JJ Johnston Salutes Jody Vance
February 7, 2018
Welcome to JJ-365 Salutes. Over 2018, we pay tribute daily to one of “The Good Ones”. Today we are shining the light on Jody Vance.
I first met Jody in the late 80’s in Vancouver when she was hired by Christine Glenn to come over from CHRX-AM promotions to do the same gig at ROCK 101. I had just crossed the street from CFOX. Jody was a bit of a shy young lady at the time, and was working setting up remotes, on site promotions and the like. She was a hard worker and really wanted to do well.
One time I overheard a co-worker in the building putting her down and called that person on it. They didn’t like that very much (or me) but at least that gave Jody some breathing room and Christine and I were able to help her build some confidence and spread her wings a bit.
I thought this young Jody had a nice respectful and upbeat personality, and pretty good tones. I asked her why she didn’t do many on-air promotional cut-ins? She said she was told she didn’t really have a good voice and was not very confident about it. I coaxed her into doing more, and she started to blossom.
Our good friend and Burger King owner Mike Michael Lacombe approached us with a huge RV that we would use in partnership on site at various events around Vancouver. I really liked it because it was so different than the other radio station vehicles in the market. We had the graphics done in a way where it looked like a Burger King restaurant on wheels. This was not an easy thing to drive. Who was going to drive this monster? Jody summoned up the guts, stepped forward, got the necessary license and became the principal driver of that machine and did a great job. It was hilarious seeing that gargantuan machine roll around the corner and with little Jody in firm control in the driver seat.
At this time some other people in the Vancouver market were starting to take notice of Jody i.e. Ron Bremner at BC-TV. They had just had a shake up with their heritage sports show and lo and behold Jody ended up getting an anchor position. She had never done TV or Sports before and credits long-time local sports personality Squire Barnes for helping her through that scenario.
After that gig she spent a short period of time at ORCA Bay (Canucks) in Sales, and that’s where Jon Festinger got to know her. When Jon left to run Vancouver TV, he hired Jody to do news. They had not intended on doing sports, but Toronto big guy Ivan Fecan came into the market and asked the powers at be what kind of sports they were going to be doing? They said they weren’t going to be doing sports to which Ivan said, “wrong answer!”
If you remember my story about Scott Moore hiring Hazel Mae out from underneath us, Scott also had a big hand in Jody’s career. One time Jody was told to give a tour of the station to this fella coming in from Toronto. This gent asked her what she saw herself doing in the future? Jody boldly said, “I’d like to be the first female anchor on Sportsnet.” When this fellow left Jody found who he was. Scott appreciated her spunk, pulled the trigger and hired her for Sportsnet mornings in Toronto. Ratings increased and in March 2000, she was moved to the coveted evening time slot and, in September of 2000, Jody became the first woman in the history of Canadian television to host her own sports show in primetime.
She was yearning to start a family and left for a 4-year gig at LEAFS TV doing the pregame and post game shows which was less of a grind for someone who had a big desire to have kids.
In 2009 Jody and husband Bart Given (former Assistant GM of the Blue Jays) and son Brady moved to Vancouver leading up into the Winter Olympics Year. Bart worked in Sports Marketing (now the principal in Torque Strategies and TTG Partnerships) and Jody joined SHORE-FM hosting the midday show for three years while at the same time was doing post game shows with Stanley Cup bound Vancouver Canucks.
Jody then found her self back on breakfast television in Vancouver, a gig she had for five years.
Shortly after that on to a talk radio stint at CKNW, and these days she has her own midday talk radio show on Roundhouse Radio.
It’s so great to see how Jody has developed over the years from a young, and shy entry-level broadcaster to the confident, talented, smart and polished industry pro she is. Her intentions have always been good, and they still are today. Nice work Jody!
Congrats Jody Vance, the legend, on being one of “The Good Ones”. Feel free to like and share Jody’s positive story. Who is the subject of tomorrow’s JJ-365 Salutes? Stay tuned!
Jim JJ Johnston is the CEO, President and Chief Talent Coach for JJIMS INC.
J.J.’s bio, courtesy of VancouverBroadcasters.com
J.J. Johnston – Board operator CKLC Kingston ON 1974-75; midday host CJET Smiths Falls ON 1975; morning hostCKOB Renfrew ON 1975-76; nights CFCH North Bay ON 1976-77; evenings CFGO Ottawa and part time CKLW Windsor ON 1977-79; swing CFTR Toronto 1979-81; p.m. drive/mornings/ssistant PD CITI-FM Winnipeg/Jet’s hockey broadcaster at CKY Winnipeg 1981-86; PD CHAM Hamilton ON 1986-88; national PD Moffat Communications/PDCFOX-FM/CKLG Vancouver 1988-93; national rock PD WIC Communications/CFMI-FM Vancouver 1993-94; VP programming Standard Radio/CKFM-FM Toronto 1994-2000; GM Corus Radio cluster Toronto 2000-05; GM Corus Radio (CFMI-FM/CFOX-FM/CHMJ/CKNW) Vancouver 2005-10; regional GM then contract consultant Corus Radio East – Barrie/Collingwood/Peterborough/Kingston/Cornwall ON 2013-current; President/CEO, JJ international Media and Management Solutions Ontario 2013-current; Interim GM CJPE-FM Prince Edward County ON 2013-current. LinkedIn profile
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