.

Carmela Hooper Carm was a rock solid administrator and HR professional. Funny lady. She married the legendary Bob Hooper and they live in Hamilton. We’re FB friends.

Barb Fordham Was our office manager and accountant/controller. A lovely lady and very good at what she did. Haven’t seen her for a long time.

Christine Chaplin Smith Christine is a great writer who I first met at Y95. She is exceptionally loyal to people she cares about. She spent some time in Kitchener after Hamilton and married Jeremy Smith. I saw her at the Y95 reunion with her daughters and J. I note that Christine has been a big supporter of Brady through his career. Much respect.

Kelly Cutrara Kelly was an announcer on Y95. I remember her sense of humour…..quirky and very funny.A good DJ too. She went to Toronto after Hamilton, back to Hamilton and now doing some Talk Radio at AM640.

For me, it was back to Toronto work at AM640/Q107. It was quite the challenge.

Lija Edgington Lija was my right hand admin. She knew everything about anything at Q. She was like Radar O’Reilly on MASH. She now runs a Bed and Breakfast in eastern Ontario. Hope to see her again soon.

Donna Saker was part of the Q morning show and a real spark plug. She knew how to survive with the boys, she worked with enough of them. Donna is a great talent and has had an adventurous life in relationships and travel and work. Love her for her courage. She currently works in Montreal killin’ it on the air. We’re friends on FB.

Shirley McQueen A bit of a pioneer to be sure working on a male dominated station in the evenings. Another one of Canada’s greats, tough and talented. From Saskatchewan. Shirley married Christian Hall, who actually was her intern (true). She is in Edmonton at CRUZ FM. Just saw a nice feature on her in FYI Music.

Elsie Xynos Was PD at AM 640. Elsie was a very smart programmer and music director. I respected and liked her a lot. She was Toronto hip in a good way. And funny. She got out of the biz which was too bad for the biz. Glad I met her though and still see her on FB. Lives in Toronto.

Debra Svicki She worked on AM640 and then became MD at Q107. Talk about a tough gig. She killed it. I always liked Deb for her smarts and confidence and most of all, courage. She married Mike Letourneau and they have a family in Toronto.

Debbie Dixon Debbie was well known for her promotion work at Q107. Well connected and very organized. She got out of the biz a few years back and is raising a wonderful and strong daughter in Toronto.

Helen Boyd She wasn’t on air, but I think always wanted to be. She was our HR specialist and knew everything about everybody. Really great person and very strong. We were on their honeymoon in Hawaii. True. We are still friends today.

Marsha Lederman Marsha was in the newsroom as a reporter journalist and went on to start a talk show “Horseman/Lederman” at AM640. A first for private radio I’m sure. 2 women doing a talkshow. Marsha is a great writer and I enjoy reading her columns in the Globe and Mail. She is married and living in Vancouver.

Karen Horseman Was also a news junkie and as mentioned above, teamed up with Marsha for that talk show. I lost track of Karen.

Terri Hart Terri started as an on street reporter with Q107 driving the Q Van and going to events. She eventually developed into more entertainment reporting and became one of Canada’s best known personalities. I’ll bet she has many stories about the stars she’s met and interviewed. Of course, she wouldn’t share, that’s what makes her great. She works at CITY now and see her all the time on line.

Liza Fromer Was Terri’s predecessor with Q promotions. Lisa went on to TV and has had a successful career in front of the camera. TV and on-line. I lost contact with her years ago, but have admired her work.

Kathleen Rankine Worked in the 640/Q newsroom. One of the most respected News Journalists of the 90’s and now. She has a fantastic delivery and did the “20/20” style better than the boys. A really nice lady as well. A country girl!!! I’m not sure if she’s still in the biz. But see her on FB.

Jane Hawtin A respected journalist and business woman. She had a great run at CFRB and came over to AM 640 to host a simulcasted talk show on radio and tv, and did a run on the morning show with Gene Valaitis, Jane and Gene. I have lost touch with her.

Evelyn Macko Evelyn was also known for her passionate writing and delivery. She read a lot of newscasts on a lot of stations with a lot of legends……..she’s great!! She is now passing her knowledge and skills to young broadcasters at Humber. I see her on FB.

Shelley Klinck Shelley hosted a show called “Sex, Lives and Audiotape” late night on 640. A smart and talented broadcaster and counsellor. I don’t know where she is today.

Sue Johannsen One of the first women to make me outright blush speaking with her in my office. The way she matter of factly talked about sex was great. Amy Schumer must have been inspired by the Sunday night Sex Show.

Across the street now for me to CISS FM Toronto.

Julie Adam When I met Julie she was doing music for CMT and artist relations for CISS. I didn’t even know she interned at Q107. It’s easy for me to say this now, but you just knew she was going to be successful in radio. She went on to be the APD at CISS Country, and then the PD at CISS Top 40. Safe to say she has climbed the ranks ever since in Rogers. A special woman. She now runs Rogers Radio and is my boss. She is married to Darren and has 2 kids living in Toronto.

Jacquie Donaldson She was a member of Cliff, Jacquie and Larry F at CISS Country. Jacquie was a journalist and writer and a very good broadcaster. Funny and jaded. Loved that about her. I believe she is living the good life in BC.

Lisa Monroe Lisa was a star announcer and had no fear. She did swing and then middays at CISS Country and loved the format. Lisa ended up marrying Cliff Dumas and lives with him the States.

Janet Trecarten Janet was Music Director at CISS Country. So good at what she does. She now is PD in Winnipeg and doing great work there. We’re friends on FB.

Patty Donovan Patty worked at 1050 CHUM the legendary Top 40 station with some pretty darn good personalities. She came to work at CISS Country with Jeff Lumby and Mike Richards. After CISS she was on CTV News for many years. A real friendly, funny and smart woman.

Linda Martelli Linda was at CISS Country but not for too long a period before they flipped to CHR. Linda has remained in radio and in the country format working in Hamilton. She’s had lots of success and I’m happy for her.

Some of the strongest women I met in radio were at CISS, not all on-air, but significant contributors to the station and the industry.

Lannie Atkins, Susan Reade, (who was Janet from another planet at CHED) and Barb Lockhart were amazing Sales reps. So talented. Brenda Selzer was also a very talented woman who was Ops Manager.

Off to Ottawa for me to work at CHEZ 106. Where there were many talented women.

Connie Bernardi Was hired with Doc and Randall and Diego from the Bear to do mornings. Connie’s calling was music, programming and writing and she was a major force at XFM when it launched. She would later take over Country PD duties, and was a big part of CISS Ottawa. She had a family with husband Stuntman Stu and is currently PD at Majic in Ottawa.

Jacki Navratil Is a long time announcer and now music director at CHEZ. She is a reliable and steadfast broadcaster. She’s cheeky too. She knows a ton about music and is a fan of all genres. Jacki makes CHEZ sound great everyday.

Cindy Woods Was a newscaster at CHEZ for many years. Such a talent. Such a personality. Cindy passed away from cancer and we miss her to this day at the station. No one could tell people to shut the eff up like Cindy could when she was recording something. A real inspiration to us all.

Diane Benson Was News Director at CHEZ. Super smart, super organized. I know Diane still lives in Ottawa.

Lisa Best Joined the newsroom for the FM stations and transferred over to the news station. A strong and smart woman….Harley Rider too!

Amanda Kingsland A real star with lots of runway left on her career. The biggest Country fan I know. Amanda is pd at CKBY. She’s the most focussed and competitive woman I know. Working with her is fun. And watch this one….going places.

Leanne Cater Leanne spent most of her career in Ottawa at CKBY but also worked at CISS. Strong personality, free spirit and funny. She now works in Winnipeg at QX 104.

Sandra Plagakis This woman is wonderfully nuts. So funny, so real, so honest and so driven. She worked with Humble and Fred at The Edge and then moved to Ottawa to work at HOT and then CISS, where she still is today with Carter Brown. Mother, wife, broadcaster and comedian…..one of the best.

Nida Drake Nida worked with Mark Papousek for years. They were a very popular morning show on CKBY. Nida now works at The Jewel in Ottawa. Friends on FB.

Samantha Stevens I worked with Sam when she came to Ottawa for a gig on XFM. Smooth Sam I call her. Amazing voice, great personality. She has spent time at many big radio stations and is currently back in Winnipeg at Peggy FM. Another motorcycle rider…..scary fast bikes.

Jerri Southcott Jerri worked for Kool fm in Ottawa for many years. She did a lot of TV work and came to us at CISS. A real classy lady with amazing skills. She lives in Lunenburg Nova Scotia with her husband Journalist Dave Stephens and works for CBC.

Laura Mainella A free spirit to say the least. Has much to offer and never feared giving her opinion. A great sense of humour. She worked for CISS and then went to HOT. She now is doing doing social work in Ottawa.

Jenny Rutherford Jenny came over to CISS with Sandra and Carter and had a good long run at Thurston. She started in mornings and moved to evenings, traffic and back to CKBY mornings. Jenny is raising a family in Smiths Falls.

Amy Volume Amy is a great announcer. She has a perfect amount of edge and combines her love of music and family and community to be a terrific package. She does Midday at CISS but is on Maternity leave to have her second child.

Nancy Stapleton Nan is a staple (pardon the pun) at CKBY in the drive show. A well loved veteran announcer and gardener. She’s so good at what she does. Married to Ed Hand.

Mary D’Angelo Mary is our Business Manager and I’ve worked with her for over 15 years. Incredibly talented and accurate. Mary consistently developed her accounting training skills over the years and now holds a couple of designations.

Alison Young Alison has been with Rogers for a few decades as well. She is the traffic manager. Such an important job and such stress and hassle. But she does it the best I’ve ever seen. A real pleasure working with her.

Julie McIlvenna Julie is office manager in Ottawa. She has been an admin right hand for decades. No one knows the inner workings of our building like Julie.

Cathy Pendrith A long time Creative Director in Ottawa. Tons of talent, has forgotten more than some know, very well versed in the rules of radio and is an early riser coming in everyday with husband Woody from the CHEZ morning show.

Gayle Zarbatany Gayle is one of a kind. She is so passionate and driven. And can chat with the best of them. I met Gayle years ago in Rawlco and have been lucky enough to work with her in Ottawa. Gayle has turned our Calgary operation around in the 18 months she’s  been back. Gayle is a winner…..and a wine connoisseur…and an epicure. And a great programmer and a fantastic woman!!!

Off to Nova Scotia……

Shelley Fraser One of the first employees at Lite 929. Shelley is very funny…..lots of experience and is very confident in her skin. Great sounding announcer. She is back in Toronto.

Lisa Blackburn Lisa was a long time cohost at the Rock station in Halifax and certainly took her share of the boys club. Very smart, well read and a wonderful personality. She worked at LITE with her husband and Lisa is now a Halifax City Counsellor.

Janet Kelly Janet is the office manager at Rogers Halifax. She brings professionalism and organization the building everyday. She has had a long career in big business and has so much to offer.

Caroline Parker Another treasure of a talent. Man is she quick witted and full of energy. She is from Edmonton originally and now works with Griff Henderson on JACK. What a bundle of joy.

Nicolle Bellfontaine I didn’t need to work with Nicolle long to see how talented she is. An extremely driven and positive person. She recently got the drive job on Jack.

Myrna Burgoyne A seasoned creative director. Terrific writing skills and great organizational ability. Loved by sales folks and programmers alike. Myrna is working for West Jet in Halifax. Appears to be loving it…..of course, it’s a people job.

There are also 3 female sales reps in Halifax I respect so much. Natalie Duggan, Tiffany Cox and Karen Girard. Successful strong professionals and all 3 Mothers. Living the dream.

Over to Kingston……

Wendy Boomer Wendy is the midday announcer on all the Rogers Country stations. She is from Odessa and worked at K Rock along with 93.3. A very good announcer but even better singer and actor. She’s amazing.

Jacquie Beckett Jacquie is PD at Bell’s stations in Kingston. But she was with Rogers for a long while. She is extremely versatile able to do on-air, programming, promotions and administration. She is married to Simon, who works for Rogers. Small town.

Lisa Ray A dedicated community minded broadcaster. Went to school with the guys from the Tragically Hip. She worked at k rock and is now at Bell.

Carly D’Amico Carly is a passionate music fan and a radio lover. She collects old radios in fact. She loves talking to Canadian artists. Carly is out of the biz now working at Queen’s in Kingston.

There are many other women in Ottawa that I hold in high regard. Samantha Hastie, Nicola Frederic, Joanne Hachey, Anna Audet, Julie Pinhey, Veronica Sutherland, Nancy Fletcher, Terrilyne Therien, Stephanie Austin, Janis Tompkins, Stephanie Grant, Lisa Gervais, Ronnie Roberts, Linda Kinsella, Liz Pearson & Jenna McQueen

I am nearing the end of my list and fear I will miss someone. This has been a wonderful experience for me and has made me realize how lucky I’ve been to have worked with so many talented, quirky, funny and real women. As I said at the top, they have all had an affect on me in one way or the other.

I also realized this offering should acknowledge so many other women I work with at arms length in Toronto or elsewhere. It sort of breaks my parameter of “directly” but here it goes…

Angela Morra, Linda McErlain, Allegra Lindala, Treena Wood, Wendy Duff, Dana Bush, Andrea Gagliardi, Phyllis Antoniadis,  Susan Wheeler, Kim O’Keefe, Misty Meeks and Alanna Harris…….you all are amazing!!!!!

And what would a list of important women in my life be without a shout out to the one who has been there for the journey, Dawn.

Be invincible……….

Thanks for reading……..

2 responses to “I am Strong, I am Invincible……”

  1. Yes Dan.
    You.missed one..Me.
    Elaine Macdonald. We worked together at CHED in the years long before Eileen Bell. I think I was the first female CHED had doing news. I started there in 77 and left in 1980.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: