September 19, 2011.
I still remember the feeling I had driving into Red Deer, to my first day with Big 105 and 106.7 The Drive.
My favourite time of year. It was warm, the sun was shining, and the leaves were just starting to turn colour. I had a feeling of comfort and I knew in my gut that Red Deer was the right place for me at the time. I knew I would be staying for a while.
In five and a half years, I have accomplished even more than I dreamed I could. I started out as a reporter in the newsroom, covering everything from council meetings, to press conferences, media launches, and court cases. After less than a year, I was promoted onto the morning show on 106.7 The Drive, something I was secretly hoping would happen since I walked through the doors of the station. The move gave me the best of both worlds. I got to anchor the news and be part of the morning show while still being able to cover court, which quickly became my passion.
The road since has not been an easy one by any means. While most everyone was supportive, there were some who did not welcome my presence on the Drive. Apparently I have a "horrible laugh" and "ruined the station!" I wish I could say the hurtful comments didn't stick with me. There were, after all, way more positive comments. In the end though, I'm thankful for both the positive and negative feedback I've received since being on the Drive airwaves. The good encouraged me and the bad just motivated me to prove the "haters" wrong.
The world of radio is an unforgiving one. You put yourself out there on a daily basis, hoping to make even some small difference in someone's day. To put a smile on someone's face or promote engaging conversation. But you also open yourself up to scrutiny. It's amazing how many people have gone out of their way to tell me I suck, or pick apart my court stories. I have been ripped to shreds by some readers about cases I've covered. Yet many times, I have had family members of victims personally thank me for the respect I've shown and for helping to tell their loved one's story. I never wanted to be the kind of journalist who took advantage of people's grief for the sake of sensationalizing a story and I take a lot of pride in the respect I have shown in my reporting.
It's really difficult to put into words how much my time in Red Deer has meant to me. I have had the privilege of working with some of the most incredible people. I may be biased here, but the rdnewsNOW team is the best in the city! My family on the Drive and Big 105 is simply amazing, as is everyone behind the scenes. It has been a privilege to be part of the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Red Deer team.
It's time now to move onto the next chapter in my life and leave Red Deer behind. I will miss it. I have met some of the best people I've ever known in this city. To the community and business leaders, pioneers of the local music scene and service industry, and all those in between: Thank you for letting me be part of this incredible community for nearly six years.
Being a first generation Canadian, most of my family is in Ireland. I had the privilege of visiting last year for the first time since I was five. The trip was life changing and I absolutely fell in love with the Emerald Isle. So, I've decided to follow my heart back to the motherland. I'm taking a pretty big leap of faith, and I could not be more excited for what the future holds, however unknown it may be! Perhaps I'll check in via the rdnewsNOW column section every once in a while to touch base. Until then, let the adventure begin!
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