For episode 6 of The YXE I talk with John Himpe, radio program director for CKOM and program manager for CJME and Friday host of The Brent Loucks Show. We talk about where radio is headed, picking topics and fate that brought him to Saskatoon.
Ever since I was little, I wanted to be behind a microphone. Seriously.
From making my family suffer through “home editions” of the Price is Right (complete with a broken retractable TV antenna to pretend I was Bob Barker), to numerous Fisher Price toy microphones (I felt like the real deal), I was obsessed as a child with the idea of being on TV or radio. And it wasn’t really to be famous — it just looked like so much fun.
In high school, the obsession became a part time job with North Eastern Cablevision in Yorkton where I’d get the chance to direct, produce, host, edit TV… real TV! (In addition to doing the dishes, taking out the garbage, and keying in wrestling event orders in the ancient days of pay per view tv.) It was a fantastic opportunity that let me meet a lot of great people — and also gave me a foundation for realizing just how hard you have to work to get ahead in media.
After high school, I attended the two-year TV and radio journalism program at SAIT, and wasted no time in getting my first job out of school in June of 2000 at CJFB-TV in Swift Current. REAL real TV! It was there (in the dying days of local small town TV) that I got my wish of not-being-famous… but I wasn’t having much fun. A small, understaffed newsroom, and a work environment that was just not very fun led me to hoping (and actively searching) for that next job.
After four long, and arduous months in Speedy Creek, radio came calling. I had sent out a demo tape prior to getting the job in TV, and CJME Regina was looking for someone to join their community cruiser team. It wasn’t hard news, but it sounded a lot more fun – so I made the leap.
Not long after arriving at CJME, an opportunity came up to make a move in to the newsroom, and I took it. In total, I’d spend a year working at CJME before getting another opportunity to move back home to Yorkton and become a producer where I started everything — in cable. It was something I couldn’t pass up, and so made one more move.
But there’s a funny thing about working for Rawlco – if they like you, and you leave, they’re hellbent on getting you to come back!
So, I did. In summer of 2003, I returned to CJME to produce the morning show and to assist the station’s program director with day-to-day operational stuff. Later, I’d go on to produce for Murray Wood’s daytime talk show and become the assistant program director for both stations.
In 2007, I took a detour that took me off of News Talk and up to Saskatoon where I’d join the team that helped launch the Interactive division at Rawlco.
In 2008, I returned to News Talk as the province-wide program director for CJME Regina and CKOM Saskatoon. Last year, I was given the opportunity to become the permanent fill-in host for The Brent Loucks Show on CKOM — which is a real honour. Brent is household name in Saskatoon, and it’s not tough to be a little nervous when given the responsibility of talking with such a committed, loyal, and engaged audience.
Today, I remain the program director for CKOM, while continuing to advise on CJME Regina as program manager. I really love my job — it’s great to be able to interact every day with listeners, and to work with great hosts and journalists to not only reflect what people are talking about, but to help set the table for great conversations by telling meaningful, human stories.