First job in broadcasting by Dave Biro

2
471

cfvr850

 

DaveBiro1Image

By Dave Biro
The Vultures Roost

December 22nd, 2015

People usually remember their first job in their chosen career with a little bit of nostalgia.

Often that includes the name of their first boss, what the office was like, and probably how little they were paid.

I had all of that and more – but what I mostly remember is fear, lots of fear.

I’d completed my broadcast training and hit the road looking for a job.

Driving a 1969 Datsun 1000, loaded with a sleeping bag, demo tapes, and a map I headed up the Fraser Valley into the BC interior. I’d determined the Vancouver market was one that I was not ready for, so I sought some place small, where I could make a few mistakes and not get fired too quickly.
You know, some place not too difficult to start out, but where you could learn a lot.

I got as far as Kelowna , and there got a phone call from the first place I’d dropped off a resume’ – Abbotsford BC.

The guy on the line had a job offer for me, radio news, evenings and weekends for the princely sum of $375 a month. It was 1973, and that kind of pay was real tight for the times, but what the hell, it was a start.

He asked when could I start, and I said as soon as I can get on the road and get there.
I arrived the next day.

CFVR Abbotsford, the sign hung there over the parking lot  like bait, and I took it.

I remember the News Directors first name was Terry, I don’t recall his last name. I don’t recall how long he’d been there, but he had the look and feel of a man who already wanted to get out.

We had a brief meeting, very brief, and I was hired.

Now the fear started to creep in, and it would get worse.

“Terry” now really looked like he wanted to get out of there–like now , or yesterday.
And so came the question from him- when can you start your first shift?

Remember I had taken the bait, and like an over eager fish I answered –I can start right away.

And with that Terry stood, got his coat on, plopped his hat onto his head and said:
” The newsroom is down the hall, it’s 10 past 2, and you’re reading the 3 O’Clock news”

Before I could try to shake the hook out of my mouth and dart for cover, he was gone, walked out the front door of the station building and drove away.

I found the newsroom, in it sat a man who looked perplexed as I walked in. His name was Con Hild , the sports guy.

I explained I’d just been caught, er hired, and I had to read the news on air in about 45 minutes, without any kind of training or orientation.

Con was a great guy and he helped me out, showing me the basic ropes of the place, what the format was , what commercial breaks played in that next newscast and so on.

Now it was 10 to 3, nothing had been written or prepared, there was no more that could be done but grab some wire copy from the Canadian Press teletype , a big metal monster of a thing that ground out stories. It was a noisy beast, but it was my salvation.

5 to 3, and I’m sweating like a pig ( do pigs sweat?) This one did.

The next few minutes were a blur, I read that news cast, signed it off, and melted.

The phone rang.

Always fear a phone ringing right after you’re read a newscast. It is seldom good.

It was ” Terry” with a short message- “Guess you’ll do, come in at three tomorrow for the start of your first real shift ”

I looked over to the sports guy, and he said :   ” He does that all the time, he hires somebody throws them on air, and if they make it, they have a job”

“Terry” not long after left Abbotsford .

I stayed, but not for long.

I later worked for a guy whose cry before each newscast was ” I’m not ready ”

I can sure relate to that.

Read More from Dave’s Blog, The Vultures Roast
.
Dave Biro  Bio from VancouverBroadcasters.com– Broadcast Performing Arts graduate Columbia Academy Vancouver 1973; news reader/beat reporter CFVR Abbotsford, CJIB Vernon, CKIQ Kelowna then CJIB news director and senior news anchor CKIQ Kelowna 1970s; news reader CKNW New Westminster 1978-80; part time instructor BC Institute of Technology Broadcast Journalism 1979-89 and Langara Community College Broadcast Journalism 1979-81; assignment editor then news director CKVU-TV Vancouver 1980-88; University of Georgia George Foster Peabody Award for Outstanding Documentary Production presented to CKVU for educational documentary AIDS and You 1987; assignment editor then news director CKWX Vancouver 1988-90; news assignment editor 1990-95 then senior news producer CHEK-TV Victoria 1995-99; associate producer/host/reporter CBC Radio Victoria 2002-04; senior news assignment editor A-Channel/CTV Vancouver Island 2004-15; retired 2015; RTNDA Lifetime Achievement Award for BC region 2011.  LinkedIn profile 
.
CFVR Logo courtesy of Vancouver Radio Museum

2 COMMENTS

  1. oh do I remember those good ole’ Kraft Dinner eating days of $375.00 per month. I thought out of curiosity I would check out the CPI Inflation Calculation on the amount in 1973 and that it has the same buying power of, get this! $2,004.53 in 2015. Still below the poverty line. What we sacrificed all for the love of being behind a mic, and I loved it all. Thanks for this Dave. Its also good to hear you haven’t disappeared.
    reference: http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Inflation_Calculators/Inflation_Rate_Calculator.asp

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.