CHEK personality Gordie Tupper hangs up his microphone
Gordie Tupper sorts through a cardboard box filled with the remnants of his 30-year television career.
The CHEK personality, who retired on Wednesday, finds an almost-empty bottle of Sailor Jerry’s rum, a trophy from Victoria’s version of Dancing With the Stars — where he danced the rumba — and a baseball cap covered in branded pins.
Known as the voice of CHEK, Tupper has announced countless parades, played weatherman and hosted charity drives. He’s perhaps best known for his light-hearted segment CHEK Around, in which he and a cameraman took to the streets to ask Victorians silly and offbeat questions.
Tupper said the idea for CHEK Around was floated by his station manager, Jim Nicholl, who pitched the idea to other on-air personalities, only to have it pooh-poohed. “I said: ‘That sounds like it would be a riot,’ ” he said. “I got CHEK Around because no one else wanted to do it.”
With the gumption to say anything to anyone, Tupper wasn’t afraid to provoke and have fun.
“Any goofs, they were part of the show. I said all kinds of things I’d probably get thrown in jail for now. There’s nothing I won’t say to get a reaction from people,” Tupper said.
Some people got angry and others walked out, but enough viewers relished his interview style to give the show longevity.
As a teen at Vic High, Tupper loved to listen to the banter of rock and roll DJs such as Red Robinson. With a baritone voice of his own, Tupper was inspired to get into radio. In the late 1960s, he was hired by the old CKDA Radio to host the morning show.
He took a 10-year hiatus from media to sell waterbeds before being hired by CHEK in 1988.
Things came full circle a few days ago when someone called Tupper to congratulate him on his retirement. It was Vancouver radio legend Red Robinson.
“Honest to God, I was in shock,” he said. “I almost teared up.”
Tupper worked closely with Michaela Pereira, who went on to work for CNN and now hosts her own show, MichaeLA, on HLN, a CNN spinoff.
READ MUCH MUCH MORE HERE AT THE TIMES-COLONIST WEBSITE
Sad to see him quit … one of the “good ones” in broadcasting … have fun in retirement Gordie!
Everyone deserves to retire when the time is right. Enjoyed your on-air years, hope you enjoy your off-air years. All the best.