Mike Gzowski presents annual award in his fatherís name to Hal Wake
Hal Wake is an experienced moderator who is familiar with the issues around 211, serving as he does on the board of the United Way of the Lower Mainland. A former CBC Radio broadcaster, Hal hosted CBC Vancouver's early morning radio show, The Early Edition, for several years, and also worked as a producer on Morningside during his 17 year career with CBC. His work in radio and his experience in moderating hundreds of events, has given him a deep understanding of how to create and present discussions that are both entertaining and thought-provoking. His credits as a moderator include the Leadership Comitium (a group of senior executives from business and labour) at Simon Fraser University, and the University of British Columbia's popular Talk of the Town lecture series. Since leaving the CBC, he has worked as a communications consultant and was the Senior Manager of Media Relations at the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC). Prior to joining ICBC, he taught journalism at Langara College in Vancouver. He was recently appointed Artistic Director of the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival.
Hal trained as an actor, and later as a stage manager and producer at Carleton University. He is an
expert in communications and media strategies, a strategic planner, a teacher, and a broadcaster. Hal is
has just completed his first year as Artistic Director of the Vancouver International Writers Festival. He is
a most worthy successor to the festivalís founder, Alma Lee.
Halís CBC career was illustrious, and included several years as a Producer with Peter Gzowski's
legendary CBC Radio programme 'Morningside'. Hal moved on to host the CBC Vancouver morning
show 'The Early Edition' for several years. After leaving the CBC in the late 1990's, he was appointed
head of communications for ICBC. Hal lives in Vancouver, but heís no stranger to Vancouver Island.
Over the past ten years he has hosted a great many readings and panels with the Victoria Literary Arts
Festival. We are very pleased that he has agreed to come back and host the Christmas Writers Cabaret
for this third year.
†Hal Wake, the host of CBC Radio's Early Edition, is planning to pull the plug on his Corp. career sometime in March.
The Honest Truth got to the smooth-talking radio man for a little chitchat before he gives up his parking spot.
Q Where, when and what was your first radio gig?
A Vancouver, 1976 or so, I did a movie review for the Redeye program at Co-op Radio. I was so nervous that I wouldn't go anywhere near the station and recorded it at home, locked in the bedroom. I sent the tape down with a record to play behind my voice. Three weeks later I was co-host of the program -- that's how desperate they were.
Q Were the slashes at CBC a catalyst behind your decision to retire after 18 years at the Corp?
A Partly. I knew that I would be able to host the Early Edition for one or maybe two more years before the early hours got to me. At every stage of my career at the CBC, I have been able to move to a job that challenged me . . . . Now when I look down the road a year or two, I don't see those kinds of jobs existing at the CBC.
Q How can the CBC be saved?
A The CBC can only be saved when people who value it make it clear to the politicians that if the cuts continue there will be electoral consequences.
Q Are you a morning person?
A I am now.
Q Have you ever truly put your foot in your mouth on the air?
A Not that long ago when the president of the CBC, Perrin Beatty was sitting four feet from me in the studio waiting to be interviewed, we came out of the newscast and I said, "Welcome to the Early Edition, I'm Half Hour."
Q What tips can you give to young on-air hopefuls?
A Don't think about the kind of position you want. Think about what you care about, unleash your curiosity, listen to the stories people tell you, and try to find a place that shares your passions.
Q Do you have any pre-show rituals?
A I get a cup of cold water, squeeze a slice of lemon into it, adjust my chair and then turn on the microphone and try to say something that will make my technician, Mark Turenne, laugh.
Q Have you received any weird fan mail over the years? If so, what?
A A group of delightful crazies from Denman Island once sent a picture of their bare bottoms to celebrate the passing of the train at Fanny Bay on Vancouver Island.
Q What's your idea of a really good time?
A After a really great barbecue and a couple of bottles of wine, on a fine August evening on Saltspring Island, with the smell of the trees and the ocean drifting lightly on the breeze, lying back on the grass with family and friends and watching the Perseid meteor shower.
Q What do you keep in your junk drawer at home?
A I am one of those people who do not restrict junk to drawers. I believe that junk has the same right to liberty and the right of assembly that the rest of us do.
Q What will you miss the most? What will you miss the least?
A I will miss working with a great group of people to make radio at the CBC. I will not miss people asking me what time I get up. (Just for the record: 3:45 a.m.).