From Coast To Cattle Field
By Norm Coyne on September 22 2014
(Photo Credits: James Doyle) It’s 6:45 in the morning. From her studio in downtown Prince Rupert, CBC Radio One host Carolina de Ryk is speaking to a man standing in the middle of a field. He’s practicing for a cow dog championship in Vanderhoof, and says the key is to communicate with the dogs herding the cattle through a series of whistles.
“Can you give us a quick example?” she asks. The man hesitates before a emitting a high-pitched sound. “That’s a walk-up whistle.” Another whistle, this one more sustained. “A long steady one is a stop whistle.” He’s on a roll now. “And then for a go-to-the-right…” “That’s beautiful,” de Ryk encourages. Then the cows start mooing. This is the sort of moment that radio is made for, particularly the type of radio listeners expect from Daybreak North, CBC’s morning drivetime show heard across northern British Columbia. While most radio shows consist of a single host speaking from a single location, Daybreak North is a pan-northern experience. de Ryk broadcasts from Prince Rupert while her co-host Russell Bowers speaks to listeners from downtown Prince George.
The two trade off interviews, which on any given day will range from a hardhitting political conversation with a government minister to a conversation about a new heavy metal festival in the Bulkley Valley. What holds it all together is both hosts’ genuine interest in the people and voices that make up northern B.C. Neither Bowers nor de Ryk is originally from the north, but both feel strong ties to their adopted homes.
de Ryk came to Prince Rupert to pursue a career in broadcasting, and now isn’t sure she could ever leave. Her husband has started a small brewery there, and she is just returning to the airwaves following the birth of their second daughter. Bowers is also marking a return to local radio. He used to host Daybreak North from Prince Rupert, but left to pursue other offers including his most recent stint on a weekend arts show in Calgary. He enjoyed the job, but found himself missing the unique experience of life in B.C. Then he heard there was an opening to host Daybreak North from Prince George while regular host Betsy Trumpener took time off to pursue other projects. “Northern B.C. has really felt like home for me, more so than anywhere I’ve lived,” he says. “So when the opportunity to come out this way came up, I jumped at it.” Now the two are re-united on the air, and listeners couldn’t be happier.
Daybreak North is already the number one radio show in Prince George, and producers of the program say the response to the new onair team has been nothing but positive. As for what to expect as the fall season gets underway, stay tuned. Between the Canada Winter Games, major anniversaries for Prince George and UNBC, and the increased economic importance of communities like Fort St John and Kitimat, there’s plenty of optimism in the north right now, as well as a lot of challenges. Daybreak North plans to reflect it all - from coast to cattle field. Daybreak North airs weekdays from 5:57 to 8:37 on CBC Radio One, 91.5 FM in Prince George or streaming online at cbc.ca/daybreaknorth.